Even As a Series Fan, 'Dynasty Warriors 9' Is a Unique Disappointment

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Hey y'all, let's keep DW9 convo over HERE. Today's question is: What's your biggest gaming disappointment? What were you really looking forward to that turned out sour?
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/evmppn/even-as-a-series-fan-dynasty-warriors-9-is-a-unique-dissapointment

To this day, Oblivion is like ashes in my mouth and I can’t play much of it. Morrowind was a mind-altering game for me, and to go from the weird, wonderful world of Morrowind, a place with interesting faction dynamics both in terms of houses and guilds, to the bland-as-fuck Cyrodill was unbelievably jarring.

They made the magic less interesting, they removed a lot of the broken stuff that made that world so fun to play in, they added dumb as hell traps to try to spice up gameplay (but just made it annoying), and despite it looking technically better it was a nightmare of bloom and bad aesthetic choices. Morrowind’s story may not have been good but at least it was crazy, and didn’t make you repeat shit over and over like Oblivion did. Who thought that playing whack-a-mole with Oblivion gates to allow you to progress the story was a good idea?

I took a day off of work, bought a new graphics card, and got myself all lathered up in excitement for that game only for it to be boring. In some ways Skyrim fixed some of Obiivion’s issues but the game is still more Oblivion than Morrowind and that is something I find sad to this day.

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Bionic Commando (2009). Coming off the excellent remake of the NES game, Bionic Commando: ReArmed, I was confident the series was in good hands. The trailer kicked ass. I was ready for this game to be sooooo good. But it was miserable.

The swinging never felt good. The shooting was mediocre. And the story went full anime in a way that I was absolutely not into. Granted, I was in a very big anti-anime phase, and I might see it a little differently now, but I hated it with a passion. I was actively mad at Grin’s take on the universe and characters.

At least the soundtrack rocked…

Damnation. May 26, 2009. Game came out on my 14th birthday. It was either through G4 on tv, or IGN where I found about this game and got misled into the hype cycle that I was easily manipulated into for my early teens. A cyperpunk western game where you would parkour and shoot across open ended levels that were massive…and it was horrible. The controls, the visuals (mind you, I was on a PS3 but it probably doesn’t matter) and the story. Everything about it was horrendous. There were moments where I did not realize where I was in the real world while playin, because one minute I’ll be playing a level, and the next minute I am hearing my sister and her friend taking balloons and sucking up helium to talk funny. So I’ll be watching a cutscene with a horrible native american stereotype talking while also hearing my sister squeak from a balloon. It is all a haze. And then, every time the next level was shown, they would pan the camera to show how much you have to traverse. There was one moment where it did that that I groaned and nearly threw my controller at the screen. And finally, when I finally got to the boss that the story hyped up, it went right into a ditch. Because, when I actually took the last piece of health off him, the game crashed. For over 9 years, I have never knew how the game ended. Never watched a youtube clip, nor look up a guide. Nothing. I heard a rumor that when you defeat the boss, it goes straight to credits with no cutscene before it. It was one of the strangest moments of my life, and made me realize that games can be horrible and you should not rely on hype…and I played Haze and that was another story.

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Spore and it’s not even close. In fact, that might be the last game I really fell head over heels for the hype. I mean, Will Wright and Brian Eno are giving long talks about it. BRIAN ENO! It was supposed to be the apotheosis of my love of sandbox slamming into Wright’s “we design toys” ethos.

But something happened. It was just a game. And I don’t know if the marketing got out of control, if Wright got curtailed by an EA demanding more traditional structure, or what. It wasn’t bad, by any means, but it was never, ever what it could’ve been or what those early snippets showed.


Xenoblade Chronicles. I’d heard so much praise for it that I was excited about it more than the other two Operation Rainfall games, but quickly grew bored of the combat and hated that it set up the Monaco (or whatever that sword was called) as a built-in deus ex machina, only to then have it fail in order to fridge the first female party member and almost immediately pull a DEM to save the protagonist’s annoying friend.
I wound up hating it, and was really glad I was able to get back almost all the money I paid when I returned it.

Mass Effect: Andromeda. Need I go on? Even if the game was technically perfect it would have been a bland, nonsense journey that had none of the gravitas or wonder that came out of the original trilogy. That one will sting for a very long time

Zero Time Dilemma. I loved 999 and VLR, goofy and sometimes hard to sit through as they were, and I legitimately believed for a long time that the final game would never be made. Then it finally came, and it was a total slog. The puzzles were dull even before they started recycling them, the new characters were mostly boring to intolerable, it spent so much time acting like the player didn’t already understand the basic time travel conceits, and the overarching plot and twists did nothing for me. I put that game down and felt bad that I’d had any emotional investment in the series to begin with.

The Surge. It came out last year, shortly after the last DLC for Dark Souls III and I was coming to grips with the fact that there would be no more souls games. When I heard the pitch of The Surge, scifi souls with robots, I was in and I bought it the day it came out.
What makes The Surge so disappoint is that for a little while, they are absolutely nailing it. The combat was challenging but fair and the gameplay loop was really really fun. I was enjoying the story and the atmosphere and I made it well into the second area where the game rams up in difficulty. I beat the second boss (there are only five bosses) and was feeling pretty good about the game.
Enter Big SISTER, the third, and for me, final boss.
Big SISTER is a technological mess of arms, lazers and area of effect attacks.
One of the toughest enemies in the Souls series has always been the camera and the camera’s horrible qualities are on full display in this boss fight. Anywhere you try to lock-on feels wrong and will block your vision of one of of the many arms flailing around to get you.
I beat my head against this boss for about 5 hours before I just called the quits and gave up. I spoke to three of my friends who are also Souls enthusiasts and was shocked to learn that literally none of us had beaten this boss.
One day, when I’m feeling particularly masochistic, I might reinstall and give the game another try but I’ll never forget how bummed I was because it’s the first one of this type of games I’ve just straight up quit.

The first Gravity Rush embodies “short but sweet” with the comfortable world size, stellar soundtrack, the well-rounded suite of new abilities, and ending right on the narrative peak of the story. It’s one of the surprise games from the Vita era.

Gravity Rush 2 is dense with design bloat and feature creep. The world is way too big, the new forms make the gameplay feel unfocused, the human faction fundamentally did not fit with the game’s established combat mechanics, the boss fights are abysmal, and it just drags with a desperation to fit in every single thing the dev team likely wanted to do with the franchise. Also the music is just bland, the combat music pales in comparison to the first game’s fantastic version.

I wanted to like it real bad, but by the time I got to the sequence of tumbling clumsily through a rock passage with the camera violently swinging in all directions, I lost all confidence in the game’s direction.

Valkyria Revolution. They couldn’t decide whether they wanted an SRPG or full-on musou game so of course they tried to make both at the same time and made it all worse. The gameplay has some of the same elements of Valkyria Chronicles, like hiding in tall grass and behind cover, but it didn’t matter because most enemies could be defeated by just running up and swinging your giant sword at them until they died. The only exceptions being the bosses, who were only difficult sometimes because, aside from the grinding needed to make them take less than an hour-long effort, you couldn’t make your teammates not stand in the Glowing Circles of Doom before they got crushed under the leg of a mecha-scorpion and you had to rush in and revive them.

Combined with cutscenes that would repeat story points that were already mentioned in previous scenes (sometimes seconds apart!), consecutive loading screens I hadn’t seen since Sonic 2006, framerate choking because they tried to make the game work on both Vita and PS4, and characters I can barely remember (the grumbly leader, the snooty rich guy, the drunk guy, the girl who barely wore clothes for some reason, the timid boy, and the others), I made it about halfway through the story before moving on to a game I actually liked. Meanwhile, VR already dropped below $10 on Amazon and it’s now treated as an “Add-On Item” (at least the PS4 edition). I feel sorry for the dumbasses who pre-ordered the game sight-unseen like me.

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What’s your biggest gaming disappointment?

Currently, GTA Online. I’m held hostage to the game by having friends that love it and me wanting to play games with them, but with every update they just make the experience worse and worse. Right now we’re getting through the new heist and it’s just a damn chore. They’ve tied so many things to public missions and overall it feels rushed. And the shame is that there still is a core to that multiplayer mode that is wonderful shenanigans with friends in private sessions. Everything built around that is the worst grind.

What were you really looking forward to that turned out sour?

Kingdom Come: Deliverance. It sounds like it could really be something up my alley, but on top of the lukewarm reception, the public facing creator of the game is such a vile man, I’m turned off giving it a chance now.

Mercenaries 2 (2008) - The first Mercenaries was one of my favorite games growing up. Technical limitations aside, it set up a fun sandbox to blow stuff up in increasingly creative ways.

I remember getting the game and not getting to play it for awhile because of Hurricane Gustav knocking out power for a week or two. When I finally got to jump in, it just didn’t feel right. The new map was huge and gorgeous, but I wasn’t enjoying it. Mechanically, adding another resource (oil) needed for airstrikes and drops slowed down my usage of them because I always needed to check if I had enough oil reserves. Also, they added a QTE mini-game for some of the airstrikes which killed whatever desire I had left to using the airstrikes. I ended up rarely using any air strikes, mostly relying on vehicle drops, which really cut down on the “have fun your own way” aspect that drew me to the series initially.

Of course, Pandemic closed and the series is probably dead forever. GR: Wildlands looked like a decent replacement, but I can’t buy that game on principle.


Dragon Age: Inquisition. I know it has its fans, and I’ll at least stipulate that the companions were mostly a great group of characters, but playing that game just broke any affection I had for the series or the world: Corypheus was both inscrutable and disappointing, the maps were too massive and too full of inconsequential junk (which you couldn’t skip because that reset the banter timer), and even things that felt like they should be hugely significant - finally meeting the famous Celene, Hawke coming back, the complete destruction of the Grey Wardens by way of Reaper Indoctrination - just registered like boxes being ticked off. Even if EA weren’t guaranteed to screw up a fourth game the way they did Andromeda, I doubt I’d come back again.


Just Cause 3. All the gifs and videos youtubers were putting out made the game look amazing, then when I bought it I realized the game needed about twice the recommended amount of RAM in order in order to not constantly stutter.

Coincidentally that was also the day I discovered you should never use grey market Steam key sellers.

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This isn’t my biggest disappointment, but since someone already mentioned Dragon Age Inquisition I have to find something new. so:

I think Doki Doki Literature Club is mediocre as hell. Everything people thought was really subversive was stuff I’d seen in a lot of places before, and I know, people come to these things in different orders and with different experiences but from my perspective as a pretty long time fan of this genre of horror anime I wasn’t really seeing anything new. How it pulls that moe-to-horror left turn was stuff I’d seen in anime for sure (see Higurashi or Alien 9 or Madoka Magica) and I just think I saw it coming. When you talk to Sayori about her depression, I was immediately saying “oh shit this game is going to go there, huh?” and it sort of ruined it for me. I spent the rest of the game knowing it was going to get increasingly uncomfortable and I could predict how and it lost all its tension. It felt like I was being forced to look at things for the shock value. That said, this is incredibly personal and I do really appreciate that DDLC is a lot of peoples first look at this kind of stuff. I like when people get into things and work backwards and find a thread when something in a genre goes “mainstream”, for want of a better term.

I still think people should play that game. Theres a lot I think is really interesting about it, particularly how it handles saving and it’s game files (though none of that is exactly new either) and I think Natsuki is probably the best character in that game and the scenes with her a for sure worth seeing (especially as shit gets increasingly off the rails). I just didn’t buy into the subversion.

I’ll chime in to say ME: Andromeda as well. I wanted to like it so bad, the ME series has been one of my favorites since I first played through the whole thing about 4 years ago. I was so excited to dive back into a beautiful, grand space adventure with all my pals and discover all the mysteries of a whole new galaxy. Instead I got… just a bunch of mediocre garbage. Everything felt like a pale imitation of the ME series and was just wrong in a way I still can’t put into words articulately.

Also I don’t think anyone’s mentioned Destiny 2 yet so I’ll throw that into the ring. I played the original for well over 1,000 hours so maybe I was burnt out on Destiny beforehand, but I just couldn’t keep myself playing past a certain point. Once I’d beaten the raid a few times and realized the only thing worth playing for was fancy looking armor and weapons that weren’t better or even different than the stuff I’d been using for dozens of hours already I just put it down and never got the urge to pick it back up.

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In my younger days, I was soooo looking forward to Fahrenheit (or Indigo Prophecy). What David Cage was saying in interviews was exactly what I wanted at the time (to a large extent I still do), and the demo (which contains probably the best scene in the game) didn’t let me down. As a poor teenager I didn’t buy any games day 1, but made an exception for that one and… put it down pretty quickly. Didn’t even finish it until a few years later. A couple of great scenes aside (I liked the claustrophobic scene when Carla is in the archives a lot, even though nothing happens in it), everything was just so stock in it.

Ugh, yeah. I backed this day 1 on Kickstarter, but Vavra turned me right off on it once he showed his GG ass. I know one man didn’t create the entire game but goddamn Christ that stink shouldn’t just be washed off.

I was also looking forward to this a lot, but yeah. There is some good stuff in it, but I finished it with an overwhelming feeling of disappointment in how they mismanaged Akane and recycled a bad plot point as if it were something fresh.

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Fallout 3. I had hope. I don’t know why I had hope, but I had hope.

Then Fallout 4. I had hope. I don’t know why I had hope, but I had hope.

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The moments in between the words “Quake” and “Quake Champions” showing up on that DOS prompt that Bethesda opened that conference with, or the moment I learned that Breath of the Wild was an open world game.

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