Having published the list of my favourite games from 2013 it made sense that I sit before my keyboard once more and write out a brief post talking about what I view as the three worst games I played in 2013, all while nursing a hangover. Yup, New Year’s Eve was….actually it was a really quiet night thanks to a mix of terrible weather and everyone cancelling their party plans. The hangover stems from a night spent watching stupid videos with my family, drinking cider and eating Haribo.
Thankfully this year I wasn’t subjected to too many terrible titles, managing to bypass some of the truly dreadful games that were released, many of them appearing on Steam. Therefore I’ve kept this to just a short list of three games. Three games that I really did not enjoy having to play and then write about. Three games I want to erase from my mind, be it through misguided surgery at the hands of a raving lunatic with a lisp or through copious amounts of booze.
Like my previous list there are a few basic rules:
- There are some instances of swearing in this article. You, sir or madam, have been warned.
- I’m an Xbox 360/One and PC gamer, so sadly no titles exclusive to other platforms will be on this list, no matter how many nightmares they may have given you.
- Obviously only games I’ve actually played can be here, so if you’ve played something truly horrible and it doesn’t appear on this list it’s probably because I never had the dubious pleasure of trying it. Unlike you, you poor bastard.
- This is a chance to let off steam, so I may come across harsher here than I did in the reviews.
And that’s it for the rules, so let’s get on with this, starting with:
Number 3: Blood Knights
A tale of a dude and his pet vampire, I reviewed Blood Knights toward the end of November and scored it just 1.5/5, declaring, “Blood Knights simply has nothing that would make me want to recommend it to you. It’s a boring, poorly put together title, yet I can’t quite give it a 1. I don’t hate Blood Knights, I just don’t care that it exists.”
In so many ways failing to care about a game’s existence is actually worse than hating it, because at least if you hate it with a passion then it’s eliciting an emotional response. It’s doing something, at the very least. Blood Knights fails to even do that, unless you count being really, really bored as a strong response.
The basics for something decent are there: a co-op hack ‘n’ slasher in which you play as Jeremy and/or his vampire partner Alysa, battling against hordes of evil while you attempt to recover a strange artifact and save the world. Sounds okay, right? The problems begin with a lousy story which makes absolutely no sense and features a cast of dull characters, all of which have truly horrible voice acting. The gameplay is a clumsy mess, which is unforgivable considering how bloody simple it is. Bafflingly for a game built around co-operative play there were very few mechanics that took advantage of having a second player. Even stranger was that there was no online co-op option, leaving you to run one of your unlucky friends down, kidnap them and force them to play with you.
Hell, the fucking ending doesn’t even make sense! I don’t know who penned the storyline, but they clearly failed to think even the most basic things through, resulting in a plot so full of holes it could be used as a sieve. What’s the Blood Seal? No idea. Who made it? Er. How and why did it shatter the moon, when its job is apparently just to stop demons from invading Earth? Not a clue. How does this bonding thing work? Pass. Who is that guy and why was he never mentioned before? I dunno. Just how the hell did that person survive that fall? Because. Why does that plot twist at the end make zero sense? Shut up.
Even the secondary character, Alysa, feels like she was almost entirely forgotten about for most of the script-writing process, barely saying anything throughout the game and apparently being quite okay with her slavery to Jeremy, all while wearing the typical skimpy armour which wouldn’t even be effective against an unarmed pygmy who is dying of cancer. Early in the game Jeremy is transformed into a vampire and abandoned by his former comrades, offering a great setup for a character-driven tale between him and Alysa. But no, what we get is almost no character developement for either of them throughout the first half of the game, and then a bit of banter near the end which is written in a way which makes it sound like the characters have known each other forever.
Ignore every other criticism of Blood Knights: its biggest sin is being the definition of badly written. It’s terrible. End of.
You can read the review HERE.
Number 2: DARK
What really pisses me off about DARK is that it could have been good. It’s a game with a setup that clicks with me, that intrigues me and makes me want to like it. It’s a stealth game set within a dark, grimy world, but the cool catch is you play as a vampire, able to use supernatural powers like teleportation and mind control. Your powers are fueled by blood which you must drink from the many foes inhabiting the levels, a risky proposition because the act of draining your victim makes noise and leaves you defenseless for a period of time. I mean come on, the game practically makes itself! How could a stealth game with a vampire as a lead character not be awesome?
Quite easily, apparently.
Creating a power fantasy where the player feels like a skilled, deadly predator whilst also being very vulnerable is a tricky task, one ably demonstrated by Rocksteady’s Arkham series and Dishonored. Both games give you the tools and skills to pick off your foes, but screw up and you’ll find yourself in deep trouble quickly. It’s in the creation of this fantasy that DARK finds its biggest failure. There isn’t a single moment where you feel like a dangerous, powerful vampire, rather you spend the entire game feeling like a clumsy oaf stomping around in heavy boots with all the grace of a sloth on a pogostick. As a vampire you need to feel smooth, agile and fluid, but simply moving around feels a bit awkward, and using your powers is often a pain in the arse thanks to troublesome aiming. Even your core power of teleportation is made far harder to use than it should be by being frustrating to aim. Nothing is more embarrassing than being killed because you literally appeared 2-inches from a guards foot on the wrong side of the cover you were aiming at.
And what kind of fucking vampire can’t even jump over railings? Seriously. Between his clumping around, stiff animations and inability to navigate basic terrain lead character Eric Bane is perhaps the worst vampire in existence, which is impressive given that he’s up against Edward Cullen. After a while I began to wonder if Eric wasn’t actually some idiot that overdosed on super nifty drugs and spent the next week running around with the firm belief he was a vampire while making “fwhooosh” sounds.
Ah, but it all gets worse. On top of the poor gameplay and idiotic design decisions there’s horrible voice acting and a nonsensical story which includes a bloody huge plot hole, one so damn obvious that whomever wrote the script should feel ashamed for not seeing it. The characters are bland, the narrative is poorly constructed and equally poorly told, and topping it off is atrocious enemy AI.
Thankfully DARK was released to zero fanfare with very few people even aware it exists. But the weird thing is I actually sort of want a sequel, albeit one with different developers and a better budget, because I like the concept so much. Okay, so what I actually want is a whole new game that steals the concept.
DARK sits higher on this list than Blood Knights simply because it had potential, and it wasted.
You can read the review HERE.
The Worst Game Of 2013 Is R.I.P.D. The Game
Back in April of 2013 a company called Old School Games released God Mode, a pretty basic arena shooter in which you and a few buddies teamed up against waves and waves of mythical enemies, battling your way through each level. It had some serious flaws, but I was in a forgiving mood in the time and scored it a 2/5, essentially saying that if you understood what you were going in to it could provide some entertainment. I finished it and thought nothing more of it.
Then in July of 2013 I got an Email containing a download code to review R.I.P.D. The Game, a title I’d not even heard of at that point. So I went ahead, downloaded the game and began playing. A few minutes later I was feeling a mite pissed, because as it turns out R.I.P.D. The Game was developed by Old School Games and was a carbon copy of God Mode, albeit with everything that had made God Mode at least semi-fun ripped out, leaving nought a bloody husk mimicking electronic life. To say it simply R.I.P.D. is not just a prime example of lazy developement, it’s also a fucking terrible game that embodies everything I hate about the videogame industry in its current form.
As far as I can tell, R.I.P.D. was developed completely within about three months by copying as much as humanly possible from God Mode, reskinning everything and then claiming it was a finished game. In that time they failed to fix any of the many, many criticisms levelled at God Mode, and somehow managed to make a game that was actually worse. Hell, R.I.P.D. doesn’t even really work as a movie tie-in because it neither follows the story of the film nor tells one itself, favoring the simple approach of just throwing baddies at you and hoping you never question it. You can play as one of the two lead characters from the film, and the characters do vaguely look like their real life counterparts, but don’t go expecting any voice acting. I can understand Ryan Reynolds not coming in to voice his digital clone, but couldn’t the developers be bothered to find someone who sort of sounds like him? Did they care so little that they couldn’t even care long enough to write a bit of text explaining what the hell is going on? R.I.P.D. takes home the award for the most half-assed attempt to create a licensed game I’ve ever had the mis-fucking-fortune to ever play.
For something that promoted itself as a run and gun game, God Mode had clumsy, slow movement and awkward aiming, cardinal sins in that sort of genre. R.I.P.D. was no different, except it featured tiny, tight levels. You see in God Mode player’s would progress from area to area within any given map, and the mythical theme of the game allowed for some brilliant vistas, drawing attention away from the fact that no matter where you were it was essentially just another open space in which to do battle. In R.I.P.D. these fairly large arenas are replaced by boring-ass warehouses and other dull environments, all of which have very limited room to maneuver. You don’t get to move through the level as you kill enemies, you just stay in that one little zone It’s like the developers had zero concept of how a good run and gun game should work, namely that movement needs to be fast and responsive so that the player can weave through the vast hordes of enemies, and the levels need to be designed to facilitate this. But in R.I.P.D. backpedaling while holding the trigger is really the only viable option, because strafing is slow, the dodge is useless and the melee makes your character come to a grinding halt in order to deliver the slowest strike in the history of the entire God-damn world. Oh, yay, what fun it is.
Did I mention the brain-dead AI? The boring weapons? The unlock system that requires you to grind for hours in order to get anything decent? The fact that you don’t earn anything unless you complete every round, which can take over half an hour? Or that each wave of enemies is actually no more difficult than the last? How about that the 4-player co-op of God Mode which stripped back to 2-player co-op? The really boring killstreaks? The horrible audio? There’s so many more problems with this game, but you can read the review for the full rundown of utter bollox that exists within R.I.P.D.
Normally I pride myself on putting a lot of time into whatever game I’m reviewing at the time. I dedicate my life to it for as long as I feel is required to be able to talk about it fully, to share my views with the world and have them dissected and stamped on by the many intelligent gamers out there. But quite honestly I played merely a few hours of R.I.P.D., and I hated sacrificing that time to something so horrible.
I just…I just…I just hate this fucking game.
You can read the review HERE.
So there we have it, the top three worst games that I endured playing during 2013. In all honestly I got off pretty lightly. I read reviews of many other horrible games and am proud to say that I laughed at the misfortune of every journalist forced to play them. Poor bastards.
Take care all.