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When has a megagame delivered the goods?


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The latest Cyberpunk delay and news that Halo Infinite's creative director has moved on have made me think about these monolithic gaming projects that we all get hyped to high heaven about, and then come crashing down to earth again when reality hits.

 

We've had a few instances recently of games with insane budgets creating a load of hype and setting expectations of being a leap forward in game design or technology through brute force resourcing and/or programming genius. They often crash and burn or at least turn out to be a bit ordinary. Red Dead Redemption 2 had mindboggling attention to detail but was the same old game underneath. Star Citizen remains at best a series of tech demos. No Man's Sky I'd argue was an incredible achievement but it still fell way short of the hype for a lot of people.

 

Which of these AAA megagames actually did turn out to be a leap forward? I don't really mean stuff like The Last Of Us 2 which is just an extremely slickly-produced update of an existing formula. I'm thinking more of stuff like Halo, Crysis and Deus Ex - genuinely groundbreaking games that actually delivered on the massive hype.

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The original FF7 absolutely blew me away despite the colossal build up and absurd expectations. I couldn't get over the scale of the open world or the FMV sequences. Total mind blinder. 

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Breath of the Wild.

GTA V.

I’d probably argue for RDR2 as well - some of us may have found the controls rubbish, and the “long journey to have a conversation” tedious, and the on rails missions constraining - but it certainly achieved what it set out to do with respect to the world.

 

I’d probably also say that TLOU2 did too, and that “an extremely slickly-produced update of an existing formula” is selling what it did do a bit short.

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34 minutes ago, matt0 said:

 

I had an Amiga. "Shit" is relative.

 

My Amiga 1200 was the best gaming machine I have ever owned & I have owned most of them.  Civ 2 and SWOS were the absolute gaming pinnacle for me.

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Mario 64, Ocarina and Half-Life 2 are the biggest and best examples. Nothing else ever had the same amount of insane hype and months long anticipation fueled by drip-fed content, that ultimately paid off with an unquestionably astounding, revolutionary masterpiece. 

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1 hour ago, HarryBizzle said:

Half Life 2. Huge leap forward. 

Overblown overhyped sequel to an ok FPS that was itself an ok FPS with a gimmicky gravity gun that created loads of dull move boxes around type “puzzles”. Yep huge leap. 

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16 minutes ago, Waggo said:

 

My Amiga 1200 was the best gaming machine I have ever owned & I have owned most of them.  Civ 2 and SWOS were the absolute gaming pinnacle for me.

 

It wasn't the Amiga that was shit, it was the three equally rubbish versions of SF2 released for it.

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Portal 2.  Don't know if it counts as a megagame, but the hype train was fully justified.

 

Hmm.. GTA V.  It delivered what it does in spades, fixed the problems of IV, took the successful RDR template and moved it into the GTA world.  The flaws are easy to see now (I tried it on GamePass and quit due to the hateful, hateful characters) but at the time I think it delivered on its promise.

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4 minutes ago, Bangaio said:

Overblown overhyped sequel to an ok FPS that was itself an ok FPS with a gimmicky gravity gun that created loads of dull move boxes around type “puzzles”. Yep huge leap. 

HL2 had great characters (Alyx was lovely, and Dog was fantastic). It had a great tutorial, and the story-telling done in-game was better than most. But beyond that it is one of the most over-rated games ever, IMO. I just never found it that much fun to play (which is all I ask for from a game). Apart from the gimmick gravity gun none of the weapons are that fun to fire, and I can't remember any enemies being that fun to fight - and that's the core gameplay of an FPS. My over-riding memory of it is having to tell ally AI units to stand in the corner so I could get through doorways, and having to stand on planks of wood to avoid ant-lions (which is hardly the pinnacle of fun). That and spending an interminable amount of time in a drab east European storm drain. Obviously tastes vary and everything, but I genuinely cannot understand the esteem it's held in.

 

(I'm guessing a lot of folk are wanting their negs back around now.)

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2018's God of War. That is, on a personal level - I found the previous games in the series severely overhyped for a PlayStation franchise for what was effectively basic, overly edgy shite. However, the series was always attested as a flagship for Sony Consoles, so I would say this is a 'Megagame'.

 

The reboot wasn't just good in it's own right, it also made me consider the entire franchise in a positive light because of how much it delivered on every front - it looked amazing, combat felt paced and satisfying, and the plot and characters were genuinely enjoyable and engaging.

 

In addition - going along with other people's praises, GTAV is game where with previous games, I'd fuck around in the first island and get bored of the game itself. GTAV, conversely, is the only GTA game I've ever completed - the story was properly engaging and every activity and mechanic in the game just felt good - from flying planes to punching a pedestrian in the face into a ragdoll, and everything in between.

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Alyx tricked my brain into kicking a door that didn’t exist, twice. 
 

Other answers are:

 

Super Mario World

Ocarina Of Time

Modern Warfare

Resident Evil 4

Wow

Mass Effect 2

Bloodborne

TLOU 

 

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Batman Arkham Asylum.

 

Yes, you can criticise it for having dumbed-down combat compared to dedicated third person action games, for giving you no reason not to play the whole thing in Detective Mode, a horrible final boss fight, and for giving us that Harley Quinn redesign along with a bunch of Unreal Engine meathead characters.

 

But the slickness and impact of its combat animation, the relatively fast-paced stealth sections, the Asylum as an environment, the Riddler trophy replay value, the Scarecrow hallucinations, and the polished fan-servicey presentation (the returning animated series voice actors, the character bios and statues) all lived up to and surpassed expectations.

 

The sequels were largely "extremely slickly-produced updates of an existing formula" - but the first one was something new and special.

 

Some people might say that it doesn't really count for the purposes of this topic, because (like GoldenEye over a decade earlier) it wasn't really hyped that much before release, and people had low expectations because it was a licenced game. That viewpoint always perplexed me - for me, Arkham Asylum sounded really promising from the first time I heard about it.

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