Most disappointing games of 2012

Ha, Skyrim! Welcome to 2011! :)

I think any rapturousness about Hotline Miami was just from the sheer weirdness of it all. I shared that sense, but I can completely understand why it wouldn't work for some people.

As for Diablo III, for me personally, it's on two lists this year. :)

I agree with you on AC3 (haven't played Far Cry 3)...in some ways it's amazing, but in other ways it's sort of the same annoying crap that I've come to expect from this type of game (GTA series I'm looking at you). But I'm not all that far into AC3, plenty of time for it to shift from one list to another.

Quantum Conundrum. Portal was a marvel of puzzle design - failure almost always came down to not having figured out the right solution. By contrast, more than half of Quantum Conundrum is made up of first-person precision jumping on sometimes random platforms, made worse by achievements for completing levels in limited time and without dying. Also, it's like they weren't even trying with the narrative.

Alan Wake's American Nightmare. Alan Wake was an ambitious game with impressive vistas, vehicles, moody fog and lighting effects and a growing mystery - none of these things are in the pseudo-sequel. Well, possibly the lighting. They did improve the lackluster combat gameplay somewhat I suppose, but they didn't have to do it at the cost of everything that actually made the game good.

Penny Arcade - Rumble in R'lyeh (Can I say a boardgame expansion?). The original Penny Arcade deckbuilding game had some interesting mechanics that opened up strategies new to the deckbuilding genre of games. Problem was some of the mechanics made it tedious to calculate your income and slowed the late game down - nothing that couldn't have been solved with bigger icons and some slight rule changes. The expansion could have done this and added depth with new sets of cards, but instead of improving a promising game it turned it into a convention gimmick with cards telling you to sing a song or highfive your neighbors.

Man, I must be doing something wrong. I enjoyed Sleeping Dogs, Torchlight 2, and Far Cry 3. I love the year end lists Tom! Always a treat to see the bitter tears.

I guess I can't really name much from 2012 I was really disappointed with. Partially because the first game I thought of that I'd list (The King of Fighters XIII, solely because of its Godawful netcode; the game was great, until you tried to play it online) came out in 2011, and partially because a lot of stuff I played in 2012 didn't actually come out in 2012, or wasn't something I was actually disappointed with.

However, I can definitely say I'm disappointed with myself for buying all sorts of games in 2012 and then proceeding to not play them. :|

Won't promise AC3 gets better per se, but once you really get into the storyline it's not your typical AC.

I was really looking forward to D3, but I played the free to play version and honestly found nothing innovative. The graphics were crisper than I remembered, but I felt I was playing the exact same game as the last two. Oh wait, there's crafting in this one...zzzzzzzz.

Fez filled spinning levels with puzzle graffiti, and not much else.

Assassin's Creed three rewarded patient film watching with glitches and fail states.

And Sound Shapes forced a tired platformer into a music sequencer.

It would be hard to surpass MS Flight this year.

I don't understand your problem with Torchlight 2? (caveat: I haven't played it) I play shooters on hard difficulty and I don't expect to be rewarded with better guns. When I increase the difficulty its because I want the game to be more challenging. I desperately wish that there had been a difficulty slider for the first play-through of Diablo 3, its the lack of challenge that killed that game for me. I don't want to play a game for dozens of hours before "the real game starts".

It really bothers you that somewhere else in the world a 12 year old kid is enjoying Torchlight 2 on "easy" and not being punished for it?

Have only played three of the above games, and loved them all! Lego The Lord of the Rings is the best Lego game yet, Kingdoms of the Alamo was my surprise hit of the year, and Far Cry 3, well, we disagree in so many ways :)

My biggest disappointment of 2012 has to be Darksiders 2, the first game is a often forgotten gem of this generation; fantastic setting and level design, great fluid combat, memorable story. And while number 2 made a few good additions, it really didn't come close to the original. It's still collecting dust on my shelf, unfinished and unloved...

I agree, as much as I loved Hotline Miami while I was playing it I just don't see where the critics where coming from. The gameplay while fun just didn't have the depth critics claimed there was and certain sections were far too frustrating (and not the good kind of frustration that Hotline was at the beginning). It sits unfinished on my Steam list and I don't think I'll go back to it which is a shame because it did some great things with storytelling (the changing state of his apartment really sticks in my mind) and at least I got the amazing soundtrack I ripped from the guts of it's program files.

Man, Dishonored, what an overrated game. I liked what it was trying to do but it had no balance in the powers, it was too short even with the collectables and there was no feedback on whether you were hidden or not. Hopefully the sequel will appeal to me more.

Tom, I can't tell if you are being sarcastic and that Sean should enjoy the entire year he had with SWTOR, or if you are being sincere about how learning new information about a game can make it disappointing (a la torchlight 2)

I haven't played any of these games, although I'm kind of interested in the Lego game and Sleeping Dogs. The Lego game sounds like it might not be such a bad game, despite your complaints. Then again, I suppose that's probably why it's number 10.

Oh, don't get me wrong. The Lego LOTR is very good and I'm having a grand time! It's just that I'm disappointed they haven't found a better way to express the Lego license after all these years.

Okay, you almost had me doing a Google search for Kingdoms of the Alamo.

I swear the title screen switched between Amalur and Alamur every time I loaded the game, it's easier just to make the name up every time I reference it...

Tony, you think it "bothers" me how other people are playing a game? Where does that come from? And what on earth makes you think that 12-year-olds these days have to play on "easy"? "Easy" is for us old guys. Duh.

As to your point about shooters, that genre isn't based on the concept of drip-feeding the players constant rewards. They're mostly all about moving through the content.

But an action RPGs is based on constantly rewarding the player. And as long as the genre has been around, there's been an option to adjust the difficulty level in exchange for greater rewards. The risk/reward trade-off is an established gameplay model in action RPGs, even if you never use it.

Furthermore, nearly every other game -- even shooters -- will recognize your choice of difficulty level in some way or another, even if it's just with a dippy achievement or something. Torchlight's developers have made it clear that they don't want to adjust any of the gameplay rewards to difficulty levels, and they furthermore don't recognize the choice of difficulty level in any way. So when I've just spent a half hour trying to beat a boss, gulping down potions like they're going out of style, why didn't I just try the fight on an easier difficulty level?

Difficultly for difficulty's sake is a cop-out on the part of the designer. When you make a game, you need to have some opinion on the tuning, and if you're going to give me the option to adjust that tuning, you're going to need to give me some incentive, especially if it's a game designed to be played over and over like an action RPG.

Quantum Conundrum really was a sad bit of work, wasn't it? I didn't expect much from it, but it was kind of sad how much it tried to play on the Portal model without seeming to understand what made Portal great.