There’s little worse for a gamer than being let down by sloppy or unfinished game production, after eagerly anticipating a release for years. But unfortunately it happens far often than we’d like to admit.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 is currently stinking up the world with its glitch-ridden and basically broken excuse for a game, tarnishing the name of one of our favourite sports series in the process.
But it certainly isn’t the only time developers have released shoddy excuses for titles – and it definitely isn’t the worst. Here’s a look back at other occasions where the ball was well and truly dropped.
As you can tell by the gameplay video here, this childhood-destroying noughties version of Sonic the Hedgehog was an absolute nightmare to play through. From a distance, the game looks silky and smooth, seemingly embodying all that the blue hedgehog stood for, with quick battle sequences and massive courses to sprint on through.
Like a deadly Siren’s song, however, this was deceptive. The glitches were never ending, and they were game breaking. Every. Single. Time. A definite rough patch in our relationship with fast-running, cool-guy hedgehogs.
Earning some of the most deliciously scathing reviews of all time (sample quote: “it serves no purpose other than to firmly establish the bottom of the barrel”), this infamously unplayable N64 stinker marked a new low for rushed-out licensed titles.
Do those graphics look like 1999 to you? No matter – that was just the tip of the iceberg. The shoddy implementation of pretty much everything else resulted in a woeful car-crash of epic proportions, briefly turning the Man Of Steel into a rubbery laughing stock.
Ashes Cricket 2013
Even if you don’t care about the gentlemanly sport of cricket, you should care about how preposterously disastrous the launch of this official tie-in was.
Such was the outcry and widespread mocking following its release on Steam, players were eventually refunded and all planned console and retail versions were actually abandoned. We’re talking about a title where basic animations were missing, the sound kept awkwardly cutting in and out, and fielders would randomly run round in circles on the field – resulting in something that felt more like a surrealist art installation, than a sporting video game.
Ride to Hell: Retribution
Quite simply one of the worst games in living memory, this woeful biker brawling ‘adventure’ had a mechanic where you could restore resources by ‘saving girls’ – who would then reward you with sex. And that was the least of its problems.
Hilariously bad; the shoddy controls, infuriating gameplay and plethora of eye-widening visual glitches made this a target for scathing YouTubers everywhere, and it brought a lofty new standard to the ‘things blowing up for no reason’ trope that naff B-movies love so much.
Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing
YOU’RE WINNER! As terrible racers go, this was a staggering piece of crap.
If you literally cannot engage in meaningful competition with your AI opponents, because they’re far too busy basically being broken and sometimes not even moving at all, then you’ve got a serious problem. Some probably thought they could enjoy it in an ironic sense at least, but rarely has such a roll-call of insane glitches and general physics mayhem resulted in something so dull.
It would be unfair to lump the stealth-action espionage thriller in with some of the other entries in this list, as it does have some strong redeeming features, but it’s actual launch was certainly not a triumphant one.
Suffering from an abundance of technical woes and farcical bugs, not to mention some of the shoddiest big-release AI this side of the millennium, it was the gaming equivalent of someone presenting you with a tempting, tasty box of chocolates – wrapped in barbed wire and turd.
Fallout: New Vegas
Oh Fallout: New Vegas – we love you really. Honestly, we do.
Another Obsidian special, in so many respects the developer did a genuinely brilliant job of translating Bethesda’s rebooted Fallout series to the compelling locales of a post-apocalyptic Vegas and its war-torn surroundings. But for a while at least, the technical implementation left a lot to be desired. Glitches were outlandish, widespread, and occasionally game-busting.
Offering one of the most glaring disparities between critical reception and player reaction in history, the ambitious fantasy MMO got a pretty damn warm response from reviewers last year – but left many gamers angry in the extreme.
Server issues prevented players from actually playing, it was accused of being ‘pay to win’ rather than free-to-play, and widespread complaints of poor-user experiences weren’t entirely alleviated by patches. A shame.