The Xbox One deserves a touch more respect than the platform has received since its debut in 2013. Microsoft famously and spectacularly botched the console's launch, basically handing the eighth generation to Sony before a single game had even been shipped. Third-party developers quickly gravitated towards the PlayStation 4, while Microsoft canceled a handful of exclusives that only served to highlight the Xbox One's lackluster first-party lineup.
That's not to say Scalebound or Fable Legends were destined for greatness, as both titles' pre-launch footage left something to be desired, but replacing them with nothing was hardly a move in the right direction. Sea of Thieves and Crackdown 3's underwhelming critical receptions further highlighted the Xbox One's disappointing track record with exclusives.
Microsft has made a couple of recent blunders, but the company has started to turn things around. Xbox Game Pass offers gaming's best value for money, allowing console owners to get their hands on first-party titles - like the brilliant Forza Horizon 4 - on launch day. Putting aside the publisher behind the service, EA Access is a fantastic and affordable subscription packed with Electronic Arts' extensive catalog of games. In terms of third-party titles, the Xbox One receives most of the year's biggest releases, even though owners tend to have to wait longer than their Sony counterparts.
Alas, we are not here to talk about the Red Dead Redemption 2s or Gears of War 4s of the world. Here are the 15 worst Xbox One games no one played (and 15 bad games everyone did)!
30 Ignored Awfulness: Fighter Within
No other game highlights the Xbox One's early shortcomings as clearly as Fighter Within. Sitting with a pathetic Metacritic score of 23, Ubisoft's exclusive was meant to showcase the Kinect's potential as a peripheral.
Unfortunately, shallow gameplay and inconsistent controls left a sour taste in the mouths of the handful of people who actually purchased this title. Due to Fighter Within's scathing reviews and the Kinect's negative reputation, few customers spend their hard-earned cash on this terrible launch title. A game needs to work to have any chance of being fun.
29 Mediocrity: Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Put down your pitchforks, we are not saying Halo is mediocre. Well, Halo 5: Guardians is rather underwhelming, but Bungie's original trilogy redefined the FPS genre. 343 Industries remastered and packaged the previous four games in Halo: The Master Chief Collection. While the single-player campaigns are absolutely fantastic, the same cannot be said for the multiplayer. For the best part of three years, The Master Chief Collection's online component was broken.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection should have served as a joyous celebration of Microsoft's defining franchise. Instead, it came to represent the Xbox One's woes.
28 Ignored Awfulness: Ghostbusters
Coinciding with the release of 2016's highly divisive Ghostbusters sequel/reboot, Activision refused to do anything but the bare minimum for this full priced top-down shooter. Does grinding through similar areas while endlessly listening to the Ghostbusters theme sound like your idea of a good time? If the answer is yes, then you are probably the only one.
Ghostbusters embodies the most shameless traits of licensed video games. Instead of crafting entertaining mechanics capable of justifying the title's existence, Activision hoped the attached name would be enough to convince fans to part with their money.
27 Mediocrity: The Elder Scrolls Online
MMOs cannot be analyzed like any other genre. God of War and Cuphead launched in a completed state, one unlikely to change with the passage of time. Anthem and Destiny push the "games as a service" model, but MMOs defined this concept.
Nowadays, The Elder Scrolls Online ranks among the genre's better representatives. At launch, the online RPG lacked personality, customization options, or gameplay depth. It was a quintessential by-the-number MMORPG. A number of quality of life improvements helped promote The Elder Scrolls Online out of mediocrity.
26 Ignored Awfulness: Overlord: Fellowship Of Evil
There is a reason Codemasters is primarily associated with the racing genre. Overlord: Fellowship of Evil is a Diablo-clone devoid of any redeeming features. Replacing the franchise's trademark third-person perspective with a top-down camera, 2015's sequel abandons Overlord's strategic component in favor of spamming the same tedious attacks until the enemies are defeated.
Overlord is a niche series with a cult following. The game and its fans deserve better than a half-hearted hack-and-slash bore-fest. Fellowship of Evil squandered the tiny amount of momentum amassed by the license.
25 Mediocrity: Mafia III
Mafia III's opening hours are thrilling, narratively dense, and sublimely introduce Hangar 13's painstakingly recreated 1968 New Orleans settings. Once players are left to explore the open world, Mafia III's flaws begin to rise to the surface.
The shooting mechanics are technically competent, but missions rarely divert from the same fundamental structure. The impact of Mafia III's strong narrative beats is lessened by the story's terrible pacing. Now, to give credit where credit is due, the soundtrack is nothing short of brilliant. Come for the mafia, stay for the music.
24 Ignored Awfulness: Agony
Kickstarter is a powerful tool that can be used for good or evil. Agony sold itself as a spokesperson for the latter, but the game's backers presumably wished for a competent game to go along with all the grotesque visuals. Agony's understanding of horror does not extend beyond intense imagery. Ask a 10-year-old child to describe their idea of an adult horror game, and they are likely to pitch Agony.
Agony was never going to be a commercial success, but a decent horror game should have been possible. Agony failed on every level.
23 Mediocrity: Fallout 76
Which category is a better fit for Bethesda's laughable attempt at an online shooter? Fallout 76 instantly received a price cut, while retailers cannot seem to give copies away. Clearly, Bethesda cannot be pleased with the apocalyptic dumpster fire's commercial performance. Yet, listing Fallout 76 under "Ignored Awfulness" feels disingenuous.
Fallout 76 was rejected. Bethesda has an established fanbase who consistently purchase the developer's projects, and many granted Fallout 76 the benefit of the doubt. The game wasted it.
22 Ignored Awfulness: Fear Effect Sedna
Chiefly remembered for being among the first to adopt an art style similar to cel-shading, Fear Effect and its followup are minor PlayStation classics. Fear Effect Sedna is a clunky and misguided attempt to revitalize a property that last tasted relevance in 2001.
Published by Square Enix, who seems to attach its name to just about anything in this day and age, Fear Effect Sedna would not look out of place on mobile devices alongside something like Lara Croft Go. Certain things are best left in the past.
21 Mediocrity: Star Wars Battlefront
Star Wars Battlefront II is simultaneously superior and inferior to its predecessor. The short but serviceable single-player mode offers a couple of hours of fun, while the space combat has never been better. Conversely, EA's predatory monetization practices rightfully attracted the scorn of both professional journalists and fans.
2015's Star Wars Battlefront is a glorified demo masquerading as a fully fleshed game. EA correctly believed starved Star Wars fans are willing to purchase anything permitting a lightsaber is involved, and the publisher set out to prove this theory.
20 Ignored Awfulness: 7 Days To Die
The Fun Pimps' survival horror game exists in two forms: The respectable PC and the awful console versions. Purchase the former, ignore the latter. Set after the events of a nuclear World War, 7 Days to Die drops players into a harsh environment and tasks them with surviving. With such a basic premise, the gameplay must be near flawless to hold its userbase's attention.
Held back by unintuitive controls and downgraded visuals, the console port is a poor imitation of the PC original. On the Xbox One, State of Decay 2 should be able to scratch someone's survival horror itch, even though the exclusive is not without its flaws.
19 Mediocrity: Call Of Duty: Ghosts
Assuming VGChartz's data is accurate, Call of Duty makes up 40% of the Xbox One's 10 top-selling games. As the console's 22nd highest-grossing release, 2013's Ghosts ranks among the worst performing entries in the franchise, but that does not mean the sequel failed to ship a metric ton of units.
Call of Duty: Ghosts is fine. Actually, Activision's series seldom produces anything genuinely terrible. It is a license devoted to accomplishing the bare minimum. Matching a bland campaign with an underwhelming multiplayer, Ghosts sits at the bottom of a fairly forgettable pile. A cute dog is no substitute for innovation.
18 Ignored Awfulness: Past Cure
Few things are as disappointed as squandered potential. Mechanically, Past Cure is a derivative third-person shooter laced with glitches and obtuse design choices. The graphics are a sight better than a handful of other entries on this list, but Past Cure's rotten core tarnishes any positives.
The sad part is that Past Cure feels like a passion project. While poorly executed, the muddled story hints at the ambitious concept lurking beneath all the technical flaws. Frustration, thy name is Past Cure.
17 Mediocrity: Just Cause 3
Just Cause 4 presents a reasonable argument for producing the franchise's lowest point; however, the entry's unimpressive sales can chiefly be credited to its predecessor's failings. An accurate measure of a project's reputation can be surmised from its successor's performance. Despite garnering the most negative critical reception in the franchise, Shrek the Third is the license's second highest-grossing entry. Comparatively, Shrek Forever After coincided with a significant dip at the box office.
Unable to rely on Just Cause 2's leftover goodwill, Just Cause 4 struggled to attract players. Just Cause 3 began the decline. Both games are available on Xbox Game Pass.
16 Ignored Awfulness: Rugby 15
A list like this can hardly ignore the Xbox One's lowest-rated release. A Metacritic score of less than 75 tends to be regarded as an unflattering reception, but an average of 20 is the stuff of legend! How can a sports game be so bad? Is such a thing even possible? Is there a Rugby 16? How about a Rugby 14?
Sports games are already an acquired taste, but a fan needs to be especially starving to pick up Rugby 15. Look at this gameplay! It is beautiful.
15 Mediocrity: The Sims 4
In retrospect, The Sims 3 reached a high point the franchise is unlikely to ever match. Electronic Arts' recent output prioritize immediacy over depth or longevity. Anthem's barren launch state demonstrates an unwillingness to experiment or innovate, an apt criticism for nearly every single project published by EA during the current generation.
Released in 2017, The Sims 4 is a soulless carbon copy of The Sims 3. Combined with the obtuse controls, the console version of The Sims 4 is the worst way to experience a mediocre game.
14 Ignored Awfulness: Gene Rain
Ambition is all well and good, but studios should be aware of their limitations. For its debut project, Deeli Network crafted a story-driven third-person shooter set in a lavish futuristic dystopia. Gene Rain tries to do too much. The visuals are actually quite impressive, particularly for an indie studio, but the gameplay could have benefited from a bit more time in the oven.
We wish Gene Rain is better. With the exception of Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, this generation has a shortage of mid-tier projects. Gene Rain could have filled that void.
13 Mediocrity: Guitar Hero Live
As of this moment, 2015'a Guitar Hero Live is the final entry in Activision's series. How did such a popular license fall by the wayside? Disregarding expansions or portable entries, Guitar Hero spawned 10 releases over the course of a decade. Like many of the artists featured on its setlists, Guitar Hero is a spent force.
Guitar Hero Live reinvented the wheel and improved upon the mechanics. Unfortunately, a mediocre setlist reliant on microtransactions to fill the cracks left a lot to be desired. In 2018, Activision announced plans to shut down GHTV, rendering most of the tracks unplayable.
12 Ignored Awfulness: Road Rage
Set in the fictional city of Ashen, Road Rage continues the recent trend of awful motorcycle-based games. Inspired by Road Rash, 2017's bashed combat racer does not even begin to replicate the classic franchise's endearing formula. Reminiscent of something that should be on Steam Early Access, Road Rage exists solely to pad out year-end's worst of lists.
A complete failure is quite uncommon, but Road Rage accomplishes the impossible. The graphics are ugly, the driving is frustrating, and the combat is laughable.
11 Mediocrity: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5
In any other situation, shipping 0.14 million units would not be a cause for celebration. A single successful sale is more than Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 deserves. Published in 2015, Activision decided to challenge Electronic Arts' position as the industry's most detested publisher.
Launching in an utterly broken state, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 is a gobbled together mess rushed out of the gate by a publisher seeking to cash-in on a license. Years and a handful of patches later, the game is still a trainwreck.
10 Ignored Awfulness: Dead Alliance
Days Gone's impending publication suggests the zombie-bubble is yet to completely burst. Nevertheless, the subgenre is on its last legs. Dead Alliance's core premise has potential. A multiplayer shooter set in a disease-ravaged alternate reality, players can manipulate zombies to attack their opponents. As far as gimmicks are concerned, Dead Alliance's selling point is more interesting than most.
Just a shame about everything else. Players are likely to spend more time struggling against Dead Alliance's technical difficulties than the actual zombies.
9 Mediocrity: Dynasty Warriors 9
In Japan, Dynasty Warriors 9 sold approximately half of its predecessor's units during its opening week. Evidently, Koei Tecmo's switch to open world failed to pay off. Now, in all fairness, open world games can be quite lucrative, permitting the style suits the project's overall tone and gameplay.
Dynasty Warriors 9 went down the open world route for no apparent reason other than the fact the genre happens to be popular. Dynasty Warriors has never been a critical darling, but 2018's release satisfied nobody.
8 Ignored Awfulness: Tennis World Tour
In the span of a few weeks, two tennis games debuted on the Xbox One. AO International Tennis is not without its shortcomings, but Tennis World Tour makes its rival seem like Top Spin 4. The option to patch issues after launch has allowed publishers and studios to grow lax. A delay might have been able to save Tennis World Tour from featuring on such a list.
For sports fans who do not own a Nintendo Switch, AO International Tennis is the only simulator on the market. Tennis World Tour barely qualifies as a game.
7 Mediocrity: Dragon Ball: Xenoverse 2
We went back and forth on whether to include Dragon Ball: Xenoverse 2. Overall, Dimps Corporation's sequel fine-tunes the combat mechanics introduced by 2015's original. Unlocking the expansive roster should keep many users entertaining for hours on end. While not quite measuring up to Dragon Ball FighterZ, Xenoverse 2's graphics are impressive in their own right.
Dragon Ball: Xenoverse 2's main problem is its content. Quite a number of missions are recycled from the previous entry, and the gameplay is not distinct enough to merit recommending on its own. Xenoverse 2 is closer to an expansion pack than a proper sequel.
6 Ignored Awfulness: Giana Sisters: Dream Runners
Multiplayer-focused indie games are a risky endeavor. With several options available on the market, customers are understandably hesitant to drop cash on a property that could very well be rendered unplayable. In order to find a userbase, Giana Sisters: Dream Runners needs players who can convince others to join.
Obviously, this is all for naught if the game happens to not be very good. Giana Sisters: Dream Runners is not very good. Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams works as a throwback to a bygone era of hard-as-nails platformers. 2015's sequel is just another in a neverending line of missed opportunities.
5 Mediocrity: Assassin's Creed: Unity
Exhausted by all the negativity? Fair enough, perhaps a change of pace is in order. In 2019, Unity is the best traditional Assassin's Creed on the Xbox One or PlayStation 4. Anyone yearning for something akin to the second entry should consider trying out 2014's sequel. However, this was not always the case.
Assassin's Creed: Unity can be blamed for the license's decline in fortunes and eventual revamping. Even though the game shipped quite a respectable amount of units, Unity is mainly remembered for its hilarious glitches and faulty launch state. Once lost, trust is hard to recover.
4 Ignored Awfulness: Troll And I
A solid argument can be made for The Last Guardian failing to meet expectations. At the very least, SCEA can rest easy with the knowledge that The Last Guardian is no Troll and I. Maximum Games has the audacity to charge $50 for this dated action-adventure game right out of the Xbox 360's bargain basement.
Filled with bland puzzles, unresponsive AI, and unintentionally hilarious voice acting; Troll and I is only good for a laugh. Similar to quite a few other entries, the potential for something decent is here. However, Troll and I rarely executes its ideas in a satisfying way.
3 Mediocrity: Thief
Shipping less than 500k copies, 2014's Thief can hardly be described as a runaway success. Following its release, Square Enix discounted the stealth action game numerous times, so many users may have been tempted to give this a spin.
Thief is neither good or bad. It is a nothing game. While the combat mechanics are refined, the deceptively expansive levels tend to promote sticking to a specific route. Combined with a shortage of weapon variety and stupid AI, Thief is arguably the worst entry in the franchise.
2 Ignored Awfulness: Alekhine's Gun
On the surface, stealth seems like a straightforward enough concept, but a delicate line separates the Metal Gear Solids from the Left Alives of the world. Promising to facilitate for various playstyles, Alekhine's Gun stars a KGB turned CIA operative tasked with completing several missions based on historical events. Cool concept, shame about the execution.
More than the outdated mechanics or underwhelming visuals, Alekhine's Gun's gravest sin is that the game is unforgivably boring. Alekhine's Gun falls short when compared to Hitman GO, let alone any of the main entries.
1 Mediocrity: Halo: Spartan Assault
Halo should never score a 53 on Metacritic. Also available on the Xbox 360 and mobile devices, Halo: Spartan Assault was a rotten way to debut the legendary license on Microsoft's eighth generation console. A twin stick shooter can hardly be regarded as a worthy representative of the Halo brand, but its existence reflects a lack of quality control.
Completionist seeking to get the full Master Chief experience can try Halo: Spartan Assault through Xbox Game Pass. We recommend limiting your expectations.