2018 arguably wasn’t the best year for video games. While there were a good bunch of great games released this past year, there were far more disappointments than classics, so much so that narrowing down a top 10 most disappointing games of 2018 list was pretty difficult.
So which games made the cut? While the following entries aren’t necessarily bad (one of them even pops up in our top 50 best games of 2018 list, which you’ll be able to read later this year), they didn’t quite live up to our expectations. Oh, except for a couple of entries that definitely are very bad and you probably shouldn’t play them.
Here are the most disappointing games of 2018:
10. Dynasty Warriors 9
Musou fans were disappointed this year by a particularly messy entry in the long-standing series. An empty open-world left players with little to do aside from wandering into dull battles, its visuals looked like an unfortunate blast from the past, and recurring control issues reared their ugly head once again. Dynasty Warriors 9 was a dull sequel that didn’t change up the formula enough from its predecessor.
9. Pokemon Let’s Go
Nintendo veered heavily into making Pokemon Let’s Go as accessible as possible, and while this is commendable, the end result was too simplistic for our tastes. While we could live with the absence of wild Pokemon battles, being able to effectively break the game by teaming up with a co-op player and the complete lack of challenge made this a disappointing effort. We’re still looking forward to the fully-fledged Pokemon Switch RPG that’s in the pipeline, but Let’s Go didn’t make us want to catch ’em all.
8. We Happy Few
Riddled with bugs, glitches, and troubling performances issues at the time of its launch, We Happy Few presented a unique world and concept but then failed to deliver on it. With its story centered around a population repressing its past trauma by way of pharmaceuticals, We Happy Few doesn’t do anything particularly interesting with this theme, pushing the player through a series of boring quests and tiresome stealth action.
Agony played out like the worst corners of the internet, trying to shock its players for no good reason in the desperate hope that it would offend someone. Unfortunately, the most offensive thing about it was how downright mediocre it was, with a paper-thin story and torturous gameplay that often made it downright excruciating to play.
6. State of Decay 2
The original State of Decay was an unexpected hit, but its sequel shuffled onto this mortal coil with little going for it. While not a bad game, State of Decay 2 wasn’t particularly good, either, with it being a repetitive journey through the post-apocalypse blighted by a variety of bugs and glitches.
Vampyr‘s blood consumption system, where you could opt to be a pacifist or a ruthless blood-sucker, made the game an intriguing prospect but the end result failed to live up to this concept. Tacked-on combat left this RPG feeling a bit of a chore to play through, and performance issues also bogged down what could’ve been something special.
4. Darksiders 3
The stealth release of Darksiders 3 at the tail-end of the year was always suspect, though we still expected more from the third entry in a pretty popular series. Unfortunately, much of Darksiders 3 felt phoned in, from its woeful performance issue through to a story that repeated the same beats of its predecessors. This was a Christmas turkey aptly delivered to us in December.
3. Battlefield 5
Battlefield 1 was a triumph, which is what made Battlefield 5‘s pre-release campaign so baffling. Barely marketed, the game released on deaf ears to a confused player base, with performance issues and a lackluster single-player mode tacked onto a stale multiplayer component. Red Dead Redemption 2 being moved to Battlefield 5‘s release date was a near death sentence, but the game struggled to stand on its own two feet even when rectifying its release date woes.
2. Sea of Thieves
It was hoped that Rare would hit it out of the park with Sea of Thieves and become a vital studio once again, but this Microsoft exclusive proved to be as empty as its gloriously rendered ocean at launch. With so little to do aside from meander around collecting treasures, Sea of Thieves felt like an Early Access game that had been thrown out into the wild before it had been finished. Post-launch content has improved the package, but it’s still not the game we wanted.
1. Fallout 76
A game so poor that we couldn’t even bring ourselves to finish it for review, Fallout 76 is a laborious slog through an open-world so devoid of life and character, that it’s still shocking Bethesda is responsible for it. The veteran developer completely misjudged this one, giving Fallout fans something they never wanted, and not even succeeding in its own vision.
With some of the poorest performance issues we’ve seen in a major release, even weeks removed from its launch the frame rate coughs and splutters on the PS4, while frequent disconnects and wonky save points made progress futile at launch. Combine that will the absence of NPCs and reliance on dull interactions between other players, and Fallout 76 is undoubtedly the biggest disappointment of 2018.
Update: The article previously stated that EA opted for the same release window as Red Dead Redemption 2 for Battlefield 5. This information was incorrect and has now been amended.