What makes a game good? We’ve recently seen a number of games heavily driven by strong lead characters and intriguing, well written plots, but at the same time there are still hordes of people anxiously waiting to buy this year’s instalment of the Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed franchises. And that makes sense. Does Mortal Kombat have a remarkable story? No, but it's fun and it plays well.
So long as they’re having fun and they’re not playing something that seems like it was made in the same time it takes to make a bowl of mac and cheese, gamers won’t really complain. Games are games after all, their primary focus is to keep the consumer entertained while letting them interact with the world around them. Now with games being seen more and more as works of art, there are certain standards when it comes to the evaluation of a game. Those that don’t meet the standard are labelled "bad". Not unfair when you consider all the beautifully done games out there. But can a bad game be good?
Sure, it’s all subjective, but if you take any “crappy” game and find yourself laughing and having an all around good time regardless of the cosmetic snafus, the confusing plots and clunky mechanics, then why not admit that it was good?
These are 10 games that are so bad they’re good.
10 Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon
Path of the Furon was the fourth release in the Destroy All Humans! franchise, and while the series’ first instalment was met with praise for its new approach to the overused alien invasion storyline, both critics and gamers got tired of Crypto and his adventures by the time this mess rolled onto shelves back in 2008. The game seems rushed and repetitive, is missing sound effects and at its best plays like any other run-of-the-mill GTA rip-off. But despite all of its technical problems there’s enough to be found in Path of the Furon to actually make it somewhat enjoyable. Flying jetpacks and probing people coupled with some mindless destruction make this sci-fi B-movie of a game surprisingly good for some laughs.
9 Shaq Fu
This game has earned notoriety over the years as one of the worst games ever made. It’s become so hated by so many gamers around the world that there’s actually a web site dedicated to finding and destroying every copy left in existence. Think about that for a second, people actually hated this thing so much that they took up a personal vendetta against it. Sure the story is terrible, an absolutely and undoubtedly awful experience where you follow former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neil into another dimension where his main goal is to fight an evil mummy. The controls were criticized for being all too easy (just kick your way through the game, seriously) and the audio sounded like it was coming out of two very tiny speakers, but none of that really matters when you realize that Shaq Fu just isn’t a game that should be taken seriously. Once you get that out of the way you’ll laugh and enjoy yourself just as much as you did the first time you saw the game's ridiculously lazy box art.
8 Call of Juarez: The Cartel
"This might be the most racist game I've ever played by a major publisher.” That’s what video lesson series Extra Credits had to say about Call of Juarez: The Cartel, and they weren’t alone. The game was criticized for racism and insensitivity towards real issues such as human trafficking and the drug wars in Mexico. But The Cartel isn’t that bad of a game as far as FPS games go. The gameplay is average, nothing special but it works as good as any other FPS you’d find on the shelf, and though it offers nothing new, it’s as mind-numbingly fun as any Call of Duty instalment out there.
7 Soldier of Fortune: Payback
The first game in the Soldier of Fortune series to debut on the Xbox 360 and PS3, Payback didn’t offer gamers much in terms of variety. The enemy AI was frustratingly stupid and the game itself was just one big mesh of repetition. If Payback did have one redeeming quality it had to be its over-the-top ultra violence. If you can shoot something off, you can most definitely continue to blow it to smithereens. Whether it’s decapitations, severed arms, legs or stomach linings, Payback appeals to the inner psychopath in all of us.
6 Earth Defense Force 2017
Compared to its predecessor, EDF 2017 was inferior in terms of both quantity and quality of gameplay. The graphics were bad, the voice acting terrible and it lacked the range of the missions, enemies and weapons found in the first game. Despite all that, critics loved the game. It was just plain fun. There’s probably no other way to explain it, it's incredibly flawed but despite all of its shortcomings EDF 2017 is a pretty fun shooter that is nothing if not entertaining.
5 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand
Another game featuring a well known celebrity, Blood on the Sand pits rapper 50 Cent and his G-Unit crew against a terrorist organization somewhere in the Middle East... yeah. But the ludicrous plot of this game is really its only major fault. The game’s shooting and aiming mechanics are pretty good, and allow for some fluid and solid action sequences. The game's even got an upgradeable swear button. In any other game it’d just be ridiculous, but in this one it feels pretty appropriate.
BloodRayne may seem appealing at first glance, but don’t let the bodacious goth protagonist on the front cover fool you, it’s not as good as you’d want it to be. The controls aren’t very good, in fact they’re really frustrating and often get in the way of enjoying the game. The plot’s also pretty hard to follow and you’ll feel like you’ve missed something important at times. But BloodRayne’s at its best when you’re mindlessly ripping apart Nazis. If you’re willing to turn off your brain for a while and just have some fun this game isn’t half bad.
While Rockstar's Manhunt did get many favorable reviews when it came out, the game isn’t without its flaws that can make it difficult to play at times. It’s incredibly repetitive for starters, and at one point sneaking around behind stupid AI takes any fun and challenge out of the game's stealth kills. But despite all that, Manhunt does do a lot of things right. The stealth mechanics are spot on and the violent snuff film setting makes you come back for more, even though you may not know why.
2 Deadly Premonition
Where to begin with this one, the shooting and melee mechanics are just terrible, the voice acting is not only bad but often out of synch as well and the cut scene animations are both clunky and awkward. But Deadly Premonition can’t help but charm you, even with its shortcomings. Although he denies it, director Hidetaka Suehiro must’ve taken a couple pages out of the David Lynch playbook for this one, as it’s remarkably similar to Lynch’s TV series Twin Peaks. Just like Twin Peaks, Deadly Premonition is off-the-charts weird, and it’s exactly that aspect of it that makes it so enjoyable an experience. You’ll find yourself being sucked into its world and story despite the bad voice acting and, if you are a fan of the aforementioned Twin Peaks, find a little bit of joy when noticing all the similarities between the two.
1 Duke Nukem Forever
The game that took 15 years to make and just a few minutes for us to tell that it was a complete dud, Duke Nukem Forever wasn’t anywhere near as good as its predecessors. The game was dated compared to other shooters and the loading screens lasted long enough for you to get bored of the game waiting. The humor was pretty stale and the messy controls and uninspired locations made this one of gaming’s biggest disappointments. But at the end of the day it’s a Duke Nukem game - sure the humor was bad but you could still get some laughs out of it, and even though the controls were clunky it was still fun to run around shooting things, if not for a while.