The 2021 Player 2 Awards - Biggest Disappointment
Paul Jams - Grand Theft Auto Trilogy
Rockstar. How did you mess this up? It should have been guaranteed cash, and guaranteed goodwill, but instead you opted to shit this one out, clearly not give the game the QA time it required and were then suitably smashed for it. GTA Trilogy will probably be among the games I enjoy the most in 2022, but right now, in its year of release – It’s just a turd
Chris Lawn - The Industry's Upper Management
We’ve known for a long time that game development, particularly at much larger studios, really f***ing sucks. Crazy levels of crunch with no real benefit, leading to increased levels of burnout; harassment from fans, coworkers and bosses alike; families destroyed because the content machine must keep churning. To top it all off, upper management at so many of these companies just… don’t give a s***.
Activision Blizzard. Ubisoft. Playstation. Riot. Fullbright. Discrimination, sexual harassment, protecting offenders over victims. These are just some of the publicly known ones, let alone the ones we don’t. I’d be lying if I said “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed” – I’m both. Get your damn s*** together, all of you. It’s actually not that hard to be a decent person.
Do better, or leave.
Dylan Burns - Deathloop
While I admire its bravery and vision, I failed to connect with Deathloop. I kinda enjoyed the first few rounds, while the story was unfolding and new areas of each map needed exploring, but once I realised that Julianna invasions are a real pain (not to mention 90% buggy), and that the daft NPC AI results in completely meaningless combat – well, I quickly fell off wanting to play Deathloop at all.
I found myself becoming frustrated with the spread-out threads, uncertain what I would need to replay again, and just tired of running the same few routes over and over. Once you discover a good one, there’s no need for changing up. And stealth is not worth pursuing because you can run rings around enemies without issue.
Add to this the thoroughly confusing infusion of guns and perks and then accidentally selling ones you didn’t mean to. Throw in a bunch of bugs, freezes and crashes – and, yeah, sorry Arkane, but I’ve already deleted Deathloop from my console.
The music is pretty good, though.
Rob Caporetto - The Shadow of Crypto
There’s a lot to be disappointed about gaming-wise in 2021, but what ultimately stands out the most for me is the increased push in trying to make Cryptocurrencies & NFTs a thing in games.
The balance between creative expression and the need to earn money to keep a studio afloat is challenging enough at the best of times, but there are ways that are not only less damaging to the environment, but far more honest as well.
We’ve seen far too many projects this year where their creators have been less interested in creating playable experiences, and more about ripping unsuspecting folks off.
But it goes further than that.
We’ve got projects which are throwing them without any real benefit, and with plenty of confusion for potential punters.
I’m sure that if 2022 brought us way fewer of these projects, then I’d not be alone in taking a huge, huge sigh of relief. One signifying that this wasteful trend is on its way out for sure.
Matt Hewson - NBA 2K22
I love basketball. My family is right into it, my kids play it and we go to see the Mighty Illawarra Hawks (this is their year) as often as possible. So it is no surprise that I like the NBA 2K series.
But this year, that like turned to pain. A convoluted, over-commercialised campaign, a boring, empty and glitchy city, painful voice acting and gameplay issues that have been present for too many years now meant that 2K22 was nothing but a massive letdown.
NBA 2K is in drastic need of a refresh and that has never been more evident than in this year’s release, but sadly that won’t happen while it is still selling squillions of copies every release. The once genre-leading sports title has let me and every fan down, let’s hope that changes for 2K23
Stephen del Prado - No Next Gen Cyberpunk
Given the shredding the console versions of Cyberpunk received at the tail end of 2020, I decided to hold off until CD Projekt Red had been able to launch a proper ‘next-gen’ version of the title, something I would have expected less than a year after it’s initial launch. While performance is apparently enhanced compared to the PS4 and Xbox One – not surprising given the technological leap to the PS5 and Xbox Series X – it still doesn’t feel like the right time to invest in an experience that won’t come close to that available on PC. CDPR has promised the situation will be remedied by the end of Q1 2022, but I’ve been burned by their mistruths before. All hyperbole aside, I really do want to experience Cyberpunk 2077 myself and not just rely on the opinions of others, so if CDPR can come good on their promise, early 2022 should see me finally spin up a disc I’ve had sitting on my shelf since November last year. And if all else fails, they can probably win me back with an updated Witcher 3 – a game that will be 7 years old when it is updated for next-gen consoles and truly begs the question, what the heck did CDPR management do with all that time?