Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: Bad video games in great franchises

Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: Bad video games in great franchises

GameCentral readers reveal the worst entries in their favourite video game series, from Pokémon to Uncharted.

The question for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Coolsbane, who asked what’s the worst game in your favourite video game series? Is it actively bad by other standards or does it just look that way compared to the others?

That last point varied greatly, with some saying the worst game in series like Dark Souls was still very good, while Sonic The Hedgehog got a number of mentions for its disappointing lack of consistency.

 

Miserable Lara
I’m a massive Tomb Raider fan and many would expect me to say Angel Of Darkness as my worst, and though Angel Of Darkness was clearly rushed out in an unfinished and clunky state, I actually quite liked the game – it had a decent story. No, my worst is actually Shadow Of The Tomb Raider! Now I think Shadow is great game fundamentally (the tombs were fantastic) and it does a lot right, but the story is nonsensical, the characters are boring, the end game is awful, Lara is completely devoid of personality, it’s incredibly bleak and why oh why does she not have dual pistols?

It felt like a massive step down from Rise Of The Tomb Raider, which I played through multiple times – hopefully the next Tomb Raider lightens up a bit.
Jay

 

Recent disappointment
Maybe it’s recency bias but I would say Pokémon Sword and Shield. I’m not a Dexit hater, that doesn’t really bother me, but the whole game just seems so uninspired and lazy. I was particularly disappointed by the Wild Area, which is very small and doesn’t really have anywhere to explore. It’s like the absolute minimum you could do in terms of an open world and I was hoping for so much more.

Also, the storyline is just terrible. I mean, there basically isn’t one for 99% of the game and then just a little bit of nonsense at the end that suddenly remind you that there are other characters other than you in the game. A great disappointment. Enough to make me give Temtem a go, and so far it’s been much better.
Blue

 

Relatively bad
This a good question because my answer to this would be Dark Souls 2. And the reason it’s a good question is because it shows how great the Soulsborne series is, because even Dark Souls 2 is great – it’s just not as great as the others.

The reasons are pretty obvious too, because Hidetaka Miyazaki wasn’t involved. The difference that made is very easy to notice, with not as good bosses and generally less imagination and craft. It’s still good though and I appreciate the different approach so it’s absolutely nothing to get upset about. Many franchises would loved to have something as good as Dark Souls 2 as their best game, let alone their worst.
Oggie

 

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Evil choices
I’ve got a couple of choices here but I don’t think any of them are controversial. My favourite franchise by far is Resident Evil and I think almost everyone would agree that 6 is the worst mainline one. 5 has a lot of problems but I would say that overall it’s a good game and I still play it sometimes, thanks to the co-op. But 6 just has nothing in its favour, including the fact that it goes on forever even if you did want to go back to it.

The other choices are spin-offs but Operation Racoon City is a real stinker and one of many attempts to make a co-op game out of the series. I actually kind of like Gaiden on the Game Boy though. It’s very rough but it tries to do something unique and I think is kind of cute. It’s also one of the only games to feature Barry as the main character.
HamsterXL

 

Super controversial
My favourite series of games are the Super Mario platformers, or more specifically the subset of Super Mario platformers with full 3D cameras. In my mind there are only five of these: 64, Sunshine, Galaxy, Galaxy 2, and Odyssey. Three of these were heralded as the greatest game ever made at the point of release, so choosing the worst is a daunting task.

Note that I have not forgotten 3D World and 3D Land, but they felt like a different sub-genre to me, one I did not particularly like. In fact, if I opened this discussion up to all Super Mario platformers 3D Land would win/lose the whole contest (with Super Mario Bros. 2 and New Super Mario Bros. 2 completing for the podium).

Going back to the five fully 3D games: Sunshine is the easiest target as it is the only one the majority of reviewers did not give a 10 too. Sunshine and, more recently, Odyssey both suffered by not being as good as Zelda titles that preceded them. They both failed to be the greatest game ever made and were disappointing because of it. Neither of them are bad titles, they are just inferior to Ocarina Of Time, Majora’s Mask, and Breath Of The Wild.

Odyssey also failed to be the greatest Mario game ever made as it failed to topple the Galaxy titles, particularly Galaxy 2 which was my game of the decade, and indeed ever. For me Odyssey is however superior to Sunshine. Although in my opinion, unlike Odyssey, Sunshine was better than its immediate predecessor. It however was not better by the margin to which Mario 64 threw the whole Mario series, and gaming as a whole, forward. I think Sunshine however did still move the genre forward.

Yes, I did just name Super Mario 64 as the worst fully 3D Super Mario platformer. The game that received Edge magazine’s first ever 10 and a statement that not only did it deserve the 10 but that Edge may have been too generous with all the games before it. The game that singlehandedly proved the concept of 3D games and how to move within a 3D space. Yes, I just nominated what is possibly the most influential game ever made as the worst fully 3D Super Mario platformer.

Now obviously Mario 64 is not a bad game and I also believe it was fully deserving of every accolade it received. However, I am also of the opinion that Nintendo managed to improve upon it with each of the four fully 3D Super Mario platform games that followed it.
PazJohnMitch

 

Bad company
I adore Uncharted 1 to 4 but both Golden Abyss for the PS Vita and Chloe’s spin-off The Lost Legacy are big let-downs for me. They don’t really add anything new gameplay-wise, instead choosing to remix stuff from the four main games.

I think the biggest problem for me though is that the company just isn’t as good. In Golden Abyss you get saddled with the useless and annoying Marisa Chase and I just couldn’t warm to the Chloe/Nadine combo in Lost Legacy.
LastYearsModel

 

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Sonic spiral
Sonic The Hedgehog is one my favourite series, although that’s mostly thanks to the classic games and Mania. Sonic Adventure 2 may not be the worst Sonic game but it’s definitely my least favourite and represents a lot of what is wrong with post-Mega Drive Sonic.

The biggest problem is that around two-thirds of the game is made up of un-Sonic like gameplay. The actual Sonic part of the game is decent but not that great and suffers from camera and control issues. The mech-shooting levels are slow, clunky and dull and the treasure-hunting levels are poorly designed and horrible to play. There’s also a weird virtual pet mini-game that feels out of place, although it’s optional at least. The more realistic look and serious tone of the game is also just really off-putting and feels like quite a departure from the classic games.

Some of the problems with this game originated in the first Sonic Adventure, but that at least felt like an honest attempt at trying to take the series into 3D, even it was misguided and not that good. I do think Sonic Adventure 2 could have potentially turned out better if the developers had just focused on the Sonic gameplay and worked on polishing that and getting it right.

I used to buy most Sonic games and did give the next main entry (Sonic Heroes) a chance but the Adventure games were the start of a downward spiral that the series has never really fully recovered from.
GuruGaz

 

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