There are few things in life more deflating than getting a high set of hopes dashed. Maybe the Saturday afternoon baseball game you wanted to watch is blacked out, you get passed over for that promotion, or the dude or lady that you’ve been crushing on just isn’t into you. That sucks, and we’re sorry.
Considering the luxury cost of the medium and the escapism that they’re supposed to bring us, there’s heartbreak to be had with video games, too. Coming home with a copy of the new hotness only to be left feeling cold — following months of devouring every screen and trailer you can get a hold of — well, that just plain bums me out. I should know, it’s happened to me several times.
On paper, Haze was supposed to be a touchstone release for the then-struggling PlayStation 3. It was developed by Free Radical, who had made the stellar TimeSplitters games on PS2 and was comprised of key personnel behind the seminal GoldenEye and Perfect Dark on N64. Coupled with what were promised to be cutting-edge graphics, it was supposed to be a tour de force.
None of that happened. I mean, the game itself happened — you could go out and pay money for it, if you wanted — but it sure as hell wasn’t the game that we promised. It looked like crap, it ran like crap, and it played like crap. Haze was a crap game, is what I’m getting at here. Mercifully, and probably against Free Radical’s best interests, a demo was released ahead of time, allowing ample time for pre-orders to be cancelled.
Duke Nukem Forever
Any game in development as long as Duke Nukem Forever was — 14 years, if you haven’t heard — is damned to be written off as not worth the wait. Still, people had fond memories of ol’ Duke from back in the day, and were ready to kick ass and not carry enough bubblegum once more.
It turns out that the years were unkind to Mr. Nukem. Maybe Duke Nukem 3D was always casually misogynistic and we didn’t notice because we were 12, but Forever was chock full of repulsive dialogue and scenarios. But even if it was squeaky clean, the game was still a broken patchwork of a mess, cobbling together old 3D Realms assets and half-baked Gearbox content for the sake of finally getting this thing on store shelves.
Hey, so speaking of Gearbox …
Aliens: Colonial Marines
We’ve harped on this game since we started this site (quite literally with this editorial on day one) so I’ll just give you the gist: Gearbox promised something that was not only supposed to be the first great 3D Aliens game, but a canonical sequel to the seminal film that would even make people forget how bad Alien 3 was. I previewed the game at PAX East 2012 and heard those words come out of a PR rep’s mouth myself.
Except it wasn’t. It was ugly, it was buggy, and the story was insulting to Aliens’s 30-year history and the intelligence of anyone who had paid even one iota of attention to it in that timespan.
I swear I’m over it! Startiiiiing … now. Yes, just now, as I typed this sentence out.