Well, they're not useless per se - but they're not exactly doing what they're supposed to be doing either =)
I've played 50 turns as Macedon so far, and i trust my Hoplites to defend anything really. If used defensively the phalanx actually does work, but the flanks have to be very well protected. A narrow street for example - stick 2 units of hoplites in there side by side, and noone is ever getting through it.
When deployed offensively the phalanx serves no purpose whatsoever. 2 possible outcomes here, the Hoplites break formation and charge(they're actually quite effective this way, their huge defense means they take very little losses and are near impossible to rout if friendy units are backing them up) OR, you march them into the enemy in phalanx and they become enveloped and die. So on the offense i never touch the phalanx button of the hoplites. Pikes are effective and work well in my opinion though, and are slowly taking over as the core of my army.