Your Pile of … Disappointment

There are games that we had anticipated for a small eternity and waited for it’s release date and waited and waited and camped outside shops waiting for them to come out, to finally getting our hot hands on them and booting them up. After an hour or so (sometimes even less) we were met with that dreaded sucker punch to the face. I am talking about the games that never see the inside of your disc drive again or went back to the shops and were transformed into store credits. I am sure that 99% of the gaming population have experienced this at some point, so let me uncover my own personal pile of disappointment.

X-men Legends (GameCube) – Activision

Come on! It’s X-men! Nothing is cooler than using Wolverine, Storm, Iceman and the like smashing through dungeons with three other friends and kicking some ass.

How wrong I was, so wrong and that the word “wrong” was an understatement. The game was below mediocre. You couldn’t choose whom to use at any time and you were stuck with a below par development system. There were ledges that you would sometimes fall off but other times not. You never knew which polygon on the screen was lethal until your character suddenly disappeared and its icon greyed out on the screen. The story was so bad that you just could not care and eventually you didn’t even care whether they all died or not.

Activision went immediately to my developer and publisher blacklist from then on – and still stayed there today.

Stop it! I can't see anything!!!

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (PS2) – Ubisoft

Sands of Time was such a marvellous game that I played it again immediately after I finished it the first time round. The puzzles were ingenious, the acrobatics were stunning and there was a story! The environments were vibrant and varied with great characters to control. Even the AI princess was not just Princess Peach waiting to be rescued. With such a great premise, what could go wrong?

The answer is everything. Warrior Within reduced a well fleshed out character to one that was so shallow you wondered why they even bothered? Also the elegant style of the first game was gone completely and replaced by a usual B-rated ultra senseless violent blood fest. If that’s not enough to keep you going, extra polygons were injected into strategic parts of the female character rivalling the excessive botox treatments of fading beauty queens. The story became a lame setting for the Prince to go and kill more for no good reason. The acrobatics were still there but it lost the glamour that it acquired in the first game, as they had become pointless exercises for you to go through one boring area to another.

Ubisoft tried to redeem itself with Two Thrones but even with two Princes, the franchise was beyond redemption.

Come on boy! I'm botoxed up!

Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World (Wii) – Bandai Namco

Tales of Symphonia on GameCube has gone down in history as one of the best GameCube RPGs. Engaging story, great real time battle system, hop in and out cooperative mode, interesting side quests and beautiful graphics that pushed the Cube to its limits. I clocked up hundreds of hours on that game so that I could just get that little bit of extra from the game save. All the fond memories of going back to different areas to collect spoils that I needed.

I was eagerly anticipating the arrival of the sequel so that I can visit my old friends Lloyd and Colette again. But what a disappointment! Lloyd was such a hard head guardian for the Chosen who devoted his life to help her to fulfil her duty. Emil…well…Emil…where to begin? He was a cry baby who only wanted revenge for his parents. Yeah he wanted revenge but he didn’t have the courage. So he spent his days sulking and when he eventually embarked on his journey, that sulking (OMG), that sulking just made you want to hurl your controller at your TV. Oh, and his company, Marta, was an extremely high pitch girl who only wanted to hit on him whenever possible. All that flirting in the end battle with that twisted voice was the ultimate test to your tolerant level.

The battle system had become a bad version of Pokemon Coliseum. Also the puzzles have become more annoying. Probably it was because you would have that urge to just quickly finish the game so you don’t need to hear Marta’s voice ever again. It’s a sad end to a potentially great game.

Stop crying! Start fighting!

Phantom Brave (PS2) – Nippon Ichi Software

After the whole Disgaea experience, when I learned that Phantom Brave was coming out, I immediately went to pre-order my copy, especially with the knowledge that there is a soundtrack included. I picked up the game the day it had arrived. But then my heart dropped just 30 minutes into the game.

There was no wicked humour that Disgaea offered. The characters were not likeable. The battle system was tiring and slow. The levelling up battles were boring and unenjoyable. Laharl, Etna and Flonne had created a fantasy world that kept you coming back. But Ash and Marona, and especially Marona were just chasing you away from the game. Marona was a Chroma who wanted the world to love her. If that’s not annoying enough, all the stupid actions she took in the game were just for the sake of wanting people “being loved and understood”. Really? Get a life please!

The battle system was supposed to be innovative. Innovative it is, but not interesting enough to keep you coming back. I liked the confining-troops-from-objects part but that is about all I did like. Maps were scattered with negative status objects most of the time. So your efforts of levelling up your troops were usually affected by these negative objects on top of the stats boost and (mostly) reduction of the object that you confined your troops from. If that’s not annoying enough, there are slippery surfaces on some maps that your troops randomly skid off their tracks and then lose a turn(s). Also troops have turn time, once they were up, they were gone. If you don’t have enough reserve to pull you through, you will be running out of troops easily in tough battles. Well it is a strategy game so I understand that strategies are required, but then if your efforts are not rewarded in any sense what’s the point?

Unsurprisingly I got my cash back on eBay a week later.

An Island full of troops but nobody to use...

So these are some of the games in my pile of disappointment. What are yours?

About the Author

Level up freak. Level 99 is a norm not a goal. Love my JRPGs and RPGs in general. Also love my platformers and puzzle games. Was addicted to Zoo Keeper, Magnetica, Animal Crossing, Disgaea DS, Dragon Quest IX and White Knight Chronicles. Prefer to spend my time away from gaming as an actor although do have a full time job that keeps my mortgage going. But generally love anything creative. And if anyone tells you gaming is a waste of time, tell them you have great eye, hand and brain coordinations that they will never have!