The Worst Game of 2005

[[The Worst Game of 2005]]

You have asked for it and MegaGames was happy to oblige. Thousands of messages, over the past year, have come to MG central with various comments, complaints, expletives and cries of despair regarding games which you feel have failed to meet the demands of their price tag. This year, for the first time, our voters were asked to give us their favorite-worst game of 2005. It's not a hard concept to grasp, we struggled a bit but 8 straight hours of gaming will do that to you, you decide which game disappointed you the most last year, which title promised the most and delivered the least, which franchise or original IP you believe will act as a blemish on its developer's record, which game will gradually disappear from the portfolio of its creator… and so on and so forth.

It seems that voters were split as your choices tended to be wide-ranging and some voted for some of the Top 10 titles as your worst game of 2005. This is a testament to 2005 and its confusing effect on gaming as new consoles were promised then revealed then released but new games were not. Many have described 2005 as the calm before the storm of next-generation gaming and claim that as such the year could not produce stunning games or major innovations since games creators were involved in work which will not surface until 2006 or 2007. There is some merit in this thought as during 2005 we were treated to some work that is going on behind the scenes, including such marvels as the Unreal engine 3.

The year that has just gone by has brought us more promises than a political rally on election eve and in many respects 2005 will cannot be fully appreciated or assessed until 2006 and possibly 2007. Having written all that, we have to pause for a minute and accept that 2005 did produce some really, I mean really terrible games; titles that make you embarrassed to even admit that you paid to possess them and games that should make their creators rethink their day job status.

So read on to discover which game, you have decided, deserves the golden razzie equivalent of the gaming world.

[[Free-Roaming Shame]]

The winner of the coveted Worst of 2005 title is a game that has beaten off competition from such prestigious opposition as those persistent Starship Troopers, the undead on the Road to Fiddler's Green, the entire staff of a Chocolate Factory and even the chosen one himself following the Path of Neo.

The game that most of you accepted as the champion of mediocrity is a title that was supported by a big publisher, had none other than the prestigious Riddley Scott working on its preview trailers and featured an all-star cast including Michael Madsen, Michel Rodriguez and Iggy Pop. The same title also featured stunning exotic locations, a wide-array of magnificently sampled vehicles and more detail than the average human brain can indulge. Anticipated for over 2 years and in development for 4, the blockbuster game which MegaGames readers decided was the Worst Game of 2005 is Driv3r.

Hailed by many as the game of the year upon its release, Driv3r should serve as the prime example of what could have been but failed because developer's ignored the most basic of gaming concepts, that of engaging gameplay.

To simply state that Driv3r was the worst game of 2005 would be unfair and would, ultimately, not offer any useful service to developers preparing their future titles. The failure of Driv3r developer Reflections to deliver a noteworthy title, even though they had a blockbuster budget available, should serve as a warning that just creating a bad game is not enough. Heck, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was bad, Road to Fiddler's Green was atrocious and our personal favorite Olsen Twins: Road Trip U.S.A. was a bona fide abomination, but that is not all it takes to make the Top Worst Game of 2005.

What made Driv3r stand out was the extra frustration factor. There were times when playing the game felt like staring at a locked refrigerator door when you are starving and can't find the key. There were even some in-game missions which hinted at what you could be enjoying but, due to developer inadequacy, could not have. What makes Reflections worthy recipients of the Worst of… award is this extra sadistic touch of increased frustration. Driv3r must have, single-handedly, increased keyboard and monitor sales as many flew out of windows; witnesses claim that strange chanting and cursing in various languages could be heard seconds before the hardware hit the pavement.

Feel like I've been here before…

It's all really a shame as fans of the series were ready to forgive Driv3r its many indiscretions including the pronounced GTA similarities if only we could get a playable game. Alas, no satisfaction could be had from the game and there were even times when some further similarities between Driv3r and the GTA series would have been welcomed. Strangely easy, frustratingly hard and downright odd at times are the best ways to describe the gameplay which seemed to tick all the developer's boxes but still gave you the impression that no one had played the final product until after it shipped.

Many claim that time constraints caused a premature release and this is often heard as an excuse for the condition of a game but in Driv3r's case it would have to mean that all testing on the game was cancelled in order to make the release date. If that was the case however, Atari should not have been charging gamers for it but instead paying them a tester's fee.

If you think we are being unfair to the game this is what our voters had to say about it…
It was simply a flop and it is a shame to see so much hype and then get something so lackluster.

Another reader also agrees that it is the disappointment which hurts the most…
After all the bragging about how good it should be and so on you actually believed it. Then, when I played the game, I was just really disappointed. Everything was just purely BAD.

So there you have it, the first ever Worst Game voted for by MegaGames readers has been selected and its developers should be heeding your views, especially now that we know that Driver: Parallel Lines is under way. Maybe if enough of you volunteer to actually test the game before its release, this time around the disaster may be avoided.

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