We looked at the best, now we've got to look at the worst.
And, well, they can't all be Fallout's and Witcher's can they? No, even though every year we get fantastic games that continually push the boundaries of technology, storytelling, world-building, and visuals. But some games manage to get almost every one of those criteria very, very wrong. Not every game needs to be innovative and ground-breaking, but some are downright retroactive, seemingly setting the industry back several years.
In the best case scenarios, we get to watch someone play these terrible games on YouTube and have a few laughs. Worst case scenarios are just atrocities that publishers should have had the foresight and morality to cancel, rather than release it upon unsuspecting gamers.
This list won't include games that were broken/unplayable, therefore ruling out games like Batman: Arkham Knight on PC, and Rugby World Cup 2015. It will consist of complete games, totally available to purchase and play as of writing.
None of these games are broken, they are all simply bad. And it's important to note and remember that, when writing/reading a list such as this, we are not, and should not, make blatant fun of the games - a lot of men and women worked hard on them for years. So while they might be absolutely awful in some cases, let us not forget those who made them and are more aware of the deep flaws than we are! You can, however, blame the publishers, who sent the games out to die, so feel free to call them out.
But anyway, let us take a look at the very worst 2015 had to offer.
So we begin with the very best of the very worst, Enki. Enki is a "repeatable horror game," in which you solve puzzles in order to move from one room to the next in an attempt to escape your underground hell. It is, for all intents and purposes, an 'escape the room' game.
The game is not particularly ugly, which is definitely the best thing it has going for it. That being said, the environments are all too dark and it is painfully difficult to find the item needed to escape. And that is where the horror element of the game arises, not in the actual jump scare but in the game design. Annoyingly repeated audio, stupidly simple puzzles albeit with poorly thought-out resolutions, and a very short run-time. They say it's full of replay value but that simply is not true.
Then there's the fact that the game just isn't scary and is known to crash with regularity. There may have been the seeds of a decent room escape game in here, but they were certainly never grown.
Pixel-hunting for small, barely noticeable items in dark rooms is a crappy idea for a horror game by itself, but timer just adds insult to injury. And don’t bother suffering through this for the story, because there is pretty much none of it.
- Riot Pixels
Honestly, it kind of baffles me that they can get a game like this so wrong. I mean, this is a 10-year-old series and they nailed it with the first installment on PS2 in 2005. And yet, somehow, they manage to really screw it up in 2015? Go figure.
Well, to be fair, the original game was from THQ, while this entry is from Nordic Games. The Swedish publisher has had some pretty big hits, with Darksiders, Deadfall Adventures, and The Legend of Kay, but its two installments of MX vs. ATV (since acquiring the IP in 2014) have both been pretty terrible.
There isn't much to say beyond the fact that this is a motocross game that simply isn't very good. At this point, the license may be damaged beyond repair.
If you can look past the terrible controls, barely optimised visuals, useless trick system and erratic frame-rate issues then MX vs. ATV Supercross Encore might appeal to you.
- Lazy Gamer
There's the root of a decent game, which is what makes its failings all the more apparent.
Project Root is an overhead shoot-em-up in the vein of Desert Strike. Truth be told, Project Root is not terrible; it looks fine and it plays fine, it just does nothing particularly well. The best thing about the game is the fact that it is kind of open-world, which is uncommon for the genre. The game's biggest drawback is that it is dull, the environments are about as stereotypical as it gets, the jet is very basic, and there is no real story. None worth caring about that is.
If you have a real hankering for a top-down shoot-em-up game, then this will probably scratch that itch, but unless that itch is turning into a rash, I don't recommend Project Root.
Ahhhh, will we ever get a good Godzilla game? If this latest iteration is anything to go by, the answer is a resounding no.
Let's not beat around the bush, Godzilla on PS4 is a bad game. Extraordinarily poor graphics in 2015, dull as dishwater level design, literally the same tasks for every mission, and some of the worst controls I've seen in a very long time. Those are the boxes that Godzilla ticks. If there is a single, solitary plus for this game, it's the obvious love for the mythology on display. The team clearly love Godzilla and all of the other monsters from the lore, but they just failed to turn that passion into a fun, enjoyable video game.
You would think a game in which you can pimp-slap a moth as a 40ft-tall garbage monster couldn’t possibly be that bad. You would, however, be wrong.
I chose that image to represent Zombeer because I think it perfectly lets you know what you're getting into. Games that portray women like that are rarely seen outside of Japan these days, and this isn't going to be a feminism-style rant, but I think you get a good idea of the type of game this is from that single shot.
Well, just in case, Zombeer is about a world infested with zombies, and the only way to stave off infection is by drinking beer. Yup. It isn't the worst thing ever, and Zombeer clearly revels in its sheer ridiculousness, but that can't make this anything more than a bad game. If you're someone who enjoys really bad B-movies, then you might find something of merit in here.
To say that its immature and painfully unfunny sense of humor would be appreciated by 13-years-olds is doing a disservice to the intelligence of 13-year-olds, as Zombeer makes Duke Nukem Forever look like Withnail & I.
- Game Revolution
The failure of this game came as a surprise to me, because I genuinely enjoyed the first instalment, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams. In the first game you play as two sisters, one whose story takes place in the real world, and the others in a nightmare world. It was a fun concept and made you switch between the two while platforming to get higher and further in the levels. Twisted Dreams was a good game and a very under-appreciated 2D platformer.
Dream Runners, on the other hand, adds in two more sisters and tries to put an emphasis on speed-running. This sounds like a decent enough update on the previous game, but Dream Runners is riddled with bugs, has poor level design, a terrible camera, and can be finished in just a few hours with no real replay value. In short, this is a big disappointment, especially when compared with the great Giana Sisters come back, Twisted Dreams.
A promising concept is steamrollered in a game that doesn't really work as a platformer and breaks down entirely as a racer. We'd rather be kicked in the shins for eight hours than play this again.
- Games Radar
While this might not be the worst game released in 2015, it sure hurts the most. The Tony Hawk Pro Skater series is legendary. No, really, it is. For anyone doubting me, just check out our list of the very best PS1 games, and the very best PS2 games. Considering just how great the series used to be, and the fact that Activision went back to the name that resonates most with fans (and suggests quality), mean this atrocity of a game is better off forgotten.
Fans have waited many years for this series to return, the series that defined digital skateboarding better than any other, but were left disgusted with the final outcome. The warning signs were there, though, rare gameplay footage and the last minute art-style change were enough to foreshadow a disaster, but that doesn't change the fact that we so desperately wanted it to be good.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 is a mess. A bad game absolutely chockful of glitches and a massive blemish on the brand. It's such a shame Activision slapped on the Pro Skater label and forever damaged the name. Don't expect another Tony Hawk game for a long time. May ye rest in peace.
Not one level that I reached in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 felt memorable or made me want to play more. It’s truly a sad day in video game history when a series like this can just become a shadow of its former self.
- Gaming Age
It might not be on the disappointment level of a Tony Hawk, but we get so few pirate games that we wanted Raven's Cry to be great. Set in the Carribbean, you play as Christopher Raven, a pirate out for revenge on those who killed his family. The by the numbers plot sadly isn't the worst thing about Raven's Cry.
Raven's Cry has all the makings of a great pirate game, and clearly took some inspiration from Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, unfortunately few of the ideas or inspirations come to any meaningful fruition. The story is badly delivered, both from a writing standpoint and a voice acting one. The on-land combat/stealth mechanics are pretty darn awful, the NPCs are seemingly brain-dead, and the islands all feel the same. Not to mention, it's full of bugs.
However, all it not terrible with Raven's Cry. The ship combat is actually pretty decent, and there is a ton of customisation options to craft your vessel. Additionally, the visuals are not bad at all, though maybe not up to the standard of 2015. Despite those few redeeming qualities, Raven's Cry just fails to nail any other aspects of the game, and that puts it in the "had potential" category.
I genuinely do think the potential for a good pirate game is in here, somewhere, but Raven’s Cry is a mess of bugs, hazards, hiccups, oversights, and progression-halting crashes.
Afro Samurai, from 2009, was a fairly well-liked game, this follow-up on the other hand, is an unmitigated disaster.
The combat, which is the key part of the game, is just bad. Kuma's wild swings don't even connect the majority of the time, although the game reacts like they do, the camera can't be controlled - which is a big no-no in 2015 - and the visuals are no better than the 2009 original. Maybe worse.
Maybe Vol. 2 will repair the vast mistakes made by this instalment but I wouldn't bank on it ever seeing release. If you want your Afro Samurai fix, just play the original.
Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma: Vol. 1 is a bad, bad game. I hope the developers take note and fix these issues before releasing the next two volumes, but it almost feels beyond broken.
And the winner, of worst game of 2015, is Alone In The Dark: Illumination! I mean, if you're gonna make a bad game, why not make the worst?! Much like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, this a series that dates back to the '90s and has a devoted fanbase, which makes the absurdly poor quality of Alone In The Dark: Illumination that much more disappointing.
Illumination clearly tried to emulate the success of 2004's Resident Evil 4, right down to the blonde protagonist with the brown leather jacket, but the game showed none of the genius of that classic. The game is buggy to the point that it is almost broken, there's no real sound or music, and the combat sucks. The idea of enemies only being vulnerable when they're in the light isn't exactly a new one, but it is a fun one; unfortunately, it's horribly executed here. One word pretty much sums up the entire experience: unfinished.
Disgracing the name of Alone In The Dark is just one of the many crimes committed in this hatefully frustrating, and patently unfinished, survival horror.
And that's 2015 in a nutshell! Even though this was a fantastic year for gaming in which we got The Witcher 3, Fallout 4, and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, (be sure to check out our list of the best games of 2015) but it's not like we've mastered the medium just yet. For every poignant, emotional Life Is Strange, there's a Zombeer.
Thankfully, the good vastly outweighs the bad in the industry today. Usually, when a bad game is on the horizon it doesn't get much press coverage and there are lots of signs to let us know it's gonna suck, however, every so often there's a game like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 that does get covered, and it still let us down a bagfull. The ones we are highly anticipating are the ones that hurt the most.
I guess we can hope that developers learn from the mistakes of the games that sucked in 2015, however, the fact that the industry is 30 years removed from E.T. and we still get games that are completely broken isn't a good sign. Maybe 2016 will be different, maybe we'll get nothing but excellence! Well, I think we all know that won't be the case, and hey, at least it gives me something to write about! At least in 2016 we might have some truly horrid VR games to write about, that should take us into a whole new dimension of awful games.
Did you actually play any of these games? If so, which was the worst? What 2016 games do you predict doom and gloom for? Let us know in the comments below!