2012 has been great year for games, giving us such magnificent titles as "Halo 4," "The Walking Dead" and "Max Payne 3," among others. But, unfortunately, it was also a year for duds, from moronic cartoon takeoffs to zombie detectives.
With that, we present 2012's disappointing dozen.
In this survival horror game, you're tasked with protecting an autistic 8-year-old girl from demons. But the genuine scariness here is that nothing works at all. The combat is lame and repetitive, the level design is horrendously bad (you'll get lost quite often), and the story is so watered down, you never even learn what the significance of Amy really is. Leave this child be and go play "The Walking Dead" instead.
If "Call of Duty: Black Ops II"could be considered a fine prime rib, "Medal of Honor: Warfighter" is 2-day-old meatloaf. Featuring lackluster gameplay that tried too hard to capture the authenticity of first-person combat, uninteresting characters that fail to establish themselves, and a story that attempts (and fails) to dig into the personal trauma of Tier 1 soldiers, this game ends up shooting itself in the foot.
This flop has broken controls, terrible level design and dialogue that repeats way too often. What's more, some of its situations don't make any sense, such as how you're encouraged to shoot frat girls in the head or light up Amish people with a flamethrower. If Stewie took one look at this, he'd probably say, "The movie 'Battleship' makes more sense than this. And it's 'BATTLESHIP.'"
A military action game where you control most of your actions using your body. What could possibly go right? "Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor" falls apart rather quickly, between a poor setup that requires you to deal with three inept co-pilots in your tank walker, lame missions that take too long to complete, and game controls that don't work whatsoever. We once attempted to look out the front visor and accidentally self-destructed the vehicle.
It's amazing how Atlus could take one of the hottest stories on the planet and completely douse it in mediocrity. Featuring a deeply flawed combat system that makes you want to kill yourself instead of your enemies, poor graphics overrun with problems and uninteresting voice acting (which did zero justice to author George R. R. Martin's dialogue), this title doesn't come close to the quality of the books or HBO series. "Game" over.
Some folks might be slightly disappointed with the direction that "Resident Evil 6" has taken. But, hey, it could've been a lot worse. "Operation Raccoon City" is easily the most disappointing game in the series to date. With dull objectives that take forever to complete, stupid AI soldiers who never lend a hand when you need them, and graphics that fail to live up to the high standards of the series.
Namco blew a big opportunity when it released the first simulation game for the PS Vita. The latest adaptation in its "Ridge Racer" series is incomplete. You can race in certain events and even challenge someone's "ghost" lap time, but there's no versus racing or campaign mode of any kind. Worse yet, the graphics are terrible, with sloppy visuals (the game slows constantly) and menus that look like they were plastered together. You'd be better off running yourself over in the driveway.
James Bond made a monumental comeback this year on the big screen with the brilliant "Skyfall," but Activision's Bond-licensed game, "007 Legends," didn't make such an impact. The controls fail to generate any sort of momentum throughout the game, and it's also thrown off by painfully dull "search-and-activate" segments and lame fistfights. Worst of all, it shipped incomplete, as the "Skyfall" chapters wouldn't be made available until a month following its release. The real Bond would shoot this on sight and then run off with its girlfriend.
Like its main hero, "NeverDead" falls apart before it ever gets started. You play a zombified detective battling supernatural enemies while trying to stay in one piece, as legs, arms and head constantly fall off. You're then forced to chase after your limbs and fend off weird creatures that want to eat your skull for lunch. And you do all of this to a blaring, annoying heavy metal soundtrack. It should've been called "NeverDead On Arrival."
We can recommend a few other Wii sporting compilations, such as the "Wii Sports" games, that perform far better than this overpriced mess. "ESPN Sports Connection" does feature various activities, including slow kart racing and even slower golf — it took us forever to get through a round. Poorly implemented motion controls and bad, generic graphics don't come close to recreating the thrill of real games. You're better off going outside and playing catch with the neighborhood kids.
When an exercise game is done right, you feel accomplished and motivated to keep going. With "Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013" on the Wii U, you're better off just running away from the console at top speed. Featuring lame trainers performing superhuman feats that you can't possibly replicate (sure, I can handstand), the inability to customize your own routines, and terrible motion-reading controls, this game is an infuriating workout — on your patience.
"ThunderCats, hooooooo!" Um, more like "ThunderCats, nooooooo!" Namco's attempt to bring back the classic cartoon heroes from the '80s deteriorates on every level. Stale graphics don't do the heroes any justice, and the gameplay repeats to the point of madness, ("Ooh, let's beat up these lizards hundreds of times over!"), without any reason to go back once you do manage to beat it. Just watch the old TV series instead. You'll have way more fun.