If you're reading this, chances are you already know the debacle CD Projekt Red has been under, thanks to the disappointing release of Cyberpunk 2077. This is after eight long years and three delays! Although it's working pretty fine on rigged-out gaming PCs, it's console players who have been suffering, especially those with current-gen hardware which CDPR's CEO claimed last month to be running "surprisingly good, I would say, for such a huge world", not to mention that many promised features didn't even make the final cut. The writer thinks that statement actually meant "shocked that the game even runs at all".
Anyway, to celebrate(?) the dumpster fire that is Cyberpunk 2077, we figured what better way to lick our wounds than to reminisce the times other AAA games disappointed us as much as Cyberpunk did.
In terms of scale, Final Fantasy 14's awful launch is probably the closest to Cyberpunk's. Initially released in September 2010, the original version of FF14 was a huge letdown in almost every aspect, causing so much backlash that it partly caused Square Enix's 2010 profit to tank by a whopping 90%. However, not wanting to tarnish the Final Fantasy reputation, a new version of FF14 - subtitled A Realm Reborn - was created from the ground up with a new game engine, fixing everything that was wrong with the last one. Fortunately, A Realm Reborn was extremely well-received, and it has since been updated with three major expansions - the latest Shadowbringer was hailed as one of "the best Final Fantasy in years". Could a happy ending such as this come to Cyberpunk?
From misleading buyers with a cheaper version of a supposedly-premium bag to ridiculous pay-to-win elements and overpriced cosmetics, the online-only Fallout game disappointed everyone with its empty world (no NPCs?!), uninteresting quests, and many, many questionable decisions Bethesda made to "improve" the game. Fast forward to today, numerous updates have been released that drastically upgrade the Fallout 76 experience, most notably the Wastelanders expansion that reintroduced NPCs (non-playable characters) and a better campaign and questline, a return to the beloved Fallout formula. Though Fallout 76 didn't get to be the online survival Fallout game it wanted to be, at least its current state is still more enjoyable than the initial version - plus, more is yet to come!
To give an idea of how bad WWE 2K20 was, this year's WWE 2K21 was cancelled and replaced with its spin-off, WWE 2K Battlegrounds, which was never done before in the history of WWE video games. Horrendous glitches and character models that look like they "crawled out of a PS2-era wrestling game" are just the tip of the colossal iceberg that is the problematic WWE 2K20, with Gamespot claiming it as the one that made the series "hit rock bottom". Unlike the last two games we mentioned, there's no happy ending for this wrestling game, but 2K Sports' decision to skip this year's edition could mark the sign of a comeback in the next one.
Not only did Star Wars Battlefront 2 introduce a single-player campaign (albeit one that's lackluster), but the EA DICE game also set the "microtransaction controversy" in motion during its beta trials stage, much to the dismay of fans. Behind its faithfully impressive visuals and gameplay, lay a baffling pay-to-win system where one can acquire gameplay advantages by paying with real money, a blasphemy for a multiplayer online shooter. Even though they can be purchased with in-game currency, players would have to grind up to 40 hours just to get a top-tier hero like Darth Vader. At least they removed microtransactions before release, and fixed the game economy and balanced out character progression, making it a well-liked game once again. However, the damage was done, and EA lost US$3 billion in stock value by 2017.
How can we talk about game launch disasters without mentioning the infamous-turned-famous No Man's Sky? Back in 2016, the sprawling space adventure by Hello Games was hotly anticipated due to its sheer ambition, allowing players to explore a procedurally generated universe and carry out anything a space traveller would do. But, in reality, many promised features of the game were missing at launch (sounds familiar?), a hollow husk of what it should've been. Since then, the indie studio has been dead-set on redeeming themselves, churning out updates quietly like nobody's business until now. And now, No Man's Sky is the game it's always meant to be and more, with the addition of VR support, sentient organic ships, mech suits and even abandoned, alien-infested starships to explore for loot.
Looking back at how many hopeful turnarounds these initially-horrendous game ended up becoming, one can't help but wonder if Cyberpunk 2077 will meet the same fate as them. For the sake of CDPR's reputation and the fan base, chances are high that the Polish company will follow suit to redeem themselves, no matter how long it takes.
It’s not every day you come across a game that lets you play as bobblehead versions of your favourite wrestlers in crazy locations such as a swamp ring surrounded by crocodiles and bystanders. With beautifully animated signature moves that any WWE fan can recognize immediately, WWE 2K Battlegrounds is a feast for the eyes.
2K sports games are known for letting players create their own characters to take part in the game, and Battlegrounds is no different. The customizability in terms of your character’s appearance isn’t as extensive as NBA 2K20 but it’s good enough for a game of this calibre - considering the number of ridiculous costumes you can put on to change your character’s whole look anyway! Have fun putting yourself into the game or creating celebrity lookalikes, we had loads of fun with the feature.
If you’re looking for a game that you can jump right into without reading manuals WWE 2K Battlegrounds is the game for you. Almost everything you want to do in the game can be learned within your first few matches. Combos are done with simple 3-button sequences and special moves are only a tap on the right stick or a two-button press simultaneously. The way it controls means that you won’t have to spend a lot of time memorizing the moves for your character - which makes it a game of when to use your moves rather than how.
The game does a good job to remind you that everything is unlockable via gameplay. Sure, spending money lets you upgrade your characters and costumes faster, but you’re not forced to indulge in it. If you enjoy the gameplay of WWE 2K Battlegrounds, you’re going to have fun grinding the unlocks anyway. Kudos to 2K for not turning the game into a microtransaction-fest!
Need to settle something between you and a buddy? WWE 2K Battlegrounds makes it really easy to set up a match between you and your friends without having to resort to real punches. Just start up one of the many exhibition matches available, pass them the controller and take out your frustrations virtually. Just remember to keep the controller in your hands, no matter how frustrated you get!
Catch SmackDown live on 10 October and Raw, live the following Monday (12 October) for the 2020 WWE Draft, to find out where your favourite Superstars will call Home. Only on Astro SuperSport 4 (Ch 834).