For one reason or another, these games failed to live up to our expectations.
It’s not always easy for games to live up to their expectations. Often, games that are either associated with prestigious developers or franchises, or have generated excitement due to miscommunication about what players’ expectations should be, end up disappointing scores of people. 2018 may have been a stellar year for gaming, but even so, there were more than a few games this year that turned out to be major disappointments. Here, we’re going to take a look at the most egregious examples of such titles released over the past twelve months.
NOTE: The nominees and winner were decided by an internal vote held among the entire GamingBolt staff.
THE NOMINEES ARE…
METAL GEAR SURVIVE
There was a ton of negativity and bad press surrounding Metal Gear Survive from the very first moment it was revealed, and when it launched, that turned out to be perfectly justified. After the departure of Hideo Kojima from Konami, the fate of the Metal Gear franchise looked grim, but no one could have expected that it would get so bad, so fast. Metal Gear Survive is, as even a single look at the game makes painfully clear, as far away from what fans want from a Metal Gear experience as a game could be. It bears the Metal Gear moniker, but is actually a game that is painfully uninspired, repetitive, and all in all, an insult to the legendary series it spawn from.
DYNASTY WARRIORS 9
Dynasty Warriors had settles down into a comfortable groove over the course of many years, but with Dynasty Warriors 9, developers Omega Force tried to mix things up by going open world. But you know what they say- not every game needs to be open world. For Dynasty Warriors 9, it just didn’t work. The game didn’t use a larger playing field to its advantage as much as it should have. It felt empty and lifeless, and lacking in interesting things to do, and, most importantly, distracted players from the things that make Dynasty Warriors so fun.
SUPER MARIO PARTY
Super Mario Party is by no means a bad game. As a game meant to be enjoyed by groups of players in parties or gatherings, it achieves what it sets out to do quite well, while also removing some of the more annoying mechanics that had been introduced in past Mario Party games. And while it’s certainly a good time when played with friends in short bursts, the game does suffer from some significant issues, such as a surprisingly limited selection of boards, and in what has become a disappointing trend in all Nintendo games, online that barely seems to function.
Mothergunship deserves plenty of praise for taking risks and trying to implement new ideas in a genre that doesn’t see a lot of them in today’s day and age. Some of those ideas, like its gun crafting, are implemented quite well- others, not so much. The design of its levels suffers from excessive randomization, while progression is also almost entirely broken, making playing through the game a slog at times. A bland visual palette and a smattering of technical issues also hamper the experience quite a bit.
Onrush certainly deserves praise for trying to do something different in the racing genre- and it actually does a lot of that stuff very well. But it just feels like it needed more time to cook for it to fully realize a lot of those ideas. At launch, Onrush was short on content, with not a lot of variety in the modes that it did offer, and co-op multiplayer being a major miss. As such, even though the game itself was mechanically sound – more than sound, in fact – the novelty just wore thin very soon.
What do you get when you borrow ideas from a popular game for the core of your own experience, but then add nothing on top? You get Earthfall. For fans of games such as Left 4 Dead, this experience is way too familiar. So familiar that it almost seems to lack an identity of its own. A complete lack of originality is never a good problem to have, and in the case of Earthfall, it’s exacerbated because of how absolute it is. To say the game is fundamentally broken would be categorically false, but when the game itself doesn’t respect itself enough to try to be anything more than a pale imitation of something, there’s not much you can say in its defence.
WE HAPPY FEW
We Happy Few makes a strong first impression with its intriguing setting and striking visual presentation, but cracks begin to appear very quickly as you start playing the game. The mechanics that lay at the core of the experience were astonishingly simplistic, to the point where they felt half-baked and completely lacking in originality, while their execution was clunky at best and downright broken at worst. Worst of all, the game was riddled by a plethora of technical hiccups, which made playing the game more any stretch a struggle.
CALL OF CTHULHU
Call of Cthulhu certainly had a lot going for it, at least on paper- an RPG based on the popular tabletop game, and pulling in from the darkest corners of the fascinating mythology created by H.P. Lovecraft. If done well, this could have been one of the most surprising hits of the year. Sadly, it wasn’t done very well. From technical issues, to uneven pacing, to simplistic mechanics that were never properly realized, to a story and setting that doesn’t do nearly as much with its source material as it should have, Call of Cthulhu is a game that seems like a huge waste of potential.
PERSONA 3 AND 5 DANCING COLLECTION
One goes into a Persona dancing game with the expectation of a good, fun time, and with the hopes of listening to great remixes of the series’ famously incredible soundtracks. And while Persona 3 and 5 Dancing deliver those thing, they deliver them way more infrequently than what was expected and hoped for. The selection of songs in both games is very limited, with some of the best songs in both games being locked behind paid DLCs, while the remixes themselves leave a lot to be desired as well. Even for the most hardcore Persona fans, these games are hard to recommend.
STATE OF DECAY 2
The first State of Decay wasn’t a stellar games, but it was, by all means, a solid effort that held the potential for providing endless hours of post-apocalyptic enjoyment. Being a sequel that was going bigger and better in every way, State of Decay 2 should have been great- unfortunately, while it did go bigger, it didn’t necessarily go better. While there was more to do, many of the new things weren’t necessarily the most well implemented, while in an effort to introduce new things, the game also ended up ignoring issues in the first game that it should have fixed. It quickly turned into an unfocused and repetitive experience, one that was only brought down further by disappointingly bland visuals and a spate of technical issues.
In the lead up to Fallout 76’s launch, Bethesda were unabashedly marketing it as a true, full-fledged Fallout experience. It’s not hard to understand why millions of people bought into the hype, but it is that very fact that makes Fallout 76’s sins that much more egregious. It’s not just bad “for a Fallout game”- it’s just bad. Shocking technical issues and horrible performance combine to make it a game that has absolutely no right being on the shelves as a proper AAA release, but even beyond that, at its very core, Fallout 76 is plagued by conflicting ideas about what it wants to be, and confusing design decisions that just make it muddied, boring, and bland experience.
Deracine isn’t a typical FromSoftware games, so no one in the world was expecting it to be the Dark Souls of VR. People were expecting something special, though, and while Deracine certainly has things that can be appreciated from a distance, chief among them being its beautiful art style, when you actually play it, you realize that it’s just not at the level you expect a FromSoftware game to be. Poor camera work is something that can break a VR game, which is exactly what happens here, while the lack of locomotion controls also makes the experience all the more frustrating. Then there’s the overly fragmented and annoyingly vague approach to storytelling, which may work for games like Souls, but completely misses the point of what an adventure game should be like.
OVERKILL’S THE WALKING DEAD
With Payday and Payday 2, developers Overkill Software built a reputation for themselves as developers of co-op shooters that might not be the best at what they do, but provide solid, enjoyable experiences nonetheless. And while Overkill’s The Walking Dead certainly can be quite enjoyable, and is by no means absolutely broken, it just doesn’t live up to the standards of the developer, nor does it to justice to the behemoth of the property it is based on. The game never really tries to go beyond what is expected with its mechanics, making for an underwhelming experience, while the lack of basic things such as matchmaking and a host of technical issues also contribute greatly to bring down the entire experience.
V-Rally stumbles in the area that one would think are the most important in any racer. It’s got a limited selection of tracks, has poor handling which makes even the moment-to-moment gameplay quite frustrating, a repetitive and shallow career mode, and a is riddled with bugs and glitches that pop up way more frequently than they should. It’s a game that you might be able to enjoy if you’re just a rally fan and really stick with it, but even so, its issues are numerous and undeniable.
FIST OF THE NORTH STAR: LOST PARADISE
While fans of the Yakuza series and the Fist of the North Star can certainly find plenty of enjoyment in Lost Paradise’s gleefully over-the-top violence and crunchy combat, this is another example of a game that could have been infinitely better if it had been allowed just a little more time to cook. The game suffers from inconsistent pacing and a plot that isn’t ever really developed all too well, while it also becomes more than just a little repetitive quite quickly, making sticking with the game something that requires more effort than it should.
GAMINGBOLT’S MOST DISAPPOINTING GAME OF 2018 IS…
It’s astounding how bad Fallout 76 is. In most cases where games made by huge developers receive critical reception, it’s not hard to point to at least a few instances of plain and simple hyperbole, but with Fallout 76, most of the criticism is justified. That’s not to say that this is a game that is completely without any qualities- but those qualities are buried under a mountainous pile of bad design decisions, boring gameplay, and laughably bad technical problems. It stings so much because this is a Fallout game, a game made by Bethesda, two names that until very recently commanded incredible respect from the entire industry- to see a product that is inarguably terrible associated with those two names is a shock, to say the least. For all these reasons and many, many more, Fallout 76 is by far the most disappointing game of 2018.