2013 was a brilliant year. We enjoyed tons of great games, met a bunch of interesting new people, and just generally received a bounty of diverse creativity. Unfortunately, there were more than a few missteps as well.
We don’t like to be negative here at BT, but sometimes you need to acknowledge failure before you can appreciate success. Below you will find my personal picks for the worst and most disappointing video games of the last year. Come, share my pain.
No one was surprised when The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct was terrible. After all, this was the project that debuted so poorly Activision had to step in and assure fans that the demo footage was “unfinished.” Surprising no one, the final product was just as shoddy.
Survival Instinct is an ugly, rushed mess in just about every way conceivable. Only the most wide-eyed optimist was expecting it to compete with Telltale’s adventures series, but the extents to which the game fails as a basic shooter is hilarious. In fact, I’ve seen journalists place The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct on their Game of the Year list just for the new ways it taught them to understand bad game design. That is actually kind of impressive.
Terminal Reality ended up driving itself out of business with the licensed bomb. Remember, this is the company that somehow managed to weather Kinect Star Wars. That really says it all.
To understand the abject incompetence of Ride to Hell, you must first recognize that it was doomed from the start. Eutechnyx began working on Retribution in 2008 as an open-world title. It was eventually revived as the linear sludge we know today, but apparently the team kept all of the old assets. To say that Ride to Hell: Retribution looks and feels like a PlayStation 2 title would be to brutally defame the integrity of Sony’s sixth generation home console.
We see plenty of bad games though. It takes a lot of irredeemable filth to really shock gamers these days, which is something Ride to Hell has in abundance. The blatant misogyny alone would be enough to land it a spot on this list, but Retribution somehow manages to be so grossly casual about its sexism that it is kind of pitiable. If the game had any self-awareness at all it could almost be passed off as satire.
I thought about linking to some of the uncomfortable sex scenes or brain-dead gameplay, but what would be the point? The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is bad enough to double as a teachable moment, but nothing can be learned from this train-wreck. All you can do is laugh and move on.
The Kinect strikes again. Not content with ruining Steel Battalion, Microsoft’s motion control peripheral has once again dragged an otherwise innocuous piece of shovelware into the depths of the industry’s worst mistakes. Like Self-Defense Training Camp on the Xbox 360, Fighter Within is an indictment of the hardware it is supposed to justify.
All of the processing power in the world can do nothing to save imprecise gameplay. The technical achievements of the Xbox One are simply irrelevant in the face of such foundational inaccuracy from the next generation Kinect. Even the reasonably impressive visuals and impossible-to-screw-up mechanics are pointless when the machine refuses to recognize the player’s movements and translate that into meaningful on-screen action. Games like this are detrimental to the very future of exciting new technology.
Simply put, the game does not work. That should probably automatically qualify it for the #1 spot on the countdown, but you would be surprised by the depths to which the industry can sink. Buckle up, friends.
I give Square Enix a hard time, despite the fact that the company releases a lot of legitimately good titles. Whether they are publishing West-developed franchises like Hitman and Tomb Raider or taking chances on new intellectual property like The World Ends With You and Bravely Default, the publisher is certainly much better than some disgruntled fans would have you think. Then they go and do something like this.
Final Fantasy: All The Bravest is everything that Square gets accused of in YouTube comments. It is a greedy, manipulative, cynical mobile cash-grab in the most literal sense. Using recycled assets from much better games, ATB tasks the player with tapping the screen repeatedly until it’s time to spend more real-world money. Cash can be used to revive fallen party members or buy random characters from Final Fantasy, but what is the point?
There is no reason to play All The Bravest. It has no story, no depth, no heart. You couldn’t engineer a more perfect antithesis to the series if you tried. If you really want to pay Square Enix for nostalgia, then buy old Final Fantasy games and/or soundtracks. Do not give a single cent to this spreadsheet disguised as a game.
Johnny and I once joked on the BT Podcast that we should Let’s Play a cricket game. Ashes Cricket 2013 would have given us the opportunity, but it was so bad that the publisher pulled it from Steam. As bad as the other games on this list are, you can at least still purchase them. Copies of Ride to Hell: Retribution still haunt your local GameStop bargain bin. Final Fantasy: All The Bravest is still available in the App Store. Ashes Cricket? Simply too disgraceful to live.
This is 2013′s Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing or The War Z. It was released in a state that can only be rectified with a lawsuit. I assume 505 Games recognized this, because they eventually sent out apologies and refunds. Yes, you read that link correctly. Ashes Cricket 2013 is the first video game in history to be cancelled after its release.
This was a very strange year.
Next Page: The Most Disappointing Games of 2013