They can’t all be winners. That goes for everything from sports teams to video games.
When it comes to creating hype, the video game industry operates at peak levels nearly all the time. But not all games are able to live up to inflated levels of hype, even from adoring fans. Here are the biggest video game disappointments of 2015.
1. Batman: Arkham Knight
It’s hard to imagine developer Rocksteady making a bad Batman game after releasing showstoppers like Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. OK, Arkham Knight isn’t a bad game at all — unless you’re one of the millions whose primary gaming machine is a PC. Although Arkham Knight was great on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, it performed terribly on PC.
For starters, the frame rate came locked at 30 frames per second, which angered fans greatly. Unfortunately, the game couldn’t even maintain that level of smoothness much of the time. Outdoor cut scenes chugged painfully, with audio and video shattering into a chaotic, broken mess. It was so bad that the game had to be removed from Steam for months.
By now most of the issues have been smoothed out, but the problems were so critical, and took so long to be fixed, that it left a bad taste in the mouth of longtime fans of the series. Seriously, Warner Bros., what gives?
2. The Order: 1886
The trailers and previews of this game looked so good that they inspired many people to purchase a PlayStation 4 over an Xbox One just so they could play it. Imagine their surprise, then, when the game came out to universally mediocre reviews.
What went wrong? For one thing, it was extremely short for a $60 game, ringing in at about eight hours. That would be acceptable for something like Call of Duty that featured an endlessly replayable online mode, but The Order had nothing of the sort. After completing the campaign, you’re done. Worse, the game squandered a compelling fictional world by telling a story that could put an insomniac to sleep. PlayStation 4 owners deserve better.
3. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5
How the mighty have fallen. The first four Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games are some of the best skating games ever made. Each one layered interesting new dimensions onto a solid core of great skating gameplay. But after Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 came out in 2002, Activision ditched the Pro Skater label, and the quality of the games went downhill.
Then out of nowhere in 2015, Activision announced a new installment in the beloved Pro Skater franchise, and promised to deliver the kind of streamlined skating game players crave. Unfortunately, the finished product failed to deliver on that promise.
While Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 isn’t as bad as you might have heard, it’s still not good, and nowhere near as brilliant as the other games in the Pro Skater series. Will there ever be another great Tony Hawk game? Maybe, but this isn’t it.
4. Fallout 4
By all accounts, Fallout 4 is a masterpiece of open-world gaming, right? That’s what you would think if you only read critics’ reviews. But check out the Metacritic user reviews, and you’ll find a different story. Despite all the hype and accolades, Fallout 4’s user reviews put it at 6.4 out of 10 at the time of this writing.
That’s not to say the game has been poorly received exactly, but 6.4 is “Mixed or Average” according to Metacritic. And no one was expecting Fallout 4 to be average. The common complaints are that the graphics are bland, the story doesn’t leave enough room for player input, and that it just doesn’t feel like a Fallout game.
I still love Fallout 4, but apparently not everyone else was equally impressed.
5. Star Wars Battlefront
One of the main reasons Star Wars has been so popular for so long is because its sci-fi universe is home to hundreds of compelling stories. So when gamers heard the developers of Battlefront were making a Star Wars game, they figured they’d get a story campaign, plus several modes of multiplayer action.
Developer DICE delivered on the multiplayer front, but completely ditched a story-based campaign of any kind. If you don’t want to battle against other players online, you’re stuck fending off waves of enemies in ill conceived single-player modes that quickly become monotonous.
It looks like Electronic Arts is working on a story-based Star Wars game helmed by Uncharted writer/director Amy Hennig, but Battlefront isn’t it. Fans of stories and single-player content will just have to wait.