Not the most hyped or mediocre games of 2010, just the most overrated
Some lists might have ten or as many as fifteen. I only have seven. Mind you, this isn't a "seven worst," "most offensive," or even "mediocre" list. Think of these as decent, and in some cases pretty fantastic games, but hobbled by unmissable lazy design and QA issues most reviews overlooked.
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Call of Duty: Black Ops
For: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
This one's only overrated if you care what critics think. You (the 'you' that savaged it in droves on every site that allows user reviews, that is) didn't care for it much at all. As for the game, put your brain in park and spam the fire button while another bombastic, slavishly Michael Bay military yarn unspools. Multiplayer's a dash better and the only salvageable reason to bother, though it's often diminished by lag issues, mediocre maps, and brain-dead A.I. bots.
Fallout: New Vegas
For: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Take what little Fallout 3 did poorly, multiply, then add technical problems the original never had. Fallout 3's design was on balance pretty terrific. New Vegas's feels more like a yo-yo, occasionally clever, but just as often clueless. Mix with random lock-ups, dead-end quests, and wonky scripting, and come on, is it too much to ask for a few months extra QA?
For: Xbox 360
Halo: Reach could be any Halo game, it's precisely that unremarkable. You jog from one scrum to the next, pick off brainless aliens, and serve with squad mates more like deathless automatons--magnets for comically surplus loads of enemy fire until the story requires their demise. Bungie had a chance to go out on top with Reach, but instead they just phoned this Halo remake in.
Developer: Playdead Studios
For: Xbox 360
Creepy, atmospheric, even occasionally clever, Limbo's like a magic eight-ball filled with existential aphorisms. They sound insightful, but then so do fortune cookies. What else can you do with a magic eight-ball? Play catch. Which might seem interesting and even kind of surreal for awhile, until you realize you're just tossing a ball around.
Plants vs. Zombies
For: PC, Mac, iOS, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS
Hey, I love this clever little time-waster too, just not because it's actually challenging or packed with multiplayer features worth crowing about. Why's the campaign so incredibly effortless to zip through? And where's the online versus mode? Critics swept past that stuff like it didn't matter, when it did.
Persona 3: Portable
This portable remake of a PS2 game pretends to be fascinating. And then: Click, a cutscene. Click, another cutscene. Click-click, more cutscenes. Finally, a few minutes zapping demons in a tower! Darn it, another cutscene. Hey Atlus, can I just play the game already?
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
For: PC, Mac
Cataclysm adds some lovely new scenery and more turn-in friendly questing to a game that's still one giant postal service simulator with decent but unremarkable competitive play tucked away at its endpoint. It's a shame when a game takes 85 levels and countless hours to get interesting, but that's what you're up against after Azeroth's overhyped sundering.
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