2023 has been a wild year for gaming, and while there have been a ton of great games, there are also some of the worst games we’ve ever laid eyes on. With each month, we are loaded with gems that stand tall amongst the best games of the decade, and under their boots lie the broken-down vestiges of hopefuls that just couldn’t make the cut. Without further ado, here are the worst games of 2023.
The Worst Games of 2023
There are a ton of rough games this year, and it’s hard to tell you which is the worst. Just assume that all of the games below will grant you a good bit of misery. While they aren’t the worst games of all time, with outstanding options each month of 2023, you should not waste your time trying to make a five-star meal out of pizza left in the garbage.
Where to begin with this game? Forspoken should have been great. The combat is fun enough, the graphics are well-made, and the story is intriguing enough, so why is this on the list? The dialogue, the tone, the mission design, and the main character are all just not good. Frey is a painfully unlikeable protagonist who thinks cursing is a personality, and is miserable to just about everyone she meets despite needing their help to return to her home.
Whether it’s the overacting by the villains, the incredibly repetitive missions, and the overall unlikeable nature of just about every character you meet, Forspoken is almost begging you to hate it.
Crime Boss: Rockay City
Oh, what a mess this game is. There is a trainwreck-in-motion aspect to Crime Boss: Rockay City that can be appealing, but there are so many problems here. The highlight of the game is the acting talent, which is an assembly of all your favorite celebrities from 1993. Michael Madsen stars in it and is flanked by such talent as Vanilla Ice, Michael Rooker, and Chuck Norris.
The actors are either not trying or being bad on purpose, but it does nothing to elevate the barebones story. Gameplay-wise, it’s basically Payday 2 if you take away all the charm, in-depth mechanics, and creative mission design. If you’ve got some friends, you can find a decent amount of fun here, but between the undercooked missions and repetitive gameplay, you can definitely find better games of this ilk in 2023.
We thought Arkane Studios could do no wrong. We thought wrong. Redfall is everything you shouldn’t do in a game in 2023. From the weird, Fortnite-style graphics to the endless glitches and shoddy performance, there is very little to defend with Redfall. It’s a vampire game that doesn’t even vaguely try to be scary, and it’s one of the most generic-looking games possible while running worse than a game with great graphics would. And let’s not even get into the shoddy AI. As a shooter, it’s underwhelming; as an RPG, it’s worse, and as a multiplayer combo of those two, it’s as bad as it gets.
This was supposed to be a massive hit, but it feels like this wasn’t the game that Arkane Studios wanted to make. It feels like they had their hand forced by the higher-ups and were steered away from their usual style to make something more commercially appealing. While our faith in Redfall is gone, we know Arkane Studios can bounce back here.
This game oozes style. The problem is that style might be popular on another planet in a far away galaxy. On Earth, Wanted: Dead feels like it was written by ChatGPT if ChatGPT only had information on action titles from 2005. Wanted: Dead wants to be Ninja Gaiden so badly, but it’s stuck inside a web of its many ideas. There is nothing here that really keeps you gripped to the controller.
The dialogue is rough and feels like it was translated from a language that doesn’t exist at times. The tone is sort of B movie meets anime, but the result is just off-putting. The gameplay is decent enough, with a cool mix of shooting and slashing, but it’s as repetitive as an early-era PS2 game. It’s a quick experience and one that might be good for people longing for the days of the old-school action game, but it’s a painful slog that is made worse by the terrible presentation of the story and lackluster characters that carry it.
Skull Island: Rise of Kong
A King Kong beat’em up could be good in theory. That theory doesn’t apply to Skull Island: Rise of Kong. This game takes takes a beloved licensed property and sets it on fire. Unfortunately for us, we get to watch it burn. It’s pitched as a third person action-adventure where you play as Kong on a quest to avenge the death of his parents, but it doesn’t take long to make you jealous of his parents. They don’t have to suffer through seeing their son flounder like this.
The animations are graphics at large are comically bad, perhaps on par with the next entry to this list. Cel-shading can’t help Kong’s messed up face, nor does it make up for slower than molasses, barebones beat’em up gameplay. There is nothing good to say about Skull Island: Rise of Kong. This is a $40 game in 2023, which is cheap for this day and age, but it would be tough to recommend this stinker even if it were free.
Lord of the Rings: Gollum
From its very inception, this game screamed failure. Nobody wanted a game that starred Gollum. It’s absurd that a franchise that has endless characters to use for gaming content. Aragorn, Legolas, Gandalf, and more decided — but they decided to make a game based around the one character who can do little else but crawl and snarl. You play as a young Gollum, who manages to look worse than he ever has.
The gameplay has you sneaking through a mine on a mission to escape, regain your freedom, and eventually get the one ring. If that sounds fun, don’t be fooled. The stealth gameplay is as basic as it gets; and further marring the experience are terrible graphics, bugs galore, poor performance, boring moment-to-moment gameplay, and weak writing. Daedalic Entertainment tried their best to make an omelet out of 20-year-old eggs here, and the result tastes as good as you’d expect. You would think that making a game out of one of the most popular franchises of all time would be easy, but as we’ve seen time and time again, licensed games are always a challenge.
We’ve still got a little way to go with 2023, but these are certainly are some of the worst games of the year you can find to this point. We’re sure to get more than a few great ones and horrible ones as well, so stay tuned, and we’ll guide you along the way.