by Goran Damnjanovic, Gaming Columnist
Published in Gaming on 7th January, 2019
Find out which games were the biggest letdowns in 2018. And yes, Fallout 76 is one of them.
Now that we covered the best games in 2018 it is time to write about those that ended on the complete opposite side of the quality dimension. While 2018 was one of the best years of the last decade when it comes to quality and the sheer number of awesome games, it also brought lots of titles that weren't so good. We picked the ten worst but bear in mind that these aren't the ones that were literally worst of the worst in 2018.
Remember that Steam is stuffed with asset swappers which are released on a dime a dozen schedule and of course most of those games are clearly much worse than the majority of titles we included in this list. But those are games no one knows about meaning those games won't disappoint anyone. And here we have a list of games that aren't just plain bad.
Most of them either generated lots of hype and/or are parts of known and respected franchises making their lack of quality way more noticeable than the fact that some unknown excuse for a game that sold in like 90 copies managed to be worse than all of the games features here.
We also decided not to rank them - they are listed in alphabetical order - because that would be unfair because each of these games is broken and bad in its own unique way so it would be unfair to pick the one that the worst of the bunch. They are all pretty bad and that's enough. Let us begin.
Oh boy, what a letdown this game was. Soon after it got revealed Agony was imagined as a dirty child between Resident Evil and Dante's Inferno (Why, oh why EA didn't make a sequel to this awesome game!?), playing like a classic survival horror while taking place in the filthiest depths of hell. Trailers promised obscene environments and enemies that look like mutated and twisted parts of the human reproductive system and the hype generated was pretty high for such small game. And then Agony landed and became one of the shittiest games in recent years.
Aside from pretty visuals and gruesome art design that looks like H.R Giger took a bit too much LSD while reading Dante's Inferno, the game is plain boring, it is extremely short, it has a forgettable story, and it is filled with bugs. Instead of an interesting combination between Resident Evil and modern survival horror gameplay we got a dull copypasta of Outlast games without their charm or smart enemy AI.
The game is like a walking simulator inhabited by enemies that can easily kill you. Developers promised mature art style without boundaries but they had to censor some scenes and the promise uncensored patch for PC owners of the game never got released, which is a big minus considering the game was crowdfunded and those who backed it expected for developers to deliver on their promise.
Overall, Agony is a dismal game that doesn't bring anything new to the table. And even that would be okay if the game was fun to play, but it isn't. It is a complete opposite. At least it's extremely short.
Atlas is the most recent game to be included in this list and we are thankful for the fact that we waited for the year to end before picking the worst games of 2018. This one launched in Early Access - after a couple of delays that made many streamers mad as hell - and it is known that Early Access releases can be buggy, unoptimized, and lacking in content. But the level of roughness around the edges found in Atlas is staggering.
Saying that the game is unoptimized is a serious understatement. It can be unplayable even on a PC equipped with the latest Core i9 and RTX 2080 Ti, which is beyond ridiculous. Next, the number of bugs found in the game is simply crazy. You cannot play for five minutes without finding some bug or glitch.
Content is virtually nonexistent despite the fact that the map is huge. Sadly all those islands are devoid of interesting stuff to do and are instead barren wastelands populated by the game's gruesome-looking NPCs. Atlas is a mess and if you want to play a pirate MMO check out Sea of Thieves (which is surprisingly good, especially after the game received its many expansions) or wait for Skull and Bones.
And if you desire for a single player pirate experience you cannot go wrong with Assassin's Creed Black Flag or Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire.
PlayStation VR got some marvelous games during 2018 in the form of Astro Bot Rescue Mission, Beat Saber, Tetris Effect, Moss, and Firewall Zero Hour. Bravo Team, on the other hand, is an example of a bad PSVR game that looks and plays like it is still in prototype stage.
The game is simply too short. You can finish it in a couple of hours which would be okay if it was sold for about $5 or $10. But Bravo Team retails for $40 which is a bonkers price for a game that is long as an average demo.
Next, the camera is bloody unacceptable. It is so bad that it can induce horrific motion sickness that can easily result in a massive vomit episode and something like that is simply unacceptable for a VR game.
Next, the gameplay is boring and way to easy which, combined with the game's ultra-short campaign, guarantee an instant regret for buying the game. And finally, Bravo Team features an extremely limited selection of weapons along with a massive number of technical issues that resulted in the worst VR game of 2018.
Dynasty Warriors 9 received lots of hype after it was announced. After all the game was to bring open-world action to the famous series and developers promised lots of content, excellent story, and combat improvements that would make this one the best Dynasty Warriors of them all.
And the series needed that because the last few games were less than stellar and fans waited a long time for another excellent Dynasty Warriors experience. But then the game got released and it didn't simply disappoint, it ruined every piece of hope fans had that once cherished and respectable series of games will return with style.
The promised open world is one of the most barren open world environments we ever got in a game. It is simply a map with some NPCs, settlements, a bit of diverse topography, some lakes, and rivers, and that's it.
Games like Dynasty Warriors are supposed to be action hack and slash games filled with combat encounters but here you spend most of the time on the back of your horse exploring ancient China which looks pretty dull instead of fighting hordes of soldiers.
Combat is simplified and it isn't challenging as before, the story is a letdown, and the game locked lots of content behind a paywall embodied in two season passes that appeared just a few months after the release, which is simply insane!
Oh boy, where do we start with this one? Back when it was first announced Fallout 76 sounded like a perfect Fallout game made for millions of fans who simply craved for a multiplayer Fallout experience. On top of all this the game promised a thick amount of single player content, a huge map to explore filled with signature Fallout environments, lite survival gameplay, expanded and upgraded crafting system, plenty of fun ways to spend time with friends, and much more.
Sure, potential caveats like zero NPC characters, practically nonexistent PvP system, and average visuals were noticed but all that would simply fade away in seconds after you discover just how awesome Fallout 76 is, right? Well, no.
The game launched as a broken buggy mess, which was visible during the couple Beta sessions that, instead of being used as a tool to find bugs and polish the game, were used simply for stressing servers because Bethesda never made an online game before (Elder Scrolls Online was handled by a separate studio called ZeniMax Online Studios).
But they should've used Beta to hunt for bugs because there were hundreds of them during Beta tests but players believed that most of them would be dealt with once the game comes out. No, they haven't been squashed.
As soon as the game came out it was obvious that something was wrong. Players reported numerous bugs and lack of optimization along with extremely boring story missions, clunky gameplay and gunplay; most streamers were simply disappointed with the game and there were zero reviews online even after a couple days passed since the game came out. And then the huge dumpster fire of 2018 began.
Critics simply demolished Fallout 76 and for right reasons. The wonky and rusty Creation engine was simply too old and too broken to be heavily modified (again!) in order to handle an always online live game and oh boy did it show it.
But technical issues weren't the only source of problems. Gameplay was boring, quests were even worse, and the complete lack of NPCs made the game extremely barren of any human presence. Sure you have a couple of dozen other players on the map at all times but the map is huge so there's little chance to meet someone and even if you meet there's a slim chance of you two making any contact aside from a greeting or two.
Next, the game felt like a simple loot shooter but the extremely small limit the game imposed on your stash meant that you couldn't loot everything. And once Bethesda started to patch the game, new bugs appeared and the game became even worse.
And a plethora of PR disasters followed the game's extremely poor reviews and sales numbers. Owners of the limited edition of the game received ugly looking plastic bags instead cool-looking and useful canvas bags, and instead of trying to solve the problem Bethesda tried to calm down players by offering lousy, $5 worth of the game's virtual currency (enough to buy one basic item in the game store).
Next, accounts of people who requested refunds leaked, and then Bethesda launched a plethora of festive cosmetic items that sold for insanely high prices (a bundle of holiday emotes sold for $10 and Santa's costume went for $20!). And the latest disaster saw $80 Nuka Cola Rum that is packed inside cheap, plastic bottles. Fallout 76 is definitely the biggest letdown of 2018 but surprisingly enough (or not) it isn't the worst game of this year.
Metal Gear Survive is a quick cash grab, a game without a soul that was promoted solely on the basis that it has Metal Gear in its name. But this one is not Metal Gear game nor does it remind us of one. Metal Gear Survive is a survival game with guns that is meant to be played in co-op with friends and it doesn't have a single common thing with masterpieces created by Hideo Kojima.
Konami blatantly used Metal Gear naming (because the company still has rights to the name and they know that they aren't able to create another blockbuster Metal Gear game so they just tried to cash in on the IP the company owns) and tried to ruse some fans into buying this excuse for a video game.
The story follows some soldiers from Metal Gear V, who got sucked into a parallel universe via some wormhole (yup, that's the official explanation) and now those soldiers have to kill horrific monsters found in that parallel dimensions and to survive. Yes, it sounds dull and it is dull. On top of all the combat is awful, there's no story (other than that cheesy intro), the game lacks content and bugs and glitches are found everywhere. Avoid!
MX Vs ATV All Out is a perfect example of a game that got released in a wrong time period. By that, we mean that MX Vs ATV All Out should've been released during PlayStation 3 era because the game looks and plays like something from 2006.
The visuals are horrendous and it really boggles the mind when you try to understand just how this game looks this bad. Even some mobile games look better than this one. Maybe developers simply took out assets from MX vs. ATV: On the Edge and simply combined them, added a few free assets from Unity Marketplace and then released a game that was advertised as a new and awesome chapter in the MX vs ATV series.
On top of that the game features horrible driving model that feels like driving lawnmowers instead of agile and tricky dirt bikes and ATVs, the campaign is short and uninspiring, events are dull and they all look the same, optimization is awful, and the number of bugs and glitches is beyond all tolerance levels. This is a game that shouldn't even exist but sadly it somehow managed to get released for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Past Cure was promoted as a story-driven, cinematic thriller that "blurs the lines between dreams and reality." All we got is a game that looks like a story-driven, cinematic thriller that only blurs the lines between a finished game and an alpha version of a video game. Look, visuals are great and if judged only on those terms Past Cure could maybe even be described as one of the prettiest games of 2018. But visuals aren't everything and that's pretty bad for Past Cure because its shiny graphics is the only good thing to be found in this game.
The story is uninspiring, gameplay is super slow and a complete opposite for a game that promises lots of action and excitement (how can you be thrilled when your character moves and plays like his arms and legs don't really work as supposed to). And the game mixes so many genres and gameplay mechanics it ultimately ruins the immersion. You have a bad combat and stealth mechanics that are mixed with too many puzzles to solve and clunky aiming.
The result makes every combat encounter a painful experience even if you play with a mouse and keyboard, every puzzle a chore to solve, and every stealth set piece a poor attempt of achieving something even close to what we saw in The Evil Within 2. And finally, the voiceovers are so lame they sound like the script was read by random people hired on the street who didn't have anything better to do than to read some lines for a video game.
The Culling was an original take on Battle Royale genre that included some new mechanics and focused on a smaller band of survivors who are to kill everyone else and survive. The game was a solid multiplayer experience and it was one of the better Battle Royale games.
And then developers probably thought they could get some quick cash so they decided to release the Culling 2. They simply created a random map, threw assets and characters models in it, implemented basic physics and released a game that promised to be a new champion of Battle Royale genre. It wasn't.
The Culling 2 was a paying game that was in a worse state than 99 percent of Early Access titles. It was riddled with bugs and glitches and was literally unplayable. Owners of the game quickly protested on the game's Steam page and the whole catastrophe caught the attention of gaming media which meant a quick death for the game.
Developers finally admitted they created a blatant attempt to get some cash instead of creating a playable video game and The Culling 2 was ultimately removed from Steam. A logical conclusion for a product that isn't worthy of being called a video game. Developers stated they will start working on the game (like actually working on it) and that it will be published as a finished product, some day. Maybe it will end as one of the worst games of 2019 or 2020, who knows.
This game developed by Human Head Studios, the same company that made the original Prey (which was an awesome Quake-like shooter) is a total embarrassment from start to finish.
And you don't have to wait long for the game to reach its finish because you can finish it in less than five hours. But even with its extremely short length, The Quiet Man is a pain to play and most gamers won't last that much. Firstly, the game got released without any sound present in it because, you know, the main character is deaf. So, instead of creating some cool atmospheric way to present a world without sounds developers simply devoid the game out of any.
And they didn't even provide subtitles so you literally don't know what's happening when playing the damn game!
Next, the game looks and plays straight bad. Visuals are like on a PS2 - hey, MX Vs ATV All Out at least looks like it came from 2006, The Quiet Man looks like it came from 2002 - and combat is laughably bad. You simply press buttons and the character like hits his enemies and they, like, fall down and that's, like, it. It's awful really.
Developers tried to improve the game by releasing a patch that adds some titles and sounds into it but, if we are being honest, The Quiet Man is even worse with sound. This game is bad and both Square Enix and Human Head Studios should feel bad for creating and publishing this mess and for charging people to play it.