Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Most Overrated Games of the Recent Years Part I


   The gaming industry has evolved a lot in the last decade, becoming an industry worth billions of dollars. When so much money is in the middle, those involved in this will do anything to boost their profits, this way gaming marketing exploded, with more money being thrown on commercials than the actual development of the games, which from the perspective of the consumer is a terrible thing.
   With all the money spent on games, those that influence the buyer with their reviews become more important to the publishers. Critics can affect the image of a game and therefore the sales. So it became a known fact that publishers started to influence journalists in any way they can so they could get higher ratings for their games.
   Websites like metacritic became a major factor in selling and rating of video games and publishers went as far as putting terms in contracts with the developing studios related to the score from metacritic, which is a terrible thing to do (poor Obsidian Entertainment and Fallout: New Vegas…). The journalists score on metacritic is far from a reflection of the truth and more often than not, the score given by the users (despite their exaggeration) reflects the reality so much better.
   I recommend anyone to stay away from the scores given by these kind of popular websites as they are not standards to measure if a game is actually good. If you want to find out more details about a released game, check some of the more popular youtube broadcasters for their opinion, which is usually much more objective, or watch streams on twitch.tv and make your own impression about the game.
   With all these being said I decided to make a list of the most overrated games, not necessarily by journalists, of the recent years and the reasons I consider these games over appreciated. This list will refer as always only to PC games and will stay away from franchises like Call of Duty, Battlefield or Assassin’s Creed, because everyone should know by now that they are overrated.
Note: I’m not saying that these games are bad, I’m just saying that they are not as good as the journalists say in their reviews or some gamers praise them to be, ignoring soo many of their flaws.

X-COM: Enemy Unknown

   X-COM is a legendary series by now, that started in 1994 with UFO: Enemy Unknown.  The franchise features a human organization fighting an alien invasion in order to defend Earth.
   X-COM: Enemy Unknown is a reboot of the series on the old but still decent Unreal Engine 3. The game graphics are not the greatest and suffer from the same problems as any game using UE 3 (say Hi! to textures loading in front of you).
   The biggest problem with this game is the lack of complexity, as it is a strategy that should be complex to the bone. While the combat is good, it's not supported in any way by features that would make it more complex and allow the player to use different styles and tactics. There are not enough types of missions in the game and this makes it repetitive and boring after a short while. The research system is deceiving and looks complex at first but as you go through the game it's noticeable that it lacks the depth that players should expect from a game like this one. There are not enough weapons and armors to research and utilize and not many things that should make you think what to prioritize in researching and building.
   While I do understand people getting excited for receiving something new from this series, I think the game is way overvalued compared with what is actually given. The expansion Enemy Within does improve a lot the experience of the game, but the original title was not such a masterpiece as the scores make you believe it is.
A boring world...

The tactical combat system, the most enjoyable part of the game.

Sid Meier’s Civilization V

   4x strategies, like all other types of strategy games, are not a very popular genre. Even so, because of its mainstream gameplay Civilization V managed to sell quite well. This is a good  thing because as a strategy becomes more popular the whole genre benefits from it as more people getting in contact with these types of games.
   The reason why Civilization V is on this list being mostly because of its terrible business model combined with some of the issues the game had. At release, the game came with basic features wrapped up in a good looking foil. For a 4X strategy that starts from the beginning of humanity, Civilization V lacked the complexity of such a game. 
   The economic and diplomatic systems of the game were a mess, combat was soo basic, multiplayer was not playable and features like religion and tourism were not present in the original game and they were added with a new expansion each.
   So in order to have a complete experience of this game, gamers had to buy the original game which was 60$ and two additional expansions which were 40$ each plus a ton of DLCs. One might argue that you could get the game on sale, but that is not the point here. 2K deliberately released an incomplete game just to make sure they charged the gamers more money for additional features that would make the gameplay more complex and at the level that was in the previous games of the franchise.
   There are indie 4X strategies that manage to beat the level of complexity and the gameplay of Civilization 5 at a much better price and even providing free DLCs for the community and a multiplayer that actually works.
Terrible combat...

The hexagons system, the biggest improvement in the game!

Mass Effect 2

   With little upgrades to the technical part, Mass Effect 2 loses lots of important features and mechanics from its predecessor.
   The RPG elements in the game have been dumbed down with laughable skill trees and the dialogue system turned into a compact wheel of choices between good, evil or useless. The exploration of planets has been removed instead of being improved and made more fun and maybe more rewarding, the depth of space has been reduced to 10 by 10 square meters maps. The gameplay is now a run and gun with cover and special abilities, close to any standard console action game.
   While the characters in the game are brilliantly written they can’t cover for a poor story that places humans in center of everything (again? really!?!) and with a villain that is just a mere shadow of what Sovereign was in the first game.
This game turned from a great RPG experience into a hollywoodian style game with lots of run and gun action and sex scenes (this sells right?).
   Mass Effect 2 was highly acclaimed across all platforms, but for a game that advertised as being an RPG and came from Bioware itself it was just a sad story of the worst to come from this studio now under the restraints of EA.
Pew pew!

Even more pew pew!

To be continued...


No comments:

Post a Comment