Samuel Roberts: Assassin’s Creed 3
Assassin’s Creed’s quality has been pretty variable over the years, but most of the main entries are worth playing for one reason or another—usually the environments. But Assassin’s Creed 3 oversimplified every interaction so that I barely felt like I was doing anything, even when my character was performing rad shit like fighting a bear or climbing through a forest outside Boston.
It soured me on the series for five entire years. Then I finally came back to give Origins a proper go, which is a much better game that I actually managed to get passionate about. AC3 was a complete waste given its choice of setting.
Andy Kelly: Resident Evil 0
This is a frustrating game. The idea of a Resident Evil prequel, revealing the events leading up to the outbreak in the original, could have been something pretty special. Instead we get this miserable, plodding, obtuse game featuring one of the most maddening inventory systems in history. You spend most of the game shuffling items back and forth between the two characters, or trying to remember which room you left something in an hour ago that you suddenly need. The locations are all rehashes of places we’ve been in Resi games a dozen times before, but less interesting. And the two-character puzzles aren’t as clever as they think they are. There are almost certainly worse entries in the sprawling, inconsistent Resident Evil series, but the wasted potential of this one makes it extra bad.
Tom Senior: Final Fantasy 13
After being consumed by Final Fantasy 12’s deep squad combat systems I was bitterly disappointed by the 13th game’s stifling corridors, endless dungeons, and a combat system that didn’t get interesting for about 20 hours. It’s technically a good-looking game, but its characters look like they wandered in from different universes. Plus the story, even by Final Fantasy standards, was turbo-bollocks, full of nonsense concepts you need a wiki to decipher. I hear it opens up after about 30 hours, but screw the effort it would take to get there. I’ll go back on the road with my FF15 boyos instead, thank you very much.
Wes Fenlon: Max Payne 3
Max Payne 3 is not a bad game. It’s pretty amazing, in a lot of ways: the physics and shooting feel fantastic, the way it transitions from cutscenes to action is Rockstar’s Hollywood obsession at its finest, and that soundtrack sets the mood. But I played the entirety of Max Payne 3 disappointed that it didn’t feel like Max Payne. It’s supposedly the same character from the first two, but without Sam Lake’s writing, it just isn’t Max. Max Payne 1 and 2 are bleak and cynical but temper that darkness with pulpy dialogue and inner monologues. They’re more surreal, and more fun, and give Max more personality. Rockstar’s writers totally missed the spirit of the first two games, turning Max Payne 3’s story into pure bleak nihilism. Max just says the most depressing shit over and over again for 15 hours. It’s repetitive and never really goes anywhere. Max is just never quite right.
Jody Macgregor: Silent Hill: Homecoming
Some people might disagree with “otherwise good” when it comes to the later Silent Hill games, but I thought Downpour was a solid six-out-of-ten thing with a handful of good ideas (that sidequest where you follow the trail of ribbons in search of a missing child, for instance) and Shattered Memories was genuinely great.
It’s just a shame those are console exclusives and the only thing that shows up if you type Silent Hill into Steam is a terrible port of the worst game of the lot. Homecoming had way too much fighting, never a strong point with Silent Hill, and recycled the series’ imagery like rusting walkways and faceless booby nurses in a weirdly joyless way. It’s a bummer.