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The Top 7... Disappointing games of the decade

5) DAIKATANA

Year: 2000
Platform: PC
Developer: Ion Storm

What we expected: The biggest, baddest, most hardcore, in-your-effing face first-person shooter of all time, that’s all. Daikatana was coming from John Romero, one of the creators of Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake – it’s said he even invented the word “deathmatch”. And this was his magnum opus, full of wild weapons, huge levels and smart wingmen. We wanted it bad. Yes, some folks were offended when a print ad infamously promised “John Romero’s about to make you his bitch. Suck it down.” But everyone else just did breathing exercises in eager anticipation of the embitchening suckery to come.

What we got: A very long wait that ended with a complete implosion. Daikatana and its ad were revealed in 1997, with the game expected on shelves that very Christmas. Didn’t happen. No, gamers had to wait until April 2000 to experience a broken, buggy, uninspired mess that would have been dull and dumb even if it had shipped on time 30 months earlier.

The story was some ridiculousness about jumping through time and using a magic sword to stop a virus. Graphics and sound were average at best. Your AI partners were so vapid we searched for a button that gave them their medication. There were jumping puzzles. And despite thousands of years’ worth of available enemies, Romero apparently decided people should spend an entire fourth of the game shooting at mosquitoes and cyborg frogs. Gamers hated it, critics hated it even more and Romero’s career never recovered.


4) TOO HUMAN

Year: 2008
Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: Silicon Knights

What we expected: What the game’s famous designer, Denis Dyack, had been promising us – loudly and often, in magazines and on website forums – for a full decade. Too Human was originally planned for the PlayStation… then for the GameCube… but in the end, apparently only the Xbox 360 was powerful enough to contain all its glory.

A sci-fi retelling of Norse mythology, the player would get to explore a futuristic Valhalla as Baldur the Brave, dealing with a multi-layered existential crisis the depths of which had never been attempted in this medium before. Dyack spoke of Nietzsche, of technology vs humanity and of finally crafting the experience he’d wanted to since founding developer Silicon Knights in 1992.

What we got: An eight-hour dungeon crawler with insultingly average gameplay. The much-hyped story was told through cheesy cutscenes, in a claustrophobic area outside the generic fighting levels that was too small to give the experience any real sense of scale or importance. The anticipated Norse violence seemed poorly and obviously edited to ensure a Teen rating.

But perhaps the biggest letdown was the controls, which bizarrely mapped all attacks to the right analogue stick and immediately removed any real connection between the player and the combat. You'd simply direct Baldur at the closest enemy, of which there were very few different types, and watch as he floated over. So much for suspension of disbelief. Don’t worry, though… if you died, you’d respawn in the exact same place, with the enemies damaged to the exact same degree. As long as you were willing to watch the 30-second death animation every time, you couldn’t not beat Too Human.


Above: Denis and the culmination of his vision

But by then, of course, no one really wanted to. Too Human felt like only a third of a real game (it was part one in a planned trilogy), finishing with a cliffhanger that, given the poor sales, will never be wrapped up. If this is what took ten years to make, we’d rather have waited twenty.

Topics

Top 7

50 comments

  • somerandomchap - December 28, 2009 10:31 a.m.

    oh poor video games, you people are very mean, but so true, oh the lulz
  • k1ng94 - December 28, 2009 10:57 a.m.

    Great artical as always, however I was a bit suprised when Haze wasnt there. That game was hyped a hell of alot and turned out meh.
  • ryno - December 28, 2009 2:05 p.m.

    lair was great
  • Ironarm - December 28, 2009 3:48 p.m.

    I'm gonna say it. Here it goes. I liked Enter the Matrix. I enjoyed that game for whatever reason. Go ahead...do your worst internet.
  • Ridgley - December 28, 2009 4:46 p.m.

    I'm not gonna lie... SWG was great. People didn't leave in droves until the CU and subsequent NGE.
  • dante1924 - December 28, 2009 5:02 p.m.

    Don't worry, Gamesradar, the too human sequel will come out... in 20 years! And it will be even worse than the original! My crystal ball doesn't lie! Also, my crystal ball says that project needlemouse will be a cruel, cruel letdown. And it will have even more trapped in the sky moments! Red steel sucked. But so far, the reaction to the sequel has been positive! Let's cross our fingers, because my crystal ball can't predict if it will be good. ReCaptcha: he Hence
  • GameManiac - December 28, 2009 5:02 p.m.

    Do the words "Common Sense", "Review", and "Improve" mean anything to those game developers? Will Sonic EVER rise from the dead?
  • toastedmilk - December 28, 2009 5:08 p.m.

    i agree with ironarm, etm was a good, or at least decent, game. it wasn't what it could have been, but #1 most disappointing game of the decade is a bit harsh.
  • JustTheBoBreaker - December 28, 2009 5:23 p.m.

    Sonic's the walking corpse of a different era of videogames. I still think a badass next-gen Sonic game is possible, but it's never gonna happen. Sega should put that Hedgehog down before they damage the brand any further.
  • Yeager1122 - December 28, 2009 5:40 p.m.

    Red Steel and Enter the matrix FOREVER...........................................................jk they both sucked.
  • speno93 - December 28, 2009 6:10 p.m.

    so true, i hope your other decade articles are more uplifting and be full of awesome stuff.
  • Hurricrane - December 28, 2009 7:07 p.m.

    I;m glad you guys always take the "anti-game of the year" approach with your articles. They're always more fun to read and there are WAY to many sites doing exactly the same thing right now... slowly churning out GOTY awards and it's FUCKING BORING. I can always come to GR and laugh at Sonic's expense
  • axis56 - December 28, 2009 7:23 p.m.

    i agree with the decision on ETM, the word for that game is gray. it was so dull in one of films most bizarre universes. shame. sonic was a write-off from the word go.
  • Dexsus - December 28, 2009 8:05 p.m.

    Hmm, I liked Enter the Matrix and actually taking on the agents instead of pissing it away from them, It looks horrible now though. Path of Neo was great as well as mentioned. I definitely agree with everything else on this list, R.I.P. Sonic.
  • lovinmyps3 - December 28, 2009 9:01 p.m.

    It was still a fun decade. =)
  • BAMchucknorris - December 28, 2009 9:48 p.m.

    the decade wasnt all bad! I mean, there was halo, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Call of Duty (all the ones except for the terrible wii and DS versions), and countless other great games including Bioshock and the second Assassin's Creed!
  • twishart - December 28, 2009 10:41 p.m.

    I would have hoped to see an entry titled "96% of Wii games". Is that too generous? I don't think I've played ANY of these.
  • Master_Leep - December 28, 2009 11:04 p.m.

    um, spore should be number 1 or at least make the list :P biggest disappointment for me ever after watching that GDC conference....
  • vitoruss - December 28, 2009 11:43 p.m.

    I gotta agree with Ironarm. I liked Enter the Matrix. Granted the plot was shit and it was buggy as hell and got really redundant, at the time I was young and highly entertained by the bull(shit)et-time gunplay. Looking back, the game wasn't that great and I could never beat it due to a gamebreaking glitch, but whatevs.
  • Defguru7777 - December 28, 2009 11:57 p.m.

    Red Steel was a big letdown for me. But if one thing was fun in that game, it was shooting guns out of people's hands. And the worst part for me was the horrible "cutscenes." I don't know if it was one of the most disappointing of the decade though. But it is one of the worst games I own.

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