Games/Series that define Wasted Potential

Oct 25, 2017
11,290
#1
Basically, what games do you think don't live up to their potential as best they could, were let down in some way by budget/time/scope/etc, or sequels that failed to capture the same highs as their predecessor (and explain why, please).

For me there are three series that define this feeling for me: Mass Effect, Jak & Daxter, and Kingdom Hearts, and all roughly for the same reason: squandering the potential and charm of their first installments.

Mass Effect starts as this epic space opera with a rich, lived in universe and ends as a generic space shooter with some decent dialogue when it feels like it. I keep seeing Mass Effect 2 cited as this brilliant sequel that elevated the series but all I got was a collection of sidequests (admittedly with the best party in RPGs) that had little relevance to the main plot brewing.

Jak & Daxter was the swan song of 3D platformers at the time and stands tall as one of the best platformers of the era where they were at their peak. Jak 2 is loathsome and nosedived the series into a shitty edgefest that would make Shadow the Hedgehog blush. It completely threw away the magipunk setting of the first game for a grim and gritty city that was a pain in the ass to navigate with vehicles (that you steal, of course, because this game is all about chasing trends) that controlled like shopping carts.

Kingdom Hearts 1 is legit one of my favourite games of all time and I only first played it with the first HD collection. Everything about that game comes together to form a lovely little cocktail of Disney magic, Final Fantasy crossed with Super Mario 64 gameplay, and an elegantly simple plot that was easy to follow and understand. Every game since then, meanwhile, threw all that away as the series gave way to the worsts of shonen anime, and I only followed for as long as I did mostly because KH1 was as good as it was.
 
Oct 25, 2017
10,477
Brazil
#3
Kingdom Hearts is a wasted potential because it includes shit that is not disney (or FF) when it sold itself as disney + a little of FF

Playstation All Star's Battle Royale is the biggest waste of potential since the Ninja Turtles.
A gameplay that does not feel frustrating if you miss a special move (like would be ok if they copied smash more) and a better roster (and I am NOT one of those people who think the roster should be 75% 3rd party) and some better menus ...
 
Oct 30, 2017
24
#5
.hack//Anything

Been a while since i played it, so I can't remember much of the story, but they had a nice variety of original weapon designs and a neat MMORPG setting, which was totally squandered it by having dull as hell gameplay. With a nice combat system that series really could have done something amazing.
 
Oct 25, 2017
6,242
#7
Playstation All-Stars is truly the most wasted potential in the history of video games.

Even ignoring the fact that the gameplay is crap, the roster in no way sells the idea of "Playstation All-Stars".

Big Daddy is not a Playstation All-Star.
DmC Dante is not a Playstation All-Star.
Revengeance Raiden is not a Playstation All-Star.
Even a bunch of the 1st party characters, like Nariko and the dude from StarHawk, I'd struggle calling Playstation All-Stars.

When I think Playstion, I think Cloud, Solid Snake, Lara Croft, Crash Bandicoot, and Spyro (I'd also include Tony Hawk, but I understand he's not a realistic pick for a fighting game).
 
Nov 5, 2017
306
#9
Pokemon as a game series always felt to me like it had some amazing potential, wasted because the games are so massively successful that Nintendo/Gamefreak/The Pokemon Company can do the barely necessary and still sell a fuckton of games.
 
Feb 6, 2018
2,185
Berlin, Germany
#11
Borderlands. The games have the potential to be so much more than they are. I never felt the mission design was interesting enough and also didn't care for large parts of the game world.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,701
#12
Far Cry 2 & Assassin's Creed

"Hey guys, here are some cool, new and immersive ideas for our games. Plus, a very thick atmosphere!"
"Cool!" :D
"Now, all we need to add is repetition. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition."
"Wait, what?" :V

Still on the camp that both games are the best on their respective franchises, but it is a tough love.
 
Nov 8, 2017
1,022
#13
Phantom Pain and Wind Waker are games I love but could have been much better with more time/money.

Pokemon suffers from a lack of ambition and it's the biggest multimedia IP in the world.
 
Jan 12, 2018
1,510
#14
Destiny has SO much potential and every once it a while it seems like they are going to harness it... but then they waste it...
 
Nov 21, 2017
315
#17
Almost anything by Konami.

Metal Gear started strong, Kojima was fired, then we got a pachinko MGS3 remake and Survive.

Silent Hill started strong, Konami disbanded team silent and we got games made by western companies. Not trying to bash but the newer SH games (After 4) didn't have the charm the first three did. Then PT and Silent Hills was announced, we had Junji Ito, Del Toro, and Kojima working on it, and Konami pulls the plug. Then we get a Pachinko machine.

Castlevania sort of had the same problem. I thought Lament of Innocence was decent, but I liked the older side-scroller games and SOTN more. Then the series sort of kicked the bucket, Koji Igarashi left, and we get a Pachinko machine.
 
Jan 17, 2019
328
#19
Perfect Dark as a series. Immediately doing a prequel was not the way to go, skipping a gen was not the way to go, rushing to make the 360's launch was not the way to go, and shelving the series because you already have Halo was not the way to go.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,250
#20
TrĂ³pico. A series with a great potential to combine city building with political simulation that never reached it's peak because of lack of innovation between titles.
 
Oct 29, 2017
3,194
#21
Yep. I love that game but it was destroyed form the outset by shitty business practices

Also Silent Hill should be a thriving series but only 3 games and one teaser are worth playing. And you can't even get any of those games in an updated or even playable state in some cases. A proper and respectful HD remake would do gangbusters as RE has shown twice now. Hell putting just PT up as a 3 dollar download on Steam would break bank too.
 
Oct 29, 2017
2,126
#24
Dragon's Dogma should be a major franchise by now.

I guess we can't live in a world where both DD and Demon's Souls reached their full potential.
 
Jan 17, 2019
328
#25
Also Silent Hill should be a thriving series but only 3 games and one teaser are worth playing. And you can't even get any of those games in an updated or even playable state in some cases. A proper and respectful HD remake would do gangbusters as RE has shown twice now. Hell putting just PT up as a 3 dollar download on Steam would break bank too.
Make that 4 games worth playing, but yeah... the whole Silent Hills situation is the definition of wasted potential.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,371
#26
El Shaddai has incredible art but the combat is dull and repetitive.

The Order 1886 has some incredible lore and story telling but obviously hampered by its level design and lack of freedom.
 
Nov 13, 2017
724
#28
Throwing my hat in for Destiny as well.

The single player could have been Skyrim Destiny but they botched all potential with inner development issues and mismanagement of the ip.

Destiny 2 has been all about trying to elevate it up to the standards set by D1 and pretty much nothing else.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,987
Australia
#30
I was coming in here to say Mass Effect too.
ME2 is a good game, but it feels more like a spinoff than an actual sequel.

I'll add that the Fable series is well known for its broken promises, but they made up for a lot of it with Fable 2. Fable 2 was still flawed, but you could see that they learned from many of their mistakes with the first game and were making efforts to correct them.

Then there's Fable 3, where suddenly it's decided that a pause menu would be too confusing so everything was done in game. Yes, I'm being serious.
They made weird promises again. You would be a king this time, and you would make choices for your kingdom. Not that I think any fans actually wanted this, but they didn't deliver this in any meaningful way.
- Anyway It was no longer an RPG, you leveled up by going through some kind of dream sequence and opened treasure chests. You were meant to open all of them too, so there was no choice in "class" or anything like that.
- Combat was simplified further, with almost everything being done on one button.
- Interactivity was broken, remade to focus on individual NPCs rather than the world. This meant you had to lock into a character and it'd play the animation, then fade to black. This actually broke the already working dog interactions too, you could throw a ball and they'd chase after it, then it'd fade to black instead of having them pick up the ball and bring it back :(

They also unnecessarily made the protagonist voiced, cut a bunch of shit out (like dyes) to sell later, and actually got John Cleese to come in and record voice lines to convince you to buy DLC. Seriously.

On the plus side, they added this neat thing where you could hold hands with an NPC when you wanted to lead them somewhere. It worked decently and I wish other games would incorporate something like that.
 
#31
Kingdom Hearts, for me. KH3 really soured me on the potential of it in its current hands. When you have a series based around combing Disney and Final Fantasy and, due to either Disney meddling or Nomura's bad writing, you remove half of the crossover's content because 'there was no room for it', how can I be expected to have any faith in your ability?

There are so many different ways they could mix and match the Disney stories with the Final Fantasy stories (or even just the Disney stories with other Disney stories) and we'll never get them because the series isn't allowed to actually utilize all of the content it has at its disposal.
 
Oct 25, 2017
117
#32
Castlevania

There is no way making a good 3D Castlevania is hard. Just no way. I bet anyone one Era could come up with one in a day, yet where are we? Pachinko machines. The very definition of wasted potential.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,084
#34
I definitely agree with the OP on Mass Effect. They should have never announced it as a trilogy and instead just called it an ongoing series. It was clear they had no idea what they were doing with the story after wonderfully setting everything up in 1 and just kind of spun their wheels with 2. Which in turn put too much weight to resolve everything in 3 and they just couldn't pull it off. ME2 felt more like a side story than what should have been the middle part of a trilogy.

Then there's Andromeda which actually isn't terrible, although it could have been something great but apparently they spent years trying to make No Man's Sky and couldn't and then put Andromeda together in a relatively short time.

And this.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,084
#36
I was coming in here to say Mass Effect too.
ME2 is a good game, but it feels more like a spinoff than an actual sequel.

I'll add that the Fable series is well known for its broken promises, but they made up for a lot of it with Fable 2. Fable 2 was still flawed, but you could see that they learned from many of their mistakes with the first game and were making efforts to correct them.

Then there's Fable 3, where suddenly it's decided that a pause menu would be too confusing so everything was done in game. Yes, I'm being serious.
They made weird promises again. You would be a king this time, and you would make choices for your kingdom. Not that I think any fans actually wanted this, but they didn't deliver this in any meaningful way.
- Anyway It was no longer an RPG, you leveled up by going through some kind of dream sequence and opened treasure chests. You were meant to open all of them too, so there was no choice in "class" or anything like that.
- Combat was simplified further, with almost everything being done on one button.
- Interactivity was broken, remade to focus on individual NPCs rather than the world. This meant you had to lock into a character and it'd play the animation, then fade to black. This actually broke the already working dog interactions too, you could throw a ball and they'd chase after it, then it'd fade to black instead of having them pick up the ball and bring it back :(

They also unnecessarily made the protagonist voiced, cut a bunch of shit out (like dyes) to sell later, and actually got John Cleese to come in and record voice lines to convince you to buy DLC. Seriously.

On the plus side, they added this neat thing where you could hold hands with an NPC when you wanted to lead them somewhere. It worked decently and I wish other games would incorporate something like that.
Oh yeah, definitely Fable 3. There were something I liked about the game, but it definitely felt like a huge step back from 2 in many regards. And it was embarrassing when they hyped up black dye as past of their new DLC. Shit that was in the Fable 2 being sold as DLC some shameless shit.

And then they further killed the series by making the next entry some on rails Kinect thing no one gave a fuck about. Then the MP game which was never released. The xbox might have had one more decent exclusive this gen had they let the team make a singleplayer RPG and given them the time to actually make it, and no Molyneux. At least it looks like they're trying for it for next gen though.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,047
Missoula
#37
.hack//Anything

Been a while since i played it, so I can't remember much of the story, but they had a nice variety of original weapon designs and a neat MMORPG setting, which was totally squandered it by having dull as hell gameplay. With a nice combat system that series really could have done something amazing.
Such an amazing multimedia franchise... it died with a whimper. I'd love a reboot, made with more modern sensibilities.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,029
#38
I'm gonna guess Anthem will be in this list in the future.

I only played the beta, but it was like they made a TPS feel as sloppy and loose as an MMO. I was hoping Bioware would completely revolutionize what a modern loot game could be. Lessons learned from years of botched attempts (Destiny/Division) and make something truly new and genre changing. But it just feels like I could get the same substance from other loot games.
 
Oct 27, 2017
192
#39
Killzone. That series had a rich history of events and story, told only through the website. The games never got close to any of it, unfortunately.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,890
USA
#40
Destiny.

We got really good gunplay but super straightforward mission design outside of the Raids, a story that was actually pretty neat but felt so removed from the missions on hand without additional effort being taken on behalf of the player to seek it out, and a constant changing landscape that changes almost too drastically to provide a sense of continuity to the player's invested time.

It's a Bungie game so it feels great, but it feels like additional content was largely rushed out to meet deadlines, drastic changes always needed to be implemented to address longstanding player gripes but often at the expense of much of the player base finally getting comfortable with "the way it used to be" and often to only temporary satisfaction of the playerbase, etc...

And I extend this to Destiny 2 as well, not just the original. Destiny as a continuum just feels like wasted potential. I had a great time at certain points in the game's history so far (Taken King still feels like the peak of my good times, personally) but it's just so all over the place and feels incredibly unfocused.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,530
'straya
#41
Resident Evil 6 may as well be called Wasted Potential: The Video Game. The controls are some of the best TPS controls ever made alongside Vanquish and MGSV but literally everything else is awful including the level design that makes you play the game in the most boring way possible. The only way to know how amazing the gameplay can be is by playing Mercenaries and even then it could be better.
 
Nov 10, 2017
1,640
#44
Almost anything by Konami.

Metal Gear started strong, Kojima was fired, then we got a pachinko MGS3 remake and Survive.

Silent Hill started strong, Konami disbanded team silent and we got games made by western companies. Not trying to bash but the newer SH games (After 4) didn't have the charm the first three did. Then PT and Silent Hills was announced, we had Junji Ito, Del Toro, and Kojima working on it, and Konami pulls the plug. Then we get a Pachinko machine.

Castlevania sort of had the same problem. I thought Lament of Innocence was decent, but I liked the older side-scroller games and SOTN more. Then the series sort of kicked the bucket, Koji Igarashi left, and we get a Pachinko machine.
'started strong'?! by the time kojima left, metal gear'd been around longer than just about any other game series. iow, that's one helluva strong start :) ...
 
Oct 29, 2017
1,554
#45
Castlevania Lords of Shadow 1 to 2.

Talk about not refining what you already had.
Castlevania

There is no way making a good 3D Castlevania is hard. Just no way. I bet anyone one Era could come up with one in a day, yet where are we? Pachinko machines. The very definition of wasted potential.
Please don't remind me, what a disappointing follow-up to the amazing baseline the first game laid out.

Goddammit, Mercury Steam had one fucking job.
Resident Evil 6 may as well be called Wasted Potential: The Video Game. The controls are some of the best TPS controls ever made alongside Vanquish and MGSV but literally everything else is awful including the level design that makes you play the game in the most boring way possible. The only way to know how amazing the gameplay can be is by playing Mercenaries and even then it could be better.
Agreed.
 
Jun 1, 2018
104
AK, US
#47
Definitely Epic Mickey. Fell in love with the concept art and was interested after Warren Specter and Disney hyped the game up so much, but it turned out to be a very boring and repetitive game that didn't hold up to any of its promises. It could have been somewhat saved by the sequel but that one was worse in nearly every way.
 
Sep 25, 2018
232
North Bay, Canada
#48
Mass Effect's a good one. I've been watching the giantbomb playthrough of ME, and now that they've finished one and moved on to two it's really being driven home how stupid that intro is and how pointless the game really is.
 

TP~

Member
Oct 25, 2017
219
#49
Persona Dancing is one of my favorite series and as glad as I am that 3 and 5 exists i'm so disappointed they went with the nickel and dime approach of making two separate games and loading them with DLC instead of making a single game with continued support like Rock Band or DLC packs like PD Future Tone.

They even went and ported P4DAN to PS4 and kept it exclusive to a bundle

Just imagine all three games' tracks in one game with unique menus for each section and DLC packs for series that wouldn't ever get a game of their own (Catherine, P1, P2)

The potential is there for the ultimate in fanservice and celebration of Persona/MegaTen music and I really hope it's realized one day