The most disappointing games of 2015

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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, or games with promising beginnings. But for various reasons, the central fact about these games is that I had personally hoped they would be better.

After the jump, the ten most disappointing games of 2015.

10. Project: CARS

Slightly Mad Studios’ Need for Speed: Shift 2: Unleashed is the most content rich racing game you can buy, with clever gameplay progression, lush graphics, and a brilliantly realized sense of speed, control, and finesse approaching the erotic. Project: CARS is a dull dry Forzalike that starts you out in a go-kart.


9. Xenoblade Chronicles X

Xenoblade Chronicles, an RPG you should not miss, told a thrilling story, using memorable and well written characters with interesting relationships, in a world that was literally the incarnation of its own theme. Xenoblade Chronicles X has none of that, choosing instead to focus on open-world MMOing. I’m all for the gameplay-first approach, but not if it means you marginalize your skill at storytelling.


8. Just Cause 3

The erstwhile geniuses at Avalanche Studios seem to have forgotten how to do the joy of open worlding. Just Cause 3 has plenty of explosions, but that’s pretty much all it has. Awkward progression, crushingly repetitive gameplay, and a lack of personality are enough to make the explosions boring. At least their Mad Max game had its own sense of style. Also, how can you have a Just Cause without the mellifluous Bolo Santosi?


7. Act of Aggression, Grey Goo, and Etherium

Middling releases helping drive nails into the coffin of traditional RTSs!

Reviews here, here, and here, respectively.


6. Armello

An intriguing videogame boardgame that doesn’t get how to do videogames or boardgames. Which wouldn’t bother me if the design wasn’t so good and the artwork wasn’t so lovely.

Review here.


5. Yoshi’s Wooly World, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse

After Rayman Legends on the WiiU two years ago, what’s left to do? I suspect 2D platformers as a genre are played out, no matter how adorable they may be. If the cute overload of Yoshi’s latest yarn world can’t rouse me from my indifference, it’s time for me to stick a fork in the genre. Not even the Lovecraftian horror of another Kirby rampage held my interest beyond a world 2-2.


4. Anno 2205

No open sandbox? Just these preset maps, unlocked in sequence from temperate to arctic to moon? I really like the basic Anno gameplay, but I’m disappointed to see the series abandoning its trademark openness. We’ll always have 2070, 1701, and 1404.

Review here.


3. Disney Infinity 3.0

No, no, no, Disney, you’re doing it all wrong! It’s movies that are supposed to get worse with each sequel. Games are supposed to get better with each sequel! It’s hard to believe Disney’s plastic toy cash-in has come only this far in three releases. At this rate, it should be serviceable in about 15 years.

Review here.


2. Toy Soldiers: War Chest

How do you screw up the delightful Toy Soldiers series? Like this.


1. Rise of the Tomb Raider

Microsoft sidelines the recently reinvigorated Tomb Raider franchise by shunting it into the dead end of their Xbox One’s diminished player base. It’s like releasing a new Star Wars movie, but only in Urdu. It’s nearly as painful as one of those Lara Croft death animations in which she’s impaled on spikes or crushed by a boulder. I look forward to the actual release of Rise of the Tomb Raider on the PC and Playstation 4.

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