Sony have been on top of the world as of late. The PS4 has sold over 50-million units and is far and wide the most successful home console of this generation. It could be said that Sony are the heavyweight champion of the world when it comes to the video game market, strutting their stuff around the hypothetical ring, flexing their biceps and sneering at their downed opponents.
Throughout Sony’s history, they have championed an excellent range of exclusives such as Crash Bandicoot, God of War, The Last of Us, Uncharted 4 and Bloodborne. For all their successes, it’s easy to forget that they are not infallible and that they’ve played their part in bringing gamers some real dud games throughout their storied history
For all the Sony fandom out there, whether it be for their virtual reality headset, the unstoppable PS4, or their previous iterations of home console hardware, here are fifteen titles exclusive to Sony's consoles that they would rather you just forgot about.
15 Killzone: Shadow Fall
Guerrilla Games’ PS4 launch title, Killzone: Shadow Fall, was, if nothing else, a spectacular looking game. But as a launch title for a console which desperately needed to do well following the let-down of the PS3, they could have done more to live up to previous entries to the franchise. With a lackluster campaign full of plot holes, awful dialogue, cardboard cut-out villains and dull story beats, in addition to performance issues right out of the gate, this is one title that Sony would rather we wouldn’t think about when it comes to the launch of the PS4.
Still, at least the multi-player was somewhat competent, providing a smooth 60fps and a variety of maps to battle in. It gives Killzone: Shadow Fall the saving grace it needs from being a truly forgettable title.
14 Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom
Looking now to a PS3 launch title, Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom, the third entry in the Untold Legends franchise, is a game that is barely spoken about by even the keenest of Sony fans. Sony, who know all about the hack-and-slash RPG genre, failed to deliver on Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom for several reasons. Namely, for being an empty, cliché ridden Diablo-like game, with a generic, story which seemed thrown together as an afterthought. The game looked nice enough, but did nothing special with its graphics, which in turn, did little to impress gamers wanting something to experience the full power of their brand-new game machine.
Filled with button-mashing combat and tedious boss-battles, its 15-hour campaign felt more like a slog than a fantastical adventure and did little to challenge the grey-matter of players who decided to pick this title up at launch.
13 Kung Fu Rider
A PlayStation Move title, also known as Slider, puts you in the role of either Toby or Karin. Set in Hong Kong, Toby is a private investigator and Karin is his secretary, who has to escape the Triads. How does this happen? Do they execute a well-crafted getaway, using Toby’s contacts and streetwise? Nope, they do it on a sliding office chair.
To be fair, it’s exactly the idea that would lend itself towards a motion control themed title. As a premise, it seems promisingly funny, however, any attempt to capitalize on this concept is thwarted by finicky controls and gawd-awful execution of the story.
If anything, the only thing that makes this title bearable is the hilarious wipe outs. That is, if you can abide the frustration caused by many of these wipe outs being due to the poor control system and haphazard geometry. Seriously, even a street sign will cause you to eject from your chair and faceplant the concrete. PlayStation Move was promising hardware and has lent itself well to PSVR, but Sony have done well to put this title as far behind as their desk chairs will take them.
12 Here They Lie
Here They Lie is one of the first titles available on Sony’s virtual reality headset which sets out to be the defining psychological horror game for the PSVR. Except without the good grace to be either psychological or particularly horrifying.
What the game does succeed at doing is providing a strong sense of discomfort by inducing motion sickness at every turn. It’s a chore to complete with a story that is too obtuse for its own good, with minimal context given throughout the sparse cut-scenes that appear every so often. Here They Lie is also just a very unattractive title. Its textures are blurred and blocky, even by PSVR standards, and you’ll often find yourself moving through the geometry with your head clipping between walls and doorways. Combine this with unintuitive AI and cheap jump scares which, if included in any non-virtual reality game, would be laughed at. It all results in Here They Lie being an ultimately disappointing experience.
After putting myself through the ordeal that was Here They Lie’s four-hour campaign, I was glad to take of the headset and have a lie down, just to settle my stomach and mostly, to try and put this game out of my mind for good.
11 The Fight: Lights Out
Ah, another PlayStation Move title that falls flat. The only fight to be had in The Fight: Lights Out is the struggle to keep playing.
Danny Trejo features as your virtual fighting coach and shouts generic, training advice as he puts you through your paces. In action, the PlayStation camera struggles to keep track of your movements and makes what should be a bad-ass fighting game feel like two school-kids scrapping in the playground.
As a motion-detection boxing title, it is just flat out dull and had hit-detection so poor it felt like you were doing all you could to throw the fight. The Fight: Lights Out did little to live up to the precedent set by Wii Sports’ boxing mini-game. But you know what they say about the first rule of fight club, well, it should probably apply to The Fight: Lights Out too.
10 No Man’s Sky
Well, what list about terrible Sony exclusives wouldn’t be complete without this one? Though to be fair, when No Man’s Sky was released, it gave the impression of a game incomplete. The gameplay cycle consisted of mining for resources using your laser gun, flying your ship to one of the 18 quintillion procedurally generated planets and mining for more resources. Then you can find a bigger gun to mine more resources, to buy a bigger ship to fly further in the galaxy to mine more resources, ad-infinitum.
It came with so much promise, didn’t it? You could cut through the pre-release hype with your laser gun. The fanatic hype for this game turned to resentful hatred and, shortly after, Sony did very little to market the game. Still, you have to give credit to the developer, Hello Games, who have supported the game with updates which provide features to build-bases, dune-buggies, difficulty modes to cater to all playstyles and even PS4 Pro support. It seems that No Man’s Sky is reaching the original vision set out by Hello Games, but despite all of that, Sony want to put themselves worlds apart from this one.
9 Bubsy 3D
The legacy of Bubsy 3D perseveres, as it routinely appears on 'the worst video games ever made' lists and for a game touted as an exclusive for the PS1, this must grate on Sony just a little bit.
Bubsy 3D is partially hindered by poor timing, being unfavourably compared to one of the most revered 3D platformers of all time, Super Mario 64. It came off as a pale-imitator to the Nintendo classic. But that’s not the whole of the problem. It was poorly received on all fronts, from its ugly, flat visuals, clunky controls and Bubsy’s poorly conceived one-liners. Bubsy 3D felt rushed and thrown together, not what we would come to expect from a PlayStation exclusive of today's standards.
To be fair, 3D platforming was in its infancy when Bubsy 3D was released in 1996 and Sony shouldn’t be too ashamed as along with developer, Naughty Dog, they had brought one of the most iconic 3D platformers, Crash Bandicoot, to the PS1 earlier that year. But if anyone asks, Sony would wish to omit Bubsy 3D from the console’s library.
8 Fluster Cluck
Do you see what they were trying to do with that name? Do – do I need to spell it out? Well, whatever play on words they intended, it’s an incredibly fitting title, considering how things turned out.
The concept: Change non-chicken characters into chickens by picking them up using your flying gunship and dropping them into some sort of chicken-converter. You do this while shooting your combatants in poorly designed maps, full of low-res textures and poorly animated animals which you pick up and place in said chicken-converter. Couple that with unsatisfying, fiddly shooting mechanics and that’s your game.
As a PSN title, you shouldn’t really expect a lot form Fluster Cluck, but having spent fifteen minutes with this game was enough for me to say, “cluck it, I’m out.”
7 SingStar: Ultimate Party
This is the type of party where I’m leaving early. Purely because there isn’t much going on with this entry to an otherwise well-produced franchise.
As a karaoke title, it features a scant playlist to choose from and while extra titles are available, you can only access them if you’re willing to open your wallet. From what you do get out of the box, there’s not much going on, with a selection of bland, generic songs with little in the way of iconic rock anthems or pop-ballads to choose from.
Gameplay modes featured in previous entries to the SingStar franchise are also conspicuously missing, with duets, pass the mic and online battles removed, so you’re left with solo and two player contests to keep you going. When I think of SingStar: Ultimate Party, I don’t think of people having fun, I think of a lone drunk, stumbling his way through an off-tune recital of Robbie Williams’ Angels to an empty room at the karaoke bar.
6 Hardware Rivals
Hardware Rivals is the sequel to the 2002 PS2 online-only game, Hardware: Online Arena. Surely, Sony would only bring this franchise back if the original had sold well, which it hadn't, so this was an odd one from the beginning.
The game only provides four vehicles for you to conduct combat in and just as many maps. For Sony to bring back a long-forgotten franchise thirteen years later is a bizarre move, but even more so was that there was little to no passion injected into the attempted revitalization.
It was a paltry offering for an online arena game, especially compared to the success stories of games such as Rocket League. It came off as the discount Twisted Metal and Hardware: Rivals does little to innovate in this regard, and much like its predecessor, not many will remember and I doubt Sony will mind.
At a glance, Lair looked the part, with graphical niceties coming out the wazoo, accompanied by excellent art and sound design. What let it down? It was an action adventure game that played like moving a tank around a crowded room.
What makes this game one that Sony would especially like for us to forget is because they tried to tell reviewers how to review the game by sending out a “Lair Reviewers Guide.” IGN received one of these guides, which gave detailed explanations behind the story and Lair’s control system, which was motion-control by default, with no way to opt for a traditional gamepad layout.
It is not unusual for publishers to provide review sites with fact sheets, but the review guide for Lair was heavily detailed, providing gameplay advice which Sony hoped would, “give critics a better understanding of how the game should be played.”
4 PlayStation Move Ape Escape
Back to the PlayStation Move launch titles, PlayStation Move Grape Escape was a rail shooter which was a spin off from Sony’s otherwise successful Ape Escape franchise.
The game lacked level variety and even basic features like additional weapons, while modes such as co-op and challenge were missing. It felt like a mini-game that had overstayed its welcome rather than a fully fleshed experience, with boring, repetitive shooting of either floating bananas or escapee monkeys all the way until the end.
It ultimately felt like bargain-bin fodder rather than an entry into one of Sony’s oldest franchises and another poor showing of the potential for the PlayStation Move technology.
3 PSVR Worlds
It’s not that PSVR Worlds is a bad title exactly, it’s just that it should have been free. As something that is essentially a tech-demo for the PlayStation Virtual Reality headset, there isn’t a lot of replay value for this series of mini-games, which should really have been a pack-in title, as opposed to one they requested £29.99/$39.99 for.
PSVR Worlds has six mini-games and after each has been completed, there is little incentive to come back. The worst of all six is the luge mini-game, where you complete time-trials while racing downhill, with only the movement of your head to guide you. The problem is, without thrashing your head from side-to-side, you won’t move far enough in either direction, resulting in numerous collisions and a headache.
Overall, you can complete PSVR Worlds in about half-an-hour and, if nothing else, it simply makes you crave for something with a bit more meat to its bones for your new virtual reality headset. Sony would like you to forget about this one, purely so you can spend money on other titles.
Knack has become almost infamous as one of the PS4’s premier launch titles. Had it not gained this sort of notoriety, it would have been forgotten by now but instead, it remains talked about for being a bland, third-person platformer with hardly any actual platforming.
As a launch title for the PS4, it does little to show off the graphical prowess of the console, with Sony opting for a tepid, cartoony art design. It received middling reviews with an average of 54 on Metacritic, which is damning for a game which the game’s director, Mark Cerny, described as being, “a little bit like Crash Bandicoot,” adding that there is, “a touch of God of War in there.”
Still, rather than letting this die, Sony will insist on releasing a sequel, as announced at the PlayStation Experience event in 2016. Maybe they want us to forget by making a sequel that’s even worse? Yeah, I’m on to you Sony.
1 Genji: Days of the Blade
This is a PS3 exclusive that has been immortalized by a meme and stored for prosperity on the internet. There is no living down when the game’s producer, Bill Ritch, said that all the battles are based on famous battles which took place in Japan before going on to show game play of a battle with a giant crab. Thus, the “giant enemy crab” meme was born.
Genji: Days of the Blade needed to be a great game to redeem itself, but didn’t quite achieve this feat. It was graphically nice and the controls were functional, but suffered from an awkward camera and lacked the prestige that comes with being a launch title for a new console. In the end, it offered little more than formulaic gameplay for a hack-and-slash and tried to bring some puzzles into the fold, which were too simplistic to be truly effective.