There has been no shortage of amazing games that launched in 2019. The remake of Resident Evil 2 kicked things off on a high note and players continued to get great experiences month after month from there. Devil May Cry 5 helped revived the franchise, The Outer Worlds returned Obsidian into RPG glory, Nintendo had another solid year, and the Indie scene kept knocking out hit after hit.
However, the year also feature plenty of titles that just couldn't live up to their snazzy marketing trailers. More than a few of the following games were some which held a ton of promise and ultimately fell short of expectations at launch. Here are the 10 most disappointing games of 2019.
Arguably the biggest and most high profile disappointment in 2019 is BioWare's once highly anticipated live service looter shooter, Anthem. On paper, this title seemed like a surefire winner, combining the popular looter shooter genre with a customizable class based system that players could switch between as they wanted while also featuring the storytelling chops of BioWare.
Unfortunately, what fans received was a far cry from that debut E3 trailer. Anthem largely failed to live up to the initial promises due to lackluster mission designs, a lack of interesting and meaningful loot, post-launch plans that were pretty much scrapped, and a myriad of bugs that marred the experience following its launch. Things haven't gotten much better as 2019 rolled on as key members of the team either left the company entirely or moved on to different projects.
As fans learned, the big reason for how Anthem ultimately arrived was due to the turbulent development cycle. While the game was technically in development for 7 years, the game itself didn't enter production until 18 months before it launched causing plenty of crunch and rushed work to meet deadlines. Poor communication, a lack of decision making, and an unhealthy belief in BioWare magic ultimately sunk the game.
The latest entry in the fan favorite franchise, where players are encouraged to cause chaos, is another example of what happens when a development cycle goes bad. Originally announced back in 2014 and then revealed a year later with original creator Dave Jones, Microsoft showed off a game that utilized cloud computing to speed up rendering and physics modeling to craft a truly destructible city.
That dream would never be realized. Crackdown 3 went on to suffer multiple delays and actually lost multiple developers including the likes of Cloudgine, Regeant Games, and the aforementioned Dave Jones. The entire load of work then entirely shifted to Sumo Digital with only a year left to finish and launch the game. The final product, while it retained the familiar gameplay from the previous games, but didn't do much else to further advance the franchise forward. The graphical style and most mechanics never advanced much from the first game that launched 12 years earlier.
While Rage 2 had all the elements that make up a good game, the end product left many critics and players underwhelmed. It's not that Rage 2 is a bad game, there a certainly good moments to be had including the combat system, but it's just that the game never really does anything to stand out from the crowd. It's unfortunate too as Rage 2 was a combined effort from two great developers in id Software and Avalanche Studios.
One of the biggest issues is that the story and characters that inhabit the world are largely uninspired and lack personality. The world itself, while open, also lacks any personality and is instead fairly barren with minor tasks like taking over buildings from enemies that feel like they've been copied from the countless other open world games. Coupled with the technical issues and bugs, Rage 2 is a fine game that just isn't very memorable in the end.
Designed as a stand-alone spin off to the popular FPS series, Wolfenstein Youngblood missed the mark in a number of crucial areas. Largely due to being able to tackle any mission in any order, the story is fairly minimal outside of the fact that players control B.J. Blazkowicz's twin daughters who are out to rescue dear old dad from the Nazis.
At launch, the game was filled with technical issues and bugs, hampering or outright preventing players from experiencing the game. The matchmaking didn't seem to take into account player level or the mission, so it was possible two very different players would be paired up. In addition, the difficulty seemed tuned to two players, making it overly difficult for solo players especially with a hostile checkpoint system that doesn't always revive players back in a decent location.
For most players, the biggest issue is one that is typical with Bethesda: microtransactions. Similar to Fallout 76, Youngblood features heavy microtransactions, introducing three different in-game currencies to muddle the upgrade system further.
For most fans, Jump Force is the result of what happens when a company over hypes the end product and then doesn't deliver to fan expectations. On paper, Jump Force looked to be an anime fan's dream, bringing a ton of major Shonen Jump franchises together like Dragon Ball, Bleach, Naruto, One Piece, and plenty more.
As exciting as it sounded, the final product suffered from a lousy story, huge load times, a hub world with little personality, and an unbalanced roster of characters to pick from. While new characters have since been added and the long loading times have been patched, many of the original issues with the game remain in place.
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint
Before it launched, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint looked to take the formula established within its predecessor and iterating on it by giving fans a compelling villain on a diverse map filled with new survival style techniques. Unfortunately, what players got was a game that feels largely the same with a disappointing story, rife with technical issues, and mechanics that pull from other games but don't do anything to elevate them in any way. It also shipped with microtransactions that felt very heavy handed.
Since it released, the game has largely failed to sell and even pushed Ubisoft to admit that it is delaying upcoming games due to Breakpoint's launch. Things have gone so far off the rails that Ubisoft effectively announced that it will be overhauling the entire game in an effort to turn it around. Outside of fixing bugs and adding more content, Ubisoft hasn't outlined what else it plans to do.
Far Cry: New Dawn
Similar to Wolfenstein Youngblood, Far Cry: New Dawn attempted to subtly evolve out of the game before it. Even though this one is set 17 years after Far Cry 5, much of the game was simply reused and recycled from its predecessor. Billed as a new title, Far Cry: New Dawn felt like more of a budget version of Far Cry 5 for better or for worse, though it did move away from the darker story line to introduce more comical elements.
Far Cry: New Dawn follows the established Far Cry 3 formula by introducing an open map and a psychotic villain to hunt down. In this case, however, twin sisters Mickey and Lou can't quite reach the highs set by pirate lord Vaas Montenegro or the twisted fanaticism of the Seed family. It seems fans agreed as New Dawn did not sell well for Ubisoft, lagging far behind other games in the franchise like Far Cry 5 and even Far Cry Primal.
The Surge 2
Full disclosure, The Surge 2 is an improvement over its predecessor in nearly every way. However, the main issue is that. ultimately, The Surge 2 never quite reaches the level of other games that inspired it in the first place.
The Surge 2 is a Souls style experience, making it a tougher experience with huge bosses and slower paced combat. Locking on to an enemy is a critical component and in The Surge 2, it is a mechanic that struggles to work effectively, especially when facing multiple opponents. The problem is magnified due to the fact that players need to target specific limbs to cut off gear and use it. Bugs and technical issues are also a problem including clipping through the world, getting stuck on objects, and the jump button occasionally doesn't want to work.
The Shenmue franchise was largely viewed as a cult classic Sega Dreamcast series that many felt ended much too soon due to Sega getting out of the hardware business. At E3 2016, fans were overjoyed to see series creator Yu Suzuki announce a Kickstarter for the third entry in the series. After multiple delays and a Epic Games exclusive deal controversy for PC players, Shenmue 3 released at long last in November 2019.
Reviews have been largely mixed. While this game may satisfy longtime fans of the series, it may also alienate newer players due to the fact that it has largely ignored most innovations and trends to games over the past 18 years. It retains that slower pace and dialogue heavy adventure. It features plenty of grindy elements, many of which are required to improve the player's character and like Crackdown 3, doesn't do anything to advance the series forward into modern times.
In the end, Shenmue 3 feels more like a time capsule into a different age, which may disappoint those who were hoping for an evolution of the franchise.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
The Ultimate Alliance series carries a lot of weight with fans and when The Black Order was announced, people got excited about the franchise's long awaited return. A first for the series, Nintendo is publishing instead of Activision, which also made it a Switch exclusive.
While retaining the top down dungeon crawler style gameplay from its predecessors, The Black Order unfortunately has numerous issues which ultimately prevented it from reaching fans high expectations. The camera could be finicky, zooming in at inopportune times or actively hiding enemies off screen. In addition, the combat itself has seemingly been watered down and encouraging players to switch to new unlocked characters since they're much higher level.
Worse yet, instead of attempting to tell an original story like the first Ultimate Alliance, The Black Order decides to take place in its own universe and cover story lines from the Marvel Cinematic Universe like Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet.