games / Columns

The Top 8 Disappointing Games of 2020: Marvel’s Avengers, Warcraft III Reforged, More

January 5, 2021 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Avengers Marvel's Avengers game Image Credit: Square Enix

Welcome all to another edition of the 8 Ball! It’s finally a new year but I’m ready to talk about some of the failures of 2020, of which there were a few. The games on here I played, or at least tried to play, aside from one, so I have some first-hand knowledge with some of the failures of each game. With that said, let’s begin:

#8: The Last of Us Part 2

My disappointment with Last of Us 2 isn’t really rooted in the story. While I don’t think it’s as good as the first one’s story, I really dislike all the misogynist BS that has popped up due to the game having *GASP* two female lead characters *GASP*! Don’t all know gamers know that girls have cooties?! That garbage aside, I was disappointed in The Last of Us 2 due to there really not being any substantial upgrades in the gameplay systems. Sure, there are now enemy dogs, and you can occasionally pit evil humans against the zombies and watch them kill each other, but that’s about it. There’s a sequence in the game where you (Ellie) and Dina explore a really open-ended part of Seattle. It feels new and is great. Unfortunately, it’s the ONLY time the game actually does this, and the rest of it, feels like the exact same game design as the first game.

#7: Animal Crossing: New Horizons

This was my first, and likely only, Animal Crossing game. For the first week or two I got it, I really dug it. It was fun to try and build up my little island, attracting new residents, visiting other islands, etc. After that initial burst of creativity, you’re then left with…not much. I find the actual “Home decorating” interface to be incredibly clunky. I disliked having to turn the game on every day in the vain hopes that there might be something useful for me to buy in the shop. I disliked how there’s almost no interactions with any of the items you can buy from said shop. I disliked that it seems to be, primarily, a social game but the online system felt like it was from 2003. While some of the residents have good personalities, I just felt that if I wanted this experience, in a MUCH better game, I’d be better off playing Stardew Valley.

#6: Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot

Hey, it’s almost a good DBZ game. Note the word: “Almost” there. While Kakarot really isn’t bad, unlike most of the DBZ dreck over the past two decades, it’s still very boring and tedious. Case in point: you only have one melee attack button. So, you end up doing the same 4 or 5 hit combo on every enemy you encounter since it’s literally the ONLY 4 or 5 hit combo you have. The game also has a ton of side quests and content for you to tackle that are, essentially, pointless, due to how the game is structured. You only really level up after doing story fights or boss encounters, not from finding 5 carrots for some talking dog to make a stew. The idea of a DBZ RPG is kind of novel but I think DBZ only really works as a fighting game, and even then, it’s only worked twice: Budokai and FighterZ.

#5: Marvel’s Avengers

There’s an old saying “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me”, that really applies to Avengers. I got roped into playing two prior Marvel live service games prior to Avengers. Those were Avengers Alliance, a turn-based RPG on Facebook and Marvel Heroes, the Diablo-clone that infamously flamed out a few years ago. Both games had some pay-to-win mechanics but were balanced well enough and actually fun to play. Both games were also unceremoniously cancelled and taken offline. Given how Avengers has been doing in the marketplace I expect to see first “Marvel’s Avengers is now free to play!” notice in March follow by a “Marvel’s Avengers servers are getting shut down” notice in September. Both prior Marvel games I liked were actually good and got cancelled. Avengers doesn’t have a prayer of lasting more than a year.

#4: Warcraft 3: Reforged

Most people can agree that Reforged is a shell of what made Warcraft 3 great. It was (and still largely is) missing stuff from what they promised, better cutscenes, no tournament mode, a remixed single player campaign, etc. All of this makes Reforged a mess to actually recommend. The real kick though is that it messed up baseline Warcraft 3. You can’t get the original game (and expansion pack) from the store anymore, it has the Reforged “improvements” baked into it. So the only way to play the old Warcraft 3 is to download an original game iso, update it to a certain version but not the version that incorporates the Reforged content, and keep it from updating forever. Good job, Blizzard.

#3: Project CARS 3

While I didn’t play the second Project CARS game, I played a nice chunk of the first and really dug it. It was a good, simulation racer for the PC (and home consoles) that was tough but decently approachable for new players. With that said, I was aghast at what they had done to CARS 3. They removed damage modeling, made the career mode really boring, stripped out a lot of the different race types, they game even looked uglier than CARS 1 and that came 5 years before it. I was somewhat a fan of the franchise up to this point but CARS 3 just took a giant crash into the wall, which I guess doesn’t matter, since you just bounce off walls in the game anyway.

#2: Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories

Disaster Report hadn’t really been on my radar much but I saw a trailer for DR4 in 2018. I thought it could be a really interesting survival game where you could rescue people, stop bad guys from committing crimes, all while trying to figure out how to keep yourself alive and to escape from the city. Instead, the game is basically a segmented visual novel game with light puzzle mechanics and (bad) stealth mechanics thrown in. Everything in the game is so static, outside of occasional aftershocks, that it becomes less about survival and more about just trying to keep yourself sane from how dull everything is. It was actually shocking at how a game with the title of “Disaster Report” could be so damn unexciting.

#1: Watch Dogs: Legion

Man, Watch Dogs 2 had such a great upward momentum from 2016, what happened? It’s not that the core gameplay of Legion is awful, parts of it are actually a lot of fun, and it’s that due to the mandate of having “no central character” the narrative just falls apart completely. It’s nigh-impossible to get interested in characters that are completely interchangeable, and the scant few “story” characters you only ever see on computer screens or are disembodied voices. Also, Legion has almost no side content, outside of recruiting new people, so there’s not actually much to do in this open-world game. The fact that Aiden Pierce is returning to the game in the season pass DLC is not something I’m looking forward to.

For comments, list which games disappointed you in 2020 and why.

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