There were tons of highly anticipated games that came out in 2020, and unfortunately, quite a few of those titles failed to live up to the hype. Whether due to excessive glitches and crashes, or just plain old boring gameplay, the games listed below let us down in more ways than one. In a year as disappointing as 2020, these games had the potential to be fun, but were mostly spoiled by confusing development choices, awkward story decisions, and more.
They might not be the worst games of the year, but when we booted up them up and started to play, these titles weren’t all they were chocked up to be. If one of your favorite games is on this list, don’t fret, as a list such as this is highly subjective and you’ll likely disagree with some of our choices. That said, here is our list of the most disappointing games of 2020.
The Most Disappointing Games of 2020
Cyberpunk 2077 (Xbox One and PlayStation 4)
Before the hate starts to pour in, I want you to consider the definition of “disappointing”. For a game to be disappointing, there have to be expectations. No game in 2020 garnered higher levels of fan expectation and hype than Cyberpunk 2077. While the game itself is a competent RPG with an enjoyable gameplay loop and intense narrative intrigue, it can’t make up for the incredibly poor launch-window performance on last-gen consoles.
CD Projekt Red isn’t a company that’s known for releasing immensely polished games. Unless everyone collectively forgot about it, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt was a buggy mess when it first released, and it wasn’t until CD Projekt released several large patches that the game got fixed up. It seems that the same is true for Cyberpunk 2077 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Although some patches have already been released for the game, Cyberpunk 2077 is not the same game on consoles than it is on PC. Plagued by low frame-rates, excessive visual glitches, texture pop-in, and full system crashes, playing Cyberpunk 2077 is a challenge all of its own.
It deserves reiterating; our list of the most disappointing games of 2020 is not the same as the “worst games of 2020”. Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t a bad game, it just runs like garbage on older hardware and has some glaring issues stemming from shoddy development. Unless you’re playing on new systems or a high-end PC, your experience with the game might be marred by a collection of annoying bugs and problems. Simply put, that’s disappointing. Cyberpunk 2077 is a fun game with excellent immersion and storytelling, and it’s a shame that it was released in such a buggy and nearly unplayable state.
Watch Dogs: Legion
When Ubisoft first showed the reveal trailer for the original Watch Dogs game in 2012 at the E3 Expo, eager fans were exceptionally hyped for the ultra-realistic graphics and unique hacking game mechanics. While the game wasn’t nearly as impressive as the trailers made it out to be, the original Watch Dogs was an interesting Grand Theft Auto clone with enough merit to warrant a sequel. Luckily, Watch Dogs 2 was far more engaging, with a livelier map, cooler characters, and more interesting game mechanics. After unexpectedly falling in love with Watch Dogs 2, I was more than excited for the third game in the series, Watch Dogs: Legion. It promised a bustling and realistic albeit futuristic take on London, complete with a game-defining “play as anyone” feature. The hype around Legion felt a lot like that reveal trailer, and unfortunately, the end-product is arguably less compelling than the original.
By all means, Watch Dogs: Legion isn’t an awful game. While the game occasionally succumbs to annoying glitches and crashes, depending on your platform of choice, it’s not obnoxiously low-quality in any area. The graphics are decent, the art-style is inoffensive and even evocative at times, and the unique hacking mechanic keeps things engaging.
Unfortunately, Watch Dogs: Legion also feels devoid of any passion or polish, as the game feels wholly shallow in its narrative, world-building, and mission design. While the “play as anyone” feature is commendable on its own, the rest of the experience is largely forgettable. There are occasional peaks of enjoyable action, but they are few and far between. Mostly, Watch Dogs: Legion winds up on our list of the most disappointing video games of 2020 because it’s so damn underwhelming. There was a lot of potential with Watch Dogs: Legion, if Watch Dogs 2 was any indicator. That all feels a bit wasted now.
Fast & Furious: Crossroads
As previously mentioned, calling a game “disappointing” implies that we had any sort of hopes or expectations for it. While I wouldn’t call Fast & Furious: Crossroads a game that I was hugely anticipating, I’m admittedly a fan of the film series and was curious to see how a fully-fledged game would work out. After all, the Fast & Furious bonus content in Forza Horizon 2 was pretty cool, so how bad could a full-length game be? Really bad, it turns out. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not exactly Jumanji: The Video Game levels of disappointment, but Fast & Furious: Crossroads is without a doubt one of the most disappointing games of 2020.
In almost every way, Fast & Furious: Crossroads takes a potentially enjoyable experience and makes it obnoxious. The story is a jumbled mess, featuring a handful of characters from the film series along with two new lead characters, Vienna and Cam. While characters like Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), and Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) appear in the game and are voiced by the actual actors who play them in the films, the plot is abysmal and these fan-favorite characters only appear in a couple of scenes.
The gameplay is equally horrendous, feeling like a poor imitation of old-school racing games like Cruis’n USA with some knock-off Burnout-style crashes thrown in for good measure. If anything, the game is fast, most likely in an attempt to hide the shoddy visuals and uninspired course design. While there are a handful of fun moments in Fast & Furious: Crossroads, it failed to live up to even my lowest of expectations, resulting in a complete dud that is barely worth the time. You don’t even have to worry about playing the online portion of the game, as the player-base is non-existent. Even when compared to other games based on movies, which are historically lackluster, Fast & Furious: Crossroads is a letdown. Objectively speaking, I feel like there are probably worse games that came out in 2020, but Fast & Furious: Crossroads is a hell of a contender.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor
Everyone likes Skyrim, right? Of course you do! And if you’re like me, you also like The Elder Scrolls Online, the MMORPG that keeps the Elder Scrolls fun going while we patiently await the sixth installment in the main series. Every year, ESO broadens its map and narrative with a new expansion, and Greymoor promised to finally bring the land of Skyrim into the fold. Set 1,000 years before the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, ESO: Greymoor gives us a look at Skyrim before it was molded into the classic region seen in the main game. Unfortunately, instead of offering an interesting and nostalgic adventure through the snowy northern region, ESO: Greymoor gives players a tedious slog in the slush.
Luckily, not all of Greymoor is a total bore. Although the focal story is an underwhelming plot involving vampires and werewolves, there are a few fun activities to complete and areas to explore. Blackreach, the deep and massive cave system under Western Skyrim’s crust, is colorful and intriguing, with some explosive world events to boot.
While there are a handful of redeeming qualities about The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor, the overall expansion fails to live up to expectations. The map often feels featureless and barren, only using its glacial territory as an excuse for a lack of points-of-interest. So much content has been shoved into the Blackreach caves that the top-side of Skyrim is kind of dull, with forgettable quests and characters. Ultimately, most of Greymoor feels like a hollowed-out version of Skyrim, missing both the soul and visual design of the iconic RPG. While it’s still okay for passing the time with friends, The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor is easily one of the most disappointing games of 2020.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
I have a feeling that including Final Fantasy VII Remake on our list of the most disappointing games of 2020 will draw some ire, perhaps even more than Cyberpunk 2077. Despite that, Final Fantasy VII Remake lands on this list due to the enormous hype, brutally long wait, and the half-baked final product. As someone who has never finished the original FFVII in its entirety, I was excited to sit down with the remake and finally experience this masterpiece of a story. Unfortunately, Final Fantasy VII Remake falls victim to too much modernization, resulting in a bloated action-RPG with lots of filler. Plus, the story never reaches its conclusion, veering wildly from the source material at pivotal plot points.
Honestly, I don’t think Final Fantasy VII Remake is a bad game. I had a good time slashing down baddies with my Buster Sword, exploring the bustling and vibrant Wall Market shopping district, and battling giant bosses. Unlike many long-time FFVII fans, I didn’t have a huge issue with the new combat system, as I appreciated the fast-paced battles it afforded. Plus, it had one of the best boss fights of the year, so I can’t complain too much. However, I took a big issue with the game’s incessant inclusion of annoying mini-games, long-winded dialogue scenes, and wholly ridiculous plot progression. Even though I don’t have much nostalgia for the Final Fantasy franchise, FFVII Remake was definitely one of my most anticipated games of the year. While I never expected the remake to live up to the timeless classic, I was surprisingly disappointed that this modern version failed to even come close.