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This Generation’s 10 Most Disappointing Horror Games!

In preparation of the impending arrival of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, over the last week I’ve rounded up this generation’s best horror games, covering everything from AAA blockbusters to smaller, indie efforts. Those games deserve to be played, celebrated and remembered. The following? Not so much.

Unfortunately, while I wish every game could be worthy of our time, sometimes, for a variety of reasons, a game comes along that really, really isn’t. Every so often we’re given a game that’s uninspired, poorly designed, boring or some combination of the three.

If you’ve been burned, head on for this generation’s 10 most disappointing horror games to see if the game made the list!

Before you let these games get you down, check out our list of five upcoming indie horror games you should be excited about!

Before we get into this, I want you to be aware of two things. The first is this isn’t a list of this generation’s worst horror games, it’s a list of the most disappointing ones. The qualifications for classification of the latter are a little more involved. If you want a list of the worst, you can get a pretty solid idea of this generation’s worst offenders by visiting a review aggregator like Metacritic and sorting the reviewed games by score. There’s a decent chance the titles at the bottom of that list are abysmal and best experienced in the same way as one would a plague victim — observed from a distance before burning it with fire.

A list of the “worst” games would be too easy and frankly, I haven’t played games like Vampire Rain or Shellshock 2: Blood Trails. I skipped them because I knew they wouldn’t be good. The ten we’re about to discuss were disappointing, because they were either an entry in a proven franchise, had a promising premise and/or had a talented team behind it.

The second thing I want you to know is this list isn’t in any particular order — though if it was, the following three would be the worst.

Infestation: Survival Stories (formerly known as The War Z) caused quite a stir last year when its developer, Hammerpoint Interactive, decided to release their horribly unfinished game on Steam before finding clever ways to monetize it (i.e. swindle those who purchased it for more of their money) after it claimed the top spot. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the developer marketed it using screenshots that were most definitely not captured in-game and claimed it had features it didn’t really have on its store page. That’s not all of it, but those are some of the more egregious problems.

I should also mention that all of the above it’s was enough for the game to claim the title of biggest disappointment in last year’s FEAR Awards. Awesome!

If The War Z/Infestation: Survival Stories was last year’s biggest debacle, Aliens: Colonial Marines is quite possibly the worst of 2013. It’s far from being a good game — many would argue its redeeming qualities are few and far between — but I actually enjoyed it enough to play it all the way through. Not a ringing endorsement, but that’s just about the kindest thing I can say about it.

Colonial Marines’ legacy is a long and painful one. After being in development for many years, Gearbox decided to pick it up, because it would seem their hobby is rescuing games from development limbo so they can shit on them before shitting them out for a few unsuspecting fans to pick up. Remember Duke Nukem Forever? So do I, though I really wish I didn’t. The game was plagued with some critical bugs, but the controversy didn’t really take off until after the game crawled onto retail shelves when the public quickly realized it looked worse than it did in the trailers and demos shown before its release. Sega also lied about outsourcing development of the game to multiple studios — a staggering four studios worked on different parts of it, including Gearbox, Timegate, Demiurge Studios and Nerve Software.

It’s also partially responsible for the closure of Timegate, which endured significant layoffs before filing for bankruptcy after Colonial Marines’ release.

While not nearly as controversial as the last two games, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is by far one of the worst games to get shat out over the last decade.

After Telltale set the bar astronomically high with their episodic series, Survival Instinct had a high bar to live up to. There was hope for it because of the fantastic source material, the ties to the TV series (don’t listen to Brad, the show is excellent) — with both Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker reprising their roles as Daryl and Merle Dixon, respectively — and the fact that it was a first person shooter published by Activision, the faceless entity that won that market this generation with Call of Duty.

Then Survival Instinct fell victim to an issue that has taken down so many other licensed games: time constraints. Activision knew the brand would sell copies, so not much of a shit was given about rushing it out way early so as to capitalize on the impending third season finale of the television series. It’s an obvious cash-grab from a developer that didn’t have enough time to introduce even the smallest amount of creativity into from a publisher that cares more about making money than it does the quality of their games.

It’s doubly disappointing because a Walking Dead game helmed by Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker could’ve been outstanding.

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  • doomas10

    Dead Island Riptide was ok. It still packed great atmosphere, gorgeous visuals and and it was a nice setting to explore – and to have a zombie apocalypse. However, the lack of character development, the idiotic choices of not staying together and a compelling storyline to keep it coherent makes it a minor disappointment for me. Having said that the terrible RE:ORC was just the ice in the take after the godawful resident evil 6. Resident evil has gone from underground horror landmark game to a franchise that features the same amount of equal explosions in a COD. In addition, like the Alien Franchise, all their monsters have lost their touch and do have any frightening appearance since they have been so vastly overused. And do not let me start with the glitches!

    • yepwatermelon

      Those visuals were not gorgeous. They were ugly, muddy, and buggy. It wasn’t a very good looking game.

      • Fro$ty

        It really does look like shit. Some screenshots look ok, but when its in motion its a goddamn mess. I remember giving a friend of mine a lot of shit for playing that game, it just didnt even look fun to play lol

  • Pav

    You hurt my feelings by adding Clive Barker’s Jerycho to that list, Adam :). But it’s a matter of private opinion, right? I forgive you (this time) ;)…

    • Adam Dodd

      I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings! It was a very disappointing game. It could have been SO much better!

      • Pav

        I like this game. More, i love this game. And i really don’t know why: maybe because of unique in-game mechanics, or maybe great storyline, gorgeously creepy visuals and sound. Or maybe for all of it plus ABSOLUTE phenomenal music score composed by Cris Velasco. Yes, game has many issues, but not so many to say: BAD game. But as i said before: it’s a matter of private opinion.

      • You know I like you Adam, neigh, I respect you. But let me ask you this question: Do you remember Dead Space 3? When the game turned from silent horror to cussing every other sentence “bromance”. When the mythology of the game took a turn for the “WTF” and they couldn’t even release a solid answer for whether or not your two characters were alive?

        You remember that?

        Now in Jerhico we have a grotesque Roman, a priest who murdered children and used them for his own sick twisted ends, and a combat system that allowed you to change your play-style on the fly, something that had never been attempted to this point in the level and the depth this game had.

        I’ve fought with you before on this and I beg you to see how awesome this game is and how your impression was just soured… but seriously man… this game was not a massive let down. Rather for the time it was pretty awesome 😀

        • Pav

          True man.

      • Adam Dodd

        I appreciate the respect! remember Dead Space 3, I actually worked on it!

        DS3 definitely didn’t live up to the first two games, but as far as the most disappointing titles of this generation go, it’s far from making my list of this gen’s worst offenders. It might not have been scary and its story was way convoluted, but it’s still a damn fun game to play and the co-op, which almost always has a negative effect on a horror game, was done in a very clever way. Capcom should take note of that with the next RE game.

        I’ve played Jericho twice, so it’s not a problem of a crappy first impression. It’s just not a good game, IMO. Everything Clive had a hand in (the story, enemies, setting) is superb, but the rest is either forgettable or just plain bad.

        And I’m not the only one who feels this way. 😉

        • Pav

          Speaking of RE and laughable AI: worst i ever played is in RE5. Dumbass “partner” bot, doing nothing but frustrating, able to say over and over again three words: “Thanks partner”, “Roger” and “I owe you one”.

  • The-magical-wishing-ghost

    I felt Amnesia a machine for pigs was disappointing
    it was ok but still very disappointing.

    • Adam Dodd

      AMFP did disappoint a lot of people, but it’s still too great a game to be considered one of this gen’s most disappointing. It’s a fantastic, eerie and deeply unsettling horror game that didn’t quite live up to its predecessor, but it’s still really good, IMO.

    • ThunderDragoon

      THIS! Making a sequel to a game that the internet says is the scariest game ever and having it be not scary in the slightest and tedious puzzles up the ass definitely should’ve earned it a spot on this list.

  • Forsythia

    FEAR 3 (F3AR) was the most disappointing for me. While the gameplay was fine (although I didn’t like Fettel tagging along all the time in singleplayer), the story was horrible and they butchered Alma (not literally, because frankly, that would’ve been better). I don’t know what they were thinking but Alma was almost absent in the game and when we do see her, she is laughable, not scary at all.

    • Adam Dodd

      When it comes to the scares, FEAR 3 was disappointing, but as a game, I really enjoyed it, possibly even more so than the other two. The multiplayer rocked.

  • Werewolfboy23

    Don’t stone me or anything, but i personally wasn’t a big fan of Dead space 2. I personally love the first 1 and Extraction because both were really good with atmosphere and tension. 2 made the big mistake of making Issac talk, and remodeling Nicole for an odd reason, in the first she seemed like his daughter and in the second she looked like his mother. Issac’s voice just didn’t work cause it sounded really bland in my opinion.

    • Fro$ty

      No worries man, I didnt like it either. It just felt rushed and more action-y, leading to dead space 3, which I didnt touch after the demo. The first was great cause it had tension and awesome boss battles. The others(dead space 2+3) cashed out on the series and it went down the quality tube.

  • TkMeToYrLdr

    Don’t forget the blinking in Alone In the Dark, Adam. The fucking blinking..

    • Adam Dodd

      I’m trying my best to forget that!

  • Rick-Taylor

    Obviously I’m a bit biased here but Splatterhouse was pretty awesome. Yes, there are flaws and turmoil during production but the final outcome is pretty decent. As for there being nothing after the first playthrough, there were extensions planned for DLC but since the game didn’t make a certain amount of sales, all future plans were scrapped. I definitely agree the load times are insanely too long for no reason, but there is a group of people working on a version of the game with shorter load times, restructuring a few areas left out, and improving some of the physics.

  • Beneviolence

    I’m always surprised that people thought the Dead Island trailer was anything like the actual game, but I’d seen previews before that showed it was a FPS chop-fest. I played Dead Island to the end and that was enough. The idea of slogging through riptide didn’t interest me at all.

  • CouldaGoneMad

    I absolutely agree on almost all of these, including Jericho (possibly the most disappointing of all). It’s also interesting to me how badly they screwed up Saw too, considering all they had to do was replicate the gameplay of the first game. Hatchet job.

    The only one I’m iffy about is the Walking Dead. I have a hard time calling it disappointing because I think most people knew it would suck.

  • HalloweenVic

    Adam I don’t think RE:ORC was all that bad as you made it seem I mean clearly it’s nothing like the previous games but I still found myself enjoying it while playing! I love how it was back in raccoon city yea the cod action type style was a bit much but playing online was fun ass hell including the bonus content to play online I think people are too hard on RE6 and ORC if visit back and enjoy the games for what they are it’s actually not that bad! I agree with you on the other games tho especially splatterhouse!

  • Tomie Kawakami

    Saw II was amazing wth.

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