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Worst of the 2010s

Ranked from Least Bad to Most Bad

List items

  • I'm a huge Bloober Team fan after Observer, but Layers of Fear gives me the exact same feeling of walking through one of those elaborate haunted houses you can find that cost like $30, getting tired of all the line-waiting before you even step foot in the house, and then rushing through the house itself once you're finally in it. Exhausting. Everyone is shrieking at me! What the hell is that supposed to be? That guy looks hilarious? I'm tired. Let me go home so I can go to sleep.

  • Way too many games from the 2010s that are apparently just info dumps of half-assed references to old mass media. Retro City Rampage in particular is sub-Family Guy shit.

  • Imagine if you took all of the worst traits of Suda 51 titles and threw them in a trash can labeled Killer is Dead.

  • Goat Simulator is totally fine in a singular sense, but its effect on video game comedy is putrid. A game built for screech-y Youtubers to have an on-screen conniption about.

  • Peggle is an frustrating game if you try to play it well, and Peggle 2 is an infuriating game if you play it at all, what with its cast of dope-y weirdos shaking their asses at you the whole time you play. Ass-ugly game, IMO.

  • One of the last true sloppy movie tie-ins playacting as a full-fledged $60 title. I wouldn't call it offensively bad, per se, just extremely cookie cutter to the extent that its somehow worse than the sum of its parts. Boring stuff.

  • Another game on here because it was so disappointing. This was a really tired slog of a game. I mean, even on the simplest level, it gets stuff wrong. Remember all those loud, pop-y radio stations from past Saints Row games? And all the in-game music that sped things along mid-mission? Imagine just removing all that music outright from, say, Saints Row 2. Just a sparsely populated cityscape in total silence. And then imagine the dev team ran out of jokes. Bad vibes!

  • Can't think of a remaster that more flamboyantly missed the mark than this shoddy remake of THPS 1 and 2. They copied the level design near-exactly from the original titles, but fundamentally changed the physics and speed of the gameplay. And then just released the game as-is! Playing this game is an exercise in recalibrating your entire brain just to jump from one place to the next.

  • Detroit: Become Human is one of the most embarrassing success stories in video games. The fact that this game was evidently such a blockbuster (and that it was even earnestly praised in many critical spaces!) tells you all you need to know about where the video game industry is at, especially in AAA spaces.

  • This was a crappy puzzle game with some fairly bad illustrations and cutscenes to go along with it that EA charged like $15 for or something. Not especially remarkable.

  • Another example of video games being humiliating. In a way, it kind of rocks, though. This is the attitude of mass media, masculinity, and action-guy adaptation of the late aughts distilled into a single project. My word is this a stupid game.

  • I know pointing out anything negative in Duke Nukem Forever is like beating a dead horse, but I played this entire game and it made me feel worse about my life.

  • Slam on buttons and watch your guys slap each other. Then give us more money.

  • Despite being a choice-driven game based on a Robert Kirkman graphic novel with a Telltale-mimicking art style, Thief of Thieves flew under the radar. It gets on this list for what I might consider the worst stealth mechanics I've ever seen in a game. Thief of Thieves features a Hitman-style disguise system, but also wants the player to do some traditional 'press crouch button and hide' stuff, too. Weirdly, the game's camera is panoramic, not manipulable by the player, and almost never actually reveals the people on the map that need to be avoided. You have to hide from people who are standing directly in front of you that you're unable to see. Which seems...impossible?

  • Konami had an endless amount of bad press following Metal Gear Solid V, not only for its abandonment of traditional game development and penchant for rushing projects to the finish line, but also for literal mass workplace abuse of its many employees. It blows my mind that this is the project they'd release immediately following the mass exodus of Kojima's staff. It's Metal Gear, but this time without much plot, and with custom characters, zombies, survival mechanics and base building. It reads like a joke.

  • I played this in full when I got my first iPhone in 2010. It was novel to me you could just play this weird little games for free. It sucks, obviously.

  • One of the most brutally un-funny comedies I can even imagine playing. Blood Dragon is this big, purple world full of one-note '80s references, shit ugly visuals and knock-you-over-the-head-stupid game design.

  • This was a cash-grabbing phone game about building shit from the Futurama franchise so they could bark badly formatted audio clips at you. It was FULL of the dumbest, most bottom-of-the-barrel Trump jokes you could possibly write, and takes a place on this list for that reason alone.

  • The Division is uncritical, jingoistic, fear-mongering propaganda. This goes for The Division 2 as well, which only ups the ante of its 'you should really buy a gun!' theme; its opening cutscene terrifies the player with stories about violent rioting and mass murder, and then asks the player directly if they own a gun. 'One day, your neighbor WILL shoot you in the face, and its up to unmarked government agents with the authority to shoot you and everyone wearing a bandanna around you in the face without prejudice to do so.'

    As a big budget Ubisoft title, its pretty, its mechanically sound, everything works, yadda yadda yadda. But I can't figure out why you'd choose these games of all the dozens and dozens of games with mechanics exactly like that over any other, less culturally brutal series. In the trash.

  • This game really skeeved me out. It's like a slow-paced, slasher-take on Hotline Miami where you stylishly serial kill unsuspecting partygoers and bar patrons, but it's got these cutscenes in between each mass murder in which you watch the parents of one of your victims break down in an interrogation room. What is going on with that?? Why would you make that??

  • This game was somewhat widely publicized at release for how tiny of a project that is, but it really doesn't hold up. It's a game in which the player is a young man anxiously sitting around his kitchen waiting for a date who will never show up. Things devolve, and he begins to...*shudder*...pontificate about women, dating, and other guys.

    The player, for their part, gets to click on different thought bubbles to be rewarded with dialogue. Dialogue which is, like I said, coming from an anxious twentysomething shut-in with some *things to say* about the woman who stood him up - including how her race contributes to her actions in the dating world!

    It's a sad expression of a miserable person. My favorite element of it is that it appears to be based off of the developer's lived experience. Can you imagine standing this guy up - maybe you got bad vibes and decided against meeting him at his place, or whatever - and then afterward seeing he got so mad he made a game about how wrong women are to stand dudes up? Wouldn't that completely validate your decision not to go on the date?

  • I haven't checked in on We Happy Few in the years since its initial release, so, hey, maybe things have changed. When I played it, it gave me the most visceral sense of dissonance between narrative and mechanics I've ever felt. Balancing BioShock schlock, a cover-version of Orwell's 1984, procedurally generated level design, and survival sim starvation/exhaustion would be difficult, as I'm convinced most of these ideas don't naturally flow into one another.

    Even the ones that seem to, like making a BioShock-style 0451 game in a video game adaptation of 1984, don't naturally segue. BioShock told its story by allowing the player to be a wrecking ball smashing grim caricatures in dingy post-disaster wastelands, and even BioShock Infinite, which casts the player in this role in a functional society, can't resist the temptation to stage an armed uprising which leads the world to devolve into yet another war-torn hellscape.

    The world of 1984, by its nature, *demands* a severe leash on the player's potential actions; how could you effectively tell a story about government hyper-surveillance and de-personalization while simultaneously granting the protagonist free-reign to do whatever they want in defiance? BioShock, from the ground up, is designed to give the player a maximum level of player expression in combat scenarios. What possible combat scenario could exist in the novel 1984 that doesn't lead to the plot's immediate end? This is to say nothing of the seemingly arbitrary nature of the way the procedurally generated levels in We Happy Few interact with the rest of the work, or the completely out of nowhere survival mechanics which feel tacked on purely for the purposes of adding a bullet point to the game's Steam page.

    I think the worst aspect of We Happy Few, though, is its quest design. I have never played a game so intent on wasting your time. A great many quests in the first act task the player with walking (*walking*, not running, to be clear) from one far end of the map to the other, and then back again, and then back again. That's twenty-plus minutes of near-total silence and next to no interactivity.

    We Happy Few's closest analogue is probably Pathologic, and based on those comparative metrics alone can only fare much worse.