No matter how many brilliant games release each year, there are bound to be a few stinkers. It could be a super-hyped title that failed to meet expectations, a decent concept that severely botches the execution, or something so awful that it warrants a mention and not much else. Whatever the case may be, it’s worth highlighting them, if only to remember everything that went wrong. Let’s look at 15 of the worst games released in 2022.
Based on Smilegate’s super-popular free-to-play shooter, CrossfireX garnered attention because Remedy was behind its campaign. However, this was little more than two short “Operations” with bad writing, cliched and boring gameplay, and terrible AI. The studio’s trademark panache was missing here, though the Northlight Engine looked decent, and the “revamped” multiplayer didn’t offer much either.
Some games are developed for years, and you hate to see them launch as Gungrave G.O.R.E has. Any notions of style that Overdose may have had all those years ago are overridden by an ugly visual style, from the characters to the levels. The story sounds like it could make for some B-movie-level fun but ends up confusing and outright time-wasting. Gameplay-wise, the sheer amount of jank in animations, movement, and combat are just awful all around.
Source of Madness
In theory, Source of Madness sounds cool. It uses procedural generation to create its Lovecraftian-esque nightmares and neural network AI to animate them. Unfortunately, this results in unpredictable enemies, further adding to the brutal difficulty alongside the shoddy controls. Even if you can appreciate the aesthetic, the sheer lack of strategy that enemies display, horrible bosses, and lackluster progression ensures little payoff for surviving this nightmare.
As a dark fantasy stealth title, Winter Ember felt pretty ambitious with its 30 arrow types, 70 passive and active skills, and open-ended gameplay. The interesting aesthetic and setting are hampered by poor combat, awful enemy AI, shoddy cover while sneaking, and the same repetitive gameplay loop. Even the audio design, an essential part of a stealth experience, is not good, executing any hope one could have for this mess.
A sci-fi adventure inspired by Zelda with an appealing art style – what could go wrong? As XEL proves, quite a lot. The sheer number of bugs and lack of polish will put you off immediately. Once you make it further in, the combat and visuals can be somewhat satisfying, but the awful story undercuts them. Too much repetition and some baffling design decisions will further kill your interest if you’re still somehow playing.
The Last Oricru
Serving as one of the poster games for the new Prime Matter label, The Last Oricru takes clear inspiration from other Souls-like titles. But that’s all it is – a shallow inspiration where everything sticks out for all the wrong reasons. It may be the annoying main character, user interface, controls or how clunky everything looks. Whatever it may be, The Last Oricru doesn’t feel good to play, look at or think about.
Like The Last Oricru, Dolmen is a Souls-like but sci-fi with cosmic horror. It’s also terrible, with combat missing many key features and melee combat feeling janky and poorly tuned overall. Despite how interesting the sci-fi premise looks, it’s all fluff with no real purpose or sense that fails to hook you.
MX vs ATV Legends
MX vs ATV Legends isn’t bad enough to be truly awful, but it’s enough to be annoyingly mediocre. Multiple types of vehicles to race with? Good. The slippery controls and haphazard AI? Bad, though the former has reportedly improved. The open world aspect? Good. The lack of anything to do in it? Bad. We could go on with the physics, sound design, polish, and so on. While the new Trails mode and regular tracks are decent, it’s not enough when everything else is undercooked.
The House of the Dead: Remake
With all the remakes we’ve seen in the past few years, The House of the Dead: Remake could have been something good. Maybe not great, but still good. Developer MegaPixel Studio kept almost everything as is, but the visual upgrades look too dark and ugly. The remixed soundtrack comes across as bland, and the lack of much new content (save for the missable horde mode) makes it feel overpriced. The less said about the controls and performance issues, the better.
Maybe it’s fun on mobile, but Diablo Immortal on PC is a travesty. Its user interface is horrid, with annoying pop-ups – especially during gameplay, resulting in misclicks – and the combat is an even more dumbed-down version of Diablo 3. The campaign is there, but any interesting plot is offset by the stupid progression blockers and grinding required. The sheer scale of monetization is also appalling, to the extent that certain end-game activities are just locked off to free players. Even without it, Diablo Immortal would still be a mess as opposed to the ongoing trainwreck.
Lancarse’s track record has been a bit spotty this year, as anyone who played The DioField Chronicle will attest. There was some hope for Monark, developed by a few former Shin Megami Tensei series members. It has a school setting, Egos, and an Otherworld to explore, just like SMT and Persona. It differs, however, in the awful pacing, repetitive gameplay, and troubling characterization, to say nothing of the shallow visuals and environments. With so many other great RPG efforts this year, like Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Trails from Zero, and so on, Monark hardly warrants a look.
A platform fighter based on LEGO sets sounds appealing in theory. The execution leaves a lot to be desired. Originally released for iOS in 2019, LEGO Brawls made its way to consoles and PC this past September. Despite its looks, the gameplay quickly becomes boring (with little difference between characters), and the sheer grind required to unlock things is a chore. The lack of stuff to do doesn’t help either.
I found ELEX to be a drag, but Piranhabytes’ sci-fi action RPG garnered a dedicated cult following after its release. ELEX 2 seemed a good time to capitalize on this and deliver something better. Sadly, it’s also full of clunky combat, dull writing, boring open-world design, monotonous side quests, and an underwhelming presentation. Being able to fly with a jetpack doesn’t count for much when there are so many bugs, and the DirectX 12 rollout is a whole other rigmarole on its own.
Despite its low production values, IKAI could have been a nice little horror title, weaving in Japanese folklore in unique ways. Alas, it falls flat. It’s very short, the plot makes little sense, and it abruptly ends with almost no payoff. This wouldn’t be too terrible if the gameplay and horror were up to par, but the former is too restrictive and lackluster, while the latter offers bland jumpscares.
In some alternate universe, Blackwind would have been a decent twin-stick shooter/action RPG hybrid. Unfortunately in this timeline, its premise can’t withstand the horrible story, mind-numbingly dull exploration and progression, and awful combat. The glitches and poor controls further hamper your attempts to squeeze any enjoyment out of the experience.
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