games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 Disappointing Games of 2018

January 1, 2019 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Red Dead Redemption 2

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! I apologize for missing last week, I had three separate engagements and by the time this column was supposed to go up, I was too fried to submit it. But, I’m here this week with the same topic of disappointing games/systems of 2018. I say “systems”, because there is at least one major thing on here that isn’t strictly a game. 2018 was a somewhat strange year, there were a lot of high profile games coming out and many of them great, but a lot of games that *should* have been good/great just weren’t. Let’s begin:

#8: Red Dead Redemption 2

Here’s the thing, I don’t hate Red Dead Redemption 2, nor do I think it’s a “bad” game. Honestly, it’s perfectly fine. However, it isn’t the “OMG, GOTY WINNER AUTOMATICALLY” game I was anticipating. The game has good production values, voice acting is unique and it’s a beautiful looking game, but the bugs I ran into and just the stale mission design really drove me off from it. One or two missions do stray from the path but it follows the formula of “Ride our horse for 5 minutes, do the mission, then ride back to civilization for another 5 minutes” over and over again. I don’t fault anyone who likes the game, but it just didn’t impress me much.

#7: Darksiders 3

Considering the lack of pre-release hype the months this game was due to come out, it was expected it wouldn’t be great, but it even failed to meet those lowered expectations. Instead of copying Zelda or Diablo (Darksiders 1 and 2, respectively), Darksiders 3 tries to emulate Dark Souls with some disastrous results. I’m not saying a clone of Dark Souls can’t be done well, I actually liked The Surge for example, but when it’s done badly, then I’m not a fan. Darksiders 1 and 2 had a deliberate pace and feel to it that Darksiders 3 just doesn’t get right. The fact they just patched in a “If you want to play it like Darksiders 2” mode, speaks a lot. Also, just a lowering of production values and character growth turned me off from the game.

#6: World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth

I got back into WoW during the Legion expansion and had a great time. The artifact weapon system was engaging, there was a lot of content to go through, and it always felt like my character was getting better. Battle for Azeroth has none of that. The current raid is kind of a dud, the two “remixed” zones can be blasted through in an hour with a PUG, the island expeditions are boring as hell, and the Heart of Azeroth/Azerite upgrade system is a complete joke. They just released a patch, 8.1, to fix some of these problems and is meant to last for a while, and it only applied a Band-Aid to a few issues. I think WoW is still has the largest playerbase for a MMO but if this trend continues, it won’t for much longer.

#5: Far Cry 5

Remember in past Far Cry games where you had a character? Jason from Far Cry 3, Ajay from Far Cry 4, or even the caveman dude in Primal? Well, you don’t have that in Far Cry 5, you are just a nameless/character-less deputy although you can be a man or a woman, so whoopee! The story is Far Cry 5 is terrible and considering that Assassin’s Creed Odyssey came out this year that is really saying something. The bad guy, Joseph Seed, is only in the game for about 40 minutes or so, there are numerous interruptions when you’re playing with “Bliss Bullets” forcing you into a scripted sequence (MULTIPLE TIME) that are always terrible, and considering that most of the non-cult people in the game are part of some militia, who would hate you as “gubmit agent”, the entire story becomes a farce on top of being a buggy mess of a product.

#4: Just Cause 4

Where to begin? I’m on the cusp of submitting a review for this game and I’m flabbergasted that it’s supposed to be coming from the same studio who made Just Cause 2 and 3. The biggest crime in this game is that you get basically zero reward for destroying military bases or gear from the evil army. You do get a miniscule Chaos meter bar increase, but nothing approaching a useful number. Also, the hardware you destroy eventually respawns, rendering the WHOLE GODDAMN POINT OF THE GAME, moot. Aside from that the character/story is completely without humor, on the PC (where I’m playing it), the entire game is too damn dark to see (no brightness/gamma settings), and the additions to the game, grappling hook mods (boosters, balloons) inevitably suck. On its own, this may not be a “bad” game but considering it has “Just Cause” in the title, I have to ask “what the hell happened?” whenever I play it.

#3: We Happy Few

We Happy Few is a weird case of the designers wanted to make one thing, the public wanted another, and what eventually came out is a bastardized version of both. The developers say they wanted to make a survival game, which is fair enough. When the initial trailer debuted though, the public thought it might be a trippy/drug version of BioShock (a fairly linear FPS game), so the developers tried to backpedal and cram a bunch of narrative elements into it, that don’t work. Areas in the game are *way* too big for you to easily get around, that’s even taking into account the sparse fast-travel stations. Combat is a bore (and broken, if you have the pre-order DLC), the drug elements are minimized almost completely, and there were a number of technical glitches that could bring the game to its knees.

#2: Fallout 76

I think Pete Hines said before the game came out that Fallout 76 will be supported forever. Frankly, considering how much money this game has lost and the headaches that Bethesda has gone through, I doubt this game is going to make it a year. There’s not enough survival mechanics to make it like Rust or ARK, it’s not a “massively multiplayer” game with a player cap of 24 players, and it’s not a RPG because there are no characters, no emotional involvement, or no story to keep you going. On top of how Fallout 76 is now the worst Fallout game, something that Brotherhood in Steel is thankful for, the game has caused a ton of problems with Bethesda, including the bag fallout (pun intended) and how players are revolting over the Atom store. If it wasn’t for the next thing on this list and the “winner” of it, Fallout 76 would have taken it in any other year.

#1: PlayStation Classic

What a cheap, rushed-out-the-door, hunk of garbage. When Sony announced this thing I not only pre-ordered one, I pre-ordered TWO of them, one with Gamestop and one with Amazon. About a month before it’s released, I cancelled the Gamestop one, and days before it was due to ship I cancelled the Amazon one, and I’m glad I did. It says something when you have to wonder if AtGames made this thing, as opposed to an actual product made by Sony themselves. The starting issue is that 9 of the 20 games are in PAL region, so they only run at 50 FPS and not 60. Certain games, this might be passable but not something like Tekken 3 which is required to run at 60 FPS. The game selection is “Meh” worthy. There are some games I like in the official library, but Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, really? THAT’S the FPS game you put on it, as opposed to Medal of Honor, or even Disruptor? Even the USA region games have issues, notably Twisted Metal and Final Fantasy 7 having some bizarre bugs going on. The fact you can hook up a keyboard and boot into the emulator menu is hysterical and proof that Sony just didn’t give a damn when they put this out. This thing might eventually get fixed by enterprising hackers, but considering that a SNES Classic can run R4 better than this thing, I wouldn’t be too optimistic that it’ll ever be 100% correct.

For comments, list your most disappointed games or systems and why.

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Top 8 Games of 2018