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Biggest gaming disappointments of 2021

As we are leaving 2021 behind, it's time to look back and see what were the biggest disappointments in the video game industry.
Biggest gaming disappointments of 2021
Disappointments - life is full of them, and no one likes to be on their receiving end and when it comes to video games, unfortunately, 2021 has had no shortage of letdowns, both big and small.

The industry is still struggling with the conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and everything that has come with it, while many of the biggest publishers are under fire as more and more stories of toxic working environments and questionable business practices are coming to light.

This was also the first "next-gen" year, with both the release of the Xbox X/S and PlayStation 5, so naturally, expectations were high but in the end it left much to be desired.

So, without further ado, let's check out what were the biggest gaming disappointments in 2021.

Biomutant

Biggest gaming disappointments in 2021
Biomutant failed to live up to expectations. (Picture: THQ Nordic)

Biomutant was one of those games that looked like it ticked all the boxes for a classic indie title that will leave players talking about it for years.

It boasted intriguing and colourful anthropomorphic characters, a distinctive post-apocalyptic open-world universe filled with mutated animals that have developed their own societies and cultures, and an RPG system focused on martial arts - particularly Kung Fu. And all that packed in an appealing visual style.

Yet, the game was one thing in theory but another in reality with Biomutant being a buggy mess with overly simplified gameplay mechanics, shallow and yawn-inducing main story, and some strange and rather outdated design choices, which ultimately made the overall experience worse.

The game wasn't without its charm, but it could have been so much more.

Chip shortage

Biggest gaming disappointments in 2021
Better graphics cards still cost a small fortune, if you are even able to find them anywhere. (Picture: NVIDIA)

A few years ago, when GPU prices skyrocketed due to the rise of crypto mining, experts in the field predicted that the market would "soon" stabilise. But then the pandemic happened in early 2020 and production of just about everything slowed down and semi-conductor chips, vital for GPU production, was no different.

Early predictions in 2020 claimed that prices would start falling in "spring 2021" but 2021 is rapidly disappearing and GPU prices are still astronomical, that is if you can even purchase the one you want. The same goes for next-gen consoles, which are also suffering due to chip shortages and scalpers who use bots to buy consoles and sell them on at huge mark-ups.

All in all, the situation looks bleak for anyone who wants to buy a new gaming PC for a reasonable price with the latest reports claiming that low stock and high prices will last well into 2023 for GPUs, consoles, and many other gadgets.

Battlefield 2042

Biggest gaming disappointments in 2021
Battlefield 2042 is one of the lowest-rated Battlefield games of all time. (Picture: EA)

After Battlefield V, EA decided to skip a year in their development cycle for the Battlefield franchise in order to give DICE, the developers behind the famed series, enough time to work on a new Battlefield game.

News that the game would not feature a single-player campaign was already a big red flag, and as DICE started revealing more details (such as the new Specialist system) fear amongst fans grew greater still.

And then the game came out and most of those fears turned out to be valid. Aside from the disastrous launch with its countless bugs, server issues and the overall poor state of the game, the community quickly discovered that many beloved features are not even present in the game, such as the classic scoreboard, server browser, and voice chat

Gunplay was also bad, maps felt too big, and the tone of the game (cheesy character taunts, ridiculous skins, etc) didn't feel in line with the gloomy dystopian future in which the game is set.

There's hope that the game will be saved with Season 1, but DICE will need to put in a lot of work in order to achieve that.

The lack of next-gen games

Biggest gaming disappointments in 2021
Forza Horizon 5 is one of the visually most-impressive games of 2021, but it still lacks the level of detail we expect from a next-gen game. (Picture: Microsoft)

More than a year has passed since the launch of the Xbox Series X and the PS5, and yet 2021 doesn't really feel like a year of next-gen games.

We've seen the insane capabilities of the Unreal 5 engine and the level of photorealism it is capable of, but the first few flagship games of the next-gen consoles are far from that level of fidelity.

Don't get us wrong, titles like Returnal, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Forza Horizon 5, and Halo Infinite are all fantastic games that look great, but they are simply not a big enough departure from what has come before to be labelled 'next-gen', they feel more like transitional titles between the old and new generation of consoles.

The only real next-gen game, or rather "experience", was The Matrix Awakens demo, which showcased the possibilities of Unreal Engine 5. The impressive level of fidelity in that demo is something we want soon to become the new norm in games.

Even the biggest console-exclusive games for 2022, such are Horizon Forbidden West and God of War: Ragnarok will be released on both the PS5 and the PS4, which will prevent them from utilising the full potential of the PS5's hardware. Thankfully, Senua's Saga: Hellblade II looks like the first proper next-gen game, and we can't wait to see more gameplay from it.

 

Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - Definitive Edition

Biggest gaming disappointments in 2021
A picture is worth a thousand words. (Picture: Rockstar)

We thought no one could possibly do a worse job with a remaster than what Blizzard did with Warcraft 3: Reforged, but Rockstar managed to overshadow them with GTA: The Trilogy.

The news that remasters of some of the most popular games of all time are coming was well-received. Breathing new life into three seminal GTA games - Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - sounded like a great way to bring these classics to modern systems and introduce them to new generations. But very soon after The Trilogy was released, it become obvious that the grand theft going on was from our wallets.

From the removal of iconic songs and cheats, to countless bugs and ridiculous 3D models, The Trilogy looked more like a downgrade of the originals, rather than an improvement.

The fiasco eventually led to Rockstar apologising to fans and promising to put more time into The Trilogy. Improvements have been made but it should have never have got to this.

And there you have it, these are our five biggest gaming disappointments of 2021. Sure, we could make this list even longer, as there's never a lack of things that have let us down, but we consider these five to be the biggest.

Honourable mentions are reserved for the lack of the 4K "Switch Pro" console, the worrisome attempts to push NFTs into mainstream gaming, and my personal - King’s Bounty 2.

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