The games and hardware that should have delivered so much more.
2012 has seen some very good games, but also a lot of pretty disappointing ones. Whether a game has been a full-on disaster or not quite as impressive as we expected it to be, you'll find it on our list of the biggest disappointments of 2012.
Resident Evil 6
After the underwhelming Revelations and abysmal Operation Raccoon City earlier in the year, we were hoping to end 2012 on a high with a return to Resi's core series. But instead, we were left wondering whether there really was No Hope Left.
An awkward focus on action failed to gel with Resident Evil 6's clunky controls, resulting in a confused four-part campaign that aimed for spectacle, but ended up spectacularly bad. Resident Evil 6 was certainly horrifying, but not in the way Capcom may have intended.
The Vita has only been on the market in the UK for nine months yet it is already seen by many as a failure of epic proportions. Sadly Sony's powerful handheld has suffered due to a number of reasons, most of which aren't a lack of quality games. With WipeEout, Uncharted, Lumines, Rayman, MotorStorm RC, Gravity Rush, Need for Speed, and LittleBigPlanet you've got a system with good games, but the Vita is lacking that must-own title. CoD, FIFA, and Assassin's Creed were meant to be the killer apps, but they all missed the mark to varying degrees. The price is also a big issue, which when combined with the frankly ridiculous cost of memory cards, makes the handheld a hard sell. If users were able to plug in a 64GB Micro SD card for £40 the usability and price of the system would be transformed. However we look at it, it's hard to see 2013 being too great for the most powerful handheld on the market.
Nintendo's 3D handheld shined in 2011. It was home to some of the best games of that year in Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land, as well as excellent remakes of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Star Fox 64. For a handheld that had got off to a rocky start, its line-up was starting to look pretty great. 2012 has been a year of few quality releases from Nintendo and some disappointments from third parties. Kid Icarus is decent fun, but not in the same league as 3D Land and co, while New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Paper Mario: Sticker Star were uncharacteristically mediocre. Resident Evil Revelations promised much but delivered little, and we're left looking to 2013's Luigi's Mansion and Animal Crossing to bring some much needed quality to the system.
Silent Hill HD Collection
An example of how not to do an HD compilation, Silent Hill HD Collection ravaged, rather than celebrated, players' memories of the PS2's two horror classics. Konami got everything wrong with its HD re-release of Silent Hill 2 and 3, poorly reworking key scenes, altering the iconic soundtrack and releasing a title riddled with technical issues. It was so bad, in fact, that the publisher attempted to stem anger and disappointment by compensating North American players with a selection of free games.
Failing to treat Silent Hill with the respect it deserved was one problem, then, but failing to release a pair of ten-year old games in a playable state proved to be an outright embarrassment.
Hitman Absolutionthis. Need we say more?
Ridge Racer Unbounded
Hidden somewhere within Ridge Racer Unbounded, we've been told, is a secret fun button. But we couldn't find it. Unbounded was a wreck, snagging the best bits of racing stallions Split/Second, Need For Speed and Burnout, but failing to juggle them into anything truly exotic.
Despite the odd glimmer of hope, its unsatisfying handling model and awkward car combat meant that Unbounded was the one of the worst big-budget racers of the year, and a Ridge Racer write-off.
The trailers for Deadlight had us hoping for this year's Limbo, but when we actually got to play the game what we got was a clunky Prince of Persia. We wanted a game full of atmosphere, but instead we got an awful script and terrible voice acting.
SSX might think itself a little unlucky to be on this list, but we just don't think the new SSX feels like an SSX game. Many of you will no doubt disagree, but EA's reboot just doesn't have the magic of its forbears. It's also a bit rough looking, which is a shame as SSX is fondly remembered as one of the finest looking games of its era.
Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect 3 is, and was always going to be, impossible to judge on its own considerable merits, but I couldn't have predicted the amount of disdain the ending - one of media's most controversial in years, surely? - would have received. To see BioWare's clumsy elaboration in the form of the Extended Cut was just proof of how extreme these reactions were. For many it seems like Mass Effect 3 has become the dictionary definition of disappointment, its slightly wonky ending tarnishing a mostly unblemished six-year saga of unashamedly epic proportions. And while Mass Effect 3 handles most of its scenes extremely well - the exhilarating danger of its opening and a particularly upsetting heroic sacrifice stand out in a game of stand-out moments, the slightly abrupt finale has disjointed the emotions of many and denied the closure its audience was clamouring for.
Assassin's Creed III
Assassin's Creed III is by no means a bad game, but its disappointments are caused by a development team who have lost focus. While Connor Kenway's jaunt through colonial America has moments of tight drama and rich, flowing adventure, this is a game that's forgotten its canny senses and replaced them with plodding, sticky exposition. It takes hours of lumpy tutorial before Connor's storyline even begins, and even then you're stuck within an open-world game full of tired missions squidged between thrilling naval battles and a gorgeous wilderness. Assassin's Creed needs to hop in an Animus of its own so it can recall the series' golden moments of exhilarating movement and historical escapades.