2015 has been a great year for gaming, with plenty of exciting new releases. But what about the failures? There have certainly been some, and that's what we're asking about today: What's your biggest gaming disappointment of this year?
Here are the games that were a let-down for the USgamer team in 2015.
Since I've already written about my biggest disappointment of the year—more than once, actually—I think I'll be charitable and leave poor Evolve alone. Instead, let's focus on a more recent tragedy: The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes.
It was a game seemingly designed for me, one of roughly 17 people worldwide who bothered to collect the necessary accessories to play 2004's Four Swords Adventures as intended—which felt like a Zelda-style quest itself. I'd been craving another multiplayer Zelda for over a decade, and finally, Nintendo decided to dust off the idea and give it one more go. The results weren't quite what I was expecting; Nintendo impressed me with their smart multiplayer choices in Splatoon, so I naturally assumed this know-how would carry over to a series with much more clout. Things didn't shake out that way, and how often Tri Force Heroes struggled with keeping its multiplayer sessions afloat felt downright shocking. Especially during a year where I dumped dozens and dozens of hours into playing Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate online without a hitch.
But it wasn't technical issues alone that sunk Tri Force Heroes. The communication system, which allows players to communicate using on-screen icons, simply doesn't offer enough options—and clogs up Link's limited vocabulary with two "happy" and two "sad" emotes. And the matchmaking doesn't provide any safeguards for online hiccups; if someone drops out of your game, the whole session ends, and you're given a paltry amount of rupees to pay for your suffering. Now, I don't know much about the development of Tri Force Heroes, but I can't shake the feeling it was rushed into production to make it out for the 3DS' last big Christmas. "Shoddy" isn't an adjective you'd normally associate with Nintendo software—let alone The Legend of Zelda—but Tri Force Heroes proves the developer can misfire, even with one of their most respected brands.
I think Star Wars Battlefront is pretty clearly my biggest disappointment of 2015. I cannot understate how pumped I was for that game when it was announced back in 2013, but it turned out to be everything I feared - a fairly conservative multiplayer shooter more focused on looks than scope or scale.
For what it's worth, though, I still enjoyed Battlefront. I really loved the starfighter segments, and the shooting could be pretty enjoyable in small doses. Mostly, I was left wanting more - more maps, more guns, more anything. For $60, it was really remarkable how limited the total package was.
In some ways it feels churlish to complain about Battlefront too much. In a way, it's the Star Wars FPS I've always wanted. But it also could have been so much better. In any case, I'm going to hold out for more DLC before I play again.
This is an easy one for me - Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5. Perhaps I should have known better, but I had high expectations for this game, named as a sequel to the classic 2002 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 - whose PlayStation 2 version scored a whopping 94 on Metacritic.
Since then, the series has fallen on hard times, culminating in 2010's Tony Hawk's Shred, a game that shipped with an expensive motion-controlled skateboard peripheral that simply didn't sell. But I was hoping that Robomodo's latest addition to the series was going to turn things around and bring back the glory days.
I knew something was awry when we didn't receive a review copy before the game hit the streets - never a good sign. And when it finally did arrive and I sat down and played it, I discovered a game that felt really rough around the edges. Graphically, THPS5 was weak. Its backgrounds felt bland, and while the skaters were reasonably well rendered, they just didn't seem to gel with the environments.
The biggest disappointment, though, was the gameplay. Its missions and structure just weren't particularly well designed, and made the game frustrating and dull to play. The tragedy was, though, that you could see the potential THPS5 had. With more time in development and more work done on the presentation, online mode, and missions, it could have been a great throwback to the series' heyday. But unfortunately it was shipped in what felt like an alpha state, and just didn't hold up.
As a huge Star Wars fan, I'm going to go with Star Wars: Battlefront. When I previewed it, I definitely enjoyed the game and it hit the Star Wars feeling spot-on, but I felt that what the game was offering for its $60 price tag was kind of lacking. Fast-forward to the retail release and I'm hearing that my initial assumption was correct.
You can absolutely pull off a multiplayer-only title. I personally have no issue with that aspect of Battlefront. The thing is, if you're removing an expected single-player mode, then you need to replace it with something. EA itself has already reinforced the fact that for $60, you get a single player campaign and a robust multiplayer mode. Battlefront retains the same price, strips out the campaign, and then forgot to really beef up the multiplayer to adjust for what's lost.
Following Battlefield 4 and Battlefield: Hardline with Battlefront was a bit foolish. Putting Battlefront up against something like Call of Duty: Black Ops III was equally foolish. Taken from either direction, Battlefront just wasn't worth the price tag. And that's a shame, because DICE didn't make a bad game. Disappointing all around.