It was a very interesting year in video games, with enormous releases seeing as much press time as so-called flops. Some games were given the proverbial scarlet letter — driving away fans in droves — while others managed to succeed despite a complete dearth of a marketing budget. Indie games once again rose to the top, and some of the large budget titles squandered their funding to find little acclaim.
Without further ado, we present the five most overrated games released in 2018.
5. Octopath Traveler
Octopath Traveler is a Nintendo Switch exclusive with a great deal of heart, an absolutely art-inspired aesthetic, and workable combat mechanics. What it doesn’t have, however, is a cogent and compelling story. Part of the problem of having eight playable characters coming together in a rich tapestry is that, not quite but almost by necessity, some content gets cut. Seiken Densetsu 3 (an unreleased sequel to the SNES classic Secret of Mana) was perhaps the earliest example of this being done — and it was done correctly — yet Octopath Traveler never quite meets the bar. Lovely pixel art, attention to detail, and a sweet soundtrack were present but simply could not match up to the insane amounts of hype heaped upon the game during its initial announcement. The final product, far from lacking, just could not muster the spirit to make amends with this level of excitement.
4. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
It’s Call of Duty, but it has battle royale! Let’s be honest, almost nobody plays this game for the campaign. In fact, the previous iteration in the franchise, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, didn’t even include a single-player campaign on the legacy consoles Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. While the battle royale mode may sound like a good idea on paper, the concept is already tired and saturated by games which have come before it. Late to the bandwagon, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 offers only marginal improvements to the existing engine, delivering tired graphics, basic sound effects, and the same old stuff that has been produced by the studio for the past decade or more. Uninspired and yet beloved by the fanbase to some degree, the hype for this game remains a mystery.
3. Monster Hunter: World
Hitting the shelves earlier in the year, in January to be precise, Monster Hunter: World launched to a raft of critical and common acclaim. With instanced online gameplay, a vibrant community of characters from around the globe, and the super-cute Palico companion purring at your side, it seemed almost impossible for Monster Hunter: World to disappoint. Yet, disappoint, it did.
Players looking for an extremely sluggish — almost to the point of being turgid — and sticky combat experience need look no further. Enjoy spending 30 minutes to an hour working on whittling down the life bar on a single beast? Fond of cursing violently as various monsters run away like cowards, only to regenerate their health bar? A big fan of pushing your friends into partying up so that you can actually progress in the game versus attempting a solo run doomed to fail? If so, this is your game.
Beautiful graphics, cute characters, and deep crafting systems can’t save this game from the massive difference between the hype and the reality. Monster Hunter: World was a game that I was done within a matter of weeks, and I’m probably not the only one.
2. Fortnite: Battle Royale (Nintendo Switch release)
I’ll admit it, I just don’t think this game is very good. The sharp cartoon motif had already been done — and better — by Blizzard’s team-deathmatch FPS Overwatch. The battle royale mechanic had been instigated by PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The ability to build cover on the fly was neat, if annoying, and the weapons seemed to be fairly balanced. However, on the Nintendo Switch, it’s even more cumbersome. The controls do not lend themselves very well to the game whatsoever, with small buttons and a small screen combining to give the player a distinct feeling of disadvantage — and dread.
It’s quite obvious that a great deal of the game’s success relies on the all-ages content and the fact that it’s free — before being sucked into buying passes and skins — and millions of players worldwide enjoy the heck out of Fortnite: Battle Royale. However, a lack of depth and a lack of any real plot of motivation mean that the longevity of the title remains in question.
1. Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a good game. It’s not a great game. It’s not as good as its predecessor, and despite its absolutely spectacular budget (VentureBeat roughly guesstimates the budget at between $600 million and a full $1 billion), the game is just not that amazing. As the Inquisitr previously detailed, Red Dead Redemption 2 is more of a movie than it is a video game — long cut-scenes drag on, and on, and on before anything of interest occurs. Incidental options such as taking in a stage play or putting down a few hands of poker are diminished by their lack of true stakes.
Arthur Morgan is a fleshed out protagonist, as are the members of his gang of roving criminals. The milieu is pitch-perfect. Every small detail is accounted for in a meticulous accounting of assets. But somehow, the game just doesn’t grab or demand the attention of the player. Side quests seem trivial and repetitive, without any real payoff. The user interface is clunky, somehow, despite thousands of quality assurance hours. The online mode is limited and lacks customization to any real degree.
Despite being a very good game, and despite receiving almost universal critical acclaim, Red Dead Redemption 2 is nonetheless the most overrated title in gaming in 2018.