And now we come to the part of the Game of the Year discussions that I’m not as huge a fan of; the dishonourable mentions. The disappointing, the half-arsed, and the worst games that were released in 2015. While 2015 was a strong, solid year for gaming there are always games that fall into one (or more) of those three categories, and last year was no exception. We got some big let downs, some not so surprisingly poor games, some terrible games and some outright insults.

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Sunset

Platforms PC
Developer Tale of Tales
Publisher Tale of Tales
Release Date May 21, 2015

Sunset is a game with no purpose. It’s a game that seems to think it has a purpose, and many important things to say, but its a completely hollow experience. Its narrative is driven by the nonsensical inner monologues of its protagonist, and a choice-based system that has no impact on the unfolding story.

I spent my entire time in Sunset choosing to do things in a “warm” manner; completing my tasks with extra care and effort, leaving nice messages for my employer. It didn’t matter. The main character still spewed hate towards him in every monologue for the first 3/4’s of the game, quickly making an about turn just in time for the ending, and my “choices” to unlock the correct ending. You could remove the choices from Sunset and it wouldn’t change a thing about the game.

Immersion is impossible in Sunset, thanks to the actual story of the game taking place elsewhere, and the hilariously inconsistent protagonist. Every moment in the game feels disconnected from the previous one, and while Sunset flaunted “choice” it honestly felt like the game didn’t trust me to draw the right conclusions or make the correct choices, constantly keeping me at arms length. Given the petulant meltdown of the developer following the commercial failure of the game, it’s no surprise that players aren’t trusted to “get” Sunset.

Check out the Words About Games review for Sunset.

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Submerged

Platforms PC, PS4, XBO
Developer Uppercut Games
Publisher Uppercut Games
Release Date August 4, 2015

Here’s the thing, I could fill this second half of the dishonourable list with narrative driven games that completely missed the point of being games (I haven’t). Submerged is part of a handful of games that proudly proclaims that it’s a “combat-free game” – but none of these games have taken the time to replace the combat with anything.

In Submerged you climb ten buildings, in a half-sunken city of buildings that all look the same, to gather ten supplies that all just happen to be the things you need to keep your injured brother alive. You watch the same few cutscenes over and over again until the game decides its had enough, throws up a quick 30-second cutscene and fades to black.

The world of Submerged is not interesting enough in its own right that exploring it can be its own reward. The platforming is automatically successful, and it’s essentially an entire game of climbing towers in a Ubisoft game, without fear of falling to your doom. What passes for a story in Submerged is almost completely non-existent. It’s all well and good to remove combat from your game, some of the better games of recent times have done so. But those games had some kind of hook, whereas Submerged was just a hollow, empty experience.

Check out the Words About Games review for Submerged.

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Grave Prosperity Redux

Platforms PC
Developer LDC Studios
Publisher LDC Studios
Release Date April 17, 2015

There’s a note on the front page of Grave Prosperity’s Steam page that advises new players to play the game on Easy their first time through. This is not because combat gameplay is especially difficult, but because the enemies found in Grave Prosperity can teleport at will behind players and get a free hit on them, making combat a frustrating exercise in trial and error no matter how good you get at it.

There’s a certain cheesy charm to Grave Prosperity – the voice acting is terrible in a hilarious way, the story, setting and characters are nonsense, and the death animations are incredible in how over the top they are. If the gameplay was actually any good I’d probably even recommend Grave Prosperity in a “so bad it’s funny” capacity. But the game is just an absolute chore to play through, to the point that there’s no good will left by its conclusion.

Check out Couch Co-op playing Grave Prosperity Redux – Part One.

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Botology

Platforms PC
Developer Black Lime Studio
Publisher Black Lime Studio
Release Date June 24, 2015

Everything about Botology falls into one of two categories; unfathomable or unbelievable. The game as a whole is unfathomable – literally, I had no idea what the heck was going on, what any of the characters were trying to tell me, or what I was supposed to be doing while I was playing it. The chief culprit for this was the gibberish that passed as game dialogue. The English in Botology was so broken that I couldn’t even parse the intended meaning behind the words on the screen.

It was also unfathomable how wildly inconsistent the games performance was, and this is where we enter the realms of unbelievable. And I mean wildly inconsistent. The game looks awful, yet its performance ranged from 3fps up to around the 200fps mark. The developer made a point of responding to my video by complaining that I had used an older version of the game and thus it was unfair. I’d argue that releasing Botology onto an unsuspecting public was immeasurably more unfair.

Check out Words About Games (attempt to) play Botology.

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Raven’s Cry

Platforms PC
Developer Reality Pump Studios
Publisher TopWare Interactive
Release Date January 30, 2015

In the first part of this round-up I called Evolve the biggest let down of 2015. Let me be absolutely clear here – Raven’s Cry is the worst game released in 2015, without a shadow of a doubt. Much of this game was broken, and what wasn’t broken was so bad you’d wish it was broken. I gave up on the game after about 20 hours when it ate my save file and I couldn’t bring myself to play for another minute.

Even as far back as February, when I originally played the game, I knew deep down that nothing was going to be worse than this pirate-themed disaster of a game. I don’t want to think about Raven’s Cry ever again. I hated it. It almost broke me. I’m not even going to go into any details, lest I relive the pain of dragging myself through 20 hours of it.

They re-released a supposedly “fixed” version of the game called Vendetta – Curse of Raven’s Cry, but as far as I’m concerned, what’s truly wrong with the original can’t be fixed. Stay far away from it.

Check out the Words About Games review for Raven’s Cry.

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