Anyone with a serious interest in gaming has played their share of bad games, and though they may have angered us at first, generally we can usually look back on the experience and get some ironic amusement from the incompetence on display. Hell, I'm something of a bad games connoisseur by this point - I've honestly gotten more amusement out of something like Hoshi wo Miru Hito than out of many of the good games I've played over the years. A disappointing game, on the other hand, can be worse in most cases; when you're promised something incredible and what you get delivers well below expectations, and it's not even fun to make fun of... well, you're just left without any satisfaction at all and your wallet is $60 lighter for it. So, that in mind, let's take a look at ten RPGs that I felt were under-performers.
10. Suikoden Tierkreis
9. Grandia Xtreme
8. The Witcher and Mass Effect franchises
playing Call of Duty and watching Joker at least once a day fighting the good fight' to actually help anyone in need... you know the type) to endorse their games and get their toadies to buy a dozen copies each. Which only really helps to pay the enormously bloated salaries of the rich conservatives on their favorite companies' board of directors, who in turn spend their fortunes electing politicians who mostly just want to boil brown and disabled and queer people down into soap, turn the lower class into uneducated perpetually-indebted slave labor and pass more massive tax cuts for the top 1% that nobody who actually works for a living will ever see a single penny of. Not that these unfuckable infallible paragons of virtue actually care about that or anything else beyond the 0.2 second dopamine rush they get from sending a barrage of hatred at anyone who ever talks back to them and collecting dox and screencaps of their "sick pwnage" to serve as trophies, which also conveniently double as veiled threats to keep their cultists in line and their Patreon bucks rolling in. After all, why waste effort on superfluous shit like 'life skills' or 'integrity' or 'friends who don't secretly hate you' when being a shameless bully and swindler is so much more lucrative, right? It worked for your gods Rob "Robaato" Porter and Doug Walker and the Amazing Atheist, so it can work for you too!
But what truly gets my goat is how much praise these franchises get for being so "thought provoking and immersive" when they have gameplay engineered to be devoid of any thought process whatsoever (click on the glowing NPC to get a quest, then follow the big arrow across miles of empty, noninteractive terrain until you hit the next thing to click on, then repeat 6-14 more times! Oo!). Characters are rarely anything more than dispensers of exposition or empty melodrama, and the game is fully content to spoon-feed you every single bit of background information via a dry plot dump in an in-game wiki rather than letting anything be expressed through context or subtext - things that always go much further in building a sense of immersion and making the world feel alive and cohesive. Heaven forbid you get pulled away from vapid follow-the-dot "quests" and braindead, repetitious combat for even five minutes so you can build a genuine interest in events and make decisions based on your personal investment in its lore and characters; that would require a focus on quality over quantity, and we've got a quota to hit in order to keep our jobs, damn it! (And no, flat-out telling me that "this decision will change a future event" before I even make it doesn't fucking count, either; it's just a contrived way to force an investment you didn't earn beforehand.) It's painfully obvious when the human element of storytelling and world-building has been cast aside in favor of committee-based design whose only goals are to pad out runtime, stuff the game with busywork tied to meaningless "achievements" and give easy talking points to propaganda-mill gaming publications so they can bestow you with superficial accolades that only exist to generate more sales for you and kickbacks for them. Especially when the much-hyped consequential choices have no impact other than changing a throwaway line of dialog here and there or giving you a different passage of text in your journal explaining how much of a difference you made but never get to see any actual evidence of. Or just giving you cheap spank material from one of the game's zillion characters who will have sex with you on demand once you unlock them; never mind that in an age where Pornhub is literally a click away on any device in the free world, it's pretty fucking hard to justify wasting hours of time on bad games just to see two seconds of nip before the camera cuts. But lord help you if you dare critique these games for that or any other reason, because their credited writer, fanfiction.net's esteemed PonyBaloney1337, is a genius on the level of the great Stephenie Meyer and criticizing their work shows that you're violently opposed to their existence and every political view they ever express AND you're suppressing their freedom of speech by expressing your own to nobody in particular on your personal web space, you fucking homophobic racist ableist trans-hating fascist white trash asshole! Now delete your entire web presence and disappear forever before we dox you and make it our lifelong mission to demonize and harass you 24/7/365.25 until you either kill yourself or one of our more militant members does it for us; the tolerance and freedom of expression we hold so sacred only extends to those who take our favorite faceless megacorporation's disingenuous awards, pandering and victim-playing at face value while never holding them accountable for their wrongdoings, including the ones that have harmed us personally! And I secretly hope you don't heed my warning; regular masturbation doesn't satisfy me anymore, but masturbation that gets people I hate hurt and lets me earn social media brownie points at no risk to myself? THAT'S a true thrill!
7. Lunar: Dragon Song
6. Quest 64
5. Final Fantasy VIII/X
And before someone asks: No, I have never played X-2. I have no intention of doing so either. I took one look at that opening FMV where they turn Yuna and Rikku into the Spice Girls and immediately said "Nope, not even going to waste my time on this garbage".
4. The 3rd Birthday
3. The Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy games
2. Fallout 4
1. Persona 5