The hype train is all too real, and its sweet promises see even the most skeptical and guarded climbing aboard for a pre-release ride. Here, our critics share a moment from 2015 when they rode such hopeful rails, only for the whole procession to plunge into the gorge of unmet expectations and burn with the hot fires of disappointment, the salve of public shaming their only respite.


ADAM GOODALL

Fallout Shelter
I know what I was expecting from Fallout Shelter, a free-to-play companion app that riffs on Tiny Tower: a dystopian SimTower (I love SimTower) that satirised the contradictions of optimism and nihilism in nuclear-age rhetoric, as Fallout has done in the past. Instead, I got Bunker Advertisement Simulator 1955, a game that thought recreation of an aesthetic was akin to commenting on it and that let me get wildly overpowered before an update decided that was maybe not a good thing. It was repetitive and shallow and said nothing interesting about its subject. As mindless as it gets.


TOBY BERGER

The Order: 1886
From a wavering look, The Order: 1886 may have been quite a decent title, especially given Ready at Dawn’s rock-solid track record. However, just five to six hours of game time, an uninspiring story, and an awfully half-assed ending left me in complete and utter disappointment as the credits rolled. Here’s hoping the eventual sequel can live up to The Order’s true potential.


BEN ALLAN

Evolve
So much pre-release material. Pretty great world building and character design. Dynamic basic concept. And so very, very much of running around the jungle after the monster and doing nothing for 10 minutes at a stretch. Did multiplayer servers ever depopulate faster? Hey gaming industry, maybe there's still actually a big chunk of us campaign-loving filthy casuals out here.


DANIEL RUTLEDGE

Evolve
Evolve had so much potential, and the preview sessions I had were immensely fun. The concept of four-versus-one gameplay, with cool as alien monsters; it seemed like perfect execution of a simple idea, like Left 4 Dead before it. But when it was released, the balance seemed off, and playing with Joe-public online just didn't quite work. Then, like so many multiplayer-only games, just a few measly months after release you couldn't play the thing at all – unless you use bots instead of humans, defeating the whole purpose.


TIM STANTON

F1 2015
I'd been out of the F1 racing scene for a while, but when it was announced that Codies was going to be dropping a new F1 game complete with a brand new engine I was pretty damn excited. After all, a couple of months earlier they had blown my socks off with their Early-access Dirt: Rally. Surely this would be just as good right? Not even close - it had the makings of a great game somewhere in there but the performance issues and massive content cuts put paid to my high expectations. Maybe next year they'll get it right.


CHRIS BROWN

Might and Magic Heroes VII, Armikrog
This is a tie between two games, as both of these games suffer from feeling rushed and unfinished, and both fail to live up to their legacy. Unpolished, broken, and both suffering from a slew of presentation, design, and implementation issues.


SYED MAHIR HUSSAIN

Trine 3
After the first two amazing titles swept us away, Trine 3 was sadly a complete let-down. The new 3D world ironically feels a lot emptier and less detailed, and the 3D platforming is unwieldy. The removal of the skill tree makes the gameplay feel monotonous after a while, which is surprising considering its abruptly short playtime. And finally, the online co-op is buggy as all hell, making it unplayable and forcing you to only play local. While it has decent visuals and the great voice-acting and soundtrack I’ve come to expect from the series, these just aren’t enough to make up for its flaws. Frozenbyte did release a video apologizing and explaining what went wrong, so here’s to hoping they can recover from this.


MATT MAGUIRE

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
Wolfenstein expansion The Old Blood picks up a bit of steam in its last couple of hours, but its first half is incredibly slow and repetitive – something not helped by some dull level design. It isn’t a terrible expansion by any means, and it’s not even close to being the worst thing I played this year (hi The Order: 1886!), but it was definitely a downer when compared to the fantastic core Wolfenstein game of 2014.