We’ve written before about some of our favorite video games, the kind you always fall back on when you’re looking for something solid to play. Most of the time when we choose to fall back on classic video games, it’s because we’ve recently been let down by something else we’ve chosen to invest our time in; with that in mind, we here at Goliath are taking a look at 10 of the most overrated video games of all time, and letting our readers in on why we just don’t like the titles we’ve gone and listed below.
10. God of War (Sony Computer Entertainment)
We’ve never understood all the fuss regarding God of War, the third person action adventure game that allows players to control Kratos, a Spartan warrior who does the work of Gods, on a quest to find Pandora’s Box, so as to stop Ares (The God of War) from conquering Athens. The title, which makes use of Greek mythology as its base, never really satisfied our desire for a complex narrative and intriguing game play; rather, God of War is content to build its reputation on button mashing mechanics and crass or explicit dialogue and plot points. We’ve just never been on board, despite our best attempts at the contrary.
9. Dragon Age: Origins (Electronic Arts)
At first glance, there’s a whole lot to like about Dragon Age: Origins. It’s a familiar entry into the fantasy RPG (role playing game) genre, which allows players to choose the race of their character and follow them through a storyline which sees them ascend to fight off an invasion of demons in their homeland. If all of this feels somehow familiar, that’s because it is; like we said, at first glance everything in Dragon Age: Origins seems swell, but upon closer inspection becomes tired and boring, most especially in comparison to the stellar games that have come before and since that we’d rather play instead (think Skyrim). Dragon Age: Origins, which was released to strong critical reviews and similarly strong sales, simply leaves us wanting whenever we boot it up to have another go, and for that it slots in at number nine on our list of overrated video games.
8. Halo 3: ODST (Bungie)
If you’re unaware, ODST stands for “Orbital Drop Shock Trooper,” quite possibly the most badass title ever attributed to an infantry unit and the focus of the fourth game in the Halo franchise. The first to take the focus off the series protagonist Master Chief, Halo 3: ODST allows gamers the opportunity to play through the campaign as a relief trooper who airdrops into combat situations from outer space; it’s an engaging premise that’s never fully fleshed out in the game’s extremely limited campaign run. While Halo 3: ODST features the solid cinematics and smooth gameplay consistent with the Halo series, it always feels like the spin-off that it is, and seems more like a cheap first person shooter someone slapped the Halo tag on as a method of making a boatload of cash than it does an actual entry into the Halo franchise. While the game remains a divisive entry into the franchise (most critics either loved it or hated it), we side with the gamers who suggest it’s an underwhelming entry into this storied video game universe.
7. Bioshock Infinite (2K Games)
Dubbed “the most anticipated video game ever,” you could’ve released three video games on the strength of the hype that followed Bioshock Infinite from development to release. Thanks in large part to the success of both Bioshock and Bioshock 2, along with an insanely impressive cinematic released on YouTube during development, Bioshock Infinite carried a massive following at the time of its release, many of whom were disappointed in the final product they received on delivery. Bioshock Infinite, which is one of the most beautiful video games ever created and makes excellent use of an engrossing plot and vivid characters, suffers greatly from poor game mechanics; while the game is excellent to follow and invest in, it’s just not that much fun to play, and play is something inherently important to a video game. You dig?
6. LittleBigPlanet (Sony Computer Entertainment)
We’re always wary of sandbox games, and for good reason. Very rarely do they deliver on the freedom promised, and when they do it’s almost always to the detriment of the game, as some form of engaging narrative is required to keep players involved and active over the course of the many hours required to beat most contemporary games. It’s a double-edged sword, and one we’re well aware of when we look at video games. Despite the treacherous nature of this, we’ve found some games can pull it off. Fable, for example, is an excellent video games series that finds a balance between the two. One game that ventures too far into the sandbox, however, is LittleBigPlanet, the much-ballyhooed two-dimensional puzzle game that allows users to create their own maps and content. While the game offers seemingly unlimited potential for customization and creativity, it quickly devolves into a tired mess that suffers from poor functionality and a non-existent plot.
5. Call of Duty: World At War (Activision)
There are a few different Call of Duty games that we could’ve chosen to slot into this list, as we feel the series has had a storied run that’s featured some highlights (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Black Ops are both stellar) and some lowlights (Call of Duty: Ghosts…sigh). We’ve chosen Call of Duty: World at War to represent the overrated in the Call of Duty series for a few reasons, perhaps most importantly that it undoes much of the good that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare had done when released. World at War, which takes the first person shooter franchise back to the Second World War roots for which the series was originally known, was criticized for being extremely gory, to a point where it detracted from the game mechanics; furthermore, the game made extensive use of downloadable content, content which was released at excess cost to the player (a practice which must end in the very near future, as paying for incomplete games is shameful on the part of the producer). Overall, we just don’t feel that World of War is worth the metal, despite its vaguely positive reviews and strong sales numbers.
4. The Sims 3 (Electronic Arts)
There’s nothing inherently wrong with The Sims 3, the latest in the line of Electronic Arts (EA) life simulation games that allow players the opportunity to build, manipulate and guide the lives of created individuals, called “Sims,” as they progress through the same trials and tribulations many of us experience. The game, which was released to strong reviews and sold more copies in its opening week than any other EA game in history, is by all accounts and purposes a big hit. So why is it on this list, you may ask? Well, we just don’t see what all the fuss is about, especially when considering the game in relation to its predecessor, The Sims 2. Sure, The Sims 3 might rate as a smoother play with a few interesting quirks thrown in, but overall it progressed very little and does nothing to separate itself from the game that came before. Factoring in the egregious amount of expansion packs made available by EA (all of which cost money, an absolutely criminal example of theft by a company known for pulling stunts like this), we just can’t get on board with The Sims 3 being ranked as one of the better games to be released in recent memory.
3. Grand Theft Auto IV (Rockstar)
We’re of the mind that all of the Grand Theft Auto games are overrated, as we see little value in the franchise that lets people indulge their craziest and most violent whims; however, we also understand that we aren’t the only gamers out there, and navigating the engaging and surprisingly limitless criminal underworld of the franchise is some people’s most treasured pastime. Regardless of where you stand on the Grand Theft Auto franchise, there’s a strong argument to be made that Grand Theft Auto IV, the fourth installment of the franchise that was released in 2008, is one of the most overrated video games of all time. After a significant wait and extensive marketing campaign that suggested big things for the franchise, Grand Theft Auto IV was released to strong reviews and even stronger sales; however, history has not been as kind to this installment of the franchise, which is now consistently cited as one of the weakest in the series due to its flimsy plot and lack of consistent replayability.
2. L.A. Noire (Rockstar)
Published by Rockstar Games, L.A. Noire is the video game equivalent of wasted potential. There’s so much here to see, do and experience, yet it never adds up to a satisfying game experience that’s more than the sum of its parts. A neo-noir escapade that allows players to experience the day to day humdrum of detective work in 1947 Los Angeles, California, L.A. Noire draws heavily on the archetypes of “film noir” and hard-boiled detective fiction. It then combines these old school genres with a very new school approach to video gaming, which features motion capture performance so detailed it allowed players to accurately read the facial expressions of in-game characters to discern guilt, innocence, etc. It’s an impressive aspiration, although one that’s better in theory than in practice. L.A. Noire was acclaimed for its impressive visual acumen, but docked for its somewhat sluggish gameplay that alienates casual gamers.
1. Assassin’s Creed (Ubisoft)
We’ll be the first to admit that we love the idea behind Assassin’s Creed, the now-famous video game developed by Ubisoft that has spawned an entire universe worth of sequels, expansions and spin-offs that allow players to visit various points in history and engage in clandestine wars between warring factions of assassins and the like. However, what exists in theory and what exists in application are two very different sides of the same coin. While Assassin’s Creed, which was released in 2007, affords players the opportunity to engage in the war between the Knights Templar and the Assassins, the majority of the game’s storyline is repetitive and involves engaging in mission after mission that all end in assassination and hiding (or attempting to kill an unending legion of law enforcement officials). It’s a beautiful game to look at, and its sandbox style gives the illusion of freedom that the game never truly delivers on, but for the most part Assassin’s Creed is a bore of a game that never realizes the potential most see in it (its sequels, while better, also suffer in many ways from this same fatal flaw).