Let me get this out of the way right away: graphics aren’t everything. When it comes down to it, most of us are more concerned with fun gameplay than we are with having beautiful graphics (I’m looking at you The Order: 1886). There are plenty of great games with graphics that are, let’s say, less than perfect, but that we still love. Retro-gaming aesthetics have also made a resurgence in the past few years, especially with the rise of indie games. While these games might not push the technology of gaming to its limit, no one would ever accuse these games of looking bad.
That being said, we’ve all been there, caught up in the moment of a game when something happens. A character walks through a wall, the background freaks out, an animation doesn’t load properly, or our character falls through the world completely and we have to restart our game. To be clear, not all of these games are bad games either. A lot of them have great gameplay, but made the list for some graphical missteps.
While not all of these games have what you would traditionally call ‘terrible’ graphics, all of these games have made this list for a variety of reasons. Maybe some of the facial animations are particularly terrible, maybe the game in general looks like it was made for the N64, or maybe it’s a remastered game that looks almost identical to the game that came out years ago. Here are 15 New Games With Terrible Graphics
15 Quake Champions
The original Quake was one of the first multiplayer games that really took off. Its fast and frantic gameplay made it a must play for many gamers in the 90s. Numerous sequels and spinoffs followed, but for a while Quake has been relatively out of the picture.
When it was recently announced that Quake was coming back, I got excited. Then I saw the first gameplay trailer. Let’s just say my enthusiasm was dampened slightly. This is a game that, while it doesn’t look bad, it looks like it could have come out on the previous generation of consoles, due to bland looking environments, weapon effects that leave much to be desired, and character models that would have been impressive years ago. To be fair, this one is still in development, so there might be some more graphical polish coming. Let’s just hope the gameplay is as fun as we all remember.
14 H1Z1: King of the Kill
Wait! I can hear you saying: "Hasn’t this game been out for a while now? I thought this was a list of new games?" Well, yes and no. Technically, this game isn’t even out yet. It’s one of those games that has been in “early access” on Steam for what feels like forever and one that doesn’t seem like it will ever get an official release date.
For those unfamiliar, H1Z1 is a massively multiplayer arena shooter in which players are dropped into a huge map and try their best to survive, collecting weapons and health along the way. It’s pretty fun stuff. Unfortunately, clunky animations and bland environments are abound in this game. It’s still very popular and consistently one of the top streamed games on Twitch. With all that popularity, you’d think the developer could hire enough people to actually finish the game.
13 Star Trek: Bridge Crew
Star Trek: Bridge Crew puts players in the role of a member of the U.S.S. Aegis as they explore the galaxy and encounter enemies, all from the comfort of a VR headset.
The whole idea behind VR is to provide a more immersive experience, right? How immersive can a game possibly feel when a game looks this bad? Don’t get me wrong, the bridge itself looks pretty cool, almost as if you are on the bridge in one of the J.J. Abrams' Trek movies, and some of the space animations look really great. But what happened to those people! They look more like clay animation imitations of people than the real thing. The game doesn’t release until next month and let’s hope the development team can work some miracles in between then and now.
12 Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
At this point, it seems like everyone has tried at least one Call of Duty game in their life. They are the top selling game every year, with a new edition coming out yearly. 2016’s edition, Inifinite Warfare, might make you pause and think, "That game didn’t have bad graphics." And to a point, you would be correct. The campaign certainly has it’s pretty moments.
The problem with the game, however, lies in it’s multiplayer graphics and the reason why it makes the list, is because of how similar to previous titles in the entry the game looks. Activision spends untold millions developing the series, they have three different studios working on the COD franchise at a time, and this is the best they could come up with? Most maps look like they came from last year’s version or the previous year before that's (and they sometimes are with how quickly they recycle maps). I can already hear some of you saying, "they do that so the multiplayer runs smoothly!" Yes, I’m aware of that, but when’s the last time you stepped back in a COD multiplayer map and thought "wow, this looks great." Yeah, I don’t remember either.
11 Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix
Love it or hate it, the Kingdom Hearts series means a lot to a lot of people and with Kingdom Hearts 3 still somewhere off on the horizon, developer Square Enix decided to drop this dump of a game on people recently.
Other than having perhaps the worst game title in recent memory, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix is a dreadful looking title. Billed as a remaster of six previous Kingdom Hearts titles, little about this collection looks like it belongs on modern consoles. In fact, most of the games here look like they belong on a PlayStation 2. The word remaster seems to have taken on a new meaning in recent years. Instead of reworking the graphics, as many companies have done in the past, companies now just through a glossy paint of high definition on and call it good. Well, not good enough for me. Which is why it’s on the list.
10 NBA Playgrounds
This one was just announced the other day as a spiritual successor to NBA Jam. Gamers play arcade-style 2 on 2 basketball with plenty of ridiculous moves and dunks to get crazy with.
From the little that’s been released so far, the graphics on this game actually look really good. The animations are fun and fluid. The courts and background have lavish detail. The reason why this one makes the list, however, is the terrible design on the players. I realize they’re supposed to pay homage to the old NBA Jam look, but as they stand now, something is just…off about them. Perhaps we’ve reached the uncanny valley here. The players look realistic enough, yet with giant heads and it just throws everything off. I mean, look at Russell Westbrook's face in this picture. Instead of being cute and charming like I’m sure it’s supposed to be, the players just end up looking scary.
9 MLB: The Show 2017
The premier (and only available) baseball game is back this year and, in many aspects, this is a very beautiful game. The presentation has never been better, the player animation makes it almost look like you are watching a real game, and even the player faces are closer to real life than they ever have been (though there are a few notable missteps).
MLB earns a spot on this list because it has some of the most horrifying glitches I have ever seen in my life. While they have been since fixed, the images are burned into my brain and now they are burned into yours as well. You’re welcome.
8 Friday the 13th: The Game
Jason, one of the most iconic horror characters of all time, finally gets his own game. One player plays Jason, who chases down the other players, playing as camp counselors, as they try to escape the masked killer! Honestly, it's a great idea for a game.
Unfortunately, I knew this game was in trouble from the first reveal trailer. Sure the executions are brutal and, as the film series has progressed, that’s more and more what they have become about. Unfortunately, for a game, that is not going to cut it. The game hasn’t seen a full release yet, so there's time for this game to get on track graphically, but from what has been shown, it doesn’t look promising. Clipping problems abound, the characters sometimes warp through objects randomly and it has an overall aesthetic that makes it look like a game from the last generation of consoles.
7 The Last Guardian
Part puzzle game, part cat-bird training hybrid, The Last Guardian is one of those games that was trapped in development hell. Originally announced for the PlayStation 3, the game seemed like one of those games that was never coming out, despite Sony assuring everyone that it would eventually be released.
When it finally was, the reception was mostly positive. But for a game that was in development for nine years, the graphics were underwhelming to say the least. Trico, the creature you interact with throughout the game looks fine, but the unnamed boy’s animation leaves a lot to be desired. From the way he runs to the way he climbs Trico, the boy’s movement just looks bizarre. Which is especially unfortunate, considering how well Trico is animated, making him look and feel much more like a living creature than the boy even does.
6 Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy is another one of those gaming series that has been around seemingly since gaming was invented. You play as Noctus who, along with three other companions, is trying to reclaim his kingdom.
XV is yet another game that seemed forever stuck in development hell, but it was finally released late last year. While it's not an ugly game, it’s one that leaves a lot to be desired, especially for how long it was in development. Character animations look fine and there are some gorgeous cut-scenes (something Square Enix is known for), but the open world is where the game falters. Sure, it has its pretty moments, but runs into the same problem a lot of open world games run into - it feels very empty.
5 Mafia III
This game is basically GTA V set in 1960s New Orleans. Mafia III gets a lot right, from a great story to a genuinely fun main campaign, as there is a lot to like about this game.
But it falls into the same pitfalls a lot of games on this list do. It’s another open world and it's another game that was filled with bugs and glitches, while it seems half-empty at other times. Mafia III is a game that suffers, perhaps, from too much ambition or a trend in gaming where everything has to be a huge open world. The story itself is great. The gameplay, while fun at times, can get repetitive. That, when combined with graphical problems, make for a game that could have been a lot better.
4 Starcraft: Remastered
Starcraft was the RTS game to play in the 90s. When it came to great campaigns and addictive multiplayer, no one did it better. With the rash of remastered games coming out recently, it only seemed natural that Blizzard would soon get in on the action, which they did when they recently announced this Starcraft: Remastered game.
But really Blizzard? This is what you call a remaster? You are a company that literally prints its own money. Many fans of the game were underwhelmed when they released the trailer for the 'remaster'. It showed the old game, then it ‘wiped’ across the screen to show the remastered version and, to be honest, it was hard to tell the difference. Blizzard has said it is trying to keep the feel of the original game, but it just comes off as lazy and as a cynical money grab from a company that isn’t hurting for any at the moment.
3 Player Unknown: Battleground
Similar to H1Z1 in a lot of ways, Battlegrounds is another massively multiplayer battle arena game which also happens to be in early access. It’s a game that has really taken off on Twitch lately, but that doesn’t mean the game isn’t without its faults. The cities, towns, and environments you’ll crawl through in this game are not memorable. They all have a very generic look to them and it can sometimes be hard to tell where you’ve come from and where you need to go. There also seems to be plenty of problems with pop ins and some clipping issues as well. All of which is a shame because the gameplay is quite fun. Are you starting to see a trend here? Big open world, lack of polish, but really fun gameplay? Check. Check. And check.
2 The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series
I know, I know, I’m getting sick of The Walking Dead too. The television show has never had great writing, but that’s what made the Telltale developed games so special. I remember finishing the first game they made in the series and feeling more devastated than ever before in a video game.
They have been doing these games for years now and, for some reason, the graphics have never improved. It’s not so much the art style (though I’m not a huge fan of that either), but these games have always had a laundry list of graphical problems and the latest game in the series, A New Frontier, is unfortunately no different (in case you didn't know, there's supposed to be a person holding that can). With clunky walking animations, pop ins, and more, the list just goes on and there seems to be no end in sight.
1 Mass Effect: Andromeda
You knew this game would be here. The game we had all been waiting years for, the game that was going to be the start of the next great space epic in the Mass Effect series. In the end, what other game could possibly be our number one pick for New Games That Look Terrible.
With a reported $40 million production budget and plenty of development time, this is the best game BioWare could give us? The outcry from this one has been huge and for good reason. Funky facial animations and glitches abound weren’t helped by an entirely underwhelming story. BioWare has promised graphical fixes, some of which have already begun to roll out, but it is doubtful they will be able to fully recover from this horrible misstep.