Contrary to popular belief, I don’t enjoy not enjoying games. In a perfect world, every game would execute amazingly on what it sets out to do. But due to budget, shipping dates, or other limitations, not every game comes out the way that was intended. Or, to be fair, sometimes I just don’t like what the studio was going for.
Every year, I hope that I don’t feel the need to have this category. And especially in a year where I had less time to play games and in fact played fewer games overall, it’s extra disappointing that there were so many disappointing games.
To be clear, these aren’t necessarily the worst games I played in 2019, just the ones I most wanted to be better.
There’s a case to be made that Anthem is actually the most disappointing game of the year, considering I went from being insanely hyped for it to not even playing the game at all after seeing the initial reaction. But I was not about to be Mass Effect Andromeda’d. Not again. Never again.
5. Sea of Solitude
Sea of Solitude isn’t offensively bad. But much like 2018’s Fe, there’s always at least one high profile indie game I’m excited to try out, and this one ended up being very underwhelming. The story and themes are pretty on the nose, and the main character’s dialogue only makes this worse. Combine that with gameplay that’s barely there and Sea of Solitude just doesn’t have anything of note to offer.
I was really digging my time with Afterparty. The main characters were sarcastic and dry in a way I liked, the world was a really fun riff on the age-old “eternity in hell” thing, and all of the side characters were bursting with personality. Unfortunately, the game runs like absolute garbage — I’m talking down to single frames on multiple occasions in a game that isn’t even trying for hardcore visuals. After the game hard crashed for the second time in an hour, I couldn’t take it anymore and uninstalled.
3. The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan
Until Dawn was a surprise hit for me back in 2015, so my wife and I were eagerly anticipating the chance to play through the spiritual successor together. It makes me very sad to say that Until Dawn might have been lightning in a bottle, because Man of Medan follows pretty much the same gameplay/story/character formula and it is laughably bad. The walk speed is insanely too slow, the jump scares are tired, and the all-knowing creepfest of a narrator made me cringe with how unsuccessful his “spooky” schtick was.
2. Rage 2
Rage 2 falls victim to bad (or maybe good?) marketing. The game doesn’t have an ounce as much personality as the trailers make it seem. It’s just a bland, open world first person shooter with mediocre shooting mechanics and powers that aren’t all that inventive. I remember liking the gunplay in the first Rage, and somehow things feel worse this time around. The car driving and combat are also not tight enough to make them fun to do. This is just a 6.5/10 type of game that I didn’t even remember playing until I looked at a list of everything that came out in 2019. That about says it all.
1. Kingdom Hearts III
In 2016, I couldn’t believe how disappointed I was in Final Fantasy XV. In 2017, I couldn’t believe how disappointed I was in both Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Mass Effect Andromeda. In 2018, I couldn’t believe how disappointed I was in Red Dead Redemption 2 and Fallout 76. Well, in 2019, Kingdom Hearts III keeps the trend alive. Seriously, how is this game this bad? And even worse, how do most people seem to be looking past its obvious gameplay and story deficiencies? Kingdom Hearts III sucks so damn much. Listen to The Shea Hates Everything Podcast episodes where we talk about it because I can’t even work up the energy to write about it anymore.
Finally! Check out the next page for my top 10 games of the year!