To celebrate hitting 6 figures I’m going to take a look back at the games I’ve played and pick out some best/worst of’s in various categories:

Most Disappointing Game

I still only buy games I want to play, my gamercard remains a true reflection of my personal taste, something I feel is lost when I look at most people’s card and see an endless stream of mediocrity that they’ve clearly only played to boost their GS. Anyway, there have been a few turkeys on my card that really did not live up to my expectations:

3rd place: Guitar Hero 2 – I was sold on the idea of Guitar Hero as a platform for downloadable content, the on-disc tracks were good, but it was the (unfulfilled) promise of regular downloadable content that really interested me. For one reason or another that support was just not there for GH2, and by the time GH3 was announced, without backwards compatability for GH2 DLC, Harmonix had already announced Rock Band, with a big emphasis on Rock Band as a “platform” I knew that was the last Guitar Hero game I would ever buy as so it was. This year I’m still playing tracks from RB1, RB2, Lego Rock Band, Rock Band AC/DC and dozens of downloaded track packs in Rock Band 3, that is what I expected from Guitar Hero before Rock Band was even announced! Had it not been for the success of Rock Band this would have definitely featured higher up my list.

2nd place: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 – The original was one of my favourite games of 2006, and from the moment the sequel was announced I was looking forward to more of the same. However it didn’t quite pan out that way, although the game was decent enough, it fell far short of the quality of the first.

Winner: Mass Effect 2 – Technically, ME2 far exceeded anything done in the original, the stuttery framerate was fixed, the texture loading issues were largely resolved and the graphics were on an new level entirely. However, the game itself was a massive, galaxy sized disappointment to me. Let’s start with the story, or lack thereof. I felt like I was playing out the plot to a sci-fi classic in ME1, however ME2 seemed almost entirely to consist of a series of unrelated levels to “build my team” ready for the final battle. I can’t honestly say I even remember what happened during the game, because my lasting memory of the plot when I got to the end was “is that it!?”. It felt like a Rockstar game, with my characters actions driven by a series of requests from NPCs rather than any truly engaging narrative.

The less said about the RPG elements that actually made it into the game the better, because what was there wasn’t so much RPG-lite as RPG-fisherprice. The levelling “system” was irrelevant, with xp dished out at certain points in the story effectively ensuring your characters abilities were always at a certain pre-defined point throughout the game. Choice? There was none, there were plenty of weapons and powers in ME1, and although the inventory system was terrible BioWare’s solution for ME2 was to simply remove all the weapons, armour and powers rather than fix the inventory system!

With the rumours of multi-player for Mass Effect 3 I think it’s probably safe for me to write off the franchise as a wasted opportunity, although deep down I still hope that 3 will come out and couple the quality of story and gameplay from ME1 with the technical finesse of ME2.

Honourable Mentions

Football Manager 2006 – Console ports of Football Manager games were great, however Sports Interactive made a big deal about how they’d cracked it this time. With a new way to navigate the multitude of menus it really felt like they were on to something. Unfortunately the game ran like a dog once you got more than a couple of seasons into the game. Having overcome the biggest hurdle for FM on consoles — the lack of a mouse — it was a huge blow to find that sloppy design had crippled the game’s performance.

Halo 3 – My expectations were a long way off what everyone else seemed to expect from the game, however I had somewhat unfortunately bought into the hype surrounding the game and was looking forward to a well above average first person shooter, I felt I owed it to myself to own at least one game from the Halo universe afterallsmile The single player campaign was the least enjoyable of any FPS I have played on the 360 to date; dull, repetitive and epically generic.