Top 10 Games of 2013 Worse Than Brothers

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is not a bad game. Brothers is a game that squanders its potential.

It's a game that leaves a fantastic last impression, but frustrates during the journey.

It's a game that prides itself on a simplistic and easy to use control schemes, yet consistently has trouble interpreting the most basic commands.

It's a game full of cinematic shots and varied landscapes, yet has an ugly and unappealing art style, constant framerate and texture pop-in issues, and some serious animation problems.

It's a game so proud of its world design that it vainly give you a bench to stare off at its world directly after sporadically skipping from one environment to another that have no logical connection.

It's a game that is all about building connections between the characters, yet fails to do so with every character beyond the titular brothers.

It's a game that has received a lot of praise on this site and in the industry as a whole and I have no idea how.

It's not that I don't understand Brothers itself. I very clearly understood what it was going for. I understand why someone who played the game would be affected by its narrative, impressed by its clever use of controls as part of the experience, and/or were blown away by its actually quite good ending. I understand the raw potential this game has to affect the player profoundly, which makes it even more disappointing that it fell completely flat for me.

No, it's not the game that perplexes me, it's the uniformity of its praise. Hey, not every game is for every person and it's not exactly a farfetched concept for people to hate well crafted experiences. Brothers to me is just one of those games that, despite critics and the public both adoring it, I just cannot understand what other people see in it, how they ignore all of its flaws.

Seems like a lot of people wrestled in a similar way with all the outpouring of support for Gone Home last year, even beyond those in the "Gone Home is not a game" ignorance crowd. Looking back on the past few years, we have the public and media both saying that Dark Souls, Skyrim, and The Walking Dead are three of the best games ever made, but even those games have plenty of detractors too.

What I'm trying to say is this: just because everyone loves something, doesn't mean you can't hate it. And just because someone hates something, doesn't make it wrong for you to love it.

And, in the end, I hated Brothers. And that's okay.

...But this list is not about Brothers. It's about turning this dumb joke on Giant Bomb on its head.

It's about the only ten games I can think of that I played in 2013 that I somehow enjoyed less than Brothers.

Some of these games are terrible and you should not play them. Some of these games hit a nerve with me and instantly felt the need to reject. Some of these games I was legitimately excited about, but just did not live up to my expectations.

All of these games I never want to play again (in their current form).

List items

  • I try not to use the word "lazy" when describing video game developent. I know how much effort goes into making these suckers and they don't always end up perfect, but even the bad titles require a ton of effort to get shipped.

    That being said, I cannot think of a better word to describe All the Bravest than lazy. The result of an effort to simplify the classic Final Fantasy gameplay down, the game is played by sliding your finger up and down to attack enemies. And that's basically it. There are a ton of classes, equipment, bosses, etc. But none of that matters because you can't interact with it. You just go from one battle to another, sliding that finger up and down the screen. No nuance. No skill. No interesting aspects of its design. No enjoyment

    Oh, and when you die from not sliding that finger up and down the screen fast enough, you'll have to wait time for your units to respawn. Or, you know, pitch in a few bucks to get back to all that hot finger sliding action immediately.

    It's games like All the Bravest that make people hate mobile gaming.

  • The less said about Mirror of Fate, the better. It's not surprising that it's worse than Lords of Shadow, as this was obviously a way to cash in on the success of the game that, basically, sucked the blood out of the franchise we know and love and turned it into a monster. Still, I had to have SOME hope after hearing that a new 2D Castlevania was in the works.

    Shame on me for having hope.

  • Porny music, disjointed animations, weird hitboxes and collision detection, and controls that remind me way too much of every bad student platformer I've played, including, unfortunately, my own.

  • The New Super Mario Bros. formula is beginning to die a slow, painful death and I'm all for it. I never liked the boring, sterile take on everyone's favourite platformer, especially its later multiplayer focused design. This year's title doesn't do the subseries any favours. A rehash of the previous year's New Super Mario Bros. U starring the younger brother and a shorter time clock, New Super Luigi U feels like they ripped the "prankster comet"-esque levels out of NSMB U and stuck it into a new package.

    And there was nothing I hated more in Super Mario Galaxy than those damn comets.

  • I tried it. And, no sir, I didn't like it.

    Not even a promise that the game was "just like Elite Beat Agents" could get me past every aspect of the game that is so.... depressingly anime.

    Plus, the rhythm aspect of it wasn't even that fun or interesting.

  • This game had been a staple at PAX Prime every year I've been there. I checked it out every year, hoping that this year would be when the people behind the amazing Castle Crashers would finally find a way to make it fun, and every year I came away from it with lower and lower expectations. It's not that the game is bad or anything. It's just boring to look at it, boring to think about, and even more boring to play. It's a dull, repetitious platformer that, despite a desperate attempt to be charming, never quite found a way to be entertaining or interesting, even for platforming fans.

  • There is a single word that wraps up all the complaints I have about this game into a neat little package: repetition. Sure, the Cave is built to be repeated. Three times through, in fact. If you want to get the most out of this monkey-paw-esque tale of 7 spelunking characters, you're going to have to see some repeating content. But there is just too much doing the same puzzles over and over, too much juggling items back and forth, too much micromanaging characters and their locations, and too little rewards to motivate players to complete even their first playthrough.

    Double Fine games are known for having some pretty crucial flaws to their design, but being fun regardless. The Cave, however, is the first Double Fine game to truly suffer and falter due to its fundamental design problem.

  • Dungeon Hearts would be perfect for the 3DS or Wii U eShop, but right now the game is trapped on two platforms that don't do it justice. The mobile version gives you the necessary precision, but the way your hands naturally block the screen every time you try to make a move doesn't play well with the game's fast paced nature. The PC version, on the other hand, will likely give you carpal tunnel if you play for more than a half hour. I don't think the game itself is all that bad. Actually, I like it a lot. But everything about this game begs for having a stylus controlling the action.

  • The Banner Saga: Factions is a game featuring (roughly) the exact same battle system as the final game. I'm sure the combat in the real game will be just fine (or rather, IS just fine, considering the first part of the game is out), but ripping a subsection of a a multifaceted game like Banner Saga and packaging it as it's own thing will never work. It'd be like making a game out of just the base building sequences in XCOM: Enemy Unknown or just the puzzle sequences in 999 or just the stealth sequences in The Last of Us. Games have interlocking mechanics that break up the monotony and narratives that influence your actions for a reason.

  • I'm not mad at Valdis story: Abyssal City, I'm just disappointed in it. It was a promising title and, even with its modest kickstarter and modest hype around it, I was expecting some great things from it. Yet, it reached a little too ambitious and came up short. I think it's a better package overall than brothers, but I enjoyed my time with it less purely due to its janky and, frankly, unfinsihed nature. I wish this game had a little bit more time, a little bit more money, and a little bit more care.

    But, oh man, does this game ever highlight the need for high quality equipment when you record voice over.