After plowing through almost everything half-decent PlayStation Now has to offer, I’ve come to realise something about Sony and their consoles.
The older they get, the more the quality control standards slip. Even though it’s not quite at the end of its life, the PS4 already has its fair share of the worst games out there, and that’s all down to Sony being more and more open with what can be released on the platform.
It wasn’t always this way, though. Back when the PlayStation 4 first launched in 2013, it was notoriously difficult to find anything worth playing. You had a couple of decent launch titles, sure, but the console didn’t really pick up a great deal of traction until the following year when developers had finally acclimated themselves with the new bit of kit. Not long after, the floodgates opened and all kinds of things came pouring in.
There’s no denying that relaxing the criteria has helped a lot of worthy titles find homes, but for every quality indie game, there are even more that just aren’t worth looking at. We’re still a long way off the PlayStation Store being the garbage fire that Steam can sometimes be, but it seems as if Sony are starting to let any old junk jump aboard.
You won’t find many AAA games on this list; even if they’re disappointing, boring, or just not all that great, they’re a damn sight better than the worst PS4 games you’ll find below.
The Worst PS4 Games
DayZ was in the pipeline for a PS4 release around four years before it actually landed after a prolonged period in Steam Early Access and on Xbox’s Game Preview program. Apparently all those years in development weren’t enough.
As bug-filled and poorly optimised as it is on every other platform, DayZ on PS4 represents one of the worst open world experiences you could think of. Not only does it run terribly with the frames seemingly going into the negatives at points, but the overall core loop of gameplay is terribly outdated compared to most of its survival brethren.
If you have some friends along with you, sure, DayZ might offer some fun. But for everyone else, DayZ is an outdated, overpriced mess. See also: Rust.
15. The Quiet Man
It was a long internal debate over whether or not to include this game here, purely because The Quiet Man crosses over from purely bad to “so bad it’s good” guilty pleasure territory.
You play as a deaf man who somehow knows martial arts in a non-sequential narrative where you can’t hear anything. That’s as confusing as it sounds, the game requiring you to play through it twice before you have the full picture.
While The Quiet Man is certainly an “interesting” concept, the execution is severely lacking. The combat is basic, the acting is worse than SyFy, and there’s an air of pretentiousness about it that stinks. Plenty of fun to be had here, but for all the wrong reasons.
It constantly blows the mind that more Godzilla games don’t strike gold. Simply being able to play as a gigantic, irritable lizard is an idea that should sell itself, but they always somehow miss the target. This effort doesn’t just miss the target, it drunkenly stumbles into a tepidarium and kills a whole family of geckos. Or something like that.
“Boasting” gameplay that features completing the same objective over and over again until you eventually vomit into your hands, 2015’s Godzilla does a disservice to one of the most beloved brands in the world, despite it featuring plenty of details for series fans to enjoy.
What makes it worse is that this isn’t even an original game – it’s a port of a PS3 game that wasn’t made available in the west. That didn’t stop them charging way too much money for it, though. If you’re a Godzilla fan and have yet to play it, let me put it like this – the 1998 Hollywood version will probably cause you less heartbreak.
This is how bad Ghostbusters is: even if the maligned movie hadn’t been released within the same year and caused a lot of negativity by pure affiliation, you get the feeling that this game would have been just as hated. It is utterly hopeless and makes the reboot almost look inspired.
The gall of Activision to charge nigh on full price for what is basically a game you played a hundred times on the PS2 but with a Ghostbusters logo attached is almost worth applauding. Even if you love the franchise, try to say the same at the end of its pitiful “campaign” – the same theme song loops for the entire damn thing. If Ray Parker Jr. gets assassinated by a gamer who has been Manchurian Candidate’d through the Chinese water torture supplied by this game, you need to point the finger at Activision and Fireforge Games.
As gamers witnessed their skaters vibrate through the floor and into oblivion for the umpteenth time in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5, a little part of their childhoods died and the backlash soon followed. It doesn’t help that the series has been on life support for the longest time, either.
Showing contempt for nostalgic fans by farming out the license to a studio who just weren’t up to the task, Activision did their very best to turn a quick profit with this turgid and instantly forgettable foray. While offering the lovely simplicity of the early THPS games sounds good on paper, the finished product was anything but. It had more bugs than David Attenborough’s rowdy weekends and proved once and for all that some memories are left untouched.
The best thing that THPS 5 accomplished was to make a whole legion of gamers crave for Skate 4, so at least it did some good.
11. Alekhine’s Gun
Bless this game. Not because it’s an honourable attempt at making a video game or that it even has a neat mechanic here or there that means it’s worth a look. Alekhine’s Gun needs blessing because it is clearly possessed by some kind of demon.
Credit where credit’s due, developers Maximum Games haven’t exactly left it to die – they have been introducing performance patches here and there to help things a little. It’s still plenty difficult to play thanks to its wide barrage of glitches and wonderful abnormalities, though, even for anyone that enjoyed its prequels.
Even if it was polished, it would be hard to recommend Alekhine’s Gun purely because of how dated it all feels. It’s a project filled with love from its developers, but it ultimately results in a blocky, cumbersome effort, which is hardly ideal for a game that’s all about stealth. Alekhine’s Gun is mainly used as fodder for lists like these and not much else.
10. My Name Is Mayo
More of a rejected MiniClip game from 2004 than one belonging in this modern age, My Name Is Mayo is a clicker that only clicks with one type of gamer: the achievement hunter.
Thanks to Sony seemingly relaxing their rules for how long or in-depth a game needs to be to qualify, My Name Is Mayo has, without doubt, the easiest Platinum trophy every created. Take some protein and guarana before your “session” and you might be able to unlock it within half an hour, perhaps even sooner.
It has a nice style and does come at a meager price, but it really doesn’t belong on the platform at all. If you want to get biceps in your fingers, by all means play it. For everyone else, if you really want to impress people with an artificially inflated Trophy level for your PS profile, be my guest and spend less than a dollar on My Name Is Mayo.
And then buy the sequel. These people must be stopped.
9. Skylight Freerange 2: Gachduine
“Is this real”?” cried PlayStation gamers all around the world as the trailer for Skylight Freerange 2: Gachduine dropped on the official PlayStation YouTube channel. Unfortunately, it is, and although it’s somewhat mean-spirited to crush indie games, you have to make something better than this in 2017.
A couple of theories are floating around: Sony are just playing one long prank or have truly lost their shit. Judging by this even-too-dated-for-PS2 RPG, you could make a case for either of those claims. Looking like it was farted out on RPG Marker and then haphazardly fiddled with in Paint to make it 3D, there’s no point in even trying to defend Skylight Freerange 2: Gachduine. Its main trick seems to be throwing nudity at the player – when everyone looks like melted mannequins, that’s hardly anything to close the blinds for.
Christ, it even has an expansion.
8. Putty Squad
Our friends Maximum Games are at it again. Putty Squad’s story is remarkable and the fact that it even saw the light of day is worthy of applause. What isn’t worthy of anything, though, is the game itself.
Originally slated for release on the SNES, Amiga, and Sega Mega Drive, Putty Squad was cancelled before being given a strange and unexpected lease of life on newer platforms a few years back. It’s twenty years old and it shows throughout every second of gameplay, even if it had been a quick sheen to make it seem more current. What makes it worse is that this is just a port of a PS3 game, itself not even that beloved.
A platformer that really should have stayed on the shelf, Putty Squad’s biggest contribution to the gaming scene is for content for YouTubers, as you can see in Caddicarus‘ thoughts above.
What happens when a multiplayer game relies on absolute pacifism instead of the standard bullet storms and sword slashing? Nothing, except a lot of frustration. Weirdest of all, you can’t even interact with other players, making the whole thing feel like you’re waiting in a lobby for the real game to begin.
Wander’s a nice idea that was either wrongly approached or developed in the wrong hands, but the bottom line is that it just doesn’t work. Playing as an Ent without any personality, Wander sees you shuffling lazily around an island and exploring all of the nothingness there is to find. Even with a lack of much to do, Wander released with enough glitches to fill up the area you’re dawdling in.
It’s a novel premise that could have been so much better and is likely to be nailed by someone else in the future. If you want to tick off some trophies, though, you might be in luck.
6. Rugby World Cup 2015
Rugby is an acquired taste, particularly for most people outside of Europe. It doesn’t have the same wide appeal as football or its American counterpart, so it makes financial sense to not pour a great deal of money into a video game tie-in.
Apparently, though, HB Studios Multimedia thought 50p and half a button would be enough. Rugby World Cup 2015 holds the distinction of being one of the worst sports games ever and would make more sense if you took the 5 out of its title. It feels prehistoric.
The core gameplay just doesn’t work and it can’t even properly apply the rules of the sport, meaning that matches are more akin to extreme ironing than actual rugby. Chuck an unhealthy amount of bugs into the mix and you have an extremely naive sports simulator designed purely to cash in on tournament hype. Even if you’re a huge rugby fan, World Championship Rugby from 2004 will offer more.
I have a confession to make: I bought this game with real money with the intention of beating it solely for its easy Platinum trophy. An hour later and my pointless internet points be damned, it really was not worth the pain and suffering.
To say that Orc Slayer is basic would be a bit kind. It feels like it’s held together with a series of floppy disks and an orange connected to a tin can. That doesn’t make any sense, but neither does this game – you go from one arena to the next, shooting orcs and constantly missing because of the awful hitboxes, all the while wishing for the sweet release of death.
The framerate is hands down the worst of any game I have ever played. As soon as you have an automatic crossbow, everything slows right down, which gives you the opportunity to question if you’ve chosen the right path in life. Avoid at all costs, not even for the trophies.
You almost have to admire the balls on Recotechnology S.L. to create a game about one of the most maligned “sports” in the world. Bullfighting’s popularity is dwindling with each passing year as everyone wises up to just how not fucking cool it is, so the best thing Toro does is add another nail in the half-closed coffin.
Visually, Toro is a mess, a mix of dark and bright colours surrounded by dark edges – everything seems blocky and with low detail. The sand in the bullring looks flat and dead, the characters look flat and dead, the matador, you’ve guessed it, looks flat and dead.
Despite all that, Toro might appeal to people who wan–I can’t lie to you. This shouldn’t appeal to anyone. If it was a free browser game, sure, but not as a paid product on a console that has spawned the likes of Horizon: Zero Dawn and Uncharted 4.
3. Horse Racing 2016
Where do you start with this? Not only is it going to piss Dustin Hoffman off that his horse racing show was cancelled and yet this exists, but it also pisses me off just looking at it. This thing looks like it came bundled with Windows XP, but here we are, throwing another carcass onto the bonfire that is the PlayStation Store Quality Control team.
Horse Racing 2016 is also late to the party because it’s now 2017, but it would also be unfitting if it was brought out in 1907. The Edwardians would probably prefer to go down with cholera rather than sit through the awkward controls, weird mechanics, and lifeless horribleness of it all. The best thing about it is its loading screen.
If you can believe that it gets worse, it gets worse. It cost $15, the same amount of money that can buy you three or four amazing indie games. Buying a lame, old horse and riding it around town would be a better investment for anyone instead of this.
2. Any Gilson B. Pontes “Game”
Gilson B. Pontes is an utterly fascinating developer. Someone who only ever puts his games out on the PlayStation Store, as if he’s got an exclusivity deal with Sony themselves (someone make it make sense), Gilson’s annual releases feel like a bonkers fixture of the PlayStation calendar.
Either incessantly boring or amazingly empty or both, Gilson’s games are almost always some vaguely samurai or medieval open world experience (and it’s an experience you won’t forget) where you just run and run until you get hit by something and die. They’re all bad, though to be fair to the developer, his most recent games definitely work! You press buttons, stuff happens! Most of the time!
You might be wondering why you’ve never heard of Gilson B. Pontes’ games before. Well, that may be because no content creator or critic dares to cover them for fear of copyright strikes with the malicious intent of taking down whole channels and livelihoods because they don’t agree with the criticism.
Bad form that, Gilson mate. Bad form.
1. Life of Black Tiger
Like the black tiger waits patiently to catch its prey, you were probably all patiently waiting and expecting to find this take the top (or is that bottom?) spot for the worst game on PS4. It was almost inevitable; in a crowded sea of feces, Life of Black Tiger swims to the surface, one twitchy moving animation at a time.
Just like the brutally terrible Horse Racing 2016, Life of Black Tiger represents Sony needing a pretty long nap. It was released on their YouTube channel at the same time as the Nintendo Switch presentation. That’s either down to them losing all their calendars or somehow thinking that they could take a stick (incidentally, covered in quite a bit of shit) to a swordfight.
Life of Black Tiger is laughable yet also unbelievable. As you are commanded by poorly translated text to go and kill a set amount of humans or collect smells, it will all feel like a trance. Are you even here? Is this even happening? How expired was that milk I just drank? These are all perfectly reasonable thoughts to have when playing this game, which, by the fucking by, is available for free on mobile.
Even if its developer paid for a bunch of reviews, Life of Black Tiger would probably fail to even get past Steam Greenlight, so the fact that it’s on PS4 with promotion is beyond baffling. If you want to see evidence of Sony loosening their grip on quality control, look no further than this reminder that when the apocalypse comes, we probably deserve it.
What did I miss out? I know there’s a few stinkers I may have missed, so be sure to tell me which ones in the comments below.
If you think it’s all negative, check out my thoughts on the best PS4 exclusives and the overall best PS4 games. There’s plenty of quality in those, though none of them will change your life like Life of Black Tiger.
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