2022 saw some incredible game releases. From God of War Ragnarök to Elden Ring and Horizon Forbidden West there was no shortage of good games that kept us occupied throughout the course of the last 12 months but there is no pack of cards without a knave and if 2022 had some of the best game releases in the past few years it also certainly had some of the worst. From half-baked combat systems to unfinished ideas and design choices that felt out of place, there were numerous stumbles in game releases this year. In a year that saw many indie studios rise to the occasion, it was quite shocking to see so many bigger publishers and developers failing to deliver a quality product. These are our picks for the 8 most disappointing big budget games of 2022.
Our list is based not on review scores but on how the game built its hype and promises and how it subsequently let us down by not delivering what was promised.
8. Overwatch 2
Kicking off our list of the most disappointing big-budget games of 2022 is Overwatch 2. Overwatch 2 was set to be the big update to the original that would push the popular hero shooter into uncharted territories by offering new ways to play and new heroes to master but the game wasn’t able to meet many of the promises that it had made.
The promised PvE mode was not available at launch and the new hero, Kiriko was locked behind the battle pass, which felt like a step back because the original Overwatch granted access to additional characters at no extra cost. Additionally, the game also introduced a new in-game item shop, effectively removing the player’s ability to earn new character skins. The game did so little in the way of innovation (apart from a few balance changes) that the 2 in the title almost felt unwarranted. For our full review of Overwatch 2, click here.
7. Crossfire X
Next up on our list is Crossfire X, an Xbox exclusive released early last year. Crossfire X promised a heart-pounding campaign and a tight multiplayer experience, with industry-standard first-person shooters like Call of Duty, Battlefield and Halo, this seemed like a tall order, and it indeed was because Smilegate Entertainment wasn’t able to deliver a game that could compare to the already establihed franchises.
Crossfire X featured clunky controls that made the entire experience unbearable and at times unplayable. The campaign delivered a monotonous generic experience that did little in the way of innovation as did the multiplayer. Not only what the multiplayer uninspired the complete lack of any cohesion in map design and gameplay mechanics easily made this one of the worst games of the year.
6. Diablo Immortal
Next up on our list is Diablo Immortal. Diablo has been a staple franchise in the gaming space for a very long time. Starting in the late 90s the series has established quite a legacy over two decades with it’s two excellent sequels, Diablo II and Diablo III. Like many games on this list, Diablo failed by not living up to its own name, plastering in predatory microtransactions that completely killed any momentum the series had built up.
Being a mobile game, microtransactions are to be expected but when they start granting the player unfair advantages it turns into a problem that has long-lasting effects not only on the game itself but the IP has a whole. Diablo Immortal also featured a substantial downgrade in game design, coming from the excellent Diablo III, this mobile spin-off felt like a slap in the face of longtime fans as it essentially took the essence of a long-beloved franchise and put it in a predatory microtransaction filled misfire.
5. Rainbow Six Extraction
Fifth on our list is Rainbow Six Extraction, a new entry in the Tom Clancy Rainbow Six franchise with an emphasis on co-op gameplay. Rainbow Six Extraction for the most part delivered a fairly decent gameplay loop but what it did best was highlight how stagnant Ubisoft has become with its game design.
Rainbow Six Extraction was extremely repetitive, having the player play the same missions over and over again with a grind factor that worked to further worsen this. Having to rely on the player to do the same tasks and objectives made the game an absolute slog at times. Most missions in the game played exactly the same leading to fatigue and monotony fairly early on. It almost felt like Extraction could have been an add-on mode for Rainbow Six Siege given how little time was spent to actually try and make it enjoyable.
4. Ghostwire Tokyo
The Yakuza series and most recently Ghost of Tsushima revived interest in games set in Japan and Tango Gameworks, the studio behind The Evil Within series followed suit with Ghostwire Tokyo, a first-person action-adventure game that leveraged the rich culture and folklore of Japan to deliver a visual feast that wasn’t able to live up to the hype it had created.
Ghostwire Tokyo placed a great emphasis on its visuals which were absolutely stunning but faltered everywhere else. Both its story and combat feel secondary to its stylistic nature and ended up being the game’s biggest pitfall. Without a compelling combat system and story, there’s only so much a game’s visuals can accomplish, the problems were further exacerbated by voice acting that did little in making the game stand out.
3. Saints Row
The Saints Row franchise ruled the video game industry back in the late 2000s delivering banger after banger of over-the-top action and the same freedom that the GTA series provided, Developer Deep Silver Volition decided to reboot the franchise, to not only get a fresh start on the aging series but also to bring in line with how it was during its early days, the game, unfortunately, was not able to achieve this.
The combat was clunky, not even allowing for cover shooting, something that is a staple in most games of this nature these days, the characters came across as generic and boring, a far cry from the excellently written protagonists and antagonists of the past games. The game world was devoid of life and dynamism. The game just lacked the basic polish and care that one would expect from a big-budget release like this. For our full thoughts on Saints Row, click here.
2. The Callisto Protocol
The Callisto Protocol takes the second spot on the list. What was meant to be a return to the classic survival horror genre of the late 2000s ended up being a muddled mess that showed the studio’s inexperience and incompetency. While the Callisto Protocol delivered a beautifully realized and atmospheric world, it was severely let down by its reliance on cheap jump scares and frustratingly difficult and often times unfair boss battles, especially during the game’s latter half.
The melee combat was satisfying yet extremely clunky and unreliable while the slow-paced nature of the gun mechanics and fast and difficult enemies left many puzzled about the game’s design choices, even with legendary developer Glenn Schofield (creator of Dead Space) at the helm, The Callisto Protocol couldn’t deliver an experience even half of what it was trying to emulate. For our full review of the Callisto Protocol, click here.
1. Gotham Knights
Gotham Knights takes the top spot on our list of the most disappointing big-budget games of 2022. Gotham Knights had everything going for it; a strong IP in the Batman family, a studio well-versed in the creation of Batman games, and nearly a decade of development time. Despite all of this it had more fumbles than it did feats. Gotham Knights struggled with trying to do too much. Between a loot system that did not fit into the game, a lack of meaningful side content, and combat that was more flashy than functional the game could not find the solid footing it was hoping for.
The game did present a beautiful rendition of Gotham City and a largely satisfying story but was marred down by weird design choices and an overreliance on the Batman name to reach the finish line. The game had serious potential like so many on this list but it could not be realized properly, resulting in a disappointing return to the world of Gotham. For our full thoughts on Gotham Knights, click here.
Do you agree with our list? What were some games that disappointed you in 2022? Sound off in the comments below.
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