The PlayStation 3 was an interesting console for Sony. High on hubris from creating the best-selling console of all time with the PlayStation 2, Sony made a myriad of baffling decisions that caused the new system to have an unbelievably slow start. Still, there was untapped potential for it despite its complex architecture and early software drought; it just needed time. And with that time, the reception significantly improved, a steady stream of strong games arrived, and sales increased to the point where the PlayStation 3 even surpassed its main competition, the Xbox 360.
Fantastic as this may be, no console is ever perfect. While the PlayStation 3 had some phenomenal games and introduced the world to some iconic franchises, it also came with some weak titles. Here are 10 of the worst PlayStation 3 games that strike fear in the minds and hearts of gamers everywhere.
Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard
Let’s start with a quick personal anecdote: when my brother bought this game at GameStop long ago, the cashier jokingly blurted out, “Why’d you buy Eat Lead?” Knowing nothing about the game, he merely found the title silly and baffling and had to make a joke about it. That cashier might have been onto something because Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard was not a good game.
On the one hand, Eat Lead certainly had a funny premise, what with players controlling a “video game hero” in what’s basically a massive parody of action game clichés. On the other hand, this game is pretty miserable to play. It’s an utterly repetitive third-person shooter with boring level design in a genre that was already feeling filled to the brim by 2009. The game wouldn’t be much without its humor, and even that couldn’t carry it through its 10-hour length. On the plus side, its 2010 downloadable sequel, Matt Hazard: Blood Bath and Beyond, does a much better job as a 2D side-scroller and would be more worth your time if you can still find it.
Some games destroy franchises, and others destroy developers. X-Men Destiny falls squarely into the latter camp. The game already suffered through a very troubled production over at Silicon Knights, and no matter who was to blame for it (since several sources tell different sides of the story), the game was ultimately rushed out without much care. One could play this and not even believe it was made by the same studio that handled a game like Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem.
Beyond its generally sluggish, repetitive combat and poor visuals (especially for 2011), X-Men Destiny couldn’t shake that it felt blatantly unfinished. Blame it on the development hell if you’d like, but this was a game that truly should not have been released in the state it was in. To make matters worse, Silicon Knights would eventually have to recall all unsold copies of the game (along with Too Human) as a result of their misuse of Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 3 code. It would be the last game from Silicon Knights before the outcome of the legal battle with Epic and subsequent bankruptcy, marking a horrid end for a once-impressive developer.
Tony Hawk Ride
You wanna talk about a series that has died multiple times? Look no further than Tony Hawk for that. Despite the franchise featuring some genuinely iconic titles and being one of the kings of the late 1990s and early 2000s, Activision has treated this franchise like a misbehaving stepchild more than a few times over the years. But while some of Tony Hawk’s mid-to-late 2000s titles were polarizing, Tony Hawk Ride was where the franchise truly lost its way.
Cashing in on the peripheral-based gaming craze of the 2000s, Tony Hawk Ride came with a skateboarding controller that allowed players to really “feel” like they were skateboarding. While not an outwardly lousy idea, the controls were abysmal, and the gameplay was far too shallow, making this a greater emphasis on a gimmick than on making a great game. It would get a sequel that wouldn’t do much better, and years later, Activision would destroy the series again with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5. At least Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 was good…if only Pro Skater 3 + 4 actually came out as planned.
Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City
As great as the Resident Evil franchise is, we can’t pretend that the series didn’t go through a pretty horrific spell at one point. Specifically, in 2012, Resident Evil fans were treated to three games: Resident Evil Revelations, Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City, and Resident Evil 6. One of them was good, the other was pretty polarizing, and Operation Raccoon City was the worst of the bunch. You can fill in the blanks on where the other two fall.
A hypothetical scenario taking place between Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3, Operation Raccoon City is a third-person cover shooter that went overboard in trying to switch things up for the series. Even when you look past the “we didn’t want this” reaction from Resident Evil fans, it’s also an extremely flawed game with sloppy gameplay, bad AI, and an astonishing lack of polish for a game in such a venerable franchise. Resident Evil has no doubt returned to form since this, but it would take another five years for it to officially reach that point of redemption.
Duke Nukem Forever
After 12 f—ing years, it still sucks. The story of Duke Nukem Forever doesn’t need to be rehashed: a game that lasted 14 years in development, a period so long that it once held a Guinness World Record for the longest time a game spent in development. For a good while, it felt like it would never make it to market, but on one fateful day in June 2011, it did. And maybe it would’ve been better if it stayed off the market.
Duke Nukem Forever started development in 1997, and when it finally reached audiences in 2011, it felt like a game made in 1997. The humor felt pretty outdated, and you know the gameplay was over a decade behind when it was running on a modified version of Unreal Engine *1*, at a time when Unreal Engine 3 was the standard and Unreal Engine 4 was only a few years away. It’s certainly respectable that the game made it out of development at all, but unfortunately, it just never lived up to that long development time. Perhaps the Duke Nukem franchise is best left as a relic of the past.
Aliens: Colonial Marines
Compared to other licensed video games, which tend to feel doomed from the start, Aliens: Colonial Marines lives in infamy as one of the greatest “what could’ve been” cases in gaming. Much like Duke Nukem Forever, Colonial Marines had a protracted (though not nearly as protected as Duke Nukem) development cycle that proved troubling for all involved. Developer Gearbox outsourced the game several times over, and it was taking so long that publisher Sega threatened legal action in an attempt to get the game out. There were too many cooks in the kitchen, and the game was most certainly not ready to hit the market…but it did.
Colonial Marines proved to be a technological disaster with convincingly poor gameplay, a sheer lack of thrills, and some absolutely horrid enemy AI. The game was so bad that Sega got hit with false advertising lawsuits allegedly that promotional demos were not representative of the game’s actual quality. What’s worse, modders would come to learn years later that the game’s horrid AI could all have been fixed by correcting a spelling error in the game’s code. Yes, you read that right: a SPELLING error in the code was the difference between a passable game and a total laughing stock. Ah well, at least Alien: Isolation turned out much better.
Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
Sonic the Hedgehog seemed to reach a point of no return with 2006’s mainline title. The franchise has miraculously bounced back since, but boy, did the game many refer to as “Sonic ’06” take the wind out of everyone’s sails for a minute. In many ways, Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 was set to be the return to form after downer titles like Sonic Heroes and Shadow the Hedgehog, bringing the series back to its roots on a new generation of consoles. Instead, it was famously rushed to be out in time for the 2006 holiday season, and it suffered as a result.
While it looked the part of a Sonic game, Sonic ’06 was a glitchy mess of awful controls, long loading times, a terrible camera, and some of the worst writing in the entire Sonic series. It’s a game that Sonic still struggles to live down, and there’s a general sentiment that this could’ve been a lot better if Sega hadn’t rushed through it and took its time to polish the game. Some fans even found that out thanks to the release of Sonic P-06, a fan recreation of Sonic ’06 that essentially fixes what went wrong with the original game. If you want to see the kind of game Sonic ’06 could’ve been, P-06 might be your closest answer.
Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust
In many ways, it’s rather unbelievable to think that the Leisure Suit Larry franchise lasted as long as it did. It’s even more unbelievable that it actually made a comeback after 2009’s Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust. Seriously, there have been two games released in the time since. Sure, it might’ve taken about a decade for the franchise to come back from this, but the fact that it came back at all is baffling. Supposedly, despite this franchise’s adult appeal, nudity was cut because it was seen as a “mask for poor gameplay.” Little did they know this game needed such a mask.
Beyond how dull and monotonous the game felt and how poor the controls were, its attempts at “humor” were pretty awful, as Leisure Suit Larry seems to exist in that same tier as Duke Nukem in that he’s a relic of a past era. You know it’s bad when the original creator of the series, Al Lowe, thanked the publishers for not involving him in this garbage. It’s unreal that this game exists in the form that it does and that more games came after. Well, at least those other two games can’t be worse than this, right?
Rambo: The Video Game
It’s easy to forget that this ever existed, but yes, in 2014, a Rambo video game was released on seventh-generation consoles just months after the release of the eighth-generation consoles. It went about as well as you’d reasonably expect. Actually, no, scratch that, Rambo: The Video Game went over even WORSE than you were expecting.
When you think of a Rambo video game, you’d probably think of an open-world kind of game, or a third-person shooter, or ANYTHING to that effect, right? Well, what if you found out Rambo: The Video Game is a $40 rail-shooter akin to what you’d find in an arcade? Then, what if you found out it was extremely generic, had horrible quick-time events, terrible AI, and almost no polish whatsoever? Yeah, you’d probably run right in the opposite direction, and that’s precisely what you should do. Rambo: The Video Game is a sad excuse for a video game adaptation of a popular action film, and it’s a game you should avoid at all costs.
Ride to Hell: Retribution
Imagine, if you will, the idea of a perfect video game. The type of game that does pretty much everything right. One where every good thing a video game can do is right there in a single package. Got it? Good. Now think of the exact OPPOSITE of that: the kind of game where every single bad thing about a video game is all wrapped up in one awful package. That’s Ride to Hell: Retribution, a game so fundamentally flawed on every level that it’s almost inconceivable.
Terrible controls, utterly broken gameplay, awful writing, poor voice acting, weak graphics, laughably bad sex scenes, impossibly horrible AI, obnoxious portrayal of women…I mean, it’s hard to find anything NICE to say about the game. The best thing I can say about it is that the “1%” that appears in the game’s logo at least lets you know from the jump that you’re getting into something awful. Otherwise, even after five years of development time and a scale-down from an open-world title into a linear game, it seemed nothing could save this from being one of the worst video games ever created. The only way this would be worse is if the developers paid players to play the game…which, thanks to a glitch on Steam, almost happened…yeah, embarrassing.
But what are some other PlayStation 3 games that you found exceedingly bad? Sound off in the comments below.