Although developers try to limit them as much as possible, bugs and glitches are simply a part of gaming. It doesn’t matter how much quality control or beta testing a title goes through. There will always be some issues that are missed by programmers. Of course, that’s not to say that players have to accept broken games that are unplayable messes. (Just ask Sony, who was recently fined $2.4 million for refusing to refund faulty games.)
Modern hardware now means that studios can put out patches to update games and fix any problems post-launch. One consequence of this is that more and more games are now releasing with more issues than is acceptable. As developers believe they can fix releases later, they are more likely to make them available in an unfinished state. The pressure of crunch and a desire to release games as quickly to possible means that more broken titles are likely.
But some games are released with so many problems that it truly boggles the mind. Here are the eight most broken games ever released.
Over the last decade or so, the Battlefield series has been the only real competition to Call of Duty. While EA’s first-person shooter series had some issues in the past, Battlefield 4 took them to a new level of incompetence. The 2013 game launched in a state that was near unplayable. Online matches would constantly crash, while performance issues meant that the frame rate would drop frequently. Even worse was the fact that error codes and crash screens were commonplace. These problems persisted for months after release, with dozens of patches needed to solve the issues.
Fallout: New Vegas
Bethesda has a reputation for releasing games that contain many bugs. In fact, practically every title they have released has been criticized for the numerous glitches they have. But none of them more so than Fallout: New Vegas. The 2010 Obsidian-developed RPG became infamous for technical issues. These ranged from textures not loading, character models getting stuck, and missions not updating. There was also a huge problem with crashes and load times. Worst of all was the fact that the save files would often become corrupted. The end result was that players had to restart and lose hours of progress.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity
Assassin’s Creed: Unity was the first game in the franchise built specifically for next-generation hardware. Problems included the player character getting stuck on objects and graphics dropping in and out of existence on screen. There were also technical problems with frame rates and loading times. The issues were so bad that Ubisoft was forced to apologize. Several large updates and patches were needed to make the 2014 game playable. Effectively, anyone who bought the title had to wait a few months before they could properly experience the title.
Ultima IX: Ascension
The Ultima series was a role-playing franchise that had a reputation for quality. Yet, that all changed with the release of the ninth installment, Ascension. The 1999 title suffered from a variety of problems. These included frequent crashes, questlines that could not be completed, and graphics bugs. Many of the bugs were the result of the game’s new 3D polygonal rendering, which required top-of-the-range hardware to run. Finally, the regular corruption of save files would spoil the experience for players, forcing them to restart the single-player campaign.
Superman 64 is widely regarded as one of the most broken games of all time. When it was released for the Nintendo 64 in 1999, it looked and felt unfinished. It was obviously rushed to meet its release date and contains a buggy camera, unresponsive controls, and glitches that made completing objectives impossible. The blame for the issues in Superman 64 was put on DC Comics and Warner Bros. Developers later explained that the license holders had insisted on certain gameplay mechanics. They also implemented a strict approval process for every element of the title.
Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
The 2006 edition of Sonic the Hedgehog was highly anticipated by fans as a return to the classic gameplay of the series. However, when it did finally release on PS3 and Xbox 360, the game proved to be a monumental failure. Much of this can be put down to the fact that Yuji Naka left Sega partway through development. Without its director, the game suffered greatly. Critics lambasted it for excessive load times, unresponsive controls, and strange design choices. All of this made Sonic ’06 nigh on impossible to play.
Ashes Cricket 2013
Compared to the other entries in this article, Ashes Cricket 2013 is a relatively unknown title. It is part of a series that is only really popular in the United Kingdom and Australia. Nevertheless, the sports sim has garnered more fame because of its poor quality. When it launched, the title lacked proper animations, and character models would instantly move around the field in a jagged motion. The issues were so bad that the publisher was forced to pull the game from sale. Anyone who bought the title was offered a full refund.
Ride to Hell: Retribution
A lot of gamers will never have heard of Ride to Hell: Retribution. However, it has become famous in the industry for being one of the most broken titles to ever release. Almost nothing in the game actually works as it should. Playing through it would be impossible for the vast majority of players, as few people would have the necessary patience. After all, there are just so many bugs, glitches, and other technical problems. Sound effects don’t work, textures and models disappear randomly, and nonsensical text pops up on the screen.
What is the most broken game you’ve ever played? Tell us in the comments below!