Overrated is a loaded term. It looks good in a headline. It’s often used for no purpose other than to goad a reaction. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful. When I call a game overrated, I don’t mean it’s bad, that the reviews were wrong, that the people who liked it were dopes, or even that I didn’t like it. It just means I’m surprised more people weren’t more critical, that the conversation wasn’t more often about ways the game could have been better.
After the jump, the ten most overrated games of 2017.
10. Bomber Crew
A bunch of arcade action missions in which you get all your stuff back if you die, your crew doesn’t matter, and you’re not even flying a B-17.
Read Bruce Geryk’s review here.
Why would you create something this good and then make it too hard for mere mortals? Cuphead is on the wrong side of the line between challenging and punishing.
8. Total War: Warhammer II
Since when are we putting Roman numerals after titles when it’s pretty much the same game with a new roster of players? I don’t play sports games, so that wasn’t a rhetorical question.
7. Middle Earth: Shadow of War
In case you were worried the last game left out any animations of ways to kill an orc, here’s a thousand more. Also have a bunch of tedious loot to push you into microbuying stuff. Stick around long enough and you can have a pointless base-building boondoggle.
6. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Finally Resident Evil borrows from some new sources! If only it had understood them better. Or at least put them into a better game. From the review:
…instead of a horror game that follows through with the obvious inspiration it draws from Silent Hill, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Blair Witch Project, you get a horror game that taps into your fear of not having enough room to carry the green herb you found.
5. Assassin’s Creed: Origins
More scenery than game. From the review:
Assassin’s Creed: Origins is Ubisoft at its best and at its worst. The ancient Egypt they’ve built is nothing short of breathtaking for its detail, expanse, aesthetic, and sheer splendor. And it damn well better be, because it’s pretty much all there is to this game.
4. Xenoblade Chronicles 2
A game about leveling up a bunch of cool characters…who stand around on the sidelines while you play these other putzes.
3. Destiny 2
Look, I know that Bungie knows gunplay. That’s been clear ever since I put Halo into the first Xbox 1. They’re even doing a fine job situating that gunplay into a never-ending MMO. But the glacial progression system is a wet blanket over the whole thing. Destiny 2 demands that you care about the difference between a light level of 216 and a light level of 217.
2. Super Mario Odyssey
Insipid mascot with a creepy porn ‘stache who should have been retired ten years ago, formulaic puzzles n’ jumps we’ve seen a thousand times before, pointless sprawl that exists mainly so you can ride a camel or some damn thing, an obligatory moon slice every three minutes, a surfeit of meaningless coins because humans are conditioned to want coins, and desultory levels with no aesthetic consistency and zero surprises. I suppose the T-Rex was pretty awesome while he lasted. Everything since then has been a tedious procession of forced candy-colored jubilance and meaningless bubblegum gameplay.
1. Horizon: Zero Dawn
Hunting robot dinosaur is thrilling stuff and beyond reproach. But the writing, characters, and cutscenes are some of the most shamelessly derivative and clumsy pandering I’ve ever witnessed.
From the review:
[The developers] write as if they were Rockstar, sure that you’ll be fascinated by the awkward exposition for every random stranger who needs you to find his missing sword/wife/jewelry. Their story is cringe worthy for its seriousness, for how it’s oblivious to being awkward, drawn-out, and blatantly derivative. The heroine’s Hunger Games get interrupted by some bad guys with an Insidious Agenda that must be Investigated via a string of Story Quests. With the help of a Mysterious Stranger, you will discover her Secret Backstory and then her Worldsaving Destiny. Godawful dialogue and clumsy cutscenes abound, each worse than the last, each longer than the last. Horizon plays out extended puppet show conversations as if it were Mass Effect. It locks you into rooms to watch purple hologram ghosts having conversations. It constantly stops to explain itself, even when it should be winding up. If there’s one thing worse than being front-loaded with exposition, it’s being back-loaded with exposition. Horizon, fraught with turgid exposition dungeons, is both.