Usually our annual lookback at the worst console games of the year is in conjunction with Metacritic. As in, we use the site as a source.
But with Metacritic’s worst rated games of the year mostly consisting of PC and iOS games we’ve never even heard of, it doesn’t seem particularly right to go chopping and changing the list to suit our console-focused needs. Moreover, it’s incredibly difficult to write about something one has never played.
It has also been said that Metacritic does the industry more harm than good, so there’s that too.
Instead, here’s a list of our own choosing, all of which are games we’ve had the misfortune to play. Despite our chance of stance though, it’s not all that far off Metacritc’s list save for the omission of Die!Die!Die! on PS Vita and something called Motorbike on PlayStation 3.
Pity the person who receives one of these for Christmas.
Fast & Furious: Showdown – PS3, 360, Wii U
The main reason for movie tie-ins turning to be trash is that publishers will hand the license to whoever is willing to do the dirty work for the least amount of money.
As long as they end up with a game that can shove into a nice looking case in time for the movie’s release, publishers are quite content regardless of quality.
Firebird have at least worked on a few other racing games in the past, which would explain why Showdown more or less gets the fundamentals right. But rather than release something that’s basic yet playable, they tried to add a few little ideas into the mix and none of these really work.
It’s possible to switch between driving and shooting by the press of a button, but the rudimentary AI isn’t up to either role. If you let the AI drive during the time-trial events you’ll witness them stopping dead in front of obstructions, randomly reversing and just generally driving like they’re half asleep. All the while the clock is ticking down, until the event is eventually failed.
One rememberable mission involves transporting six boxes via an open back truck without them spilling onto the tarmac, but the physics engine is so wonky and predicable that this mission can take several attempts to complete. Then there’s the one where two vehicles have to drag a giant metal safe through a congested city. It’s brilliant idea, but it’s one that’s ruined by the fact that you also have to keep an eye on the AI car’s health. Should the they crash too many times you’re then penalised by failing the mission. Why make the player responsible for the AI’s stupidity? Why indeed.
It’s great that Firebird did try to include a degree of originality, but even so this would have far more playable had they taken the safe option and turned into a Burnout clone.
Ride to Hell: Retribution – PS3, 360, PC
It was Destructoid’s Jim Sterling who summed up Ride to Hell perfectly – “Rather than unfinished, I’d suggest the game feels barely started”.
Development began back in 2008 as a open-world game, only for it to then be put on hiatus after the studio was handed Activision’s newly acquired NASCAR license.
Skip forward to 2013 and for reasons unclear Eutechnyx decided to cobble together the work carried out on Ride to Hell all those years ago.
Chopped and changed into a linear adventure, sections clearly designed for an open-world adventure were now surrounded by invisible walls to suit the new structure. It truly is a ‘Frankenstein’s monster’ of a game, blatantly formed of whatever assets the developer could scrape together.
No matter if you’re racing, shooting or fighting other biker gangs it falls flat on all accounts – a glitch-ridden mess with absolutely nothing going for it whatsoever. To add further insult to those who mistakenly coughed up thirty quid for it, there’s a very distributing stance present against women. They’re objectified in the worst way imaginationable, frequently jumping into bed with the lead character after being rescued from the clutches of rival gangs.
You have to wonder if publisher Deep Silver knew what they’d signed up for. Plans were afoot to turn Ride to Hell into a franchise, with a spin-off XBLA motorbike racer and a mobile game once in the pipeline. Retribution’s frankly deserved reputation of being one of the worst games of all time has seemingly killed off those plans.
Good riddance. May Ride to Hell never sully the world of videogames ever again.