The worst of the worst: Gamereactor EU's most detested games of 2021
We're delving deep to the bottom of the trash heap to bring you our worst picks.
Let's be honest, 2021 hasn't been one of the greatest years for video games. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic left the release schedule looking pretty barren, and many of the titles we did receive, such as Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition and Balan Wonderworld fell short of expectations. As a result, the list of games that could have made our bottom-tier countdown has grown to be longer than initially expected. Only nine games could make the cut, though, and we've compiled these for you below.
Unite might have recently been crowned as Google Play's best game of 2021, but don't be fooled; this is still one you should steer well clear of. Its MOBA-inspired action is pretty addictive, and the selection of playable creatures is solid, but its microtransactions feel especially greedy, even for a mobile title. Using real-world money, players can swing the battle in their favour by purchasing stat-altering items. This essentially means that anyone not prepared to pay is left at an unfair disadvantage and set up for failure.
eFootball 2022 (not rated)
I'm sure by this point that most of you have seen the memes stemming from this absolute trainwreck. With eFootball 2022, Konami hoped to reinvent the PES franchise, with it adopting a brand-new name and a free-to-play structure. Upon launch, though, it became the worst user-rated game on Steam, and its overall critical reception wasn't too much better either. The graphics here looked absolutely atrocious and many people complained that it was severely lacking in content. Making matters worse, Konami decided to delay the game's first content update until spring 2021, leaving the game in an empty state.
It really pains us to place this one on this list, but what we received was far from a "definitive edition" of these three iconic games. Rockstar made no real attempt here to improve upon the visuals and performance of the near 20-year-old titles, and laughably, things even managed to look worse in some areas. The red flags did start to show when Rockstar revealed a little footage before launch, but nothing prepared us for the sheer amount of bugs that we faced. The games caused unexpected crashes, contained multiple spelling errors, and a hefty chunk of its iconic songs were missing.
With the Crazy Taxi series being absent since 2007 (on consoles), we looked to Taxi Chaos to carry on its torch and provide a modern take on the formula. What we received was a shameless copycat that didn't feel original in the slightest. Taxi Chaos' fictionalised version of New York felt bland and uninspired, and it was lacking a kick-ass punk rock soundtrack to keep the adrenaline pumping. Its price tag was pretty offensive too, with it retailing at £31.49 for what is essentially a less engaging version of a 22-year-old game.
Necromunda: Hired Gun (4/10)
Speaking of lost potential, Necromunda: Hired Gun looked to channel the same brand of frantic action as the Doom series when it was first unveiled this March. It looked stylish and fun, and it was set within the much-beloved Warhammer 40,000 universe. The game we got, however, just lacked polish, as it was riddled with bugs and featured brainless AI. Firefights just lack intensity when your foes don't respond to your rounds.
A skateboarding game featuring cute birds in miniaturised areas sounds like a sure-fire recipe for success, but somehow SkateBIRD was able to miss the mark. The cast of feathered skaters sadly control really sluggishly, and as a result, you'll spend just as much time off your board as on it. There are also only five courses for you to kickflip your way across, and the challenges contained within them don't require too much skill to complete. The only real saving grace here is that there are many different items to dress your new bird buddies in.
Sonic Colours Ultimate finds itself on this list for very much the same reason as Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition. The game lurking underneath its flawed exterior is one of Sonic's finest adventures of the 2010s, and this should have been a special moment, as it was the first time the game was released outside of the Nintendo Wii. Sadly though, the updated visuals look blurry and washed of colour, and the Nintendo Switch version especially is riddled with bugs making it prone to crashing.
Nerf Legends (2/10)
With it being attached to such a recognisable brand and offering a child-friendly take on the first-person shooter genre, Nerf Legends could have excelled if handled correctly. The game falls flat, however, in every conceivable way possible, as its weapons don't even make a sound when fired and they require to be constantly reloaded. The story here is basically non-existent, and its levels are needlessly padded out with shallow puzzles. The sad thing is that we can see plenty of kids picking this disaster up for its name alone.
Balan Wonderworld (2/10)
Sitting right at the top of the trash heap that is our worst games of the year is Balan Wonderworld - a game that disastrous that it caused creator Yuji Naka to abandon his longstanding post at Square Enix. What makes the game such a mess? Well, for starters, its visuals feel incredibly dated, and many of its more than 80 costumes just feel like padding with some just possessing basic abilities like jumping and attacking. Its level design is also pretty poor with many of its open spaces feeling barren and lacking variety. Essentially, this disaster could have ended the career of a man who was once behind Sonic the Hedgehog and Nights into Dreams, and for that alone, it's worthy of the top spot.