7 Terrible Video Games That Should Have Been Good
Ah, the hype train.
A lot of us buy tickets to it, but sometimes by the time we get to our destination, we regret not jumping off a few stops earlier.
Too often we gear ourselves up for the next big IP, only to be met with many hours of disappointment and sadness. The games enclosed in this list are top billing when it comes to failing to deliver, despite having impressive early showings, great promise, and a competent team of developers behind them.
‘The Order 1886'
It pains me to have to list it, but Ready at Dawn’s trip to a werewolf-ridden Victorian Lodnon was not quite the game we should have gotten.
The 2013 reveal was haunting and creepy and there’s no arguing that The Order’s visuals were its shining victory — but a game can’t survive on looks alone. After the first two missions, gameplay gets painfully dull as you square off against repetitive human enemies. A cache of destructive weaponry is dangled in front of you, but you’ll always wind up staring down the barrel of the most insipid of them.
Most forgettable was its story, which wastes no time spiraling into sequel baiting for a follow-up we’ll likely never see.
The Order’s biggest misstep is how often it took control away from the player in favor of cinematic, QTE-ridden cutscenes. The occasional break in action is welcomed, but it was such a frequent occurrence that it became more about watching then playing.
‘Duke Nukem Forever’
When a game’s opening sequence is its best moment, you know there’s an issue. Duke Nukem is the king of development hell, having resided in it for so many years that the release of a new title was better suited as a joke than a reality. Now we just have Half-Life 3 to fill that comedic void.
Duke Nukem Forever suffered from just about everything a game could — a terrible story, subpar gameplay, and a development team that strived too hard to be shocking and hilarious. There was no charm to Duke’s machismo, just an obnoxiousness that had me regretting my curiosity.
With such a recognizable and memorable character in the spotlight, Forever should have had at least some of the charisma of its ’90s predecessors, but it wound up an unrecognizable mess that we were better off eternally pining for.
‘Friday the 13th: The Video Game’
You’ll hear people talk about how great Friday the 13th: The Video Game is, but let me warn you — that’s just the nostalgia talking.
Gun Media’s attempt at recreating a digital Jason Voorhees fails just as hard as Jason Goes to Hell did at trying to explain the masked killer’s supernatural powers.
Even after a much-needed patch, Friday is a glitchy mess, and that’s not even the most glaring of its flaws. Its reliance on gamers playing the game a very specific way makes it incredibly inconsistent and tedious, especially if you’re a counselor paired with a bunch of knuckleheads. Even playing as the clunky Voorhees is more painful than a machete to the gut.
At its best — when you don’t get booted from a match and everyone works together — Friday is still incredibly dull, suffering from a lack of atmosphere and variety.
‘No Man’s Sky’
For someone who has to be a little critical of video games, there are few feelings in the world worse than having to rag on an independently created title. It’s so difficult not just to build a game from scratch but then have to put it out there for everyone to either love or tear apart. But some games are so lackluster that they deserve a firm finger pointed in their direction.
Hello Games, I’m looking at you.
The promise of a good game was somewhere in No Man’s Sky, but the delivery fell completely short of the ambitious concept presented by Hello Games’ finest. From day one, things like multiplayer, complex crafting, and diverse character classes were touted, but they’re either absent completely or are so crude and basic that they might as well be absent.
Hello Games clearly hadn’t anticipated just how difficult it would be to make the game the team had wanted and would have benefited greatly from a “less is more” frame of mind.
The No Man’s Sky that released was a very watered-down, directionless version of the game that was expected, and though there’s been support for it post-release, it’s hasn’t been enough to satiate the angered masses.
‘Star Wars: Battlefront’
There were so many EA titles I could have chosen, but having recently come from binge-playing Battlefront in a concerted effort to give it the benefit of the doubt, I couldn’t let it slide.
What happened? How did we go from the impossible-to-forget PlayStation 2 series to a bargain-bin follow-up? I hear people say it’s too much like Battlefield, but even recent Battlefield games have had forgivable flaws. Battlefront was just…bad.
As if we wouldn’t realize this is just an unpolished re-skin of the most basic aspects of Battlefield.
Maps were muddied and impossible to navigate, hit detection and the spread of laser fire felt incredibly random, and the highly-regarded space battles of Battlefront II were little more than watered down dogfights in dull, empty environments.
It’s impossible to mention how disappointing Battlefront was without calling out its greatest flaw — a lack of a meaty single-player mode that may have softened the blow a little.
‘Resident Evil 6’
Resident Evil 6 was proof that, sometimes, a new formula is a very, very bad idea.
Completely ditching the survival horror aspects that even the more action-packed Resident Evil 5 clung to, the sixth Resident Evil entry went completely rogue, giving our favorite characters a much larger range of motion that was more silly than useful.
Ironically, the best segment of the entire game focused more on what made the Resident Evil series so popular — horror.
Had Capcom toned down the flashiness clearly borrowed from Resident Evil’s animated films and had the game rely on atmosphere and pacing, it wouldn’t have deviated so far from what everyone raved about two entries prior.
‘Alien: Colonial Marine’
Making a good game within the Alien franchise is a rarity that so few have accomplished.
Colonial Marines played a lot like an un-fun Alien version of Star Wars: Republic Commando. Xenomorph AI was clunky and a far cry from the intelligent murder-hounds of the movies. And though they tried, Gearbox failed to capture any of the charm of the Alien universe despite including characters from Aliens, their voiceover artists, and a story that falls between the second and third movies.
Gearbox had the concept of a great Alien title, but without the proper love and care, a great concept is about as useless as Private Hudson.
On the development end, things fell apart when Gearbox outsourced much of the game’s creation to TimeGate Studios (F.E.A.R. Extraction Point, Section 8) and shifted some of its own team to Borderlands.
TimeGate was unable to meet Sega’s deadlines, the game was rushed, and, voila, that’s how the first promising Alien game in a long time wound up disappointing many and becoming the subject of a class-action lawsuit.