Most disappointing games of 2012

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Calling a game disappointing arguably has more to do with me than the game itself. Disappointment isn’t an inherent quality. It can’t exist without some sort of expectation in the first place. In many cases, these games are sequels, or the creations of developers with proven track records, or entries in established genres. But for various reasons, the central fact about these games is that I had hoped to like them better.

After the jump, I’m not mad…

10) Lego Lord of the Rings

As much as I like this game — it’s the Lego theme I’ve wanted as long as Traveler’s Tales has been making Lego games — I wish they would do something with the Lego license beyond expecting me to run around and smash everything in pursuit of collectibles with marginal gameplay implications. Since when is Lego about breaking stuff and collecting things? Since when did Frodo and Sam wreak so much havoc before they ever left the Shire? Since when is Elrond no more powerful than Pippin?

9) Ridge Racer Unbounded

Why does this series continue to spin its wheels? I can’t think of any racing series that’s been around so long and covered so little distance. At least Unbounded had the presence of mind to borrow from its betters. If only it had borrowed better.

Read the review here.

8) Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning

All that talent, money, hope, celebrity, good intentions, and highly public financial collapse resulted in a middling marriage of hearty combat and a forgettable world.

7) Far Cry 3

Far Cry 3 distances itself from many of the decisions that made the previous game unique. While some folks heaved a sigh of relief — Far Cry 2 boldly defied a lot conventional game design wisdom — I was disappointed that Ubisoft made such a safe and ultimately forgettable open-world shooter.

Read the review here.

6) Torchlight 2

I can understand how someone can lose himself into Torchlight 2, a very good action RPG with no small amount of aesthetic charm and design smarts. But once I realized there was absolutely no risk/reward trade-off in terms of how you progress through the game — folks who play on the easiest difficulty get the exact same loot and experience as folks who play on the hardest difficulty — I lost any desire to play it. An action RPG is based on constant rewards. As such, I expect it will have some risk/reward trade-off rather than just freely dumping its treasures into the lap of anyone who comes along.

Read the review — which was written before I knew there was no risk/reward mechanism in the game! — here.

5) Secret World

I love the idea of a horror themed MMO with cerebral quests that go beyond fetching eight zombie haunches. But I don’t love them when they launch poorly, go unfixed for so long, and end up sending me after zombie haunches after all.

Read the review here.

4) Syndicate

Starbreeze has had a long fall since Chronicles of Riddick. This is their unceremonious splat.

Read the review here.

3) Sleeping Dogs

My first mistake with Sleeping Dogs was expecting too much from the connection to the developers of Bully. My second mistake was expecting a game with such a troubled history would be competitive with open-world games like Arkham City and Saints Row 3.

Read the review here.

2) Lollipop Chainsaw

Lollipop Chainsaw is the end of an era. An era when I want to play anything with Suda 51s name on it. As if that’s not enough, James Gunn’s name is on this godawful excuse for a game.

Read the review here.

1) Resident Evil 6

The Resident Evil games have always been bad in certain ways. That’s part of their charm. That’s partly why I loved Resident Evil 5 as much as I did. But they’ve never been this bad is this many ways. It speaks volumes that the often shoddy and confused Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City was even better than Capcom’s flagship Resident Evil.

Read the review here.

Now your turn. While you’re welcome to use the comments section to tell me I’m wrong, I’m more interested in hearing about which games personally disappointed you.

Tomorrow: the most overrated games of 2012
Wednesday: the year-end awards
Thursday: the best games of 2012