Ten awful games from good developers

1 of 12

Let’s face it: no one is perfect (not even me, but I am damn close), not even our favorite developers. Several developers have made some colossal blunders over the years and developed games that made us ask, “What were they thinking?” For your twisted pleasure and amusement, I present ten games guaranteed to dredge up painful memories.

Strap in. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. 

Daikatana

Developer: Ion Storm

How could the same developer who made the legendary Deus Ex also make one of gaming’s most legendary stinkers? With the (then) respected John Romero (co-founder of iD Software and designer for many of their classic games) attached to the project, expectations were understandably high. Romero's name was dropped more than a baby’s toys.

Then the game released, and despite what that now infamous ad promised, Romero did not make anyone his bitch.

There was atrocious A.I. for enemies and companions alike, dated graphics and art design, and a limited number of saves. The game itself is just plain dreadful.

When we add together Romero’s huge ego, the ridiculous amount of coverage the game received (Time cover anyone?), in-studio conflict, and the controversial ad campaign, we get a massive and potent cocktail of dreck. The game to this day remains a lesson in uncontrolled hype, and how not to run a PR campaign. Somehow though, Ion Storm managed to release three more games after Daikatana that were actually good! Play Deus Ex or Anachronox instead.

Stay far away from this colossal turd. 

Uncharted 2

Developer: Naughty Dog

My relationship with Uncharted 2 is spotty at best, and I have said a thing or two about it before, but I can’t help but mention it again. After all, Naughty Dog is the studio that brought us Crash Bandicoot (awwww yeah!), the Jak series, and The Last of Us. Clearly, they know a thing or two about making games, which is why Uncharted 2 is so baffling.

The first Uncharted was no masterpiece, but it had competence in its mechanics and design. The second one was awful all around: paper-thin characters ("characters" is a generous term), a bumbling plot, weak game design, one of the most unlikable and undefined main characters in gaming, and a complete disrespect for the player made for one dismal experience.

Maybe Uncharted 4 will be different, but I’m not holding my breath.

Haze

Developer: Free Radical

Oh, Free Radical, how did you lose your way? After delivering some of the best FPS games of all time and the criminally underrated Second Sight, you went and released this… abomination. Now I know it isn’t completely your fault. Some game press outlets had labeled Haze as a “Halo-killer” (like we haven’t heard that one before), but you still managed to release a game with an asinine plot, shoddy level design, caricatures for characters, and filled it all to the brim with countless bugs and technical issues. I would just like to know how in the world you managed this Herculean feat.

Thankfully, Free Radical (now Crytek UK) has been working on good games since the release of the abominable Haze. While the fate of TimeSplitters 4 is up in the air, rest easy knowing we will never see another Haze. The world can only tolerate so many bad games.

Too Human

Developer: Silicon Knights

You developed a well-received game which becomes the basis for a fan-favorite series. Next, you make one of the most original and downright best horror games of all time. You follow this up with a complete remake of Metal Gear Solid. You then regurgitate your game which has been in development hell for nine years onto an unsuspecting public because that is always a great idea. Hmmm. One of these does not belong.  

If John Romero was prideful with his Daikatana hype, Denis Dyack was the embodiment of unabashed arrogance when hyping Too Human. This is a game that was planned as a trilogy as was also set to receive a three part fictional documentary series all before the game had even released. The game was finally plopped onto stores shelves after innumerable delays and an estimated $60-100 million had spent to make it. Poor combat, awkward controls and questionable design and mechanics made for one uneventful and rather dreary experience. Don’t forget all the legal issues where Silicon Knights sued Epic Games and lost and were then ordered to recall and destroy all unsold copies of their games using the Unreal engine.

Silicon Knights also cursed us with the horrid X-Men: Destiny. Double thanks Denis!

Anything Released Post-2008

Developer: Rare

Oh how the mighty have fallen! I was honestly torn between Rare and Sonic Team. However, Sonic Team has become a running gag in and of itself and is already the focus of plenty of scorn. So let’s look at Rare instead!

Rare is responsible for great memories for many of us. Whether it be Killer Instinct, Blast Corps, Goldeneye, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, and many more, Rare has delivered some timeless classics. After the release of the polarizing Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts failed to meet sales expectations, Rare was put on a strictly Kinect shovelware diet, a far cry from their heyday. It’s telling when people are more excited for a compilation release of a studio’s older games over any new projects they are developing. 

Rogue Warrior

Developer: Rebellion (again!)

Sigh. Why Rebellion why? You just had to show up again didn’t you? With your worst and creepy friend to the party too! Don’t act like you don’t know! Your ole pal there drops the “f” bomb more than Randy Pitchford spouts drivel; they also control worse than my great, great, great grandmother driving a forklift while drunk; and worst of all, Peter Dinklage has toes longer than him. Go home Rogue Warrior, you’re a broken pile of garbage that makes Junkion look like a vacation hotspot.

The real kicker? Bethesda was unsatisfied with the work the original developers Zombie Studios were doing. They tossed the game down the drain and brought Rebellion in to make an all-new game. Makes you wonder what about the original form didn’t fit Bethesda’s vision. Maybe there weren’t enough bugs and glitches…

Kane & Lynch (series)

Developer: IO Interactive

Here we have not one, but two games which are appallingly awful and remain a blight on the developer’s record. IO Interactive is known for the delightful Hitman franchise and the woefully overlooked Freedom Fighters (it has a flipping nailgun mode people!). Kane & Lynch: Dead Men was released in 2007 and somehow a sequel was greenlit, developed, and released in 2010. That’s too much Dead Men IO.

The worst part is the central core of the game could be interesting. The idea of playing as a mentally unstable and psychotic character that would experience and see different things from his cooperative partner could be compelling. The final game was a mess though with faults that overshadowed any positives. Add to that the controversy of Jeff Gerstmann allegedly being fired for his review of the game, and everyone was left with a bad taste in their mouth.

The sequel ensured the bad taste not only stayed but became worse by adopting a shaky-cam visual style and by having the two main characters run around in their birthday suits with only a small pixelated blur saving us from further trauma. Let the nightmares commence…

Stormrise

Developer: The Creative Assembly

This one is truly dumbfounding and defies explanation. The Creative Assembly has made their mark by creating some of the best strategy games one can play. So how on Earth did they make one so god-awful?

Stormrise had an interesting idea or two, but any good ideas or concepts were instantly negated the minute you played. Bad controls? Check! Poor graphics that impede gameplay? Check again! A fundamentally broken RTS foundation in a RTS game? We have a winner!

Here’s hoping they don’t bugger up Total War: Warhammer. 

Dragon Age II

Developer: Bioware

Another game I have a tenuous relationship (at best) with, Dragon Age II is still a divisive game among the Dragon Age fanbase. Some enjoy the game. Some don’t. Many of us naysayers share the same complaints: extremely repetitive environments, the focus on a small, uninteresting city, uninteresting combat, and a story that never seems to pick up steam. After all of the amazing games BioWare has delivered, this one is a definite disappointment. 

Alien Vs. Predator (2010)

Developer: Rebellion

Rebellion has been around since 1992 and has produced some decent to great games. The reason AvP makes this list is because Rebellion already released two good games in the AvP franchise. One was released in 1994 and the other in 1999. The 1999 version is considered by many to be a classic and the pinnacle of the series.

When news came Rebellion was developing a new installment for (then) current-gen consoles, fans were enthusiastic, especially since the franchise had been dormant since Alien Vs. Predator 2 in 2001. Needless to say, the game failed to meet expectations. Poor controls, more bugs than Creepshow, an awkward melee system, and mechanics that fly in the face established franchise lore (humans can easily knock xenomorphs back with melee attacks….. wut?) added up to a game better left alone. Unfortunately, the game was a commercial success, and Rebellion has mentioned the possibility of another title. Keep beating that horse guys…

So there you have it: some truly dreadful games from otherwise awesome studios. Agree with my picks? Think of any I missed? Sound off in the comments! 

Published Aug. 6th 2015

Featured Contributor

Editor-in-Chief at artistryingames.com Father. Metalhead. Lover of games, comics, and all things nerd. Slightly addicted to Magic the Gathering. Get in touch! I promise to be nice.

  • gaboalonso
    Disregarded this article when I saw Uncharted 2 on it. this is not the first time I read way out of line "facts" from the writers of this site.

    I know the moto of the site is "where you write VG news". But this isn't news, just the personal opinion of a writer, so instead of naming the article "TEN AWFUL GAMES FROM GOOD DEVELOPERS" it should be named "IN MY OPINION, TEN AWFUL GAMES FROM GOOD DEVS". I know that the author is stating his opinion, but google does not, from the name of the article these are facts, and they are not.
  • The Soapbox Lord
    Featured Contributor
    No one claimed this to be facts, although there are facts in here.

    This isn't listed under news. It is labeled as "Culture" which is where you'll find opinions pieces, which is what this is by the way.
    The title of the article is fine. It doesn't need to stated in the title that this is my opinion because that is a given.
  • gaboalonso
    No, a review is given as an opinion. An article is given as a fact if found in a well established gaming website instead of a random gamer blog, unless stated.

    If I search for "ten awful games from good developers" (https://www.google.com.mx/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=ten%20awful%20games%20from%20good%20developers) I'm going to find your article. And it seems to come from a established gaming site so it seems legit, even if there are no sources to take your word from. But who cares, in the internet age few people care to look for sources.

    So working for a big game site comes with great responsibility. Take Gamasutra as an example: They say Trespasser sucks. It did. And they have a main DreamWorks developer to back it up (Richard Wyckoff): http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3339/postmortem_dreamworks_.php . Yet we find your opinions on the internet, written as facts, not a review, and with nothing to back them up.

    Even your ideas about the good things about a developer are lacking. Re-read your article, you talk about Rare, their best franchises and you don't even mention Battletoads.

    I think gameskinny needs to add the "the opinions of the author does not reflect the opinions of this site" small print, as even neoseeker does.

    And BTW, IMHO, Uncharted 2 doesn't suck, again, IMHO. If you have any evidence otherwise, by all means publish an article saying so. But luckily for me numbers says otherwise, so if you feel, in your opinion, Uncharted 2 sucks, please do so, but not with the imperative title "awful game from good developers". As you can see in the comments most people disagree, and so does the numbers.
  • hpounds4
    So what you are saying is when you come across an article titled something similar to "Ten awful games from good developers" you are expecting facts. Actual, written in stone, can't be argued, facts. The purpose of this site is to give writers that are interested in games and game culture a place to share news and opinions. Your inability to distinguish opinion(that may or may not be based on facts) from actual you-should-base-your-life-purpose-on-this facts is your own problem. Go whine somewhere else.
  • The Soapbox Lord
    Featured Contributor
    If you can not distinguish between opinions and reported facts, you might want to brush up on those skills before venturing on the Internet.

    So I need to validate my opinion with facts for it to be a valid opinion? I also need to have a developer who worked on the game talk about how terrible their game is? Sure thing. Let me email some developers to get some comments on how much they dislike their games!

    It doesn't work like that. Opinions don't need facts to have a foundation. That is why they opinions and considered subjective.

    So you want an article on why Uncharted 2 is rubbish? Promise you won't get too upset when you read it?
    I have a opinion that contrasts with the majority way of thinking. That doesn't mean I am wrong' i simply have an opinion different from everyone else.
  • gaboalonso
    This is sad. This isn't about if I can distinguish between opinions because I've already stated that. It is about you talking trash about a game that doesn't deserve to be in this list by a lot, and you being defensive on your opinion instead of trying to learn a bit from the feedback of most other comments.

    Take whatever you want about this, your opinion I cannot change, but as you can see most people reading this site does not agree, and unfortunately there will be some people so gullible to believe everything they read in the internet that the won't try this game because of this, of your opinion. And IMHO the will lose a great experience.

    So it really doesn't matter, your opinion or mine. The difference is that you are an opinion leader on this site, and IMO some things that you say are plain wrong.

    Happy days.
  • Harmonic Kid
    Contributor
    Dude your post is incredibly unprofessional and biased. On what rubric did you review these games ? Uncharted 2 does not belong on this list at all.
  • The Soapbox Lord
    Featured Contributor
    I fail to see anything unprofessional here. I did not indulge in Doritos or Mountain Dew while writing this nor take any bribes to include or exclude any entries.

    As far as it being biased, that is what tends to happen when someone writes an opinion piece such as this. Opinions are usually drenched in biased, especially on the Internet.

    Also, I never reviewed these games per se. Just my opinion on some games.
  • Larry Iaccio
    Featured Contributor
    Alright some of these games might not be great, but most of them are far from "awful".
    You may not like these games, but you can't label them as awful especially when considering that nearly every other gaming site has given them fairly good reviews and there are fairly strong communities of players behind them.
  • Larry Iaccio
    Featured Contributor
    On the flip side your opinions made me want to keep on reading and debate you so you definitely engaged me
  • The Soapbox Lord
    Featured Contributor
    Eight of them are objectively pretty awful, for once even the critics agree with me.
    Gaming sites are not always the barometers of a game's quality (unfortunately), and players are also not always the best judge. Just look at all the muck that gets voted through Greenlight.
    Granted, two of these games "awfulness" is more of a personal opinion, but that's what makes opinions great!

    I also enjoy a well-spoken rebuttal or debate! Glad you enjoyed, even if you don't agree.
  • Elijah Beahm
    Featured Columnist
    Irony with Daikatana being that it's Game Boy Advanced spin-off got way higher scores and was far better received. Look it up if ye don't believe me!

    And way to ignore any of the positive points put forth by Dragon Age 2's fans. Perhaps next time ye'd do best to actually mention those to, eh?

    Also, believe it or not, but I was surprised to find AVP 2010 has a surprising fanbase. Apparently for specific niche of fans, it was their favorite AVP game. *shrug*
  • The Soapbox Lord
    Featured Contributor
    I think they weren't constantly changing engines on the GBA. They might have helped a bit.

    Positive points? Well it ends when you turn off the console. That's a plus!

    Some like it. Most consider the 1999 game the pinnacle of the franchise in my experience.
  • Krayongames
    Uncharted 2?! Awful?
    Sure, it might not be your cup of tea, but Uncharted 2 can in no way ever be described as awful.
  • Elijah Beahm
    Featured Columnist
    Believe it or not, it can!
  • The Soapbox Lord
    Featured Contributor
    It most certainly can! Even if you don't think it's awful, you have to admit Drake is an extremely undefined character.

    http://forgetamnesia.tumblr.com/post/65429881834/heres-why-i-say-the-things-i-do-about-uncharted-2

    http://post-hype.blogspot.com/2010/01/dont-call-uncharted-2-film.html
  • kate.farrow
    Community Manager
    Hey, now! I see that the cover image is Castlevania 64...which was AWESOME. Konami did good. I always played Carrie. Even though she acted like it was killing her to pull herself up on any ledge, the psi balls were an amazing weapon.

    The story was great. Gameplay was great. Music was great. There were even multiple endings based on your in-game decisions. And then they made some crappy PS2 games (excepting Curse of Darkness...chair room, innocent devils). Castlevania 64 and Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness will always have a place in my heart.

    But I agree with the rest of your slideshow. Dragon Age 2 crushed my hopes and dreams.
  • The Soapbox Lord
    Featured Contributor
    A fan of Castlevania 64? I didn't know any of you still roamed the wilds!

Cached - article_comments_article_26222
Related
Connect with us
People are talking