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Hype is a necessary part of video games. As the game builds towards its release, it is only natural for fans to get excited, and the PR departments for the games do a great job of making sure to capture every bit of that excitement. The video game media also does a great job of hyping up a game. Previews for games tend to point out only what is good about the game, and anything wrong is cited to being an early build. However, it all comes out when a game is released. There is no more hiding behind the PR smokescreen.
Sometimes a game just falls flat on its face. It is hyped to oblivion, and it comes out and completely underwhelms. Some games just cannot live up to the hype laid out for them, and that is fine, but sometimes a game does not even come close. It hits the market, with an army of fans clamoring to get their hands on the game, and it fails miserably. Fans are so excited they do not even wait for the review scores to come out, and they end up incredibly disappointed. This is the sad story of some of those games that have had this exact thing happen to them.
Red Steel was hyped as being everything that gamers always dreamed that the Wii could be. The Wii had just hit the market, and everyone was on pins and needles for what it could do. We saw videos of sword wielding assassins, people messing with sports games as if they were actually playing them and all kinds of other stuff.
Unfortunately, the sword wielding in Red Steel was garbage, and so was every other aspect of the game play. It was a giant letdown, and even though the sequel was much better, it is hard for me to forgive them for the abomination that was the first one.
In Lair, you ride freaking dragons! How could that not be good? Honestly, even after the launch of Lair, I still cannot tell you how that could be bad, but they found a way. Everyone was fired up for this game. It used the motion sensing in the Sixaxis controller, and it used it poorly. It pretty much did everything poorly; right down the flaming pile of garbage they called a story.
It was such a sad thing, because Lair seemed to have the potential to be a generation defining game for the Playstation 3. It seems like the developers realized that they had a lot of hype, and just gave up halfway through the development process. I would have loved to see what Lair could have been, but sadly, all we got is a bad game that was much overhyped.
Final Fantasy XIII
This game more or less breaks the mold for the scope of this article, but I had to throw it in. Final Fantasy XIII is not a bad game, although I personally did not like it. From a technical standpoint, everything is functional, the story is well written and the combat system is fun and intuitive. So why is it on the list of games that did not live up to the hype? It took approximately one billion hours to get going!
You had to play forever just to stop getting tutorial tips from the game, and you had to play even farther before you got to the open elements and stopped being herded down tight corridors. Everyone expected the next generation Final Fantasy that would be the most epic thing imaginable, but what they actually got was Square refusing to push things to the limit, and for that the game was a disappointment that did not live up to the hype.
Enter the Matrix
This game breaks the mold because I think we all knew in our hearts that it could not be good. Movie games always suck, and deep down inside we knew this one would probably be no exception. That said, at least we get to be an incredible badass and fight Agent Smith as Neo… Right? Wrong, you get to play as Niobe and Ghost!
They really dropped the ball here. Even if the game was less than stellar (and really it was not that bad), playing as Neo would have been every Matrix nerd’s wet dream (myself included), and they had to take that away from us! Therefore, for this egregious act, they did not live up to what little hype the game actually had.
As I said before, hype for a game is important. Without it, we would not see the huge blockbuster successes we see now. Sometimes, it might be better to temper expectations and try to keep a level perspective on how a good a game is actually going to be, and these games are perfect examples of the kind of disappointment that can come from building your expectations too high. So remember, just because a game demos great and is receiving positive previews, it could still suck.
What games do you think failed to live up to the expectations? Let us know in the comments!