Great Trailer, Shame About the Game

Sinan Kubba takes a look at six great video game trailers that blew him away – unfortunately the games themselves turned out to be blowouts. Be warned: Actual gameplay may vary.  

Assassin’s Creed

Let’s face it, whether you liked Assassin’s Creed or hated it, you have to applaud the power of the hype machine unleashed upon this title by Ubisoft. Incredibly, to date it’s sold over 8 million copies. That’s mind-blowing, especially considering how average a title it actually was. Remember the crazy spectrum of review scores it received, ranging from the suspiciously high early on to the cruelly low in rebuttal? Well, don’t be fooled; Assassin’s Creed was an okay game, not awful, but certainly nothing special. Yet I can remember watching this trailer and thinking the game was going to be the next coming of Jesus. Altair was the personification of badassery in this video, pulling off the kill with style and panache, before disappearing mystically into the background. Of course, the game turned out instead to be about climbing a lot of buildings, jumping off of them, and legging it from clueless guards ad nauseam. Oh, and flags. And yet it sold 8 million units, and that’s what an amazing trailer and a merciless ad campaign can do. Still, let’s be positive; there’s plenty of potential in the game’s concept and universe, and early trailers for Assassin’s Creed 2 have looked impressive. But fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…

Silent Hill 4: The Room

The above trailer for Silent Hill 4 displayed such superb directorship. It blended the jerky, uncomfortable flitterings of that famous video from The Ring, mixed with the erratic, haunting music, indistinct noises, and disturbing imagery that the series had made its name on. It came as no surprise that the fourth installment in Konami’s horror series received more attention than most from the press on the back of its phenomenal trailers. Expectation was high upon its release. And yet, in the words of our previews director Joseph DeLia, “it squandered its absolutely brilliant promise with repetitive level design and mediocre characters”. For others, it deviated too far from the norm for the series by dropping the trademark puzzles for more focus on combat. Others felt that despite all the creativity on show in the video, the game itself resorted to the cliché touches and features that felt dry by that time. Most would agree, though, that the game failed to live up to the expectations built upon its excellent, unforgettable trailer. 

Red Steel

 

Another Ubisoft game – they sure know how to make a video. Once I got past the slightly overenthusiastic guy who probably shouldn’t have been allowed to play vido games, I was amazed by this video. It displayed all the potential of the Wii, with impressive graphics, some epic moments, and of course, the dramatic finale when the gun is put away and the Wiisword is unleashed. It’s no wonder that Red Steel was the Wii launch title that everyone was talking about. As such, Red Steel is the personification of the Wii. So much hype, so much potential, but overall a disappointing outcome. Red Steel actually did quite a few things right, but it got one crucial thing wrong: its motion controls. They were clunky, unenjoyable and at times erratic. Red Steel even bears the shame of being an entry in 1UP’s old Broken Pixels podcast, reserved for only the very worst of games. Maybe Red Steel 2 will deliver thanks to Wii Motion Plus? Or maybe it will just be pants like the first one.

Hellgate: London

Poor old Flagship Studios. Why did this exciting MMORPG end up so broken, so lackluster? In short, such a failure? Where did the developers, some of whom had been heavily involved with the Diablo series in their Blizzard days, go so totally wrong? Why did Flagship have to file for bankruptcy on the backs of giant publishers like Namco-Bandai and EA? Maybe it’s because they spent all their money on this stonking trailer. It looks so good that you’d think it was an animated blockbuster, capable of hashing-together Underworld and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Man, I’d go to see Hellgate: London if it was a film. Pity it would probably break the projector half the time.

Lair

This game’s trailer came and did its job perfectly. It told you about the game; you’re flying dragons around and killing people. It displayed something cool and original; you’re flying dragons around and killing people. It showcased some amazing graphics, featuring dudes flying dragons around and killing people. It was simple, it was neat, and it got us all interested in Lair. Unfortunately for players, it didn’t showcase how bloody awful to control the game was with the PlayStation 3’s Sixaxis controls. So broken were these controls that a patch had to be released over the PlayStation Network some nine months after the game’s release to provide stick controls. By that point, no-one cared.

Rule of Rose

Rule of Rose had all the potential to be a very important game. It garnered both attention and hullabaloo through trailers like the one above. It displayed themes similar to Silent Hill, but featured controversial subjects covered within the game, namely the violence and sexuality relating to its younger, female characters. As it turned out, the game was not nearly as dark and sexualised as it was suggested by some it would be, but more significantly it didn’t live up to the expectations of this excellent trailer. In the end, the game was quite hum-drum, with the simplest of game mechanics being implemented clumsily. What could’ve been the next Silent Hill ended up going the way of, er, later Silent Hills; into mediocrity. But we still love you, Atlus!

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