Top 5 Signs That a Game Might be Underwhelming

This might be a bit of a touchy subject, because I had a hard time trying to find a nice way to word this new list. If you were a gamer like me, you would usually see a trailer for a game that would get you very excited. After a few years or so, you would finally get the game. Your friends or other fellow gamers might have warned you that the game has been in development for more years than it was supposed to be, it’s from a bad developer, and other signs indicating that it might not be worth all the hype. However, you ignore all that negative energy and put the game in your console of choice. You then find out the game was just like your friends said it would be, and not worth the money! I mean, there are many signs that a game might be terrible, and yet people buy into the hype and buy the game anyway. Instead of playing a demo or renting it, they go out and waste 60 or more dollars on a mediocre title. To be honest, I don’t feel sorry for those people. I don’t tend to buy into the hype and I do research on upcoming titles. While I was spending my time with a fantastic game, other people wallowed in sorrow that they just wasted their time playing a bad game because they bought into the false hype and didn’t do their research. Now, these signs are very subjective, I admit, because they might not be the full reasons why the game doesn’t deliver, BUT these reasons are worth mentioning. Since this list is subjective, there really isn’t a REAL number one sign that a game might underperform, but I suggest you see it as a ‘in no particular order’ list of ‘here are my signs of when a game might not live up to the hype’.

1. It’s a movie-based game.

I think this one is quite simple to acknowledge and most gamers know about it. There are the rare exceptions, BUT most of the time, you know these games are going to disappoint. I know reviewers want to keep reviewing them to see if the movie-based games have changed for the better, but you know it is a futile effort. Sure, I wish companies would actually take the time to make a movie-licensed game good since there are some good ones like The Warriors and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, but nope! As long as there are movie-licensed games being shoved out when the movie is released, you can always count on them being of mediocre quality.

2. Too many developers touching the project

You know the term, “Too many chefs in the kitchen”? Well, too many developers touching the project could also mean trouble. I hate to use this game as an example due to how much of a bag of jokes it has already become, but it is a perfect example of what I mean here, Aliens: Colonial Marines. It was originally a Gearbox title, and then got too many other developers working on it, and as a result, it just became a wreck of what the original product was supposed to be. Also, it makes it look like Gearbox won’t put 100% into anything unless it’s Borderlands-related. In addition, it doesn’t help that Gearbox and Sega are getting sued for false advertising, and using a bait-and-switch tactics on the game. Good riddance in my opinion! Now it will show the industry that you can’t just push out a half-baked game onto the gaming public, promising one thing, but not delivering on it.

3. Professional reviewers do not get an early review copy of the game.

Only one game recently made me put this foreboding sign on the list, and that is the flawed and underdeveloped Star Trek the Video Game. I think you all know what happens next, but for the ones that don’t, here are the cliff notes. When it was released, multiple people who apparently played the PC version ran into an issue of not being able to play co-op for almost an entire week. Once again, it doesn’t help that they also found a huge amount of bugs and glitches that will either hinder you or make you laugh. Heck, maybe both! Though, if even reviewers cannot get a review copy of the game before it launches, there is something the developer or company is trying to hide from the public before release.

4. Longer development time than needed.

While I know I should put games like Final Fantasy on here, since those games usually take a really, and I mean REALLY, long time to make, but only need two years to push out a sequel. The only saving grace is that at least they are not buggy or glitchy or look unfinished. Even I’ll admit that even though I don’t really care for Final Fantasy 12 right now and hate Final Fantasy 13 and its sequels, at least they aren’t buggy or the worse thing I have ever played. Usually a new IP takes about 3-4 years to make, depending on the production of said game. If it is taking more than its original development time, there is something fishy going on. When I mean more than its original development time, I don’t mean delays like a few months from the original date. I mean if it keeps getting pushed back more and more, and then comes out years later, something happened. Look at games like Earthworm Jim 3D and you will see what I mean. Then again, even if it might take like 6 years or so to get the game out, it could be great. However, all these problems could be from the developer not spending their time wisely. Speaking of developers…

5. New developers/an already preexisting developer history of making games.

This one is a bit tougher to explain and catch early, and is why it is low on this list. A new developer taking on a multi-million-dollar project is always a gamble. Sure, for the most part, the game could be good, but sometimes, the game will be underwhelming, but it hurts a little more when a game turns out to be disappointing or terrible when it’s by a company that has made good games in the past. Once again, Gearbox has made the critically acclaimed Borderlands series, but is also well known for Duke Nukem Forever and Aliens Colonial Marines, which were both flops. In one case, it could just be a developer that hasn’t made a game that was more than okay or mediocre in the past and continues that practice, like the company who made that exclusive Call of Duty game for the Playstation Vita. It could also be the fault of the big name creator of said game. We all know about how hyped and underwhelming franchises like Epic Mickey and Fable have been, even if there were some cool ideas within both franchises. They just never delivered on what the developer or creator intended. In rare occurrences, a developer that has made mediocre games in the past will push their weight around and turn out a really good product. Many games I have reviewed like Syndicate were from companies that I liked, and made games that I enjoyed in the past. It is just a double-edged sword with this choice.

So, there is my list. Like I said, don’t take this list too seriously, since the topics I put up are always very subjective. It isn’t 100% accurate or correct, but it wouldn’t hurt for people to not get too caught up into the hype, and look for the signs or do some research on the game being developed. For me, I always like to look up and research everything about the game, like its developer, and see if they are going to release a demo of said game so I can give it a hands-on try. Feels good that I also have Gamefly to rent games that I know I have an iffy feeling about, or friends who not automatically knowing are the testing subject in buying a new game and see what they think about it. I will make sure to do a more positive list next time.