Getting hyped for games is great, sometimes I actually think I have more fun waiting for games to come out than I actually have playing them. I know, it's a sickness, I'm getting help. But sometimes I'm not alone. Sometimes games that, by every right should be amazing are... less than. This isn't totally a list of terrible games (dodged a bullet there, Duke Nukem), but a list of games that didn't live up to what they could or should have been, because sometimes a good game can be far more disappointing than a bad one you kind of expected would be bad anyway.
A brand new IP from the guys who made Psychonauts and Grim Fandango, and it's based on my favorite genre of music, how could things possibly go wrong? Sadly, shallow gameplay kept Brutal Legend from living up to all of its potential. It's tough to look back at a game with such style and humor and call it a disappointment, but it had some giant shoes to fill. That said, I hope that Double Fine revisits the IP; there aren't many game worlds quite as interesting as the Metal world of Brutal Legend.
I'm not usually a member of the "PC master race", nor do I believe that console gaming is hurting PC gaming in general, but it's hard to deny that in the case of Dragon Age II. Dragon Age Origins was a delight on the PC, with slightly-less-than-equal console ports. For the sequel the developers tried to even things out, but by doing so they took away what made the original so great. Lifeless settings and the removal of any strategy from the battle system killed a promising series for many fans. This is one of those cases where trying to make the game equal for everyone only made it worse.
For many gamers, Warren Spector is a god among men, and for damn good reason. So when Epic Mickey was announced with Spector at the helm, and the promise of meaningful player choices in a macabre Disney world, it seemed just crazy enough to work. Wonky camera controls and annoying platforming gameplay ruined what could have been an amazing experience and one of the best games based off of an already established IP. Here's hoping the impending Epic Mickey 2 matches nifty presentation with some tight controls.
Unlike the rest of the games on this list, Kinect Star Wars isn't a disappointment because of the developer's legacy or because it's part of a long standing series known for exceptional quality, but just because of the promise that the general concept held. How could you be a Star Wars fan and not have high hopes for a game that promises to finally put you in the role of a jedi with lightsaber in hand. It really could have been such an amazing experience, but it turned out to be a small collection of mini-games with a Dance Central look-a-like being the real stand out. Oh, what could have been; guess I'll just go play "I'm a Princess in a battle" again while I cry myself to sleep.
When the lead developer leaves a team you can't help but wonder if development will be able to carry on. Ninja Gaiden 3 showed that Team Ninja is in quite a bit of trouble with Itagaki gone. Neutered difficulty and imprecise gameplay made the usual flaws of the series that much more obvious and secured the worst reviews the series has ever seen. One can only hope that Ninja Gaiden sees a return to form in its next entry.
Level 5 has grown to one of the biggest developers and publishers in Japan, and it's been supremely successful with the Professor Layton series, but there was a time when their forte wasn't puzzling professors. The Dark Cloud series and Dragon Quest VIII were both good reasons to be excited for Level 5's first PS3 JRPG, but things didn't turn out like fans hoped. Georama was a fun system, but the moment to moment battle system was plodding and slow, and the story made us cringe more than laugh. White Knight Chronicles was so disappointing that is actually gives us pause for thought when getting hyped for Ni no Kuni. Let's just hope that those beautiful Studio Ghibli visuals don't get ruined by some similar flaws.