2016 may have been a horrible year in myriad ways - political strife, the deaths of beloved public figures, a distressing rise in hateful behavior - but it wasn't horrible for gaming. There were plenty of great games to help us escape the turmoil of 2016, but some of them stumbled so hard that we couldn't lose ourselves in their worlds no matter how hard we tried. Some were mechanically broken, some were banal experiences that exploited our love for classic franchises, and others angered us by breaking promises they couldn't possibly keep. Whatever the reason, these games simply weren't worth the time we wasted playing them. Read on to discover Cheat Code Central's least-favorite games of 2016, and if you disagree, don't keep quiet: let us know your picks in the comments below!
Star Fox Zero
This one may come as a surprise, because our own Jenni scored the game quite highly in her review. But for many of the rest of us, Star Fox Zero is a great premise that borders on unplayable. It had been years since the last true-to-form Star Fox game, and what we wanted was a clear evolution of the formula that didn't rely on gimmicks.
Yet Star Fox Zero is ALL gimmick; being forced to use the finicky cockpit view on the GamePad is irritating enough, but the Gyrowing is an exercise in pure frustration. Zero moves away from straightforward, solid gameplay and tries so hard to innovate that it falls flat on its furry face.
7 Days to Die
The name Telltale has come to be synonymous with quality adventure games. The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, and Tales from the Borderlands tell fantastic stories that hinge upon player choice. It seemed for a time that Telltale had grown sufficiently that they could do no wrong, but they made a huge mistake in attaching their name to 7 Days to Die.
We wondered why Telltale would publish another zombie game when they already have The Walking Dead, but 7 Days to Die takes the concept in an opposite direction. It's billed as an open-world survival horror sandbox game, which would be great if the game was actually a finished product at release. Telltale essentially released an early access game as a full retail product, and its numerous glitches ranged from hilarious to infuriating. We can't endorse the release of a broken game, no matter how much it's fixed post-launch.
The concept behind Slain is solid enough: it's a mixture of Castlevania and The Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen set to a heavy metal soundtrack. This gothic side-scroller should've had all the pieces in place to be a bloody good time, but it ended up an outrageously unpolished mess. Attacks didn't connect properly, animations were rough, and the script was full of errors. It was visually striking, but that's about all it had going for it.
Interestingly, developer Wolf Brew Games took the criticisms levied against Slain to heart, and went back to work on the game to fix its problems. It was later re-launched as Slain: Back from Hell, which is a clever way for the developer to own up to its mistakes. That still doesn't excuse the sorry state of the game at release, nor does it remove the bad taste from our mouths.
We should've known not to expect much from this release courtesy of 3D Realms. Duke Nukem was one of those games that you snuck behind your parents' backs to play (assuming you grew up in the '90s) because it was so crass, so naughty. It felt like a guilty pleasure, and there weren't many games back when it released that had "adult" language and themes.
In 2016, Bombshell - which is ostensibly an attempt to make a female version of Duke Nukem - feels trite at best. It's no longer enough for a game to titillate with a busty female character that's intended to obfuscate poor writing and gameplay. Actually, it wasn't ever enough, but we digress. Bombshell is a joke of a game, bland and buggy without being campy enough to warrant the time you'll spend fumbling with it in search of a fun experience.
Langrisser Re:Incarnation -Tensei-
It's always sad to watch a series fall from grace. Langrisser is a fairly niche name outside of Japan, since only the first game in the five-part series was released in North America, and it was under the name Warsong. Its small but dedicated fanbase was enthusiastic when a new game in the series was finally announced so many years later, this time for the Nintendo 3DS, and news of its localization was even more exciting.
Unfortunately, Langrisser Re:Incarnation -Tensei- is barely recognizable as a Langrisser game, and is a poor RPG besides. The series' classic, expressive art was replaced by a generic anime style, and its presentation is hideously bland. Characters look like something out of an Intro to 3D Modeling community college class, the sound is flat, and there's little depth to be found anywhere in the game. Re:Incarnation -Tensei- brings shame to the Langrisser name, and is the absolute bottom of the barrel when it comes to RPGs released this year.