Opinion: The year in review – gaming’s biggest disappointments

2015 has come and gone in a blur, and in the world of video games, it‘s been a mixed bag. There have been several major sequels, a smattering of new IPs and some major disappointments. 2015 has been good in parts, yes, but a lot of big-name games have left me feeling cold. If anything, they‘re symptomatic of a rising trend in the industry: developers are playing it safe.

The Witcher 3, Bloodborne and Fallout 4 prove that AAA video games are still alive and well, but the vast majority of titles this year have struck me as listless and uninspired.

Are developers scared to take risks? Perhaps, but a lack of character in these games is hard to forgive. Below, I list my 5 biggest disappointments of 2015.

Disagree with my choices? Sound off in the comments below.


  1. Halo 5

Sure, Halo 5 might not be bad. But is it disappointing? Of course. Arriving in October this year, and billed as the Xbox‘s saviour, Halo 5 is missing something.

Yes, it looks and runs a treat, but where’s the spark? For fans who fondly remember the heart and soul of the earliest iterations of Halo, 5 is mechanical and soulless, with a campaign to match.

If you‘re looking for some fun online, Halo 5 might scratch that particular itch. But as an entry in one of the revered franchises in gaming, it goes down as a disappointment.


  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops III

Guess what 2015 brought? Another Call of Duty: the twelfth entry in twelve years.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t even bother putting Call of Duty on a list like this (it’s the same game every year, after all), but enough is enough ““ when are we going to get something new?

Today, the story is about the super soldiers of the future, but it might as well be the same game as the 2003 original, Call of Duty. The window dressing has changed, but little else has progressed.

There’s talent and creativity at the heart of this series – and money too – but every year it goes to waste. When are we going to get more than turret sequences and linear corridors? When will there be scope for decision-making, difficult choices and genuine exploration?

It’s hard to escape the reality that Activision wishes they were making a movie instead.


  1. Star Wars Battlefront

I had high hopes for Battlefront, but as it turns out, DICE was unable to deliver on the promise.

Star Wars fans will love the graphics and the authentic atmosphere, but in every other department, this is a shallow experience.

The game tries to appeal to every inclination, and never ends up actually finding its groove.

It’s a shame, because Battlefront has bags of potential. But as the long-awaited follow-up to one of gaming’s greats, it’s a major letdown.


  1. Need for Speed

Let’s face it, reboots are in vogue. As good ideas become harder to come by, it’s far easier to take an established franchise, leave it off the shelves for a year and strip it off its number. Yep, we’re back to Need for Speed 1, but does it work? No.

An open-world racer for kids with slow-slung jeans and caps backward, the new Need for Speed is full of sazz and grit“¦ but no bite.

It serves up the open world of Ventura Bay, a slice of urban tarmac devoid of any interesting sights. At the face of it, Need for Speed is an arcade racer without the thrills. Know what the worst part is, though? It‘s always online.


  1. The Order: 1886

The biggest letdown of 2015 is an elaborate tech demo masquerading as a game. As a demonstration of the PS4‘s power, The Order: 1886 succeeds in spades. But as an actual challenge, it‘s non-existent.

The Order is symptomatic of the industry’s recent obsession with cinematic gaming. At every turn, The Order tries to play like a scripted Hollywood film, right down to the 21:9 aspect ratio. But the problem with a game trying to be a movie is that it leaves no room for unpredictability, choice, or any of the myriad characteristics that makes games so fun.

Billed as the PS4‘s defining exclusive, The Order is a bore, and never lets go of your hand the entire run time.


I love corridor shooters as much as the next person, but I’m tired of playing the same game every year. We deserve better, and the incredible success of a series like Dark Souls is proof that gamers have the appetite for a challenge. It’s time developers took a step back and began challenging themselves. For the industry at large, that could only be a good thing.