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Spare a thought for the state of Undertale's critical reception and the legacy it will probably leave. It was praised to an extent that no other game had been praised before or since for it's supposed innovative gameplay and story, and was even given to The Pope in a move that seems incredibly silly (seriously, that was a move I exected to see in a cartoon). Some days I look at the Undertale praise-machine, the fans and the haters and I realize something. It almost seems like watching this is like watching one of those episodes of cartoons where people get obsessed over a movie, a game or a toy and the hype and hate reach absurd levels.
I'm mostly reminded of a game from my childhood, Myst, which was at the time the best-selling pc game of all time and praised to incredible levels because of it's innovative gameplay which consists of nothing more than walking around a 'beautiful' island and solving puzzles. There was a lot of praise for that game, and a lot of hate, but no one really talks about it anymore. I was reminded of it when The Witness came out with similar gameplay, story and environments and a similar, albeit shorter-lived and less extreme hype machine.
Undertale is like Myst in the sense that it won't age well because it's a very ugly game, even the people praising the game have mentioned it's ugly graphics. It's also a very shallow game once you get past the superficial depth, which is also like Myst. Remember how people praised the complex puzzles of Myst and the fact that you don't need to engage in combat at all? Remember how people praised how emotional the story in Myst was? Remember how people praised the gameplay of walking around and not killing enemies? Sound familiar?
The thing is, Myst was never a bad game and still isn't a bad game, despite what people claim. Undertale isn't a bad game either, despite what a number of people claim and will continue to claim years later as they argue with people who claim that it isn't as great as people believe it to be.
The problem is that both games are mediocre, which essentially means average compared to other games in the genre. The other problem is that most people won't play other games in the genre, they won't play other adventure games like Day Of The Tentacle, Discworld, or the Monkey Island games, so if they only play Myst and it becomes their only point of entry in the adventure game genre, they're going to praise it to high-heaven without realizing that there are much better adventure games out there. Similarily, for Undertale I suspect that many people who praise it as one of the best RPGs ever made have never played the majority of games released in the genre at the time of release that continued to be made that equal, and even surpass in some cases, Undertale is basically every aspect, from story to gameplay and especially graphics.
The reason for the bad critical standing of Myst is that eventually, through strong word of mouth rather than incessant hype, the better adventure games gained wider exposure and greater critical praise, while Myst was quietly forgotten. I believe that the same thing will happen to Undertale.
That said, I also believe that Undertale will go on to be remembered as one of the best games to gain popularity in the last three years, because it hasn't been a very good time for gamers (especially indie gamers) for the past couple of years. The shit has consistently risen to the top, the AAA games have gotten lazier and more cynical, and the good games are becoming harder and harder to find amongst the shit. It's no wonder why people who love good games have grown so attached to Undertale.
Also, it should be noted that part of the reason why I've grown to dislike the Undertale fandom is because they praise the dog ending as incredibly original and funny. When I point out that SIlent Hill 2 (one of my favourite games) did the same thing befre Undertale and arguably did it better, the fans screech at me that I'm wrong. Congrats! The RPG game that pointed out how it's better to be nice to people and make friends with even the hostile people trying to hurt you in some way has made you into a dick! Well done Undertale!
Recent Game Medals
Total Medals Earned: 81 (From 24 different games.)