Microsoft’s Xbox One has endured something of a mixed generation. A horrible launch period coupled with some horribly mixed messages have left the console trailing PlayStation 4. Yet as more and more quality games arrive – it’s easy to forget just why audiences took so long to warm up to the console. So we figured we’d look back at the worst of Xbox One – from the poorly thought out to the terribly executed.
Which Xbox One games made you regret your Xbox One purchase?
10. Zoo Tycoon
Sadly, Microsoft’s early obsession with Kinect not only derailed the consoles early momentum – it delivered some of the absolute worst games on Xbox One. Zoo Tycoon is just one of those games.
The PC classic was revived by Microsoft in an attempt to make Kinect look useful. Sadly they buried the classic gameplay beneath a mountain of terrible ideas and poorly executed mechanics. Ideas like the game hand holding you so much that it practically builds your zoo for you – removing a lot of the creativity that the series once thrived on. Not that the game actually makes it fun to get new items to build. The research and conservation dynamic is so tediously laborious that you’ll rarely venture in with joy.
The game is a watered slog, desperately in need of detail and a travesty to a classic game. Do yourself a big favor – pick up one of the PC classics and forget this disaster ever happened.
9. Powerstar Golf
The brief experience I had with Powerstar Golf left me yearning for something more fulfilling. The game isn’t awful per say, but it lacks anything unique or remotely memorable. It’s a mishmash of other games, combined so awkwardly that they don’t feel truly aligned.
Take the core golf gameplay. It feels like a poor mans Tiger Woods – delivering an experience that doesn’t come close to matching the excitement (if you can call it that) of the other games.
Things aren’t helped by an art style that turns the people within this world into awkwardly ugly cretins – reducing any potential for the game’s characters to charm before it has a chance.
8. Kinect Sports Rivals
I told you, this list is going to feature a lot of Kinect games. If you need any reason why gamers didn’t take to the overly awful peripheral – Kinect Sports Rivals will help show you.
Most of the minigames are borderline unplayable – with the worst Kinect additions going to the included “soccer” game. Here you’re tasked with moving your foot to kick the ball – with all the grace of a sledgehammer hitting an egg. It’s tragic and thanks to the Kinect’s inability to accurately tell what you’re doing, a fair selection of your passes will zip anywhere but where you intended.
There are some decent ideas in here – but this Wii Sports knockoff only makes us yearn for that free game. This was a full price release title. What on earth was Microsoft thinking?
7. Ryse: Son of Rome
Rather bizarrely, some people insist this game is an underrated gem in the Xbox One library of games. While it certainly looks like a game worthy of AAA-love – the praise pretty much ends the moment gameplay kicks in.
Ryse’s main crime is it’s incredibly simplistic. Relying heavily on quick time events to deliver action sequences, the game feels like an elaborate museum tour. Lots of nice things to stare at, but very little to actually keep you invested. It’s not helped by combat mechanics that get tedious after several experiences – while the story fails to deliver in any regard.
Certainly, Ryse was an interesting attempt from Crytek – but the fact is that this game is everything a new generation game shouldn’t be. All looks and no brain.
6. MagNets: Fully Charged
Originally released on Steam, the game is a homage to old school kids games – the kind of colorful silly frollics that made so many PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2 platformers passable. Sadly, in the charge to pay homage to these – MagNets ends up falling into the traps that made these games such a chore.
The worlds are bland, forgettable and lack any kind of individuality. Enemies quickly become dull while puzzles are all but basic in execution. Without any sense of challenge, MagNets becomes a tired slog that never elevates itself. This isn’t helped by a soundtrack that sounds like it was ripped straight from the royalty-free catalog.
There’s nothing wrong with paying homage to past games – but MagNets falls way-way short of the level of entertainment an almost-full priced game should deliver. Even your younger siblings would struggle to enjoy this Xbox One mess.
5. Crimson Dragon
On-rail shooters are a hard sell at the best of times. It’s a genre with limited appeal and hasn’t hit the mainstream like others have. Crimson Dragon looked to change this, bringing the genre to the forefront. Sadly it fell at the first hurdle.
Using the Kinect, you ride a dragon through on-rail stages – teaching it abilities and fighting the games shockingly poor controls along the way. The concept is cool on paper, but falls apart right around the time you need to anything remotely useful. Thanks to the poorly explained on-screen instructions, you’ll regularly find yourself hugging the wall as you scream in frustration. Enemies are also bizarrely paced – creating moments where you’ll genuinely feel overwhelmed.
It also looks like an Xbox 360 game – something you really don’t expect from a game with so much hype.
4. Xbox Fitness
Another Kinect game – this time a non-game to help soothe your wounds. Xbox Fitness attempted to ride the Wii Fit wave to the bitter end – crashing and burning spectacularly in the process.
The games UI is laughably bad – with voice commands that barely operate as intended. The videos within are fine – but there’s no real video game here to experience. The on-screen prompts had a habit of falling out of sync with the video – while the experience itself was entirely devoid of fun or humor.
So popular was this that Microsoft quietly shuttered the service entirely, rendering the game useless. I guess they finally got the memo about fitness games.
3. Zombie Driver: Ultimate Edition
One of the biggest trends to emerge from this generation of video games is the all mighty “ultimate edition”. Publishers desperate to make a bit of extra cash re-releasing last generations wares with a slight graphical bump. In some cases, it’s worth the price of entry (See The Last of Us). In others, however, it is most certainly not.
This top-down racing zombie mess has all the lazy hallmarks of a game released in the early 2010’s. Zombies litter the game but don’t provide much challenge. The “graphical upgrade” promised amounts to barely a change – as the game looks very much like a high-end mobile game. This could all be forgiven if the game was actually decent to play, but alas, the game has all the depth of a paddling pool. You mow down enemies, racking up as high a score as possible until you’re whisked to the next bland stage.
Sound fun? You can pay full retail price for it – as the developers of this game bizarrely tried to ask when re-releasing this to Xbox One.
2. Super Night Riders
For a game that wants to go fast, Super Night Riders really struggle to keep its framerate in check. It’s one of the worst performing games on Xbox One – by some considerable distance.
If we look beyond the basic graphics, dense AI and tedious music – the game’s performance practically drags the game to an awkward halt. There isn’t a single race where you’re not left frustrated by the games innate ability to perform. Not helped of course by gameplay that’s so tedious and mind-numbing you’ll long get bored before completing the campaign.
Honestly, you’d be better just avoiding this one entirely and finding a better racer – one that won’t actively send you to sleep.
1. Fighter Within
As you can see from this list, Kinect was more of a burden on the Xbox One than a positive force. As games awkwardly tried to fit within its awkward framework, the core experience that should have been fun fell apart. Arguably this is at the core of Fighter Within’s problems.
The game is offensively broken. Because it requires Kinect to perform even the simplest move, matches are reduced to awkward arm flailing exercises. Kinect barely gets it right as you’re forced to endure matches with no rhyme or reason.
There’s simply no reason to play this game – arguably one of the worst fighting games of all time, and very much the worst Xbox One game.