There wasn't a lot of infighting in the Tom's Guide office over 2014's most disappointing games. While some outliers were less than enthused by Dragon Age: Inquisition's breathtaking open world, and others couldn't get over just how obtusely difficult Dark Souls II was, everyone could agree that the following five games were disappointing.
Some of these were the victims of delayed releases, while others made it into stores infested with bugs. But almost all of these games suffered from expectations they could never match.
Here are the year's biggest gaming disappointments. We're popping the hype bubbles and saving you a trip to GameStop's sell-back line.
An open-world action/adventure game that let you hack the entire city of Chicago seemed like a novel idea that could speak to current fears about over-reliance on smartphones and the Internet of Things. Instead, Watch Dogs gave us an unlikable protagonist with a silly cap, superficial hacking mechanics and a tired revenge plot populated by some truly ridiculous characters. Between dodgy driving controls, weak combat and an inconsistent tone, Watch Dogs squandered most of its potential and made fans wary of a potential sequel rather than excited for one.
— Marshall Honorof (@marshallhonorof)
The Evil Within
A boring protagonist gets trapped in a blood-soaked mental hospital that is actually kind of a virtual world created by the mind of a very traumatized mental patient, but even though the patient's suffering is literally built into the world itself, you're not meant to feel bad for him, because he's clearly evil. Even the Resident Evil-style combat and controls — which some fans will love — weren't enough to redeem The Evil Within, an action-survival game that sometimes wants to have a plot, but mostly just wants you to shoot the scary things. With its utterly nonsensical story and its reliance on gory gross-outs instead of true horror, The Evil Within is one game I could have done without.
— Jill Scharr (@JillScharr)
Looking back on it now, the 2.5 stars we gave Driveclub earlier this year might have been too generous. In the months since the game's release, Driveclub's server issues remain unresolved, with multiplayer races and club challenges often unavailable. Even if the game had come out working and on time, Driveclub's loose car feel, penalty-heavy race environment and lackluster soundtrack would have only amounted to a game whose beauty was just skin-deep.
— Sam Rutherford (@samrutherford)
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
After playing the Ultimate Edition of the first Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, I was excited for the sequel, but my hopes and dreams were quickly dashed once I picked up the controller. Once again, I stepped into the shoes of the protagonist Gabriel, who became Dracula in the last entry. This time, the Lord of Darkness is severely weakened and must rally his powers to stop Armageddon and Satan. Just how weak, you ask? So weak that Dracula, the ultimate big bad, has to turn into a gaggle of rats in an ill-advised attempt at stealth. Add spotty combat and a ho-hum plot, and LoS2 is one game that deserves a stake to the heart.
— Sherri L. Smith (@misssmith11)
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
While it pains me to call the otherwise excellent Halo: The Master Chief Collection a disappointment, there's no ignoring the game's terribly broken multiplayer component. You'll be lucky to even find a game using the collection's online matchmaking system, and you'll likely have to deal with uneven teams and random crashes if you do. This is especially sad, considering Halo's legacy as a treasured online shooter. The Master Chief Collection is still worth playing if you want to relive the campaigns of Halo 1 through 4, but the game is near-worthless to competitive Spartans as of now.
— Mike Andronico (@mikeandronico)