We all know to avoid the obviously bad games of the world, but what do you do when a franchise you trust churns out a bad entry? There always have been, and always will be, bad games, but we’re fortunate enough to have an incredible number of franchises that have been delivering the goods for years. Yet somehow, even these lauded franchises have a stinker or two slip through the cracks and leave us wondering where it all went wrong. We here at Controller Crusade, not content to let these shameful games fade into obscurity, took it upon ourselves to compile a list of 7 awful games from otherwise great franchises.
You can thank us later.
Metroid: Other M
For our money, the Metroid series contains two of the greatest games ever made (Super Metroid and Metroid Prime both belong on the Top 10 list). So you can imagine how excited we were when it was announced that Nintendo was partnering with Team Ninja to make a new game in the franchise. That excitement quickly subsided once we saw the result. In theory, Other M is a great game. In practice, it’s a frustrating mess. Switching from third to first person seemed cool but turned out to be confusing and frustrating, the new item discovery mechanic was silly and seemed to talk down to the player, and the first-person pixel hunts were bad enough to make most players turn the game off right then and there.
And… Oh God, the storyline. The developers turned one of gaming’s best female icons into an offensive, sexist caricature who could barely even walk without being directly told to by someone else. Awkward cutscenes constantly interrupted the gameplay to tell a story fit for a daytime soap that’s all about Samus’ secret yearning to be a mother. They’re not even subtle about it: Take a look at the game’s acronym and be amazed at how heavy handed and awful the whole thing is.
Tony Hawk: Ride
Few franchises feature as much pure fun as the classic Tony Hawk games. Cool tricks and awesome soundtracks made the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series one of our all time favourites right up until it got pushed into the peripheral craze started by Guitar Hero. “What the franchise needs” thought some overpaid Activision executive, “is a plastic skateboard”. To the complete surprise of no one, the game turned out terribly. The board was awkward, unresponsive, and playing the game very quickly became an exercise in frustration. Between Ride and it’s also terrible sequel Shred, the Tony Hawk franchise was put on hold indefinitely. Way to go, idiot.
Final Fantasy XIV
Certain Final Fantasy games may not exactly be your cup of tea, but it’s hard to say that any of them were straight up bad. The original release of Final Fantasy XIV changed all that. The game was essentially unfinished and riddled with so many bugs that at times it was virtually unplayable. The in game economy was ruined from day 1, the quest structure was completely illogical and broken, and the interface was one of the worst the MMO genre has ever seen. Final Fantasy XIV was so awful that SquareEnix extended all player’s free trials indefinitely, publicly apologized for the state of the game, and finally scrapped everything and remade the entire game from scratch. This is the only game we can think of that’s so bad that the creators actually spent two years and millions of dollars simply trying to erase it.
Duke Nukem Forever
Before it was even released, Duke Nukem Forever turned the franchise into a joke due to it’s infamously long time spent in development hell (seriously, the game took longer to make than World War 2 took to fight). But it wasn’t always that way: The original Duke Nukem sidescrollers were some of the best in their class, and the first-person Duke Nukem 3D was arguably the best shooter of it’s day. Unfortunately, that day had long since past by the time Forever came along and ignored pretty much all evolutions to the genre that took place over the past decade. It ended up being an incredibly simplistic and unpolished shooter, and not even the franchise’s trademark sense of humour could save it due to it being so dated and “extreme” that it actually became offensive.
Dragon Age II
Bioware is one of those developers that, once upon a time, was invincible. But all good things must come to an end, and Bioware’s reign of glory was ended by Dragon Age II*. Following in the footsteps of the phenomenal Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age II made changes in all the wrong places. The world was smaller, the dungeons incredibly repetitive, the customization greatly reduced, and even the combat changed for the worse. It wasn’t all bad, but it was such a radical departure from Origins that we were left wondering just what the hell happened.
*Okay, it was actually ended by Sonic Chronicles, but expecting anyone to make a half-decent Sonic game is downright insane. We also kinda forgot it even existed, but can you really blame us?
Def Jam Icon
The original Def Jam Vendetta and Def Jam: Fight for New York were surprise hits back in the days of the PlayStation 2. A series of fighting games with the cast comprised entirely of rap stars somehow equalled a whole lot of fun, and going forward into the next generation we had high hopes for the series. Unfortunately, what we got was Def Jam Icon, a game that wasn’t terrible but wasn’t anywhere near as good as the previous two instalments. We’re not sure what caused the dip in quality – maybe it was the change of developers or maybe it was the change in gameplay that took it further away from wrestling – but we felt disappointment all the same.
Bomberman: Act Zero
Bomberman is one of gaming’s oldest and most successful franchises, dating back to 1983 and appearing on nearly every platform imaginable. The games have been mostly unchanged since the beginning, but why mess with a winning formula? Apparently Konami disagreed and instead published Bomberman: Act Zero, the New Coke of Bomberman games. It’s essentially the same game as the others, only with years worth of improvements removed and replaced with powerups that do nothing but make the game worse. Oh, and remember the cute, chibi, anime Bomberman we all grew to love over the years? Well screw that guy, because he’s gone and replaced a cybernetic monstrosity and “gritty” graphics aimed directly at the annoying 13 year olds who claim to make love to your mother after every game of Call of Duty.
What did we miss? Are there any other awful games in otherwise awesome series’? Let us know in the comments! The snarkier the better.