So recently I watched a full play through of an RPG called Undertale. There's been much, much hype for this game and so I decided to give it a watch. Sadly, this game didn't really appeal to me, and I have my reasons why. This journal is here to explain my reasoning. Before you read, please note that these are my OPINIONS and that you're free to disagree with them. If you like the game, then you like the game, and I'm perfectly fine with that.
1) The plot is incredibly cliché.
You're a human who's fallen into another world and must find a way home, making many friends along the way (if you've chosen the Pacifist route) and ultimately deciding whether you should return to your former home or not ( also Pacifist route specific). I've seen many stories with literally the exact same plot description before, a prime example being the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue team and a flip-flopped example being the movie Disney's Enchanted ( a terrible movie in my opinion). They've got almost ( notice that I said almost) the exact same plot description. There's probably countless other series that have used the exact same plotline(s) before as well. A story we're all familiar with that also has a similar plotline that simply lacks the "choosing between this world and your home world" part is the famous Alice in Wonderland. There's the "we need 7 of [insert object name here] in order to [insert goal here]!" part of the game. Dragon Ball Z, My Little Pony, Sonic the Hedgehog, and countless other series have used that trope before, and it's become very tiring to see. While I don't think this type of story is necessarily cliché yet, I've also seen the "humanity lived in peace with another race until a war began between them" trope, as well as the "troubled king that wants what's best for his kingdom" type of character as well. The story just wasn't interesting or unique, it's something I've seen countless times before. A very tasteless, clichéd tale that's already been done to death.
2) The logic of the game's world doesn't make sense.
What I mean by this is that there's many illogical things that occur in the game. For example, you're a young child that's somehow capable of killing monsters much bigger than you and you even kill off an entire race of them in several days. And you're not some special kid, either; just an ordinary human one. A small child killing an entire race? How does that make even a remote amount of sense? Let's look at another example: There's somehow a thriving ecosystem of monsters underground. There's thick, lush forests covered in snow, fresh green grass, and otherwise perfectly healthy plants and creatures living underground with no contact with the outside world. How is that even possible? There's no sunlight underneath the earth, so it's not possible for plants to grow, and there's no open sky, so there couldn't possibly be an entire forest covered in snow. Along with the "plants can't grow" scenario, how can there be a thriving race of monsters underground when they've got no access to the outside world? Is it simply the way this world is? These questions aren't really answered in the game, and I wish they were.
3) I find the character designs to be uncreative and lazy.
I don't think I've ever seen such a generic looking bunch of characters as the characters in this game. Their designs have no creativity or thought at all put into them, especially Frisk's, whose design looks like a bad combination of Brock's and Dora's, Chara's, who's literally just a recolor of Frisk with a different face, Papyrus's, whose design looks like a goofy knockoff of the Japanese superhero Ōgon Bat, Sans', whose design is very generic and simple with no interesting quirks, Flowey's, whose design is literally just a flower with a face, Asriel's, whose design is as generic and uninteresting as Sans', and Undyne's, whose design honestly reminds me of those bad OCs designed by 11-13 year olds you find on DeviantART. You know, those character designs that try to stand out by having some "unusual" traits such as brightly colored eyes, simple shirts with tye-dye hearts on them, wings, and so on, but really are just poorly designed characters that the creator thinks is good. Undyne doesn't have any of the traits I listed above, but she does have a generic outfit design, fish-fin ears, and brightly colored hair, something I find relatable to those (and that's what reminds me of such designs, in fact).Her armor doesn't change that, as it's pretty generic looking armor.
Don't get me wrong when I say "simple". Simple designs can be pretty decent and I have nothing against them. I've seen lots of simple yet original designs that have really caught my eye that I thought were very well-crafted and nice. The problem is when you're too lazy to actually try designing your character and you simply give them a half-finished looking one is when I have an issue with simple designs.
There's just nothing unique or interesting about their looks. There's nothing about their designs that makes me want to learn about them or learn more about the series they come from. They all look like they were either rushed in design or designed in under 10 minutes, with no actual thought put into them. The rest of the designs that I have not mentioned are better than the ones I have mentioned, but still pretty generic and unoriginal.
4) The characterization.
People have told me that the characterization in this game is fantastic, but I disagree. The majority of the characters either have one personality trait or a set of related personality traits, or their additional personality trait has to do with some form of angst. The dialogue is decent, the dialogue the characters have explores their characterization well, and they had good character development, I'll give it that, but it doesn't really expand on their personalities enough for me to call their characterization "good". The characters could've been expanded upon greatly and made into much more complex characters, but weren't. Along with the characterization, I just couldn't bring myself to get attached to any of the characters. The characters were usually very annoying to me and I don't like annoying characters. The ones I found especially annoying were Papyrus, Alphys, and Temmie. Papyrus is an idiot with an irritating laugh and he honestly reminds me of those cliché villains that think they're superior and cool, but really they're just incompetent fools that wants everyone to see them as the opposite of what they really are. Alphys referencing anime and being a part of the "modernization appeal" (read on to learn more about that) of the game was enough to make me hate her. Temmie was very obnoxious and I absolutely hate the way her dialogue is written. Every time she spoke I honestly felt the need to punch my screen (It's a miracle I didn't do so, really). It's perfectly fine if you love the characters, but I personally don't understand their appeal.
5) The game shames people for defending themselves and practically screams "bloody murderer" at anyone who takes the No Mercy run.
One of the main aspects of this game is its "Act" action during battle, which allows you to talk and communicate to the monsters you fight instead of kill them. During fights, as suggested, you can either kill the monsters or befriend them by speaking and interacting with them. Shamefully enough, if you decide to kill the monsters, you'll be screamed at by the game by being called a "bloody murderer" and a "killer" at every possible twist and turn of dialogue, and the game even goes as far as making your actions irreversible when you restart the game, telling you you can't undo what you've already done even if you complete a Pacifist route after a No Mercy route. Excuse me, but the monsters are the ones who pick a fight with you and try to kill you. Why shouldn't you be able to defend yourself? What is so bad about defending your own life? Trying to talk your way out of being killed or seriously injured by someone is almost certain to never work out in the real world, so why does this game try so hard to shove the extreme pacifist mentality down your throat and act like it's the only way? Why should I even WANT to befriend someone who's trying to kill me? The fact that the game will continue to berate you even after you restart the game is even worse than that. The game just doesn't know when to let go, labeling you a "horrible, bloodthirsty monster" no matter what you do to "redeem" yourself, and I find it extremely annoying. I'm not sure if the game continues to berate you after you've completed two Pacifist runs in a row after a No Mercy run, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did. As I said before, it tries way too hard to cram the "friendship is magic" and "violence is not the answer" mentalities down your throat while glossing over the fact that the monsters are the ones who tried killing you, an innocent, harmless child, first.
6) The No Mercy run ending.
Nothing bothers me about this game more than the No Mercy run ending. It was clichéd to the absolute maximum in my opinion. Why is it that every time a protagonist becomes a villainous figure in a series they become insane in some way, slaughter everyone that exists for no reason, no one is able to recognize them as human, and they suddenly develop the need to destroy the world they live in? (In fact, why are so many villains like this to begin with?) Seriously, why? We have enough clichéd villains just like this, we don't need a protagonist falling under the same category just because they decide to kill monsters (that let me remind you tried killing the protagonist first). In my own story, there are four main endings to the series, and in two of the endings my protagonist becomes a villain, but he's not clichéd (he does destroy and recreate all of reality in one of them, yes, so that could count as cliché, but he at least has motives and understandable reasons for doing so. It doesn't come out of no where and for no reason other than to make him appear villainous like in most cases of this trope), nor does he suddenly turn "evil" for no reason. He has good reasons for all he becomes and all he does. In Undertale however, the character you play as becomes "evil" all because you decide to defend yourself against the monsters within it instead of befriending them and somehow destroys the world for absolutely no reason. Are you kidding me? Just...Urgh. I absolutely cannot STAND characterization like this and I can't stand villains like this.
7) The "true" ending to the game has a childish, cheesy, "friendship is magic" type of vibe to it.
Many people tell me that the true ending to this game is very emotional. I honestly can't say I agree. The true ending came off as extremely cheesy, with cheesiness similar to the kind of cheesy happiness you see in kid's movies and TV shows where all of the characters end up alive and perfectly happy with little to no hardships to bear. The true ending had an overly positive vibe to it and did not sit right with me. It felt like the game was trying too hard and the emotional value it had (more like tried to have in my case) ended up coming off as very forced and unnatural. There are lots of games and series I've played/watched that had well-written and good emotional endings that were able to make me shed a few tears without trying too hard to do so. The emotional value they had was perfectly presented to the viewers and you could definitely tell that the writers for the stories were trying to make the emotional value realistic by not forcing anything (a job well-done in my opinion) and still presenting hardships for the characters even after they got a happy ending. Undertale, however? Certainly not the case.
8) The game has an internet-savvy vibe that I don't like. Honestly, if there's one thing I dislike about modern TV shows, games, movies, etc., it's when they try to be internet-savvy just to attract viewers and/or try and be more modern. Undertale does these very things; place modern things in it, such as anime and memes, to try and either attract an audience or be more modernized (I'm not sure either way). Being a game that involves monsters and falling into another world, it all feels very out of place in the game, like the creator just wanted to give his story a false sense of uniqueness by thinking of a bunch of modern things and placing it in a type of story usually not common with it without actually putting any thought into how to blend it in with the story well. It all felt extremely forced and out of place throughout the game, so forced and out of place that I found it to be overwhelming at times and it sometimes even distracted me from the gameplay and story as I watched it.
Speaking of gameplay...
9) Last but not least, the gameplay.
The gameplay in the overworld and the battles is incredibly boring. In the overworld, you're given puzzles that are so ridiculously simple and easy that literally a 5 year old could solve them without thinking much about it. I think the overworld gameplay would've been much, much more fun to watch if you were given more complex puzzles to solve, and it might have even made me appreciate the game a little, but of course, like I said, the puzzles you're given are extremely simple and easy, and in my opinion, that took away much of the fun in watching the game. Honestly, there was pretty much no point in even putting puzzles in the game to begin with if they were going be so easy.
Now let's talk about the battles. The battles, like the puzzles in overworld, are easy. There's no reason to put any sort of thought or strategy into battling enemies, whether you plan or killing them or befriending them. The only opponents I saw as actually posing a challenge for the player were Sans, Mettaton, and Undyne, but that's it. Every other boss and enemy in the game didn't really seem to have any need for strategic thinking. I'm not saying the other monsters should have been extremely difficult to beat or that the puzzles need to be difficult to solve, but I do believe that they needed to be tougher than they are, and perhaps get tougher and tougher as you progress through the game (while still not becoming extremely difficult).
So there you have it. These are the reasons of why I don't like Undertale. Like I said, if you like it, great. That's perfectly fine. I have no issue with your opinion. I personally just could not get drawn in by this game.