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Editors' Choice

Hype is a dangerous thing. While it can be great to get the word out about an upcoming game, what happens when the game you've been looking forward to turns out not to be as grand and glorious as your expectations let you to wish it to be? It makes the list of RPGamer's biggest letdowns, that's what.


Biggest Letdown
Final Fantasy XIV

You didn't have to be psychic to figure out what won this award. Square Enix's latest MMO ran aground on the rocks of public opinion before the game had even been released, with gameplay elements proving highly divisive amongst prospective players. Final Fantasy XIV had high system requirements, confusing gameplay mechanics, and many bugs and issues identified in the public beta were left unfixed at release. To say there was fan dismay would be a dramatic understatement, and this is especially true for those who wished to see SE improve from the errors made during the development and operation of its previous MMO effort, Final Fantasy XI.

There remains a single ray of light for the beleaguered game: in response to the overwhelmingly negative response, SE extended the free trial indefinably and made major changes to the operating staff. Hiromichi Tanaka, the director and face of the FFXIV development team has been replaced by relative newcomer Naoki Yoshida, and the PlayStation 3 version originally announced for March 2011 has been postponed until the PC version is up to scratch.

FFXIV has some very difficult times ahead, and time may not be kind to it.


Second Place - Final Fantasy XIII

As an entry in the celebrated Final Fantasy series, the first for the latest generation of consoles, people expected great things of Final Fantasy XIII. It offered an imaginative world, breathtaking visuals, and an exciting new battle system. However, the proud history of the Final Fantasy series and the game's incredible production values were little more than window dressing on a game with deep and terrible issues. It achieves many great things, but even those can do little to cover up the game's glaring faults.

In many ways, it is hard to point out the main reason that Final Fantasy XIII is so disappointing. Certainly, the game's crushing linearity and lack of fundamental RPG features like towns and meaningful diversions are very unpopular traits. The game's cast has some depth and can be very likeable at times, but it is also the kind of cast where almost anyone who plays the game is bound to truly hate one character or another. It might be that it is simply hard to like a story focused on an isolated and aimless group who are hopelessly strung along by the whims of a poorly written villain. Indeed, it is hard to identify something about the game that has been widely praised outside of the unique, love-it-or-hate-it battle system.

Ultimately, Final Fantasy XIII is a good RPG for those who can enjoy linearity and a total emphasis on combat. However, it simply is not the kind of approachable and well-rounded type of game that it needed to be, and it isn't even a remarkable game within its particular niche.

Third Place - White Knight Chronicles: International Edition

The original trailer for White Knight Chronicles promised the impossible. It presented a game that shattered the typical boundaries between story and gameplay and offered an experience completely unlike anything that had ever been seen in an RPG before. The final game's traditional and derivative gameplay was destined to be a disappointment in comparison.

Even ignoring the hype, White Knight Chronicles is a game that fails to achieve its own ambition and potential. It has several genuinely interesting and unique characters, but the plot struggles to remain coherent enough to tell their story properly. It has fun elements like item synthesis, player-created towns, and online questing, but these are marred by flawed mechanics that require too much tedious grinding. The game is mostly fun, but it could and should have been much better.

by Jon Yearworth, Nathan Schlothan, Michael Cunningham

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