We have all played games that we consider to be perfect, ones that even with minor flaws, don’t ruin what you would consider to be perfect gaming experiences. However, we have also played games that we knew had the potential to be 10 out of 10, games of the year games, but just miss the mark either by an inch or a mile of being perfect. These are the games that I think missed the mark of being Triple A titles. They can still be fantastic games or they could be terrible games. They just needed the materials and mechanics to have been perfect games, but ultimately missed the mark. Again, they could be good games or bad games. I am also going to take the route of my previous Cream of the Crop list where the numbers won’t really matter here. These are just the games that missed the Triple A mark for me. I also haven’t played The Last of Us yet so that won’t be on the list.
1. Eternal Sonata
Here is a game I wished was just perfect. It has one of the most well thought out and unique stories in the RPG genre, a great action/turn-based combat system, beautiful graphics, and just downright stunning music. Where does this game fall flat and probably why is it we will not see a sequel? Pretty much how a lot of the design of the game was executed is why it’s being held back. The combat got faster paced as you leveled up your abilities, and that was part of the problem. You couldn’t take your time and then move to attack the enemies in battle. You just had to keep moving faster and faster and that gave me no time to calculate my plans. Another aspect that I didn’t care for was that early in the game there was a dungeon that was way too tedious. It was those little flaws that held back an otherwise great RPG.
2. Spec Ops: The Line
Talk about a game that does one thing better than its other comrades in the shooter genre, it tells a fantastic story. It was thought-provoking, dark, well told, Nolan North has one of his best performances in it, and it was a huge surprise, and is really the only reason to ever check out this game. The rest of the game however is why it is on this list and why I have talked about it in my review of the game. The third person shooting is just okay, the sand mechanic isn’t fully realized, and the multiplayer is just painfully tacked on. It is a shame this game is so okay, due to the amazing story, but the average gameplay mechanics hamper the experience. Maybe next time they cross the line, they will have equally good story telling and gameplay mechanics.
3. Suda 51 games
Talk about one of the more creative game designers around. Like I have said many times, his games are very creative and are fun experiences. However, a lot of poor game design bogs down the games. Most of the time, it is the camera, sometimes it is the controls, or maybe it’s just some of the characters or bosses are forgettable. I wish the substance that Suda 51 puts into his games matched the flash of it all because they are unique games. They don’t look like any other game, they don’t feel like any other game, and there is obviously an identity with each game that he makes. There just needs to be a bit more polishing to be done if Suda 51 wants to make his games match the million copies sold mark.
4. The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings
With the trailer and the announcement of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for next gen consoles, I thought I would talk about one of the better games from 2011 and its re-release in 2012. It definitely is a great game and one that you should check out if you have a Xbox 360 or PC. However, I did think it had some minor faults that kept it away from being the game of the year for me. The combat was still rather clunky. Even if it was better than the first game, the story got a bit boring for me, and there were a few minor things that kept it from being a game that I would highly recommend to everyone. It is still a fantastic game though and is worthwhile for any RPG fan
5. Bioshock Infinite
Oh, I am going to rustle some feathers with this choice. Everything within the game’s world, setting, characters, music, and tone is done wonderfully. It’s in the gameplay area where the game suffers. The gunplay is just okay and that isn’t a good thing when everything else in the game’s world is so good. They needed to make the shooting mechanics more dynamic and it would have been a perfect 10/10 game.
6. Kameo Elements of Power
This is basically Rare’s last attempt to give a hoot about how they make their games. The game had a lot of good things going for it along with that now-gone Rare charm. It however, was a cumbersome experience. Controls on the different elemental warriors weren’t that great, some bosses felt like an unfair challenge, and while there was SOME Rare charm implemented into the overall design of the game, it was basically what they had left before moving on with the Kinect Sports games. Oh, Rare of the past, we will miss you.
7. Adventure games
I am slowly getting into adventure games again, and I love what they usually offer. Good stories, good characters, great humor, and some interesting puzzles here and there. However, adventure games have a certain kind of issue that makes them such a niche genre in the first place. They have puzzles that don’t make sense, an extremely high difficulty setting at certain areas, unwinnable scenarios, and parts that stop the pace in its tracks. All these elements really do bring down the experience. I might be enjoying adventure games again, but if they keep having these issues, they will never be more than niche games in my book.
8. Fable series
Yeah, you probably can tell why this series is lowest on the list since, well, when has it ever been a Triple A franchise? This series had a lot going for it, but its creator and the developer just didn’t put enough into it. They would, for the most part, over-promise game mechanics and features that would be in the each entry in the franchise, but they never delivered on their promises. Even if they did deliver on one or two features, they were never as deep or as well thought out as they could have been. No matter what happens now with the franchise, it will never be as good as people want it to be.