The Top 10 Most Disappointing Video Games of 2013

01. Batman: Arkham Origins

Slotting in at Number One is spot-on perfect for Arkham Origins because why? Because of all of the games -- those that made the list and the pile that did not -- it is hands down and without question the most disappointing of the lot!

While the written word is excellent for conveying information and communicating ideas, it fails dismally when it comes to sharing emotional emphasis...

And really you need to hear the frustration tinged by disgust in my voice just now as I say the words 'Arkham Origin' -- disgust made even more intense by the sure and certain knowledge that it all could have been avoided if the IP owner hadn't been so bloody greedy!

Batman: Arkham Origins is the third game in the Arkham Series -- the first two were Arkham Asylum and Arkham City and, if you are a long time reader of my game reviews and gaming articles you probably already know that when Asylum was first released I was blown away by it - and when City arrived it was as if the wizards over at Rocksteady were somehow genuine Wizards because it was not only just as good as Asylum, it was better!

If you number among the veteran and long-time gamer crowd you already know that when Rocksteady set to work on the first Arkham title they were facing an unfairly-stacked deck. At the time that the Asylum Project started work no superhero game -- regardless of genre -- had ever been created that was a success because no game in the superhero sphere had ever managed to reach a level or quality of play that did the subject justice.

After twenty-plus-years of trying, the gamers of the world had pretty much given up on that genre in the assumption that it couldn't be done. Well it turns out that it could be done, it was just very bloody hard to do!

The shock and awe that the gaming community worldwide felt when Batman: Arkham Asylum was released and we had the opportunity to play it is no small matter.

The SuperCheats Unofficial Walkthrough and Guide to Batman: Arkham Asylum was the very first WTG that I wrote for SuperCheats (here's a link to that guide ) - and if you give its Introduction a quick read that should provide you with some serious hints about just what a game-changer Asylum was for the Superhero Genre in video games...

'Batman: Arkham Asylum is probably the best game implementation of a comic book character in the history of gaming' the Intro begins, and that is if anything a conservative assessment but the real meat in this is the last paragraph, which I fully stand by even now:

'An important point for you to understand about Arkham Asylum is that this is the game where you get to BE Batman. All of the previous games let you sort of be Batman, only as much as the programmers let you be him. In BAA, you get all the gadgets, all the skills, all the moves – in short it is the most complete Batman experience you are every going to get, so if you want my advice, take the time to enjoy this one, because it is the rare game where they just got it right.'

The thing you have to understand is that Asylum took the Superhero Genre of video games to a new level, and when Arkham City released we discovered that not only can lightning strike twice, it can also strike in the same bleeding place!

In Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham City we not only found a repeat of the spectacular and special hero experience but we received much much more... You see not content with simply taking the epic game play mechanics and its combat and gadget system and use it to tell a new story, Rocksteady took the epic combat and gadget system -- and the awesome game mechanics -- and then improved them while they told that new story!

That being the case and with two games presenting a pattern of established quality and then improved quality, it would seem reasonable then to anticipate that the third title in the series would do the same, right? Well, no, not so much really.

Our first clue that something was wrong came with the announcement from IP owner Warner Brothers that Rocksteady was not chosen to create Batman: Arkham Origins.

Not chosen?! What could they mean?? After all Rocksteady literally and figuratively not only established what it means to play the Batman in a video game, they practically invented all of the gadgets and the unique and spot-on free-flow H2H combat mechanics that made the games and the series the success it is.

Not choosing them to make the third game in the series is like not choosing Wayne Gretzky for your team in a pickup game. Not choosing Rocksteady to make the third Batman game is like not choosing the US Marines to lead your invasion force! Not choosing Rocksteady to make Batman: Arkham Origins is like NOT choosing Adam Gilchrist to be your designated batting wicket-keeper!

And yet here is the thing -- Warner Brothers could have chosen Rocksteady to create Arkham Origins -- Rocksteady was willing and able.

When Warner Brothers made its surprise announcement that we would be getting not one but TWO new games in the Arkham series in 2013 -- Batman: Arkham Origins AND Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, the footnote in that announcement that we almost missed was the statement that the games would be developed by WB Games Montréal.

While we are not saying anything against WB Games Montréal as a development studio, the bottom line is that any assessment of that studio today and virtually all of its PR efforts invariably include its entry in the Batman Arkham series as its greatest achievement, and that pretty much says everything that needs saying about that.

When Origins arrived what we found was all of the awesome mechanics of the first two games, all of the incredible gadgets, and every swish and bang of the unique and addictive free-flow combat system Rocksteady invented and created for the Batman games. Sadly that is the peak of that mountain. Because other than that high-quality content and mechanics WB's satellite studio in Montréal added nothing else to the game.

Basically what we ended up with was a copy of the Arkham City engine and dynamic game play system with a new story pasted on top.

It was a disappointment to be sure, but what was even more disappointing was the realization that an incredible opportunity to make the Batman games even better had been blown here. This is life, this is fact, and this is disappointing to say the least.

Which is why Batman: Arkham Origins is the Number One Most Disappointing game of 2013.

The Closing Summary

Did you disagree with a choice? Choices? Do you feel strongly that one of the games does not belong on the list? Well don't just sit silently and let us insult that game! Comment below! Tell us how wrong we are -- but be sure that you tell us WHY we were wrong.

Have a game or three you think should have been on this list? Then share! Tell us about it in the comments below! Because we really want to know what to avoid!

Posted: 26th May 2014 by CMBF
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