Stinkers: The Worst Games of 2011

Welcome to the end of the gaming year that was 2011.  While this year introduced some monumental sequels and tremendous original efforts, it also produced its fair share of stinkers.  These games were so awful that we’re still trying to figure out what happened during their conception.  So, with that, we’ve decided to count down the ten worst of the worst, just as a reminder that even when everything is going so right in the industry, there’s still a part of it that’s very, very wrong.

Now, a couple of notes.  First of all, not everyone will agree with our choices, as they will probably mention some games that didn’t fit “right” with them as it did us.  Secondly, there were some that didn’t quite make the cut, mainly because they had some flicker of goodness within them, despite general critiquing on sites.  We’re talking about Brink and Duke Nukem Forever.  As disappointing as they were, they avoided making the pile of complete crap that is these remaining games.

So here we go.  Hold your nose.

PlayStation Move: Ape Escape

10. PlayStation Move: Ape Escape (SCEA)

Here’s how not to bring back a popular franchise.  Ape Escape manages to look and sound like previous entries in the series, with plenty of personality-laden apes running from your net and some colorful environments to run through, along with an upbeat soundtrack.  But to limit the game to motion controls – and piss-poor motion controls at that – is absolutely inexcusable.  It’s way too easy to catch all the apes this time around, leaving no real reason to keep playing outside of keeping your kids out of your hair.  And even then, this would count as a form of child abuse.  Worse yet, the game has very limited co-op options, limited to one…count it, ONE…mini game.  Forget this monkey dung.

Wipeout: In the Zone

9. Wipeout: In the Zone (Xbox 360)

Wipeout the show is great.  It’s hilarious, fun and filled with happy accidents.  But the game itself?  IT is the accident.  Using strict motion controls that barely register half the time, In the Zone just never even comes close to reaching the threshold of the show.  And with a number of repetitive, lifeless courses, lame mini-games, and a presentation that falls behind way too often, it ends up being all wet.  What’s worse, Activision couldn’t even wait a full year to release the sequel, Wipeout 2, and it ended up being just as bad.  But we’ll focus solely on In the Zone because, honestly, it just doesn’t live up to its name.

X-Men Destiny (Nintendo DS)

8. X-Men Destiny (Nintendo DS)

As let down as some gamers were by the console versions of X-Men Destiny, they were masterpieces compared to the DS game, which is considerably the worst handheld game you’re likely to come across this year.  Repetitive, poorly-designed, and featuring hardly any redeeming value whatsoever, the DS version of Destiny crams the storyline into a lame beat-em-up that goes nowhere fast.  When the highlight of your game is the voice acting, you know you’ve got a problem on your hands.  Someone hand this cartridge to Wolverine to shred.

Supremacy MMA

7. Supremacy MMA (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)

Seriously.  You’re going to release a game like this and call it “Supremacy”?  Talk about your cruel irony.  Supremacy MMA is the worst kind of brawling game out there, a game that’s more focused on brutal, random violence than embracing the sport of mixed martial arts itself.  Each bout is a pee-brained match-up of button mashing – and we’re talking worse than Tekken.  The character models are lame and forgettable, the story mode doesn’t have any structure, and the online lobby resembles a ghost town.  You want true fighting supremacy?  Wait a couple of months for THQ’s UFC Undisputed 3 to come out.  You’ll feel way better.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon Stealth Force Edition (Wii, 3DS)

6. Transformers: Dark of the Moon Stealth Force Edition (Wii, 3DS)

If we didn’t know any better, we’d consider this a heinous plot by the Decepticons, a ploy for kids to buy a Transformers game and struggle to have fun with it.  Transformers: Dark of the Moon Stealth Force Edition isn’t even close to being as playable as the Xbox 360 and PS3 games, nor does it look anywhere as nice.  Drab environments, poor car animations, and some of the worst vehicular combat you’ll come across plague this game like a bad habit, and the “potential” to power-up your robot is never fully realized.  As a result, it runs out of gas.  Prime would’ve smashed this thing under his metallic boot out of disgust.

Call of Juarez: The Cartel

5. Call of Juarez: The Cartel (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)

Talk about a bad Call.  The third chapter in this Western series inexplicably goes modern day, with a cowboy teaming up with a pair of smack-talking, worthless government agents, in an effort to bring down criminals in Los Angeles.  Despite some interesting moral structure and lots of blood, The Cartel ends up shooting blanks due to lame gameplay, terrible AI (especially with your partners, who never shut up) and weak graphics.  Plus, the story too often strays into nonsense, coming across like a really bad TV cop movie.  Hopefully this series will revert back to the Wild West sooner rather than later.

Thor: God of Thunder

4. Thor: God of Thunder (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)

Here’s a lesson in how not to make a movie-licensed game.  Thor: God of Thunder (or, as we like to call it, Blunder) tries to channel God of War so badly that it chokes on its own toxic fumes, going nowhere fast.  The gameplay is strictly one-note and doesn’t even take pride in deep, satisfying combat.  The graphics are miserably bad, whether you’re staring at the doldrums in 2D or enduring it (if you can) in 3D.  And Curtis Hemsworth has the thankless job of trying to give his character some direction – though he did it way better in the film.  Thankfully, Sega learned its lesson after this mess with the somewhat decent Captain America.  But it’s hard to shake the damage that’s been done by Thor’s hammer here.

Hulk Hogan’s Main Event

3. Hulk Hogan’s Main Event (Xbox 360)

What do you get when you have a wrestling game that isn’t really about wrestling?  Well, probably something along the equivalent of the last season of WCW.  (Oh, snap, I went there!)  But seriously, this game is one of the messiest motion gaming experiences you’ll ever come across.  It doesn’t even mesh gameplay that smoothly.  You just follow pre-programmed motions and watch your wrestler do the work.  And some of these grapplers are downright insulting, like something Vince Russo cooked up in his mind.  But perhaps the biggest insult of all?  It’s a Hulk Hogan game – and you can’t play as Hogan!  That’s a setback we can’t overlook, brother.

Lucha Fury

2. Lucha Fury (Xbox Live Arcade)

What do you get when you play a brawling game where you struggle more with the controls than your on-screen character does with his enemies?  You get Lucha Fury, the complete failure of a game from Punchers Impact.  This insult of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wannabe features four Lucha wrestlers fighting for justice or something, using some of the worst moves ever conceived.  The game is constantly held up by problems, including poor controls, lame events that you can’t skip past, awfully designed bosses, and an overall lack of inspiration.  It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the game was vehemently pulled from the Xbox Live Marketplace, and the developer has shut down.  Good riddance, amigos.

Blackwater

1. Blackwater (Xbox 360)

It’s imagination time, kids.  Take the game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.  Now take away any hint of a reasonable storyline, as well as the characters you know so well.  Take away the world locations too, leaving only a few scant villages.  Now take away controlling the game with a regular pad, replacing them with horrible Kinect motion controls.  Oh yeah, and take away the multiplayer too.  What are you left with?  Blackwater, 505 Games’ tribute – or rather, insult – to the war shooter genre.  This game is a muddled, horrifying mess throughout, and never comes close to resembling anything reasonable.  Worse yet, it’s got the worst advertisement of the year honors as well.  Be careful when you watch this below…it’s a scary sight.

Make sure to check out our Great Games You Might Have Missed (But Shouldn't Have) as well.

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Robert Workman
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