When it comes to bad games, even most of the best, iconic franchises have been susceptible to their share of duds.
A number of reasons can be pointed to - perhaps a new developer had taken the reigns and bit off more than they could chew, or many of the original developers had moved on. Resources/time may have become more limited, or a risky new direction for the game was attempted only to fail horribly.
Whatever the circumstances, there have been quite a few ultimate low points that stand out within some otherwise terrific franchises. Let's take a look at 10 key examples of these mishaps.
10 Gears Of War: Judgment (Xbox 360)
A weak rendition of Gears, with an even weaker DLC pack, known as Call to Arms, 2013's Judgment is something of a mixed bag. While there are bouts of enjoyment to be had - namely in the appealing multiplayer mode - Overrun - most areas of the game fall flat.
The narrative throughout the brief, uneventful campaign mode is rather disappointing, despite acting as a prequel that's supposed to set things up for the main trilogy. The odd tweaking of the controls proved off-putting to many fans. Diehards also weren't too keen on the strange absence of grenade wall plants and damage-boosting active reloads.
9 Star Fox: Assault (GC)
While plenty examples exist of great games resulting from Nintendo's outsourcing of one of their prized IPs (F-Zero GX, anyone?), Namco's handling of Star Fox isn't counted among them.
Coming off the detour in the series that was Rare's Star Fox Adventures, fans were looking for a game that brought the series back to its epic space-shooting sensibilities. Unfortunately, Assault feels more like a hollow shell of a once stellar space-odyssey rather than a return to form. The game is a blend of two disjoined experiences - the typical space-shooting sessions, and bland, mediocre ground combat.
8 Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus (PSP)
It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Metal Gear Solid and its cinematic qualities don't tend to translate well on portables. And while it's not a terrible effort, this PSP variant of the classic stealth-shooting series falls well short of the quality it's known for.
In an effort to distinguish itself, and likely mesh more with portable gaming use, this title spits out smaller, more basic missions that feel uninspired. It also utilizes a squad-based system, which often makes this feel more like a mediocre tactical shooter than the thrilling stealth gameplay the MGS series excels in. Aside from a few multiplayer tweaks, the "Plus" additions are mostly insignificant, too.
7 Resident Evil 6 (PS4)
The classic thriller, Resident Evil, has seen a number of alterations both in its themes and the gameplay itself. Yet, Capcom's 6th mainline entry feels more like some derivative action-shooter, rather than the eerie, nuanced survival horror experience that makes up the earlier entries.
Much of the gameplay consists of bland shootouts that feel like a Call of Duty knock-off, infused with some wonky cover mechanics that try too hard to emulate Gears of War. RE6 comes across more like like a forgettable spin-off rather than a mainline game in a flagship series. RE would thankfully return to its roots (with some cool twists) for its 7th iteration.
6 Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia (PC)
The epic Assassin's Creed series seems to have succumbed to "Call of Duty" syndrome of late. The yearly iterations being cranked out has led to some increasingly stale, played-out experiences, broken up by the occasional gem - see AC4 and Odyssey.
While ACC: Russia at least tries something different, it still fails to provide much of a fun or interesting experience. Most of the nuance found in the 3D AC entries are lost here - as the 2D layout limits your maneuverability and tactics. It all feels very cheap and watered down. The result is a basic action romp that comes with an often frustrating difficulty.
5 Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash (Wii U)
Thankfully, the enjoyable multiplayer showdown known as Mario Tennis has largely redeemed itself with its latest rendition on the Switch. But a mere 4 years ago, many Nintendo fans were looking at this game and wondering if it was the death knell for the Mario Tennis line of sports games. It was that rough.
The game injects an overwhelming amount of gimmicks - including the obtrusive Mega Mushrooms. At the same time, Ultra Smash is lacking in terms of the content itself. It's stripped-down online mode makes it unnecessarily tough to match up with friends; not to mention there's no actual campaign mode.
4 Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers Of The Sky (DS)
The Japanese-turned-worldwide phenomenon of Pokémon has made for some of the most enduring, addictive RPGs in gaming. Yet, outside of the mobile sensation known as Pokémon Go, the series has seen a number of far less compelling, watered-down spin-offs.
Enter Pokémon Mystery Dungeon on the DS - a basic RPG/Roguelike that feels like Red & Blue lite. The game comes across as archaic and slow-paced, with its uninteresting random dungeons, locked-grid movement, and limited features.
3 Sonic The Hedgehog (2006) (PS3)
If you ever wanted to play a glitchy, dull version of 3D Sonic that features a narrative reminiscent of an awful Final Fantasy imitation, the '06 entry on PS3/360 is your game. The fact that this hedgehog has a human love interest should tip you off to the game's goofy, poorly thought-out nature.
It might seem bizarre to refer to the thrilling, fast-paced gameplay of the Sonic series as "slow-paced," but it really is here - thanks to some absolutely brutal load times, clunky mechanics, and boring cutscenes. This is one Sonic game you'll want to speed away from.
2 Call Of Duty: Black Ops Declassified (Vita)
Ironically, the Call of Duty games that sport the "Black Ops" subtitle happen to be some of the best and worst entries in the franchise. Similar to Metal Gear Solid, this long-running FPS classic simply doesn't translate well to the small, portable screen of Sony's handheld hardware.
Not only is the multiplayer system awful - the aspect fans love about the franchise - but it also comes with a weak campaign, bland environments, and horrid AI. It also feels like you're constantly wrestling with the game's wonky controls when trying to aim quickly and precisely with the Vita's small joysticks.
1 Final Fantasy: All The Bravest (iOS)
One of the most ironic names for a video game - the majestic Final Fantasy RPG series has seen well over a dozen mainline entries, along with countless spin-offs and remakes. While FF has a solid track record consisting mostly of hits, this shoddy iOS game is Square Enix's golden goose at its lowest point.
Even for a mere $4, this feels like a cheap cash grab with shameless microtransactions; resulting in a game that's just not worth the investment or the time. The watered-down gameplay actually makes Pokémon Go seem in-depth by comparison - as it boils down to mindlessly swiping your screen and watching your basic sprite avatars duke it out. How compelling...