All gamers know the review score system. It’s stupid, and it makes no damn sense, but we all know it. 7/10 is crap but you might like it if you love the genre, 8/10 if you fancy a good game, 9/10 for a great one, and 10/10 lets you know you’re actually reading an advert on IGN. On that note I’d like to point out that Sea of Thieves is currently sitting at 71 on Metacritic for critics and 5.5/10 for user scores… so it sucks, right?
It always sucks when a game you're super excited for winds up being ... well ... boring.— DesertPogona (@DesertPogona) March 21, 2018
I've admittedly been forcing myself to try and find enjoyment in Sea of Thieves. I can't do it anymore. I feel kind of lied to, honestly. A lot felt promised that just isn't there.
They really should've just made Sea of Thieves early access a year ago. Nothing to do besides the same 3 missions, 1 enemy type, combat sucks and it doesn't matter if you die or lose your ship.— Laughing Archives (@Drgnkiller) March 21, 2018
Why am I not at all surprised that Sea of Thieves has next to no content and totally sucks ass?— The Dishonoured Wolf (@DishonouredWolf) March 22, 2018
Can I say that?
Sea of Thieves sucks and has been deftly summed up as “10% of a game” by multiple publications. Everyone lost their sh*t, sprayed man juice all over the comment sections of previews and trailers, and inevitably the game didn’t just fail to meet expectations, it plummeted below them. It’s hard to explain the experience to people unfamiliar with gaming, but gamers anticipate the next big thing for years. We all have one project we’re waiting on, one project where every detail is something we hope and dream for, and it gets announced and we all go mad and it comes out and it’s usually below expectations but still pretty good. Me? I love those old ID games like Doom and Quake and I always eagerly anticipate the next Doom so every little slither of information gets filed away in the hype section of brain where it can ferment for years. Doom 2016 was a pretty nice surprise for me. I’d been waiting for about a decade and the game came out and it was cool and I enjoyed it (yay).
But every now and again the game you’ve been anticipating bombs. Oh my God it can not be overstated enough how hard some games crash. How much it blows to wait years, literally years, only for the game to come out like a big wet fart. I’m not talking about games that come out as 8/10s when you were expecting 9/10s. I’m talking about the sort of disappointment reserved for people who discover their biological father is Harvey Weinstein.
On that note, let us begin.
1. No Man’s Sky
Let’s get this right out of the way because we all know it’s skulking around here somewhere, don’t we? You clicked this link knowing damn well a Sean Murray meme was gonna pop up. Well let’s do it quickly.
No Man’s Sky wasn’t very good, at least not when it came out. I’m going to cut it a little slack because it’s done a lot better with its updates and because I’ve been adamant for a while now that if No Man’s Sky was released as a £14.99 Early Access game on Steam everyone would have gone wild about it. But it wasn’t an Early Access game. It was marketed as a AAA fully polished game that was going to have the dynamic system-based gameplay of Mount and Blade with the epic polish of Star Wars in a galaxy so big you’ll be able to genuinely explore a space filled with limitless possibilities. Space battles with factions that have lives outside of your interference? Animals that range from little fish to huge dinosaurs with interactive AI resulting in stampedes and herding behaviour? A galaxy where you can make a living however you want? Economies that react to supply and demand? Multiplayer interactions?
What did we get?
Well, kind of a survival game after it had been buggered half to death by a walking simulator. Which… is not itself a bad thing. It just it is a bad thing when you were expecting the apotheosis of digital entertainment but instead got something that felt like an okay game you might have kickstarted years before and forgotten about. In hindsight, No Man’s Sky is actually a pretty fun game (I’ve got 400 hours in it) but… c’mon… it doesn’t even come close to the imaginary version we all had in our heads after watching that E3 trailer, right?
Holy sh*t remember this? I do because it was released before I discovered drugs so it’s particularly lucid but damn this game was… it was… well it was okay. It was like five bad games stapled together along with two games that were kind of okay. Spore was kind of the proto-No Man’s Sky. It was going to have an enormous galaxy where you could guide the evolution of an entire race from individual cell to massive galaxy conquering mega-aliens. It was going to (and I quote) “revolutionise the very concept of games”. Admittedly, the creature creator was actually really cool, but it was the only part of the game that was actually original. The rest of the game was just a series of stages that were blatantly stolen from other games. Want to play a bad version of pac man, or a piss-poor rip off of Civilisation? Well boot this baby up and prepare to be disappointed.
Also, the creature creator was literally filled with d*cks. That’s not the devs fault but it definitely hurt the game. I had to fend off three different dong-based species over the course of my game.
Ah now this is one most people won’t think of. Brink was a really weird game. It was meant to be a parkour multiplayer shooter with unparalleled levels of customisation, a strange but compelling pseudo-cel-shaded art style, and a compelling single-player story that seamlessly blended multiplayer with single-player. Perhaps the weirdest thing was that it gave you four classes modified by three weight groups, so your movement and health varied depending on whether you wanted to sacrifice one or the other.
That… that’s an interesting idea. Problem is that the maps were uninspired and encouraged boring gameplay where two sides just camped somewhere in the middle, “seamlessly blending single and multiplayer” actually just meant forcing you to watch cutscenes between matches, the art style was fun but not particularly interesting, and if you played as anything but the heaviest class then you’d just get shredded almost instantly. So all that parkour? Kind of wasted because it meant playing as a fragile pile of glass in a world filled with bullets that run quicker than you no matter how bloody good you are at vaulting over walls.
4. Duke Nukem Forever
Yeah yeah we all know this was going to be on here but I’m going to bring my criticism down to one simple statement.
Why did this game feel rushed?
Seriously. Think about it. If you were to wipe your mind and just play DNF from beginning to end I bet you’d say to yourself something like, “well this is crap but I bet they were just working with what resources they had under a limited time restraint.” Yeah… except it took fourteen years to make. It is no way an exaggeration to say that you could f*ck someone, have a baby with them, teach that baby to start coding at ten, begin their first project at twelve, and have that child make a game that is better than Duke Nukem Forever by their thirteenth birthday. Seriously, the bar isn’t that high. The kid could make a cheap snake clone and it’d be better.
Think about that. Just think about that. 14 years and their crowning achievement felt rushed. It felt like it was made in about nine months by a team who cut corners all over the place. That… that is, all on its own, just one part of the DNF debacle that is occasionally worth reflecting on. DNF wasn’t just crap, it came out feeling rushed when it had been in development for longer than it takes nature to create a f*cking person from scratch.
5. Everything Peter Molyneux Has Ever Made
Oh my God, this guy. He’s almost endearing, isn’t he? Almost, not really though. The worst thing about Peter Molyneux is that we believe him. Let’s go way back and look at Fable. Fable is now considered an absolute classic. But… at the time? Molyneux promised us dogs, children, a game world where you could knock an acorn off a tree and watch it grow, a story that spanned your life from birth to death, and also children. But none of those things were there. People were pissed. Peter apologised.
Rinse and repeat with Fable II, and then again with Fable III. Each time he promised features, not just generic hype but actual specific features, that never ever showed up. And each and every time Peter Molyneux would apologise.
And then he’d do it again.
But nothing… nothing compares to Curiosity and Godus. Jesus Christ, where to begin? Curiosity was a giant cube that you tapped at and chipped away at slowly. You could buy tools to chip away faster, and the last person to chip away the last speck of the cube would get a “life changing prize”.
What was the prize?
You get to be a god of gods in Peter’s game, Godus. Now that’s not “life changing” but Peter also promised a share of the profits to the lucky winner!
Oh wait he never delivered?
But what about Godus!? Peter invented the genre he should…
Oh wait… It was just a screen tapping mobile app? The list of broken promises is astounding. Why did a kickstarter game need freemium mechanics? Why did they lie and promise a pc-centric design when it was clearly just a ported app? The game promised to be the greatest god game ever and it came from a legendary developer and what everyone got was just another free-to-play piece game that used base psychological manipulation to scam you out of cash.
Peter Molyneux – the man who’s been disappointing multiple generations of games.