5 Worst Gaming Console Shooters of 2011

By   |  July 25, 2011

Action shooter games, both first person and third, are definitely my favorite type of game, and statistically they are one of the most valued genre’s in the video game industry. That’s why you do see some of the best developed games in this category, but it’s also why you see a ton of games that feel rushed and/or broken. The idea that one type of  game will sell better than any other type of game is what pushes some developers to put out a game that is severely lacking in quality compared to the competition. And with 2011 now half over, we already have 5 console shooters that stink. Here they are now, from least to most awful:

5. Duke Nukem Forever (PS3, Xbox360): We waited literally forever for this game, the  sequel to the 1997 hit Duke Nukem 3D. In many ways Forever is much like 3D, yet it also feels like it wants to be a modern shooter and that’s just one reason why the game isn’t very good. Gameplay wise, it’s nothing like the game we were shown teasers for ten years ago, and that’s not at all a good thing.

Forever feels like it was rushed through a confused development process. The loading times are god-awful, we’re talking a wait of at least a minute every time you die and every time a level loads. So if you die a lot (and you will, because the control to reaction ratio in this game feels underwater) you’ll be spending days staring at a loading screen. And all for low resolution textures and backgrounds that won’t load until well after the game loads. The graphics are just bad all around, comparable to a high end PS2 title. I understand this game was in development hell for 12 years, but it feels like they just decided to upgrade the graphics for some things and just ignore others. The character models look like crap, and the voice acting is atrocious (apart from Jon St. John, the voice of Duke). Compared all the badass weapons Duke had in 3D, Forever’s firepower just dosen’t live up to the original. Not only are all the weapons weak and uninteresting, but you are limited to carrying two at a time. The game is full of boring platforming puzzles and mini games which are basically unplayable.

You have to give Gearbox Software credit for finishing the game in the first place. I think they just wanted to get the game out there instead of languishing in development hell any longer. The real blame should be directed at 3D Realms, who spent 12 years making (and sometimes not making) a broken and confusing mess of a game.

4. Red Faction Armageddon (Ps3, Xbox360): Red Faction Armageddon (RFA) is one of the best looking games I have seen in awhile. Everything looks very polished and well done and the graphics are gorgeous. The weapons are all awesome, and like in Red Faction Guerrilla, the environments are fully destructible.  After you destroy something you can rebuild it with the Nano-Forge, and honestly the animation that goes along with that process is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately RFA is utterly terrible in every other aspect.

First of all, Red Faction Guerrilla was a very good game. Not like Bioshock good, or Red Dead Redemption good, but just a very fun and well put together game. The characters were well written and likable, the story was great, the voice acting was well done, the environments were gorgeous, and the AI was clever; it was very nice non-linear third person shooter, and it kind of felt like GTA on Mars.

But for some reason developer Volition decided to take all those things I just talked about, and omit them from the next game. RFA has a generic story, terrible gameplay, bad dialogue, repetitive and boring level design, stupid enemies ( of which there are 4 types), and you’re locked into a linear level system with absolutely no freedoms whatsoever. And the missions are so generic, it’s painful (one mission involves you fixing water pumps). You kill the same shit over and over and over and then the game ends. It’s like a B movie, but not the kind you want to watch with your friends (at one point you actually have to fight a giant metal spider). It’s such a disappointment because there was so much potential from the second game, and some stupid people just decided to take a shit, add some CGI, and then put a CGI enhanced turd on the shelves as Best Buy. Then, to add insult to injury there’s a code included with the game that you have to use to play online. That means if you rent the game, or buy it used, you can’t use any of the online features. That’s some serious bullshit, but don’t worry because the multi-player (if you can call it that) aspect of the game is sub par. There are two modes, deathmatch and destruction, and they both suck.

3. Brink (PS3, Xbox360): Brink had so much potential going for it; up to 16 player online combat, 4 player offline deathmatch, and nearly unlimited character customizations made it an online FPS that could have changed everything. And Bethesda completely trashed that potential.  Stylistically the game looks great, but that’s the only thing Brink has going for it. The multi-player aspect is completely broken. The lag is so horrible that 90% of the time you can never use it. There’s no kill/death ratio either, so I don’t even know why they bothered putting in the multi-player. That leaves you with single player which is utterly and completely broken experience. It’s the same levels over and over, with AI who are so retarded it’s unbelievable. The enemy AI just line up and run into gunfire. Your team AI won’t perform any class actions by themselves, forcing you to do all the necessary work needed to complete goals. They also won’t stick with you to provide cover, so you’re going to have to get used to dying alone. The texture popping is so slow that most of the time you’ll walk into a new area and be walking around for ages before it loads. The bugs that were left in the final product were all the ones that screwed up the best features that, if they had worked, might have made Brink a legendary FPS.

2. Mindjack (PS3, Xbox360): With Mindjack you have an interesting concept that sounds real good as an idea, and maybe could have been as a game, but was developed and implemented so poorly that the end result is an awful mess. The game’s main feature is the ability to “mindjack” AI in game and force them to fight for you or distract enemy fire. The game also allows your online players to mindjack the enemy AI fighting against you. Again, it sounds cool, but it’s all a lot of fail. First of all mindjacking is an out of body experience, and the sound made while the process is happening is an ear shattering nightmare that you can’t turn off in the options menu. Actually controlling the mindjack around the level is frustrating, and cycling between available AI’s to mindjack is impossible thanks to the way-to-close- camera angle. So that’s bad. Also not so good is the voice acting, which might actually be the worst I’ve ever heard in my entire life, across all media formats. The story is generic, and the AI….oh god the AI in this game are so, so bad. Enemies will stand  behind cover and not move, stand in one place out in the open and not move, shoot at walls, and sometimes just not shoot at all. The Boss fights redefine terrible; instead of defeating a boss by shooting it you kill bosses by shooting all the enemies around it. Finally the levels are extremely short and repetitive, and after each one you are stripped of all your weapons and given the pistol you start the game with.

1. Call of Juarez: The Cartel (PS3, Xbox360): In general, the Call of Juarez series of games have been met with mixed reviews. The first game wasn’t that great, but the second, Bound in Blood, was a pretty decent game. What those two games had going for them was that they were both Western shooters, so if you like Westerns, then you could find something to like in both the original and Bound in Blood.

Call of Juarez: The Cartel is not a Western, it is set in modern times (so right there, check minus). It has nothing to do with the first two games at all, except for Ben McCall, who I guess is a distant relative of the protagonist from the first two games, although they never mention that in Cartel. All in all this game is about three detectives who hate and don’t trust each other, and they drive around and shoot some bad guys. That’s literally the entire game. There is a story, but the cut-scenes are all so terrible I couldn’t bring myself to ever watch them. That’s actually the best feature of this game; the ability to skip the in-game movies.

The bad starts the minute you load the game. The main title looks like shit. It literally looks like a BIOS screen in orange and black, and it’s the same for all the levels throughout the game. You have the option of playing the campaign as one of the three main characters, each who specialize in either long, medium, and short range weaponry. But since you can only unlock new weapons by leveling up throughout the whole game, you can’t utilize these specializations until the very end of the game. Your character can also level up, which helps you unlock weapons, but apart from that it means nothing. It’s a useless feature system that Techland threw in to make it feel like a game with depth, but it’s all smoke and mirrors.

The controls, like Duke Nukem Forever, are completely unresponsive, and yet it’s impossible to be precise. Taking cover is a chore, because your character can barely stay still. The radar indicator is totally worthless because there is a white blob on top of everything you see in front of you when you face the way you’re supposed to go. I’ve been in the middle of gun fights and the radar will indicate that there is one enemy in front of me while twenty guys are filling me with bullets. The enemy AI are stupid, literally staying in one place during an entire fight until you walk up to each one and shoot them. There are several hand to hand combat portions which are terrible because you block by pressing the two upper bumpers simultaneously. But then to actually punch you have to release the bumpers, and then press one bumper. If you try to hold one bumper down and press the other, you stop blocking. WHY?! Why make it so hard to do something so simple?!

The graphics, as I’ve mentioned are bad, but even so the graphics engine can’t keep up with the game. The frame rate drops and burps during literally every scene. The collision detection system is so broken that if you try to take cover against something you’ll just go right through it, or worse, get stuck it it and be shot to death. All the enemies can shoot through chain link fences and metal stairways, but you can’t for some reason. If you shoot a window it will break, but if you move a foot away from it the glass will magically reappear and you’ll have to shoot it again. If you’re on platform or a ledge above something, you can’t just jump or walk over the side, you have to walk all the way down or find your way to the floor, and good luck with that considering how bad the controls are. And the levels themselves don’t have invisible barriers, so if you step out of the way during a fight or try chasing an enemy down you’ll sometimes accidentally exit the mission area, and then you die instantly. Because that’s not totally inconvenient or jarring in any way.

But the worst thing about this game is the driving. It’s absolutely the worst driving simulation I’ve ever seen in any game ever. First of all you can only view from inside the cab, and since you’re always the driver all you can see is what’s directly in front of you in the driver’s seat. You can use the right stick to look down the dashboard, but it’s impossible to drive while doing this. You have no way of seeing behind you, and nothing in the world is destructible, so if you run into something (and you will constantly, because the controls are garbage) you’ll get hopelessly stuck. Unlike any other game in history, where the condition of the car is separate from the players health, your health is the same as the car’s. AND THE CAR HAS NO HEALTH. If you hit another car you die. If you accidentally go outside the mission boundaries, which are never indicated, you die. During one mission, my character got a call on her cell phone, picked it up, and the view of the road turned dark and fuzzy making it impossible to steer at all.  It’s just such an unforgiving mess of a game with no redeeming value whatsoever. It’s not fun, it’s frustrating, and God help you if you payed full price for it.

 

Hopefully the rest of 2011 will be chock full of zingers and tens….yeah that’s never gonna happen. Best sure to check back with CollegeTimes.com at the end of the year when I pelt out the full list of forgettable shooters that shamed us all this year.

 

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