Here Are The Games That Really Let Us Down in 2021
With many of us still in COVID mode, video games in 2021 once again provided a much-needed emotional outlet. This year, we had some great titles on all platforms — but let’s be honest, we also had some major disappointments. To be clear, these were games that actually weren’t always bad — in fact many of them were quite solid. It was more that they just weren’t as fantastic as we were hoping. They might have done some things well, but they didn’t live up to the massive excitement and hype we felt for them before release. So come along with us at COGconnected as we take a look at the 10 most disappointing video games of 2021.
10. Aliens: Fireteam Elite
Aliens is among the most beloved of pop culture franchises, and we had high hopes for Aliens: Fireteam Elite. And to be fair, it isn’t a terrible game — our reviewer Mark Steighner said it had some fun co-op gameplay and did right by the franchise’s lore and tone. But still, it felt like a letdown due to some glaring issues. First of all, the repetitive and boring level design killed any replay value, and the addition of punishing roguelike elements didn’t help matters much. Plus, the game’s utterly incompetent AI companions made single-player a frustrating slog, all but forcing you to play on Casual if you wanted to survive the endgame. In short, Aliens: Fireteam Elite was … okay. But we expected so much more from a game with such an impressive and lauded pedigree.
9. Back 4 Blood
In 2019, Back 4 Blood was announced and immediately had us anticipating its release. It was from the original creators of Left 4 Dead, and who doesn’t love Left 4 Dead? And upon its release this year, it wasn’t bad — but it wasn’t as great as we dreamed it would be. That wasn’t just due to the usual launch bugs either (of which there were many); it was also a host of other technical issues that made playing Back 4 Blood less than thrilling. Whether it be the oddly pointless single-player campaign, the unbalanced difficulty modes, or the broken enemy spawning system, this is one game that had so many problems that even the die-hard fans of the zombie genre among us were left scratching their heads. While developers Turtle Rock Studios worked hard to fix the game, Back 4 Blood just wasn’t the bloody good time we were expecting.
8. New World
Long in development and delayed by COVID, Amazon’s New World had us really looking forward to delving into its massive sandbox MMO experience. But upon launch this year, it left us disappointed for a number of reasons. Our own review gave the game decent marks but lamented its lack of originality and the fact that the endgame seemed to have been purposely designed to be a slow grind. And of course, there have also been some fundamental problems that still continue to plague the game — we often had trouble joining overloaded servers, and the economy tanked due to item and gold duping exploits. Clearly we’re not alone — while there are still lots of players enjoying New World, the hordes of excited early fans have dwindled, and its daily player count has dropped dramatically since launch.
7. Call of Duty: Vanguard
This year’s installment of the vaunted action shooter series failed to impress us, despite being a solid game in many respects. Call of Duty: Vanguard just didn’t add much new to the series, and it felt lackluster. Returning to its WWII roots, Vanguard maybe played things a bit too safe and the single player campaign felt paint-by-numbers, with flat characters and little reason to care about them. Multiplayer also suffered from frustrating spawning bugs that put you in awkward, confusing situations. Then there’s the all-important Zombie mode, which seemed to get little love from the devs either at launch or in post-launch updates. Put it all together, and Call of Duty: Vanguard’s admittedly robust content just didn’t push the series forward the way we were hoping this year.
6. eFootball 2022
In July, we were excited by Konami’s announcement that they were rebranding Pro Evolution Soccer as eFootball and making it free. But right away we started to worry when an early “performance test” demo looked less than stellar. And when we got to see the full version in October, boy were we shocked — and we don’t just mean by the horrifying visual bugs that went viral on the Internet, of distorted player faces and flailing body movements. It was also the mechanics of the game: the passing was awful and the shooting was imprecise, killing the realism that had made PES a superior football sim to EA’s series. Plus, the paltry number of teams made eFootball feel like another demo, making us wonder why Konami even decided to release the game in such an unfinished state. This was one promising video game that massively underdelivered this year.