This’ll be the third year running that we’ve rounded up Metacritic’s worst games of the year, so we assume it’s a tradition for us now. This year though we’ve left out downloadable games because otherwise this article would be based mostly on incredibly bad DSiWare and WiiWare games, of which there have been many. For the record though statistically the worst game of the year is 101-in-1 Explosive Mix on WiiWare clocking in with a mere 16%. That’s 0.15% per game! Real classy work, Nordcurrent.
This year’s round-up looks remarkably similar to what last year gave us – a few Kinect games, a handful of movie tie-ins and some other low-budget guff. EA showed themselves up last year – they were responsible for two of the worst games of 2010 (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and the download-only Dead Space Ignition) but this year there are zero EA games present. Activision has taken a bad turn though – nothing they released made the list last year, but this time round three of their games have sullied shop shelves across the land.
Atlus’s The Cursed Crusade on Xbox 360 and Actvision’s Wipeout: In the Zone on Kinect both gained a 39% average. The Cursed Crusade may have been set during one of history’s more exciting periods but the developers failed to capture the essence of medieval brutality, giving us a dull and clichéd hack and slasher. Wipeout on the other hand has nothing to do with everybody’s favourite futuristic racer (or at least, everybody’s favourite that isn’t called F-Zero) and everything to do with the humiliating TV game show.
The DS and Wii versions of Thor: God of Thunder are apparently not too bad but the Xbox 360 and PS3 version were lacking in every respect and clocked in with a 38% average. Polish? Thor knows not of this mystical thing – some enemies merely wobbled from side to side when hit, as if their feet were attached to the floor with springs. The worrying thing is that it’s not the worst movie tie-in of the year.
Ubisoft has been knocking out CSI games from as far back as the days of PlayStation 2 but NCIS on Xbox 360 was clearly their worst yet with 36%, panned for sloppy visuals, predictable plot and mini-games which Gamespot described as “childish”.
X-Men Destiny was from the creators of Too Human you say? We would never have guessed it. The DS version scored the worst out of the bunch with a 33% average but the Wii version wasn’t far behind with 36%. Nintendo fans weren’t the only ones getting a bum deal though – even the Xbox 360 version only had an average of 48%.
With 32% 505 Games’s Blackwater is the second Kinect game on Metacritic’s (s)hit list. When it was first announced we were mildly excited about the prospect of playing a light-gun-style on-rails shooter with the Kinect, using over arm throws to lob grenades and such. Then the first review appeared online and it wasn’t pretty – a 1/10 from GamesRadar. The Official Xbox Magazine quite liked it though, giving it a 7/10. Their positive review stands out like a sore thumb when compared to other websites’ reviews.
The first Kung Fu Panda game was surprisingly good. The license changed hands from Activision to THQ for Kung Fu Panda 2: The Video Game and anybody expecting it to be similarly good will have have been disappointed. The Metacritic score stands at just 31% for the PlayStation 3 version with GameReactor claiming its shortness to be a good thing.
And now we’re down to the real dregs – the final three. And lo and behold, it’s a movie tie-in – Activision’s 3DS version of Transformers: Dark of the Moon – Stealth Force Edition. With a 30% average reviewers universally agreed that it was a bad game but they couldn’t agree on the control system. The Official Nintendo Magazine said that the controls were the best aspect while Nintendo World Report claimed it was the worst thing about it. Then there’s Nintendojo’s bizarre verdict: “Even if you are the most hardcore Transformers fan, this is a game to pass up. If you’re a Stealthforcer fan, then by all means, get this game – I’m sure you’ll love it,” they said before giving it a paltry 25%. What?
Duke Nukem raises his head in second place but it’s not Duke Nukem Forever as you may expect but rather Deep Silver’s Duke Nukem: Critical Mass on DS with 29%. A deal was penned for three handheld Duke Nukem games back in 2009. After a troubled development what stumbled out to very little promotion was an amateurish 2D run and gunner. The PSP version was apparently going be third-person but quietly canned.
So, here we have Metacritic’s worst game of 2011. Or rather the worst retail game of 2011 seeing as we bent the rules slightly. It’s Ubisoft’s Self-Defense Training Camp on Kinect with a mighty 21% average score. Worth Playing sums it up quite nicely: “Just steer clear of this one and always remember to carry some pepper spray – not to ward off muggers, but to spray in the face of anyone who tries to tell you this is a worthwhile title.”
What a kick in the balls!
Matt is Games Asylum's most prolific writer, having produced a non-stop stream of articles for the site since 2001. A retro collector and bargain hunter, his knowledge has been found in the pages of tree-based publication Retro Gamer.