The hype for 2019’s biggest titles reached a boiling point with this year’s releases, but not every game made a mark. While these five titles were far from the worst this year had to offer, they were also considerable disappointments that left us feeling hollow once all was said and done.
5 Biggest Disappointments of 2019
Mario Kart Tour
The idea of a Mario Kart game on iPhone and Android devices seems like a stroke of absolute genius. The idea of reaching a far greater audience and pairing it with one of Nintendo’s most popular IPs should have been a slam dunk. However, the end result failed to meet expectations.
The stripped-down controls to better suit touchscreen devices is just the start; the monetization borders on the egregious, with a staggering $4.99 per month and Rubies aggressively demanding real world money every step of the way. The gacha-style play is a stain on Mario Kart’s legacy, and has proven to be the weakest entry in the series by a country mile.
Yu Suzuki’s Shenmue III has had 18 years of anticipation behind it, along with countless fans (and backers) eager to learn more about the latest chapter of Ryo Hazuki’s life. However, the final release’s stilted voice acting, poor graphics, countless fetch quests, and plodding pace failed to live up to the immeasurable hype. Those who carry a torch for the series may claim that these are all hallmarks of the series since its debut in 2000 on the Dreamcast, but it doesn’t quite meet the sensibilities of a modern-day release.
You can read our review of Shenmue III here.
A series with roots back in the Xbox 360 days, the announcement of Crackdown 3 at E3 2014 was something on the radar of countless open world fans. However, not even the inclusion of Terry Crews as Commander Issiah Jaxon could remedy the troubled development of this title.
Crackdown 3 just simply played things too safe by not doing anything new. The lack of focus, along with its poor graphics and by-the-books gameplay simply failed to revolutionize the genre. We feel that The Verge summed it up best by calling it “the Netflix Original of games.”
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint
The eleventh installment in the franchise, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint promised four playable classes, along with tactical shooting in the open world environment of Auroa. However, the final release was a buggy mess, described by critics like VG247 as a “miserable experience.” The same reviewer lists bland areas, pointless cutscenes, and truly unfair mission failure conditions as other bullet points, which no developer would ever want to put on their box art.
The disappointing sales of this title were most certainly seen by Ubisoft, with the developer delaying Watch Dogs: Legion, Gods & Monsters and Rainbow Six Quarantine in response. After this title, it’s probably for the best.
The folks at BioWare just can’t catch a break. After 2017’s Mass Effect Andromeda met with mediocre reviews (we gave it a 60/100), general manager for the studio Casey Hudson stated that its reaction by critics and fans was a “defining moment in refocusing BioWare’s mission.”
However, the studio’s planned return to form Anthem was anything but, with the PlayStation 4 version currently sitting at 54 on Metacritic. Basic missions, a poor communication system, bland loot, and a myriad of other half-baked ideas led to an underdeveloped mess that failed to meet expectations.
Recent rumors state that the studio is planning to redesign the game – time will tell if a redemption arc is in the works for this title.