It’s true, video game price tags are on the rise — as are our expectations when looking to buy them whenever their respected launch dates roll around. And considering $70 or more isn’t exactly uncommon in this day and age, we do come to expect a certain level of quality from each release. But what we don’t come to expect, on the other hand, is broken ports and jagged cogs, all of which clash together to produce one piercing grind.
It’s only natural for us to want the best experience a game has to offer. And yet, time and time again, desperate devs have indeed flocked to the final hurdle with the scent of money loitering under their noses, desperate to get a whiff without actually vaulting over it. And let’s be fair, that’s led to some pretty disastrous results over the years. Just feast your eyes on these five broken games, for example. Although having been redeemed since rolling out a slew of patches, these truly will be forever remembered as being absolute digital disasters.
5. Assassin’s Creed: Unity
After retrieving nuggets of gold from the Assassin vault for several years, Ubisoft knew that their luck would eventually run out and, one day, that gold would gradually spiral into coal. Only, with Ubi being overconfident with their booming franchise, the team made the assumption that whatever they produced would be well-received, even with a thread of bugs to capsize it. But you know what they say: fools gold really isn’t all that hard to spot if you dig deep enough.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity was a major step down for Ubisoft — especially after Black Flag set the new benchmark for the series. But like I said, with Ubi getting a little too cocky for their own good, they resorted to watering down a sequel in order to stay true to their strict annual deadline. Only, with the French Revolution chapter being riddled with bugs and wonky mechanics from the get-go, they pretty much fell into a web of their own making, stitched from fantasy and incompetence.
4. Cyberpunk 2077
After building hype for Cyberpunk 2077 for what felt like decades, it was only natural for stoked fans to expect some level of premium quality material in return. And while CD Projekt made sure to funnel all of its resources into epic trailers and celebrity cameos, the gameplay, on the other hand, didn’t receive so much as a smidgen of attention. Or at least it didn’t seem that way, anyway.
Cyberpunk 2077 will forever go down as the sinking ship that anchored CD Projekt to the graveyard of fractured games. Even with the spools of updates effectively patching the game up since its disastrous launch, fans will forever remember the time Sony pulled the game from the market, and CD Projekt themselves had to issue formal apologies to all those that purchased the broken title. So, redeemed or not, there’s just no forgetting how appalling that launch was.
3. Ride to Hell: Retribution
After getting pretty comfortable with their flagship NASCAR franchise, developer Eutechnyx looked to make an incredibly ambitious leap into a whole new world; one that would ultimately destroy the axis of which they had spent years forging. And Ride to Hell: Retribution, also known as one of the worst games to ever stain a generation, sadly, was the very wrecking ball that demolished those paper stilts.
Not only was Ride to Hell: Retribution subpar to all previous works that fell out of the studio doors, but also a pretty sloppy game in general. And that’s not even shedding light on the voice acting which, if anything, was diabolical even at the best of times. Mix that with poorly designed levels and jagged physics and you’ve got yourself a poor excuse for a AAA release.
2. Battlefield 4
It’s one thing to put your hand up and formally apologise on behalf of a studio for the poor quality of a game — but to actually pull all of your assets together in order to fend off a lawsuit over the final product? Sheesh, now that’s a new low. And yet, this actually happened with the Battlefield 4 launch. EA, despite all their efforts, actually had a lawsuit filed against them, claiming misrepresentation of the launched product, forcing both EA and DICE to halt work on all other projects until it finally met expectations.
Looking back at Battlefield as a series, EA did a pretty spectacular job at breathing life into the original trilogy. But that fourth instalment? Ouch. It could’ve been the next big thing for the money-hungry devs, no doubt. But with EA being reliant on the popularity of the franchise alone, laziness clearly got the upper hand during the physical development phase, resulting in a sloppy serving come launch day. Tut tut.
1. Fallout ’76
It was one thing to charge a hefty price for a broken online multiplayer game, but to actually ban the players who tried to ultimately fix the game through patches? Now that was a little harsh, eh Bethesda? In that instance, remaining proud really wasn’t worth a dime, especially when millions of players eagerly anticipated an actual working title. And yet, the team behind the disaster refused to accept an outside helping hand at all.
Fallout ’76, admittedly, has come a long way since its rocky launch. Bugs have indeed been fixed, as have most of the temperamental mechanics buried in its enormous online world. But patches aside, the game is still very much the brunt of a stale joke, with most of its flaws still being compared to newer flops in the chain. And to be fair, that’s something Bethesda will never be able to escape from.