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Biggest video game disappointments of 2009

by Steven Williamson on 23 December 2009, 13:52

Tags: Sony Computers Entertainment Europe (NYSE:SNE), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Nintendo (TYO:7974), PC, Xbox 360, PS3

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In the months leading up to each new year we get press releases, debut trailers and batches of enticing screenshots for new games coming out the following year, and then throughout release year we'll often receive many more emails encouraging us to write positively about those games via well-worded press releases that of course focus entirely on the positives.

A large percentage of the games that are hyped often deserve to be so, but there's also quite a few games that end up being utter garbage, or particularly disappointing, despite the efforts of publishers and PR companies to tell you that their new game is that great it will "re-invent" a particular genre. And then there are those games that are just awful, those ones that you don't even read hype about because even the publisher is embarrased.

One sure fire way in which we know that a game is particularly bad is that the publisher either doesn't send it to us for review, or sends it after the release date.

Of course we've played some great games this year, it's been a brilliant year for videogames - and we'll be covering those in our game of the year awards later this month - but we've also played our fair share of disapponting games and some truly awful ones. Many of the games in this list aren't bad games, we just feel that they just didn't live up to their billing and our expectations.

You've probably got your own ideas on the most dissapointing games of 2009, so do let us know in the forums. Without further ado, here are ours:

Ghostbusters: The Videogame
Okay, so Ghostbusters sold shed loads of copies, but it wasn't even close to being as great as we hoped. We were really expecting some epic moments, something to remember about the game after we'd finished it's short 6 hour campaign, but there's nothing that really stands out in our minds. Even the battle against the MarshMallow Man was extremely disappointing. We had a relatively good time, but without the admittedly excellent trapping mechanic you're left with an extremely basic shooter.

Ghostbusters just lacks ideas. You spend the majority of your time moving from one room or location to another, without the real need for exploration, using the painfully slow PKE meter and then trapping ghosts in what is essentially arena-based combat. The fact that you gain money throughout the game doesn't really matter, because you'll gain the upgrades as you move through the game anyway without having to purchase anything. It makes a bit of a mockery of the whole thing. The upgrade system really lacks any depth and there aren't a whole lot of things to do with your weapon, other than to make it better than it already is. It just means that things get very repetitive. We'd just like to have seen more variety in the gameplay and more exciting moments.

Click for larger image

We were hoping to re-live the glory days of Wolfenstein this year, but it didn't pan out that way. The multiplayer was extremely disappointing and we'd hazard a guess that the servers will now be virtually deserted. The single-player campaign on the other-hand gets the basics right, if little else. Wofenstein fans may find some solace by the fact that, in many ways, it stays true to its predecessor and captures that fun run-and-gun element, but there are too many other shooters out there that have done it better. Wolfenstein is a bog-standard, slightly above-average first-person shooter that ultimately fails to live up its glittering legacy.

The Conduit
Yes, we know that a lot of people enjoyed playing the The Conduit, but based on the hype that claimed it would showcase "some of the best visuals on Wii to date" and gameplay that would establish Wii as a console that will also appear to a hardcore gaming audience, we were bitterly dissapointed.

The single player campaign is short, repetitive and lacks any memorable or dramatic moments. The gameplay is very basic and requires you to do little more than just point and shoot at enemies who just keep coming at you via spawn pods. That's entertaining for a while, but The Conduit shows you its hand and everything it's got from very early on. There really is no depth to the gameplay. The only real attempt to shift from that run-and-gun mentality is to throw into the equation an All-Seeing Eye Device (ASE), but it's a monotonous tool to use. Though the game promises some puzzle solving, the ASE is really just a flash-light that you use to scan areas for hidden traps or a way to reach the next section.

We expected much more based on the hype, but The Conduit turned out to nothing more than an average shooter.

Continued overleaf...