10 Video Games That were Unplayable Trash When Released –
Sometimes, a product is released to the general public in a genuinely defective state. In most cases, this is done by mistake, the faulty product is immediately recalled and consumers get offered refunds appropriate to their purchase.
In the world of gaming, developers are nearly always pushed for time, pressured into knowingly releasing their broken, buggy or downright unplayable games to an unsuspecting audience of unassuming players.
There’s absolutely no excuse for this behaviour, but it is slowly becoming an accepted reality of the medium. Over the past several years, dozens of games have been shipped despite being desperately defective, the assumption being that the developers will eventually patch the broken products into an acceptable condition, once they’ve made their money back. Until then, players are expected to tolerate faulty goods, a mentality which can only be understood in the following terms: you’ll get what you’re given.
10. Sonic Boom
Released in 2014, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric was both a critical and commercial failure, largely because it was a repetitive, nauseating experience with zero personality, but also because it was released in an unserviceable condition. In the game, players experienced constant drops in framerate, and would glitch around the environment uncontrollably, making the insufferable combat that much more intolerable.
Worse still, the game was easily exploitable. In fact, one player managed to beat the entire game simply by jumping on the spot repeatedly, pausing and unpausing the game in order to gain greater height, eventually escaping the confines of his surroundings. As a result, massive portions of the game could be easily avoided, leading players into game-breaking bugs, or forcing them off the side of the map into a bottomless oblivion.
It short order, the game was panned almost universally, considered by some to be the worst entry in the entire franchise, even rivalling the infamous Sonic the Hedgehog from 2006. In fairness, Sonic Boom isn’t unplayable – the combat is repetitive for instance, but functional – the trouble is that the broken design accentuates the faults inherent in the game, making the entire experience that much more unbearable.
9. Fallout: New Vegas
An undeniable classic, unfortunately hindered upon release by being virtually unplayable, Fallout: New Vegas was the much anticipated successor to Fallout 3. Developed by Obsidian – the team behind the original Fallout and Fallout 2 – New Vegas was praised for its narrative, but universally panned for the numerous flaws inherent in its design.
In reality, the game was absolutely riddled with bugs and glitches, somewhat undermining the quality of the experience, and completely destroying any semblance of immersion. Enemies would disappear, only to reappear moments later behind the player; characters would shudder and rotate in the middle of conversations, before vanishing entirely; objects in the environment would levitate above the ground; important quest items would constantly go missing, and nothing about the game seemed reliable, or even remotely stable.
As a result, it was difficult to really enjoy the game without constantly worrying about what might go wrong. I mean, how can a player be expected to invest in a story that won’t behave, or engage with a game that won’t play by its own rules? The problems were eventually fixed, and the game salvaged, but that doesn’t change the fact that the game was essentially shipped in a broken, unplayable state, knowingly.
8. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Bethesda Softworks have been cultivating quite the reputation over the years for their slapdash, unrefined approach to game development. In 2011, the company released Skyrim – the long awaited fifth instalment in The Elder Scrolls franchise – a masterpiece universally praised by critics for its scope and design, yet criticised for its unpolished condition, seemingly unfinished despite almost a decade of painstaking work.
Like Fallout: New Vegas, Skyrim was hurried to release in order to capitalise on its immense popularity, and while a lengthy delay might have heralded a more complete product, it was seemingly deemed an unnecessary expense. In reality, Skyrim was destined to be a massive success regardless, so why bother ironing out the creases right away? In fairness, Bethesda have a decent track record with fixing their own mistakes, but those mistakes should never have been allowed into the finished product in the first place.
7. Superman 64
Released in 1999, Superman 64 is notoriously awful, a contender for worst game ever made, and a genuine torture to actually play. It’s also broken, and barely playable; the first level is an incomprehensible mess; the character constantly clips around the environment; the framerate is non-existent; the controls are dysfunctional; the visuals are excruciating, and nothing about the experience comes across as complete, or comprehensive.
Make no mistake about it, Superman 64 is a defective product, rushed to completion. In 1999, the game was panned almost universally, seen as a desperate attempt to capitalise on the popularity of the franchise. Playing the game in 2016, the lack of care or attention that went into this product is obvious, the game clearly thrown together without any sense of cohesion, the vast majority of its components utterly unpolished.
Whether the developers were to blame, or the overeager publishers, Superman 64 paid the price, and will forever endure in infamy.
6. Assassin’s Creed: Unity
Released in 2014, Assassin’s Creed: Unity is the eighth instalment in the series, and possibly the most broken entry in the entire franchise. In the game, players take control of Arno Dorian – an assassin of the brotherhood in Paris during the French Revolution – who must uncover the location of a mysterious weapon, The Sword of Eden. In terms of story and setting, the game is unrivalled by previous instalments. Unfortunately, most players found themselves unable to enjoy either one, what with the game being a broken mess upon release.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity was a travesty, especially on PC. For one thing, characters would constantly disappear, leaving only their eyeballs and mouths behind, their skin seemingly vanished into another realm of consciousness. The framerate would also fluctuate unpredictably, the entire game riddled with technical issues and performance problems. In fact, the whole thing became so bad that Ubisoft were forced to issue an official apology, which was more to do with the fact that their stock had dropped significantly since the release of the game.
Released in 2013, SimCity was the much anticipated sixth instalment in the franchise, and was an unequivocal disaster almost immediately upon release. Why? Well, the game could only be played online, limiting players to smaller sections of larger environments, and forcing them to collaborate with other players in order to acquire certain resources.
Naturally, players were disappointed with this decision, and while it made sense from a business perspective, it was a terrible direction to take the project artistically. As a result, the game received a mixed critical reception prior to its release, with critics less than thrilled about the game’s restrictive online features. Later, things went from bad to worse, the servers crashing immediately following its general release, preventing anyone and everyone from accessing their own copy of the game.
Astonishingly, it took EA almost a week to remedy the problem, disabling a number of gameplay features in order to somewhat resolve the situation. Since then, SimCity has been plagued with technical problems, mostly relating to their “GlassBox Engine” – a revolutionary technology designed around accurately representing reality – which never functioned correctly, ruining the experience and breaking any semblance of immersion.
4. Diablo III
Diablo III was an unmitigated disaster upon its release, the servers crashing immediately following a massive increase in server activity. The game – a much anticipated action RPG from Blizzard Entertainment – sold over three million copies in the first twenty-four hours of its release, making it one of the best-selling PC games of 2012.
As a result, millions of players were unable to access the game upon its release, with the vast majority of players locked out of the experience by the same vague, unaccommodating message: “The servers are busy at this time. Please try again later”.
In the past, Diablo was playable offline, meaning it could be enjoyed primarily as a singleplayer experience, but Diablo III represented something of a hybrid, an amalgamation of both singleplayer and multiplayer elements. As a result, the game could not possibly be enjoyed without an internet connection capable of accessing a system of reliable servers, which were unavailable until several day later.
3. Ashes Cricket 2013
Developed by Trickstar Games, Ashes Cricket 2013 was a disaster, immediately recalled by its publishers following an unprecedented critical backlash. Unplayable, fundamentally broken and downright laughable, the game was released for a short period exclusively on Steam, before being cancelled by 505 Games less than a week later. To date, it is considered one of the worst games ever made, as well as an absolute triumph in broken engineering.
How terrible could it have been? In the game, players would stand around aimlessly, performing the same basic functions; character animation was severely limited, making catching and fielding almost impossible despite being fundamental requirements of the sport; controls were seemingly random, as well unfathomable, and numerous features were inaccessible or non-functional. Worst of all, the game was riddled with physics problems, technical glitches and bugs, most of which were downright hilarious.
The backlash against the game was so severe that 505 Games were forced to recall it, offering refunds to anyone and everyone unfortunate enough to have purchased the game. In an interview with the BBC, 505 blamed the developers for their inexperience in handling the development of Ashes Cricket, but honestly, everyone involved should be held accountable for this particular travesty.
2. Batman: Arkham Knight
Released in 2015, Arkham Knight was the much anticipated fourth instalment in the franchise, promoted as the final chapter in the celebrated Arkham saga. Unfortunately, the game was plagued with problems upon release, especially on PC. For many, the game was riddled with technical glitches and gamebreaking bugs; for others, it could only be convinced to run at twelve frames per second, crashing constantly at the most importune moments.
In response, Warner Bros. were forced to remove the game from Steam, promising to remedy the situation in the future. Eventually, Arkham Knight was rereleased, yet the problems persisted despite months of painstaking work to resolve the situation. To date, players are still having trouble with certain textures and environmental details, the team continuing to work tirelessly to improve the overall experience, yet to no avail.
In fairness, Arkham Knight has improved considerable since release, and thankfully, the implementation of Steam refunds meant most players were compensated for their uninformed choice of purchase. With that being said, this really shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
1. Battlefield 4
The most notoriously broken game ever released to the public, Battlefield 4 was an unprecedented travesty of cosmic proportions. Released in 2013, the game was such a disaster that a class-action lawsuit was filed against the publisher, claiming that EA had purposely misrepresented the public in regards to the fundamentally broken nature of the game.
Largely, the problems revolved around the multiplayer, which was virtually unplayable. In the game, players experienced immense difficulty even finding a game, the online lag only exacerbating the situation when combined with the numerous glitches and technical problems plaguing the entire experience. Players would spawn inside walls, or teleport around the environment; vehicles were seemingly uncontrollable, and even the visuals were unreliable, faltering constantly as the game attempted to process the action on screen.
It’s unacceptable, and downright criminal to knowingly release a substandard product, yet gamers in particular are growing accustomed to the reality of broken, unplayable games. EA in particular should be held accountable for their actions, but there are plenty of other companies intentionally engaging in fraudulent behaviour. In short, Battlefield 4 should never have happened, its existence proving how dishonest the entire industry is capable of being.