Make a hit out of a turd
In other words games that didn’t live up to the hype. Santa looked at which eight games didn’t manage to fulfil the expectations for him and others.
Will Wright, the man whose ambition is so big that he would like to immaculately conceive himself, is the brains behind this RTS life sim game. The unseen game setup – evolve from a single-celled organism to a cultivated society that explores the borders of the universe – was almost doomed to fail thanks to the sky high expectations. Well, the game didn’t fail but didn’t bring the revolution we all were hoping for. The lack of depth was the biggest negative aspect and especially the first four phases of evolution weren’t always as interesting. Cute, fun and relaxing it was though.
Black, the game that allowed everything, and that’s EVERYTHING, to be shot to pieces promised a to set a new standard for First Person Shooters. The explosions and destructions were fantastic but for the rest it couldn’t rise above mediocrity. The superficial gameplay, the thin storyline and the way too short lifespan (ending credits started rolling after a couple of hours) made for an average reception by many gaming journalists. All in all not enough for what many thought was to become the best shooter of 2006.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Not a personal choice. Bethesda delivered with the fourth part in the Elder Scrolls series an absolute masterpiece. The criticism mainly came from gamers that were already hooked on Oblivion’s predecessor Morrowind. Contrary to that hardcore but bugged RPG,Oblivion would be too easy and too repetitive. Also the fast-travel function got criticised by those die-hard masochists. For the x-th time making that same journey appears to be a highly entertaining occupation for some. Oh well, in the end we all know that Oblivion was and is a classic.
Fable is the child of yet another king of self-created hype: Peter Molyneux. The over-enthusiastic Molyneux always promises and unforgettable experience but with Fable even he exaggerated. With promises about terrifying amounts of liberty and possibilities and phrases like “It’s gonna be the best game ever.”, the aim was so high that even the best high jumpers would start eating themselves an indigestion at Pizza Hut. About 70 employees worked four years in a row but they couldn’t prevent that many of the pre-set features wouldn’t make it in the final game. Also the too short lifespan made clear that Fable wasn’t what it could have been.
Few games make for more diverse criticism than Assassin’s Creed. Where some reviewers would praise it up into the sky and rewarded it with a 10/10, others found a seven to be more than enough. The vivid Sacred Land was a gorgious setting, but the action in Ubisofts sneak-and-kill spectacle became repetitive quite quickly and even a little boring. Altaïrs exploits in the Middle Ages couldn’t fulfil everyone’s – often absurdly high – expectations.
Peter Jackson’s King Kong
Games and movies go together as spaghetti and mayonaise. Games based on blockbusters are therefore always crap and the reverse is also true. However, the game Peter Jackson’s King Kong seemed to become an exception to that rule for a long time. The atmospheric Skull Island was a first indication to which graphical heights the X360 was capable of and the game received almost only positive comments. Still a lot of gamers felt cheated. King Kong was short, little challenging and the finishing New York level was simply to laugh about. Good to rent for a day but nothing more.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
This one is a personal choice. Because Nintendo daringly chose for cell-shaded graphics, The Wind Waker was followed even more closely than other parts from the legend. The game received perfect scores from many magazines and websites and also commercially grew out to a huge success. Still, afterwards a lot of Zelda fans were disappointed. The style was nice, but the puzzles, enemies and end bosses too easy. And with only five dungeons to explore there was little to do except the irritating cruising on the sea. The Wind Waker was, like any Zelda game, a top title, but didn’t manage to reach the legendary level you expect from the green-hatted series.
Duke Nukem Forever (Whenever, Ever, Never?)
If it were up to The Duke himself, he would have pissed on and blown up the offices of 3D Realms himself. The long awaited successor to Duke Nukem 3D is, after its announcement in April 1997, still absent. Developer 3D Realms some time ago suggested that it would appear still somewhere at the end of 2008 but we believe we’ll see a veganist eat meat before this game gets released. Let’s keep it to 3D Realms’ own set release date: “Coming when it’s done”. Probably never.