Shadow’s Six: Biggest Disappointments of the PS3/XBox 360 Era

This week’s Shadow’s Six console generation wrap=up delves into moments where I let myself get my hopes too high and experienced the horrible crushing feeling of despair as things failed to live up to those hopes. Join me as I discuss my biggest disappointments of this past generation.

6) Ni No Kuni

Don’t get me wrong, Ni No Kuni wasn’t horrible. I did finish it, and there were parts that were great… but the gameplay was so broken, so awful, and so awkward that it just made the game way more difficult and frustrating than a game that charming and beautiful should be.

The story of Ni No Kuni was rather fascinating, although parts were poorly executed, and the concepts behind it were intriguing. The art style was amazing – but what else do you expect from Studio Ghibli – and the music was charming.

The main problem was the AI… the allied AI was so atrocious that it was virtually impossible to make your allies serve any useful purpose in battle. But if you can learn to just be content with the occasional bit of luck when they help out and do everything else yourself, it is quite interesting. This sounds like a minor problem and one easily overcome, but you’ll find as you progress through the game that it becomes more and more frustrating until you just want to rip your hair out. Fortunately, that was an urge I resisted.

5) Fuse

Project Overstrike had such potential… we were all singing the praises of the early information we had on the title. Then it got an overhaul, a remake, and a reskin… and we were left with Generic Third Person Shooter #1328(number made up for posterity).

And don’t get me wrong, Fuse is a perfectly functional third person shooter. And if all you want is a perfection functional third person shooter with a mediocre plot and serviceable mechanics… then this game will meet your expectations and possibly even exceed them.

Unfortunately, we were presented with a picture that raised our hopes and expectations far far higher than merely ‘generic functional third person shooter’. It’s hard not to feel the distinct pang of disappointment when your hopes are so high – when you are presented with an expectation of greatness – and instead are presented with such… normalcy.

4) Remote Play

Sony, this is a serious message to you. You promised me PSP/PS3 remote play, and failed to deliver. Now you are promising me Vita/PS4 remote play… if you fail to deliver again… I will be both saddened AND upset with you. But back on topic…

Early on, we were advised by Sony that the PSP could serve as a way to play your PS3 games remotely. Obviously there was concern since it lacked the buttons necessary, and that concern proved all too true. Very few games ever supported the remote play, and those that did didn’t work properly. This was a feature that I, and many others, were quite excited for. It offers a great deal of interesting possibilities, and I was truly saddened the first time I connected the two only to find that no game I owned was actually eligible.

A major misstep, and one that has earned a spot in #4 on this list.

3) Record of Agarest War 2

As my last list pointed to, I loved Agarest Zero. I was very excited for Agarest 2, hesitant of course because of footage of the strange massage minigame… but excited nonetheless. I figured I could look past an awful minigame and some ridiculous fanservice to get an improved version of the ultra-strategy turn based rpg combat I had come to love.

Never have I been more wrong… the fanservice defeated me all on its own. Although, I think when it gets to this point you have to stop calling it fanservice and start giving it the name it deserves: Digital training for pedophiles. This game was disturbing, it was disgusting, and it was shameless… and not in the good way.

But to make matters all the worse… they even scrapped the gameplay in favour of something that had the weirdest pacing I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t strategic enough to fit in with a strategy RPG, and it wasn’t fast enough to be called action… but it wasn’t menu oriented enough to be classic JRPG. It was just, well, awful.

2) Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

A few years back, Konami showed us a rather fascinating demo of Rising that was so intriguing and exciting that I was excited for years over it. The concept of a high action game with Konami style storytelling and incredibly precise sword control starring Raiden, everyone’s favourite ninja cyborg, was amazing…

But then the game came out… and it just didn’t deliver. Sure the sword control was accurate, but it was very awkward and touchy. And sure Raiden was every bit the mobile ninja you’d expect, but there was never a reason to want to be. The game was entirely focused on standing still and performing parries, which completely did not allow me to live out the fantasy I was hoping from a cyborg ninja game. It was a very slow, methodical game despite the crazy plot and intent for high action… and it just ended up being not fun for most of the game.

It had its moments, but the majority of the time was drudgery and frustration…

1) Crappy Ports

This generation was notorious for games being designed for one platform and hastily ported to another. There were numerous cases where issues present in one version dramatically impacted playability. Many complained about the PS3 version of Bayonetta. The Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XIII was far inferior to the PS3 version. I could go on, but I want to specifically highlight the two worst offenders.

I refer, of course, to Mass Effect 3 and Skyrim. On the PS3, these games barely ran. Skyrim was plagued with lag despite being a single player experience. The lag was particularly severe for anyone who either went to one specific town or who played the game for more than a certain duration. Mass Effect 3 had certain environments that were so poorly optimized that framerates would literally drop to 0 during these scenes for large swaths of time and hover around 4-5 when not down at 0.

The fact that this was seen as acceptable in this day and age was by far the most disappointing realization during this generation.

 

What do you think? Do you agree with these, and if not, what were you disappointed with? Were there any games or events that just let you down?

Next Friday I’ll be returning to highlight my favourite games from the PS3 and 360. And, for those following my Most Anticipated of 2014, there’ll be another article in that series on Tuesday.

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