A few weeks ago, the entire TPG staff offered individual picks for the best PC games of 2011. We now take a final look back by presenting the worst PC gaming had to offer throughout the course of last year. Some were highly anticipated titles that broke our collective hearts, a few turned out to be quick cash grabs with no redeeming qualities, while others revealed themselves to be simply awful.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters
EA outdid itself with the scumbaggery that was Tiger Woods 12. PC golf fans who waited over 4 years to finally play a standalone title were treated to a 3-year old online game burned onto a DVD and sold for 40 bucks.
Saints Row: The Third
The “riches to rags to riches” storyline of Saints Row 3 is creepily analytical of what happened to the actual series. It’s a misguided metagame that takes itself way too seriously about not taking itself seriously, creating a game that doesn’t look that different from its competition.
Duke Nukem Forever
When Duke Nukem 3D released in 1996, superficiality wasn’t its main goal. It was intended to be a bigger, better and ballsier interpretation of Doom, with a character who embraced all these qualities. The Austin Powers-esque twist of Duke Nukem Forever saw him waking up after a long cryogenic freeze in an unfamiliar time and place, having been reduced to a smaller, less ambitious, and obnoxiously more immature version of his former self.
Postal III is a game so bad that even the game knows its bad. Without the things that made previous entries at least interesting, all Postal III has going for it is chic offensiveness. But in reality all that’s left for the game to do is just acknowledge that it’s a bad game. Unfortunately, it does, and it tries to play it off as a joke.
Dead Horde game was the most boring, uninspired, and creatively bankrupt experience I’ve had this year. Even the two year old Zombie Shooter 2 was better than this. Go spend your zombie-killing budget on that instead or, you know, on one of the millions of other zombie-killing games that are also available.
The Binding of Isaac
Playing through The Binding of Isaac is like reading the diary of a fifteen year old emo kid. It’s ugly and whiny and while it does have the occasional moment of brilliance, it’s too bogged down in clichéd mommy issues for you to take seriously. Even if you can ignore the pathetic aesthetic, the game itself is pretty lacking, since success relies more on luck (everything is randomized) than actual skill.
I dislike Sphera for a lot of reasons, but the biggest is the lack of a coherent plot. You can sort of piece together an interesting story on your own—a poignant tale about a young girl dealing with abandonment and other familial issues—but it all gets pulled out from under you when she absorbs her brother and becomes an evil god. Oops, did I just spoil the ending? Don’t hate me; I’ve saved you from wasting your money on this game.
Serious Sam: The Random Encounter
Imagine being a struggling indie developer. Now imagine being asked to build a spin-off game based on a hot IP known for frantic, unapologetic action. Finally, imagine squandering that opportunity by producing a slow-paced, ludicrously short, lightweight action-RPG. That’s the story of Serious Sam: The Random Encounter.
I’ve read nothing but praise for Gemini Rue since it was released, but it doesn’t deserve any of it. The interface is awkward, the action sequences are kludgy, the plot is convoluted, and the art is muddy and unattractive. It saddens me to see this being considered among the best of what the adventure genre has to offer. Spend your money on the much better Blackwell games instead.
Bunch of Heroes
A bird’s eye view arcade shooter with terrible controls and many terrible design decisions that artificially increase the difficulty.
My biggest disappointment of the year. Waited for launch night and was greeted by many bugs, including noclip having a hotkey by default. Bugs aside, there was no way for the game to live up to the hype generated by its emotional first trailer.
Vampires vs. Zombies
Terrible game with no redeeming qualities and an adware launcher. Not fun, looks bad and I wish I could get back the little time I spent with it.
Dragon Age 2
Following up a decently written game, Dragon Age 2 is very diluted and mild in comparison.
Yes, I know it’s great to play with friends but with all the forced nerd service and confusing controls, Magicka is a temporarily lived disappointment.
What was worked up to be an epic God-game ended up being a short-lived mediocre title for a pretty hefty price tag. And we can’t forget Ubisoft DRM.
The one unique feature of this game was the parkour action combined with gunplay. For a game that features parkour, the overall movement of the player feels too slow for it to compete with other games.
Operation Flashpoint: Red River
This is an odd mix of realism and arcade gameplay. There are real-time ballistics, but your player can recover himself from five headshots, sixteen leg wounds and four chest shots. Giving the player infinite med kits lets on this feeling of invincibility and, ultimately, kills the realistic feeling.
E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy
I have never voluntarily uninstalled a game from my Steam library out of spite until now. Atrocious interface, steep learning curve which is stymied by unintelligible tutorials, and game mechanics that confuse the player left me grasping for where the developers decided this is how logical design works. While I do hear that there have been several improvements, the initial finished product was a disproportionate mess.
Red Orchestra 2
Fans can crucify me for sounding “casual”, but there is a fine line between realistic and boring. Sloppy AI made unit command a deluge into madness, my troops would refuse orders and proceed to stand in the open to be summarily mowed down by a hail of gunfire. While I appreciate the time and effort that went into making a realistic recreation of battlefield sounds, Ghost Recon accomplished this years ago with much more finesse.
Duke Nukem Forever
I don’t think it’s the abortion a lot of people say it is, but it is indeed a huge disappointment. It plays like a average 1998 game and looks like something released in 2006. And, worst of all, it carries the Duke Nukem name.
Sword of the Stars II
I enjoyed the first game and I was looking forward to it’s much hyped sequel. What I got was an abomination, released a year too early. It’s so bad the options menu button doesn’t even work. I think you get the picture.
Call of Juarez: The Cartel
The first two games were enjoyable and dare I say, memorable games. When I heard the next game would be set in modern day Mexico I wasn’t exactly thrilled, since what made the series special was the old west setting. However the game managed to be a lot worse than I ever imagined. Bad story, bad gameplay, bad graphics, bad voice acting…the list goes on. And that’s how you kill a promising franchise.
Personally, I think 2011 was a disappointing year for strategy games. Stronghold 3 is a tough choice for me because it could have been so much better with only a extra month or two of development. The lack of a skirmish mode and balance ruined what could have been an otherwise great game.
Sniper Ghost Warrior
Had an interesting concept but the end product was flat out awful. Repetitive, frustrating, ugly etc… I can find plenty of adjectives to define Sniper Ghost Warrior. If you are a developer and want to learn what not to do in a FPS, I’m sure you can still find it for sale, most likely in the bargain bin.
Garshasp: The Monster Slayer
When Garshasp was first announced, I took an interest in its premise but not its gameplay. It got some pretty poor reviews upon release, but I eventually picked it up on a Steam sale to decide for myself. All in all, the reviews are pretty accurate. It was short, glitchy, mundane, unimaginative and unpolished. For a small team on a limited budget it was a solid effort, but I can still think of much better things to spend $2.49 on. I’m hesitant to call it a waste of time, but I’ll definitely warn people to approach it cautiously. -End
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