2019 may have had its fair share of great games, but it also had a number of duds. There were plenty of games we were excited to play this year that ultimately let us down, from uninspired sequels through to shockingly undercooked new IPs.
Game Revolution’s team of editors and writers played through a lot this year, and alongside picking our best games of 2019, we also butted heads in order to settle on our list of most disappointing games. With that being said, here are GR’s top 10 most disappointing games of 2019:
10. Team Sonic Racing
Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed was low-key one of the best arcade racers ever, arguably beating several Mario Karts to the post. Team Sonic Racing was an unexpected sequel, dropping the transforming vehicles in favor of team-based racing where players had to work as a cohesive unit to secure victory rather than just focusing on their own performance.
It was an interesting idea in theory, but it felt like a disappointment compared to the direction the series could have headed in. The “All-Stars” were dropped in favor of a bunch of Sonic characters, the boats and planes were completely removed, and the tracks were infinitely less memorable than in previous entries. Not a dud by any stretch of the imagination, but certainly not the hidden gem we were hoping for.
9. Layers of Fear 2
Bloober Team struck gold with the original Layers of Fear and the fantastic Observer, but its 2019 output was somehow a major decline in quality. Blair Witch was a laborious trudge through woods that failed to replicate the Outlast vibe it was going for, while Layers of Fear 2 was a complete misstep that left the player wandering down a series of dull hallways.
8. The Division 2
The Division 2 was more of the same, but for many, that wasn’t particularly good enough. The original game was an underwhelming loot shooter with a shoddy PvP component, while the follow-up was a safe improvement over that loot shooter with another poor PvP mode. It was certainly passable, but considering that many felt the first game was a missed opportunity, it was hoped that Ubisoft would do a lot more with its follow-up.
7. Jump Force
Combining several fan-favorite anime franchises into one fighting game, this highly-anticipated crossover was going to let fans duke it out with characters across franchises ranging from Dragon Ball to Naruto.
Unfortunately, the quality of the game did not match its premise. A terrible story failed to do much with its wide cast of characters, it was repetitive, and its terrible motion blur made us want to throw up while playing it.
6. Left Alive
Left Alive was the first Front Mission game since 2010’s Front Mission Evolved, and it’s difficult to see Square Enix giving this long-forgotten series another shot after its failed 2019 entry.
Left Alive was Square’s shot to bring this little-known series to the west, but it failed on all counts. The stealth game was released under the radar, presumably due to it being quite clear that it wasn’t worth shouting about, and everyone forgot about it almost as soon as it had arrived.
5. Life is Strange 2
Moving at a glacial pace, Life is Strange 2 chugged out episodes starting in September 2018 before concluding in December 2019. Diving headfirst into current politics, Dontnod Entertainment explored Donald Trump’s America, played from the perspective of an awkward teenager with even more awkward dialogue.
Dontnod struggled with its writing in the first Life is Strange, though these issues were magnified in its sequel. Though it certainly had its fans, Life is Strange 2 seemed to have much less of an impact than the original game, with its story slowly progressing across each episode and causing players to lose interest in the process.
4. The Walking Dead: The Final Season
Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead was once one of gaming’s best story-driven experiences, but much like the TV series, it eventually began shambling along like one of the undead. Telltale was facing much turmoil behind-the-scenes during its final season, with the studio being shuttered while developing its final entry in its most well-known series. Unfortunately, it felt like these changes were reflected by the quality of its last chapters.
With fans waiting with bated breath for the conclusion to Clementine’s story, its swansong did not meet expectations. The controversy surrounding Telltale’s closure was depressing enough, but that it was followed by a middling final episode in the developer’s breakout series made it doubly disappointing.
3. Crackdown 3
Xbox had a weird year in 2019. Xbox Game Pass is the most consumer-friendly service out there, offering a barrage of excellent games for a super low price, yet its number of exclusives were few and far between giving people little reason to actually pick up an Xbox One. Crackdown 3 was one of few exclusives that launched this year, and it landed with a thud.
Touted as pushing boundaries when it came to cloud computing on the Xbox One, Crackdown 3 was mostly overlooked by players and failed to set the sales charts alight. Despite its lengthy time in development, it didn’t elevate the series in any meaningful capacity, and did so little with star Terry Crews that it was practically criminal.
2. Pokemon Sword and Shield
Pokemon Sword and Shield were controversial before they had even launched, with longtime fans bemoaning “Dexit,” Game Freak’s decision to not include the National Pokedex in the first home console mainline Pokemon game. While that particular controversy got way out of hand, Sword and Shield were far from the big step-up in the series that many were hoping for.
Pokemon Sword and Shield felt like Game Freak going through the motions in a lot of ways. They had performance issues, some of their animations were sloppy, and they were surprisingly short given that they were Game Freak’s first crack at the home console whip. Pokemon fans expected a lot more, and they were left disappointed.
There can only be one winner in this year’s ‘most disappointing’ list, and that’s Anthem. BioWare was an unlikely candidate to develop a brand new co-op loot shooter, but the studio took on the gargantuan task and wound up producing 2019’s biggest flop in the process.
Anthem was an unmitigated failure, trying to transform players into Iron Man but forgetting to put anything interesting in the game after you’ve strapped on your metal suit. Taking the worst parts of the original Destiny at launch — repetitive missions, dull story, replaying content — Anthem did nothing to prove that it could be the next live service behemoth. With rumors suggesting that BioWare is planning a massive update for the game in the future, it’s uncertain if Anthem can pull of a No Man’s Sky-esque comeback, but as it stands this was a major stain on the company’s reputation.