Top 11 Bad Games That I Still Love
Everyone loves prime numbers! And everyone loves that one game in their collection that is really pretty terrible.
Whether the graphics are poor, the gameplay is repetitive or it’s a clone of better games, these are the worst games I’ve ever played and still loved anyway. Whenever I hear people talking shit on these games, I hang my head. Their criticism is absolutely correct, but it doesn’t make me love the game any less.
We all have our guilty pleasures, and once you’ve read this list, I hope you’ll post your favorite bad games.
11. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
Every time I powered my PS3 for this game, I couldn’t help but think about the criticism I heard by everyone. As I wrote in my earlier review, I was discouraged right from beginning against buying this game.
And when I played it, I knew that the criticism was well founded: The pacing was terrible and the game was a clone of God of War in gameplay, music and visuals. But that didn’t make the game bad.
If a painter is called a Van-Gogh rip-off artist, that’s not really an insult. If a game plays like the best, that means it’s comparable to the best. I kept playing this God of War clone because the combat was fluid, the power-ups were interesting and the enemies offered a fun challenge.
Needless to say, I can’t wait for the 3DS sequel this fall.
I believe it was GamePro that claimed that Xenogears was a confusing game and would have to be played with a guide. And when I was younger, I read that review as a challenge.
After beating it twice, I’m still interested by this Square Enix RPG. The game featured a strong anime influence, with cell-shaded 2D characters in a 3D environment. While playing, the characters unlocked new combos through three different attacks: Weak, Medium and Strong. Part of the fun is unlocking all of the combos for each character.
On top of that, the game’s story discussed the origin of Man and showed an interesting “I Am the 99” story with the sheep rising against the shepherd.
And it had giant robots. Which is a bad thing.
For as much fun as the graphics, combat and story were, all of it was sullied by a forced handicap of the giant robots. Every attack cost fuel, and once you were out of fuel, you were a sitting duck. So why not buy more fuel? Because this game’s fuel rates were as high as the fuel rates of today.
And on top of constantly dropping fuel, your fighting machine still had to worry about its hit and magic points. So frustrating!
I spent over a month trying to get through the final dungeon because I’d get to half a tank and decide to turn back before it was too late. Fortunately, Chu Chu was able to grow and used no fuel, so any time I was forced to use my mechs, that ball of fur was always in my party as insurance.
Fortunately, this game still holds up today. It’s too bad that Square Enix never made another sequel (NOTE: If I’m full of shit, let me know so I can play it!)
I loathe sports games. They bore me to tears. My little brother, however, loves sports games. We needed a middle ground. We needed a compromise.
We needed Uniracers, a racing game that combines high-speed tracks, fun visuals and skating tricks. I loved it.
But everyone else hated it.
It was a two-note game. You either race and try to get to the finish line first while racking up a huge score through stunts, or you play a stunt track and try to get the highest score in a set amount of time.
So while it is fun to play and pretty to look at, it doesn’t have much replayability. Once you’ve experienced everything once, there’s no reason to come back.
8. Final Fantasy Tactics
During the PlayStation years, Square Enix was at its peak. The company put out great game after great game, experimenting and trying new things with every game. During this period, Xenogears blew my mind, Final Fantasy VIII disappointed me and Final Fantasy Tactics became one of my favorite games ever.
Every battle is set on a grid, and the players get to set up their party without seeing their opponents or stage. Some saw this as a weakness, but I saw it as a challenge. I tried to have a well-balanced party every time, with three strong attackers and two supporters.
This game brought back two franchise favorites: A great job system and characters from Final Fantasy VII (as Easter eggs, of course). It was also the hardest of all the Final Fantasy games I had played to that point.
All story-based battles feature enemies at set levels, reflecting where the game believes you will be at that point. But the regular battles pit the player against enemies at an equal level to the player.
If one of your party falls, a time appears above them. When the timer counts down, he or she will turn into a crystal, which completely heals a person or gives that person one of the fallen soldier’s abilities. When someone falls, you have to revive him or beat the enemies.
The story features very long-winded text scenes, and to this day, I get only about three-quarters of the narrative, since I tend to start trying to get through some of these scenes by spamming the X button.
Lastly, the game features fantastic stage-wide magics, and in every version of the game I’ve played, the graphics slow down and get choppy, as though these parts of the game are too much for the game to handle. So… Why put it in the game if your game can’t handle it? I avoid using summons and fourth-level spells because I hate watching my PlayStation and PlayStation Portable slow down.
7. Assassin’s Creed
If there is any game that does not deserve a sequel or a franchise, it’s the first Assassin’s Creed. The game was horribly repetitive, even when doing the bare minimum to get through. On top of that, the combat was uninventive and overly simplified.
But what this game lacked in fun, it made up for it with a great story. And when players grind their way to the end, it ends with a cliff hanger.
Imagine playing the game right when it came out. Not only did you just trudge through one of the easiest and most repetitive action games ever made, but you were essentially told that none of your questions will be answered until the next game. Any reasonable gamer would be pissed. This game isn’t getting a sequel! How the hell did the developers get away with this ending for such a load of crap?
But for as bad as this game is, the amount of collectibles is immense. You can kill off Templars hiding throughout the Middle East or collect several flags. For truly forgiving fans of this game, there are plenty of reasons to come back and explore its world.
6. Mark of Kri
Some games suffer an identity crisis and never seem to find themselves or their audience. Mark of Kri featured great combat and fantastic gore in a cartoony world. Playing this game was like watching Bugs Bunny sneak up behind Elmer Fudd and slit his throat in a sawing action until Fudd’s dripping head is in the rascally rabbit’s hand.
Gory games don’t bother me, but if Mulan showed a realistic view of war, it would make me feel kind of sick. The first time I stealth killed an enemy, my jaw dropped. It seemed dirty.
But the gameplay is so fluid, and the narrator creates a fantastic narrative. As you progress, you get new attacks and weapons, making your killing machine into a killing factory.
The game did get a sequel, but I was too squeamish to give it a try. Of all my Mature-rated games, this is one that I would actually have trouble letting my kids play.
5. Mirror’s Edge
I knew I was ready to marry my wife after I bought her this game for Presents Day. After playing the first few chapters, she turned the game off and said, “The graphics are great, and I love how fluid the controls are. But the combat is impossibly stiff.”
So before I talk about why I still love this game, let me give you a Relationship Pro Tip: If your girlfriend criticizes a game the way one of your friends would, marry her as quickly as you can.
Unlike my wife, I was able to beat the game, and until the last stage, I did a great job of avoiding killing anyone. I knew that my character would move more fluidly if she didn’t have to aim a gun, so I avoided combat like a girl with a cold sore.
But on that last stage, it is simply impossible to run past your enemies and their automatic weapons. I was so bummed when I finally took a life, and that alone should speak to the character’s ability to connect with players.
The game ends much like Star Wars. Sure, the Empire still runs the galaxy, but the heroes did a great job crippling them. The game offers a legitimate ending, unlike Assassin’s Creed.
4. Brain Age
And then there’s the mini game. Sure, Brain Age doesn’t actually improve your mental capabilities or increase your IQ, but the tests are fun.
And the creepy disembodied head offered so much humor with its randomly generated responses. Unfortunately, it only had about five reactions to your progress, so you begin to see the same jokes after a week of playing every day.
But how many games do you own that order you to play daily? I have a few that give me bonuses for daily play, but none of them get sad if I’m gone for a few days. The floating head cries and complains if you abandon him, making him worse than your overly-attached girlfriend.
Now, Brain Age has become my video-game booty call. If I need a quick, fun experience, I’ll grab my DS and throw this in. Sure, I have to listen to the game bitch and moan about how I never call any more, but once I get playing, it’s great for 20 minutes of pooping.
My parents were against violence in video games, and when I went to the arcades, I was not allowed to play Street Fighter II: The World Warrior, let alone Mortal Kombat. And when a child is not allowed near something, it is all he wants.
I begged for a fighting game every Presents Day and birthday for at least a year. Finally, my parents broke down and bought a fighting game that didn’t look too appalling: ClayFighters.
And I loved it. I unlocked every character and knew how to beat the game with every character. I could cream any of my friends that wanted to play.
But none of them wanted to play. I thought they didn’t like that I was so good at it, but after playing Super Street Fighter II, I realized that my fighting game was terrible. But it was all I had, so I kept playing.
Today, I’m still atrocious at Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, but I can hold my own in Tekken. And part of me believes that my wins is because of ClayFighters.
2. Dynasty Warriors 5
Dynasty Warriors was a one-on-one fighting game on the PlayStation. On the PlayStation 2, Dynasty Warriors 2 took those characters, adding several more and turned the game into a 3D beat-‘em-up.
With such a dramatic change from the first game to its sequel, I was excited to see what would happen with the third game. And then, I got a game that was exactly the same as the last game. Then, I did it again for the fourth game.
Dynasty Warriors 5 is no different from 2 through 4, but it is definitely the best of them. Each game adds one or two new elements or more characters. And the fifth game was my Nirvana.
I have not needed another game in the franchise since, and I’ve lost track of what number Koei is on. Better than any of the other games in the franchise, this one makes for great couch-based multiplayer. My wife and I worked on getting every character’s fourth weapon for two months, enjoying every night together.
I’ve said it before, and I stick to my guns: What Dynasty Warriors needs is another massive break from the formula. Whether it becomes an RTS, RPG or platformer, the next time this franchise sees a major redesign, I’ll be the first to buy it.
1. Ben 10: Galactic Racing
When I got serious about writing about video games, D3 Publishers was the first company to take me seriously, sending me this kart racer to review. As my first free game, I come back to it again and again.
The unlockables are cryptic and the stages and power-ups get incredibly repetitive. In short, the game is Mario Kart rip-off, but it does add some new concepts to make it fun.
Easily, the best parts of the game are the character-specific power-ups. If you power slide through turns, you build up a defensive meter. If you do stunts, you build up a devastating attack. Both can be used multiple times in a race, making for a great level of strategy.
For most enjoyment, I recommend setting up your stereo and playing your own tunes. The race commentators still haunt my dreams.
The only thing setting this game apart from great kart racers is an inexcusable lack of online play. The computer and three friends can only provide so much fun.
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