The 2010s was a banner decade for videogames, thanks to the quantum leap in graphics and processor technology. The previous decade saw the release of some of the most iconic games to date, from the perpetually entertaining Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to the rise of esports titles like Dota 2 and League of Legends.
But for every one of the videogame gems from this decade is about 10 or 20 duds, and sadly, a lot of these overhyped games promised big and fell short. In this article, we take a look at the worst video games you should probably skip.
Worst Video Game: Final Fantasy XIV
It shouldn’t take much for a game carrying the Final Fantasy banner to succeed: as one of the oldest videogame franchises, a new Final Fantasy game is usually announced to much fanfare, with Square Enix promising that this game is going to be the quintessential entry into the franchise.
Final Fantasy XIV promised pretty much everything a Final Fantasy fan wanted to hear: a constantly evolving storyline that reacted to your player’s actions, fully immersive gameplay that required cooperation and encouraged exploration, and of course, cutting-edge graphics. It was the end-all-be-all of MMO’s, and it was going to kill World of Warcraft the way EVGA killed Ryzen.
Unfortunately, the game’s release was anything but those things: gameplay was buggy, graphics were mediocre to subpar, confusing interfaces, and probably worst of all, uninspired quests and an overall boring storyline. And that’s assuming the servers are functioning, which, at the time of its release and immediately after, was not the case.
Servers for the game shut down only two years after release, and sure, Square Enix released Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn a year later to critical acclaim, but the damage to the reputation of XIV had already been set in stone.
Worst Video Game: Overkill’s The Walking Dead
Back in the early 2010s, The Walking Dead was the show to watch: the first 3-4 seasons of the zombie apocalypse show was one of the most-watched pieces of television in history, spawning a universe, spin-offs, tie-ins, and of course, a video game. In collaboration with Starbreeze Studios, Overkill Software developed a The Walking Dead videogame that was good enough for series creator Robert Kirkman to give his seal of approval.
The game promised to immerse players completely in TWD’s world, complete with co-op, killer graphics, and new content to come out in ‘seasons’, one of the first MMORPG’s to attempt to do so. The hype for the game was intense, thanks to the then-clout the show commanded, made even more intense by various delays. The release date was pushed back month after month, with the game studio claiming it was to ‘rework core combat and mission systems’.
Whether these reworks were completed is a matter of debate, but the game fans got was buggy, confusing, with weak enemy AI and unstable servers. The game lasted a total of 2 months before it was pulled from Steam stores, with franchise owner Skybound Entertainment terminating its contract with both Overkill and Starbreeze over the whole debacle.
Worst Video Game: Anthem
Billed as a “Destiny killer”, BioWare’s Anthem promised to take everything that made Destiny great and make it even better: better graphics, better story, better interface, and just a generally overall better game. In fact, on release, the game did receive critical acclaim for a lot of those things.
But that was just in and around the release date: after a few weeks, players started complaining about Anthem’s repetitive grind, lackluster story, confusing interface, clashing with third-party or cheap PS4 controllers , and various bugs. As players finished their first playthrough, a consensus had been made: Anthem wasn’t a Destiny killer, it was a Destiny derivative. It’s not so much that Anthem was a bad game, it was the fact that it was such a mediocre and forgettable game that didn’t justify its release date price tag
The game did receive unanimous praise for being gorgeous, with its promise of next-gen visuals being fulfilled, but sadly, the overall gaming experience was so negative that all future plans for its rework have been canceled just two years after its release.
Worst Video Game: Mass Effect: Andromeda
The Mass Effect franchise is basically BioWare’s Final Fantasy: the first 2 games in the series were such critical and commercial successes that Mass Effect 3 was practically assured a spot in videogame Olympus. Sadly, this was not the case: Mass Effect 3 was a technical and visual marvel, but fans criticized the disappointing storyline that was so controversial, BioWare had to release an Extended Cut version that overhauled the original ending (the Extended Cut, thankfully, was received positively).
BioWare was able to avoid a potential disaster with Mass Effect 3, and to atone for their near-failure, the company started teasing Mass Effect: Andromeda, a sort-of prequel to ME3 that promised an expansion in the series’ storyline. It was going to utilize the latest gaming engines which, at the time, would have been supported by the latest GPU’s (with the Ryzen line of processors being at the forefront at that time).
Sadly, their path to redemption was a flop, but not for a lack of trying: Mass Effect: Andromeda had beautiful visuals, a satisfactory storyline, a persistent universe, and great gameplay. Sure, there were bugs and complaints about the poor rendering of character faces, but a lot of these technical issues were overlooked by eager gamers.
So why was it a flop? Two reasons: first, high-profile games like Horizon: Zero Dawn and Nioh, both of which achieved near-universal critical acclaim, were released around the same time, completely overshadowing Mass Effect: Andromeda’s release. Secondly, many fans still felt slighted over Mass Effect 3’s poor ending, leading to negative word-of-mouth reviews that, sadly, drove ratings and sales down.
We recommend you skip these games because of their poor gameplay and overall experience, but if you could, somehow, secure yourself a copy (*cough* Torrent *cough*), you don’t have to splurge on a gaming rig. Check out our list of the best gaming laptops under $1,500, and see for yourself if any of these games really are disappointing (hint: they are).