The seventh generation of consoles was really rough. While we did get some awesome games there were a ton of experiments as developers struggled with rising development costs and complicated hardware tech. With the rise of HD gaming, being games rendered in 720p or higher, there was also the struggle to evolve genres with this newfound hardware. First-person or third-person shooters struggled probably the most in this era as open-world games were evolved and, mostly, well done with games like Grand Theft Auto IV, The Elder Scrolls Oblivion, Skyrim, and Saints Row. Shooters were stuck in the past gameplay and design-wise. Corridor shooters with no story or interesting characters, and not to mention lacking an identity which helped make up for the lack of the latter. Your favorite shooters like Doom and Quake didn’t really have a good story or characters, but they had an identity that helped them stand apart from other shooters. The look, feel, weapons, and overall design were unique to that game. This just didn’t happen with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 shooters, and if it did, it was rare. We’re going to take a look at the worst and best shooters in this generation of consoles and why the genre stalled and didn’t really evolve much until the next generation cycle.
A launch title for the Xbox 360, and developed by the excellent Relic Studios (Warhammer fame), it was a surprise that the game was so boring and bland and a complete flop. The game forewent realism and instead encouraged total destruction, but the campaign was repetitive and dull and overall a very forgettable experience.
I really wanted this game to be good. Not only did it have a fun female protagonist, but it had style as well. However, upon release, it was a buggy, clunky, awful mess of a game and looked really ugly and dated. I don’t know how this game wound up so bad, but even a recent re-release of the game on PC didn’t help it any. There’s a lot of potential here, and if you really want to play it…it’s possible. Sadly, the game flopped really hard despite releasing early in the HD era cycle.
Infernal: Hell’s Vengeance
This is probably one of the worst games on this list. This is “Steam Early Access” quality gaming here. The game is literally incomplete. The controls don’t work half the time, the puzzles don’t make any sense like they were still in the planning stages, the visuals are horrendous, and the voice-acting is awful. There isn’t a single redeeming quality to this game at all. You’re better off forgetting it exists. What’s even worse is the console version is an “updated” re-release of the PC version and clearly nothing was fixed.
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men
Kane & Lynch really tried, they really did. While the cinematic moments are entertaining, the gunplay is weak and feels half-baked and the story doesn’t really go anywhere. Not to mention, the game looks really dated. The sequel is much better, despite it having its own flaws. While Dead Men isn’t inherently awful, you’re not missing out on much by skipping it entirely.
Woof, yeah. I can’t believe I’m talking about this. This was one of the worst games ever made in 2008 and it remains so. This was when superhero games were still awful, plus a movie tie-in? No thanks. Iron Man had a good sense of speed and tearing apart things was kind of fun, but the game was ugly, bland, repetitive, and just didn’t have a drop of fun. Sadly, everyone bought it! The game sold really well and I don’t understand why. There were much better superhero games at the time, but because of the movie, I guess people needed it in their life. Thankfully, movie tie-in games aren’t as common these days because of the rise of development costs and the stigma surrounding them.
You know, making these lists is really depressing. I remember renting this game from Blockbuster when it was released because of the cool new terrain deformation technology that LucasArts was supposedly going to shock the world with. While it looked cool, and the graphics were nice, the game was just plain boring. It’s one of the most boring shooters I had ever played and this was a plaque during this time. There were so many generic boring shooters out there that didn’t want to do anything interesting or build worlds and characters. Generic white dude with a bald head? Check. Sci-fi weapons that don’t have any meaning but mostly resemble real-world weapons? Check. The same multiplayer modes in every other shooter? Check. A single gimmick the entire game hinges on? Check. Generic military dudes as enemies? Check. Everything is gray and looks like Gears of War, but not as interesting? Check. The list goes on.
Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon
Oh man, whoever was behind this game was complete dicks. Not only was Path of the Furon an incomplete mess, but the humor sucked, and had many racial stereotypes in the game that would make the most racist people on the planet blush. Who approved this script? Even if you look past that the graphics are last-gen, the game crashes and breaks often, and the game just isn’t fun at all. It’s easily the only bad game in the series. Don’t even pick this up out of curiosity if you can avoid it.
SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs Confrontation
This is easily the worst game in the series. Not developed by Zipper Interactive themselves, Slant Six really screwed up here. While the game felt like a SOCOM game they forgot everything else. Only seven maps at launch, no campaign mode (whoops), and essentially since the servers are dead this game is a piece of vaporware now. The animations were bad, the graphics were dated, and overall it just wasn’t very SOCOM-y enough to garner sales. By this point, the series was waning in sales and was becoming just another yearly military shooter.
Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard
Eat Lead is a generic and boring shooter despite its attempt at being a video game parody. The level design sucks, the characters are dumb, the gunplay feels like BB guns, and the graphics are downright hideous. This could have been an interesting game, but instead, we just get more typical shooter garbage of the era. Everything is gray, the lead protagonist is a bald white dude, and there’s no effort put into it.
The game originally had potential. It was first entered into an Unreal Tournament 2004 mod contest and became a Total Conversion mod. The premise of an alternate American Civil War is a great idea, but they forgot to make a good game. Awful performance issues, terrible gunplay, bad voice acting, ugly visuals, man the list goes on. This is probably one of the worst games of the HD era hands-down. There’s not even enough here to bother trying out of curiosity. Even the gore and interesting-looking weapons don’t save this mess.
Why is it so hard to make a good Terminator game? Not a single one exists. Salvation is of course a movie tie-in but doesn’t feature anyone from the movie. While the game looked decent, the action was repetitive, there wasn’t an interesting story, the gunplay was weak, and the game was just another gray shooter of the era. At least the Terminators looked cool, but it’s still not enough to pick this up. You can also beat the game in a few hours and it was $60 upon release. Yikes.
Specifically for this era of gaming, Sniper Elite V2 and Sniper Elite III are what I’ll be talking about. Both games are incredibly dull. Sure, the series is known for really awesome X-Ray sniper shots and exploding testicles, but that excitement ends before the first level is over. While Sniper Elite hasn’t been an inherently bad series, it’s just not very interesting. This is a generic gray and boring WWII shooter with broken stealth mechanics (somehow it has yet to be fixed), boring level design, and of course a pointless story. Hardcore stealth-action fans might squeeze a tiny bit of juice out of this, but most won’t.
Man, at this point should I just do checklists? Another generic, gray, boring Gears of War rip-off shooter with a single gimmick it hinges on. Look! It guarantees the gimmick is so cool and unique they made it par to the cover art! Yeah, walking on walls doesn’t change anything here. The graphics were pretty good but other than that it’s a generic city. Boring weapons, lame story, stupid characters, bad voice acting, and a complete short and forgettable experience.
Army of Two Series
EA was really convinced this new IP was it. So instead of capitalizing on better original IPs like Mirror’s Edge, they took off with Army of Two. Again, another gray, generic, and boring military shooter, but the gimmick here was co-op campaigns. The game was pretty unplayable solo because of the dumb AI, and a lot of situations required quick reactions from both players. The story was dumb, and the attitudes they gave the two main characters were pretty lame. As you can see, this was a plaque of the HD era. Shooters just weren’t very good and were pumped out like candy.
This one had a lot of potentials and I was excited leading up to release. A WWII Splinter Cell with a female protagonist? It was unheard of back then. Then the game came out and it was a complete mess. Awful level design, stupid AI, terrible controls, boring story, and the lead character had no depth. The selling point was tight clothes and lingerie. The graphics had too much bloom, looked gray and boring, and overall it was just a bad experience.
This was a reboot of the classic 8-bit game, but it was considered one of the worst games of the era. Here we go again, say it with me now! Generic, gray, and dull. It had no life and was just another generic shooter. The main thing that made Dark Void fun was the jetpack! So what do the developers do? Take it away during most of the game. Wow, good job guys. You couldn’t even get the game’s main gameplay mechanic right. The enemies repeat ad nauseum, and the story is dumb too. Seeing a pattern yet?
An MMO shooter you say?! Wow, how exciting! Yeah, not. This was another over-ambitious project from the start. The game was supposed to tie into a TV series and the choices players made during the story would affect the show. Advent Rising also wanted a TV show and look what happened there. The game was just dull, boring, glitchy, and not fun at all. You can’t even try the game now because the servers are offline so the game makes a decent coaster.
Here we are! We made it! The ultimate Gears of War rip-off award goes to Quantum Theory. I remember playing this demo and thought it was one of the worst games I’d ever played. The game is essentially incomplete and rushed together to capitalize on the gray, white-dude, Gears of War looking-ass shooter trend. There’s not a single redeeming quality here outside of a few good-looking characters, but this was a Japanese-developed rip-off so it had that weird stuck-in-the-early-2000s Japanese developer weirdness that took forever to change.
While the High Moon Studios games were great, this section covers all other Transformers games released at the time. They were mostly movie-based and dreadful. Boring is the best word to describe them all. While they functioned and weren’t glitchy, they just weren’t fun at all. Incredibly short, repetitive missions, ugly graphics, terrible controls, and the list goes on. Not a single one has any redeeming values even for the most hardcore Transformers fans out there.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
When Resident Evil 4 became as successful as it did Capcom thought it was a good idea to take away tension with each new release and add more shooting. Sure, the shooting mechanic in RE4 was revolutionary, but don’t make the games just about that. ORC was a complete disaster and easily the worst game in the series. Nothing but a pointless and boring corridor shooter with terrible cover mechanics, lame weapons, dumb AI, and a stupid story to boot. The game mostly focused on multiplayer which it couldn’t do that right either. The enemies were also bullet sponges. Making enemies take a stupid amount of damage doesn’t make the game more fun. That’s now how shooters should be. Stay away at all costs.