Thursday, September 22, 2022

A Disappointing Time For Games...Is It Just Me?


I feel like lately, especially from 2021 to 2022 I haven't really been quite impressed with a lot of video games there has been to offer. 2022 has certainly as well been a very quiet year with a lot of hits or misses, mostly misses. Recently, a new Nintendo Direct occurred back in early September and there was hardly any news of any major frontline games for Switch besides the exciting Pikmin 4, and remasters of Kirby's Adventure Wii and Kirby Return to Dreamland, but they're not coming out until early 2023. 

Certainly i'm sure the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic has made an impact to a lot of game development delays and cancellations. Let's start off with the first offender.

Halo Infinite (2021)

Probably the biggest offender (or one of them, wait i'm not done yet) on this list i'm sure everybody will agree with me here is Halo Infinite. Released in December 2021 after a rocky start due to graphical issues and other problems. This game was supposed to be 343 Industries' biggest claim to fame. After a botched Halo 5: Guardians back in 2015, which was recieved with disappointing reviews to both fans and critics. When the game was eventually released in December 2021, half of it was missing. There was no online co-op in Single Player mode which disappointed many old school fans, causing them to refuse to play the game in general. Now with the cancellation of several other previously promised additionssuch as split screen multiplayer (which was a big promise at launch). The reception to Halo Infinite has been so bad the Head of 343 Industries has left the company
Halo Infinite's long list of problems include a lack of online multiplayer compared to Halo Master Chief Collection, a dull and grinding campaign mode, no online co-op for single player multiplayer and most unlockable cosmetics hidden behind a pay wall which has caused outrage amongst many fans, understandably.
The game is so bad, there are currently discussions of should 343 Industries continue to be the main game developer for Halo after so many botched releases.

I have Halo Infinite. I played the story mode back in December and it was average. I think the only thing I liked about it was the grappling hook. I was disappointed with the online multiplayer as it did not have anywhere near anything as big as the game modes from MCC. There was nothing memorable about it. It was all just a big mess. 

Sonic Colours Ultimate (2021)

Sonic Colours Ultimate was a remastered port of the 2010 Wii game, Sonic Colors. The game itself is one that Sonic fans either love or hate, but agree that it's highly overrated as a whole. I think it's not Sonic's best game, with cringe-worthy dialogue and very short and unmemorable stages that were almost all automatic. It felt like a serious downgrade from 2008's Sonic Unleashed, which was more adventure-type based that I enjoyed more. Though Colors does have some upsides, I don't think it's the greatest Sonic game ever. People were interested to see what SCU would offer as it hit modern consoles in 2021. Developed by Blind Squirrel Entertainment who made the Mass Effect Trilogy remasters. This had fans worried, due to the state of the previous game. Poor old Sonic can't catch a break from rushed releases, and there were already problems with Sonic Colors Ultimate upon release. There were way too many glitches, graphical errors and other visual and mechanical problems. In total, it was a huge mess. Sega and Blind Squirrel promised to patch the game and to fix everything up over a long period of time, but in the end they only provided 3 small updates during the end of 2021, leaving the game in a state of unfinished mess and the future updates now seem abandoned. 

I have Sonic Colours Ultimate and can agree I was disappointed in the state of it since it's first release. While the overall visuals in 4K look nice, the technical problems, bugs and overall underwhelming remixed soundtrack makes me want to enjoy Sonic Colors Ultimate less.

Kirby And The Forgotten Land (2022)

I feel like i'm going to get attacked for this one. Released in March 2022, it was to be Kirby's first ever 3D Adventure and of course I was very excited about it, being a massive Kirby fan. But i'm an old school Kirby fan who prefers the 2D Platformers. So a 3D Kirby game was going to be something I would have needed to get used too. However upon the release and when I bought the game and played it for a while, I was starting to get disappointed. It's basically Mario Odyssey but Kirby. The level designs are really bland and boring with some unrelated catchy music playing in the background. Kirby hardly ever speaks or makes noise at all. After a while the levels feel the same. It's not 3rd person 3D , but mostly top down 3D. In fact I hate it how the camera keeps changing. It starts from proper 3D and changes to top down 3D and then goes to 2.5D.
The gameplay is repetitive and not as exciting or fun as Kirby Star Allies, a game on Switch I absolutely loved. You have to go around and find all the lost Waddle Dees in the levels. After a while this gets to become a bit boring. You're forced to backtrack to find Waddle Dees to help you progress to the next part of the map. The power ups feel uninventive and weird. Why does Kirby need to turn into a car? Why does he need to turn into a staircase? He can do without that nonsense and just use his power ups.
Maybe I need to give this game a second chance but for the first few times left a bad taste in my mouth. Pun intended. 

Gran Turismo 7 (2022)

Where do I start with this absolute trainwreck. Gran Turismo 7 was supported by much hype both from Playstation and GT fans, I love a good old Gran Turismo game. I still play Sport, whihc was probably the last good modern Gran Turismo game ever released. But then we had this. Where do I start!
Well first off, after a long period of delays GT7 finally was released in March 2022. I paid $150 AUD for the 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition steelbook. A few days later, Sony roll out the dreaded update that prevents so called "Cheating" and adds in more Microtransactions. The game went down for 24 hours (though I didn't play it at this time) and it always needs an online connection even for single players. 
While the overall graphics are nice to look at that's it basically. The menus are boring and I really hate the Cafe feature. Cafes are popular in Japan but they shouldn't be for a racing game. The characters that talk to you are just stock images of  random people but with no voices. You don't unlock everything straight away. To unlock further tracks you need to get more 'Menus' unlocked from the cafe by completing certain tasks. This really doens't belong in a GT game! You are not allowed to freely try each track with any car. You have to be required to keep changing your tyres and engine specs, sometimes the game prevents you from loading a track if you're not with a required car. 
You can't trade or sell cars yet despite this being a promised feature in the game. Sony actually apologized to fans about all of the updates that lowered Credits and encouraged Grinding that they gave everybody a million credits for the game. It was not enough for me to keep going back to it.
Also the AI is really bad and even on easy mode, they all zoom out in front of you and is difficult to catch up leading to frustration no matter what car you're in.
Music Rally, a new feature is ok but feels like a showcase feature for Sony to copyright claim anybody who streams it.
There are still many issues with GT7 that haven't been resolved. I haven't played it for over 5 months. Last time I did I uninstalled it.

Sonic Origins (2022)

                                                                Give us yer money, kids!

Sonic Origins was probably to me the biggest disappointment of 2022. Even many friends were shocked to hear me say "Sonic" and "Sucks" in the same sentance from this game. 
After a rocky start, Origins was supposed to be released in 2021. It featured new emulation rather than using an old port, and the old games were to be in 16:9 Widescreen for the first time, which seemed to be really cool. 
Sadly, Sonic Origins is just another "Classic Sonic collection" of the first 3 games and Sonic & Knuckles. Boring, we already have these games released on much better collections, such as Sonic Mega Collection, Sonic Jam, Sonic Classics Collection DS, etc.  
However there were other parts of the game that interested me.
I liked the aspect of 16:9 widescreen and the mission mode. I thought all of the unlockables and stuff were really boring and not very interesting. There wasn't really a proper museum with videos of past Sonic clips , trailers, or whatever like Mega Collection had. The backgrounds were boring and felt stock imagey. 
Co-developed by Headcannon, another game developer i've never heard of like Blind Squirrel. The problem is, with these 'remasters' Sega are outsourcing developers who never really worked with or cared about Sonic before which is why they often end up being a big mess like 2021's Sonic Colours Ultimate.
I was hoping for a Mania-inspired remaster of Sonic 1,2, 3, and Sonic & Knuckles but no. Unfortunately it was just the same games. Some of them feel very strange in Widescreen. The music is unmastered, in fact they just used CD rips of the Sonic the Hedgehog 1 & 2 soundtrack for the first 2  games. The entire soundtrack to the game is in mono. 
There are many bugs and glitches in Sonic Origins that many people, even myself has found. The remasters are in a huge unfinished mess even making Headcannon lead Simon Thomley publicly criticize the state of the game claiming that they had a short time schedule despite a delay a year previously.

Oh and don't get me started with those terrible remixed Sonic 3 songs. With Jun Senoue announced to be working on 'remastered audio for Sonic 3' I knew I wasn't going to expect much. Sorry, Jun. You don't work well with 2D games at all. Just have a look at how disappointing the Sonic 4 soundtracks was, for example.

So far. despite Sega announcing further patches and fixes for Sonic Origins, there have only been about 2 small patch fixes and nothing else. The game now seems abandoned. Maybe Simon should have stayed quiet. Boo!

Kao The Kangaroo (2022)

I was surprised at a reboot of Kao The Kangaroo being announced and I was looking forward to playing it. However upon launch it had a really big problem....there was no save feature!!!!
The devs released the game without a save feature. I was always trying to figure out why I had to keep on starting the game again every time until I found out online.
This kind of problem should not happen with modern games. The game itself was recieved with lukewarm or mixed reviews. Personally I thought it was OK, but the combat  was a bit repetitive after a while. However, since then a patch to add save features has been added in. I would give this game a second chance, though. But what kind of person forgets to add a save feature. 

Splatoon 3 (2022)

I'm sad to see even more disappointing releases in 2022 especially from major developers. This time it's with the most recently released Splatoon 3 from Nintendo. When the game came out it was riddled with connection errors online, no matter how good of an internet connection you have, you'd still get errors. To progress you have to play online. It was discovered that this was indeed Nintendo's problem as it was one of Nintendo's best selling games within a decade and over 3 million players on launch would lock up the game. However, this is unacceptable for Nintendo's Online Service  to have this many problems. Xbox Live can feature many millions of players and go off without a hitch. The lobby in Splatoon 3 is also bad, no where near as good as Splatoon 2's. Actually, I was getting so many communication errors and kicked out of so many games on Splatoon 3 that I decided to try Splatoon 2 again and I played it fine. Many people around the world (not just Australia) reported these connection issues. Streamers tried and failed to connect to the game on the first week. Although Nintendo are working on patches to fix these errors, they really should have not happened at all in the first place. 
During the few online matches I could get into, I think I could only complete 2 matches for about a week on launch, and if i'd win often the game would disconnect. I believe rage quitters were also a problem because i'd splat someone and they'd die and suddenly the game would disconnect us all. So if you've got a disconnect the whole team also disconnects. If you disconnect too many times Nintendo will send you a warning about disconnecting too much and not being able to play online for a while whether it's your fault or not. It's also always not fair to be facing agaisnt level 99 Japanese guys while your team finds it impossible to catch up.
So during this time I decided to try adventure mode which pretty much to me seemed like Super Mario Sunshine. The story mode levels began to get a bit repetitive. There is too much yellow in this game also. 
'Little Buddy' was a cool but useless feature. When I got kicked out of my latest online game I lost my Story Mode data. I tried one more time to connect and was on the winning team but the game disconnected at 1 second left. So I ended up just throwing this game out and cancelling my Nintendo Switch Online subscription.

Splatoon 3 has many other problems but to me it feels like too much of the same game from Splatoon 2 and Splatoon 1. I did find Splatoon 2 to be the better game, however. Give Splatoon 3 a miss. 

Are you as disappointed as I am with a lot of games released recently? Or are there any I missed? Let me know in the comments!

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