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Review Purgatory

As the name implies, this page serves as a dumping ground - a list of games I've tried and found underwhelming, but have so little of note about them that they don't even warrant an in-depth thrashing.  So, rather than cluttering up the Quickie pages with the same basic synopsis again and again, here's a list of uninteresting, obnoxious and/or subpar RPGs that are noteworthy only for their sheer mediocrity.  And maybe the arrogance of their undertalented devs. 

.hack

A crappy MMO that eats your soul.  Really, that's the premise.  Its pretty bad when your pitch is immediately made far less scary by the actual reality of MMO addicts, and just a touch insensitive when you use that as the premise for your dumb little media franchise.  But then they have the gall to sell all four discs of the game separately at full price.  No joke; there's no time break between the stories or even any real updates to the mechanics.  Hell, all the cutscenes for 1-3 are on the disc of 4, voiceover and all, so it's not even a matter of space.  Scummy as hell, but I guess they had to make do with something before the age of microtransactions.

But the worst part is they did this same subpar creepypasta prompt again with Sword Art Online years later...

3D Dot Game Heroes

Remember when the PS3 came out and we were all looking forward to our favorite amazing PS2 RPG franchises in HD and then we got dreck like this for a decade?  Yeah...

Albert Odyssey: Legend of Eldean

You spend 4x as long waiting for the combat animations to load one at a time as you do literally anything else...

Albion

A game ahead of its time in that, like most modern western RPGs, there's virtually no gameplay and any semblance of actual storytelling and immersion is tossed out in favor of cardboard cutouts blaring obnoxious flat exposition at you for upwards of fifteen minutes at a time. Pro tip: no one cares how dense your 'lore' is if you can't get them invested in your world and characters on a personal level. Any moron can bang out 30 pages of inane minutiae about Brambleskarf City; we all learned how to pad writing assignments in high school. If you want me to care, give me a reason to go to Brambleskarf City and some some cool stuff to do and some engaging personalities to interact with once I'm there, and work your lore into the world in an interesting way rather than in paragraph after paragraph of droning robot-text. It's the difference between reading the Simple English Wikipedia entry for the Louvre or going to Paris and seeing it in person - there's no contest as to which provides the superior experience.

Anachronox

Anachronox

Anodyne

A game that tries way too hard to be 'weird' and 'surreal' and mostly just comes off like a ten year old trying to get cheap reactions by saying "Munky cheez poo poo ha ha" over and over again.  Also there's no decent gameplay hook whatsoever, just tedious busywork with your reward being more munky cheez.  No thanks.

Ara Fell

Just because the characters also cringe at the stupid dialog, boring mechanics and tedious design doesn't mean your uninspired crappy game is any more enjoyable.

Arc the Lad

You know a game's dull as dishwater when they have to bundle it with two other games and put it in a big foil-stamped box to even sell it.

Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana

Crafting and dopey busywork in an irritatingly twee fantasy world.  Can I craft a gun and blow my obnoxious protagonists' brains out?  No?  Well, forget it then.

Avernum: Escape from the Pit

A dumbed-down remake of a bland remake of a ho-hum indie CRPG.  Why does this exist?

Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 

From that period when Interplay was desperately trying to become profitable again so they released a horde of low-budget console spinoffs of popular CRPGs.  This one's a very average hack-and-slash set in the D&D-verse and is fun for a bit, but quickly gets stale.

Bioshock

Carbon-copy System Shock 2's script, then do a find-replace on the script to replace "Claustrophobic space station" with "Underwater city decked out in art deco decor and shiny brass only because it looks nice in the Unreal engine" and "hostile aliens" with "goofy muppet-people that bring less than 1/1000th the level of fear".  Then take out all the character building and strategy by just making you an invincible superhero with an unlimited arsenal of superpowers and ridiculous overpowered weaponry, and top it off with a cherry of pretense by making every plot point and character therein a lame, disingenuous straw man about objectivism.  Not because its creators are interested in bettering the world through whatever opposing philosophy they might live by, but so Ken can put his writing and directing credits in huge screaming letters and get lauded as a genius by twelve year olds who will put his safe, uncontroversial "messages" on their Facebook banners and completely ignore the lack of any decent gameplay, original ideas or earnest exploration of its concepts so they can laud him as a genius and pretend to be smart and morally upright too.  It must have worked too considering Bioshock's gotten zillions of awards, millions in sales and Ken is actively canonized by game journalist hacks who just transcribe publisher propaganda and never bother to to any actual research on video games, let alone play them.

Bioshock Infinite

Same braindead pew-pew crap gameplay as the original Bioshock, now with a wrapping of Ken Levine's self-serving commentary on American jingoism and race relations and time travel and phony moralizing that never once actually says anything profound, important or even interesting.  And it's all brought to you at the expense of his company and hundreds of his coworkers' jobs and well-being because the gaming press has hyped him up as some infallible heaven-sent visionary for so long that he's started believing it himself.  But I will admit, seeing a popup about how "not all confrontations need to be solved with violence" after an unavoidable shootout in broad daylight that left about 56 of my assailants dead was pretty goddamn funny; at least until I learned that it wasn't meant to be and it was an earnest attempt at incorporating "player choice" and "morality" into the proceedings, which - surprise - makes literally no difference to how the story plays out anyway.  Not to mention I guessed the big "plot twist" about 20 hours before it came (seriously, we've all seen Fight Club by now; quit ripping it off) so the whole thing is just a noisy, overstuffed waste of time. Seriously Ken, you worked on Thief: The Dark Project and System Shock 2, two of the greatest games ever made; eat a slice of humble pie and start working on quality projects again, not self-important prolefeed garbage like this...

Bloodborne

I get it now - Souls is a series that's too good to be entertaining!  You don't actually enjoy it, you just get belittled and bullied by your 'friends' into racking up countless hours grinding away at this sensory-depriving, mind-numbing bullshit until you're brainwashed into parroting on command that it's the best thing since black tar heroin and that anyone who doesn't waste just as much time as you do on it is a fake gamer faggot casual loser who deserves to be dragged behind your daddy's pickup truck until they're dead and blammo - you're instantly the king of the GameFAQs forum playground!  Oh wait, no, you're a spineless toadie seeking 15 seconds of fame and adoration you'll never get from a cult of rape-cheerleading, violence-glorifying psychopaths. Quit trying to wring any drop of respect you can out of these freaks and play some real games; its not like any of them will ever mention you again or even remember your name anymore five minutes after you're gone anyway.

Brave Fencer Musashi

One of those those games that has a really creative and awesome intro stage but then you get into the main game and realize that it's got super weird collision detection, a generally obnoxious camera and really isn't that fun to play.  Has nice music at least, though.

Bravely Default: Flying Fairy

Final Fantasy V with fantastically horrible acting, garbage humor and writing, much worse pacing and a turn-altering mechanic they stole from Xenosaga and made worse!  Hard pass.


Bravely Default 2

Game design, art, scriptwriting and voice direction so stilted, rote and passionless that it may as well have been generated by an AI.  And probably was.

Brave Story: New Traveler

Forgettable PSP RPG #33

Breath of Death VII / Cthulhu Saves the World

Bland '80s RPGs But Made in 2010.  At least they have a bargain bin price to match.

Catherine: Full Body

Remember when Atlus was heralded as some kind of hero of progressive rights in gaming and then they released this transphobic crap?  Yeah... Between this shit and Persona "devalue the lives of strangers you hear about online until they're reduced to pure evil straw men and then bully them into killing themselves for social brownie points you'd otherwise never get as a pack of personality-deprived amoral psychotics lololol" 5 they've just gone all-in on pandering to Kiwi Farms/8chan culture crusaders.  What do they have in mind for Persona 6, burning crosses on the undesirables' lawns before you literally 'steal their hearts'?

Chaos Wars 

It's Idea Factory, it must be good! Hm, so do I buy the bargain bin copy with no manual, a scraped up disc and a dog-chewed case or the disc-only copy that's holding up the shelf with all the Skylanders figures... 

Code Name STEAM

You know that old question about "if you were trapped on a desert island and only had one game to play, what would it be"?  Well, this is my anti-desert-island game; if I were trapped on an island with nothing but a 3DS and a copy of Code Name STEAM, I'd chuck it into the sea and and find something more mentally engaging to occupy my time than this lameass Valkyria ripoff. Like a muddy stick. 

Code Vein

Remember when Bandai Namco made good games?  ...No?  Me neither.

Conception II

Persona 3 but with 1000% more innuendo and 95% less fun

Cosmic Star Heroine

"Better Than Chrono Trigger."  Developer's words; sure as hell aren't mine. "Mediocre pandering bore full of unpatched bugs not even worthy of mention in the same breath" would be closer to how I feel. 

Criminal Girls

It's rather telling when the biggest gamer criticism of Criminal Girls isn't the fact that it sucks as a game or that its premise is creepy as fuck, but that Sony censored all the underage nips and coochies to comply with international laws about video game content.  If someone has this crap in their collection, distance yourself from them.  Immediately.

Crimson Gem Saga

Forgettable PSP RPG #34

Cris Tales

A game that has a charming art style and an obvious animation budget but they don't seem to have spent any time on making a fun game.   Its uninteresting combat, general tweeness and amazingly tedious handholdy progression took me out of it really quickly.  Oh, and it was already in bargain bins for $10 five months after it came out and a free giveaway on Epic Games Store weeks after that; take that as you will. 

Dark Souls

Spend 2298 hours grinding a platinum trophy out of this joyless piece of hackshite, then spend 400 times as long online braying about how you're the ubermensch and everyone who's ever touched a controller had better damn well worship you now when a) Literally tens of thousands of people before you have already completed that amazing feat you're so proud of, so you're basically bragging about finishing 53,897th in a fun run and b) From is just going to churn out another one in 8 months and what little 'cred' you've built up by being a fame chasing hatemonger shitbag on 8Chan is going to disappear unless you start the cycle all over again.  So you'd better quit your job, drop out of college, move back into your childhood bedroom, divest yourself of every other game, movie, book and friend in your life, drown your personality in the bathtub, and dedicate the balance of your lifespan to the cult of empty clout chasing From Software's publishers have cultivated!  There should be a name for all the chuds who destroy themselves and poison the lives of everyone in their reach for this valueless grift.  Hm... how about "Soulsiopaths."  Yeah that sounds good.  Thankfully you can spot these useless dredges by the fact that they never do or even talk about anything else, ever, and cut them out of your life accordingly.


Death Stranding

Self-important smug arthouse shit made only so Kojima can pretend to be some transcendent auteur and his fans can laugh at all the uneducated plebeians along with him; not because they enjoy or understand or even care about his masterwork, mind you, but because they want to bask in the same air of superiority he does to mask their lack of talent and capability for critical thought.  Hey, it takes less effort to cling to one has-been artist than learning Linux or making anything decent or buying a bunch of difficult books to serve as background props for your whiny self-serving vlogs; especially because the latter also requires you record somewhere bigger than your bedroom to hide the fact there's not a cracked spine on any of them.

Death Stranding Director's Cut

The guy who directed Death Stranding is releasing a "director's cut" just to milk more money out of a game that's 99.6% identical to the last version at nearly full price.  Fuck off forever you pretentious friggin hack.

Death Stranding 2

The next time I get an inkling to watch some art school dropout's marathon wank session I'll just go to Pornhub. Sure as hell ain't paying $70 $140 for something that's readily available online for free.

Demon's Souls (PS5)

Let's shut down the servers for this fourteen year old game just in time to sell it to you again on a new console at full price!  Wow fanboys, they're not even trying to hide the fact they're selling you snake oil, yet you buy it right up anyway...

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Lame unnecessary sequel to an already unnecessary prequel.

Diablo III

Bobby Kotick takes a dump on a classic franchise by dumbing down its design and storytelling so far that a chimp can play through it in an afternoon. And he added a cash shop that Blizzard takes a cut of every sale from so he can have more money to donate to his favorite political shills and secure even bigger tax breaks for himself while his employees are treated like subhumans and paid so little they have to take second jobs at Sunglass Hut. Trash.  And the game sucks too. 

Fun fact: To date, this is the only game I have ever shipped back to the publisher and gotten a refund for; I hated it that much! 

Diablo Immortal

Diablo Immoral (pay-to-win scam full of spambots)

Diablo IV

See above two entries, then add "if you're still fervently defending this series I honestly have no respect for you."

Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII

Why waste a box on this?  Just sell it in a doo bag.

Disco Elysium

Shuffle through forest after forest of dialog trees which, much like your senile grandpa or your former friend who accepted Ganja as his lord, savior and sole personality trait from here unto eternity, love to ramble on endlessly about every topic imaginable despite never having anything educated, insightful, logical, funny or even remotely interesting to say.  All the while hoping that every choice you pick will avoid some contrived idiotic behavior or arbitrarily deplete your health or throw yet more obnoxious tell-don't-show narration in your face and possibly earn you some experience points toward one of the seventeen levels you need to finally pass one of the insanely high skill checks necessary to finally get on with the goddamn main plot.  Or just go the even more banal route and savescum your way past every single check.  Either way though, a masturbatory arthouse game packed with insufferable cardboard-cutout characters, subtle fashy propaganda ("look how many more successes you get from getting drunk and picking the racist/sexist/homophobic/sociopathic options lololol") and dream-logic 'puzzles' on the level of a Roberta Williams adventure is not something I particularly want to spend any of my finite time on Earth beating my head against, especially when it has no storytelling merit or message to convey beyond "PAY ATTENTION TO ME, I HAVE A MAIL-IN PSYCHOLOGY DIPLOMA AND 80 POUNDS OF PSILOCYBIN UNDER MY MATTRESS!".  Yeah, you and every other smug jerkoff with a pair of calipers and a shitty podcast, pal; but at least most self-proclaimed genii on the internet know better than to charge $40 for their insipid attempts at sounding smart.

Dishonored

Dishonored is to Thief what Bioshock was to System Shock - a pale imitation and an exercise in missing everything that made the original so brilliant.  Hand-holdy to the point of inanity (one of the very first powers you get is x-ray vision, which completely trivializes discovering hidden secrets AND staying hidden from enemies), and it flatly spells out all of its gameplay intricacies to you in the first twenty minutes, so there's not even an attempt at emergent gameplay or encouraging any player thought or creativity.  Even the 'moral choices' you get are beyond stupid; it's just more boolean 'be an asshole or a nice guy' crap with no nuance whatsoever.  It's all less than meaningless anyway, because the only thing that factors into what ending you get is the number of kills you rack up. Not sparing/killing any key people or doing anything that may benefit you in the short term, but do irreparable damage in the long run - just how many nameless schmoes you shoot or stab on the way through.  And like Bioshock, the endings all suck anyways, so there's no replay value beyond getting 'achievements' nobody but you will ever look at anyway.  Whoopee.  Arkane has made some legitimately good games (Prey), but Dishonored is one to skip.

Dragon's Dogma 2

A sequel to an overrated game, but that's not the issue.  The issue is Capcom taking a shit on your rights as a consumer once again, adding all manner of cosmetic DLC, a pay-to-win microtransaction system to access pawns and locking basic features like fast travel behind atop the cost of a full-priced, single-player game. Also it's horribly optimized, buggy as all hell and you can't even delete your save file without completely bricking your copy owing to the shit DRM they've implemented; cuz if you can play this game more than once, you might not buy our future games that also rip you off at every turn!  Seriously, fuck this game, fuck Crapcom and fuck anyone who defends this bullshit.

Elden Ring (and every other crappy game From and their gross-ass cult will continue to release every eight months until the sun explodes)

The worst Soulsiopath brainwashing regimen since the last one.  Still the same shitty-looking weightless animation, jank physics, sloppy hit detection, framerate dropping and obtuse, badly balanced design masquerading as 'challenge' as every other piece of garbage From's dispiritedly farted out since 1994.  Still no sign of a plot either, outside of terrible fanboy fiction based on nebulous bullshit.

Ephemeral Phantasia

Take Majora's Mask's time-rewinding gimmick and do it 100% wrong.  Boring, sloppy, self-indulgent poopoo.

Exile (Sega Genesis) 

Cursing! And religious themes! And anime art, which is automatically ADULT and EXOTIC and HIGHBROW because it comes from Japan, even if the vast majority of it is derivative algorithmically-calculated schlock engineered solely to sell toys and merchandise just like western animation! Truly the Genesis is a console more geared for the MATURE market than those puss-baby SNES and TG-16 consoles! ...But now that I've gotten my '90s cool kid posturing out of the way: wow, this game sucks. The worst kind of braindead NPC-scavenger-hunt RPG element and painfully jank sidescrolling combat.

Eye of the Beholder (GBA) 

Not to be confused with the puzzle-driven DOS dungeon crawler, this is a generic RPG with combat taken from the Gold Box games and, also like those games, it wears thin pretty quickly.

Fable 1-3

Be a cool guy or an asshole, but you're still doing the exact same inane quests and crap combat either way, completely devoid of any actual consequence for your actions whatsoever; even if you've been the worst mass-murdering, orphan-raping bastard the world has ever known, everyone whose head you haven't sawn off yet will still expect you to go fight the big bad at the end.  And there's a dedicated fart button to go with the trite morality system and prove to the entire world that you're five years old if you take this game seriously on any level.  At least this series began to make people realize Peter Molyneux is an overstuffed con-man hack and not the messiah he paid the gaming press to hype him up as.  Maybe in the future he'd be better served by spending less time making his games innovative and more on making them entertaining; but given that he hasn't developed anything beyond Early Access in over a decade, scammed people out of tons of Kickstarter money he didn't actually need to fund said unfinished piles of crap and is currently trying to hock crypto bullshit too, maybe he ought to just retire and salvage what little remains of his dignity instead...

Fantasy Life

Change job, do minigame, grind levels, repeat. This feels like a throwaway mobile game you download to kill time while waiting at the DMV... 

Falling Stars

I'll defer to Vinny from Vinesauce for this one: "Literal Shit: the RPG".  Hard to believe this game came out on the same platform and in the same year as Persona 4!

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years

Final Fantasy IV was barely worth a single playthrough, let alone the 15+ ports and remakes it's gotten,  yet they made a sequel that basically retreads its entire plot point for point.  They even have the gall to point out in dialog that they're just going through the motions telling the same tired story yet again; seriously.  Why not make a sequel to a Final Fantasy that actually lends itself well to one instead? ...Oh wait, they messed up almost all of those too.  Outstanding work, guys.

Final Fantasy X-2

Never played it and have no plans to either.  X was already a sorry excuse for a video game, let alone the first sixth-generation entry in a prestigious franchise like Final Fantasy; a disingenuous sloppy turd that missed the bowl.  Oh, they tried to lure me into X-2 by promising open-ended exploration and a return to the series' iconic class system, but then I took one look at that opening cinematic where they turned Yuna and Rikku into the fucking Spice Girls and said "nope, not ever going to waste my time on this bullshit."

Final Fantasy XI

Point, click, raise status bar and hope someone eventually gives you the time of day after you sink 80 zillion hours into it like they have.  At least the installer is courteous enough to tell you this shit ain't worth wasting your life on; if only they listened...

Final Fantasy XIV

Follow map marker, push button, get into constant boring and monotonous auto battles to raise a status bar and get rewarded with thousands more tedious filler quests so Square Enix can colonize every single second of the rest of your life and every dime to your name.  It will never not be baffling to me that despite being around for decades not a single game in the entire MMO genre has ever had gameplay or storytelling even one-tenth as deep, immersive or engaging as 1993's Doom...

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles

I'd rather do my taxes than play this, to be perfectly honest.

Genshin Impact

Breath of the Wild but it doesn't feel anywhere near as good to play, installs an "anti-cheat" rootkit with gaping security holes on your computer and is full of pay-to-win gacha crap.  Hey kids, enjoy running up your dad's credit card buying lootboxes when there's literally thousands of better games you could buy instead and then spending every day you log in gambling on whether your account will be stolen and your computer infected with ransomware!

Golden Sun

45 hours of inane dialog, braindead combat and the same 3 non-puzzles over and over again.  They even get so lazy with it that they recycle the same battles and dialog scene verbatim four times in a row...

Gust's Ar Tonelico, Atelier, Blue Reflection, Mana Khemia, Nights of Azure

So much crap, so little care... 

Gwent

The Official Card Game of Twilight For Boys.  Comes with free masturbation sock

Hylics

Having a really forced "zany" aesthetic and no gameplay or story doesn't make your game good. Sorry guys.

Hyperdimension Neptunia

Re-enact the moronic Nintendo-versus-Sega fights you had on the playground in third grade, now sprinkled liberally with smut, overpriced DLC and fundamentally terrible game design.  Garbage, garbage, garbage.  How did a sleaze company like Idea Factory emerge from the ashes of a talented developer like Data East?

Iconoclasts

Cookie cutter Metroidvania platformer with tons of tedious backtracking + Another tiresome dissertation on religion from someone who watched the first half of Fight Club once and memorized the Fifth Edition Monster Manual and now considers themself the one true master of spirit and universe = One big No Thank You.

Jade Empire

Bioware can do wonders with an established license, but their attempts to make their own worlds and sets of rules are always just mind-numbingly dull.  Enter Jade Empire, a mindless beat-em-up set in an Asia-themed fantasy world and among many games of the era to mistake boolean "be nice guy/be sociopathic asshole for no reason" choices at every juncture for compelling storytelling.  Weak.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning 

Ah yes, the archetypal game from an unproven company designed by a committee looking to maximize profits rather than having any genuine passion for the medium.  'God of War is popular, give it combat just like that! Diablo and Borderlands sold really well, put in randomized loot too!  Get a C-list fantasy author on board to write the script! And don't bother with any of that superfluous nonsense like 'puzzles that require thought' or 'interesting character interactions', that'll alienate a huge chunk of the audience! Just have the silent protagonist player follow an arrow and push a button until they win!'  And then after your game and company's inevitable failure that screws over the entire state of Rhode Island, your CEO outs himself as an incompetent businessman and shitty person besides and has to resort to whoring himself out to the I'm a horribly oppressed white man 1%er in America grift on nazi-adjacent sites like Breitbart to stay relevant. Stay classy, Curt!

King's Field II

25 years ago From was already cranking out the same tedious, nihilistic nothing as Dark Souls, but they didn't have a big-name publisher behind them so nobody cared.  Makes you wonder; do people play their modern crap because they want to, or because some IGN hack said they have to?  But if you absolutely love combat with less variety than Wolfenstein 3D and a total lack of storytelling in favor of empty number crunching... still don't play this.  Just get a graphing calculator or emulate Telengard or something...

Last Remnant

The last remnant of Square Enix's dignity before the launch of Final Fantasy XIII turned them into an international laughing stock.  Too bad they squandered it on this miserable junk.  Horrible writing and VO, terribly designed gameplay that punishes you for leveling up, and so badly optimized that there's constant glitching, loading seams and framerate drops in battle.  Bargain bin crapola all the way.

Legend of Dragoon

How did this lame piece of crap sell so many copies? I can't say for sure, but I have a theory:

"Hm, Final Fantasy 7 and 9 are sold out everywhere... I know, I'll buy little Jimmy this chintzy knockoff instead! The nice man at the Wal-Mart counter said it's just as good!" 

Legend of Legaia

There have been a few attempts to fuse fighting games and RPGs, but I have yet to see one that does it well.  Legaia has Tekken-style string combo animations but turn-based gameplay, which means you're just punching in a bunch of buttons and letting it play out for 2-3 minutes every single turn, and it gets really boring, really quick.  To say nothing of the dirt-poor story pacing, ugly graphics and grating music...

Legend of Mana

A game which falls under the same umbrella most Mana games do - clunky and generally irritating to experience, but it looks pretty and has nice music so everyone forgets it isn't actually any fun to play.

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth

With this game Sega's effectively gone all in on their scummy business practices, locking basic features like New Game Plus behind you purchasing the overpriced Digital Deluxe Edition and still having double the sticker price in DLC on top, including the lovely addition of "free experience and money add-ons you'll need to avoid weeks of empty grinding because the base game enemies give only a pittance of both".  It's bad enough you ruined Shin Megami Tensei with this bullshit but now you're going to ruin one of the few decent franchises you have left in pursuit of getting people to accept your vision of an all digital future where people just rent games from you at exorbitant cost and you can revoke their license at any time for any reason?  Fuck you guys.

Lost Kingdoms

Another ugly, bad-playing, plotless From Software game, now with tedious card collecting!  Hard pass.

Lost Odyssey

Hironobu Sakaguchi returns to write a badly staged, boring game that rips off Final Fantasy, but not even the good ones - the shitty ones he didn't even actively work on.  Seriously, the whole thing is just a linear corridor like X, there's a timing based combat mechanic and a ton of tedious item farm-and-craft like in VIII, and it contains some of the worst characters, stiffest acting and most trite dialog ever penned.  Like X, there's also zero thought spared for any of its designs beyond "looking cool", even though they don't - they look like AI-generated shite that only stupid kids and techbro-worshipping assholes with no sense of form or function think look good; Weyouns, I call them.  The seventh console generation was a wasteland of dumbed down, derivative and utterly lame RPGs, and this did nothing but compound the problem.

Makai Kingdom

Disgaea's character management with Phantom Brave's gridless fields and now buildings and vehicles mashed in too.  Sounds like it should be fun, but something about it just isn't; the mechanics don't mesh together in any useful way and it just turns into a mindless slog after the first few levels.  I don't know, somehow this one's just less than the sum of its parts.

Marvel's Midnight Suns

Oh boy, sensory overload social media and lootboxes and bullshit DRM and banal dialog with every eighth-stringer Marvel character nobody cares about! In a single player game! All stuff I play video games to get AWAY from, in other words.

Mass Effect Andromeda

I believe Electronic Arts makes a strong case for why software piracy is okay.  Ethical, even.  After all, why pay EA full price for the privilege of beta-testing their latest unfinished pile of trash and then become a living example of the sunk cost fallacy by acting as free PR for them in hopes said pile of trash sells enough copies to even be considered for future patches when you could just pirate it, laugh at it for a few hours and then delete it?  Save your money and effort for someone who actually deserves it, not a corporate cult that thinks they're entitled to your fanatical worship no matter how hard and often they fuck you over.

Might and Magic IX

They forgot to give it a subtitle but if they had it would probably be "Might and Magic IX: Don't Buy This It Sucks".

Mimana Iyar Chronicle

When the most memorable things about your game are its atrocious load times and the fact that it comes with a CD full of answering machine messages performed by the game's VO talent, you've got some serious problems.

Mind Zero

The title references the total number of human minds that worked on this uninspired Persona knockoff.

Monster Hunter

Spend an hour and a half in a party picked from a community of cancerous fuckalopes who all viciously hate each other and you and are total garbage at video games (especially this one) beating on a monster with 800 zillion hit points that doesn't flinch when you hit it and shows zero signs of taking damage while fumbling with some of the worst laid-out, most unresponsive controls ever and then your reward is... doing it all again.  Yay....

Neverwinter Nights 2

Maybe frontloading your game with 15+ hours of inane filler wasn't the best choice...

Octotrash Traveler II

Yay, more cheaply-excreted cynical pandering crap for unemployable middle-aged assholes perpetually living in some gold-tinted toybox time capsule of their childhood that never really existed. As I said about the first one: fuck this game and fuck anyone who spends a dime of their parents' money on it.

Okami

People have told me, with zero hint of irony, that this is the best game Capcom alumni have ever made.  I'll just have to take their word for it because I played for 20 hours and didn't get to the "Best Game Ever" part or even a part that could charitably be described as "fun".  Personally I'd sooner play just about any of Capcom's other published games over this one... 

Orphen: Scion of Sorcery

A messy, unfocused experience that wants to be an interactive anime, an action game and a real time tactical RPG and succeeds at none; controls are stiff and awkward, every combat mechanic is confusing and unintuitive, the overall animation is limited and ugly, and not even having some talented actors like Paul Eiding and Jennifer Hale on board can make the dialog enjoyable; it seems like the only direction anyone got was "be as whiny/screechy/stilted as possible.  ACTION!".  You can even hear audible skips and pitch changes where they cut different line takes together, which is the height of amateur hour.  And this game comes to us from Quintet, who made some amazing games like Illusion of Gaia and Terranigma.  The hell were they thinking?

Paladin's Quest

This one at least had a somewhat novel mechanic; all spells are cast from your HP (even NPC dialog points out that there's no such thing as MP in this world), but as this and many other games prove, it takes more than a single gimmick to make a game interesting.  That idea and the interesting art style aside, Paladin's Quest is just mundane, grindy and pretty dull even for the period it came out in.

Penny Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3-4

Why do people buy these tedious, uninspired clones of the old Final Fantasies instead of just playing some actual good old RPGs from the 80's/90's?  They're available everywhere and well worth the extra few bucks...

Pier Solar and the Great Architects

Mismatched art styles between the sprites and backgrounds, ugly cluttered level design, insipid dialog and humor and the same bash-A-to-win gameplay as every other uninspired lameass "modern retro RPG" ever made?  Hot damn, sign me up!

Or just pay $0.99 apiece on Steam for the Phantasy Star series - the vastly superior games this junk so desperately wants to be compared to...

Pillars of Eternity 2

Another modern CRPG that's way overbloated in budget, lacks any real gameplay and has no sense of humor about its stilted design and moronic concepts so it just feels like some nasal-voiced dipshit art student reading you his pretentious Middle Earth fan fiction for 90+ hours (and spelling out every one of its themes in plain text to make sure you get it and revere him as the genius he is, you uneducated plebian). 

Pyre

I didn't think you could make Lacrosse even more of a snoozefest, but they found a way. 

Quest for Glory

Take Sierra's hateful old guess-the-syntax adventure game engine and cheap deaths from innocuous actions design philosophy and add stat grinding!  ...Pass.

Radiant Historia

Take the premise of exploring different timelines and trying to pick the ones to lead you to a bright future and somehow make it completely unengaging.  Probably because half the choices immediately call you stupid for even trying to pick them and then force you to try again instead of using your wrong choice in an interesting way; say, letting you learn an enemy's weakness or find a hidden passage for a later assault or learn some useful information you wouldn't get otherwise. Also the combat's just dull and the presentation is bland as hell.

Radiata Stories

If Suikoden had no plot, endless fetch quests, crap combat and was written by grade schoolers who think Son of the Mask is the height of comedy, it would look something like Radiata Stories.

Record of Agarest War

Broken mechanics, mountains of overpriced DLC, sleazy porn scenes and a massively embarrassing "Naughty Edition" with a boob mouse pad.  Allow me to save you some money by pointing out again that porn can be found on the internet, for free, and doesn't require you to buy and play through amazingly shit video games to access it.

Revelations: Persona

One of the very first RPGs on the good ol' PS1 and it sure shows.  Untextured polygonal maps, atrocious loading times and a combat system that wants to be creative and new but mostly just comes off as irritating, giving each of your five characters a very specific range they can only hit enemies in; if you want to attack something else, you either have to wait for another character in that range to get a turn or reshuffle your party constantly.  Oh and Atlus got so lazy with localizing the game they cut out an entire storyline from it; no really, Google "Persona Snow Queen Quest".

River City Ransom Underground 

"What can we do to improve on a classic like RCR?"
"Make the enemies 40 times more durable, items require tons more money grinding, and replace all the boss fights with tedious chase sequences you have to do all over from the start if you make one innocuous mistake!"
"Done."

Seriously, just play the original or River City Girls instead.  Much more worthy of your time.

Saturday Morning RPG

Fan fiction of all the '80s cartoons you watched before you developed taste and realized they were just overhyped toy commercials that weren't actually awesome, well-written or interesting at all.

Seiken Densetsu (Final Fantasy Adventure) 

Wait for a bar to fill, attack once, wait for a bar to fill, get softlocked in a dungeon because you didn't buy enough keys.  Repeat endlessly.

Sekiro

They just took Dark Souls and stripped out the leveling system so they can sell you less of the same crap for the same amount of money.  What's next, are they going to take out the graphics and make you navigate and fight based on sound cues?  ...Nah, that would actually be kind of clever and innovative, and From is nothing without being able to sell the same twenty-five-year-old subpar game design and argument-from-ignorance plotting to you over and over again at full price.  If selling heroin was legal I'm sure they'd be more than happy to just do that instead; it isn't, though, so fomenting a faux-intellectual but genuinely pro-eugenics incel cult centered around the Living God of Hacks Miyazaki will just have to do.

Shadows of Adam

Has so little identity I forgot everything about it the second I quit playing so... let that serve as my synopsis.

Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga

Take a classic like Nocturne, dumb its gameplay down to the point of being utterly worthless, then throw in an idiot plot that mashes the Matrix together with cannibalistic demons fighting for supremacy like some edgelord teenager's fan fiction of Highlander.  Then sell Disc 2 as a full-price "sequel" as the ultimate middle finger.  The next time I hear some moron singing the praises of this mindless dogshit while braying that Oblivion's horse armor is literally the worst thing since 9/11 I swear I'm going to break their teeth...

Sonic Chronicles

I could ramble on how subpar and boring Sonic Chronicles is, but what's the point? Dumping on Sonic for debasing himself yet again is like badmouthing the Generals after they lose to the Harlem Globetrotters - after the 10,000th time it stops being funny and you just feel sad and hollow for wasting so much time on something so futile.  Sonic is a sad, creaky relic of the 90s meant to sell one company's digital toys while slamming their competitors as being 'uncool', and now that the rivalry with Nintendo is long dead, he's been reduced to providing toddlers and manchildren with mindless, empty dopamine rushes by flashing pretty colors in front of their faces in gameplay that never gets any more complicated than holding down a button for 6 hours backed by lameass hack storylines they scrounged out of the depths of Fanfiction.net.  Sonic is the Steven Seagal of gaming - a flash in the pan who might have entertained dumb kids for a brief time in the '90s with his completely superficial 'cool' and 'edgy' persona, but is now mostly just an international embarrassment starring in one awful project after another in a desperate attempt to convince everyone himself that he's somehow still relevant.  It's time to let go.*

* You may think this whole screed hypocritical coming from someone whose top games list consists of an inordinately large number of titles from the 1990s and whose favorite game of all time is an E-rated RPG from 1995.  Well, you'll just have to figure out why it isn't on your own, Sherlock.  And while you're at it, find a better place to build your argumentative skills than the house of fallacies and authoritarian groupthink you call "4chan".

Sorcerer's Kingdom

Only fun thing about this one is the weird bloopy sound effects for weapon impacts.  Sounds like you're playing a slot machine every time you swing a sword.

South Park: The Stick of Truth

Who looked at Paper Mario and said "This is good, but I think it needs way more more obnoxious voiceover and the same crass poop jokes and toothless 'satire' that smug centrist libertarian hacks Parker and Stone have been beating into the ground for two decades"?

Spiderweb Software games (Avernum, Geneforge, Nethergate) 

I mean, if you think it just never got any better than the old D&D Gold Box games, these will probably be right up your alley.  Personally I'd rather play something where the game isn't just using repetitious, drawn-out battles every 8 seconds to cover up a lack of any real plot.

Star Ocean: Till the End of Time

How do you take an already terrible, cringe-inducing game like Star Ocean 2 and make it worse in every way?  Why, by focusing it on a bad combat system that rewards spamming and non-participation and having a derivative hack storyline with some of the most braindead stupid characters, terrible acting and nonsense plot points to ever be put to the written word. Oh, and it unironically stars a protagonist named Fayt Leingod. Fayt. Leingod. Even if this were an impeccably-designed, beautifully-acted operatic masterpiece penned by one of the greatest artisans of our time, I could never take anything starring a Fayt Leingod with the slightest bit of seriousness.  I would die first. 

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

I'll be honest, I'm completely sick of hearing about this dumbass toy commercial franchise and the legions of 49-year-old sadsacks doing mental gymnastics to write off all its fundamental flaws and fill in the hundreds of plot holes/continuity mistakes and invent increasingly contrived loopholes to explain how all the stupid parts 'don't count' so they can keep it forever enshrined in their heads as some kind of infallible masterpiece, to the point where I see "Star Wars" in any context and my brain instantly tunes it out.  KotOR might have something more to it than the mindless mental junk-food the 850 zillion books/movies/comics/cartoons/toys/games with no consistent rules or nuanced characters or moral dilemmas or words above a third-grade reading level provide, but I doubt I'll ever care enough to find out.  But hey, it goes on sale on Steam for like $1.49 every other month or so; might as well just grab it and see for yourself if you're really that interested.  And hopefully you can enjoy it for what it actually has on offer instead of releasing your own terrible re-edit that gets rid of all those pesky women, non-whites and any trace amounts of passion, fun or empathy it might have.

"Star Wars is entirely about a very structured and predetermined destiny, and the gadfly writers and directors Disney hires and fires are forced to try to squeeze a little bit of personality into the cracks in the structure. Nobody in charge of this universe gives a fuck about the characters, just that we get to the next big battle and then promote the next movie." - the Filthy Critic 

Stranger of Paradise

How would Final Fantasy 1 be if it was terribly written, starred a bunch of personality-deprived edgelords and had combat like Dark Souls but somehow even more janky and shite?  Instant-refund-on-Steam-worthy, that's how.  But it's Team Ninja so this really shouldn't surprise me by now. 

Sudeki

Pity the fools who bought this weak crap looking for a good Xbox RPG when the PS2 already had Dark Cloud, Xenosaga, Shadow Hearts, Nocturne, Dragon Quarter...

Suikoden Tierkreis

Konami puts a bullet in their best RPG franchise with an uninspired lame turd of a spinoff.  Featuring the worst run-on rambling voiceover this side of Speed Racer.

Tales of *

Nails-on-a-chalkboard caliber voice over, insipid dialog that constantly aims for "cute" and only hits "obnoxious", terrible minigames, abysmally awful crafting and clunky real-time combat that fanboys unironically claim is the best ever created.  I guess they've never played Devil May Cry or Bayonetta or Ys or NieR or Parasite Eve or Trials of Mana 2019 or Diablo or Torchlight or Yakuza...

Torchlight III

An MMO spinoff of the Torchlight franchise by an entirely different team that was hastily and sloppily repurposed into a mainline entry, and boy does it sure show. Hugely dumbed down skill trees, monster variety and mechanics and maps reshuffle every time you enter them so there's no sense of continuity or progress. If you like Torchlight, stick to the first two and forget this piece of junk.

Trails of Cold Steel

Oh boy, all my favorite things in RPGs - mountains of dry exposition to substitute for actual world building, one-trait characters in a high school setting so they can just go down the list of every overused trope that setup has already beaten into the ground, and tedious wander-around-hunting-the-plot-flag bullshit is the only break between it all!  The combat better be fun, at least... Nope, it's just a slower, much more boring copy-paste of Shadow Hearts.  Passing on the rest of these 90+ hour snorefests!

Protip: When a franchise's only selling point is its runtime, it's probably not because the writer is some heaven-sent visionary whose every word needs to be perfectly in place to forge his masterwork, unite the clans and lead humanity into a new golden age*...

*An analogy which only feels more ugly in retrospect when you consider how gross and hateful its fan base is, even mocking and celebrating a man's death because they don't like the way he translated their favorite game based on some BS they read on GameFAQs and never bothered to verify firsthand (because why would they, keyboard smashing outrage is their only joy in life - so much better than actually playing their favorite series!).  Yeah, I thought that "any localization that isn't a 1000% accurate transliteration is censorship and besmirching great art" bullshit died with the 90s too, but here we are...

Trouble Shooter: Abandoned Children

Lame "stylish" anime ripoff of XCOM 2... just play that instead.

Unchained Blades

Unchained Blandness.  Actually "Unchained" still makes it sound like it's wild and flying off the rails somehow.  Chained Blandness.  Yeah, there we go.

Unepic

This whole game is like that one guy you know who thinks the reason you never laugh at his garbage jokes is because you just don't get them.  So he repeats the entire thing, slowly this time, and then explains the punchline to you like you're an idiot.  Then you force out a chuckle to be polite and silently dread the next time he opens his mouth, wondering all the while why someone so smug about his nonexistent comedy chops doesn't ever partake of an open mic night so some merciful soul can put him in a coma with a beer bottle already...

Valkyria Chronicles 2

Came out the same year as Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, and both games seem to have drawn from the same school of design - the "make the whole game about arbitrary resource farming and packed with plotless filler missions to deliberately meet an arbitrary length quota" school, that is.  And they also set it in a high school so they can cram all the wacky classmates who act like kindergarteners tropes in there and beat every last atom of that dead horse into dust.  This is a firm skip.

Valkyria Chronicles 3

This one has a better concept - a Suicide Squad, essentially, of disgraced soldiers trying to earn redemption by succeeding in high risk missions no sane soldier would attempt - but man, the PSP was just not the platform to put this series on.  The smaller scale upsets the whole flow of the gameplay; you have to practically be within spitting distance to do any decent damage to anything (your machine guns in particular have more spread than your average FPS shotgun), getting rid of snipers means gunfights just turn into trading blows (and if you stop even one HP short of a kill, you're probably dead next turn), and having to constantly redeploy units across multiple micro-maps just gets to be a pain before long, especially since you can't save mid-mission anymore.  These two middle-child entries need a Yakuza Kiwami style retooling.

Wasteland 2

Oh boy, a game that features "old school" difficulty and design. Which just means it removes the skill element entirely in favor of having everything governed by dice rolls and every hit you take does upwards of 75 percent of your max health. Also you don't heal over time, there's about 8 health kits in the entire world and they're more valuable than every single other salable item in the game combined, so be prepared to savescum constantly.  That, plus dialog and humor on level with Redneck Rampage, took me out of this one really damn quick. 

Witcher 2

Hey Geraldo Rivera, can you give it a rest already? You're a septuagenarian, nobody wants to sit through your edgy self-insertion Lord of the Rings porn fics. 

Xenoblade Chronicles X

Xenoblade is the web3 of gaming - it eats every single scrap of your time, money and personality in pursuit of empty, worthless 'clout', and everyone who 'likes' it is a victim of the same sunk cost fallacy or a grifter benefitting from it somehow.  Also sound design as shrill as the whine of 350 overclocked graphics cards.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Welcome to the Nintendo fanboy branch of the caliper cult.  "Xenoblade is TOO GOOD and IMPORTANT and POIGNANT to be entertaining and if you don't spend every single second of your life enduring its awful noise pollution and infantile dialog and trite themes and gameplay that's the worst kind of brain-numbing chore-list tedium, you have the cranial bumpage of a FAKE GAMER with A LOW IQ and you're probably also a GOAT FUCKING [racial slur] WOKE TRANNY FAGGOT lololololol oh shit gotta go I have a non-gay circlejerk with my incel subreddit in 5 and I booked the rest of the night training an AI generator to make art of age-regressed naked Pyra buying white bread".  What a cultured, tasteful and not at all depraved lifestyle these self-proclaimed intellectual and moral รผbermenschen lead.