Yesterday, we took a look at the best horror games 2013 had to offer. That was the fun part. The easy part. The year that was brought us a bevy of fantastic games, and sadly, it also introduced a handful that were memorable for all the wrong reasons. After the break you’ll find my list of some of the worst games I had the misfortune of playing in 2013. Enjoy.
Aliens: Colonial Marines was The War Z of 2013. I didn’t dislike it as deeply as the majority of the world seemed to, that is, until the real controversy stirred up post-release. A majority of it stemmed from the quality of the demo and retail versions of the game, with the former being of a significantly higher quality than what we had to pay for. Then there were allegations that Gearbox was unwilling to devote the resources and talent to the project by allocating their ‘B team’ to work on it while their real talent focused on other projects, like Borderlands 2. Unfortunately, the shitstorm came to a close when one of the (many) studios behind it — Houston based developer TimeGate — had to close its doors.
I hope Colonial Marines doesn’t completely kill the Aliens games, but there’s no denying that debacle has had a substantial impact on the series.
Speaking of hot messes, next up we have Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut. It was supposed to be the ultimate bundle for a ridiculous(ly awesome) cult hit that gave us all of its DLC as well as bonus content, including new scenarios and HD support. What we got was a game that was riddled with game breaking bugs that rendered it literally unplayable for far too long. This forced some talented fans to come up with a patch of their own that remedied some of the more serious issues. That’s embarrassing.
The first Nazi Zombie Army was a nonsensical and borderline unforgivably unpolished game that introduced zombies into the solid Sniper Elite franchise because hey, zombies are popular. I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was messy, sure, but it’s also a damn fun (and cheap) game to share with a few friends.
It’s follow-up was something I was looking forward to since its unveiling, if only to have something “scary” to play with my friends. Once I finally had it, it took me about an hour to realize that there is nothing new about it. The issues I had with the first are still there, proudly on display because its developer had no intention of spending any more than the minimal amount of effort that would be required to churn out a sequel. The enemies, characters and weapons are back, as are the wonky AI and clunky shooting. If you played the first, skip this. There’s nothing (new) to see here.
It’s almost as if Terminal Reality saw my review of Infestation: Survival Stories (formerly known as The War Z), where I dubbed it the “worst zombie game ever made” and decided to take that up as a challenge. If their goal was to make an incoherent mess of a zombie survival game that made no attempt to hide the fact that it was a shitty, desperate attempt to make money off the insanely popular Walking Dead name, then they did a fine job. If their intentions were anything but, they failed. Miserably.
In no reality is this worth seeing, touching, playing or even acknowledging.
Of the games on this list, Nether is the one I’ve spent the least amount of time with. A couple hours, tops. In most cases, this wouldn’t be nearly enough time to formulate a real opinion on a game, but a few hours in and I just couldn’t bare to play it any longer. To remedy this, I watched a friend of mine play it who had already spent an unhealthy amount of time with it. Apparently, they’re more willing to endure video game punishment than I am. The problem is obvious: Nether isn’t fun. It isn’t broken in the traditional sense, but it is broken in that it fails to do the one thing video games need to do, and that’s to provide entertainment.
Nether has at least one intriguing idea at its core in that it strives to be a moderately ambitious survival horror MMO, but unless they renovate it from the ground up, I don’t see this catching on with a large enough audience to sustain it.
Can someone please tell me why it’s so difficult to make a decent top down isometric zombie game? Housemarque did a fantastic job with Dead Nation, yet outside of that there’s little the subgenre has to be proud of. Burn Zombie Burn came close, then there’s a slew of abysmal attempts, like Konami’s Zombie Apocalypse, which somehow got a sequel, and this. How to Survive doesn’t even come close to being the worst game on this list, but with all the similarly themed games that came before it I found it far more difficult to forgive its more serious flaws than I would had it released back in 2009-10.
So that’s my list. I showed you mine, now you need to show me yours. Come on, don’t be shy.