List of video games notable for negative reception
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The following video games are noted for their negative reception. They include games that won ironic and humorous awards (such as Golden Mullet Awards), games that have been named to lists of the "worst" games published by major video gaming publications or websites, and games that have received low review scores from such publications (often determined by low aggregate scores on sites such as Metacritic). Some of the older or rarer games have gained attention more recently through videos produced by popular YouTube personalities, such as Angry Video Game Nerd. Games can be considered bad for a number of reasons, including but not limited to: low quality or outdated graphics, large amounts of glitches, or having poor controls.
- 1 1980s
- 2 1990s
- 2.1 Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon (both 1993), and Zelda's Adventure (1994)
- 2.2 Hotel Mario (1994)
- 2.3 Plumbers Don't Wear Ties (1994)
- 2.4 Shaq Fu (1994)
- 2.5 Kasumi Ninja (1994)
- 2.6 Catfight (1996)
- 2.7 Bubsy 3D (1996)
- 2.8 The Crow: City of Angels (1997)
- 2.9 Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (1997)
- 2.10 Extreme Paintbrawl (1998)
- 2.11 South Park (1999)
- 2.12 Superman (1999)
- 3 2000s
- 3.1 Carmageddon 64 (2000)
- 3.2 Spirit of Speed 1937 (2000)
- 3.3 Kabuki Warriors (2001)
- 3.4 The Simpsons Wrestling (2001)
- 3.5 The Simpsons Skateboarding (2002)
- 3.6 Batman: Dark Tomorrow (2003)
- 3.7 Charlie's Angels (2003)
- 3.8 Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis (2003)
- 3.9 Drake of the 99 Dragons (2003)
- 3.10 Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing (2003)
- 3.11 Bubble Bobble Revolution (2005)
- 3.12 Lula 3D (2006)
- 3.13 Bomberman: Act Zero (2006)
- 3.14 Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
- 3.15 Ninjabread Man (2007)
- 3.16 Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust (2009)
- 3.17 Stalin vs. Martians (2009)
- 3.18 Ju-on: The Grudge (2009)
- 3.19 Rogue Warrior (2009)
- 3.20 Tunnel Rats: 1968 (2009)
- 4 2010s
- 4.1 Final Fantasy XIV (2010)
- 4.2 Power Gig: Rise of the SixString (2010)
- 4.3 Doctor Who: Return to Earth (2010)
- 4.4 MindJack (2011)
- 4.5 Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter (2011)
- 4.6 Postal III (2011)
- 4.7 Ridge Racer (PS Vita, 2011)
- 4.8 The War Z (2012)
- 4.9 Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified (2012)
- 4.10 Final Fantasy All the Bravest (2013)
- 4.11 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (2013)
- 4.12 Aliens: Colonial Marines (2013)
- 4.13 Star Trek (2013)
- 4.14 Ride to Hell: Retribution (2013)
- 4.15 Ashes Cricket 2013 (2013)
- 4.16 Fighter Within (2013)
- 4.17 Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric (2014)
- 4.18 Raven's Cry (2015)
- 4.19 Rugby 15 and Rugby World Cup 2015 (2015)
- 4.20 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 (2015)
- 4.21 Umbrella Corps (2016)
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em and Philly Flasher (1982)
Beat 'Em and Eat 'Em is a pornographic video game for the Atari 2600 by Mystique in 1982. Distribution was handled by American Multiple Industries until distribution changed to Game Source. Players control two nude women; the goal is to catch sperm falling from a masturbating man on a rooftop without missing. There is also gender-reversed version of the game titled Philly Flasher that features identical gameplay.
Since its release, Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em has received negative reception. Seanbaby included it in his list of the 10 naughtiest games of all time. Destructoid founder Niero Gonzalez listed it as the second most sexual Atari 2600 game ever made,  while Brett Elston criticized Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em for its depiction of women as "crudely designed slamholes."
Steven Poole satirized the News International phone hacking scandal using a parody of Beat 'Em & Eat 'Em called Whack 'Em & Hack 'Em in a commentary on the Supreme Court of the United States' ruling that video games are protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and America's "obscenity exception" to free speech.
Custer's Revenge (1982)
Custer's Revenge was made in 1982 by Mystique for the Atari 2600. The game was controversial due to its plot involving the apparent rape of a Native American woman. The game was also poorly received for its quality; it was listed as the most shameful game of all time by GameSpy, as the third-worst game of all time by PC World, and GameTrailers and the ninth-worst game by Seanbaby in Electronic Gaming Monthly.
In 2008, the University of Calgary professor Tom Keenan cited "the hideous Custer's Revenge game", 26 years after its release, in an op-ed piece about current video game violence issues for the Calgary Herald. That same year, the game was credited by Australian PC Magazine as being one of the worst games ever made.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was based on Steven Spielberg's popular 1982 film of the same name, and reputedly coded in just five weeks in order to be released in time for the 1982 holiday season. Despite high expectations, the game sold only 1.5 million copies, and came nowhere near Atari's expectations of five million units. A large number of the cartridges sold were sent back to the company because many consumers found the game to be unenjoyable. Truckloads of these cartridges were buried in a landfill in New Mexico after they failed to sell. E.T. is commonly cited as the catalyst for a crash of the video game industry in 1983, as Atari had hoped that brand loyalty would keep consumers buying their games regardless of quality.
E.T. was listed as the worst game of all time by PC World in 2006, Electronic Gaming Monthly, and FHM magazine, and was ranked as the second-worst movie game on the "Top Ten Worst Movie Games" (losing only to Charlie's Angels) by GameTrailers. It was also ranked the second-worst game of all time by GameTrailers, losing only to Superman 64. Some considered it so bad that the title screen was the only good part of the game. In 2007, GamePro named E.T. one of the 52 most important games of all time due to its roles in the 1983 video game crash and the downfall of the seemingly unstoppable Atari. It is the only game to make the list for having a negative impact on the video game industry.
Pac-Man (Atari 2600, 1982)
Pac-Man, a port of the popular arcade game for the Atari 2600, was significantly altered from the original in order to meet the Atari's limitations. Some of these changes included simplified graphics, a modified maze layout, and "flickering" ghosts—a result of the game only rendering one ghost on screen per frame.
In 1998, Next Generation magazine called it the "worst coin-op conversion of all time" and attributed the mass dissatisfaction to its poor quality. In 2006, IGN's Craig Harris echoed similar statements and listed Pac-Man among his own list of the worst home console ports of arcade games. Another IGN editor, Levi Buchanan, described it as a "disastrous port", citing the color scheme and flickering ghosts.
In retrospect, however, critics often cite Atari's Pac-Man as a major factor in the drop of consumer confidence in the company, which led to the North American video game crash of 1983. Bill Loguidice and Matt Barton of Gamasutra stated that the game's poor quality damaged the company's reputation. Buchanan commented that it disappointed millions of fans and diminished confidence in Atari's games. Former Next Generation editor-in-chief Neil West attributes his longtime skepticism of Atari's quality to the disappointment he had from buying the game as a child. Calling the game the top video game disaster, Buchanan credits Pac-Man as a factor to the downfall of Atari and the industry in the 1980s. Author Steven Kent also attributes the game, along with Atari's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, to severely damaging the company's reputation and profitability. Montfort and Bogost stated that the game's negative reception seeded mistrust in retailers, which was reinforced by later factors that culminated in the crash.
Poor critical reception made this game one of many decisions that led to Atari's report of a $536 million loss in 1983 and the division and sale of the company's Consumer Division in 1984. On December 7, 1982, Kassar announced that Atari's revenue forecasts for 1982 were cut from a 50 percent increase over 1981 to a 15 percent increase. Immediately following the announcement, Warner Communications' stock value dropped by around 35 percent—from $54 to $35—amounting to a loss of $1.3 billion in the company's market valuation. Atari attempted to regain its market share by licensing popular arcade games for its consoles. The revenue from selling these console games did not reverse Atari's decline and the company went further into debt. In 1983, the company decreased its workforce by 30 percent and lost $356 million.
Takeshi no Chōsenjō (1986)
Takeshi no Chōsenjō (Takeshi's Written Challenge) was produced by Taito for the Famicom in collaboration with comedian turned actor/director Takeshi Kitano, then famous for his game show Takeshi's Castle. The player is required to take on a series of bizarrely difficult tasks, including singing and staring at a blank screen for an hour, which is all based on ideas suggested by Kitano, sometimes while drunk. The game was so bizarrely challenging that the publisher reportedly received over 400 phone calls a day, asking questions about the game. Sometimes, unable to provide a solution, they responded by telling the caller that "the person in charge died."
The game's entry in the guidebook for a Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography exhibition celebrating the 20th anniversary of the console, described Takeshi no Chōsenjō as being "a game that sucked so bad, that it carved its name in the history of the Family Computer." It then states in its summary, "We could be more than kind and say this was 'an ambitious piece which pushed the limit of the video games', but 'the worst sucking [sic] game' would be the adequate words to describe it." The reception was so negative that the Japanese video gaming magazine Famitsu named it the top game on their "kusoge" chart, reserved for only the worst games.
Friday the 13th (1989)
Friday the 13th, an adaptation of the horror movie franchise developed by Atlus and published by LJN as part of its "aggressive" expansion into licensed video games, was retroactively criticized primarily for its "broken" and frustrating gameplay.
In its September 2009 issue, Game Informer listed Friday the 13th as being among the worst horror games of all time, noting that "unavoidable hits, stupid weapons, and baffling enemies ensure that your crew of teenagers dies quickly and without ceremony. If they make it through that, Jason will probably appear (as he randomly does) and kill you." GamePro listed it as the 10th worst video game adaptation of a film, explaining that "From the start-up screen, Jason's hockey mask sitting alone in the dark, until a knife flies in from above to pierce the empty eye socket, Friday the 13th looks like it will live up to its gory namesake. Unfortunately, what follows is a repetitive music score and amazingly frustrating gameplay, courtesy of LJN."
Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon (both 1993), and Zelda's Adventure (1994)
As a result of cancelled plans to release a CD-ROM add-on for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo granted Philips licenses to use some of their major characters in games for their Philips CD-i system. In addition to Hotel Mario (see below), Philips released three titles using the The Legend of Zelda franchise: Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon and Zelda's Adventure—produced with limited involvement by Nintendo.
The first two games, Faces of Evil and Wand of Gamelon, were developed in tandem by Animation Magic, using the same game engine, and were released on the same day. Both were side-scrollers, where the player had to fight enemies and collect treasures to access certain levels. These two games gained notoriety when attention was brought to their animated cutscenes, which were animated by a Russian studio; in the midst of a review of the Zelda cartoon, an IGN reviewer described the games as being "infamous" and Matthew Castle of Computer and Video Games considered the cutscenes to be "terrifying, rendering Link as a rubbery limbed freak with a face that swims all over his head."
Further criticism was brought to Zelda's Adventure, a third game developed instead by Viridis, which used a top-down approach, and shifted to a live-action visual style with digitized sprites instead of a cartoon look. According to Castle, "what [Zelda's Adventure] lacked in hideous toons it made up for with live-action FMV-visits from a beardy wizard (not a professional actor, but the game's music composer) whose shambolic preamble makes Knightmare look like The Lord of the Rings." It also suffered from poor gameplay, and a glitch preventing the game from playing both music and sound effects at the same time.
Beyond simply the animations, reviewers at GameTrailers have also ascribed modern negative criticism to "barely functional controls, lackluster gameplay, and numerous bugs." Danny Cowan of 1UP.com noted that Zelda fans "almost universally despise these games." The Wand of Gamelon was ranked the #6 worst video game of all time by Electronic Gaming Monthly and the #5 by GameTrailers.
Hotel Mario (1994)
Philips' deal with Nintendo for the three above Zelda games also gave them the rights to use characters from the Mario series. The company commissioned several games featuring Mario to be made for the CD-i; however, only one, Hotel Mario, was ever released. A puzzle game, Hotel Mario features animated cutscenes produced by the Russian studio that made the cutscenes for Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon. The game received primarily mixed reviews upon release; GamePro called the game fun to play, but believed it would bore players and would only appeal to core Mario fans.
Retrospective reviews of the game, however, have been overwhelmingly negative, with the game facing criticism for unresponsive controls and the animation of closing doors. IGN, while claiming that Hotel Mario was better than the Zelda CD-i games, slammed the game for being "dull", stating that there was "no reason" for anyone to play it. GamesRadar referred to Hotel Mario as "craptastic" and named it the 48th worst game of all time, while The Guardian called Hotel Mario a "horrible attempt to cash in on the full-motion-video capabilities of the useless CD-i console". Eurogamer claimed the game to be "little more than a really rubbish version of Elevator Action". The game's cutscenes have been subject to much ridicule, with IGN comparing them to a collection of Microsoft Paint drawings.
Plumbers Don't Wear Ties (1994)
Plumbers Don't Wear Ties is a title released for the 3DO console in 1994, along with a very limited number of copies for MS-DOS-based machines. It was advertised as being a full motion video game, however, besides an opening video, the game is presented as a slide show. The game received negative attention for its "surreal" and "sexist" storyline, and poor voice acting. Uproxx's Dan Seitz compared Plumbers Don't Wear Ties to a "Skinemax" movie, and felt that its constant use of still images was the "single saddest attempt to simulate a dream sequence ever." IGN felt that Plumbers Don't Wear Ties was "a symbol for everything that was wrong" with the 3DO's looser licensing program in comparison to the other major consoles (which only required publishers to pay a $3 fee per-disc), noting that it helped to attract smaller studios whose games "served to strengthen the perception that 3DO's library was riddled with crap." PC Gamer dubbed Plumbers Don't Wear Ties a "shallow, hateful waste of a game, [that] may very well be responsible for having killed the 3DO, interactive fiction, and the whale", naming it #1 on its "Must NOT Buy" list in May 2007.
Shaq Fu (1994)
Shaq Fu, a fighting game starring popular basketball player Shaquille O'Neal, received mixed reviews by critics upon its release, who praised the game's graphical style, smooth animations, and robust gameplay, but criticized the relevance of Shaq's presence in the game, along with its low difficulty and small character sprites. Allgame was similarly critical of the game, criticizing its "sluggish" controls, Shaq being nearly unrecognizable in his in-game sprites, and a "shallow" story mode with "cheesy" dialogue. Despite these mixed reviews, Shaq Fu has remained "collectively detested" by critics and gamers, and a website also exists, named "shaqfu.com," that is solely dedicated to the destruction of every copy of Shaq Fu.
Levi Buchanan of IGN argued that Shaq Fu had received ridicule from contemporary critics because of its connections to the phenomena surrounding O'Neal, explaining that "[his] ego had reached such critical mass that it developed its own gravitational pull. And when an ego gets that large, the people that fed the ego to begin with love to turn on it." Buchanan acknowledged some positive aspects of Shaq Fu, such as its graphics and animation, its non-linear story progression, and its "charming" simplicity in comparison to other major fighting game franchises such as Soul and Virtua Fighter, but that it had a "goofy" story and "awful" cast.
Kasumi Ninja (1994)
Kasumi Ninja, a fighting game for the Atari Jaguar, was criticized for being a low-quality clone of Mortal Kombat; GamePro commented that while the graphics were technically impressive, they were often unpleasant to look at due to aesthetic choices such as the palette swapped characters, the massive blood drops, and Angus's kilt-lifting move. They also criticized the controls, the music, and the announcer's voice, and concluded that "Kasumi's a 64-bit warrior destined to remain in the shadows of deeper 16-bit fighting games." Next Generation Magazine gave it one star out of five, calling it "a tragic example when good ideas are poorly executed" and citing "jerky animation", "sluggish control" and "baffling gameplay mechanics that discourage close-up fighting".
In a retrospective review, Allgame praised the game's visuals, but criticized the controls and concluded the game to be no more than "a horrible cash-in" Mortal Kombat clone that "should be ignored by all but the most devoted 64-bit Atari Jaguar fans." GamePro summarized that "Kasumi Ninja was a terrible, terrible Jaguar title - bad controller, bad controls, terrible menu set, forgettable characters, and an utterly unoriginal premise - that, thankfully, history has forgotten." In 2009, Topless Robot ranked it as the fourth worst Mortal Kombat rip-off. In 2011, UGO.com included it in their list of the 102 worst games of all time. That same year, Complex called it "one of the worst Jaguar games ever released in a sea of awful Jaguar games." In 2012, Complex also ranked it as the fourth worst fighting game of all time, adding, "It was hard choosing amongst Ultra Vortek, Fight for Life, and Kasumi Ninja for the worst Jaguar fighting game, but we’re going to go with the last one mentioned because it’s probably the most famous. And also the worst."
Catfight, which touted itself as "the ultimate female fighting game", was criticized primarily for its low-quality graphics, poor quality music and sound effects, and unresponsive controls. Ron Dulin of GameSpot gave Catfight a 1.6 out of 10, considering it to be, "without a doubt, the worst computer game ever released." Dulin noted that the game contained a difficulty level that caused computer opponents to do nothing, and criticized its soundtrack for consisting of "annoying and repetitive squeals backed by bad heavy metal guitar" that, even worse, could not be disabled due to a badly coded options menu. He also felt that the game's sexist themes were "too blatant to mention", but that "the 'Mortal Kombat meets mud wrestling' concept has potential for some humorous kitsch, but the designers seem too preoccupied with their prepubescent sexual fantasies to see any irony in their project."
Bubsy 3D (1996)
Bubsy 3D received negative reviews for its bad graphics and controls, as well as the titular character's personality. GamesRadar named it as the video game equivalent to terrible films such as Plan 9 from Outer Space and Battlefield Earth. GameTrailers named it the eighth worst video game ever made, calling it a "Cheap imitation of a quality product", referencing it as a rip-off of Super Mario 64, which was released around the same time as this game. Internet reviewer Seanbaby named it the 17th worst game of all time, criticizing its controls, the character's personality and the graphics.
The Crow: City of Angels (1997)
Loosely based on the movie of the same name, The Crow: City of Angels, a beat 'em up style game, was panned by many critics and has a GameRankings score of 23.50%. Duke Ferris of GameRevolution called the game "the worst title [he] has ever [seen]", and also concludes by recommending to "avoid all contact with this game". GamePro called the game "a turkey", criticizing its graphics and "asinine" gameplay.
Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (1997)
Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, a platform game spin-off of the Mortal Kombat franchise focusing on main character Sub-Zero, was panned for its poor control, a dated graphical appearance, and unforgiving gameplay. Its Nintendo 64 port received further criticism for its downgraded quality, including the removal of its full motion video cutscenes. The PlayStation and N64 versions hold aggregate scores on GameRankings of 53.20% and 44.84% respectively.
Mikel Reparaz of GamesRadar opined that while the concept of giving Sub-Zero a spin-off game was interesting based on his popularity, the game "ended up a terrible mess of ugly sprites, cheap deaths and a button you had to hit just to change the direction you were facing, and the less that's said about it, the better." Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero was listed among the worst Mortal Kombat games of all time by IGN.com, whose review noted the game's "dated" graphics, "stiff" character animations, and awkward controls with high input lag.
Extreme Paintbrawl (1998)
Extreme Paintbrawl, a first-person shooter loosely based upon the game of paintball, was criticized for having low-quality maps that did not resemble actual paintball fields, not having any game modes beyond a variation of capture the flag, poorly functioning AI players who frequently got stuck navigating around walls and doors, and a "practice" mode that only allows players to roam through a map without any enemies or targets. The game was also criticized for its use of the Build engine, as made famous by Duke Nukem 3D, which was technologically obsolete by the time of the game's release in 1998.
GameSpot gave Extreme Paintbrawl an 1.7/10, stating that the game took the first-person shooter genre too far by trying to "wed a tired game engine with the paintball phenomenon", and that the game was so buggy that it should have not made it out of the beta phase. In conclusion, the game was considered to be "perhaps one of the worst games I've seen in years, as much out of touch with reality as it is out of step with the gaming world at large." IGN gave Extreme Paintbrawl a 0.7/10, remarking that the soundtrack was the only aspect of the entire game that could constitute being described as "extreme", as the game itself was nowhere near its intensity.
South Park (1999)
Based on the television show of the same name, the PC and PlayStation versions of South Park received poor reviews for its bad graphics, repetitive voice acting and lack of playing abilities in multiplayer mode. It received a 1.4 rating from GameSpot, who said "South Park is definitely one of those games that is bound to come up when you start thinking about the worst game you've ever played."
Based on the show Superman: The Animated Series, Titus Software's Superman for the Nintendo 64 (often referred to as Superman 64) has the player control Superman as he is challenged by his nemesis Lex Luthor help save the people of Metropolis. Critically, the game was largely panned for having unnecessarily repetitive, difficult, and confusing objectives, poor controls, numerous glitches that interfere with gameplay, and poor graphics. Notoriously, the game has an introductory ring maze sequence that the player is given no warning about, and has a time limit that leaves nearly no room for error. The ring maze section was exacerbated by the extremely short draw distances covered by distance fog, which is explained in-game as being an aspect of the virtual reality simulation of Metropolis the game is set in, but previously described as "Kryptonite fog" by developers. Titus was harshly criticized for the poor quality of the game. Titus stated that while they had grander plans for the title, "the licensor killed us", and the final game only represents about 10% of what they wanted to include.
Superman was listed as the worst game of all time by GameTrailers, the worst game on a Nintendo platform by Nintendo Power, and as the worst video game adaptation of a comic book by both GameSpy and GameDaily.
Carmageddon 64 (2000)
Based on the popular PC franchise, Carmageddon 64 was developed by Titus for the Nintendo 64 and was met with poor reviews from critics and gamers alike for its graphics, controls, and its overall poor conversion of the series to the console. Matt Casamassina of IGN claimed that the game was "impressively worse" than Superman 64 (which was also developed by Titus), stating that the game "sucks". GameSpot was also heavily critical of the title, stating that Carmageddon 64 "shares none" of the PC version's addictiveness. Although less harsh, Nintendo Power was still somewhat critical of the game, giving it a 5.7 out of 10.
Spirit of Speed 1937 (2000)
The last game ever to be released by LJN, Spirit of Speed 1937 is a racing game that intends to emulate 1930s racing. The game has been met with overwhelmingly negative reviews, receiving a 39.33% from GameRankings. Jeremy Dunham of IGN gave it a 2.2 out of 10, criticizing the load times, course designs, control, and graphics and concluding that it was "the poorest excuse for a Dreamcast game I have ever laid eyes on." Frank Provo of GameSpot gave it a 1.9 out of 10, citing poor sound effects and visuals, and naming it the worst game of 2000.
Kabuki Warriors (2001)
Kabuki Warriors was a launch title for the Xbox and was a fighting game. GameSpot gave it a 1.4 out of 10 and named it the worst game of 2001 while Edge magazine gave it a rating of 1. Game Informer gave it a rating of .5 and bashed the game mechanics, with editor in chief Andy McNamara stating "I literally won a match just bashing the controller against my ass. I wish I was joking, but the score is seriously Kabuki Warriors zero, my ass one."
The Simpsons Wrestling (2001)
The Simpsons Wrestling is a fighting game based on the animated television series The Simpsons. The game was made for the PlayStation console, was developed by Big Ape Productions, published by Electronic Arts in Europe and Activision in North America and distributed by Fox Interactive. The Simpsons Wrestling received widespread negative reviews from critics; primary criticisms for the game were directed at its simplistic, unbalanced gameplay and bad graphics. It currently holds an aggregated score of 41.21% on GameRankings and 32/100 on Metacritic. IGN gave the game a 1 out of 10, and declared it "the most horrific demolition of a license ever".
The Simpsons Skateboarding (2002)
The Simpsons Skateboarding, a skateboarding game based on the popular animated television series, received negative reviews for its low-quality graphics, sound, and music, poor controls, and for lacking any innovation in comparison to similar games. The game holds an aggregate score of 38 out of 100 on Metacritic.
GameSpy described the game as being a "a case study in bad game design", criticizing its awkward control scheme, poor visuals and bad character animations, and for being reminiscent of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater franchise, but at a lower quality. The review concluded that "there's nothing new or innovative about this game. It doesn't even hit the average mark in terms of fun. If it didn't have The Simpsons license this game would have nothing going for it at all. As it stands now, even The Simpsons license can't save this game from itself." Giving the game a 3.9 out of 10, GameSpot criticized the game for being a "stripped-down Tony Hawk", the game's "blocky" art style and poorly-proportioned character models for being inferior to the 3D models used as part of "Treehouse of Horror VI", and repetitive voice acting. In conclusion, it was argued that "the game makes such ham-fisted use of the license that only the most casual of gamers or the most hardcore of The Simpsons fans will be able to enjoy The Simpsons Skateboarding."
Batman: Dark Tomorrow (2003)
Based on the DC Comics character, Batman: Dark Tomorrow received very negative reviews from critics for its confusing gameplay engine, repetitive mission modes, and awkward camera angles. The end of the game was also criticized because there is no direction to the "fulfilling ending" of the story besides using an outside game guide. GameSpot gave the game a score of 2.8 out of 10, while IGN gave it a score of 2.2 out of 10 for the Xbox version and 3.5 out of 10 for the GameCube version. GameRankings gave it a score of 24.06% for the Xbox version and 27.83% for the GameCube version; while Metacritic gave it a score of 25 out of 100 for the Xbox version and 29 out of 100 for the GameCube version. A PlayStation 2 version was planned, but got cancelled due to the game's poor reception. In 2015, GamesRadar named Dark Tomorrow the 18th worst game ever, claiming the game's camera "makes Epic Mickey's look like cinematography genius".
Charlie's Angels (2003)
Released as a tie-in to the 2003 film Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle and featuring the voices of its stars Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu, Charlie's Angels received criticism for its poor and glitchy gameplay, poor character models, unique "fighting styles" that ultimately had little differentiation, and storyline. Alex Navarro of GameSpot believed the game's voice acting, despite involving the actual actors from the films, "[gave] the impression that they had each individually been roused from a bad hangover and thrown in front of a microphone." The game ultimately received a 1.9 out of 10 from Navarro, who dubbed the game a "horrific display of ineptitude." IGN gave Charlie's Angels a 4.0 out of 10, considering it "the textbook example of what happens when no care or thought is put into the digital adaptations of lucrative movie licenses" due to its shallow gameplay, and being "neither sexy nor cool" like the films. GameTrailers named Charlie's Angels the "Worst Movie Game of All Time", considering it "degrading, not to women, not even to video games, but to humanity itself."
Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis (2003)
Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis was criticized for its poor controls, graphics and repetitive gameplay. GameSpot gave the game a 2.3 out of 10, stating that "[t]he game itself only has the bare minimum requirements necessary to technically be called a game, and even these components are an ugly mess." Aquaman was named one of the worst games of all time by G4's program X-Play; in reference to Aquaman's hair style in-game, X-Play began awarding the "Golden Mullet Award" to the worst game of the year. The game has a Metacritic score of 27/100 for its GameCube version and 26/100 for its Xbox version.
Drake of the 99 Dragons (2003)
Drake of the 99 Dragons holds an aggregate score of 22 on Metacritic, ranking it as the second-worst game for the original Xbox. In 2009, the game placed as eleventh worst received game in the last 15 years by GamesRadar. GameSpot's Alex Navarro felt that the game was a "cacophony of terrible effects and voice acting"—noticing the re-use of stock sounds used in AOL Instant Messenger, and comparing the title character's voice to a cross between a game show host and the "Moviefone guy". He also felt that due to the game's "disjointed" cutscenes and narration, the storyline of the game, if any, was difficult to understand.
IGN's Aaron Boulding gave the game a 2.9 out of 10; while praising the game's unique visual appearance and presentation, along with the "bullet time" audio effects while slowing down time, he concluded that Drake of the 99 Dragons was "a good idea that went horribly astray and ended up disastrous" and that "there's no need to rent, purchase or entertain the thought of playing this one." GameSpot would give the game an even lower score of 1.6, considering it "an out-and-out failure in every single discernable category."
Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing (2003)
Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing is a racing game developed and released by Stellar Stone, where the player purportedly competes in road races with trailer trucks. Big Rigs became infamous for being released in an pre-alpha state: it lacks any type of collision detection, allowing players to drive through other vehicles and obstacles, and has extremely abnormal physics, including allowing players to drive up a vertical incline or accelerate indefinitely while driving in reverse. There is no computer artificial intelligence, as computer-controlled vehicles do not move at all during the race, thus making the game impossible to lose. It also has a number of grammatical and typographic errors, most notably the message to the player on finishing a race, "YOU'RE WINNER !".
Big Rigs was listed as one of the worst games ever made by GameSpot and Computer and Video Games, and received the lowest possible scores from both. Additionally after declaring it the "worst game ever made" in a "Games You Should Never Buy" segment, X-Play's Morgan Webb refused to rate Big Rigs as their scale went from only 1 to 5. On aggregate reviews, it has the lowest aggregate score of any video game, with 8/100 on Metacritic, and 3.83% on GameRankings. Big Rigs was also named #2 as the "Worst Video Game of the Decade". Despite (or possibly due to) the universally negative response by critics, Big Rigs still sold surprisingly well, albeit mostly from discount software bins and at a $5 price point; the actual figures were never released, but GameSpot estimated sales of almost 20,000 copies. Stellar Stone released a patch that addressed a few of the game's complaints, although most problems went unresolved.
Bubble Bobble Revolution (2005)
Bubble Bobble Revolution is a platform video game in the Bubble Bobble series for the Nintendo DS. Reception to the game was poor; reviewers generally criticized its level design, dated visual style (described by Frank Provo of GameSpot as being "way behind the curve"), as well as the amount of strange glitches, including a particularly infamous one that renders each level beyond #30 unplayable; IGN joked that the glitch "makes a bad game worse". Codemasters, the game's publisher, responded by releasing a fixed version of the game, which also came with a free copy of Rainbow Islands Revolution.
Lula 3D (2006)
The adult adventure game Lula 3D was criticized for its tedious gameplay, poor puzzle designs, low-quality graphics (including animations, inconsistent frame rate, and re-use of character models), its voice acting, the quality of its English translation, and humor that was too childish for its target audience. On Metacritic, the game received an aggregate score of 28% from 14 reviews. Jolt Online Gaming gave Lula 3D a 1.8 out of 10 for making "every mistake that can possibly be made by the designers of a 3D adventure", criticizing its poorly implemented controls and camera, tedious gameplay involving "mooching around listening to Lula’s terribly voiced and poorly translated descriptions of everything around you, while collecting everything you can lay your hands on", and voice actors compared to people auditioning to be a phone sex operator. In conclusion, Jolt felt that "if you like good games, Lula 3D isn't for you. If you like sexual humour, Lula 3D isn’t for you. If you have no qualms about pulling yourself off at the sight of dreadfully rendered computer characters shagging, then you need to check yourself in at your local therapy centre."
Eurogamer gave Lula 3D a 2 out of 10, jokingly declaring that its low quality and immature humor (such as the "Bouncin' Boobs Technology" advertised on its packaging) made the game feel like it was developed by and intended for 12-year-old boys. PC Zone gave the game a 3.1 out of 10, believing that it was "oddly compelling", but "so inexorably, mindbogglingly ignorant of how either real games or real sex works that it spread-eagles itself a fair way into the 'so-bad-it's good' category."
Bomberman: Act Zero (2006)
A reimagining of the Bomberman series, Bomberman: Act Zero received overwhelmingly negative reception from both critics and fans alike for its long loading times, bad collision detection, forgettable soundtrack, use of the same textures and graphics for every stage, tedious and repetitive gameplay, lack of a save feature, unbalanced A.I. and the series' unwelcome shift to a darker and more futuristic setting. The "First-Person Bomberman" mode was criticized for its bad camera angles and the fact that it is played in a third-person perspective. It holds an average score of 34 from Metacritic. Yahoo! Games' Mike Smith felt that the designers didn't understand what made Bomberman great. He criticized its "generic, gritty brushed-metal-and-armor heroes". GamePro's Patrick Shaw felt that it should not be used to introduce players to the series, while fans of the games should skip it. Cracked.com named the game among their "6 Most Baffling Video Game Spinoffs" in 2013, commenting that the developers "took everything fun about Bomberman and made it crazy and depressing."
Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
Intended to celebrate the franchise's 15th anniversary and relaunch the brand for the next generation, Sonic the Hedgehog faced a number of issues during development, leading it to be rushed for Christmas 2006 and was generally panned by critics and gamers alike for its sensitive controls, bad camera angles, numerous glitches, poor storyline, loading times, and level design. IGN stated that "it offers a few good ideas, and a handful of exciting moments, but none of this helps the game recover from a catastrophic loss in control", while GameSpot lamented the gameplay, the number of glitches, camera problems and the supporting cast, stating "only the most blindly reverent Sonic the Hedgehog fan could possibly squeeze any enjoyment out of Sega's latest adventure". GameTrailers criticized the story as well, by saying that "you might actually be better off reading internet fan fiction." The game was ultimately listed as part of its "Top Ten Disappointments of the Decade" list.
The game has a Metacritic average of 46% for the Xbox 360 version and a similar score of 43% for the PlayStation 3 version. In 2015, GamesRadar named Sonic the Hedgehog the 43rd worst game of all time, noting its "terrible" camera and "downright creepy" story.
Ninjabread Man (2007)
Ninjabread Man, a budget title released by Data Design Interactive and published by Conspiracy Entertainment, was criticized for its extremely poor camera, controls, graphics, and its extremely short length; critics noted that the game could be completed in just half an hour. IGN gave Ninjabread Man a 1.5 out of 10, deriding the game for being a "broken mess" and having "just enough character design and gameplay to cover the bullet points on the back of the box", but felt that Ninjabread Man still had a "hilarious concept", and jokingly praised the game for having the best box art of any Wii title. Thunderbolt similarly gave Ninjabread Man a 1 out of 10, also noting that the premise itself had potential, but that the game itself did not have any "glimmer of innovation" and "couldn’t be a more of a generic platformer if it tried."
Data Design Interactive was further criticized by both Eurogamer and IGN for releasing several other games, including Anubis II, Myth Makers: Trixie in Toyland and Rock 'n' Roll Adventures, that utilized the same overall engine, gameplay, and soundtrack as Ninjabread Man, but with different settings and characters, and, in turn, the same issues as Ninjabread Man. IGN felt that the games were "shovelware at a science" and representative of a bulk, quantity-over-quality approach to video game development. However, IGN still felt that Ninjabread Man had more "appealing" thematics out of the three. Eurogamer gave all four games, including Ninjabread Man, a 1 out of 10, concluding that the games were "dross of the highest order. Rip offs at budget price. We deserve more than this. I've heard people perking up at Ninjabread Man because of its punny name. Don't be fooled."
On Metacritic, Ninjabread Man has an aggregate score of 20 out of 100 from six critic reviews.
Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust (2009)
Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust, the eighth installment in the adult-oriented adventure game franchise, was developed by Team17, and published by Codemasters—who acquired the franchise's intellectual property from Activision Blizzard. Box Office Bust was criticized for its poor gameplay and dated graphics, incoherent story, audio and technical issues, voice-acting, and poor attempts at adult humor. On Metacritic, the game's PC version holds an aggregate score of 20/100 from 17 critic reviews; its PlayStation 3 port scored even lower, with 17/100 based on 11 critic reviews.
IGN declared Box Office Bust to be "frustratingly unpolished, devoid of any kind of wit or charm, and packed with tiring, at times infuriating challenges", also featuring "uncomfortably unfunny dialogue spewed from the lips of entirely unlikable characters". In conclusion, it was explained that "the lowest rating numbers here at IGN are reserved for games with nearly no redeeming qualities or interesting ideas, with next to nothing enjoyable to offer players, and which under no circumstances should be purchased by anyone. Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust is, without a doubt, one of those games."
ScrewAttack, Giant Bomb, and Australian television show Good Game named Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust the worst game of 2009. Al Lowe, creator of Leisure Suit Larry, publicly thanked VU Games on his website for keeping him away from what he called "the latest disaster".
Stalin vs. Martians (2009)
Stalin vs. Martians is a parody real-time strategy video game developed by Black Wing Foundation, Dreamlore and N-Game, released on April 29, 2009. Described as "trashy and over-the-top" by its creators, the game mocks World War II strategy games and utilizes Pythonesque humor. The developers state that Stalin vs. Martians is "obviously a parody, which sometimes gets close to being a satire" and is "halfway to becoming a trash icon of gaming industry for years". In some interviews the lead designer of the game compares Stalin vs. Martians to the Troma films.
Stalin vs. Martians received scathing reviews from critics. It has an average score of 23.41% on GameRankings as well as 25% on Metacritic. GameSpot named it 2009's "Flat-Out Worst Game", awarding it a rating of 1.5/10 and calling it "perhaps the worst RTS game ever created." IGN, which rated the game a 2/10, noted the game's total lack of any RTS-related elements and asked whether it was 'made in 1994 and sealed into a vault until 2009' given how dated the visuals looked. Resolution, awarding the game 35%, warned readers not to purchase the game, but conceded that it is occasionally "incredibly amusing". The Escapist was more positive, noting that "Whatever it was, it's clear that the development team had a very fun time making the game, and filling it with as many Soviet clichés as possible." and "The presentation can be funny, and it's so absurd at times that you really have to experience it for the sheer audacity of it, but ... the game itself is below average at best". Russian MTV programme Virtuality and its spin-off portal Games TV were quite enthusiastic about the game and its humour.
Ju-on: The Grudge (2009)
Ju-on: The Grudge is a survival horror video game developed for the Wii. It was produced in honor of the Ju-on series' 10th anniversary. The game was directed by Takashi Shimizu, who also helmed the films. The game was developed by feelplus and published in Japan by AQ Interactive on July 30, 2009, and in North America and Europe in October of the same year by Xseed Games and Rising Star Games, respectively.
Ju-on: The Grudge has received mostly negative reception from critics. Based on 32 reviews, Ju-on: The Grudge holds a Metacritic score of 39/100 and 40.22% on GameRankings based on 27 reviews. Also, GameSpot, giving the game a "Poor" 4, complained about the controls and the length of the game, while IGN stated that "JU-ON: The Grudge Haunted House Simulator is bad. The graphics are bad, the presentation is bad, and the gameplay is bad. In fact, it's all so bad the game actually ends up being terrible."
Rogue Warrior (2009)
Rogue Warrior was initially developed by Zombie Studios under the title Rogue Warrior: Black Razor: it would have been an Unreal Engine 3-based game with drop-in four-player cooperative play, and 24-player competitive multiplayer using randomly generated maps based on a unique tiling system. However, its publisher Bethesda Softworks was unsatisfied with the direction Zombie Studios was taking with the game; among other issues, citing the lack of emphasis on the personality of its protagonist Richard Marcinko. Bethesda rebooted the project with Rebellion Developments taking over development. The game was re-built from the ground up, completely scrapping Zombie Studios' work.
Upon its release, Rogue Warrior was panned by critics for its poor controls, extreme and incredibly frequent use of profanity, short length, very limited multiplayer, and broken combat techniques. GameSpot's Kevin VanOrd awarded Rogue Warrior a 2.0 out of 10, calling it "an absolute rip-off" and finding that Richard Marcinko "doesn't just drop an F-bomb—he drops an entire nuclear warhead of repulsive language." IGN's Jeff Hayes stated that "players should stay far away from this title at all costs" and rated it a 1.4 out of 10, criticizing its "laughable and barely existent" plot. Eurogamer's Richard Leadbetter called it "the worst game I've played on [PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360] for a long, long time."
Tunnel Rats: 1968 (2009)
The first-person shooter Tunnel Rats: 1968 was based on the Vietnam War film of the same name directed by Uwe Boll, and developed by Replay Studios. The game received criticism for its poor writing and voice acting, the characterization of its protagonist, monotonous tunnel environments and excessive use of booby traps as a mechanic, particularly the extreme precision required in order to disarm traps, inaccurate gun sights, dated graphics, and its extremely short length. Reviewers also noted several major bugs, such as grenades ceasing to function if the player dies, and the ability for the player to clip into to inescapable areas of a map not usually accessible. GameSpot criticized the portrayal of the player character Brooks as a stranded U.S. soldier with "clumsy and inconsistent" writing and voice acting. The ability to gain health by removing the ears from the corpses of Vietnamese soldiers was considered to be both in poor taste and frustrating, citing a need to locate an exact point on the ear in order to collect it.
Rock Paper Shotgun opened its review by noting that Uwe Boll had received a reputation for directing poorly-received film adaptations of video game franchises, and that Tunnel Rats was "excruciatingly, bewilderingly bad"; due to bugs, the reviewer was unable to make it past the second level. GamesRadar similarly criticized the game for being a "nauseating mess from start to finish", but jokingly claimed the game itself was better than Uwe Boll's films. Tunnel Rats holds an aggregate score of 30/100 on Metacritic based on 7 reviews.
Final Fantasy XIV (2010)
Final Fantasy XIV was a massive multiplayer online role-playing game in Square Enix's Final Fantasy series, developed as a spiritual successor to Final Fantasy XI. The game was released for Microsoft Windows on September 30, 2010, with plans for a PlayStation 3 port. However, the initial release of the game was met with poor reviews, with critics describing grind-heavy gameplay, poor controls, and a confusing user interface. The game currently holds a Metacritic score of 49/100. 
Shortly after release, then-CEO of Square Enix Yoichi Wada issued an official apology for the quality of the game at the 2011 Tokyo Game Show in December 2011, saying that "the Final Fantasy brand [had] been greatly damaged". The PlayStation 3 port was cancelled, and Square Enix eventually shut off the game's servers November 11, 2012, as to remake the game from scratch into Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. The new version was released in August 2013, and was received far more positively, with an 83/100 score for the PC version on Metacritic.
Power Gig: Rise of the SixString (2010)
Released in a market that had already been saturated by rock music-oriented music video games simulating guitar and drums, Power Gig: Rise of the SixString—developed by Seven45 Studios, a subsidiary of entry-level instrument manufacturer First Act—attempted to differentiate itself from competitors such as the Rock Band and Guitar Hero franchises by shipping with an actual electric guitar that could be used in-game, rather than a simplified plastic analog. As opposed to an electronic drum set with physical pads, the game offered an "AirStrike" drum controller which utilized motion sensors placed on the ground. The studio claimed this design provided a quieter and more compact alternative to drum controllers implementing physical pads.
Upon its release, Power Gig received negative reviews from critics. The game's guitar was considered low quality—not performing well as either a controller or standalone instrument, while the AirStrike drum controller was criticized for being inferior to a physical drum kit—suffering from poor hit detection and a reliance on proprietary, sensor-equipped drum sticks. The guitar gameplay of Power Gig was criticized for being nearly identical to its competitors—even with its dedicated guitar, which only added the ability to toggle basic, two-note power chords. Griffin McElroy of Joystiq pointed out that, ironically, despite "[centering] itself around a peripheral which is a real guitar", Power Gig "[settled] for using a new toy to manipulate an old game—but still manages to categorically fail at both." Critics also considered the guitar gameplay of Power Gig to be inferior to the "Pro Guitar" modes of Rock Band 3, which provided a more complete implementation of guitar fingering, chords, slides, and tutorials built on top of the franchise's core gameplay.
The game was also criticized for its storyline—which IGN declared to be "laughably bad", the exclusion of bass guitar modes, and poor-quality graphics and character animations. Power Gig holds an aggregate score of 36/100 on Metacritic, and was named the worst game of 2010 by Giant Bomb.
Doctor Who: Return to Earth (2010)
Based on the popular science-fiction television show of the same name, Doctor Who: Return to Earth on the Wii has been panned by critics. Official Nintendo Magazine gave the game a 19% rating, and branded it "an insult to Doctor Who fans". However, it ranked at 11 on the UK Wii sales charts for the week.
Australian video game talk show Good Game's two presenters gave the game a 1 and 1.5 out of 10, saying, "It's one of the worst games I've ever played." They also stated that the graphics looked like a PlayStation or Nintendo 64 game and that the player spends as much time trying to see the enemies as trying to avoid them. The reviewers went on to state that the game had only two good points, the Sonic Screwdriver Wii remote cover and that it makes Doctor Who: Evacuation Earth look like a masterpiece. The gaming website ScrewAttack awarded Doctor Who: Return to Earth its SAGY award for Worst Wii Game of 2010. Metro gave a highly negative review which it says "If one of your loved ones is a fan of Doctor Who then whatever you do don’t buy them this game for Christmas." 
MindJack was heavily criticized for its broken enemy AI, visuals, thin story, repetitive and boring gameplay, poor voice acting, unbalanced multiplayer, and technical issues such as freezing. It has a Metacritic score of 44 for the PlayStation 3 and 43 for the Xbox 360. Kat Bailey of 1UP.com found nothing to like about the game, calling it a "lazy, corporate-mandated cash-in." IGN summed up their review with "MindJack is ultimately a frustrating and forgettable shooter with horrible presentation, clumsy controls and a plodding campaign. It serves up a next-gen idea with its unique multiplayer design yet delivers it in a horribly last-gen package."
Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter (2011)
Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter, a sequel of the science fiction strategy game Sword of the Stars developed by Kerberos and published by Paradox Interactive, received negative reviews upon its release. While critics praised it for its graphics, Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter was panned for its confusing gameplay, poor tutorials and large number of bugs causing the game to be unplayable.
The game has a GameRankings score of 43.12% and a Metacritic score of 44/100. Game Informer gave the game 3/10, summarising the game as "A Total Disaster", stating that "This might be a decent game after six more months of twice-weekly patching. Right now, it’s a failure on every level." IGN's Jon Michael gave it 2.5/10, stating "there are many other 4X games on the market that do basically everything SotS2 intended, but better and without the bugs." PC Gamer's Tom Senior gave the game 43/100, praising the graphics but criticising the amount of bugs in the game and baffling gameplay.
Postal III (2011)
Development of the third installment in the Postal franchise was subcontracted by Running With Scissors to the Russian video game publisher Akella, who hired the developer TrashMasters Studios; however, they did not have the resources to develop the game to the design that the series' creators intended and thought they were able to deliver. The game ultimately received poor reviews from critics, scoring an average review score on Metacritic of 24/100. The poor reception also prompted Running with Scissors to pull the game from its own online store, suggesting that players buy earlier installments of the franchise instead.
PC Gamer gave Postal III a 21/100, joking that "suck and blow" were "two things that Postal III will continue to do for some hours", criticizing its lack of an open world design like Postal 2, poor AI, and poor attempts at being offensive (drawing comparisons to the quality of Uwe Boll's film adaptation). IGN felt that the game's technical and gameplay issues were more offensive than the game's content, criticized the lack of variety or openness in its missions, and noticed poor loading times. However, the game's humor, wide variety of weapons (despite most of the unique weapons not being as useful in-game as their conventional counterparts), and relatively better graphical quality than Postal 2 were regarded as positive aspects, but not enough to save the game from a 5.5/10 rating. Game Informer gave the game a 1/10, criticizing its "barely cobbled-together series of mostly linear levels", lazily using self-awareness to point out bugs that should have been fixed before release (such as a warning that an escort would "frustratingly disappear" if left behind), and concluding that there was "nothing redeeming about Postal III's frustrating, buggy gameplay." In 2013, Computer and Video Games deemed it one of the 12 worst video games of all time.
Ridge Racer (PS Vita, 2011)
Ridge Racer, a reboot of the Ridge Racer franchise released on the PlayStation Vita, was critically panned by various publications for its bare-bones nature, a lack of proper progression unlike other installments in the series, primarily consisting of content ported from Ridge Racer 7, along with unbalanced online races that use a leveling system to determine a player's top speed, giving an unfair disadvantage to newer players.
GameSpot gave the game a 3.0/10, criticizing the lack of modes and content as a ploy to force users to buy its downloadable content, further noting that its first DLC pack (which was available for free as a limited time offer) only consisted of more content ported from Ridge Racer 7. In conclusion, Ridge Racer was considered to be "a complete and utter ripoff" that "[felt] more like a cheap cash-in than a fully thought-out product", lacking the variety of past installments of the franchise. IGN also gave the game a 3/10 for similar reasons, criticizing its absolute lack of storyline or progression-based modes or leagues, and the aforementioned multiplayer leveling system. Ridge Racer was described as "racing in a vacuum, barely more than a tech demo, wrapped up in an online-reliant social framework that's fundamentally flawed on several levels." GamingXP also felt that the game did not sufficiently use the capabilities of the Vita, and could have easily been a game for the original PlayStation Portable.
The War Z (2012)
The War Z, an open world multiplayer survival horror game, was publicly released as a "foundation release" in December 2012. The game received negative reception from various publications for its poor gameplay experience, and for its use of microtransactions for purchasing items and reviving characters without waiting four hours, despite the game not being a freemium "free-to-play" game. GameSpy gave The War Z a half-star out of five and considered it "a bad game that deserves all the controversy it's drawn", criticizing the broken state of the game and its use of microtransactions, but complimenting its overall atmosphere and far draw distance. IGN gave the game a 3.0 out of 10, citing that "the high spawn rate of weapons, as well as fear of hackers, makes the majority of player interaction in The War Z overly punishing and one-dimensional", and further criticized its missing features, the ability to lose purchased items, and its lack of a balance between ranged and melee weaponry.
Its developer, Hammerpoint Interactive, was also accused of false advertising by players; since the game's promotional material on Steam at the time highlighted certain features that were not yet present in the game, such as multiple large game worlds varying in size (only one was available), a skill point based leveling system (which was not yet implemented), servers supporting up to 100 players (that were actually capped at 50), and private servers. Despite this information being corrected to consider them "upcoming" features, the flood of criticism prompted Valve to pull the game from sale on Steam and offer refunds, stating that the game was accidentally made available for purchase prematurely. In an interview with PC Gamer, executive producer Sergey Titov (who was also listed as a producer for Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing) claimed that its servers were temporarily capped at 50 due to player feedback, and that its marketing team had misinterpreted information about the current state of the game. Due to its similar themes, gameplay, and title, some also felt that The War Z was a clone of the popular ARMA 2: Operation Arrowhead mod DayZ (of which a standalone version was in development); on June 20, 2013, Hammerpoint announced that the game would be renamed Infestation: Survivor Stories, "primarily as a result of some confusion and trademark issues with a similarly titled property" (a statement which also factored in a conflict with the film World War Z).
Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified (2012)
Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified was released exclusively for the PlayStation Vita in November 2012, and was panned by critics for its short campaign, poor enemy AI and unreliable network mode and holds a score of 33.21% at GameRankings and 33/100 at Metacritic. Game Informer's Dan Ryckert gave the game a score of 3/10 and called the game a "complete embarrassment" for the Call of Duty franchise. Giant Bomb's Jeff Gerstmann cited it as a "disjointed mess", criticizing the awkward touch-based controls, glitches causing enemies to get stuck on level geometry, and multiplayer maps "so tiny that you'll literally spawn with an enemy in your crosshairs". Daniel Rutledge of 3 News also criticized it stating that the single player campaign was "less than an hour long" and describing it as "terrible value for money". Peter Willington of Pocket Gamer was also unimpressed, calling it "a massive middle finger to the fans".
Final Fantasy All the Bravest (2013)
Final Fantasy All the Bravest, a Final Fantasy spin-off, was released on January 17, 2013 for iOS devices. Criticism was leveled at its simplistic gameplay mechanics, with IGN noting how the game could be completed with one's eyes closed, and the extensive microtransaction system embedded in the game. A common point of negativity was the game's in-app purchases, particularly the system for buying "Legendary Characters" – characters from past Final Fantasy games – wherein a random character from a list of 35 would be added to the party for a fee of $0.99. It was viewed by several reviewers as a cynical attempt from the publisher to exploit fans of the series, and was called by Destructoid as "a cash delivery system' rather than a game."
As of June 2013, it holds a score of 25/100 on Metacritic.
The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (2013)
The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, a first-person shooter developed by Terminal Reality, was released in 2013 to act as a prequel to the events of the television series, and featured the voice talent of actors from the series, including that of protagonist Daryl Dixon. The game was met with criticism for its broken gameplay mechanics, poor graphics, a lack of meaningful storyline, and for not meeting the high expectations associated with its source material, or Telltale Games' episodic adventure game also based upon the franchise. On Metacritic, the Xbox 360 version holds an aggregate score of 32 based upon 30 reviews.
IGN noted that the game was plagued by largely broken stealth mechanics and enemy AI (finding it easier to simply sprint past groups of enemies rather than using the tactics encouraged in-game), bland environments, and a lack of any true narrative beyond "just moving from place to place in hope of the eventual rescue we all know won't come". In conclusion, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct was described as "a half-baked attempt at a game that can be fun in the occasional spooky part, but ends up under-delivering in every way." Although feeling that its "no frills" approach to zombie-oriented shooters (in comparison to other franchises such as Dead Rising and Left 4 Dead) "[wasn't] necessarily a bad thing", CVG criticized Survival Instinct for having an "archaic" design, broken, slow-paced gameplay with inconsistent level designs, and "atrocious visuals", compared to "the kind of muddy textures and low-res character models reserved for MMOs." The game was ultimately dubbed a "shoddy squandering of one of entertainment's hottest licenses", and given a 3 out of 10.
Alex Navarro was even more harsh, believing that in comparison to Telltale's Walking Dead game, "nothing about Survival Instinct feels properly executed, let alone coherent or thoughtful." Of particular criticism was its gameplay mechanics, the requirement to perform resource gathering and side missions at "the same handful of recycled environments" between story missions, and for providing "no meaningful information or commentary on the characters it revolves around." Giving the game one star, he concluded that Survival Instinct was "an abysmally rushed game of barely connected ideas that brings the player little more than frustration and disappointment."
Franchise creator Robert Kirkman distanced himself from Survival Instinct due to its negative reception, citing his more direct involvement in the Telltale game, and remarking that "I'm pretty sure there's an AMC logo before the title of that game and not a picture of my face."
Aliens: Colonial Marines (2013)
Aliens: Colonial Marines, a first-person shooter developed by Gearbox Software and set in the universe of the Alien franchise, was criticized at launch for containing bugs, poorly-implemented A.I., unbalanced gameplay, low quality graphics, and a poorly-implemented co-op mode. A couple of said issues have since been adjusted or fixed to a certain degree. The game's story also drew criticism for its lack of a consistent continuity with the Alien films, despite claims from the developers that the events of the game were supposed to be canon to the film series.
Particular criticism was directed towards discrepancies in the game's quality between pre-release builds demonstrated at events and in promotional materials—the former purporting to feature "actual gameplay", and the final product, including lower graphics quality, missing levels, and other regressions. Shortly after the game's release and the discovery of these regressions, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford acknowledged the issues and stated that the studio would look into them. In April 2013, a class action lawsuit was filed against Gearbox Software and the game's publisher, Sega. The suit argued that these differences, along with a press embargo on publishing reviews of the final product until its release date, deceived those who pre-ordered the game based on the pre-release promotional materials, amounting to false advertising. In September 2014, Sega agreed to pay a tentative settlement of $1.25 million.
Star Trek (2013)
Released on April 23, 2013, Star Trek was developed as a third-person shooter to bridge events between the 2009 Star Trek film and the 2013 Star Trek Into Darkness film, which was released month later. The title was heavily criticized for its unoriginal design, poor quality, as well as its large number of bugs and glitches. Metacritic gave the PlayStation 3 version a score of 46%, with the PC version having a score of 44%, and the Xbox 360 version a score of 42%. GameSpot also gave Star Trek a 3.5/10 rating, while IGN gave it a 4.2/10 rating. Director J. J. Abrams stated in September 2013 that he was "emotionally hurt" by the game's poor reception, and also stated that it "arguably hurt" the reception for Star Trek Into Darkness.
Ride to Hell: Retribution (2013)
First announced in 2008 as a Grand Theft Auto-styled game set during the late 1960s, the eventual release of Ride to Hell: Retribution in June 2013 was met with largely negative reception. In particular, Ride to Hell was criticized for its largely broken gameplay, poorly implemented controls, poor voice acting and writing, its negative portrayal of women, and for dropping the originally announced open world format in favor of a linear structure. Daniel Starkey of GameSpot considered Ride to Hell: Retribution to be "painfully insubstantial" and broken all-around, criticizing its plot for showing a "pathetic, out-of-touch approach to sex, violence, and masculinity", and believing that its developers were showing a lack of respect towards players due the game's abysmal quality. Describing it as the newest candidate for "Worst Game of All Time", Starkey gave Ride to Hell a 1.0 out of 10, making it only the second game (behind Big Rigs) to receive GameSpot's lowest possible rating. EGM described Ride to Hell as being "a linear, insultingly underdeveloped mess" with "endlessly clunky gameplay" and numerous bugs and glitches, concluding that "other games may have offered less content for more money or come up shorter in specific, individual areas, but I don’t think there’s ever been a game that does so many things so universally poorly", giving the game 0.5 out of 10.
As of August 2013[update], the game has a Metacritic score of 19 out of 100, based on 14 reviews of the Xbox 360 version. It is currently the third lowest scoring game ever on the Xbox 360, and the lowest scoring full retail Xbox 360 game of all time. It received a 13 out of 100 score from Metacritic for the PS3 version, making it the lowest scoring PS3 game of all time.
Ashes Cricket 2013 (2013)
Ashes Cricket 2013, a cricket video game developed by Trickstar Games and published by 505 Games on Steam, was delayed from a release scheduled for June 2013 due to quality concerns; the original release date was to coincide with the English leg of the 2013 Ashes series. It was pulled four days after its release on November 22, 2013 (which now coincided with the 2013–14 Ashes series in Australia) following overwhelmingly negative user reviews. In its review of the game, Rock Paper Shotgun considered Ashes Cricket 2013 to be "hilariously awful", and criticized the game for having poorly implemented and documented controls, poor graphics and character animations, and other non-functioning features. Describing its gameplay, a writer remarked that "trying to follow the ball is quite the thing, as each fielder springs from one glitchy animation to the next, pinging from one place to another, while the camera chops and changes at all the wrong moments. It is, immediately, a bad game."
Fighter Within (2013)
Fighter Within, a Kinect-based fighting game for Xbox One, was criticized for having poor motion detection—especially on more complex moves and techniques and in menus, slow, shallow gameplay with automated combos portrayed as cutscenes, and a storyline which was described as being "laughable" and "cheesy" by reviewers. GameSpot, who gave Fighter Within a 2 out of 10, described its gameplay as requiring players to "stand like a lemon in front of the TV for what seems like an eternity as you feel your life ebb away during the excruciatingly long loading times; punch at thin air as fast as humanly possible until you trigger a combo; watch the lifeless combo animation; repeat these steps until your opponent is defeated."
IGN, who gave the game a 2.7 out of 10, felt that Fighter Within was only able to adequately detect basic punches, describing the game as a "disjointed", "haphazard mess" due to its unpredictable motion detection, and considered its storyline to be "laughably bad" and a "flimsy excuse" to "fight [against] a long stream of AI opponents who look just as dumb as they fight." Dan Ryckert of Game Informer gave Fighter Within a 1 out of 10; describing the game as "garbage", he felt that its motion detection system was so poorly designed that it "effectively [makes] any of its combat systems inconsequential", and also noticed that it was registering motions off him even while he was standing still.
On Metacritic, Fighter Within holds an aggregate score of 23 out of 100 from 39 critic reviews, and is ranked as the second lowest-scoring Xbox One game as of April 2015. Video game website "Level Up" referred to it as the worst type of game possible for the Kinect, while X-One Magazine referred to it as one of the worst games ever in general.
Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric (2014)
Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, a 2014 spin-off of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise developed by Big Red Button Entertainment—a studio co-founded by Naughty Dog alumni E. Daniel Arey and Bob Rafei, received negative reviews from critics for its numerous bugs and glitches, poor graphics and level design, simplistic and repetitive gameplay, and bad writing. On Metacritic, the game holds an aggregate score of 32% from 28 critic reviews.
Don Saas of GameSpot noted that "through a combination of unwieldy controls, a broken camera system, and a total lack of responsiveness, the platforming and exploration elements of Rise of Lyric are totally unworkable." Metro GameCentral considered Rise of Lyric to be "definitely the worst game of 2014", citing "a terrible camera, awful controls, unspeakably dull combat, insipid level design, ugly character art, broken graphics, serious bugs, and the terrible feeling that Sega hates both you and Sonic." Both Metro and Nintendo World Report referred to it as potentially the worst Sonic game of all time. In February 2015, Sega announced that Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric and the 3DS release Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal had moved only 490,000 units combined, making it the worst-selling title in the history of the franchise.
Raven's Cry (2015)
Raven's Cry, a 2015 action-adventure role-playing game developed by Reality Pump Studios, was widely panned by critics for a variety of reasons; it received the lowest-possible score of 1/10 from GameSpot for its "rampant racism, sexism, and homophobia", broken gameplay, and "button-mashing tedium." IGN rated the game 3/10, citing its inconsistent dialogue, clunky combat, rigid control and game-stopping crashes. Daniel Starkey of Eurogamer deemed it "a sorry, broken mess of a game" and castigated the plot's "noxious cocktail of clichés." Allegra Frank of Polygon named it one of the worst video games of 2015. Attack of the Fanboy said, "Raven’s Cry is a game that just fails to realize the potential that an open-world pirate game should have," while criticizing the cutscenes' "terrible voice acting." The game currently holds a 27/100 on Metacritic based on sixteen reviews, and an aggregated score of 25.71% on GameRankings based on seven reviews.
Rugby 15 and Rugby World Cup 2015 (2015)
Developed by HB Studios, Rugby 15 was criticized for its poor graphical quality, bad AI, as well as its poor implementations of the rules and mechanics of rugby union. In its review, GamesRadar felt that the game's implementation of breakdowns and rucks—where the player rotates the analog stick to find a point that designates a legal steal, was "monstrously wrong", explaining that "even on the hardest setting, I stole the ball almost every time; as if I'd replaced my thumbs with the distilled living essence of Tackles McCaw. Conversely, even Manu Tuilagi has the ball-retention skills of a buttered pensioner. It makes for a game of chase-me-peewee hogwash that barely resembles the direct, attritional sport it's based on." IGN was similarly critical of this feature, noting that it was hard to receive penalties on rucks, and that "given the specific way you’re forced to ruck, it’s best not to be in possession of the ball until you’re within ten metres of the try line, so you don’t have to deal with the incredible frustration of losing possession because the game bugs out."
The lack of a proper tutorial was criticized by IGN. The game's graphics on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were criticized for appearing "last-gen". Gamesradar went on to note that the game's venues "bear little resemblance to their real-life counterparts" and had crowds that looked like "cardboard wraiths with season tickets". The PlayStation 3 version was further criticized for suffering from numerous other bugs and frame rate issues. The lack of online multiplayer was also noted, as well as repetitive commentary, some of which was recycled from Rugby World Cup 2011.
Gamesradar gave the game 1 star out of 5, concluding that "Rugby 15 feels like it's constructed from the fatty offcuts of juicier rugby games which preceded it. Don't let fervour for the upcoming World Cup sway your judgement". IGN gave Rugby 15 a 2 out of 10, citing "a never-ending stream of bugs and paradoxical design decisions", and describing the game as "an experience that's so broken it's hard to recommend. The best thing you can do is pass." The PS4 and Xbox One versions of Rugby 15 hold Metacritic scores of 19 and 20 based on 5 and 4 critic reviews respectively, ranking as the lowest-scoring game on both platforms.
HB Studios also developed Rugby World Cup 2015, as a tie-in to the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The game was widely criticized as being a follow-up to Rugby 15 that did not adequately address the issues seen in the prior game, whilst introducing new issues. IGN gave the game a 1.5 out of 10, noting major bugs, that the game's AI was still poorly implemented, that it still used pre-determined outcomes for tackles, and that while less buggy than the version in Rugby 15, the rucking system was still insufficiently-designed. It was argued that the game was essentially a re-branded version of Rugby 15 rushed out in time for the actual World Cup.
GamesRadar criticized it for only featuring minor improvements over Rugby 15, commenting that "there's nothing here that suggests an understanding of scrums—which is forgivable, since most international referees don’t either—but there’s certainly no attempt to twist the complex battle of binding, shoving and probably-biting into something that belongs in a game. Instead, it’s reduced to 'hook' and 'push'." It was also pointed out that the game did not feature any of the real-life venues from the actual tournament, and that 10 of the 20 teams were not licensed and composed entirely of fictional players — a group that even included tournament host England. Giving Rugby World Cup 2015 2 out of 5 stars, what improvements were present in the game were considered "nothing more than a fig leaf which barely covers the game's otherwise gruesome nudity."
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 (2015)
A revival of the long-running franchise developed by Robomodo, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 was panned for its poor quality, especially in comparison to its predecessors, with reviews citing various performance issues, environmental clipping, and physics issues. The game's environments were criticized for their poor aesthetics, unmemorable level themes, small size, dull challenge tasks, and for not containing as many hidden secrets as those in previous Tony Hawk games. The nature of the game's online modes were criticized for providing little incentive to players and exacerbating the game's performance issues.
IGN gave the game a 3.5 out of 10, concluding that "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5's rare moments of nostalgic joy are drowned out by its abundance of poorly thought out levels, control problems, bugs, and its glaring lack of attitude. It boggles the mind that a $60 game in 2015 can be riddled with so many technical issues." Giving Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 a 3 out of 10, GameSpot argued that "within THPS5 lies a basic skating game that's difficult to enjoy, because you have to jump over numerous hoops and ignore a plethora of obvious issues to find the smallest amount of fun." Polygon named Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 one of the worst games of 2015, stating that it was "so broken, so garish and so grim that reformed Tony Hawk lovers rue the day they first laid eyes on the franchise. Sometimes, it's better to leave what's past in the past."
Umbrella Corps (2016)
Umbrella Corps is a tactical shooter spinoff game of the Resident Evil franchise on PS4 and PC. IGN rated the game 3.8/10, with editor Brian Albert proclaiming "Umbrella Corps is a black mark on the Resident Evil series record." The Jimquistion gave the game 2.5/10, stating "the shocking lack of effort in this game's "campaign" perfectly reflects what Umbrella Corps is. It's a low-effort, unenthusiastic cash grab. It provides not a single indicator that it cares about quality, content, or the enjoyment of the player." Bob Mackey from Usgamer timed how long it took for him to log into a match in the game compared to other multiplayer games, clocking in about two hours with still no match made. Out of fifty five reviews on Metacritic, the game's average is at 38 out of 100.
- List of commercial failures in video gaming
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