We love gaming. It brings us some amazing experiences, can unite people over the silliest of things, and communities come together around it. However, not everything is always hunky dory and many companies have some ignominious footnote of disappointment. Before we turn our gaze to the overall GOTY winner of 2018, let’s contrast that against the lowest points, where games simply didn’t meet up with expectations and hype, or where companies simply didn’t provide the right customer experience. Or both.
Oh, Bethesda. What happened? You’ve enjoyed so much goodwill over the past decade, had so many things that people were willing to overlook and forgive for the underlying greatness, a growing stature off the back of Doom, Wolfenstein and more. Then Fallout 76 happened and all that goodwill was wiped out in a matter of days. From the studio that brought us Skyrim and Fallout 3 & 4 comes a multiplayer experience nobody asked for in a way that enticed very few.
Though Todd Howard managed to sell a lot of the promise and vision of Fallout 76 at E3, it released in a shockingly bad state, with poorly considered design choices and reams and reams of bugs in a multiplayer environment. It scored a lowly 3/10 in our review. Maybe with time Bethesda will fix the issues in the game, but there are greater problems surrounding the release of this game.
What tipped it over the edge was the way Bethesda failed to deliver on the advertised product of its $200 collector edition, bundling in a nylon bag to buyers instead of the canvas bag they promoted. Initially Bethesda tried to make amends by offering $5 worth of in-game currency which, let’s be honest, is a slap in the face, and if anyone accepted that then they’d lose the right to further contend the issue. A law firm in the US decided to open an investigation into Bethesda’s game offering too.
Under all of this pressure, Bethesda relented and stated they would send out canvas bags to buyers of the collector’s edition, with those buyers being asked to provide proof of purchase, only for a flaw in their customer support system to reveal users’ personal details from attempts to claim these bags.
It’s all been a bit of a mess from Bethesda in the last few months of 2018. Hopefully next year will see them working to resolve the many problems with Fallout 76, bring more polished games to release, and learn how to better work for their customers.
We Happy Few
We Happy Few had garnered quite a lot of hype since its announcement. It looked a bit like a quirky BioShock but set in a drugged up, colourful dystopian 60s England. We Happy Few was meant to be bringing Joy to all, but instead, it mainly brought disappointment and was far from the experience that people were expecting and hoping for.
We Happy Few was stated to be a disjointed mixture of action, stealth, and survival, but the biggest issue stemmed from the manner in which the world of procedurally generated, spreading notable story locations too far apart around the map and forcing players to trek back and forth far too much.
The game clearly held potential from its setting, but the frustrations of the game design ultimately let it down.
It’s very rare when a game becomes available that it is practically unplayable, yet that’s what we encountered with Underworld Ascendant, with a litany of issues with bugs and design being compounded by a misjudged save system. With so many notable creators from the origins of the immersive sim genre and failing to meet the promises of the original Kickstarter, it’s a major disappointment.
Of course, Otherside Entertainment is looking at improving the experience and taking on board player suggestions, such as adding in a decent save system, but it was clear that Underworld Ascendant just wasn’t ready for launch.
Dishonourable Mentions (in alphabetical order)
- Bravo Team
- Diablo: Immortal – “Do you guys not have phones?”