It’s an unfortunate inevitability that not all games are created equal. Some titles blow people away and become recognised as global favourites, while others are resigned to history as awful disappointments, better to be forgotten. 2021 has been no exception, with a number of bangers that have entertained the masses throughout the year. Still, we’re here to talk about the most disappointing games of 2021.
The following aren’t all necessarily bad (though some really are), but in some way or another, these games have managed to be some kind of disappointment. We’ve even ranked them, so you can see for yourself how badly each one of these games left us feeling dejected. Here’s the most disappointing games of 2021 across PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, and Switch.
The Most Disappointing Games of 2021
Developer: Shedworks Publisher: Raw Fury Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S
Sable is far from a bad game, as there’s plenty of enjoyment to be found mounting your hoverbike and exploring the long-forgotten wastes for new masks, secrets and goodies, meeting a colourful cast of characters along the way. If you’re looking for a chilled out experience in the vein of Breath of the Wild, without the combat at least, Sable is a decent shout, but there’s a lot of issues to muddle through.
Despite being available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S and PC, the Xbox One version is far and away the inferior version, with the game running more like a slideshow than an actual functioning game. On top of that, the game’s filled with glitches. Some are less annoying, like certain musical flourishes triggering every 30 seconds regardless of what’s happening on screen, while others are a bit more infuriating. Trying to summon my bike only to have it never appear might have been the moment that killed my playthrough.
It’s a shame, but mileage may vary on how disappointing Sable is for you.
11. Jett: The Far Shore
Developer: Superbrothers, Pine Scented Software Publisher: Superbrothers, Pine Scented Software Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5
Another game that might be more your speed than it was others, Jett: The Far Shore sees you controlling a scout by the name of Mei as she explores a vast ocean planet. With the weight of your entire people on your shoulders, as they expect you to find somewhere worth inhabiting, the pressure begins to mount on Mei’s shoulders. Unfortunately, it translates into a game that’s more miss than hit.
Reading back the reviews from the game, Jett: The Far Shore disappointed a lot of people in different ways. Some felt that the game’s story was too heavy and fell a little bit too flat, while others felt that the game’s main shortcoming was the actual gameplay. Some found it too easy, or said that the mechanics were cumbersome and frustrating.
Either way, very few fully enjoyed their time with the game, leading to one of 2021’s big disappointments.
10. Aragami 2
Developer: Lince Works Publisher: Lince Works, Yooreka Studio Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, Switch
Seeing a sequel fail to live up to the standard set by the previous game is always a shame, and such is the fate that befell Aragami 2. The original game’s ninja stealth action allowed players to really immerse themselves in the role of an undead master assassin, so many were hopeful that the second entry would build on the original game’s success, and while there are some notable additions, Aragami 2 doesn’t cut the mustard.
On paper, Aragami 2 has a lot going for it, with a fully co-op campaign that can be completed with your friends, but thanks to boring and repetitive mission formulas, a lacklustre story and more glitches than you could easily excuse, Aragami 2 is a bit of a letdown.
The gameplay’s still fun, so you might find something to enjoy with this one, but for most players: you’ll probably want to steer clear.
9. Battlefield 2042
Developer: DICE Publisher: EA Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S
For some, the disappointment for Battlefield 2042 already started around the time that the game was first revealed, as EA and DICE broke the news that there would be no campaign of any kind, but now that Battlefield 2042 is out in the wild, that disappointment runs a little bit deeper. Forget the campaign, where’s the voice chat?
At the time of writing, Battlefield 2042 is only available to EA Play subscribers and those that ponied up the cash for one of the bigger editions of the game, but the state of the game right now is shoddy at best. Constant crashes, glitches and disconnects are making playing Battlefield 2042 online quite the miserable experience.
With a few updates and changes, Battlefield 2042 might be a contender for one of 2022’s best games, as it probably shouldn’t have launched this year.
8. King’s Bounty 2
Developer: 1C Publishing Publisher: Prime Matter Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
What’s worse than a sequel not living up to the impressive legacy of the original game? Having to wait 30 years for the sequel in the first place.
Such is the case with King’s Bounty 2, a direct sequel to the first game that launched in 1990. While there was a spin-off game in 2008, this is the first time that King’s Bounty has received a true follow-up, and if you’ve been waiting patiently for it, King’s Bounty 2 doesn’t live up to your expectations.
Perhaps King’s Bounty 2’s biggest sin is the fact that it’s an absolutely bog standard fantasy RPG, with the player taking on the role of a prisoner who’s pardoned by the king, only to be sent on an epic quest because they’re some prophesied savior. The rest of the game, from the graphics to the characters, are serviceable, but the whole game lacks an identifiable personality.
In the end, it’s just a bit dull.
Developer: Experiment 101 Publisher: THQ Nordic Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S
Ambition can be the mother of all disappointment, and Biomutant was nothing if not ambitious. A massive open world RPG from a largely untested indie game studio, Biomutant showed all the promise in the world before launch. Being able to play as a fluffy ball of murder who could tinker their abilities and skills along the way sounded like Pixar meets The Witcher, only with more guns and sci-fi bollocks.
The reality is that Biomutant tries to accomplish so much, but spreads itself thin to do so. The core combat is fun, but after a few hours, it begins to really grate. The story and open world activities are also less than stellar, essentially amounting to repeating the same couple of activities over and over again until the credits roll.
It’s a beautiful looking game, but it’s also not worth your time.
Developer: Glass Bottom Games, Plastic Fern Studios Publisher: Glass Bottom Games, Limited Run Games Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Switch
Another case of ambition being a detriment, SkateBIRD is undoubtedly a good idea. Being able to play as a bird performing some sick tricks on a wheeled plank of wood is so delightfully twee that you can’t help but find the concept charming. Yes, I would like to play a game like that, thank you for asking. It’s only when you start playing SkateBIRD that you realise that the idea can’t match up to reality.
While the story of birds trying to lift their owner’s spirits is certainly adorable, the core gameplay is so head-scratchingly annoying to play that you’ll never want to reach the end of SkateBIRD at all. Why bother playing a game like SkateBIRD when there’s plenty of other, better skateboarding games out there?
It’s definitely not the worst or most disappointing game ever made, but given the promise of the core concept, it’s not what it could have been.
5. Rust: Console Edition
Developer: Double Eleven, Facepunch Studios Publisher: Double Eleven Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S
It was a long time coming, but one of the most popular and enjoyable online survival games coming to consoles was cause for celebration. Rust had become incredibly popular on video streaming platforms over 2020 and 2021, so the timing was right for a console port to capitalise on the new wave of recognition, even though the game had been available on PC for the better part of a decade.
At launch, Rust: Console Edition was beset with a plague of issues, including but not limited to invisible enemies, input lag, freezes, crashes and a host of other problems. Double Eleven have been on top of the issues as best as they can be since the launch of the console version, but it’s been months and it feels like the console edition is still a pale imitation of Rust proper. It also doesn’t help that the console version of Rust is basically just the 2018 version of Rust on PC that launched into Early Access, missing a tonne of new content.
If you’ve got a PC, you’d be better off sticking with what already worked.
4. The Good Life
Developer: White Owls Publisher: White Owls, Playism, Active Gaming Media Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Life sims have become a much more prevalent genre over the past few years, but a life sim from the legendary developer SWERY alone has more potential than most. The developer behind Deadly Premonition and D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die, SWERY’s latest offering could have been a contender for his best work yet, and an all-time great life sim. It’s a shame then that The Good Life doesn’t have much of anything good.
Playing as a journalist called Naomi who travels to a small town in the UK’s Lake District, The Good Life could have been great. The murder mystery and ability to transform into a cat are tantalising elements on their own, but none of The Good Life’s various mechanics coalesce in a satisfying way.
With lacklustre performance, a town that’s frustrating to navigate and a general sense that The Good Life was made as a way to punish the player, and it’s hard not to be disappointed by that.
3. Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood
Developer: Cyanide Publisher: Nacon, Bigben Interactive Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S
Games set in the World of Darkness franchise aren’t exactly new, with Vampire: The Masquerade receiving ample support in recent years. However, this year saw the opportunity for the franchise to expand with Werewolf: The Apocalypse. Unfortunately, the game in question, Earthblood, will go down as one of the worst games of 2021.
The World of Darkness pitches werewolves as shapeshifters, meaning they can adopt a human, wolf or werewolf form, with each mode representing stealth, speed and strength respectively. All three modes in Werewolf are terrible, making the core gameplay experience a miserable one as a result.
Bad gameplay is one thing, but Werewolf is also cursed with a terrible story, so you’ll have no real motivation to play the game. World of Darkness has been represented by just vampires, so it would have been nice to see how the other half lives. This had the potential to be special, but the end result is incredibly disappointing.
2. Balan Wonderworld
Developer: Arzest, Square Enix Publisher: Square Enix Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, Switch
Ahh, the game whose demo gave me a migraine. A game making someone physically ill is all the proof you need to hear about it being quite crap, and Balan Wonderworld is more crap than most, which is a shame. Directed by Yuji Naka, the former head of Sonic Team, there was a hope that Balan would feel like a throwback 3D platformer in the best way possible, and the cheerful aesthetic won over many when Balan was first revealed.
Regrettably, the final product was a mess. Revolving around the use of costumes for abilities, players would find that the majority of costumes actually overlapped with each other, and that the fact taking damage meant losing your costume made the game more frustrating than it needed to be.
1. Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition
Developer: Grove Street Publisher: Rockstar Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, Switch
How do you manage to screw this one up so badly? An upgraded port of three PS2/original Xbox games should have been some easy money, but after the release of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition, a lot of people want that money back.
While the gameplay of these old GTA games might not have aged well anyway, there’s a bigger reason why these ports have been so disappointing. The levels of graphical issues, glitches and straight up awful looking character models, has left these classic games looking like shadows of their former selves.
People have been referring to GTA Trilogy as this year’s Cyberpunk 2077, but when you consider that Cyberpunk was an ambitious, modern open world RPG, there’s no shame in shooting for the moon and missing. The GTA Trilogy should have been an easy job, but it’s still a massive disappointment.
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