It's been yet another incredible year to be a gamer, one filled with more worthy titles to play than there's time in the day. Portal 2, Bastion, Dark Souls, Uncharted 3, Skyrim... the list gets pretty long. However, it hasn't been all sunshine and lollipops this calendar year. A number of titles with great promise ultimately fell well short of their potential. We've compiled a list of these most disappointing offerings to kick-off our year-in-review. I cannot stress this enough: these are by no means bad games. The titles on this list have a number of reasons for being here, ranging from their series' pedigree, to publisher hype and everything in between. Without further ado, our top ten most disappointing games of 2011, listed in alphabetical order.
Assassin's Creed: Revelations
"When Assassin's Creed: Revelations was announced, it was greeted with mixed emotions. The previous game left us on a huge cliff-hanger, the perfect platform for the next major event to take place within the universe. Instead, fans were greeted with the news of another tale for our aging dark hero, Ezio Auditore. Despite this, it didn't drown anticipation. On the contrary, this is Assassin's Creed, the franchise that achieves the unachievable in its quest to re-write the past and the future. On reflection, this is one piece of history that Ubisoft may wish they could also re-write."
"Since the turn of the year, we've been inundated by a wealth of first-person shooter titles and it doesn't look like that's going to stop. The latest to try and dazzle in an over-saturated genre is Brink, by Splash Damage. They've gone about it in a slightly different way though, ditching a fleshed out campaign in favour of a multiplayer experience that requires teamwork to succeed. It's a risk that pays off in some areas, but the game also suffers because of it."
"When all is said and done, Battlefield 3 is a game that impresses and disappoints at the same time. The multiplayer, while not entirely groundbreaking, is fine-tuned to be diverse, flexible and balanced. The campaign, however, is a mundane operation through corridors and waves of idiotic enemy A.I., featuring a plot that's been bludgeoned to death with the butt of an AK-47. It's a beautiful game for sure, but it's difficult to praise it when beauty takes precedence over game, at least in the campaign. The multiplayer looks and plays beautifully and that's what Battlefield is all about in the first place."
Call of Juarez: The Cartel
"At the end of the day Call of Juarez: The Cartel is an entirely forgettable experience, made worse by the fact that it's a Western shooter. Not that there's anything wrong with a Westerns per se, Red Dead Redemption was brilliant. Even fans of the series should probably give this one a pass, and go revisit another western game. Sunset Riders would be my personal suggestion, but like most Western fans I'm a sucker for the classics."
"Zombies really are the flavour of the month right now, so it came as no surprise when Techland announced they too were working on a game that, you guessed it, focussed around zombies. What did come as a surprise, was quite how they were going about it. Never before had we seen anything nearly as thought provoking as "that" trailer, nor had we seen a game that would focus so heavily on the visceral melee combat aspect of a zombie apocalypse. But now that it's all out in the open, it's clear that this open-world zombie apocalypse simulator is surprising for the wrong reasons too."
Dragon Age II
"It's easy to see some of the improvements BioWare has made to Dragon Age II when compares to it's predecessor. The story is a lot easier to get into and the combat is more fluid. But it feels as though some of the magic has been lost along the way. Hopefully BioWare can rectify things in the inevitable sequel."
Duke Nukem Forever
"In response to some recent negative reviews of Duke Nukem Forever, the Duke himself has decided to share his two cents on the matter, claiming "clueless critics" are simply missing the point of Duke Nukem Forever. Speaking with The Joypads, voice of Duke Nukem Jon St. John said, "I have no comments regarding bad reviews by clueless critics. They seem to want to compare Duke Nukem Forever to Call Of Duty and other FPS's and they are missing the point." He added: "My thoughts about Duke Nukem Forever: It freakin ROCKS!"
"The F.E.A.R. series has been through a turbulent ride in its relatively short lifespan, changing publishers and developers, and an ugly battle over the franchise rights. Despite these headaches, F.E.A.R. is alive and well, figuratively speaking. The third installment from Day 1 Studios and Warner Bros., F.E.A.R. 3, introduces several new features to the franchise, arguably the most important one being the co-op campaign."
"Homefront tells a gripping story that's really quite unnerving. It also implements a few interesting gameplay mechanics to fight the typical tedium that's encountered with modern-day shooters. But these elements are overshadowed by a campaign that unforgivably short, and vehicle sections that don't feel implemented all that well. There is a full online multiplayer component to give the game a bit more bang, but developers need to understand that the single-player experience is just as important."
"It's strange to be given a game that has so few mechanical issues, so few of the typical technical bugs or problems that come with many AAA titles, but so laden with graphical problems... Though its major setback is one that can be settled with time, it's also the most unforgivable of issues. Why a game so well crafted as Rage has any graphical errors is baffling, made worse by the fact that the bugs are so inconsistent."