At the end of each year, we gather our staff and regulars together and put the question to them: what were the most standout games for you? Here, then, are our staff picks for the Worst Game of 2012. Let’s see if you agree…
Alex Walker: Medal of Honor: Warfighter
The best possible thing I could say about Medal of Honor: Warfighter is that at least the multiplayer was fun, provided I scrubbed the last five years of modern military shooters from my brain with battery acid. And that’s the list of Danger Close’s positive contributions: everything else was provided by DICE (responsible for the Frostbite 2 engine) and Criterion (designers of the driving games).
When the best mission in your campaign is parking in a Dubai driveway, and you’re trying to emulate the success of Call of Duty by using all of their tricks, you’re clearly doing it wrong. But the best moment of all came from the United States government after Warfighter’s release, when the Department of Defence cut two months’ pay from seven Navy SEALs who liaised with EA. Good, I thought. It wasn’t just the gamers who were getting punished.
Patrick Vuleta: The War Z
Bit tough to call a game the absolute worst of the year. A game will always appeal to someone. I’m even sure, for example, that Custer’s Revenge—often voted the worst game ever, has a few fans. But what we can do is judge games objectively. The War Z was worst game of the year, due to clear, objective failings. Did it mislead customers? Yes. Did it copy DayZ? Arguably. Did Steam have to offer refunds to respect false advertising laws? They certainly did, and I’m a lawyer.
A game’s gotta at least have its own strengths, and be able to stand behind them. The War Z has none of its own strengths, and so was the worst game of 2012.
James Pinnell: Carrier Command
My initial preview of Bohemia’s remake of the 1985 classic was promising, to say the least. The unique twist on an RTS, where your command of a aircraft carrier filled with automated bots replaced micromanagement of an entire army, ended up becoming the game it was trying to avoid. Absolutely atrocious AI, a dismal attempt at a story, awful voice acting and easily one of the worst introductory missions in gaming history found the full release utterly wanting. When you end up spending your entire mission trying to manually steer a tank away from the invincible rock it seems adamant to destroy, you know that you’ve stumbled into gaming hell. Dear developers: Quality Assurance is your friend.
Toby McCasker: Resident Evil 6
Max Payne 3 was a great movie and not much else, but Resident Evil 6 really got up my ass this year. Like, it worked itself right up there in a relentless forward march of alternate squirelling and tentative prods until my colon responded with unadulterated rage. I. Hate. This. Game. This from a longtime Resi Evil guy circa ‘96, too. More than being simply not fun at all, it is also indicative of the conflicted psyche of Japanese game design: A shooter with survival-horror tropes. Here, blow away a ton of enemies. But also, you don’t get any ammo or anything to do it with.
Alice Lynton: Inversion
The worst game I personally played this year was Inversion. I really had high hopes for this one. “At last,” I burbled happily to myself. “Saber Interactive can give up doing licensed titles and jobbing for 343 Industries, and make a real shooter. Their early games showed such promise, and now with experience under their belts, surely their time has come! Plus, you can piss about with gravity which is just about my favourite thing.” But you know what? No.
Matt ‘El_Funko’ Long: Assassin’s Creed III
I hope the developer who had the idea to begin a sandbox game with four hours of linear tutorial levels has been taken out to a forest and shot with a musket. Playing the opening chapters of Assassin’s Creed III is like having to choke down a bucket of sand before getting to the delicious open-world steak and naval-combat potatoes in the rest of the game.
Brendan Keogh: Assassin’s Creed III
Assassin’s Creed III proved one thing: that the Assassin’s Creed franchise is unsalvageable, irreversibly broken, and weighed down by its own bloat. What Ubisoft want the franchise to be is something the base mechanics were never meant to support. As each new game in the series has added new bits and pieces, the series has become a Frankensteinian monster of random, disconnected limbs stitched together around a soulless centre.
Sure, Assassin’s Creed III’s bits are nice: Connor’s animations are staggering; the boat battles are breathless; the twist at the end of the first act is inspired. But there’s no heart. There’s no voice. There’s no direction. For every great element, there are a dozen absolutely terrible missions (like running back and forward between groups of rebels telling them to fire their rifles because they couldn’t possibly fire them themselves). Assassin’s Creed has mutated and bloated into a beast that can’t support its own weight, and I think it is about time Ubisoft took it out behind the shed.
Jess Colwill: No Comment
I can’t think of a really bad game I played this year! There have been lots of games that I just wasn’t interested in, and I’m sure there are some real stinkers among them. But I really can’t think of a single game I’ve actually played where I’d say, “That was just terrible!” Maybe I’m too nice?
Tim Colwill: Binary Domain
Binary Domain sounds like an interesting premise, and certainly there’s a fairly compelling ‘what-does-it-mean-to-be-human’ story sitting like a metal skeleton underneath all the layers and layers of truly awful artificial skin. But between the boring characters, atrocious PC support, awful and inexplicably unexplained default keybindings, disgustingly incompetent AI, flat-out-broken voice control and hideous dialogue, you might not notice this. Because you’ll be too busy bleeding from your face and demanding your money back.
Just thinking about it makes me mad. Who thought voice commands to make your AI friends revive you was a good idea? Or a ‘trust’ system for your squadmates, when they constantly run into your line of fire and get angry at you for shooting them? Hnngh.
What’s your worst game of the year? Let us know below!