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Biggest Video Game Disappointments of 2019

In a video game year that wasn’t exactly the best of the decade, there was no shortage of disappointments to shake your head at.

That might sound incredibly negative, but the truth is that you’ve got to take the good with the bad. It’s just that when it comes to 2019, there seemed to be no shortage of disappointments to go around.

What were the worst of the worst, though? Opinions will certainly vary on that topic, but these struck us as the biggest video game disappointments of 2019.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Fall Short

For years, gamers waited for a “proper” console Pokemon adventure. It felt like a can’t miss prospect. Take everything that made the mobile Pokemon games great and expand it using the power of the Switch. What could go wrong?

Well, it turns out that quite a bit can go wrong, especially when you think that’s all you need for a great console Pokemon game. Sword and Shield’s shorthanded Pokedex is one thing, but its the game’s lazy feature list and iffy animations/design that make it such a missed opportunity.

Google Stadia’s Botched Launch

You may have not been rooting for Stadia, but we should all be rooting for innovations in cloud gaming. The technology is almost certainly the future of the medium.

That makes it that much sadder that Google Stadia launched not only as an incomplete service but a disappointing piece of technology. Many figured that there would be little incentive to switch to Stadi if you had other options, but the fact that Stadia barely worked as a piece of technology soured the very idea of cloud gaming.

The Stadia team has a lot of problems to solve heading into 2020.

Anthem…Just Everything Anthem

It’s really hard to boil this down into any one thing. So, we’re just going to say that everything about Anthem was disappointing.

A rough launch, incomplete gameplay mechanics, a bad story, and a lack of updates really “highlight” the year that Anthem has had. It’s almost impossible to imagine how BioWare will ever be able to turn this mess around, but they sadly seem committed to tending to its grave.

Fallout 76 Continues to Fail

Technically, Fallout 76 was a 2018 disappointment. However, the continued failures of the game make it one of the most disappointing experiences of 2019 as well.

The biggest problem with Fallout 76 is that Bethesda has actually made a few good decisions in regards to updates. Sadly, none of those decisions make Fallout 76 a “good” game, and Bethesda’s decision to hide necessary in-game features behind a substantial pay wall ranks among the worst decisions of the year from a consumer standpoint.

Days Gone Is Just Another Game

There’s a…vocal community out there of…crazy people who passionately defend Days Gone against those mean old video game critics out there. To be fair, there are elements of the game that fall into the “so bad, they’re good” territory.

However, so much of Day’s Gone feels like yet another modern Triple-A experience. From its open-world that’s larger than it is interesting to its half-baked survival mechanics, so much of Days Gone feels hopelessly generic. It’s one of the most disappointing PS4 exclusives so far.

Crackdown 3 Wasn’t Worth the Wait

The above headline is putting it mildly, but it’s safe to say that Crackdown 3 wasn’t worth the wait.

Actually, the “wait” is kind of the bigger issue here. After years of anticipation, we got a version of Crackdown 3 that felt like it could have been released about a year or so after the second game. It felt like there was no effort to modernize the Crackdown experience or even just fix some of the things that were wrong with the game all those years ago.

Kingdom Hearts 3 is Just OK

Kingdom Hearts 3 isn’t really a bad game, but it’s not exactly controversial to refer to it as a controversial or disappointing game.

Kingdom Hearts 3 is another example of a disappointing third installment that felt like it wasn’t actually in development for years. The game felt watered-down in many ways, and even some of the series’ most “timeless” elements revealed their age due to how few positive additions this long-awaited sequel actually enjoyed. This felt like the least that Square Enix could do, and it was sometimes even worse than that.

Epic (and Others) Continue to Split the PC Gaming Landscape

There’s no shortage of opinions on this topic, but the one thing that’s becoming clear is that the PC gaming landscape is becoming more split than ever before.

With Epic and others releasing their own launchers (and even hoarding exclusives), it’s becoming more difficult than ever to simply find all of your games in one place. There are clear advantages to this approach, but at the moment, the PC store scene is a bit of a mess.

Matthew Byrd

Matthew Byrd covers the gaming industry including indies, consoles, PCs, iOS and Android apps, as well as topics related to entertainment and technology.