The bad games in otherwise beloved franchises

James is a freelance journalist who has written for the likes of PC Gamer, Games Radar, Kotaku, LoL Esports, and many more. When he’s not writing about games, he’s usually playing them.

Even the best series has its peaks and troughs. These are the troughs.

Every franchise has its faults and we can usually forgive a game’s pitfalls if the overall gameplay, narrative and mechanics outweigh the negatives. Even the most popular game franchises are guilty of delivering some of the most mediocre experiences we’ve seen in gaming. Whether it’s due to development troubles, fan pressure or just pure experimentation, no game is safe from the clutches of the bargain bucket if they fail to deliver. Join us as we take a look at the games that sullied their franchises and are remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Resident Evil 6

The survival horror element of the Resident Evil franchise made a thankful return in the series’ latest instalment, but before Biohazard turned up to save the day we had to deal with a real nightmare. Even fan-favourite Leon Scott Kennedy couldn’t save this train wreck of a game as it appeared to fall victim to its very own t-Virus.

Resident Evil 6 felt like a Michael Bay fever dream as the game took us on an explosive journey through four action-packed campaigns. The game was drenched in so much over the top action that it instantly threw the tense and strategic nature of previous titles out the window. There was no risk involved when players could easily gun down hordes of the undead before looting ammo from their fleshy foes. Resident Evil 6 is certainly the series’ most ambitious title and while it’s not as bad as the Resi movies, we’re glad Biohazard didn’t fall victim to its explosive virus.

Metroid: Other M

Many fans were eager to see Nintendo’s badass bounty hunter make her return in the hotly anticipated Metroid: Other M. While Team Ninja managed to capture the nostalgia of previous Metroid titles with its 3D side-scrolling gameplay, it also delivered the worst characterisation, dialogue and story we’ve seen from the series since. The ability to switch between third person and stationary first person also caused a lot of issues with the overall flow of the gameplay. We hope the upcoming Metroid game on Switch will help us forget our Other M woes and establish an experience similar to the brilliant Metroid Prime: Trilogy.

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

Rare's decision to move Banjo-Kazooie’s emphasis away from platforming and toward vehicle building was bold, but it didn’t pay off. Nuts & Bolts might not have received so much hate had it simply been a spinoff title – in fact it might have even been a success. Unfortunately, Rare labelled Nuts & Bolts as the third title in the much-loved Banjo series, which only served to create even more disappointment among fans. Gameplay revolved around construction, in which the player was tasked with designing their own vehicle to complete a series of challenges depending on the specific vehicle created. However, the overall experience was marred by overly sensitive controls, which made racing through the various levels extremely frustrating. Meanwhile, Rare’s habit for huge collect-a-thons only added to the game’s tedium.

Mass Effect: Andromeda

It’s no easy task when you’re trying to expand upon a much loved trilogy, but Mass Effect: Andromeda had many fans hopeful for more sci-fi action. Unfortunately, Andromeda was plagued with technical issues that ranged from weird facial animations, various bugs and other oddities that hindered our overall enjoyment. To make matters worse Andromeda’s plot felt dull and derivative of prior games in the series. While the combat mechanics were strong and the game's worlds were breathtaking, its quests were often repetitive and void of originality. Mass Effect has always subtly fleshed out its characters and prided itself on making them feel real and impactful to the story, but Andromeda seemed to miss what made the original trilogy so great.

Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

The Sonic series used to offer solid gameplay, intuitive level design and enjoyable experiences for gamers looking to blow off steam at breakneck speeds. However, Sonic’s jump from 2D to 3D platformer has been anything but smooth. Sonic 06 really takes the cake for the worst plot, gameplay glitches, loading times, imprecise controls and poor camera system we’ve ever seen in a video game. In fact, Sonic 06 has been considered among the worst games not only in the Sonic series but also in the video game medium. The game was such a blow to the Sonic series that Sega even delisted the game from retailers in 2010 to help increase the value of the Sonic brand. Sonic 06 is the perfect example of a beloved game franchise gone wrong.

Devil May Cry 2

Part of what makes the Devil May Cry series such a blast to play is the awesome hack and slash nature of its combat. The first game delivered highly stylised, fast-paced action which rewarded players for chaining combos and evading enemy attacks. However, Devil May Cry 2 took a step in the wrong direction. Instead of refining the combat fans had come to love, Capcom implemented a weapon variant system. This variant system dulled down the combat considerably and bosses required less strategy than ever before. Meanwhile, the open space nature of the game robbed Devil May Cry 2 of environmental detail, making for a rather bland and bleak world. To make matters worse, Dante’s cocky personality had been considerably toned down, and he rarely spoke during the game. Thankfully, the series has learnt from its past mistakes and the devil slaying action has never been better.

Assassin’s Creed: Unity

Assassin’s Creed Unity demonstrated that you could have likable lead characters, an iconic setting, smooth animations and an intuitive movement system and still fail. These features were sadly overshadowed by huge technical issues, predictable story, and over-familiar mission design. As a result, Unity felt more like a step back when compared to the uncharted territories of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, or even the vast wilderness in Assassin's Creed III. For many Assassin’s Creed fans, Unity will always be remembered as a missed opportunity, rife with poor customisation and stilted combat. Just thinking about Unity’s terrifying facial glitches is enough to send shivers down our spine to this day.

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