2016 has been wild ride thus far. It’s the year that’s given us Uncharted 4, DOOM, Forza Horizons 3 as well as many more high quality offerings across the board. Yet for these great games, there’s a trickle of titles that, for one reason or another, just didn’t stick the landing. Not through disappointment, but because their execution was so bafflingly poor that I couldn’t enjoy them. So here are the top 10 of those games, which for me at the very least, amount to the worst 2016 has offered up thus far.
Opinions obviously differ, so let me know if any of these titles don’t make your list. I’m curious to hear what your alternatives are.
10. Langrisser Re:Incarnation
Can you say quick buck? Following the success of Fire Emblem; there’s been an avalanche of clones and tactical strategy games trying to recreate that games popularity in the west. The Langrisser series has enjoyed a storied history. This was the first outing for the series in the west for 15 years; and with fans eager to see what the series could bring to the table, expectations were modestly high.
Shame then that the games story is a hogwash of boredom and tedious dialogue. Broken english is but one of the problems facing this game, with pacing issues galore as the games story jumps around like an erratic three year old who’s just downed a can of Red Bull. More bizarrely, the game seems to be missing a number of key features; leading many of its fans to suspect that the game was hastily rushed to market. Honestly it’s not even worth hunting down a rental copy – the games a complete car crash.
9. Soul Axiom
Visually this game is striking and wouldn’t look out-of-place next to some of this generations finest offerings. Yet for those good looks, Soul Axiom has the personality of a porn star.
The first person puzzle game plays like a lumbering dinosaur. Stiff, awkward and generally too fiddly to really give you the control you need. Poor direction from the games help system means you’ll be struggling to understand what’s needed to progress, while the game throws new mechanics at you with wild (and somethings awkward) abandon for flow.
8. 7 Days To Die
Hugely popular on the PC, 7 Days To Die made its way over the consoles with some mild enthusiasm from gamers to back it up. Sadly the version of the game they got was laughably bad.
The port is a mess, with frame rate drops, bad controller mapping and some awkwardly long load times making up the bulk of the experience. The core mechanics remain strong but the game struggles to endear itself beyond the laughably timid attempts to make it fit in the console framework. Worst of all though, it looks like ass. Every texture in this game looks like it was run through a blur filter before the game hit out.
Not the port console gamers wanted or deserve. It was the worst way to experience a game that had, until the console releases, been a fairly decent outing.
The quality of seal that is the 3D Realms logo strikes again – this time in a game that collapses long before you have chance to see the good stuff. Bombshell is an action role-playing game that tasks you with defusing bombs as a technician turned mercenary for hire.
Sadly the much promised action never materializes as the game falls into a tedious cycle of repetition and mindlessly dull objective based gameplay. It wouldn’t be so bad except the game tries tacking ideas on half-heartedly; leading to an awkward number of the mechanics feeling shallow and ultimately pointless. The looting system, the under-cooked combat.
Bombshell is a game that might find some hardcore fans that care about it, but for the majority it’s a mindless slog of the worst kind. Best left unbought.
6. Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia
The Chronicles range of Assassin’s Creed games have proven quite popular among mobile gamers, who’ve found themselves deeply enriched by the experience of being able to expand the Assassin’s Creed lore in portable outings. The Russia outing seemingly was set to finish off the series on a high note, but you wouldn’t know that from this outing.
An awkward mishmash of various game types that never really come together. The graphics are up to task but the attempt to mix action and stealth comes undone in a hilariously bad offering. The awkwardly staggered approach to game play leaves you feeling frustrated, cheated and just not fulfilled with an experience that promises so much more.
It’s a real shame as the Chronicles series has been quietly brilliant for the series. Not so in this outing.
5. Coffin Dodgers
We can’t go one Kart racing game without mentioning Mario Kart so for the rest of this entry, I’ll refrain from discussing him. Instead we can focus on the awfulness of Coffin Dodgers.
Looking like a mobile game that got stretched up, Coffin Dodgers takes all the worst aspects of the karting genre and throws them gleefully into a bland mix of repetitive courses, poorly executed one liners and some of the dullest racing you’ll ever see. The biggest issue is the way karts handle – with the kind of stiffness and slugginess round corners that makes precise driving a complete nightmare.
The only thing you should dodge is this poorly executed
4. Alekhine’s Gun
It speaks to the quality of the Hitman series that there are very few games willing to take it on. Fans of that series expect quality and Hitman’s latest outing has been a blast. So when Alekhine’s Gun appeared, I was genuinely intrigued, could this finally be the Hitman challenger we’d been waiting for. No – and then some.
The game see’s you take up the mantle of a Soviet assassin who’s been recruited by the United States government to run missions around the world. Sadly the reality of the game is some of the most bland graphics thrown onto the PlayStation 4 this generation. A chugging frame rate that disrupts gameplay and an unusually harsh mission structure that punishes attempts to invent. Where Hitman rewards curiosity, here it’s beaten down and treated as an afterthought.
Add in some incredibly stilted dialogue along with unimaginative use of cut-scenes to convey the plot – and really you’d be better off just playing one of the Hitman games.
3. Blood Alloy: Reborn
The problem with rushing games to market is that it usually means cutting out the fat to fit the game through the release window. In this case, Blood Alloy was let down by what I suspect was a publisher over-eagerly egging its developers to push on when there was more to deliver.
As a result, the game has a solid core of ideas – seeing you fighting through hordes of enemies with delightful abandon. But with just three levels making up the games package, you’ll very quickly have seen everything the game has to offer.
It also doesn’t help that enemy variety seems to have taken a hit in the process – with multiple enemies lacking variety of visual distinction across the board. A real head scratcher.
2. Homefront: The Revolution
Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original Homefront. In a crowded first person shooter market, it didn’t do enough to stand out from the crowd. Yet when this game was first announced, declaring it was breaking down the barriers and delivering an open world experience, I genuinely felt the series had a shot to really break out. Couldn’t have been more wrong.
The game arrived in a horrendous state – slugging away in the low 20 frames per second range as the experience was ruined out the gate. Not that the game itself is worth writing home about. The story was lazy, pandering and awkwardly two-dimensional – giving you little reason to invest in the world that the game is trying to create.
Patches and updates have worked to address the issues, but with the likes of DOOM and Overwatch lighting up the FPS genre this year – Homefront falls incredibly short of the pack. Both in terms of disappointment and technical disasters, this is the worst FPS of the year.
Arriving on PC in March, Slain! looked to revitalise the Castlevania inspired-genre of exploration games. The gothic adventure seemed to be pitching to the right crowd – it’s just a shame that it all fell apart pretty spectacularly.
The game is cumbersome, dull and awkwardly stilted. If you were looking for the fast, frenzied action of the Castlevania games then this isn’t the place to get it. Enemies move like they’ve been wandering through custard, take too many hits to eliminate and are just a frustration. Not that the game isn’t stacked high with those anyway – the amount of glitches in the title laughably beg the question how this ever made it to the Steam store.
There’s nothing redeeming in this package and certainly nothing here worth your time. It’s arguably the worst game of 2016 to be commercially released.