List of video games notable for negative reception
The following video games are noted for their negative reception. They include games that won ironic and humorous awards (such as Golden Mullet Awards), games that have been listed as the "worst" by major video gaming publications or websites, games that have received low review scores from such publications (often determined by low aggregate scores on sites such as Metacritic), and games that have been recognized to be poorly received by players. Some of the older or rarer games have gained newer attention through videos produced by popular YouTube personalities, such as the Angry Video Game Nerd. Games can be considered bad for a number of reasons, including but not limited to: low quality or outdated graphics, large numbers of glitches, or having poor controls.
The list below is not comprehensive, but represents the most visible examples of games with negative reception. With some exceptions, the list below omits licensed tie-in games for movies or television shows, which are generally accepted as shovelware by the industry and not expected to have high production values. For similar reasons, the list also omits indie games, which are developed by smaller teams that typically lack the ability for full quality control of their product, as well as mobile games, of which there are thousands of developers with the ability to self-publish on app stores and frequent copycats of more successful titles driven by unpopular microtransactions. This list excludes games that are subject of short-term review bombing that are unrelated to gameplay aspects.
Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em (1982)Edit
Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em is a pornographic video game developed by Mystique for the Atari 2600 in 1982. Players control two nude women with the goal of catching semen falling from a man masturbating on a rooftop. The game sold 80,000 copies. Sean "Seanbaby" Reiley included it in his 2002 list of the ten "naughtiest" games of all time: "I suppose we shouldn't expect the designers of a game about a penis with a head stroking itself to be geniuses." Destructoid founder Niero Gonzalez listed it as the second-most sexual Atari 2600 game ever made, while Brett Elston of GamesRadar criticized the depiction of women in Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em and Mystique's similarly explicit release Custer's Revenge: "No personality, no motivations, just a disgustingly disproportionate body and the loosest morals this side of Sin City." In 2011, Steven Poole of Edge online imagined a fictional parody of Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em based on the News International phone hacking scandal, Whack 'Em & Hack 'Em, in an article published after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that the ESRB could regulate video games without government intervention.
Custer's Revenge (1982)Edit
Custer's Revenge is a Atari 2600 game made by Mystique in 1982 that is widely considered offensive due to its plot involving the apparent rape of a Native American woman. The game was also poorly received for its quality; it was listed as the most shameful game of all time by GameSpy, as the third-worst game of all time by PC World, and GameTrailers and the ninth-worst game by Seanbaby in Electronic Gaming Monthly.
In 2008, the University of Calgary professor Tom Keenan cited "the hideous Custer's Revenge game", 26 years after its release, in an op-ed piece about current video game violence issues for the Calgary Herald. That same year, the game was credited by Australian PC Magazine as being one of the worst games ever made.
Pac-Man (Atari 2600) (1982)Edit
Pac-Man, a port of the arcade game for the Atari 2600, was altered from the original in order to meet the Atari's limitations. Some of these changes included simplified graphics, a modified maze layout, and "flickering" ghosts—a result of the game rendering one ghost on screen per frame.
In 1998, Next Generation magazine called it the "worst coin-op conversion of all time" and attributed the mass dissatisfaction to its poor quality. In 2006, IGN's Craig Harris echoed similar statements and listed Pac-Man among his own list of the worst home console ports of arcade games. Another IGN editor, Levi Buchanan, described it as a "disastrous port", citing the color scheme and flickering ghosts.
In retrospect, critics often cite Atari's Pac-Man as a major factor in the drop of consumer confidence in the company, which led to the North American video game crash of 1983. Bill Loguidice and Matt Barton of Gamasutra stated that the game's poor quality damaged the company's reputation. Buchanan commented that it disappointed millions of fans and diminished confidence in Atari's games. Former Next Generation editor-in-chief Neil West attributes his longtime skepticism of Atari's quality to the disappointment he had from buying the game as a child. Calling the game the top video game disaster, Buchanan credits Pac-Man as a factor to the downfall of Atari and the industry in the 1980s. Author Steven Kent also attributes the game, along with Atari's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, to severely damaging the company's reputation and profitability. Montfort and Bogost stated that the game's negative reception seeded mistrust in retailers, which was reinforced by later factors that culminated in the crash.
Poor critical reception made Pac-Man one of many decisions that led to Atari's report of a $536 million loss in 1983 and the division and sale of the company's Consumer Division in 1984. On December 7, 1982, Ray Kassar announced that Atari's revenue forecasts for 1982 were cut from a 50 percent increase over 1981 to a 15 percent increase. Following the announcement, Warner Communications' stock value dropped by around 35 percent—from $54 to $35—amounting to a loss of $1.3 billion in the company's market valuation. Atari attempted to regain its market share by licensing popular arcade games for its consoles. The revenue from selling these console games did not reverse Atari's decline and the company went further into debt.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)Edit
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600 is based on Steven Spielberg's 1982 film of the same name, reputedly coded in just five weeks to be released in time for the 1982 holiday season. The game sold 1.5 million copies and came nowhere near Atari's expectations of five million units. A large number of the cartridges sold were sent back to the company because many consumers found the game to be unenjoyable. Truckloads of these cartridges were buried in a landfill in New Mexico after they failed to sell. E.T. is commonly cited as the catalyst for a crash of the video game industry in 1983, as Atari had hoped that brand loyalty would keep consumers buying their games regardless of quality.
E.T. was listed as the worst game of all time by PC World in 2006, Electronic Gaming Monthly, and FHM magazine, and was ranked as the second-worst movie game on the "Top Ten Worst Movie Games" (losing to Charlie's Angels) by GameTrailers. It was also ranked the second-worst game of all time by GameTrailers, losing to Superman 64. Some considered it so bad that the title screen was the only good part of the game. In 2007, GamePro named E.T. one of the 52 most important games of all time due to its roles in the 1983 video game crash and the downfall of the seemingly unstoppable Atari. It is the only game to make the list for having a negative impact on the video game industry.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1988)Edit
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a 1988 side-scrolling action video game developed by Advance Communications and published by Bandai for the Nintendo Entertainment System loosely based on Robert Louis Stevenson's novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Gameplay alternates between the characters of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde based on the player's ability to either avoid or cause damage. While getting decent reviews when released, the game gained largely negative retrospective reviews, with reviewers criticizing bad graphics, confusing gameplay, and poor use of the characters and setting.
Darrell Monti of Nintendo Life called it one of the worst games he got for the NES. In 2004, Game Informer reviewed the game in their Retro Reviews section and gave it a 5 out of 10, ending the review by saying "Flawed on every fundamental level, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is possibly the most unplayable garbage available on the NES." In 2018, the German branch of Eurogamer placed the game at number 8 on their list of top ten worst games of the 80s. The writers complain that nothing is explained to the player, and that some characters harm the players, but some do not. They called it a frustrating and confusing experience and said: "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde should be played by anyone who wants to learn more about good game design. Because this title makes everything so perfectly wrong that you could almost think it was deliberately designed that way." The game was the first to be reviewed on the website Something Awful, gaining a score of -37, where -50 is the worst possible score. Brett Alan Weiss of AllGame declared that the "music and graphics are tolerable, but the controls are sluggish and the action is exceedingly dull, rendering Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde almost unplayable".
Friday the 13th (1989)Edit
Friday the 13th, an adaptation of the horror movie franchise developed by Atlus and published by LJN for the Nintendo Entertainment System as part of its "aggressive" expansion into licensed video games, was retroactively criticized primarily for its "broken" and frustrating gameplay.
In its September 2009 issue, Game Informer listed Friday the 13th as being among the worst horror games of all time, noting that "unavoidable hits, stupid weapons, and baffling enemies ensure that your crew of teenagers dies quickly and without ceremony. If they make it through that, Jason will probably appear (as he randomly does) and kill you." GamePro listed it as the 10th worst video game adaptation of a film, explaining that "From the start-up screen, Jason's hockey mask sitting alone in the dark, until a knife flies in from above to pierce the empty eye socket, Friday the 13th looks like it will live up to its gory namesake. Unfortunately, what follows is a repetitive music score and amazingly frustrating gameplay, courtesy of LJN."
Action 52 (1991)Edit
Action 52 is an unlicensed multicart developed by Active Enterprises for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1991. It contains 52 original games covering various genres, from shoot 'em ups to platformers. Action 52 is one of the most infamous NES games for a number of reasons. The game originally retailed for over US$199 (which equated to four dollars for each game). Many of its games also have poor controls and graphics, and are plagued by bizarre glitches and technical problems; some games are impossible to complete. Kill Screen described all the games as "shit", and Atari HQ called it "really, horribly, incredibly bad." The game frequently appears on lists compiling the worst games ever, and Atari HQ called it the worst game of all time. GameSpy named it the fifth most shameful game ever, summarizing it as an "endless parade of inept programming, repetitive design and outright stupidity." A drastically different version of the game was also developed by FarSight Studios for the Sega Genesis; Hardcore Gaming 101 wrote it was better than the NES version, but "that really isn't saying much."
Night Trap (1992)Edit
Night Trap is an interactive movie video game originally published by Sega for the Sega CD in 1992. It was the first interactive movie released for the system, and was initially received mixed reviews. Critics praised its smooth video animation and humor, but it disliked its shallow gameplay. The game became infamous after it was scrutinized during the 1993 United States Senate committee hearings on violence in video games, in which Senator Joe Lieberman claimed Night Trap featured gratuitous violence and promoted sexual aggression against women. The game was removed from store shelves in the United States' two largest toy store chains, Toys "R" Us and Kay-Bee Toys, after both received numerous complaints. After the controversy subsided, Night Trap was ported to multiple platforms, such as the 32X and 3DO. These ports were reviewed more harshly; critics felt the game had not aged well and considered its gameplay dull. Next Generation gave the 32X version a one-star rating and GameFan called it a "so-so game that got a lot more attention than it deserved." Retrospectively, Night Trap was ranked one of the worst video games of all time by Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamesRadar, and Computer Gaming World.
Philips CD-i Legend of Zelda releases (1993–1994)Edit
Prior to the cancelled plans to release a CD-ROM add-on for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo granted Philips licenses to use some of their major characters in games for their Philips CD-i system. In addition to Hotel Mario, Philips released three games in The Legend of Zelda franchise: Link: The Faces of Evil; Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon (both 1993); and Zelda's Adventure (1994), all produced with limited involvement by Nintendo.
The first two games, Faces of Evil and Wand of Gamelon, were developed in tandem by Animation Magic (a Russo-American animation company), using the same game engine, and were released on the same day. Both are side-scrollers where the player has to fight enemies and collect treasure to access certain levels. The two games gained notoriety when attention was brought to their animated cutscenes, which were animated by a Russian studio; in the midst of a review of the Zelda cartoon, an IGN reviewer described the games as being "infamous" and Matthew Castle of Computer and Video Games considered the cutscenes to be "terrifying, rendering Link as a rubbery limbed freak with a face that swims all over his head".
Further criticism was brought to Zelda's Adventure, a third game developed instead by Viridis, which used a top-down approach, and shifted to a live-action visual style with digitized sprites instead of a cartoon look. According to Castle, "what [Zelda's Adventure] lacked in hideous toons it made up for with live-action FMV-visits from a beardy wizard (not a professional actor, but the game's music composer) whose shambolic preamble makes Knightmare look like The Lord of the Rings." It also suffered from poor gameplay, and a glitch preventing the game from playing both music and sound effects at the same time.
Beyond the animations, reviewers at GameTrailers have also ascribed modern negative criticism to "barely functional controls, lackluster gameplay, and numerous bugs". Danny Cowan of 1UP.com noted that Zelda fans "almost universally despise these games". The Wand of Gamelon was ranked the #6 worst video game of all time by Electronic Gaming Monthly and the #5 by GameTrailers.
Hotel Mario (1994)Edit
Philips's deal with Nintendo for the three The Legend of Zelda games also gave them the rights to use characters from the Mario series. The company commissioned several games featuring Mario to be made for the CD-i; however, only one, Hotel Mario, was released. A puzzle game, Hotel Mario features animated cutscenes produced by the Russian studio that made the cutscenes for Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon. The game received primarily mixed reviews upon release; GamePro called the game fun to play, but believed it would bore players and would only appeal to core Mario fans.
Retrospective reviews of the game, however, have been negative, with the game facing criticism for unresponsive controls and the animation of closing doors. IGN, while claiming that Hotel Mario was better than the Zelda CD-i games, slammed the game for being "dull", stating that there was "no reason" for anyone to play it. GamesRadar referred to Hotel Mario as "craptastic" and named it the 48th worst game of all time, while The Guardian called Hotel Mario a "horrible attempt to cash in on the full-motion-video capabilities of the useless CD-i console". Eurogamer claimed the game to be "little more than a really rubbish version of Elevator Action". The game's cutscenes have been subject to much ridicule; IGN compared their quality to that of Microsoft Paint.
Plumbers Don't Wear Ties (1994)Edit
Plumbers Don't Wear Ties was released in 1994 for the 3DO console, along with a limited number of copies for PC. It was advertised as being an interactive, full motion video game; however, besides an opening cutscene, the game's story is presented through static images. The game received negative attention focused on its "surreal" and "sexist" storyline, and poor voice acting. Uproxx's Dan Seitz compared Plumbers Don't Wear Ties to a "Skinemax" movie, and felt that its constant use of still images was the "single saddest attempt to simulate a dream sequence ever". IGN felt that Plumbers Don't Wear Ties was "a symbol for everything that was wrong" with the 3DO's looser licensing program in comparison to the other major consoles (which required publishers to pay a $3 fee per disc), noting that it helped to attract smaller studios whose games "served to strengthen the perception that 3DO's library was riddled with crap". PC Gamer dubbed Plumbers Don't Wear Ties a "shallow, hateful waste of a game, [that] may very well be responsible for having killed the 3DO, interactive fiction, and the whale", naming it #1 on its "Must NOT Buy" list in May 2007.
Shaq Fu (1994)Edit
Shaq Fu, a fighting game starring basketball player Shaquille O'Neal, received mixed reviews by critics upon its release, who praised the game's graphical style, smooth animations, and robust gameplay, but criticized the relevance of Shaq's presence in the game, along with its low difficulty and small character sprites. Allgame was similarly critical of the game, criticizing its "sluggish" controls, Shaq being nearly unrecognizable in his in-game sprites, and a "shallow" story mode with "cheesy" dialogue. Despite these mixed reviews, Shaq Fu has remained "collectively detested" by critics and gamers, and a website also exists, named "shaqfu.com," that is solely dedicated to the location and destruction of every copy of Shaq Fu.
Levi Buchanan of IGN argued that Shaq Fu had received ridicule from contemporary critics because of its connections to the phenomena surrounding O'Neal, explaining that "[his] ego had reached such critical mass that it developed its own gravitational pull. And when an ego gets that large, the people that fed the ego to begin with love to turn on it." Buchanan acknowledged some positive aspects of Shaq Fu, such as its graphics and animation, its non-linear story progression, and its "charming" simplicity in comparison to other major fighting game franchises such as Soul and Virtua Fighter, but that it had a "goofy" story and "awful" cast.
Kasumi Ninja (1994)Edit
Kasumi Ninja, a fighting game for the Atari Jaguar, was criticized for being a low-quality clone of Mortal Kombat; GamePro commented that while the graphics were technically impressive, they were often unpleasant to look at due to aesthetic choices such as the palette-swapped characters, the massive blood drops, and Angus's kilt-lifting move. They also criticized the controls, the music, and the announcer's voice, and concluded that "Kasumi's a 64-bit warrior destined to remain in the shadows of deeper 16-bit fighting games." Next Generation Magazine gave it one star out of five, calling it "a tragic example when good ideas are poorly executed" and citing "jerky animation", "sluggish control" and "baffling gameplay mechanics that discourage close-up fighting".
In a retrospective review, Allgame praised the game's visuals, but criticized the controls and concluded the game to be no more than "a horrible cash-in" Mortal Kombat clone that "should be ignored by all but the most devoted 64-bit Atari Jaguar fans." GamePro summarized that "Kasumi Ninja was a terrible, terrible Jaguar title - bad controller, bad controls, terrible menu set, forgettable characters, and an utterly unoriginal premise - that, thankfully, history has forgotten." In 2009, Topless Robot ranked it as the fourth worst Mortal Kombat rip-off. In 2011, UGO.com included it in their list of the 102 worst games of all time. That same year, Complex called it "one of the worst Jaguar games ever released in a sea of awful Jaguar games." In 2012, Complex also ranked it as the fourth worst fighting game of all time, adding, "It was hard choosing amongst Ultra Vortek, Fight for Life, and Kasumi Ninja for the worst Jaguar fighting game, but we’re going to go with the last one mentioned because it’s probably the most famous. And also the worst."
Catfight, which touted itself as "the ultimate female fighting game", was criticized primarily for its low-quality graphics, poor quality music and sound effects, and unresponsive controls. Ron Dulin of GameSpot gave Catfight a 1.6 out of 10, considering it to be, "without a doubt, the worst computer game ever released." Dulin noted that the game contained a difficulty level that caused computer opponents to do nothing, and criticized its soundtrack for consisting of "annoying and repetitive squeals backed by bad heavy metal guitar" that, even worse, could not be disabled due to a badly coded options menu. He also felt that the game's sexist themes were "too blatant to mention", but that "the 'Mortal Kombat meets mud wrestling' concept has potential for some humorous kitsch, but the designers seem too preoccupied with their prepubescent sexual fantasies to see any irony in their project." A reviewer for Next Generation commented that "it's tempting to believe Catfight was designed as a sneaky militant feminist ploy, since it serves as perfect punishment for the sexist males who might buy it." He scored it one out of five stars, remarking, "Our scoring system won't let us give zeroes, so [publisher] Atlantean owes us one star."
Bubsy 3D (1996)Edit
Bubsy 3D, a platform game in the Bubsy series for the PlayStation, was negatively received due to its disorienting camera, poor graphics, sluggish controls, and the titular character's voice clips. Upon release Sushi-X of Electronic Gaming Monthly declared it "my first coaster award", and remarked, "Pretend your controller is filled with mud—this is how Bubsy plays." GamesRadar named it as the video game equivalent to poorly received films such as Plan 9 from Outer Space and Battlefield Earth. GameTrailers named it their eighth worst video game ever made and referenced it as a rip-off of Super Mario 64, which was released around the same time. Internet reviewer Seanbaby named it his 17th worst game of all time, criticizing its controls, the character's personality and the graphics.
Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (1997)Edit
Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, a platform game spin-off of the Mortal Kombat franchise focusing on main character Sub-Zero, was panned for its poor control, outdated graphical appearance, and unforgiving gameplay. Its Nintendo 64 port received further criticism for its downgraded quality, including the removal of its full motion video cutscenes. The PlayStation and N64 versions hold aggregate scores on GameRankings of 53.20% and 44.84% respectively.
Mikel Reparaz of GamesRadar opined that while the concept of giving Sub-Zero a spin-off game was interesting based on his popularity, the game "ended up a terrible mess of ugly sprites, cheap deaths and a button you had to hit just to change the direction you were facing, and the less that's said about it, the better." Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero was listed among the worst Mortal Kombat games of all time by IGN.com, whose review noted the game's "dated" graphics, "stiff" character animations, and awkward controls with high input lag.
Midway Games had planned further Mythologies games featuring different characters, but the overwhelmingly negative reception resulted in their cancellation (although Mortal Kombat: Special Forces stemmed from a similar concept).
Extreme Paintbrawl (1998)Edit
Extreme Paintbrawl, a first-person shooter loosely based upon the game of paintball, was criticized for having low-quality maps that did not resemble actual paintball fields, not having any game modes beyond a variation of capture the flag, poorly functioning AI players who frequently got stuck navigating around walls and doors, and a "practice" mode that only allows players to roam through a map without any enemies or targets. The game was also criticized for its use of the Build engine, as made famous by Duke Nukem 3D, which was technologically obsolete by the time of the game's release in 1998.
GameSpot gave Extreme Paintbrawl a 1.7/10, stating that the game took the first-person shooter genre too far by trying to "wed a tired game engine with the paintball phenomenon", and that the game was so buggy that it should have not made it out of the beta phase. In conclusion, the game was considered to be "perhaps one of the worst games I've seen in years, as much out of touch with reality as it is out of step with the gaming world at large." IGN gave Extreme Paintbrawl a 0.7/10, remarking that the soundtrack was the only aspect of the entire game that could constitute being described as "extreme", as the game itself was nowhere near its intensity.
Trespasser was developed by DreamWorks Interactive as a digital sequel to the film The Lost World: Jurassic Park. A game played in the first-person perspective, Trespasser had the player work to escape from one of Jurassic Park's sites using tools and weapons they can find. In retrospective, the game was considered to be ahead of its time, attempting to add in ragdoll physics, animations created through artificial intelligence, separate controls for each of the player-characters' arms, and no HUD, instead using other graphical cues to indicate to the player their health and other attributes. All these elements have found their way into later games; Half-Life 2 uses a physics engine inspired by Trespasser, and the use of separate limb controls has been used in a number of games such as Surgeon Simulator and Octodad. However, the game was made before dedicated 3D graphic hardware became commonplace, requiring them to develop their own software-based 3D engine, which created a number of bugs and glitches in the engine and artificial intelligence systems. Furthermore, the game's development was longer than expected, and the final product was considered rushed and unfinished to market. The game received a GameRankings aggregate score of 57%, with several publications giving the game sub-average scores including GameSpot, IGN, CVG, and Edge. Despite its impact on future gaming titles, Trespasser is broadly remembered as a critically panned game.
South Park (1999)Edit
Based on the animated Comedy Central series of the same name, the PC and PlayStation versions of South Park received poor reviews for its bad graphics, repetitive voice acting and lack of playing abilities in multiplayer mode. It received a 1.4 rating from GameSpot, who said "South Park is definitely one of those games that is bound to come up when you start thinking about the worst game you've ever played."
Based on the show Superman: The Animated Series, Titus Software's Superman for the Nintendo 64 (often referred to as Superman 64) has the player control Superman as he is challenged by his nemesis Lex Luthor to help save the people of Metropolis. Upon release, the game was critically panned for its unnecessary repetitiveness, difficult and confusing objectives, poor controls, numerous glitches that interfere with gameplay, and poor graphics. Notoriously, the game has an introductory ring maze sequence that the player is given no warning about, and has a time limit that leaves nearly no room for error. The ring maze section was exacerbated by the extremely short draw distances covered by distance fog, which is explained in-game as being an aspect of the virtual reality simulation of Metropolis the game is set in, but previously described as "Kryptonite fog" by developers. Titus was harshly criticized for the poor quality of the game. Titus stated that while they had grander plans for the game, "the licensor killed us", and the final game only represents about 10% of what they wanted to include.
Superman was listed as the worst game of all time by GameTrailers, the worst game on a Nintendo platform by Nintendo Power, and as the worst video game adaptation of a comic book by both GameSpy and GameDaily.
Carmageddon 64 (2000)Edit
Based on the PC franchise, Carmageddon 64 was developed by Aqua Pacific for the Nintendo 64 and was met with poor reviews from critics for its graphics, controls, and its overall poor conversion of the series to the console. Matt Casamassina of IGN claimed that the game was "impressively worse" than Superman 64 (which was also published by Titus, the game's American publisher), stating that the game "sucks". GameSpot was heavily critical, stating that Carmageddon 64 "shares none" of the PC version's addictiveness. Although less harsh, Nintendo Power was still somewhat critical of the game, giving it a 5.7 out of 10.
Mortal Kombat: Special Forces (2000)Edit
Mortal Kombat: Special Forces is the second action game in the Mortal Kombat franchise released on the PlayStation in 2000 following after Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero. However, like Mythologies it has received negative reviews from critics and fans. It has an averaged review score of only 28/100 at Metacritic, including ratings of 2.1/10 from GameSpot and 3/10 from IGN.
Its sales were so low that Midway placed the series on hold in preparation for Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (2002). Ed Boon stated: "The game had a pretty bumpy development ride and the game didn't turn out very good at all." In 2011, GamesRadar ranked it as the second most absurd Mortal Kombat offshoot (behind Mortal Kombat: Live Tour). In 2013, GamesRadar also ranked it as the 41st worst game made.
Spirit of Speed 1937 (1999/2000)Edit
Spirit of Speed 1937 is a racing game developed by Broadsword Interactive that intends to emulate 1930s racing. The game was originally released for PC in Europe by Hasbro Interactive in 1999 under their MicroProse label, but received a more well-known Dreamcast port the following year, published by Acclaim Entertainment under the LJN label, being the last game to use the LJN name, five years after LJN was scrapped by Acclaim. The reason for this is unknown. The game has been met with negative reviews, receiving a 39.33% from GameRankings. Jeremy Dunham of IGN gave it a 2.2 out of 10, criticizing the load times, course designs, control, and graphics and concluding that it was "the poorest excuse for a Dreamcast game I have ever laid eyes on." Frank Provo of GameSpot gave it a 1.9 out of 10, citing poor sound effects and visuals, and naming it the worst game of 2000.
Kabuki Warriors (2001)Edit
Kabuki Warriors was a launch game for the Xbox and is a fighting game. GameSpot gave it a 1.4 out of 10 and named it the worst game of 2001 while Edge magazine gave it a rating of 1. Game Informer gave it a rating of .5 and criticized the game mechanics, with editor-in-chief Andy McNamara stating "I literally won a match just bashing the controller against my ass. I wish I was joking, but the score is seriously Kabuki Warriors zero, my ass one."
Universal Studios Theme Parks Adventure (2001)Edit
Universal Studios Theme Parks Adventure was developed and published by Kemco for the Nintendo GameCube. Set in the Universal Studios Japan park, the object of the game is to complete several minigames loosely based on the real-life attractions Back to the Future: The Ride, Jaws, Jurassic Park River Adventure, E.T. Adventure, Backdraft, Wild, Wild, Wild West Stunt Show, and Waterworld. It received largely negative reviews for its poor gameplay that mostly consisted of collecting trash and tedious minigames. Brad Shoemaker of GameSpot panned it in his review, saying: "The game is too frustrating and convoluted for kids to have any fun with it, and all but the most desperate adult GameCube fans will find it tedious and unentertaining as well." Matt Casamassina of IGN also panned it, calling it "a jumbled mess of disorganized goals, sloppy navigation and boring destinations topped off with incredibly dated graphics and an overall adventure that can fairly easily be beaten, if one has the stomach for it" and concluded: "Not recommended for young or adult gamers." The Guardian selected it as one of the 30 worst video games of all time, and UGO ranked it #78 in its list of the 102 worst video games of all time.
The Simpsons Wrestling (2001)Edit
The Simpsons Wrestling is a fighting game based on the animated television series The Simpsons. The game was made for the PlayStation console, was developed by Big Ape Productions, published by Electronic Arts in Europe and Activision in North America and distributed by Fox Interactive. The Simpsons Wrestling received widespread negative reviews from critics; primary criticisms for the game were directed at its simplistic, unbalanced gameplay and bad graphics. It holds an aggregated score of 41.21% on GameRankings and 32/100 on Metacritic. IGN gave the game a 1 out of 10, and declared it "the most horrific demolition of a license ever".
The Simpsons Skateboarding (2002)Edit
The Simpsons Skateboarding, a skateboarding game based on the animated television series The Simpsons, received negative reviews for its low-quality graphics, sound, music, poor controls, and for lacking any innovation in comparison to similar games. The game holds an aggregate score of 38 out of 100 on Metacritic.GameSpy described the game as being "a case study in bad game design", criticizing its awkward control scheme, poor visuals, and bad character animations, and for being reminiscent of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater franchise, but at a lower quality. The review concluded that "there's nothing new or innovative about this game. It doesn't even hit the average mark in terms of fun. If it didn't have The Simpsons license this game would have nothing going for it at all. As it stands now, even The Simpsons license can't save this game from itself." Giving the game a 3.9 out of 10, GameSpot criticized the game for being a "stripped-down Tony Hawk", the game's "blocky" art style and poorly proportioned character models for being inferior to the 3D models used as part of "Treehouse of Horror VI", and repetitive voice acting. In conclusion, it was argued that "the game makes such ham-fisted use of the license that only the most casual of gamers or the most hardcore of The Simpsons fans will be able to enjoy The Simpsons Skateboarding."
Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly (2002)Edit
Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly, the fourth main installment in the Spyro the Dragon series, had its development handed off from Insomniac Games to Check Six Studios and Equinoxe Digital Entertainment for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube. Although the previous games in the series did exceptionally well, Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly received overwhelmingly negative reviews for its short length, lack of content, bad framerate, load times, numerous bugs and glitches. The game was originally released for the PlayStation 2 in 2002, and so it ended up being rushed so it could be released for the holiday season, which was the main cause for the game's criticisms. In 2003, the game was ported to the GameCube which has most of the bugs and glitches fixed and shorter loading times, however, the GameCube version still received negative reception for other reasons. GameSpot gave the game a 2.8/10 for the PS2 version, by calling it a train wreck. Ted Price president and CEO of Insomniac Games said "Handing away the development of the game was a bad idea, Enter the Dragonfly was really bad." However, Spyro games released after Enter the Dragonfly saved the series from a bad reputation.
The game caused a controversy when a boy who played the game and ended up with epileptic seizures. His parents sued Universal, Check Six, Equinoxe and Sony in 2007.
Batman: Dark Tomorrow (2003)Edit
Based on the DC Comics character Batman, Batman: Dark Tomorrow received very negative reviews from critics for its confusing gameplay engine, repetitive mission modes, and awkward camera angles. The end of the game was also criticized because there is no direction to the "fulfilling ending" of the story besides using an outside game guide. GameSpot gave the game a score of 2.8 out of 10, while IGN gave it a score of 2.2 out of 10 for the Xbox version and 3.5 out of 10 for the GameCube version. GameRankings gave it a score of 24.06% for the Xbox version and 27.83% for the GameCube version; while Metacritic gave it a score of 25 out of 100 for the Xbox version and 29 out of 100 for the GameCube version. A PlayStation 2 version was planned, but was cancelled due to the game's poor reception. In 2015, GamesRadar named Dark Tomorrow the 18th worst game, claiming the game's camera "makes Epic Mickey's look like cinematography genius".
Charlie's Angels (2003)Edit
Released as a tie-in to the 2003 film Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle and featuring the voices of its stars Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu, Charlie's Angels received criticism for its poor and glitchy gameplay, poor character models, unique "fighting styles" that ultimately had little differentiation, and storyline. Alex Navarro of GameSpot believed the game's voice acting, despite involving the actual actors from the films, "[gave] the impression that they had each individually been roused from a bad hangover and thrown in front of a microphone." The game ultimately received a 1.9 out of 10 from Navarro, who dubbed the game a "horrific display of ineptitude." IGN gave Charlie's Angels a 4.0 out of 10, considering it "the textbook example of what happens when no care or thought is put into the digital adaptations of lucrative movie licenses" due to its shallow gameplay, and being "neither sexy nor cool" like the films. GameTrailers named Charlie's Angels the "Worst Movie Game of All Time", considering it "degrading, not to women, not even to video games, but to humanity itself."
Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (2003)Edit
Although graphics and original soundtrack were praised, Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, the sixth instalment in the Tomb Raider series, acting as a direct sequel to Tomb Raider Chronicles and The Last Revelation, received mixed to negative reviews for its poor controls, awful gameplay, and various bug problems. IGN's Douglas C. Perry praised its "compelling storyline" and "set of intriguing bit characters", however criticized the game stating that those aspects of the game "pale in comparison to 90% of the PlayStation 2's adventure or action-adventure games, and they actually hurt the rest of the game's best qualities", but that the new moves worked smoothly apart from the stealth actions. He also added multiple examples of good level design, smooth character models, surface textures and lightning, while feeling more mixed about Lara's unrealistic figure and hardened appearance.
Game Revolution's A. A. White stated that while the game's darker story was an improvement compared to its predecessors, it never "[managed] to build to a captivating crescendo", while the reviewer for GamesRadar called it "bountiful but confusing and ultimately of GCSE-standard creative writing." Eurogamer called the controls dated and the stealth mechanics and strength upgrade system unnecessary, while the GamesRadar reviewer cited both the gameplay and control layout as dated, citing the difficulty of effectively controlling Lara at multiple points in the game because of these issues. The camera was also criticized, with gaming outlets citing it as awkward to control and sometimes wayward or confusing during its scripted movements.
In 2010, GameTrailers placed the game 5th in their "Top 10 Worst Sequels" list. The Angel of Darkness caused multiple problems for the Tomb Raider franchise. Paramount Pictures faulted The Cradle of Life's lacklustre box office performance on the poor critical reception the video game received from reviewers and fans. The head of Core Design, Jeremy Heath-Smith, resigned after the release of the game, and plans for a sequel called The Lost Dominion, part of a proposed trilogy created using the game's engine, were scrapped. Following the poor performance of both the game and the second movie, Eidos Interactive took the production of Tomb Raider games away from Core Design and assigned them to Crystal Dynamics, noted as the developers of the Legacy of Kain series.
Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis (2003)Edit
Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis was criticized for its poor controls, graphics and repetitive gameplay. GameSpot gave the game a 2.3 out of 10, stating that "[t]he game itself only has the bare minimum requirements necessary to technically be called a game, and even these components are an ugly mess." Aquaman was named one of the worst games of all time by G4's program X-Play; in reference to Aquaman's hair style in-game, X-Play began awarding the "Golden Mullet Award" to the worst game of the year. The game has a Metacritic score of 27/100 for its GameCube version and 26/100 for its Xbox version.
Drake of the 99 Dragons (2003)Edit
Drake of the 99 Dragons holds an aggregate score of 22 on Metacritic, ranking it as the second-worst game for the original Xbox. In 2009, the game placed as eleventh worst received game in the last 15 years by GamesRadar. GameSpot's Alex Navarro felt that the game was a "cacophony of terrible effects and voice acting"—noticing the re-use of stock sounds used in AOL Instant Messenger, and comparing the character's voice to a cross between a game show host and the "Moviefone guy". He also felt that due to the game's "disjointed" cutscenes and narration, the storyline was difficult to understand.
IGN's Aaron Boulding gave the game a 2.9 out of 10; while praising the game's unique visual appearance and presentation, along with the "bullet time" audio effects while slowing down time, he concluded that Drake of the 99 Dragons was "a good idea that went horribly astray and ended up disastrous" and that "there's no need to rent, purchase or entertain the thought of playing this one." GameSpot gave the game a lower score of 1.6, considering it "an out-and-out failure in every single discernable category."
Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing (2003)Edit
Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing is a racing game developed and released by Stellar Stone, where the player competes in road races with trailer trucks. Big Rigs became infamous for being released in a pre-alpha state: it lacks any type of collision detection, allowing players to drive through other vehicles and obstacles, and has abnormal physics, including allowing players to drive up a vertical incline or accelerate indefinitely while driving in reverse, then coming to an immediate halt once the accelerator is released. There is no computer artificial intelligence, as computer-controlled vehicles do not move at all during the race, thus making the game impossible to lose. It also has a number of grammatical and typographic errors, most notably the message to the player on finishing a race, "YOU'RE WINNER !".
Big Rigs was listed as one of the worst games ever made by GameSpot and Computer and Video Games, and received the lowest possible scores from both. Additionally after declaring it the "worst game ever made" in a "Games You Should Never Buy" segment, X-Play's Morgan Webb refused to rate Big Rigs as their scale went from only 1 to 5. On aggregate reviews, it has the lowest aggregate score of any video game, with 8/100 on Metacritic, and 3.83% on GameRankings. Big Rigs was also named #2 as the "Worst Video Game of the Decade". Despite (or possibly due to) the universally negative response by critics, Big Rigs still sold surprisingly well, albeit mostly from discount software bins and at a $5 price point; the actual figures were not released, but GameSpot estimated sales of almost 20,000 copies. Stellar Stone released a patch that addressed a few of the game's complaints, although most problems went unresolved (for example, while artificial intelligence was implemented for the opposing truck, it always stops short of the finish line due to the lack of a losing state being written in the code; as such, the game remains impossible to lose).
Bubble Bobble Revolution (2005)Edit
Bubble Bobble Revolution is a platform video game in the Bubble Bobble series for the Nintendo DS. Reception to the game was poor; reviewers generally criticized its level design and dated visual style (described by Frank Provo of GameSpot as being "way behind the curve"), as well as the amount of strange glitches, including a particularly infamous one that renders each level beyond #30 unplayable; IGN joked that the glitch "makes a bad game worse". Codemasters, the game's publisher, responded by releasing a fixed version of the game, which also came with a free copy of Rainbow Islands Revolution.
Lula 3D (2005)Edit
The adult adventure game Lula 3D was criticized for its tedious gameplay, poor puzzle designs, low-quality graphics (including animations, inconsistent frame rate, and re-use of character models), its voice acting, the quality of its English translation, and low-brow humor that was too childish for its target audience. On Metacritic, the game received an aggregate score of 28% from 14 reviews. In 2013, Polygon cited Lula 3D and other "low-brow" pornographic games as a factor in the mainstream video game industry's general non-acceptance of adult video games.
Jolt Online Gaming gave Lula 3D a 1.8 out of 10 for making "every mistake that can possibly be made by the designers of a 3D adventure", criticizing its poorly implemented controls and camera, tedious gameplay involving "mooching around listening to Lula's terribly voiced and poorly translated descriptions of everything around you, while collecting everything you can lay your hands on", and voice actors compared to people auditioning to be a phone sex operator. In conclusion, Jolt felt that "if you like good games, Lula 3D isn't for you. If you like sexual humour, Lula 3D isn't for you. If you have no qualms about pulling yourself off at the sight of dreadfully rendered computer characters shagging, then you need to check yourself in at your local therapy centre."
Eurogamer gave Lula 3D a 2 out of 10, jokingly declaring that its low quality and immature humor (such as the "Bouncin' Boobs Technology" advertised on its packaging) made the game feel like it was developed by and intended for 12-year-old boys. PC Zone gave the game a 3.1 out of 10, believing that it was "oddly compelling", but "so inexorably, mindbogglingly ignorant of how either real games or real sex works that it spread-eagles itself a fair way into the 'so-bad-it's good' category."
Ninjabread Man (2005)Edit
Ninjabread Man, a budget game released by Data Design Interactive and published by Conspiracy Entertainment, was criticized for its poor camera, controls, graphics, and its short length; critics noted that the game could be completed in half an hour. IGN gave Ninjabread Man a 1.5 out of 10, deriding the game for being a "broken mess" and having "just enough character design and gameplay to cover the bullet points on the back of the box", but felt that Ninjabread Man still had a "hilarious concept", and jokingly praised the game for having the best box art of any Wii game. Thunderbolt similarly gave Ninjabread Man a 1 out of 10, also noting that the premise itself had potential, but that the game itself did not have any "glimmer of innovation" and "couldn't be a more of a generic platformer if it tried."
Data Design Interactive was further criticized by both Eurogamer and IGN for releasing several other games, including Anubis II, Myth Makers: Trixie in Toyland and Rock 'n' Roll Adventures, that shared the same overall engine, gameplay, and soundtrack as Ninjabread Man, but with different settings and characters. This, in turn, caused the games to exhibit exactly the same issues as Ninjabread Man. IGN felt that the games were "shovelware at a science" and representative of a bulk, quantity-over-quality approach to video game development. However, IGN still felt that Ninjabread Man had more "appealing" thematics out of the three. Eurogamer gave all four games, including Ninjabread Man, a 1 out of 10, concluding that the games were "dross of the highest order. Rip offs at budget price. We deserve more than this. I've heard people perking up at Ninjabread Man because of its punny name. Don't be fooled."
On Metacritic, Ninjabread Man has an aggregate score of 20 out of 100 from six critic reviews.
Bomberman: Act Zero (2006)Edit
A reimagining of the Bomberman series, Bomberman: Act Zero received negative reception from critics for its long loading times, bad collision detection, forgettable soundtrack, use of the same textures and graphics for every stage, tedious and repetitive gameplay, lack of a save feature, unbalanced A.I. and the series' unwelcome shift to a darker and more futuristic setting. The "First-Person Bomberman" mode was criticized for its bad camera angles and the fact that it is played in a third-person perspective. It holds an average score of 34 from Metacritic. Yahoo! Games' Mike Smith felt that the designers did not understand what made Bomberman great. He criticized its "generic, gritty brushed-metal-and-armor heroes". GamePro's Patrick Shaw felt that it should not be used to introduce players to the series, while fans of the games should skip it. Cracked.com named the game among their "6 Most Baffling Video Game Spinoffs" in 2013, commenting that the developers "took everything fun about Bomberman and made it crazy and depressing."
Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)Edit
Intended to celebrate the franchise's 15th anniversary and relaunch the brand for the next generation, Sonic the Hedgehog faced a number of issues during development, leading it to be rushed for Christmas 2006 and was generally panned by critics and gamers alike for its sensitive controls, bad camera angles, numerous glitches, poor storyline, loading times, and level design. IGN stated that "it offers a few good ideas, and a handful of exciting moments, but none of this helps the game recover from a catastrophic loss in control", while GameSpot lamented the gameplay, the number of glitches, camera problems and the supporting cast, stating "only the most blindly reverent Sonic the Hedgehog fan could possibly squeeze any enjoyment out of Sega's latest adventure". GameTrailers criticized the story as well, by saying that "you might actually be better off reading internet fan fiction." The game was ultimately listed as part of its "Top Ten Disappointments of the Decade" list.
The game has a Metacritic average of 46% for the Xbox 360 version and a similar score of 43% for the PlayStation 3 version. In 2015, GamesRadar named Sonic the Hedgehog the 43rd worst game of all time, noting its "terrible" camera and "downright creepy" story.
Vampire Rain (2007)Edit
The reviews criticized Vampire Rain's enemy AI, controls, health meters for both the protagonist and enemies, and multiplayer modes. The game was also criticized for having elements derived from Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell but with much less appeal, for being too hard, and for the linear level design, but it was complimented for its eerie music. Vampire Rain: Altered Species was also poorly received. A GameSpot review admonished the updated PlayStation 3 version of game for not undergoing major changes from the Xbox 360 version. IGN calls the Altered Species game "a trainwreck". The game was better received in Japan, with Famitsu granting a score of 30/40.
Game Party (2007)Edit
Game Party is a video game developed by FarSight Studios and published by Midway Games. Game Party was retailed as a budget title for the Wii and was released on November 27, 2007, in North America; on February 14, 2008, in Australia; and in Europe on February 15, 2008. IGN said that this game started the wave of "shovelware" on the Wii, criticizing the graphics and the mini-games. Many places gave this game a 1 out of 10: Eurogamer criticized the graphics and the fun factor of the game, saying "The Game Party experience is like going to a party where there's nothing to drink but Tesco Value brandy and there are only four other guests and they're all racist and then your ex turns up and gets off with a Danish supermodel." AceGamez criticized the controls and said that the game is trying to simulate the fun of games like WarioWare: Smooth Moves, unsuccessfully.
Despite negative reception, it sold 1.3 million units and led to Midway releasing Game Party 2 on October 6, 2008 for Wii, but that game also received negative reception from critics. Midway later filed for bankruptcy in February 2009, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment purchased most of Midway's assets, which included Game Party. They later released Game Party 3 on October 6, 2009 for Wii, Game Party: In Motion on November 18, 2010 for Xbox 360, and Game Party Champions on November 18, 2012 for Wii U. Like the first two games, all three games received negative reception from critics.
In February 2017, Steve Bowler, who was a designer on Game Party Champions, said that he "never wants to work on another Game Party as long as I live."
Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust (2009)Edit
Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust, the eighth installment in the Leisure Suit Larry adult-oriented adventure game franchise, was developed by Team17, and published by Codemasters—who acquired the franchise's intellectual property from Activision Blizzard. Box Office Bust was criticized for its poor gameplay and dated graphics, incoherent story, audio and technical issues, voice-acting, and poor attempts at adult humor. On Metacritic, the game's PC version holds an aggregate score of 20/100 from 17 critic reviews; its PlayStation 3 port scored lower, with 17/100 based on 11 critic reviews.
IGN declared Box Office Bust to be "frustratingly unpolished, devoid of any kind of wit or charm, and packed with tiring, at times infuriating challenges", also featuring "uncomfortably unfunny dialogue spewed from the lips of entirely unlikable characters". In conclusion, it was explained that "the lowest rating numbers here at IGN are reserved for games with nearly no redeeming qualities or interesting ideas, with next to nothing enjoyable to offer players, and which under no circumstances should be purchased by anyone. Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust is, without a doubt, one of those games."
ScrewAttack, Giant Bomb, and Australian television show Good Game named Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust the worst game of 2009. Al Lowe, creator of Leisure Suit Larry, publicly thanked VU Games on his website for keeping him away from what he called "the latest disaster".
Stalin vs. Martians (2009)Edit
Stalin vs. Martians is a parody real-time strategy video game developed by Black Wing Foundation, Dreamlore and N-Game, released on April 29, 2009. Described as "trashy and over-the-top" by its creators, the game mocks World War II strategy games and utilizes Pythonesque humor. The developers state that Stalin vs. Martians is "obviously a parody, which sometimes gets close to being a satire" and is "halfway to becoming a trash icon of gaming industry for years". In some interviews the lead designer of the game compares Stalin vs. Martians to the Troma films.
Stalin vs. Martians received scathing reviews from critics. It has an average score of 23.41% on GameRankings as well as 25% on Metacritic. GameSpot named it 2009's "Flat-Out Worst Game", awarding it a rating of 1.5/10 and calling it "perhaps the worst RTS game ever created." IGN, which rated the game a 2/10, noted the game's total lack of any RTS-related elements and asked whether it was 'made in 1994 and sealed into a vault until 2009' given how dated the visuals looked. Resolution, awarding the game 35%, warned readers not to purchase the game, but conceded that it is occasionally "incredibly amusing".
Ju-On: The Grudge (2009)Edit
Ju-On: The Grudge is a survival horror video game developed for the Wii. It was produced for the Ju-On series' 10th anniversary. The game was directed by Takashi Shimizu, who also helmed the films. The game was developed by feelplus and published in Japan by AQ Interactive on July 30, 2009, and in North America and Europe in October of the same year by Xseed Games and Rising Star Games, respectively.
Ju-on: The Grudge has received mostly negative reception from critics. Based on 32 reviews, Ju-on: The Grudge holds a Metacritic score of 39/100 and 40.22% on GameRankings based on 27 reviews. Also, GameSpot, giving the game a "Poor" 4, complained about the controls and the length of the game, while IGN stated that "Ju-On: The Grudge Haunted House Simulator is bad. The graphics are bad, the presentation is bad, and the gameplay is bad. In fact, it's all so bad the game actually ends up being terrible."
Rogue Warrior (2009)Edit
Rogue Warrior was initially developed by Zombie Studios under the title Rogue Warrior: Black Razor: it would have been an Unreal Engine 3-based game with drop-in four-player cooperative play, and 24-player competitive multiplayer using randomly generated maps based on a unique tiling system. However, its publisher Bethesda Softworks was unsatisfied with the direction Zombie Studios was taking with the game; among other issues, citing the lack of emphasis on the personality of its protagonist Richard Marcinko. Bethesda rebooted the project with Rebellion Developments taking over development. The game was re-built from the ground up, scrapping Zombie Studios' work.
Upon its release, Rogue Warrior was panned by critics for its poor controls, frequent use of profanity, short length, very limited multiplayer, and broken combat techniques. GameSpot's Kevin VanOrd awarded Rogue Warrior a 2.0 out of 10, calling it "an absolute rip-off" and finding that Richard Marcinko "doesn't just drop an F-bomb—he drops an entire nuclear warhead of repulsive language." IGN's Jeff Hayes stated that "players should stay far away from this title at all costs" and rated it a 1.4 out of 10, criticizing its "laughable and barely existent" plot. Eurogamer's Richard Leadbetter called it "the worst game I've played on [PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360] for a long, long time."
Tunnel Rats: 1968 (2009)Edit
The first-person shooter Tunnel Rats: 1968 was based on the Vietnam War film 1968 Tunnel Rats directed by Uwe Boll, and developed by Replay Studios. The game received criticism for its poor writing and voice acting, the characterization of its protagonist, monotonous tunnel environments and excessive use of booby traps as a mechanic, particularly the extreme precision required in order to disarm traps, inaccurate gun sights, dated graphics, and its extremely short length. Reviewers also noted several major bugs, such as grenades ceasing to function if the player dies, and the ability for the player to clip into inescapable areas of a map not usually accessible. GameSpot criticized the portrayal of the player character Brooks as a stranded U.S. soldier with "clumsy and inconsistent" writing and voice acting. The ability to gain health by removing the ears from the corpses of Vietnamese soldiers was considered to be both in poor taste and frustrating, citing a need to locate an exact point on the ear in order to collect it.
Rock Paper Shotgun opened its review by acknowledging Uwe Boll's reputation for directing poorly received film adaptations of video game franchises, and that Tunnel Rats was "excruciatingly, bewilderingly bad"; due to bugs, the reviewer was unable to make it past the second level. GamesRadar similarly criticized the game for being a "nauseating mess from start to finish", but jokingly claimed the game itself was better than Uwe Boll's films. Tunnel Rats holds an aggregate score of 30/100 on Metacritic based on 7 reviews.
Final Fantasy XIV (2010)Edit
Final Fantasy XIV is a massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) in Square Enix's Final Fantasy series, developed as a spiritual successor to Final Fantasy XI. The game was released for Microsoft Windows on September 30, 2010, with plans for a PlayStation 3 port. However, the initial release of the game was met with poor reviews, with critics describing grind-heavy gameplay, poor controls, and a confusing user interface. The game holds a Metacritic score of 49/100. According to Naoki Yoshida, who took on overseeing the game's remake, the original version of Final Fantasy XIV suffered in production as their had been too much focus on the graphics quality, and little understanding of the fundamentals of a good MMORPG with the expectation that problems could be fixed with updates and patches later.
Shortly after release, then-CEO of Square Enix Yoichi Wada issued an official apology for the quality of the game at the 2011 Tokyo Game Show in December 2011, saying that "the Final Fantasy brand [had] been greatly damaged". The PlayStation 3 port was cancelled, and Square Enix eventually shut off the game's servers November 11, 2012, as to remake the game from scratch into Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Yoshida stated that they felt it was necessary to completely rebuild the game from the ground up to regain the trust that they lost from fans of the series for the original game, and not strictly as a business decision. The new version was released in August 2013, and was received more positively, with an 83/100 score for the PC version on Metacritic. As of July 2019, the game continues to be supported with expansions and new content for players.
Power Gig: Rise of the SixString (2010)Edit
Released in a market that had already been saturated by rock music-oriented music video games simulating guitar and drums, Power Gig: Rise of the SixString—developed by Seven45 Studios, a subsidiary of entry-level instrument manufacturer First Act—attempted to differentiate itself from competitors such as the Rock Band and Guitar Hero franchises by shipping with an actual electric guitar that could be used in-game, rather than a simplified plastic analog. As opposed to an electronic drum set with physical pads, the game offered an "AirStrike" drum controller which utilized motion sensors placed on the ground. The studio claimed this design provided a quieter and more compact alternative to drum controllers implementing physical pads.
Upon its release, Power Gig received negative reviews from critics. The game's guitar was considered low quality—not performing well as either a controller or standalone instrument, while the AirStrike drum controller was criticized for being inferior to a physical drum kit—suffering from poor hit detection and a reliance on proprietary, sensor-equipped drum sticks. The guitar gameplay of Power Gig was criticized for being nearly identical to its competitors—even with its dedicated guitar, which only added the ability to toggle basic, two-note power chords. Griffin McElroy of Joystiq pointed out that, ironically, despite "[centering] itself around a peripheral which is a real guitar", Power Gig "[settled] for using a new toy to manipulate an old game—but still manages to categorically fail at both." Critics also considered the guitar gameplay of Power Gig to be inferior to the "Pro Guitar" modes of Rock Band 3, which provided a more complete implementation of guitar fingering, chords, slides, and tutorials built on top of the franchise's core gameplay.
The game was also criticized for its storyline—which IGN declared to be "laughably bad", the exclusion of bass guitar modes, and poor-quality graphics and character animations. Power Gig holds an aggregate score of 36/100 on Metacritic, and was named the worst game of 2010 by Giant Bomb.
Doctor Who: Return to Earth (2010)Edit
Based on the popular science-fiction television show of the same name, Doctor Who: Return to Earth on the Wii has been panned by critics. Official Nintendo Magazine gave the game a 19% rating, and branded it "an insult to Doctor Who fans". However, it ranked at 11 on the UK Wii sales charts for the week.
Australian video game talk show Good Game's two presenters gave the game a 1 and 1.5 out of 10, saying, "It's one of the worst games I've ever played". They also stated that the graphics looked like a PlayStation or Nintendo 64 game and that the player spends as much time trying to see the enemies as trying to avoid them. The reviewers went on to state that the game had only two good points, the Sonic Screwdriver Wii remote and that it makes Doctor Who: Evacuation Earth look like a masterpiece. Gaming website ScrewAttack! awarded Doctor Who: Return to Earth its SAGY award for Worst Wii Game of 2010. Metro gave a highly negative review which it says "If one of your loved ones is a fan of Doctor Who then whatever you do don't buy them this game for Christmas."
Duke Nukem Forever (2011)Edit
Duke Nukem 3D, the third game in the Duke Nukem series, was released by 3D Realms in 1996 and met with commercial and critical success. Its sequel Duke Nukem Forever was announced the next year, but ended up spending fourteen years in "development hell", with very little information on its progress leading it to be frequently cited as vaporware in the intermediate years. The prolonged development included a number of issues related to change of the game engine, the downsizing of 3D Realms, conflicts with Take-Two Interactive who had gained publishing rights through its acquisitions, and eventual transfer of development duties to Gearbox Software.
Once Duke Nukem Forever was released, it was criticized for elements of gameplay that tried to adhere to standards from the 1996 game, while failing to be as sophisticated as other first-person shooters released at the same time, demonstrating the impact of the game's excessive development period on its reception. Reviewers also found that the game had numerous technical problems, notably its long load times, and criticized for using outdated technology. The crude humor of Duke Nukem was found to be very dated, in particular one level that required Duke to kill human women abducted and impregnated with alien children while Duke would crack jokes, making Duke appear as a "thoroughly detestable psychopath". The game received Metacritic scores of 49, 51, and 54 out of 100 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows versions, respectively.
MindJack was heavily criticized for its broken enemy AI, visuals, thin story, repetitive and boring gameplay, poor voice acting, unbalanced multiplayer, and technical issues such as freezing. It has a Metacritic score of 44 for the PlayStation 3 and 43 for the Xbox 360. Kat Bailey of 1UP.com found nothing to like about the game, calling it a "lazy, corporate-mandated cash-grab." IGN summed up their review with "MindJack is ultimately a frustrating and forgettable shooter with horrible presentation, clumsy controls and a plodding campaign. It serves up a next-gen idea with its unique multiplayer design yet delivers it in a horribly last-gen package."
Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter (2011)Edit
Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter, a sequel to Sword of the Stars developed by Kerberos and published by Paradox Interactive, received negative reviews upon its release. While critics praised it for its graphics, Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter was panned for its confusing gameplay, poor tutorials and large number of bugs causing the game to be unplayable.
The game has a GameRankings score of 43.12% and a Metacritic score of 44/100. Game Informer gave the game 3/10, summarising the game as "A total disaster", stating that "This might be a decent game after six more months of twice-weekly patching. Right now, it's a failure on every level". IGN's Jon Michael gave it 2.5/10, stating "there are many other 4X games on the market that do basically everything [Sword of the Stars II] intended, but better and without the bugs." PC Gamer's Tom Senior gave the game 43/100, praising the graphics but criticising the amount of bugs in the game and baffling gameplay.
Postal III (2011)Edit
Development of Postal III was subcontracted by Running With Scissors to the Russian video game publisher Akella, who hired the developer TrashMasters Studios; however, they did not have the resources to develop the game to the design that the series' creators intended and thought they were able to deliver. The game ultimately received poor reviews from critics, scoring an average review score on Metacritic of 24/100. The poor reception also prompted Running with Scissors to pull the game from its own online store, calling it an "unfinished mess" suggesting that players buy earlier installments of the franchise instead.
PC Gamer gave Postal III a 21/100, joking that "suck and blow" were "two things that Postal III will continue to do for some hours", criticizing its lack of an open world design like Postal 2, poor AI, and poor attempts at being offensive (drawing comparisons to the quality of Uwe Boll's film adaptation). IGN felt that the game's technical and gameplay issues were more offensive than the game's content, criticized the lack of variety or openness in its missions, and noticed poor loading times. However, the game's humor, wide variety of weapons (despite most of the unique weapons not being as useful in-game as their conventional counterparts), and relatively better graphical quality than Postal 2 were regarded as positive aspects, but not enough to save the game from a 5.5/10 rating. Game Informer gave the game a 1/10, criticizing its "barely cobbled-together series of mostly linear levels", lazily using self-awareness to point out bugs that should have been fixed before release (such as a warning that an escort would "frustratingly disappear" if left behind), and concluding that there was "nothing redeeming about Postal III's frustrating, buggy gameplay." In 2013, Computer and Video Games deemed it one of the 12 worst video games of all time.
Ridge Racer (2011)Edit
Ridge Racer, a reboot of the Ridge Racer franchise released on the PlayStation Vita, was critically panned by various publications for its bare-bones nature, a lack of proper progression unlike other installments in the series, primarily consisting of content ported from Ridge Racer 7, along with unbalanced online races that use a leveling system to determine a player's top speed, giving an unfair disadvantage to newer players.
GameSpot gave the game a 3.0/10, criticizing the lack of modes and content as a ploy to force users to buy its downloadable content, further noting that its first DLC pack (which was available for free as a limited time offer) only consisted of more content ported from Ridge Racer 7. Ridge Racer was considered to be "a complete and utter ripoff" that "[felt] more like a cheap cash-in than a fully thought-out product", lacking the variety of past installments of the franchise. IGN also gave the game a 3/10 for similar reasons, criticizing its absolute lack of storyline or progression-based modes or leagues, and the aforementioned multiplayer leveling system. Ridge Racer was described as "racing in a vacuum, barely more than a tech demo, wrapped up in an online-reliant social framework that's fundamentally flawed on several levels." GamingXP also felt that the game did not sufficiently use the capabilities of the Vita, and could have easily been a game for the original PlayStation Portable.
The War Z (2012)Edit
The War Z, an open world multiplayer survival horror game, was publicly released as a "foundation release" in December 2012. The game received negative reception from various publications for its poor gameplay experience, and for its use of microtransactions for purchasing items and reviving characters without waiting four hours, despite the game not being a freemium "free-to-play" game. GameSpy gave The War Z a half-star out of five and considered it "a bad game that deserves all the controversy it's drawn", criticizing the broken state of the game and its use of microtransactions, but complimenting its overall atmosphere and far draw distance. IGN gave the game a 3.0 out of 10, citing that "the high spawn rate of weapons, as well as fear of hackers, makes the majority of player interaction in The War Z overly punishing and one-dimensional", and further criticized its missing features, the ability to lose purchased items, and its lack of a balance between ranged and melee weaponry.
Its developer, Hammerpoint Interactive, was also accused of false advertising by players; since the game's promotional material on Steam at the time highlighted certain features that were not yet present in the game, such as multiple large game worlds varying in size (only one was available), a skill point based leveling system (which was not yet implemented), servers supporting up to 100 players (that were actually capped at 50), and private servers. Despite this information being corrected to consider them "upcoming" features, the flood of criticism prompted Valve to pull the game from sale on Steam and offer refunds, stating that the game was accidentally made available for purchase prematurely. In an interview with PC Gamer, executive producer Sergey Titov (who was also listed as a producer for Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing) claimed that its servers were temporarily capped at 50 due to player feedback, and that its marketing team had misinterpreted information about the current state of the game. Due to its similar themes, gameplay, and title, some also felt that The War Z was a clone of the popular ARMA 2: Operation Arrowhead mod DayZ (of which a standalone version was in development); on June 20, 2013, Hammerpoint announced that the game would be renamed Infestation: Survivor Stories, "primarily as a result of some confusion and trademark issues with a similarly titled property" (a statement which also factored in a conflict with the film World War Z).
Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified (2012)Edit
Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified was released for the PlayStation Vita in November 2012, and was panned by critics for its short campaign, poor enemy AI, and unreliable network mode, and holds a score of 33.21% at GameRankings and 33/100 at Metacritic. Game Informer's Dan Ryckert gave the game a score of 3/10 and called the game a "complete embarrassment" for the Call of Duty franchise. Giant Bomb's Jeff Gerstmann cited it as a "disjointed mess", criticizing the awkward touch-based controls, glitches causing enemies to get stuck on level geometry, and multiplayer maps "so tiny that you'll literally spawn with an enemy in your crosshairs". Daniel Rutledge of 3 News also criticized it stating that the single player campaign was "less than an hour long" and describing it as "terrible value for money". Peter Willington of Pocket Gamer was also unimpressed, calling it "a massive middle finger to the fans".
Final Fantasy All the Bravest (2013)Edit
Final Fantasy All the Bravest, a Final Fantasy spin-off, was released on January 17, 2013 for iOS devices. Criticism was leveled at its simplistic gameplay mechanics, with IGN noting how the game could be completed with one's eyes closed, and the extensive microtransaction system embedded in the game. A common point of negativity was the game's in-app purchases, particularly the system for buying "Legendary Characters" – characters from past Final Fantasy games – wherein a random character from a list of 35 would be added to the party for a fee of $0.99. It was viewed by several reviewers as a cynical attempt from the publisher to exploit fans of the series, and was called by Destructoid as "a cash delivery system rather than a game."
As of June 2013, it holds a score of 25/100 on Metacritic.
SimCity, developed by Maxis and Electronic Arts (EA), was aimed to augment the normally single-player city-building game with online features that would allow players' cities to interact with one other, building a software platform rather than a single game. The game was released in March 2013, but there was no offline mode, and the servers for online connectivity were over capacity, requiring players to wait upwards of thirty minutes to play for several weeks following launch. EA and Maxis eventually resolved server issues by expanding capacity and disabling certain "non-critical" features. Users also found that promised improvements to the artificial intelligence were not present, and that the available land for city building was much more restrictive than previous iterations. Users were further critical when it was found that the game could be run in an offline mode using special debugging commands, to which Maxis responded saying that they opted against an offline mode as "it didn't fit with our vision". By October 2013, EA and Maxis discussed the possibility of adding an offline mode, and a year after release, the game was updated to support this.
The game received lukewarm reviews from critics, with an aggregate score of 64/100 from Metacritic, but was hit hard with many negative user reviews. The initial server issues created enough negative user reviews at retailer Amazon.com that the retailer temporarily halted sales of the game for a few days. While some users that purchased retail editions of the game were able to get refunds, those that had purchased it digitally through EA's Origin service could not get refunds, and instead EA offered users a choice of one free game from eight offerings as to make up for the server issues. EA was named as the "Worst Company in America" in a 2013 Consumerist user-voted poll, with the debacle over SimCity's service launch as part of the reason some voted this way.
As a result of the poor reception to the game, Electronic Arts shuttered Maxis' main Emeryville, California studio by 2015, transferring Maxis' other franchises like The Sims to other EA studios. Separately, Colossal Order, a studio under Paradox Interactive, had been wanting to make a city simulator for some time, but Paradox had been hesitant of SimCity's influence on the market. Following the failure of SimCity, Paradox greenlit Colossal Order's Cities: Skylines, which was released in 2015. By contrast, Cities: Skylines was critically acclaimed and commercially successful, with some outlets considering the game to have succeeded SimCity as the game most representative of the genre.
The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (2013)Edit
The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, a first-person shooter developed by Terminal Reality, was released in 2013 to act as a prequel to the events of the television series, and featured the voice talent of actors from the series, including that of protagonist Daryl Dixon. The game was met with criticism for its broken gameplay mechanics, poor graphics, a lack of meaningful storyline, and for not meeting the high expectations associated with its source material, or Telltale Games' episodic adventure game also based upon the franchise. On Metacritic, the Xbox 360 version holds an aggregate score of 32 based upon 30 reviews.
IGN noted that the game was plagued by largely broken stealth mechanics and enemy AI (finding it easier to simply sprint past groups of enemies rather than using the tactics encouraged in-game), bland environments, and a lack of any true narrative beyond "just moving from place to place in hope of the eventual rescue we all know won't come". In conclusion, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct was described as "a half-baked attempt at a game that can be fun in the occasional spooky part, but ends up under-delivering in every way." Although feeling that its "no frills" approach to zombie-oriented shooters (in comparison to other franchises such as Dead Rising and Left 4 Dead) "[wasn't] necessarily a bad thing", CVG criticized Survival Instinct for having an "archaic" design, broken, slow-paced gameplay with inconsistent level designs, and "atrocious visuals", compared to "the kind of muddy textures and low-res character models reserved for MMOs." The game was ultimately dubbed a "shoddy squandering of one of entertainment's hottest licenses", and given a 3 out of 10.
Alex Navarro of Giant Bomb was even more harsh, believing that in comparison to Telltale's The Walking Dead game, "nothing about Survival Instinct feels properly executed, let alone coherent or thoughtful." Of particular criticism was its gameplay mechanics, the requirement to perform resource gathering and side missions at "the same handful of recycled environments" between story missions, and for providing "no meaningful information or commentary on the characters it revolves around." Giving the game one out of five stars, he concluded that Survival Instinct was "an abysmally rushed game of barely connected ideas that brings the player little more than frustration and disappointment."
Franchise creator Robert Kirkman distanced himself from Survival Instinct due to its negative reception, citing his more direct involvement in the Telltale game, and remarking that "I'm pretty sure there's an AMC logo before the title of that game and not a picture of my face."
Aliens: Colonial Marines (2013)Edit
Aliens: Colonial Marines, a first-person shooter developed by Gearbox Software and set in the universe of the Alien franchise, was criticized at launch for containing bugs, poorly implemented A.I., unbalanced gameplay, low quality graphics, and a poorly implemented co-op mode. A couple of said issues have since been adjusted or fixed to a certain degree. The game's story also drew criticism for its lack of a consistent continuity with the Alien films, despite claims from the developers that the events of the game were supposed to be canon to the film series.
Particular criticism was directed towards discrepancies in the game's quality between pre-release builds demonstrated at events and in promotional materials—the former purporting to feature "actual gameplay", and the final product, including lower graphics quality, missing levels, and other regressions. Shortly after the game's release and the discovery of these regressions, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford acknowledged the issues and stated that the studio would look into them. It was reported that, as is common practice, the demo was optimized for high-end PC hardware, and that after the game was returned from its subcontractor TimeGate Studios to Gearbox, the studio made changes to optimize the game's performance for consoles.
In April 2013, a class action lawsuit was filed against Gearbox Software and the game's publisher, Sega. The suit argued that these differences, along with a press embargo on publishing reviews of the final product until its release date, deceived those who pre-ordered the game based on the pre-release promotional materials, amounting to false advertising. In September 2014, Sega agreed to pay a tentative settlement of $1.25 million.
In July 2018, a modder who was reviewing the game's code discovered that there was a typographic error in the game's INI file that resulted in the poor artificial intelligence shown by the game's enemies observed at original release; manually correcting the error led to the enemies having more consistent behavior with press material as well as the Aliens from the film franchise.
Star Trek (2013)Edit
Released on April 23, 2013, Star Trek was developed as a third-person shooter to bridge events between the 2009 Star Trek film and the 2013 Star Trek Into Darkness film, which was released a month later. The game was criticized for its unoriginal design and poor quality, as well as its large number of bugs and glitches. Metacritic gave the PlayStation 3 version a score of 46%, with the PC version having a score of 44%, and the Xbox 360 version a score of 42%. GameSpot also gave Star Trek a 3.5/10 rating, while IGN gave it a 4.2/10 rating. Director J. J. Abrams stated in September 2013 that he was "emotionally hurt" by the game's poor reception, and also stated that it "arguably hurt" the reception for Star Trek Into Darkness.
Ride to Hell: Retribution (2013)Edit
Announced in 2008 as a Grand Theft Auto-styled game set during the late 1960s, the eventual release of Ride to Hell: Retribution in June 2013 was met with largely negative reception. In particular, Ride to Hell was criticized for its largely broken gameplay, poorly implemented controls, poor voice acting and writing, its negative portrayal of women, and for dropping the originally announced open world format in favor of a linear structure. Daniel Starkey of GameSpot considered Ride to Hell: Retribution to be "painfully insubstantial" and broken all-around, criticizing its plot for showing a "pathetic, out-of-touch approach to sex, violence, and masculinity", and believing that its developers were showing a lack of respect towards players due to the game's abysmal quality. Describing it as the newest candidate for "Worst Game of All Time", Starkey gave Ride to Hell a 1.0 out of 10, making it only the second game (behind Big Rigs) to receive GameSpot's lowest possible rating. EGM described Ride to Hell as being "a linear, insultingly underdeveloped mess" with "endlessly clunky gameplay" and numerous bugs and glitches, concluding that "other games may have offered less content for more money or come up shorter in specific, individual areas, but I don't think there's ever been a game that does so many things so universally poorly", giving the game 0.5 out of 10. In his annual "Top and Bottom 5" awards, Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw of Zero Punctuation laid out his bottom 5 (in which Ride To Hell was not included) before moving into a coda in which he explained, "I was hesitant to place it even on a worst games list, 'cos it's not a game, it's congealed failure. I speak no hyperbole when I say that releasing every box with no disc inside would have been less of a mistake. So for one time only, I grant the Zero Punctuation Lifetime Achievement Award for Total Abhorrence to Ride to Hell: Retribution, which it will hold indefinitely until a worse game comes along. That should roughly be around the time apes have retaken the Earth!".
The game has a Metacritic score of 19 out of 100, based on 14 reviews of the Xbox 360 version. It is the third lowest scoring game on the Xbox 360, and the lowest scoring retail Xbox 360 game. It received a 13 out of 100 score from Metacritic for the PS3 version, making it the lowest scoring PS3 game.
Ashes Cricket 2013 (2013)Edit
Ashes Cricket 2013, a cricket video game developed by Trickstar Games and published by 505 Games on Steam, was delayed from a release scheduled for June 2013 due to quality concerns; the original release date was to coincide with the English leg of the 2013 Ashes series. It was pulled four days after its release on November 22, 2013 (which coincided with the 2013–14 Ashes series in Australia) following negative user reviews. In its review of the game, Rock Paper Shotgun considered Ashes Cricket 2013 to be "hilariously awful", and criticized the game for having poorly implemented and documented controls, poor graphics and character animations, and other non-functioning features. Describing its gameplay, a writer remarked that "trying to follow the ball is quite the thing, as each fielder springs from one glitchy animation to the next, pinging from one place to another, while the camera chops and changes at all the wrong moments. It is, immediately, a bad game."
Fighter Within (2013)Edit
Fighter Within, a Kinect-based fighting game for Xbox One (and a sequel to the Xbox 360 Kinect title Fighters Uncaged), was criticized for having poor motion detection—especially on more complex moves and techniques and in menus, slow, shallow gameplay with automated combos portrayed as cutscenes, and a storyline which was described as being "laughable" and "cheesy" by reviewers. GameSpot, who gave Fighter Within a 2 out of 10, described its gameplay as requiring players to "stand like a lemon in front of the TV for what seems like an eternity as you feel your life ebb away during the excruciatingly long loading times; punch at thin air as fast as humanly possible until you trigger a combo; watch the lifeless combo animation; repeat these steps until your opponent is defeated."
IGN, who gave the game a 2.7 out of 10, felt that Fighter Within was only able to adequately detect basic punches, describing the game as a "disjointed", "haphazard mess" due to its unpredictable motion detection, and considered its storyline to be "laughably bad" and a "flimsy excuse" to "fight [against] a long stream of AI opponents who look just as dumb as they fight." Dan Ryckert of Game Informer gave Fighter Within a 1 out of 10; describing the game as "garbage", he felt that its motion detection system was so poorly designed that it "effectively [makes] any of its combat systems inconsequential", and also noticed that it was registering motions off him even while he was standing still.
On Metacritic, Fighter Within holds an aggregate score of 23 out of 100 from 39 critic reviews, and is ranked as the second lowest-scoring Xbox One game as of April 2015. X-One Magazine referred to it as one of the worst games in general.
Dungeon Keeper (2014)Edit
Dungeon Keeper is a freemium MMO strategy video game developed by Mythic Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts for the iOS and Android platforms. It was intended to serve as a reboot of the Dungeon Keeper series directed and designed by Peter Molyneux. The game was heavily panned due to its monetization practices. For example, critics condemned the time the Gem Veins take to dig, which forces players to either wait for varying amounts of time or purchase Gems with real money, practices that were not present in the original Dungeon Keeper games. The Metacritic score for the iOS version is a 42/100. IGN rewarded the game a 3/10, Eurogamer rewarded the game a 1/10, and Metro rewarded the game a 0/10. The game was deemed "unplayable" by some critics. Molyneux criticized the game's monetization implementations as well, describing them as "ridiculous".
The criticisms of the game were exacerbated when Electronic Arts was accused of censoring user ratings lower than five stars by making those players email them instead the next month. The British Advertising Standards Authority soon ruled that Electronic Arts' advertising of the "free" nature of the game misled customers, ordered the creation of fine print explaining the in-app purchases, and banned the original adverts.
Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric and Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal (2014)Edit
Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, a 2014 spin-off from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise developed by Big Red Button Entertainment—a studio co-founded by Naughty Dog alumni E. Daniel Arey and Bob Rafei—and published by Sega for the Wii U received negative reviews from critics for its numerous bugs and glitches, poor graphics and level design, simplistic and repetitive gameplay, and bad writing. On Metacritic, the game holds an aggregate score of 32% from 28 critic reviews.
Don Saas of GameSpot noted that "through a combination of unwieldy controls, a broken camera system, and a total lack of responsiveness, the platforming and exploration elements of Rise of Lyric are totally unworkable." Metro GameCentral considered Rise of Lyric to be "definitely the worst game of 2014", citing "a terrible camera, awful controls, unspeakably dull combat, insipid level design, ugly character art, broken graphics, serious bugs, and the terrible feeling that Sega hates both you and Sonic." Both Metro and Nintendo World Report referred to it as potentially the worst Sonic game of all time.
Sega also published a tie-in game for the Nintendo 3DS, Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal, which was developed by Sanzaru Games. The tie-in was also poorly received, holding a Metacritic score of 47/100. IGN felt the 3DS game to be a "ham-fisted" attempt to add puzzle solving and exploration to the traditional Sonic formula, and called its dialogue "painfully unfunny", while Destructoid claimed Shattered Crystal was "maddening". In February 2015, Sega announced that Rise of Lyric and Shattered Crystal had moved 490,000 units combined, making them the worst-selling games in the history of the franchise.
Raven's Cry (2015)Edit
Raven's Cry, a 2015 action-adventure role-playing game developed by Reality Pump Studios, received GameSpot's lowest score of 1/10 for its "rampant racism, sexism, and homophobia", broken gameplay, and "button-mashing tedium." IGN rated the game 3/10, citing its inconsistent dialogue, clunky combat, rigid control and game-stopping crashes. Daniel Starkey of Eurogamer deemed it "a sorry, broken mess of a game" and castigated the plot's "noxious cocktail of clichés." Allegra Frank of Polygon named it one of the worst video games of 2015. Attack of the Fanboy said, "Raven's Cry is a game that just fails to realize the potential that an open-world pirate game should have," while criticizing the cutscenes' "terrible voice acting." The game holds a 27/100 on Metacritic based on sixteen reviews, and an aggregated score of 25.71% on GameRankings based on seven reviews.
Rugby 15 and Rugby World Cup 2015 (2015)Edit
Developed by HB Studios, Rugby 15 was criticized for its poor graphical quality, bad AI, as well as its poor implementations of the rules and mechanics of rugby union. In its review, GamesRadar felt that the game's implementation of breakdowns and rucks—where the player rotates the analog stick to find a point that designates a legal steal, was "monstrously wrong", explaining that "even on the hardest setting, I stole the ball almost every time; as if I'd replaced my thumbs with the distilled living essence of Tackles McCaw. Conversely, even Manu Tuilagi has the ball-retention skills of a buttered pensioner. It makes for a game of chase-me-peewee hogwash that barely resembles the direct, attritional sport it's based on." IGN was similarly critical of this feature, noting that it was hard to receive penalties on rucks, and that "given the specific way you're forced to ruck, it's best not to be in possession of the ball until you're within ten metres of the try line, so you don't have to deal with the incredible frustration of losing possession because the game bugs out."
The lack of a proper tutorial was criticized by IGN. The game's graphics on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were criticized for appearing "last-gen". The PlayStation 3 version was further criticized for suffering from numerous other bugs and frame rate issues. The lack of online multiplayer was also noted, as well as repetitive commentary, some of which was recycled from Rugby World Cup 2011.
GamesRadar gave Rugby 15 one star out of five, concluding that "it feels like it was constructed from the fatty offcuts of juicier rugby games which preceded it. Don't let fervour for the upcoming World Cup sway your judgement". The site added that the game's venues "bear little resemblance to their real-life counterparts" and had crowds that looked like "cardboard wraiths with season tickets". IGN gave Rugby 15 a 2 out of 10, citing "a never-ending stream of bugs and paradoxical design decisions", and describing the game as "an experience that's so broken it's hard to recommend. The best thing you can do is pass." The PS4 and Xbox One versions of Rugby 15 hold Metacritic scores of 19 and 20 based on five and four critic reviews respectively, ranking as the lowest-scoring game on both platforms.
HB Studios also developed Rugby World Cup 2015, as a tie-in to the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The game was widely criticized as being a follow-up to Rugby 15 that did not adequately address the issues seen in the prior game, whilst introducing new issues. IGN gave the game a 1.5 out of 10, noting major bugs, that the game's AI was still poorly implemented, that it still used pre-determined outcomes for tackles, and that while less buggy than the version in Rugby 15, the rucking system was still insufficiently designed. It was argued that the game was essentially a re-branded version of Rugby 15 rushed out in time for the actual World Cup.
GamesRadar criticized it for only featuring minor improvements over Rugby 15, commenting that "there's nothing here that suggests an understanding of scrums—which is forgivable, since most international referees don't either—but there’s certainly no attempt to twist the complex battle of binding, shoving and probably-biting into something that belongs in a game. Instead, it's reduced to 'hook' and 'push'." It was also pointed out that the game did not feature any of the real-life venues from the actual tournament, and that 10 of the 20 teams were not licensed and composed entirely of fictional players — a group that even included tournament host England. Giving Rugby World Cup 2015 two out of five stars, what improvements were present in the game were considered "nothing more than a fig leaf which barely covers the game's otherwise gruesome nudity."
Alone in the Dark: Illumination (2015)Edit
The sixth installment in the Alone in the Dark franchise was published by Atari in 2015 centering around a team of four cooperative characters solving a mysterious figure in a haunted house. Alone in the Dark: Illumination received universally negative reviews. It received an aggregated score of 19% on GameRankings based on 5 reviews and 19/100 on Metacritic based on 12 reviews plus ranked as the worst game of 2015. Jim Sterling stated that Illumination was "ugly in every sense of the word, not just visually – though it is about as attractive as an anus in an eye socket", while criticizing its cooperative play and the mechanic of using light sources to defeat enemies.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 (2015)Edit
A revival of the Tony Hawk's franchise developed by Robomodo, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 was panned for its poor quality, especially in comparison to its predecessors, with reviews citing various performance issues, environmental clipping, and physics issues. The game's environments were criticized for their poor aesthetics, unmemorable level themes, small size, dull challenge tasks, and for not containing as many hidden secrets as those in previous Tony Hawk games. The nature of the game's online modes were criticized for providing little incentive to players and exacerbating the game's performance issues.
IGN gave the game a 3.5 out of 10, concluding that "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5's rare moments of nostalgic joy are drowned out by its abundance of poorly thought out levels, control problems, bugs, and its glaring lack of attitude. It boggles the mind that a $60 game in 2015 can be riddled with so many technical issues." Giving Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 a 3 out of 10, GameSpot argued that "within THPS5 lies a basic skating game that's difficult to enjoy, because you have to jump over numerous hoops and ignore a plethora of obvious issues to find the smallest amount of fun." Polygon named Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 one of the worst games of 2015, stating that it was "so broken, so garish and so grim that reformed Tony Hawk lovers rue the day they first laid eyes on the franchise. Sometimes, it's better to leave what's past in the past."
Umbrella Corps (2016)Edit
Umbrella Corps is a tactical shooter spinoff of the Resident Evil franchise released for the PlayStation 4 and PC, and has been panned for its poor gameplay mechanics. IGN's Brian Albert rated the game 3.8 out of 10: "[The] balance is absurd, controls are clumsy, and it fails to pull anything meaningful from the Resident Evil universe". Peter Brown of GameSpot rated it 3/10: "Umbrella Corps is a forgettable game dominated by bland action and half-baked mechanics." Zach Furniss of Destructoid lambasted the game as "a broken sludgy mess that fails in just about every way." Game Rant's John Jacques wrote in his review, "The game doesn't know what it wants to be, and as a result, this is another lackluster spinoff from Capcom—one we're eager to forget." Ben Reeves of Game Informer commented, "Thanks to all of its flaws, Umbrella Corps feels like a grotesque online oddity that everyone should just ignore—which everyone is already doing." Cade Onder of GameZone labeled the game "the worst entry in the Resident Evil franchise since 6," citing its "clumsy and even confusing" gameplay. Rush Frushtick of Polygon remarked that "the controls feel like you're walking on ice skates. It's abysmal." In 2017, The Telegraph's Olivia White rated it the worst game in the Resident Evil series, while PC Gamer ranked it the second-worst game in the franchise for its "straight up broken" controls, which they deemed "unforgivable". Umbrella Corps holds a rating of 38 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 55 reviews.
Ghostbusters, a twin-stick shooter, was released as a companion to the 2016 reboot film. It received largely negative reviews, holding aggregate review scores of 30 (PlayStation 4) and 32 (Xbox One) on Metacritic; the site acknowledged Ghostbusters as being the worst-reviewed game of 2016, noting that unlike the film which "somewhat delivered what it promised", the game "asks that you fork over even more cash for what reviewers described as a humorless slog." Three days after the game's release, its developer Fireforge Games filed for bankruptcy, and also owed Tencent $11.3 million in relation to a cancelled project.
Polygon's Justin McElroy gave Ghostbusters a score of 2 out of 10, arguing that it was "the most gruelingly insipid dual-stick shooter" he had ever reviewed, lacking variety and criticizing the game's poor characterization and humor. He concluded that the game was a "deplorable, cynical bit of licensed drivel that wouldn't be worth the $50 asking price if the instruction manual were printed on a $50 bill." GameSpot was similarly critical, arguing that "Ghostbusters has rare moments when it doesn't feel like an utter waste of time. But it's mostly a bizarre slog through mostly empty, overly cumbersome levels full of extreme repetition", and criticizing the lack of variety in gameplay, environments, and enemy design, as well as generic character archetypes.
IGN noted that the game had few characters from or references to the actual films, beyond a cameo by Slimer and allusions to the characters of the 2016 film, which was considered "bizarre" for a licensed game. Giving Ghostbusters a 4.4 out of 10, IGN felt that Ghostbusters was "not actively painful to play if you happen to be at your eight-year-old cousin's house and need a co-op game for six to eight hours that's not going to require much skill. But you could do so much better."
No Man's Sky (2016)Edit
No Man's Sky was announced in 2013 as a space exploration game that features over 18 quintillion planets in its virtual universe each with their own set of flora and fauna, all formed in-game through procedural generation. The game, developed by a small team from Hello Games, quickly gained significant attention and media hype across the gaming media due to its expansive goals, which was boosted further when Sony announced it would help to publish the game for the PlayStation 4 alongside a Microsoft Windows version. Sean Murray, a co-founder of Hello Games and the lead developer for No Man's Sky, gave numerous interviews over the following years during development, explaining features they had planned for the game including multiplayer.
Just prior to No Man's Sky's August 2016 release, early-released copies revealed that some of the expected gameplay features did not appear present in the game, and were still missing following a day-zero patch. Specifically, there appeared to be no multiplayer, and other features demonstrated in promotional videos and Murray's interviews were absent. Atop this, players found the game lacked a quality of procedural uniqueness (in that there was little overall variation in the planets relative to the scale of the game), and the gameplay elements necessary to explore were tedious and boring. Though Murray had tried to set expectations prior to release, the game received a wide range of reviews and generally negative reviews from players. Negative player reception was compounded by the apparent lack of communication from Hello Games towards these issues, with the team only reporting on bugfixes and performance improvements that they released. Murray later admitted that their initial silence post-release had come about due to drastically underestimating the player size they had to support at the start. Hello Games has since released several major updates to the game to incorporate some of these missing features, including multiplayer modes, as well as other significant additions which have been met with praise, bringing the game to a state that they had expected prior to its launch and grown beyond that. The game is considered a key reminder of what to avoid in marketing of a game, with many commentators discussing the proper means to generate interest in games "in a post-No Man's Sky world".
Star Wars Battlefront II (2017)Edit
Star Wars Battlefront II, primarily an online multiplayer shooter, was developed by EA DICE as a sequel to the 2015 game. One element that EA had sought to change was how microtransactions would be handled; the first game offered additional characters and settings through downloadable content, but EA found that this segmented the player community between those who had purchased the additional content and those who had not.
Instead, EA opted to use loot box mechanics (called Star Crates in game); players could earn Star Crates, containing a random collection of in-game items distributed by rarity, over time by playing the game, but could also spend real-world funds to acquire these. While such loot crates were an established mechanism in video games, the approach used by Battlefront II during its pre-launch beta period was found to be problematic to players. First, the items were not strictly cosmetic items (like character skins), but included buffs and other in-game advantages. Thus, players could advance farther in the game by buying Star Crates immediately, making it a "pay-to-win" game. Second, while the game offered the ability to purchase established Star Wars characters like Darth Vader through in-game credits (found in Star Crates or by other means, or otherwise purchased with real-world funds), the rate at which players could earn such credits without spending additional money was considered far too slow, with estimates of requiring 40 hours of play to unlock just one of these characters. Coupled with the tiered-distribution of items from Star Crates, many journalists and players expressed concern over how the game was treating consumers due to these loot box mechanics; other games released in 2017 had raised similar issues, but Battlefront II became a large focus due to the highly visible nature of the Star Wars branding.
EA made a number of revisions to the Star Crate approach prior to launch, such as reducing the cost of the special characters by 75%, but a large portion of the players still were critical of the overall "pay-to-win" nature. Just prior to the game's planned launch in November 2017, Disney (who owned the rights to Star Wars) contacted EA over the situation, leading EA to disable any of the microtransaction processes indefinitely until they could work out a solution. While the game was not poorly received by game reviewers, the negative perception of the game by the player base troubled EA's stockholders, and within a week, EA's stock market value dropped by US$3 billion, attributed to the Battlefront II loot box backlash. In its Q4 2017 quarterly financials, EA stated that Battlefront II had missed their sales expectation by at least 10%, which EA's CEO Blake Jorgensen attributed to the player base reaction to how EA had implemented and handled the loot box issue.
By March 2018, EA introduced a revised microtransaction approach that removed the pay-to-win elements from Star Crates, which otherwise would now only give cosmetic elements or in-game currency; the gameplay-altering elements were made part of a linear player experience systems. EA also reevaluated how it would present microtransactions again in the future to avoid the financial harm they experienced from Battlefront's loot box situation. The reaction to Battlefront II's loot crates also led to a number of worldwide government responses in late 2017 and early 2018 to evaluate whether loot box mechanics in video games were a form of gambling, and thus would require them to regulate their sale within their countries, particularly to minors, as well as having the ESRB adjust its rating system to clearly indicate the presence of any in-game transaction, including loot boxes, within a game.
Agony is a first person survival horror game developed by Madmind Studio and published by PlayWay. The game was created through a Kickstarter campaign, and when the campaign surpassed its goal, the game was released over a year later. The game obtained unfavorable reviews, with a Metacritic score of 37/100 for the PlayStation 4, 34/100 for the Xbox One and 45/100 for Microsoft Windows. Criticism was aimed at the gameplay mechanics, story, voice acting, and artificial intelligence. IGN's David Jagnaeux gave the game a score of 4/10, stating that while he liked the art and sound design, "the fantastically obscene sights and creepy sounds become mundane and dull by the end of its series of repetitious mazes, unimaginative item hunts, and weak stealth gameplay". The game was given a score of 3/10 by GameSpot, 5/10 by Push Square, and 3.5/10 by Game Informer. Destructoid's Brett Makedonski stated that for the game overall, it was "hellish" and that "the more concise descriptor is in that two-word lede: Agony sucks. And that's such a shame because it looked like it could've been so goddamn cool."
Negative reception aside, Agony also came under controversy for earning an "Adults Only" rating by the ESRB due to its massive violence and graphic content. The game was rerated "Mature" after the developers agreed to tone down the game's violence. While the game's publishers had planned for an uncensored patch for the PC release, the plans were dropped due to "legal issues".
The Culling 2 (2018)Edit
The Culling 2 was the sequel to the battle royale game The Culling, developed and published by the American studio Xaviant. The Culling came out before the rapid growth in popularity of battle royale games, and its development was ended by Xaviant in 2017 for the studio to prepare for the sequel. The game was criticized by players for appearing to be an unfinished title, with its release set to hit the middle of the popularity of battle royale games. The release occurred on the same day as the start of a new season within Fortnite Battle Royale. The game received a 2/10 on IGN, along with an overwhelming amount of dislikes on Steam. Steam peak player counts for the game on its first day were around 250 players, and within 40 hours the game dropped to a single player. After a week in stores, Xaviant decided to remove The Culling 2 from storefronts, shut down its servers, and give refunds to those who purchased the game, and instead opted to improve work upon the original game.
The Quiet Man (2018)Edit
The Quiet Man is an action-adventure beat 'em up video game developed by Square Enix and Human Head Studios, the latter having developed 2006's Prey. The game was critically panned upon its release, with the criticism focused on the story, the short length of the game in comparison to its price, the bugs, the perceived pretentiousness of the game, the underdeveloped gameplay sequences and the inability to commit to the deafness gimmick, with inconsistencies between the portrayal of the protagonist's deafness and the game's cinematics, which were being realized in a sound film way that would create confusion when compared to a proper silent film. According to Metacritic, the game has a score of 40/100 for Microsoft Windows and a 29/100 for the PlayStation 4 version. PC Gamer described the game as a "spectacular disaster" and added "there are lots of bad games, but for a game that was announced at E3 and made by a major publisher and studio to be this catastrophic is something." Destructoid gave it a 4 out of 10, stating that the game doesn't deliver high-production live action, realistic CG and pulse-pounding action gameplay, and has some high points, but "they soon give way to glaring faults."
Fallout 76 (2018)Edit
Fallout 76 is an online action role-playing game in the Fallout series. Developed by Bethesda Game Studios, Fallout 76 represented the studio's first foray for a fully online game, as well as the first time multiplayer is included in a Fallout game developed by Bethesda Studios. On its release, reviewers were disappointed with the game, in contrast to how the game was described during its reveal at E3 2018 earlier in the year; those that were looking for a strong narrative-driven experience from the previous Fallout games found very little story-based content in the game, while those looking at more interesting interactions from the multiplayer elements found the game weighed heavily on player-versus-player interactions rather than cooperative elements. Several felt that Fallout 76 was trying to mimic the style of Destiny but was trying to retain its "Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System" (V.A.T.S., an automated targeting system which also slows down the speed of the game to give players enough reaction time to select targets), which could not function efficiently in an online multiplayer game. The game also had a number of bugs and glitches. In response, Bethesda issued patches as large as 50 gigabytes; these patches often failed to resolve all of the bugs, and in some cases even restored those that had been previously fixed. Some players were critical of the apparent reuse of the same version of Bethesda's "Creation Engine" present in Fallout 4, though journalists pointed out that even if the engine was reused, it featured a number of improvements over the Fallout 4 version. Other complaints from players focused on the expensive pricing of in-game cosmetics. Like No Man's Sky, Bethesda had not been as communicative of its efforts to improve the game following release, leading to further consternation within the player base. Bethesda also drew criticism for their approach in banning players that used mods (regardless of whether the alterations improved the game or allowed for cheating) by closing player accounts without warning and asking them to write an essay explaining why mods were damaging to online games. Fallout 76's Metacritic scores across PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One platforms have an average of about 51/100, with user reviews being far more critical of the game.
Besides issues with the game itself, problems arose concerning the game's special editions, with some of the physical items, including a canvas bag and an alcoholic beverage bottle, not matching the original product descriptions as shipped, with Bethesda having to take post-release steps to resolve the matter. Furthermore, during the first months after Fallout 76's release, a data breach occurred in Bethesda's support systems that caused private details of 65 users that had submitted support tickets related to the physical content to be revealed unintentionally.
Overkill's The Walking Dead (2018)Edit
In 2014, Overkill Software, through its parent company, Starbreeze Studios, had managed to secure a license from Robert Kirkman's company, Skybound Entertainment, for producing a game based on Kirkman's comic book series, The Walking Dead. The game, Overkill's The Walking Dead (OTWD), was based on a similar co-operative gameplay structure as Overkill's Payday cooperative heist games. The title was slated for a 2016 release, but was delayed multiple times. A bulk of the delay was attributed to Starbreeze's demands for Overkill to change the game's engine, from Overkill's Diesel engine to the Valhalla engine which Starbreeze had acquired at a significant cost, and eventually to the Unreal engine when Overkill could not resolve issues with Valhalla. The last switch to Unreal came late in the development process, and the game's production was rushed to publish OTWD for personal computers by November 2018, with plans to release on consoles later. The game was critically panned, with a 51 out of 100 on Metacritic, with most complaints related to weak gameplay and a large number of technical issues. The game also was a commercial failure; Starbreeze had anticipated sales of OTWD would help strengthen its financial position, but the title only sold about 100,000 copies in the first month. Starbreeze put the console versions on the game on hold, and later, Skybound halted further development of the game, pulled it from sale, and revoked their license to Overkill and Starbreeze, citing that the game failed to meet certain expected standards it had for the license.
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