It is once again time for the P2 crew to dish out those big awards at the end of an eventful year. As always the team can’t come to any sort of mutual agreement so we just let them pic their favourites to save the arguing. It is now time for the team to present the most dubious of honours, biggest disappointment.
The P2 Awards 2022 - Biggest Disappointment
Jess Zammit - Horse Tales: Emerald City Ranch
I can honestly say that this year there weren’t many gaming disappointments for me. There were some delays, sure, but they can just add to next year’s fun. But in the spirit of these end of year awards, I’ve chosen a game that came to me late in the year and stole a chunk of my heart, even if I wanted it to be more. Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch is a game full of potential – one that will keep horse girls enthralled, but that could have done so much more with the features it was working with. I genuinely hope that a bunch of patches come through that help this game live up to its potential, because it hurt me deeply that I couldn’t give it a high score after spending a bunch of hours with it. I honestly loved so much of what this game had to offer, I just wish it had been executed a little better – and hope it still will be, with some updates.
Paul James - Gotham Knights
So many people had their doubts, but I just didn’t buy into it. That first gameplay demo years ago had me hooked, and I had firmly believed in WB Montreal’s ability to pull it all together because I wasn’t a subscriber to the theory that Batman: Arkham Origins was such a step down compared to the Rocksteady games that others had espoused. I was also caught up in the Court Of Owls plotline and how that was something new for the games. When the game finally arrived though, the gameplay was repetitive and bland, the co-op being the only saving grace, but also something that the game would ignore once you entered a cutscene, and the Court Of Owls plot was fine at best. I enjoyed time with Gotham Knights, but not enough time, and I should have enjoyed it much more. All the pieces were there, but they couldn’t put them all together to form a cohesive whole.
Rob Caporetto - Gran Turismo 7
If I could be honest for a moment and say that just because something is a disappointment, it doesn’t mean it’s not a good game. Which is truly how I feel about Gran Turismo 7. I enjoyed my time with it – and it did so much right, from the visuals to its use of the DualSense controller.
Which is why calling it a disappointment stings. Sure, the racing feels great on the road, but it’s squeezed into a structure that discourages exploration. Whether it’s being forced to use a subset of the available cars for the sake of filling out its “menus” or being forced to tune your car up to the max in order to have a scrap of a chance in winning many of the later races.
It results in making the accomplishment of taking first place when starting at the back of the grid feel hollow. If only because it was less about demonstrating excellent racing skills, and more about just overpowering your rivals.
The result makes a game that is rather impressive from a technology standpoint, but from a mechanics one feels like it’s gone backwards from GT Sport, meaning once I’d cleared the “main” game, it didn’t give me enough to stick around.
Sarah Ellen - Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin
I wanted to love this game so much, but when I started it I truly felt that I had fallen into pure chaos. The inventory management system was a mess. The characters were as shallow as the trailers showed us. This is the first time that I have ever, EVER, lamented to graphics of a game (say it isn’t so in the Year of Our Deliverer the Playstation 5!). The Soul Burst and Soul Shield abilities were more difficult to understand than I had anticipated. I still have no idea if I can go back to it after several months of being away, and I am honestly not interested enough to do so.
(Look, I would have put Pokemon Scarlet here, but this game came out first so it just has to win because it’s older.)
Stephen del Prado - Horizon: Forbidden West
I would have said Sonic Frontiers, but there is no reality in which I had any expectations built up for that game, so the only true answer for me in 2022 is Horizon: Forbidden West. For whatever reason, despite completing both Horizon: Zero Dawn and its Frozen Wilds DLC, Forbidden West almost put me to sleep. The story didn’t grab me at all and after about five or so hours I dropped it completely with little desire to return. Maybe if I go back at some point, I’ll be able to dig down and discover what it is that made it fall so flat for me compared to its predecessor; the monotonous gameplay loop, combat that doesn’t click for me and a narrative that missed sinking its hooks in? Whatever the case, Forbidden West is the game I anticipated the most that failed to light a fire under me.
Shaun Nicholls - Gotham Knights
Look the storyline was fine, I actually enjoyed it even if I was surprised by the ending. Where there were issues throughout the rest of the game. The majority of the time in the game I was moving around the city and stopping crimes by the same gangs in the same places, all so I can level up and craft a shiny new suit that would soon be obsolete. What could have been a great co-op experience that was dulled down to two players only and just became a repetitive slog? Yes, I did finish it, and funnily enough by the time I got around to doing the final story missions I was way overpowered, but they could have taken so much of that junk out and still had a semi-decent game.
Matt Hewson - Lego Brawls
How does a game that I had no real expectations for still manage to disappoint? Well, in this case, it is because the concept is such a good one. Lego Smash Bros should be an easy win, I mean it is almost insane that it has taken this long for a Lego game to steal the concept. Alas, despite the promising premise, Lego Brawls swims in an ocean of mediocrity with shallow and uninspiring combat, no single-player modes, a lack of content and some dodgy netcode. The only redeeming feature is the very cool character creator mode, which is sadly hamstrung by the need to unlock bits and pieces through playing the game. I really do hope this isn’t the last time we see this concept, I mean just the idea of a Lego 4-player brawler seems like something that could be a blast, but with Lego Brawls fumbling the ball so badly, I wouldn’t be surprised if we never see that game come to light.