Top 5 Failed Game Concepts of 2007

2007 stands as a great year in video gaming. With so many blockbuster hits released for each system, the title “Game of the Year 2007” will be a title with a lot of competition. From Microsoft’s Bioshock, to Nintendo’s Super Mario Galaxy and even Sony’s Uncharted, every gamer should have quite a large Christmas list this year. However, 2007 also saw its fair share of conceptual flops. There were several games that had such an awesome concept, but ultimately just fell flat on their face in trying to deliver it. Keep in mind, thats not to say that these games were bad, per say, they just didn’t capitalize on the unique concept at the backbone of their creation. So without further ado, heres EXGN’s list of the Top 5 Failed Game Concepts of 2007.

5. Assassins Creed – PS3/XBox 360(Ubisoft Montreal)

From the developers behind the critically acclaimed Prince of Persia series, Assassins Creed promised to be one of the first true ‘next gen’ titles. With its go anywhere, climb everything gameplay, Assassins looked to be one the definitive action experience. Promising a great story line, a graphically rich world with real, bustling cities, and open ended gameplay that would create a new experience through each play through, Assassin’s Creed was easily one of the most anticipated titles of 2007.

However, when it was released last month, it ran into several criticisms. Assassins truly was a memorable experience through the first assassination, but after, fell subject of extremely repetitive gameplay. The gameplay mechanics often led the AI to act extremely dumb. For example, you can murder a guard in broad daylight and then assume the monk position, and another guard 5 feet away will ignore you. Once you unlock the parry skill, combat becomes excessively easy, with guards attacking you one at a time only to be cut down by the instant kill move. Finally, the game is host to a huge number some of the most annoying bugs and glitches seen in recent years. Also, Ubisoft needs to learn how to make an ending that can leave a game open to sequels, but still provide some player satisfaction.

4. Raw Danger – PS2(Irem)

Raw Danger is the sequel to Irem’s 2002 survival epic, Disaster Report. Finally released in the US close to 2 years after its release in Japan, Raw Danger promises a unique survival experience. Unlike other survival games, Raw Danger puts you in control of 6 different characters trying to escape a man made city succumbing to numerous natural disasters. There are no monsters or opponents, just man against mother nature. With some of the most epic sequences in recent gaming history, 6 playable characters, multiple endings, and varied gamplay, its hard to see how Raw Danger could possibly fail.

However, it does. Perhaps it was just too ambitious of a game to be done on the PS2 platform. To start, the production values of the game are just terrible. The graphics look like a launch title for the Dreamcast. The sound is reminiscent of something you would hear in a Sega CD game. The game itself ultimately boils down to a lot of trial and error. No thanks to the sluggish, unresponsive controls, its almost impossible to avoid a lot of the catastrophes the game puts you up against without knowing in advance where to run to or how to survive them. The gameplay is also subject to massive slowdown because of the large scale of the game. The game offers multiple endings, but you spend such a short amount of time with each character(there is even one character you play as for maybe a half hour, tops) that you ultimately just do not care about the characters or other outcomes. Conceptually, Raw Danger provides a much needed breath of fresh air, however, as a game, it really falls flat on its face.

3. Lair – PS3(Factor 5)

From the creative geniuses behind the impressive Rogue Squadron series, comes the next big concept gone wrong. Hyped for months before its release, Lair was to be the PS3’s first AAA title. Putting the player at the reins of a massive dragon, partaking in massive land and air battles, the game seemed to be on the right track. With Lair, boasting a huge, beautifully detailed world, rendered in full 1080p, stunning, uncompressed audio, and a self proclaimed riveting storyline, Factor 5 looked to have a sure fire epic masterpiece on its hands.

And in the beginning did, it did look like Lair would live up to its hype. About a month prior to its original August release, Play rated the game a solid 9/10. However, conflicting reviews soon came, starting with EGM, giving it a 3 lackluster ratings between 5-6/10 and culminating in IGN’s 4.9 rating, calling it “a mission worthy of swallowing the business end of a shotgun to avoid“. Reviewers across the board criticized Lair for its unintuitive controls and an faulty lock on targeting system. The controls were bad enough that Sony sent out walk throughs to reviewers telling them ‘how to play’ Lair. Combine this with the short 5-6 hour campaign mode, and little reason to replay it, and you have a game that sounded nothing short of breathtaking on the planning board turning into one of the largest flops of the year.

2. Vampire Rain – XBox 360(Artoon)

Developed by Sega legend Naoto Ōshima(Phantasy Star, Sonic the Hedgehog, NiGHTS into Dreams), this game was hyped in Japan as the game that would finally sell the 360. Combining elements from the survival horror and stealth action genres, Vampire Rain looked very promising. You play the member of a government black ops group, brought about to kill some vampires – whats not to like? The game also boasted some unique weaponry, such as a UV knife that would kill vampires in one hit. When the game released in Japan, it received a respectable review from Famitsu, a 30/40 – but thats where the good news ends.

The game put an extreme emphasis on stealth. Once your caught, you will almost certainly die. For a good chunk of the game, the player has no effective means of eliminating the vampires. Combine this with the fact that the vampires are fast and can kill a player in just a single hit and you have an obscenely frustrating game. The level design was extremely linear, the AI was cheap, the controls were bad, the game was overall just a huge train wreck. Vampire Rain averaged a dismal 39% on GameRankings.com – the 2nd worst 360 game released in 2007. How you can screw up a survival-horror/stealth action game with VAMPIRES this badly is just beyond me.

1. Sonic and Mario at the Olympic Games – Wii(Sega)

Gamers over the past 20 years have dreamed of Nintendo icon Mario facing off against his bitter long time rival from Sega, Sonic. In fact, when Sonic and Mario at the Olympics was first announced, many thought it was just an April Fools joke from Sega. However, it wasn’t and gamers old and young salivated at the prospect of Mario and Sonic finally being able to duke it out in a battle for supremacy. Mario and Sonic promised the excitement found in the party games such as Mario Party and an unparalleled sense of nostalgia.

Unfortunately, the game was developed by Sega. Nintendo obviously didn’t notice Sega’s track recent track record, which has developed the reputation for absolutely destroying any franchise it gets its mitts on, including this lovely title. The Olympic events were all entirely too similar, the motion controls were all extremely gimmicky, and the game had an infuriating problem sensing the motions performed by the player. One could only dream of what this game could have been if Nintendo had developed it instead of Sega… Instead, we have Sega’s craptastic game. Looks like we’ll have to wait for the release of Brawl before we can actually ENJOY pitting Mario and Sonic against each other.

And that concludes the Top 5 Failed Concepts of 2007. Remember these games are not necessarily bad. They had a promising concept, but just didn’t deliver it to its maximum potential.

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~ by exgn on December 19, 2007.

One Response to “Top 5 Failed Game Concepts of 2007”

  1. I don’t know which version of Assassins Creed you played, but I own the 360 version and there are no bugs or glitches that you speak of.
    I agree that the game was a letdown – due to a very shit storyline, and boring gameplay. But to say that it was buggy, when the game it’s not, is bad form.

    Also have you actually played Mario and Sonic?

    It quite easily the best Olympic games-ased title ever made. What would you prefer with controls, waving the controls (running), aiming with the wiimote while pulling back with the nunchuck (archery), moving the wiimote up and down and hitting a fast sequence of buttons (trampoline)…etc…
    OR would you prefer the traditional style of hit A+B as fast as possible on every single event – like all other Olympic games before.

    Also I think you misundrstood every Press Release Sega sent out about the game. You say the “Olympic events were all entirely too similar” -well that’s bevcause the idea is to make an Olympic games title. It was never meant to be like Mario Party, or Mario Kart. It was meant to have real life events, they said that all along. But they did add the Dream Events in too, to help anyone who wanted some more imaginative courses – I take it you didnt play them?

    It’s not the greatest game ever made. But it is a very fun game, especially in mutiplayer. It is also pretty challenging on some events.

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