2023 is coming to an end, and now is as good a time as any to look back on the year we had. On the gaming front, things were pretty darn good. We saw some awesome titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Baldur’s Gate 3, Alan Wake 2 (review), Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, and many more that got gamers busy and happy throughout the year. However, in this article, we will be looking at the opposite side of the coin. We will be looking at games that people had high expectations for but ultimately failed to deliver.
Starfield was probably one of the most anticipated games of the year. After all, it was the newest IP from Bethesda in 25 years. The trailers depicted a massive universe with over 1,000 planets that players could visit with their custom ships. However, at launch, players were disappointed to find that most of the planets were empty; they couldn’t manually take off and land on planets. Even the decent mission structure wasn’t enough to save it from the gamer’s ire. To reiterate, the game isn’t terrible, but it wasn’t that great either.
|Decent mission structure
|Large open world
Arkane Studios is quite well regarded in gaming circles thanks to the fantastic work they did on games like Dishonored, Prey and Deathloop. So when it was announced that the developer would be working on a co-op shooter where the player would battle vampires, hopes were high. However, the result was a buggy mess with enemy AI so bad that it made Clippy look like ChatGPT. The game had a lot of promise, but the lack of polish disappointed fans.
|Interesting group of characters
AEW: Fight Forever:
Competition breeds creativity, and this is especially true when looking at the professional wrestling scene. WWE has been at the top of the pile for many years now, and as such, their games have been pretty much the only wrestling games that players can buy. With the rise of AEW as a competing promotion, it was only when they launched their own completing game. AEW: Fight Forever is the first game from the promotion, and while the idea of offering an arcade style of gameplay was good, the execution wasn’t. The game was buggy, and the gameplay could confuse people. Hopefully, things will be better next time.
Crime Boss: Rockay City:
Crime Boss: Rockay City had a lot going for it. It offered heist-based gameplay, which was very similar to what the Payday games have to offer. It also featured several Hollywood actors as voice actors. And these aren’t some C-list actors either. We had the likes of Danny Trejo, Chuck Norris, Kim Basinger, Michael Rooker, and more! In the end, these actors offered poor voice acting, and the overall gameplay was lacklustre.
|Poor voice acting
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3:
The Call of Duty series is usually one of the most popular games of the year. However, the developers dropped the ball this year. One of the big new additions in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was the Open Combat Missions. While the single-player experience in COD is usually very linear, these OCM missions gave players the freedom to go about objectives as they pleased. However, this sapped the tightly controlled cinematic action that has always been the series’ hallmark. To top this off, the story was pretty uneventful,, and the stakes were never that high. As a result, the single-player campaign became the very thing it swore never to be—boring.
|Open Combat Missions are boring
|Standard single-player missions can
Square Enix has a history of making some great open-world games. This includes Final Fantasy XV and the Just Cause series. Not only that, but they are also the custodians of some other extremely popular series, such as Kingdom Hearts and Nier. So when they announced Forspoken (review), a brand new IP, expectations were high. However, the result was a bland mess that was well below standard. On the plus side, the parkour elements were quite fun.
|Fun parkour elements
Lord of the Rings: Gollum
The Lord of the Rings series is ripe for gaming. The books are pretty much the inspiration for most modern fantasy RPGs. So when it was announced that there would be a new Lord of the Rings game based on Gollum, the fanbase was intrigued. The character had potential, and the time was set between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which gave the developers quite a bit of freedom in terms of story-telling. What we got was a mess of a game that was riddled with bugs. The gameplay was somehow even worse, with most missions amounting to simple fetch quests.
|There is a way to quit the game
The Lord of the Rings series is ripe for gaming. The books are pretty much the inspiration for most modern fantasy RPGs. So when it was announced that there would be a new Lord of the Rings game based on Gollum, the fan base was intrigued. The character had potential, and the time was set between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which gave the developers quite a bit of freedom in terms of story-telling. What we got was a mess of a game that was riddled with bugs. The gameplay was somehow even worse, with most missions amounting to simple fetch quests.
|There is a way to quit the game
Other than these, two games stand out as some of the worst of the entire season. They aren’t on the list only because nobody expected them to be there. They are The Walking Dead: Destinies and Skull Island: Rise of Kong. Even on a PlayStation 3 machine, the visuals in both of these games were so antiquated that they looked terrible. In addition, the games featured uninspiring gameplay mixed with drab narratives. A surefire way to go wrong.
On a more positive note, the letdowns of the year help us better appreciate the good games that were launched in 2023. Here’s to the new year and the multitude of gaming memories we’ll create. Bring on 2024!