A lot of people rely on the hype surrounding a game to tell them whether or not they should get it. In the age of the pre-order, many fans take developers at their word and buy their games before they truly know what they will be playing. If a game gets dubbed “the next big thing,” chances are expectations are going to be high for it. People will pre-order the game before they see reviews, and by the time they figure out the game isn’t as good as they thought, it’s too late.
These 15 games, while they may not be the worst games ever made, had far too much hype surrounding them. Many times, the hype surrounding a game can make a good game look bad. Most of the games on this list aren’t bad games; they just suffered due to the reality not matching the hype.
Sometimes hype is generated naturally, through previous successful games. Other times it is generated by developers and the media to help drive sales. The mark of a successful game is not how many people buy it, but how it is received by the community. Here are 15 Video Games That Didn’t Live Up To The Hype.
Sequels and remakes of popular games have a lot to live up to, especially when the title comes out years after the original. Thief fell into this category, but the 2014 release fell far short of the expectations fans had due to the original three Thief titles.
The game started out on the wrong foot with a lot of returning fans, as the protagonist Garrett was voiced by an unfamiliar actor. Since this installment of the series came out so long after the original trilogy, though, many new players were welcomed to the world of Thief… and were equally disappointed.
What promised to be a stealth-based game, the likes of which have never been seen, turned out to be a B-league Dishonored with buggy mechanics and a world that was utterly disinteresting. The game felt engaging at times, as you snuck through buildings stealing everything you could find, but NPCs were so dumb it often felt as though you were taking advantage of their intelligence rather than truly being sneaky.
Evolve may have suffered from the excess hype surrounding it, as it was one of the most anticipated games of 2015. The idea for the game was a good one: a hunting game where the prey was controlled by a player and could fight back. It couldn’t live up to the hype surrounding the release, however, and many people who were eager to play the game found it lacking depth and staying power.
Evolve had no story mode or lore to speak of. There were never any circumstances given for how and why any of this was happening. There was immediately downloadable content available, something that no gamer wants to see when they open a new game. There’s nothing like buying a game and finding out you have to pay more for all of the content. Evolve just didn’t feel like a full game when it was released. The developers tried to support the game, even transitioning to free-to-play, but there was just too much stacked against Evolve for it to ever succeed.
13. Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect 3 was not a bad game. In many ways, it was a great game and one of the best in the series. The ending, however, is what makes it deserving of being included in this list. The ending was just that bad. Mass Effect 3, like the two titles that came before it, bragged that the player had complete control of the outcome of Shepard and the galaxy. In truth, however, the ending of the final installment was virtually the same no matter what you chose, and disregarded any choices you’ve made before it.
In fact, the more you know about the intricate lore of the Mass Effect universe, the more insulting the ending felt. Shepard, no matter what decisions were made, destroyed the relay system and any planets unlucky enough to live in range of one. Any missions that you completed before the final scene were essentially nullified, leaving players outraged after the perceived control they had fell apart.
The game’s ending was so widely disliked that the developer had to add a DLC to clarify the ending and try to appease the fan base. It was never a bad game, but a horrible ending can certainly color the way people remember it.
12. Duke Nukem Forever
Duke Nukem was a staple of ’90s gaming culture. His funny one-liners were a good break from the silence we were getting from a lot of other first-person shooters and worked well as a commentary on the genre as a whole.
The original Duke Nukem games worked because the genre was lacking parody at the time. Many people expected Duke Nukem Forever to have the same effect on modern gaming, but it didn’t even come close. The game, more than anything, felt dated when it was released in 2011. Gaming, and shooters in particular had changed immensely since the original Duke Nukem games were popular. The distaste that Duke seems to have for other first-person shooter games is blatant but misguided. It makes it hard to tease other game franchises when the developers borrow mechanics from said games.
11. Gears of War 4
Gears of War 4 is certainly not the worst game on the list, but it fell far short of expectations set for the series. Gears of War is another series of games that has built hype through its own excellence, but the fourth installment was lacking in several ways.
The campaign, while fun and engaging at times felt stale. The new enemies didn’t offer the same excitement as the Locust in the previous Gears of War games, and the new protagonists didn’t relate as well to the audience. The multiplayer community, an aspect that was always important to the success of Gears of War, seemed to die as quickly as it was born. Players didn’t like the expensive micro-transactions accompanied by paid DLC, and the whole thing seemed like the developers wanted to squeeze as much money out of us as possible. The new maps, while fun at times, were limiting and had players reminiscing on how great the maps of the old Gears were.
10. Halo 4
Halo 4 is widely considered to be the worst release of a generally successful video game franchise. Halo is, and has always been one of the reasons people buy an Xbox over a Playstation. Halo 4 added little attraction to their game system– instead receiving harsh criticism in the form of reviews and fan feedback.
Many of the elements that made the original three Halo games so successful were abandoned at the release of Halo 4, leaving fans to worry about the future of the franchise. The story was considered boring, overly dramatic, and cheesy. The multiplayer – the reason many people pick up Halo games to begin with – seemed to be pandering to Call of Duty fans rather than expanding on the existing excellence of previous Halo games. Skill felt like a secondary affect rather than the focus of multiplayer gameplay. Halo, traditionally an arena shooter, seemed to be trending towards the popular class-based system that rewarded a good load-out over map control and mechanical skill. Halo 4 failed and the multiplayer population quickly dwindled.
9. The Division
Tom Clancy’s The Division has a platform that was, and still is promising, it was just never properly developed to the extent that fans hoped. The Division suffered from over-hype that can partially be attributed to the game’s delays. It was first announced at E3 in 2013, but the game wasn’t released for three more years. This gave fans and critics ample time to obsess and speculate on a game that didn’t turn out the way they thought it would.
The setting of the game, a post-apocalyptic New York City, was one of the lone bright spots but was left by the wayside. Apart from collectibles, there was no incentive to explore the city. The Dark Zone was innovative in its PvP mentality, but broken mechanics and hackers ran rampant when the game launched.
There was no end-game to speak of at launch, leaving players stranded at level 30 mere weeks after the game was first put on the shelves. Missions were repetitive and the story was inconsequential. You don’t save the world or even catch the bad guy in the end. The game, as a whole, seemed more like a setup for a sequel than a stand-alone game.
8. Fallout 4
Fallout 4 is a good game, and borders on great at times. It just wasn’t what we expect from Bethesda and the Fallout franchise. Fallout and its counterpart The Elder Scrolls have generated hype the old fashioned way: by making spectacular video games. The hype surrounding releases of these games is deserved, but it’s up to the developers to live up to it.
Fallout 4 is certainly fun and addicting. It immerses the player into the post-apocalyptic Boston, and if this was your first Fallout game, you might be impressed. It’s not the first Fallout game for a lot of fans, though, and those players found that Fallout 4 brought little in the way of new elements to the series. Settlements were the only truly new mechanic, and as fun as it may be to build houses and defenses, it proved tedious and frustrating to keep track of them.
For a story that was set so far in the future from the other Fallout games, there was very little to differentiate time periods from that of Fallout 3 or New Vegas. The game was good, but it wasn’t on the level that we’ve come to expect from Fallout games.
Destiny, when it was first announced, seemed like it was going to usher in the next wave of innovative games. Bungie, the studio that brought us Halo, was seemingly crafting an open world space saga that would be both engrossing and expansive. Unfortunately, the reality of the game fell far short of the hype surrounding it.
A first play-through of the lackluster story is good enough, but the tedious grind to the light level cap has players combing through planets they’ve already explored dozens of times. Destiny is one of the most repetitive and grind-heavy game in recent memory. Combat and PvP, the elements that we expected Bungie to excel at, were exceptional, but the surrounding game made it hard to dedicate the time needed to build a finished character. DLC releases made the game more expansive, even adding new planets to explore, but they were always behind a pay wall and made the game feel incomplete without spending additional money.
Destiny is a good game with potential to be great, and many hope that Destiny 2 will improve on the elements fans criticized in the first installment.
6. Fable III
Fable III had a chance to expand on the success of the previous titles, but left fans unsatisfied by the end of their in-game time. Fable III felt unfinished; it had the bare-bones of a good game but never fully explored any single aspect.
The setup for the game is simple: there is an evil king and you must usurp him. The originality of the game comes once you become king. You then realize that there is a much greater threat, and have to decide whether to help those who have helped you or prepare for the evil that threatens the whole kingdom. Even with this element of originality, there is virtually no attachment to any of the characters. It’s too easy to tell your former companions to pound sand, and offers no feeling of guilt for hoarding all of the money you make. You can kill an entire town, only to marry one of the women who yells “murderer” right in your face.
5. Watch Dogs
Watch Dogs is an example of a game that suffered greatly from the hype surrounding its release. The game itself wasn’t all that bad, and offered many players their money’s worth, but it never stood a chance to live up to the expectations that fans and the media had set for it.
Watch Dogs was supposed to be a completely unique world. While the hacking feature provided a lone bright-spot of innovation for many, the game as a whole felt recycled. There were too many similarities in Watch Dogs to Ubisoft’s previous titles — namely Assassin’s Creed — and the gameplay was not as innovative as the outside world was led to believe it would be.
The story seemed corny and contrived at times, and many of the mechanics felt clunky. Missions felt repetitive and were not as engaging, and the intelligence that many fans expected to find in Watch Dogs was lacking. Overall, the game could have been considered a success if the hype surrounding it didn’t elevate expectations so much. It was fun and generally worth playing, but it wasn’t the game that we were promised when it was released.
4. Homefront: The Revolution
The first release of Homefront had some problems of its own, but was generally well-received by the gaming community. The game had a cool concept and some promise, so when Homefront: The Revolution was announced, many fans thought that this concept would be expanded upon.
The story in Homefront was a good one, but it was short. Homefront: The Revolution was a bit longer, but is generally considered to be a failure. Some of the mechanics worked, but it’s hard to say anything good about the game without immediately acknowledging the bad. The combat was promising but riddled with bugs; the story had an interesting concept but the missions were repetitive and tedious; the game had a decent amount of hype surrounding it, and it failed in almost every conceivable way. For all of the disappointing games 2016 brought us, Homefront: The Revolution is in the running for the absolute worst.
3. Star Wars: Battlefront
The original Star Wars: Battlefront games were exceptional. They brought the real war of Star Wars to the video game realm, allowing players to be in the trenches, fighting the battle for freedom. The multiplayer was unique and the campaign was engaging. Even if there wasn’t much variety, the Battlefront games attracted a player base that was urgently awaiting a reboot on the next generation of consoles.
The new Battlefront was released amidst the Star Wars frenzy of 2015, right after The Force Awakens landed in theaters. Fans were excited to play a revamped version of a game they once loved, but found it lacking when compared to nearly any other competitive first-person shooter. It became clear that the new Battlefront game is for Star Wars fans, and Star Wars fans alone.
Battlefront ended up being nothing more than a limited version Battlefield in the Star Wars universe. There was no campaign and the progression system in multiplayer was laughable. It’s merely an attempt to further cash-in on the Star Wars craze. Battlefield II is said to be releasing later this year, so hopefully it will be able to breath some life into the franchise.
2. Mass Effect: Andromeda
Mass Effect: Andromeda was one of the most anticipated video game releases in recent memory. It was viewed as BioWare’s chance to mend fences with their player base after the debacle that was the Mass Effect 3 ending. Mass Effect 3, even with a bad ending, was still a good game. Mass Effect: Andromeda can also be considered a good game; but was it the game that fans expected and wanted? Certainly not.
Andromeda was plagued with glitches and bugs from the start. Squad mates would go missing, kill animations would glitch-out, and the now-famous facial animation problem was the subject a thousand YouTube videos. The game became laughable at times, and many returning fans found it hard to relate to the new protagonist, Ryder.
On top of all the bugs, the multiplayer was, essentially, the same horde mode that BioWare gave us in Mass Effect 3. Fans always liked the Mass Effect horde mode, but most of the player base expected them to take a step forward. Overall, Mass Effect will not go down as the worst game of 2017, but perhaps the biggest disappointment.
1. No Man’s Sky
Was there ever a more obvious number one in list-making history? No Man’s Sky became a punch line for gamers everywhere when it was released in 2016. Xbox players, who were initially disappointed they wouldn’t be able to play the game, thanked the Microsoft gods when they saw the reviews rolling in.
The game was essentially built on a lie. No Man’s Sky was supposed to be the biggest MMO ever created. What it ended up being was a repetitive single-player grind that offered no reward for reaching the end. We were originally told that we wouldn’t be able to find each other because the universe was so big, but streamers quickly proved that it was because you wouldn’t be on the same server. The player count went into a free-fall only a week after the game came out.
The developers who were so vocal about how ground-breaking their game would be went silent amidst the criticism, and quietly released DLC content to try to mend fences. No Man’s Sky, if given an honest assessment, may not have been the failure that it was. The hype surrounding it made it fail, and there’s no one other than the developers to blame for any of it.
Which games do you think were the most over-hyped? Sound off in the comments!