2018 Year In Review - Games: My Most Disappointing Games of 2018

Whenever we reach the end of a calendar year, nothing makes me more excited than articles detailing the year that was. Whether it’s for TV, Movies or Games, it’s always fun to look back at what came back and seeing how things did stack up against one another. What was the best thing that came out in the year? What were the things you liked but barely made it to your best things of the year? What were the things that disappointed you? This time of the year always brings fun debate to those questions. For today, I want to focus on part 2 of what this year was for videogames.

Now unto the next category: the games that personally disappointed me in some way, shape or form this year. With the exception of one, these are not necessarily bad games, but games that were not what I wanted or expected from them.


Call of Duty Black Ops 4

I’ve been a "Call of Duty" fan since 2005’s "Call of Duty 2". I’ve always liked how the shooting in these games felt (even though these days I prefer the shooting in the "Destiny" games), and I always enjoyed the campaigns' zany, blockbuster quality that has been a staple of my gaming time for almost 12 years. I’ve felt the series has been up and down in quality after the release of 2009's Modern Warfare 2, but I’ve always played them, enjoying the campaigns, whatever side content they’d include (mostly dominated by Zombies these days) and dabbling in the multiplayer for a day or two before shelving it and waiting for the next title next year.

Which is why "Call of Duty: Black Ops 4" was a personal punch in the gut with its unveiling this year.

I’ve known for some time the thing people liked more about COD these days was the multiplayer. I was an outlier, but I knew where the popularity of the franchise lied. When it was announced that this year’s game would not include a campaign I was massively bummed, especially when they were proven to be liars when they said it was never the plan to have one but reports shone a light to the fact they had to cancel it because it wasn’t coming together properly and the surprise release date of "Red Dead Redemption 2" made them push up their release schedule. For them to replace that campaign with a battle royale mode was also such a “me too” movement in light of "Fortnite"’s world domination this year, which made the once dominating shooter series seem weak.

To be fair, what’s in the game is still fun. Multiplayer has always been good, and their battle royale turned out pretty well considering how last minute it had to be added. And for the Zombie fanatics (like my brother), there’s more to do in that mode at this time than in previous games, so there’s a bonus. My disappointment towards the game is to who it’s decided to cater to, which is not me. Their “story missions”, which are just a glorified tutorial with some well-produced cutscenes that make it clear they repurposed them from a campaign they cut, was a weird bone to throw at us the single player crowd.

There is no denying there is some quality in here. But if this is the direction the COD series is going now, I'm out.

Battlefield V

In 2017, I don’t think I saw a bigger, unmitigated disaster than the meltdown over what happened to EA and DICE’s “Star Wars Battlefront 2”. What should have been the easiest thing to get right was ruined by EA pushing its luck with their greedy business decisions, which made DICE make a game geared towards pay to win progression systems. The disaster was such that there were talks about government regulations over “gambling” in games, and DICE was forced to shut the microtransactions and spent months reworking their progression systems for the game. The stink "Star Wars: Battlefront 2" made was a black mark on a particularly bad year for EA, and developer DICE needed a big win with their next game to recover the good will they lost with that nightmarish release.

Fundamentally speaking, “Battlefield Vis as solid a game as DICE has made with their “Battlefield franchise. No other shooter in the market produces the beauty, the franticness and scale of battle like “Battlefield”. While the World War II setting seems a bit uninspired compared to them doing World War I with Battlefield 1in 2016, the things that worked with the 2016 game still work here for the most part.

It’s unfortunate that the game is unfinished.

I don’t know how much the “Star Wars Battlefront 2” fiasco set them back here, but it is crazy to see a “Battlefield” game launch in such an unfinished state with so many modes missing and so much coming “at a later date”. Maybe the seemingly 2-year development schedule is putting a dent on their development pipeline, but this late in the generation, releasing a game with so many features missing makes me question EA on why they thought releasing "Battlefield V" when they did was a smart idea. If they think that the “Games as a Service” model is an excuse to roll out content in such a staggered way, they’re wrong. They are asking $60 for a game that might as well be an Early Access title, where many staple modes are missing (including their much talked about battle royale mode), and their 4-chapter campaign only released with three chapters.

It’s especially disappointing considering how much DICE  (who proves they know how to make a great shooter based on the fundamentals of this game) needed a win. Instead, this is another black mark on an EA property, and it’s getting tiring to see great franchises continue to suffer by their publisher’s ineptitude.

Fallout 76

Speaking of games that might as well have been Early Access titles, I don’t think there is a clearer disaster for 2018 than the release of “Fallout 76”.

Bethesda has developed a great habit of doing their “surprise unveil and release on same year” with most of their games, and they did the same with “Fallout 76”. The only thing was that this wouldn’t be a traditional Fallout game like Fallout 4 in 2015, but something that dipped its toes into the multiplayer/games as a service model. It was an alarming  pivot for a company that just the previous year made a marketing push for “saving player one”. Also more alarming is how the game would also abandon so many staples of the Fallout franchise. Some hoped this would at least be a fun experiment for the franchise, especially since it kind of worked with “The Elder Scrolls Online”.

The final result couldn’t have been a bigger nightmare.

“Fallout 76” is easily the most broken high-profile game I have ever experienced in years. “Fallout 4” already had given me some warning signs of the unstable nature of their technology, but it has never broken in such spectacular fashion like the series’ pivot to online with this game. The level of yank found in the game rivals some of the trash you can find on "Steam Early Access". The way quests continuously break constantly is self-defeating. The server instability will make you want to hurl your controller many times. There is no purpose to engage with the content at the moment. It’s the quickest I’ve deleted a game from my console.

I’ve seen some reports of people saying they haven’t run into these kinds of issues, so your experience may vary. But this is another example of a “Games as a Service” release where developers feel good releasing a product in such a shoddy state and fix and add things over time. The problem here is that, whereas other “Games as a Service” releases at the very least have a good foundation core to them so they can be added over time, “Fallout 76” is categorically one of the worst games released this generation. With a level of quality so poor, it is no surprise to see the game on sale already. If they turn the ship around, it will take a lot of time and will be a miracle. But this offshoot entry is a disastrous mark on a beloved property like Fallout. And with Bethesda Game Studios having already announced their next two games are "Starfieldand the highly anticipated "The Elder Scrolls VI", it’s so disappointing that Fallout is going out of the limelight for a while with such a disappointing and thoroughly unsatisfying entry.


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