IN PICTURES: Did the six most overhyped games of 2011 deliver?

We look at what we predicted to be six of 2011's biggest potential gaming disappointments and whether our predictions came true or not

  • [[xref:|What we said| Six overhyped 2011 games that probably won't deliver]]: “It's been a long time coming — almost 11 years have passed since Diablo II, and 15 years since the original, and both of these received universal critical acclaim. We're sure it will be excellent, but a long time has passed between drinks, and old memories are fond memories.” What others said: We kind of jumped the gun on this, as Diablo III is still not out. A beta of the game was released in September 2011, and the users who were fortunate to be invited to it and have been reporting positive things about it. While the game’s presentation has received extensive criticism in the past, gamers are showing more enthusiasm for the beta and what the final game may shape up to be. Our final verdict: While we are unable to provide a verdict on a game that is still in development, we expect Diablo III to be well received when it gets released. Tentatively, the game is coming out at the end of 2012, though it might get delayed “until it’s done.” StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty was a long time coming and disappointingly only came with one campaign, but the graphics and gameplay delivered in spades. Diablo III has the potential to do the same.
  • [[xref:|What we said| Six overhyped 2011 games that probably won't deliver]]: “We love driving games — they're almost as fun as getting out of your basement and actually driving a car. But we're not looking forward to Driver: San Francisco, to be honest. There's a simple reason for this — since the original, the Driver series of games has seen a slow but consistent slump in quality.” What others said: Despite the franchise getting worse with every installment, Driver: San Francisco surprised even the most hardened critic when it came out in September 2011. Gone were the gimmicks and poorly implemented gameplay mechanics of past games, and instead gamers were presented with a high polished and enjoyable driving experience set in San Francisco. The game scored approximately 80 per cent across all three platforms on Metacritic, while users scored it a bit more conservatively between 6.5 to 7.5. Our final verdict: While it’s true that the past games in the series have been consistently underwhelming, Driver: San Francisco was a refreshing reboot to the franchise. The graphics and voice acting was top notch, and the new mechanic of teleporting between cars took the gameplay in a new direction. While the vehicle controls were a bit loose and arcadey, the large amount of licensed real world vehicles made up for it.
  • [[xref:|What we said| Six overhyped 2011 games that probably won't deliver]]: “Ever since the game's announcement, we've been bombarded with LA Noire marketing material: screenshots, trailers, concept art... it seems like every day there's something new coming out. And you know what they say — once bitten, twice shy: after the intense disappointment that was Mafia 2, we're no longer confident any new guns-'n'-gangsters game can stand up to our fond memories of the original Mafia.” What others said: The long wait behind L.A. Noire paid off in glowing reviews following its release in May 2011. Like with Heavy Rain that came out a year earlier, players appreciated the mature story telling and characterization that came together into a highly immersive gaming experience. The game scored 89 per cent for the original console releases and 83 per cent for the later PC release, while user scores are between 7.3 and 7.6. Our final verdict: L.A. Noire was a highly satisfying game experience that fully delivered on its promise, though it is kind of shame that it was in development for such a long time. Many were quick to praise the MotionScan technology used in the game to convey facial expressions of characters, but the real stars of the game were the excellent voice acting and authentic looking representation of post-war Los Angeles. While on some levels interactivity in the game was limited, the well plotted story and characterisation compensated for it.
  • [[xref:|What we said| Six overhyped 2011 games that probably won't deliver]]:: “We know it's not made by the same folks who took care of Star Wars: Galaxies, but we still know you're being set up for disappointment here. Yep, mostly you'll be crafting and farming and grinding, just like every other MMO out there.” What others said: Star Wars: The Old Republic was met with nothing but positive reviews when it was released in December 2011. The character building and tight role playing gameplay was praised, despite the fact that the game took the same route as many MMOs and forced the player to do grinding. It currently holds a 85 per cent score on Metacritic, though the low 5.7 user score is due to half as many gamers liking the game as they hate it. Our final verdict: While the game saw release in major markets in 2011, it was only released in Australia at the beginning of March, so whether we once again jumped the gun with this release is up for debate. While Star Wars: The Old Republic does not revolutionise the MMO genre, it is still a very enjoyable game overall that solves a lot of the issues people had with Star Wars: Galaxies in the past.
  • [[xref:|What we said| Six overhyped 2011 games that probably won't deliver]]: “Now that it's being tailored for consoles as well as PCs, and it's getting the mass-market treatment, we think Portal 2 is going to be dumbed down and cutesier than the original. Don't get us wrong, we'll play it, but we just think it's going to be aimed at the kiddy, easy-to-play market.” What others said: After Portal 2 was released in April 2011, it met great acclaim and gaming reviews were unanimously positive. The game currently holds a 95 per cent positive score on Metacritic over all three platforms it was released on, with user reviews slightly behind at 81 per cent. There were no real complains about the game being “dumbed down” or “cutesier” than the original. Our final verdict: The original Portal was a fun diversion when it originally came out of nowhere in 2007 as part of The Orange Box compilation. The sequel retailed the graphics, gameplay and odd charm of the first game, and ramped it up with more intricate levels and puzzles. While the coop mode was a bit of a bore, the definite highlights were comedian Stephen Merchant voicing the A.I. Wheatley and J. K. Simmons as the voice of Aperture Science CEO Cave Johnson.
  • [[xref:|What we said| Six overhyped 2011 games that probably won't deliver]]:: “It's got a distinguished predecessor in Duke Nukem 3D (that's not to mention the original platformers), and we've been waiting, oh, fifteen years now? Nothing can be as good as Duke will have to be to please everyone after such a long delay.” What others said: Despite developer 3D Realms going into administration, renowned developer Gearbox pulled Duke Nukem Forever out of the ashes and published it in June 2011. Unfortunately, the game was unanimously met with a bad reviews and consumer reception on its release. While there were some interesting touches in some parts of the game, the poor graphics, long load times and uninspired gameplay meant that the game ultimately disappointed. The average Metacritic score for the game on all three platforms ranged between 49 to 54 per cent, and user score ranged from 4.3 to 5.8. Our final verdict: While we tried to approach the game with an open mind, Duke Nukem Forever was a really bad game overall. While many people were quick to point that the game suffered from 3D Realms’ mismanagement of the game, any hopes that the Gearbox developed DLC for the game, Duke Nukem Forever: The Doctor Who Cloned Me would be better turned out to be misguided. It was just as bad, if not worse, than the actual game, causing us to speculate whether Duke Nukem Forever is a broken product through and through.
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