Not too long ago, I tweeted regarding an unpopular gaming opinion: Clive Barker’s Jericho really isn’t bad. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been seeing a lot of hate towards it, with many people describing it as one of the worst games ever, and this surprised me. I played it a long time ago (at least that’s how it feels) and had a pretty good time. It wasn’t perfect by any stretch, but there was a lot to enjoy about it.
Jericho was a horror FPS in which a special forces team enters a pocket dimension inside a magic box to fight a demon child. Or something. Anyway, it was squad focus, in which your character dies at the start, but survives as a ghost that can take command of any squad member (an interesting way of handling the usual ‘controlling different party members’ mechanic). Each member had their own skills including resurrection, time slowing, and an awesome guided sniper bullet. Whilst it was a bit generic at times, and the difficulty was all over the place, I wouldn’t call it a bad game.
This got me thinking about other games that seem to get more hate than they might deserve. I’ve looked around for games that appear on worst games ever lists alongside the expected ones such as Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing, E.T., Little Britain, and Superman 64. Below are five games included amongst these in spite of being far more acceptable. I know I don’t need to state it, but this is my opinion. So don’t be too upset.
Duke Nukem Forever
Let’s start off by pointing out that Duke Nukem Forever is not a good game. It’s stuck in the past whilst trying to mock modern gaming conventions that it uses itself to try to stay relevant. The whole development saga surrounding it is far too convoluted to go into here, but it took nearly 15 years for this game to finally arrive. It looked dated, it played like a bog-standard shooter, and the level design was uninspired.
But is it something that’s as terrible as a game in which your truck accelerates infinitely when you go in reverse? Is it as broken as the PC release of Arkham Knight? Is it as embarrassing as *shudder* Super Seducer? I would say no. It’s just very ordinary, which is enough to disappoint a lot of people who had high hopes for it (even after a decade in development hell). It’s not the worst game ever, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth playing.
Flawed. Flawed, flawed, flawed. Too Human is another game with some issues. There was a lawsuit that resulted in all physical copies being removed from store shelves. I don’t know all the details, but it wasn’t because it was a bad game. Too Human was very ambitious, with three planned games detailing a sort of cyberpunk vision of Norse mythology. It was a neat idea and, in my opinion at least, played pretty well apart from the silly camera controls.
Yes, it was quite grindy, and the death cutscene was unskippable and went on far too long. There was also the fact the game itself was actually quite short with a plot that went nowhere (planned sequels, remember?) meaning that it felt a little incomplete. Still, there’s a lot of disdain for Too Human in spite of the fact that it’s average at worst.
This one boggles my mind! Yooka-Laylee is a good game. It’s not perfect by any stretch, but there are portions of the internet that consider this to be on the level of games like Ride to Hell: Retribution. I genuinely can’t understand this.
There are flaws, yes, but the game itself works solidly enough and the mechanics aren’t bad. I suspect a lot of the hate comes from people who wanted this to be a new Banjo-Kazooie, or that it wasn’t exactly like the games it aimed to imitate. Regardless, there was nothing really wrong with it, and it certainly shouldn’t be bundled amongst the worst games ever.
No Man’s Sky
Ooooh, this is going to be a little contentious I think. I see No Man’s Sky crop in a few ‘worst games ever’ lists and part of me understands that. A lot of me doesn’t though, as once again, this isn’t a terrible game as such. I would very much understand if someone threw it into a ‘most disappointing games’ list seeing as it didn’t do half the things the developers promised it would. At first.
By all accounts, No Man’s Sky is now much closer to the product that was promised. The most recent patch has added a lot of content and a large number of people are much happier with their purchase than they were at launch. Does this game deserve to be counted amongst the worst games of all time? No. But should lists be changed retroactively should an impressive new patch be released? Well, that’s an argument for another day.
Yet again, a game that’s perhaps sub-par but isn’t nearly as terrible as the likes of E.T. and it’s ilk. It was a third person shooter in which you could mindjack (THAT’S THE GAME’S NAME!) other characters to solve puzzles or murder baddies more effectively. It was pretty generic in the combat department, and the story wasn’t great, but it worked well enough.
It even had a cool mechanic in which other players could hack your game and mindjack an enemy to either assist you or try to take you down. You could switch the option off so it wouldn’t be too obnoxious. It was fine, if unimpressive so I’m very much of the opinion that including amongst a set of terrible games is a touch foolish.
Some others I see crop up! Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and its sequel popped up a couple of times which I don’t really get. Beyond being too short, they’re pretty good (apart from the star destroyer set piece). I saw an instance of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (too edgy but damn fun to play) and Prince of Persia ’08 (really very good and quite ahead of its time) for some reason. Then there was Alpha Protocol which just made me angry. It’s brilliant! Play it!
What games do you like that seem to get more hate than they should? I know ‘worst games ever’ lists are quite subjective but some things aren’t all that bad. Let me know what you think!