What is it with this year? The gaming industry has consistently failed to deliver. We were promised so many amazing games, teased with fantastic visuals and inventive ideas. But when they arrived, they were so much less than what we expected.
Fable 2 made lots of promises. Molyneux is a PR machine that is often out of control. Fable was lacking in many ways, and we were left wondering what had happened. Fable 2 was supposed to deliver what the first game missed, and some. What we got was the game that should have come out years before, and a lot of new features that fell flat. The on-line co-op was a disappointment, and the reasons offered (i.e.: Excuses) - mostly repetitions of "henchmen aren't heroes" - didn't make up for anything. Menu screen lags, a missing quick menu, a missing overhead map (meant to make the game easier for casual gamers...which doesn't make sense), more bugs and glitches than are acceptable, missing codes, and a list of other things. It was still a good game, but it should have been much more.
The Last Remnant is plagued by frame rate issues, long load times, and an over ambitious combat system.
Infinite Undiscovery just missed brilliance with it's overload of characters, unpolished cinematics, and an underused item creation system.
Animal Crossing was little more than a rehashing of a game that's already been done twice. The commercials make it look like the most boring game in existence. And if you're playing it for the third time, it might be an accurate depiction.
Mirror's Edge took a brilliant concept and dragged it through the mud with useless additions.
Prince of Persia at once returned to its roots and did away with them.
The Force Unleashed is entertaining but weak. Things we were promised, like bringing down entire star destroyers with the Force, flinging poor unsuspecting Storm Troopers off of ledges, and being a total unleashed bad ass, were less than fulfilling.
Lips, the 360's version of Sing Star, did not get the reviews I was expecting either. The basic summary is that it was very flashy and pretty, but it didn't incorporate the things that made the Sing Star games work so well. So it doesn't work as well.
Now I'm seeing disappointing reviews for Rise of the Argonauts. It could have been another God of War, but it seems to be plagued with too many problems. Nothing that should break the game or make it unplayable, but enough to make it not worth its $59.99 price tag. It might play better on the PC, where it's about 20 bucks cheaper. Otherwise it sounds like a fun game, that didn't quite meet expectations, and that would be worth picking up at some point after it drops in price. Which seems to be the case with a lot of games coming out this year, and that's very unfortunate and does not speak well for the industry.
One often wonders if they actually have people play test these things. And I mean people who actually play games and know what gamers like, not people who think they know what gamers like. Until companies learn that what they think gamers will like and what they really will like aren't the same thing, we'll continue to get mediocre releases and promising titles that just don't deliver. I hear GTA IV and Fallout 3 really rocked the house though, so there's still hope.