Now that I’ve exorcised the demons of bad licenced games I’ve invested in, it’s time to do the same with some of the truly rotten original IPs. Again I’ve based the list on games that I’ve personally paid for, rather than those that were bought for me by loved ones. As you’ll see, just because an idea is original, it doesn’t mean it’s good. Also, it’s interesting to note that all bar one of the games on my list are from the last two console generations. Let’s delve in with what I consider to be some of my worst monetary decisions:
Defcon 5 – PS1 1995
Defcon 5 was a first person shooter/adventure game by Millennium Interactive and was released on PS1, Sega Saturn, 3DO and PC in 1995. Alarm bells should’ve sounded when I came across the game languishing in the bargain bin of my local video game store. The description on the game’s rear cover hooked me in – defend a deep space mining facility from an unknown enemy force, the box art also showed the game had FMV clips (a particular weakness of mine), so I duly handed over my money and headed home. Having leafed through the unusually thick instruction manual I booted the game up, only to be met by a confusing, blocky Doom clone. The layout of the facility was like a maze, and no matter which end of the facility I tried to defend, the enemy would attack the opposite end. I never could get my head round quite what I was supposed to be doing, and it wasn’t long before my copy ended up back where I’d first found it.
Rise Of Nightmares – Xbox 360 2011
I stumbled across Sega’s Rise Of Nightmares whilst browsing the shelves of GAME shortly I’d bought my Kinect camera. Regular visitors to the site will know that I’m a massive fan of survival horror, so I was intrigued as to how a Kinect game would work. I’ll give Rise Of Nightmares its due, it does set a creepy, Hostel-style tone; but moving in-game was an absolute pain, quite literally in this case, as in order to move forward the player had to take a step toward the camera and lean forward. Not a great deal of physical movement, but keeping this pose for a long period equated to aching muscles. I also recall the combat system being a little unresponsive. I played the game a few times before it found its way onto a shelf, where it gathered a thick layer of dust until I traded my 360 in for a PS4.
Assassin’s Creed III – Xbox 360 2012
Before I give my reasons for why Assassin’s Creed III has made the list, I’d like to point out that I’d enjoyed its predecessors and played them all to completion, and upon learning that the third installment would take place in Colonial-era America I started counting the days until the game’s release. The story started well as I devoured the opening few chapters, but I didn’t feel the same connection with that I did with Altaïr and Ezio. I felt his backstory was bland and that the countless cameos from America’s founding fathers didn’t add to the game in the same way that Leonardo Da Vinci had with the ACII trilogy. Side missions had become bloated and tedious, and in my opinion removed me further from the main story. I want to love Assassins Creed, I really do, but the installment left a bad and long lasting taste in my mouth… Hopefully the recently announced Assassin’s Creed Origins will restore the franchise to its former glory
WATCH_DOGS – PS4 2014
Like the majority of gamers, I was blown away with WATCH_DOGS gameplay trailer from Ubisoft’s 2013 E3 press conference. The game looked graphically stunning, and a level of interactive never seen before would be possible, with hacker Aiden Pierce being able to bring The Windy City to its knees. What we got was something very different. The graphics were sub-par, looking like a port of last gen rather than a build from the ground up. Gone were finer details that made my jaw drop, like Aiden’s coat tails blowing in the wind as he walked past an alley. The number of devices that could be hacked seemed to have dropped as well. I played a few missions, but really felt let down as the product I was playing was vastly different from what I’d been looking forward to. I like the look of the sequel, especially as the game’s set in San Francisco, as I’ve visited the city and fancy walking a virtual version.
The Order 1886 – PS4 2015
As with WATCH_DOGS, The Order 1886 proves the old adage that all that glitters is not gold. Again I got swept up in cinematic and game play trailers shown at press conferences; fork out for the game on release day only to find that the finished product was a big, steaming pile of you-know-what. The premise sounded super cool – Templar Knights had survived through to a steampunk Victorian-era London, using electrified weapons in an ongoing battle with what were essentially werewolves. Developer Ready At Dawn had even thought to include Nikola Tesla, a scientist famed for his early work with electricity as The Order’s armourer. To be fair to The Order, the plot is quite compelling; what lets it down is that although the main story takes roughly 10-15 hours to play, the player only has control for a very small portion of that time. If Ready At Dawn wanted to make a movie, maybe they should’ve set up shop in Hollywood.