Few gamers can wait to get their hands on No Man’s Sky, but given the current trend among highly-anticipated titles we might be wise to be wary. Hello Games have shown us an incredibly ambitious title where there are seemingly no rules. Their vast open universe is populated by billions of unique, randomly generated planets that you can explore alone or with friends and family. You’ll engage in dogfights in the sky and battle alien threats on each planet’s surface. This game is quite literally promising the moon, and that’s exactly why it will be so soul-crushingly underwhelming. The only games that wow us these days are the ones we go into with no expectations.
Destiny was supposed to be the FPS to rule them all, but while its shooting feels as smooth as Halo ever did, its MMO elements leave a lot to be desired. For an online game to be so light on content at launch is rarely acceptable, and on top of that the game’s story and mission design is a mess.
Assassin’s Creed Unity was hailed as the crowning jewel of the franchise, but the game Ubisoft gave us is completely broken, and when it works it’s just more of the same Ubisoft sandbox we know and tolerate. It turned out so poorly that Ubisoft is giving away free DLC and an entire game to make up for it. Far Cry 4 is the only eligible full-priced title that’s actually worth getting though – if you get The Crew or Watch_Dogs you’re just setting yourself up for further disappointment.
NHL 15 was stripped of everything that made the series worthwhile – though its visuals did see some nice improvements. EASHL, Be a Pro, and Live the Life were all downgraded, and NHL 94 mode was completely removed after just one year. Other modes like Battle for the Cup, OTP, Winter Classic, GM Connected, Shootout, Season Mode, and Tournament mode were missing features or gone completely.
Sims 4 had nearly all of its components surgically removed to be sold as DLC later – though maybe if you buy into an EA access pass you’ll be able to get them for a bargain alongside NHL’s missing modes.
Driveclub came out broken and stayed that way. Sony didn’t even bother to release the free PS Plus version because the version people were supposed to pay for was barely functional. One of the bigger selling points, the dynamic weather (so compelling), is just now being patched in alongside a litany of other fixes that might collectively upgrade the game from catastrophe to disaster.
No Man’s Sky looks amazing, and sounds amazing, and we all hope that it will be amazing even as we try to figure out how it plays. The game might turn out to be a technical marvel, but collecting junk on randomly-generated planets will likely get old fast. By building this game up as the greatest thing since sliced bread, we’re ultimately setting ourselves up for the biggest disappointment of our lives. I don’t to be a pesimist, because just about every gamer rooting for Hello Games to succeed, but at this point they seemingly have nowhere to go BUT down.