2013 was a year full of great new games and plenty of terrible ones. These games weren’t all necessarily bad, but they all fell short of expectations in one area or another. Keep in mind that some of these games I still thoroughly enjoyed, but the ball was dropped in some key areas that made aspects of the games extremely disappointing for me.
Want to know the worst games of 2013? Well, just stay tuned to Cheat Masters. As part of our year-end editorial series, we will have for you the Top 10 Worst Games of 2013, the Top 10 Games of 2013, and even the opposite of this list, the Top 10 Most Underrated Games of 2013! But in the meantime, check out the games that were simply disappointing in one way or another.
10. Killzone: Shadow Fall (PS4)
PS4′s launch lineup is honestly one of the weakest launch lineups I’ve ever witnessed. While there have been games in it that have turned out to be criminally underrated (I’m looking at you, Knack), there were also games that were hyped to high heaven by Sony only to be laughable upon release. In particular, Killzone: Shadow Fall, a game meant to be the cornerstone of the PS4 launch lineup, was a majorly disappointing.
I was pretty indifferent to Shadow Fall until I played Killzone: Mercenary on PS Vita. Playing that game made me incredibly excited for Shadow Fall on PS4. I’ve had a very love-hate relationship with the Killzone franchise. I loved Killzone 2, hated Killzone 3, really liked Mercenary, but obviously wasn’t a big fan of Shadow Fall. So what made Shadow Fall so disappointing? Well, just about everything.
Visually, the game is stunning. Unfortunately, the art style is boring, which means all that work that went into making the graphics so good pretty much goes to waste. There is nothing “next-gen” about the gameplay in the single-player campaign, which does its absolute best to hit all the FPS cliches possible, with extremely restrictive gameplay that would make Call of Duty jealous.
To make matters worse, the multiplayer is a dud as well. The multiplayer can be passingly fun, but compared to other options available, there’s really no point in settling for the multiplayer in Shadow Fall.
09. Crysis 3 (PC/PS3/360)
Crysis has been a series that has always been on a downward slope for me. The original Crysis was fantastic, a technical achievement that wasn’t afraid to break away from boring FPS conventions. Crysis 2 was still pretty good, but became much more like a generic FPS than the original game. Crysis 3 completely embraces the “generic FPS” formula and the result is a boring sci-fi FPS that feels extremely lazy and undeserving of the Crysis name. But at least it’s pretty. I guess.
08. Gears of War: Judgment (360)
As you’ll come to find out, there actually isn’t a lot of overlap between my lists for Top 10 Worst Games and Top 10 Most Disappointing Games. However, I will tell you that Gears of War: Judgment makes both lists. I wasn’t anticipating it quite as much as the other games in the series, but to go from three fantastic games in a row to this mess is a bummer of the highest caliber. Judgment muddies the franchise’s good name, tarnishing the Gears of War reputation and preventing me from ever looking forward to a game in the series again.
07. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PC/PS3/360)
There is a certain standard when it comes to Metal Gear. Metal Gear Rising was a game that, at first showing, looked absolutely phenomenal. Unfortunately, development on the game was troubled, with Hideo Kojima going as far as axing the project at one point until he eventually allowed Platinum Games to pick up the scraps and make a game worth releasing.
Metal Gear Rising certainly wasn’t one of the worst games I played this year. I enjoyed bits of it here and there, but the far lazier story, gameplay, and setting hardly makes it feel like a Metal Gear game. On paper, a lot about Metal Gear Rising is cool, but the execution just doesn’t pan out like it should, leaving this Metal Gear fan bitterly disappointed.
06. God of War: Ascension (PS3)
Xbox 360 fans had Gears of War: Judgment to be annoyed about blemishing the pristine record of a Microsoft exclusive franchise, and PS3 fans had God of War: Ascension to do that for their camp. Before Ascension, all the God of War games were highly praised, and the franchise is honestly one of the highest rated gaming franchises in the history of the industry.
That’s why the release of Ascension is so unfortunate. Ascension is an unnecessary prequel, telling a story that didn’t need to be told while simultaneously ruining the beloved God of War combat system. Multiplayer was awkwardly forced into the equation as well, resulting in a weak game that comes across as little more than a cheap cash-in.
05. Batman: Arkham Origins (PC/PS3/360)
Arkham Origins is the third game on the list that comes across as a cheap cash-in of a popular franchise, there for no reason other than to pad out the time between the releases in the series that actually matter. Arkham Origins is essentially just a retread of Arkham City and Arkham Asylum gameplay-wise. When it comes to the story, the game actually delivers quite a bit, but it’s the lazy gameplay that makes a return trip to Gotham hardly worth it for series veterans.
04. Dead Space 3 (PC/360/PS3)
Survival-horror has been one of the most neglected genres of the last decade. It used to thrive and be one of the most highly regarded out of all the genres, but lately it has been almost completely ignored by the gaming industry, with just a couple notable exceptions such as The Last of Us and ZombiU. The original Dead Space gave me hope, Dead Space 2 had a little too much action for my tastes but was still fantastic, and then Dead Space 3 came along and completely and utterly ruined the series.
Dead Space 3 made promises of a gorgeous and terrifying ice planet as its new setting to freshen things up. What the folks at EA forgot to mention was that over half the game takes place in spaceship corridors that feel exactly like the ones already explored in the first two games.
One aspect of the game that could’ve been promising was co-op. Of course, EA completely dropped the ball with the co-op by making weak co-op specific missions that can’t be accessed at all in single-player and not even including offline co-op. EA is really bad about avoiding split-screen wherever they can to cut costs, and what happens is a lot of their games suffer because of it. Why bother with Dead Space 3 when Resident Evil 5 offers offline AND online co-op?
To make matters worse, Dead Space 3 abandons everything that made it a survival-horror game in favor of mindless shooting. The game is significantly easier than the other games, and furthermore, the story is a lot less polished, with ridiculous plot twists and laughable character development. Dead Space 3 is the complete bastardization of a franchise if I’ve ever seen it.
03. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (PC/PS3/PS4/360/XONE/Wii U)
All the extra stuff in Assassin’s Creed IV is great. The exploration, the side missions and activities, upgrading Edward Kenway’s ship the Jackdaw, Far Cry 3 style hunting and crafting…however, the actual main plot and the missions associated with it are immensely disappointing, ruining what could’ve been one of the best games of 2013.
It baffles me how Ubisoft could make story missions that are so unbelievably terrible. They have to know, based on fan feedback and common sense, that people hate eavesdropping missions and missions where you have to closely (but not too closely!) follow someone around for 15 real life minutes and listen to their conversations. These have always been the worst and most boring missions in the franchise, and honestly should be outright abolished from future entries. Instead of that, Ubisoft decided to make every mission in the game revolve around these dated and terribly archaic mission objectives, resulting in a boring and often frustrating experience.
And don’t even get me started on the story. Yuck.
02. Pokemon X & Y (3DS)
Pokemon X & Y is fine. It’s better than a lot of the other games that came out this year, and in fact I would say that it is better than the majority of games released in 2013. But that doesn’t stop it from still being disappointing.
I guess I was just expecting too much. Up until X & Y, I have been completely addicted to every core entry in the series, from the very beginning until now. X & Y just seems to tread water, only really offering the visual upgrade as a true advancement in the franchise while everything else doesn’t go anywhere significant. I was expecting to pop my copy of Pokemon X into my 3DS and not be able to put it done until I completed it, but I just don’t get that feeling when playing it.
01. Grand Theft Auto V (PS3/360)
When Grand Theft Auto V originally launched, Rockstar withheld the multiplayer component for two weeks. They did this to polish the multiplayer further and then release it to the masses with minimal launch issues. Unfortunately, Rockstar completely dropped the ball on this, leading to some of my most disappointing gaming experiences in my history as a gamer.
I love the GTA V story and single player. And after Rockstar got their act together, I greatly enjoyed the multiplayer in GTA V as well. However, for days after the online portion launched, the game was a buggy, virtually unplayable mess. To put it bluntly, GTA Online was a disaster.
Players were stuck on a tutorial race that was stupid and unnecessary. Characters were being deleted left and right, so even those lucky few that were able to get into the game were having all of their progress wiped out in the blink of an eye. The problems for GTA Online were so bad that Rockstar has actually released a Stimulus Package of free cash to those that have been effected by the issues. Of course, this was also delayed.
Grand Theft Auto V is one of my favorite games of 2013. It nears the top of my Best of 2013 list. But that doesn’t mean that it also didn’t have aspects to it that were soul-crushingly disappointing to me. There is nothing more disappointing than a game that doesn’t work, and for a long time GTA Online did not work and was outright infuriating.
There was also elements to the single player that drove me nuts. For example, the end game in GTA V is just lazy. Whereas GTA IV had plenty of varied activities to do for hours upon end after beating the main story missions, GTA V offers little more than repetitious collect-a-thons, there for no reason other than to make people think, “Oh, I played this game for a lot of hours to complete it. It must be amazing!”
GTA V shows that even the best of the best can still come up short. Maybe the hype level was just too high, but in many ways, GTA V simply did not live up to expectations.
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Disagree with the list? What games in 2013 didn’t live up to your expectations? Sound off in the comments below!