Top 20 Disappointing Video Games of The Decade
Trivia Top 20 Disappointing Video Games of The Decade



Top 20 Disappointing Video Games of The Decade

VOICE OVER: Riccardo Tucci WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
Sure, we've played some great releases this decade, but it's also seen more than its fair share of collective sighs. For this list, we'll be looking at the most disappointing video games released between 2010 and 2019. Our countdown includes “Star Wars Battlefront II”, “Anthem”, “Death Stranding”, “Duke Nukem Forever”, “Fallout 76”, and more! What game most disappointed YOU in the 2010s? Let us know in the comments!

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Script written by Nathan Sharp

Top 20 Disappointing Games of the Decade

Sure, we’ve played some great releases this decade, but it’s also seen more than its fair share of head shakes and collective sighs. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top twenty disappointing games of the decade.

For this list, we’ll be looking at twenty of the most disappointing video games that were released between 2010 and 2019. We’ll be ranking this list based on the game’s initial critical reception and enduring legacy. And please keep in mind, we aren’t saying that these games are necessarily BAD. They were just disappointing following the incredible hype that surrounded their release.

#20: “Dead Island” (2011)

On February 16, 2011, one of the greatest video game trailers of all time was released. It was instantly hailed as a classic, thanks to its heartbreaking setup, emotional piano score and the grounded family at the centre of a zombie tragedy. Yet when the game came out, none of that emotion was anywhere to be seen. “Dead Island” proved to be one of the most milquetoast games ever released. Aside from the tropical resort setting (which was quickly discarded about 5 hours in) there was little that stood out about the game, aside from the technical glitches and performance issues. Surely since this was 2011 the rest of the rest of the industry learned it’s lesson right? Oh wait.

#19: “Crackdown 3” (2019)

What we have up next is a case of lofty ambition with technology that wasn’t ready yet. “Crackdown 3” was announced way back at E3 2014; with ambitious promises from Microsoft claiming that the game was going to push the boundaries of cloud processing. That clearly never happened. What we instead got was a run of the mill open world shooter, which would have been fine …for 2009! There simply weren’t enough improvements or original design choices to warrant the endless wait, and in the end, and the highly touted cloud based destructible environments only made it into the forgetful multiplayer mode. Cloud computing just wasn’t going to save this game.

#18: “The Order: 1886” (2015)

If there’s one thing we learned from “The Order: 1886,” it’s that gameplay always, ALWAYS trumps graphics. Sony fans were quite excited for “The Order.” Not only was it a brand-new IP, but the graphics were mind-blowing and seemingly showed the true capabilities of the PS4. The graphics WERE indeed stellar, but that was about all the game had going for it. The entire game could be completed in about six hours, and they made for a boring six hours, as the gameplay consisted of little more than glacial walking interspersed with periodic cover shooting and QTE boss battles. Worst of all though is that the story only really got started … as the game ended.

#17: “Shenmue III” (2019)

18 years. That’s how long it took for this game to come out since the release of Shenmue II. The first two games are notorious for being major financial flops due to their high budgets for the time, yet they still managed to pull in a cult following eager to see the next chapter in this grandiose story. While we finally got some of those answers, some fans still wonder if it was worth the wait. The biggest problem though was the gameplay, the first two games gained widespread critical praise for its innovative open world design before GTA 3 hit the scene. Yet Shenmue 3 feels like it’s still stuck in that era. Sad to see that Shenmue; didn’t come Shen-through.

#16: “No Man’s Sky” (2016)

First of all … Yes! Hello Games has improved this game in many respectable ways, and it’s really not as terrible as it was when it first game out, hence why it’s only #16. That being said, few video game launches are as monumentally disastrous as this. There was an unbelievable amount of hype preceding this game, with Sean Murray even appearing on “Stephen Colbert” to discuss and promote it. Unfortunately, what marred the game’s launch was the laundry list of unfulfilled promises made by Sean Murray throughout the marketing period, which all but ruined Murray’s public image. As we said; things are better now, but there are some things you never forget.

#15: “Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite” (2017)

This series of fighting games has been going strong since the late ‘90s, but its future looked bleak in 2012 when Capcom lost the rights to use Marvel characters. As such, it was a huge relief to fans when this game was announced. Unfortunately, it was a total mess that was obviously rushed for a quick release. The production values and graphics were painfully cheap; the roster was smaller than the previous game and excluded fan favorites like the X-Men. The fighting system was painfully dumbed down, and many exciting newcomers were locked behind a paywall. It’s amazing what greed can do to a once-beloved series.

#14: “Death Stranding” (2019)

Few developers have garnered a devoted and widely renowned reputation as former “Metal Gear Solid” director Hideo Kojima, and honestly it was hard not to support him following his controversial split from Konami in 2015. So after years of cryptic yet compelling trailers that promised whole new gaming genre, Kojima finally got to go full auteur and release his magnum opus: A 40 hour walking simulator. Ok that’s a slight exaggeration, but it’s a label that made it one of the most divisive games in history. While some widely praised the game for its unique premise and format, others found it to be absolutely boring. The mixed reception hurt sales too, despite a promising debut week; the game fell off best selling charts quickly. It just goes to show; games need more than just a developer’s name to sell.

#13: “Mighty No. 9” (2016)

Usually it’s the AAA companies that face the unbridled wrath of disappointed gamers. Not so with “Mighty No. 9.” This little game funded through Kickstarter promised to be the “Mega Man” of a new generation, a beautiful and thoughtful throwback to the glory days of 2D platformers. While the initial Kickstarter campaign was highly publicized and popular, numerous delays led to widespread disappointment and accusations of gross mismanagement. And then came the infamous Masterclass trailer, and all hope was lost. Few people actually cared when the game was finally released, but those that did were met with a disappointing game that stomped all over their dreams.

#12: “Star Fox Zero” (2016)

If the Wii U wasn’t already dead by 2016, then “Star Fox Zero” effectively put it out of its misery. Once upon a time, “Star Fox” was among the biggest names in gaming, with “Star Fox 64” being particularly acclaimed. “Zero” was set to be the first original “Star Fox” game in ten years, and to be honest, it played exactly like a ten-year-old game. The game rehashed the traditional “Star Fox” gameplay from the late ‘90s, which could have been fine within its own fanbase … if it weren’t for the polarizing (and some would say “broken”) motion controls. Despite industry legend Shigeru Miyamoto doing his best to promote the game, even he couldn’t save it from being a critical and commercial flop.

#11: “Resident Evil 6” (2012)

The writing was on the wall. “Resident Evil 5” went in a rather surprising and not entirely welcome action direction, but it still retained some core horror elements. That mostly changed with “6,” which served as the series’ most action-packed and bombastic entry to date. While the cast of characters was stellar, the campaigns drastically differed in quality, from Leon’s attempt to replicate the horror of the original games (quite poorly), to Chris’s cheesy, B-movie action spectacle. It was not a direction that the fans were interested in. RE6 was a game that was trying to please both action and horror fans alike yet failed to do both! Luckily, Capcom has fully redeemed themselves with “Resident Evil 7” and the “Resident Evil 2” remake, so all is well.

#10: “Mass Effect 3” (2012)

While “Mass Effect Andromeda,” was also a major disappointment, at least it had those wacky facial animations, they were able to mentally prepare ourselves for a disaster that was to follow. But that wasn’t the case with “Mass Effect 3.” Here, we were expecting a great ending and a satisfying culmination to hundreds of hours’ worth of unique decisions and branching storylines across 3 games. What we got instead was a solid game, marred by a contrived ending that left us with 3 poorly explained choices. The backlash was so bad that Bioware even released an extended version of the ending to quell the flames. While that DLC did offer a sense of closure, some fans still felt that it didn’t do enough to make all their choices over the years feel meaningful.

#9: “Metroid: Other M” (2010)

It was the game that nearly destroyed the iconic “Metroid” series. Sure it had the unfortunate distinction of following the acclaimed “Prime” trilogy, but while the combat was admittedly quite enjoyable, and the production values were top notch, the issues were hard to overlook. The first-person view was clunky and frustrating, the story was poorly written and most definitely did not warrant the excessive cutscenes. Most egregiously of all though; was the fact that it mishandled the iconic Samus Aran. Turning her from the greatest video game heroine of all time; into a monotonous, melodramatic and self-doubting character unrecognizable from past instalments. There’s a good reason fans wanted a new “Metroid Prime” game; “Other M” left a bitter taste behind.

#8: “SimCity” (2013)

To think; this was once THE greatest city building simulator series of all time, which is what makes this disappointment sting really hard. During a Reddit AMA, it was revealed that this highly anticipated reboot was going to require a continuous connection to EA’s servers, prompting many fans to voice their disapproval. Unfortunately, their hesitations soon proved warranted, as the “SimCity” launch was an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions. People couldn’t connect to the servers, which meant they couldn’t even play the game. Those that DID connect were greeted with constant network outages and corrupted save files. Even looking past those issues, the game was nowhere near as complex or enjoyable as it’s predecessors. There’s a good reason no one talks about “SimCity” anymore.

#7: “Final Fantasy XIII” (2010)

Any gamer who grew up in the 90’s and 2000’s knew that few gaming franchises maintained a level of consistent quality as much as “Final Fantasy”. With nearly every game in the series since “Final Fantasy VI” being hailed as a masterpiece. But that legacy could not excuse XIII’s shortcomings; from an endless amount of linear corridors, a battle system that felt like the game was playing itself, and some of the most unlikable characters in the franchise’s history. Upon release, many fans couldn’t accept that a “Final Fantasy” game could suck, some even coined the infamous backfiring defence: “It gets good after 20 hours”. If you still don’t know why that statement is absurd, ask the comment section.

#6: “PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale” (2012)

It was the game that promised to be the “Super Smash Bros.” of the PlayStation brand. Featuring most of its iconic characters; including Jak and Daxter, Kratos, Ratchet and Clank, and Nathan Drake. What more could you want!? Well notably there was no Crash Bandicoot or Spyro, yet amazingly those omissions felt like nitpicks compared to the game’s core problems. The stages were unimaginative, and the gameplay was based entirely around the super combo meter, which meant if you missed your super move, all the preceding fighting was for nothing. It was an inane decision, and it ruined what could have potentially been a legitimate “Super Smash Bros.” competitor.

#5: “Anthem” (2019)

After Mass Effect 3, Bioware seemed to go from one disappointment to the next! The “Dragon Age” series went through some rough patches, and “Andromeda” disappointment closed Bioware’s Montreal studio. And the frustrating thing is that you really wanted these games to succeed. There’s real potential there! Despite past failings, there was some hype leading up to “Anthem’s” release, primarily due to it being a new BioWare IP. However, it proved to be the most disappointing release by Bioware of all their titles, thanks to some horrible technical issues and an over-reliance on grinding. A detailed Kotaku article was later released, stating that the game’s development was rife with mismanagement, indecision, and a generally stressful work atmosphere. For many, this was the last straw for BioWare. Sound the death knell.

#4: “Fallout 76” (2018)

Seriously, what is happening to all our favorite developers!? In the last few years Bethesda has similarly lost its sense of direction. “Fallout 76” had unbelievable potential – a multiplayer game set in the open world “Fallout” universe!? How could that NOT be an instant home run? It turned out to be a foul ball, as the game was instantly met with disdain due to its abundant technical issues and hilariously dead open world. Yet things only seemed to get worse after launch, thanks to a number of bizarre and downright surreal controversies that followed. Including a data breach, a tone-deaf yearly subscription that created a class war, and a recall of collectors edition helmets due to health hazards. Now this is what we call a certified PR nightmare.

#3: “Star Wars Battlefront II” (2017)

It may not be the most disappointing game of the decade, but it was certainly the most controversial. It was revealed during the beta that the game would employ a pay-to-win system through what was deemed a “predatory” loot box system. EA responded to the criticism with the infamous “Pride and Accomplishment” defence, and things went downhill quickly. That comment became the most downvoted in Reddit’s history, EA’s share price took a massive fall, and there were calls from various government bodies and representatives; to change gambling laws all over the world. It was a total mess, and EA eventually admitted defeat and significantly altered the game’s mechanics. Yet even years later EA still tried to find ways to defend lootboxes as a whole. (“We like to call them surprise mechanics”) Nope, that isn’t gonna to fly.

#2: “Aliens: Colonial Marines” (2013)

The concept behind this game was quite literally too good to be true. This was going to be a canonical sequel to James Cameron’s masterpiece “Aliens,” and actors Michael Biehn and Lance Henriksen were set to reprise their iconic roles. However, the game suffered a long and arduous development process, complete with outsourcing and (according to Michael Biehn) a general lack of passion from the developers. What resulted was a technical disaster. It looked nothing like the trailers had promised, and it had artificial intelligence that was so laughably bad, it completely ruined any dread the iconic Xenomorphs posed. And that’s all before getting into the layers of controversy and lawsuits that followed.

#1: “Duke Nukem Forever” (2011)

And here it is. Not only the greatest disappointment of the decade, but arguably among the greatest disappointment in … well “Forever”. It’s hard to express just how let down everyone felt with this cheap nonsense. In 1997, 3D Realms began work on a sequel to “Duke Nukem 3D,” which is easily one of the greatest FPS’s of all time. Everyone was expecting a bonafide masterpiece, but then the game got delayed, and delayed, and delayed again to the point where the Publishers and Developers changed over the years. Eventually fifteen years had passed, and Gearbox and 2K FINALLY released the game in 2011 … And it felt like it was only made in two years. The combat felt uninspired, the jokes just weren’t funny and game couldn’t decide if it wanted to be a retro or modern shooter. Duke Nukem was once an icon of gaming, but this title forever turned him into a joke.