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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, grating 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 stupid concept 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 subpar dreck like this for a decade?  Yeah....

The 3rd Birthday

A giant middle finger to a PS1 classic.  Horribly boring cover shooter gameplay, some of the worst monster designs I've ever seen, a terrible, nonsensical story written by the hack that brought us Final Fantasy X and the wretched Fabula Nova Crystallis series, blatant smut to try and keep you playing (all the creepier when the twist comes around), and they kill off Aya in the most half-assed, insulting way imaginable, ensuring that there will never be another game in this series again.  Bang-up job, Square Enix.

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...

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.

Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura

Arcanum: Of Bad AI, Constant Bugs and Crashes and Ungodly Obnoxious Dialog

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 good remake of a forgettable CRPG.  Why does this exist?

Avernum/Exile/Geneforge/Nethergate

I mean, if you think it just never got better than the old Gold Box D&D games I guess you'll get a kick out of these too. Personally I got tired of em really quickly and went back to playing something with an actual story and not just repetitious, drawn out battles every 11 seconds. 

Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 

From that period when Interplay was desperately trying to become profitable again so they released a horde of low-effort 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.

Baten Kaitos Origins

Better combat and VO than the original but some of the worst story pacing I've ever seen. You spin your wheels for 30 damn hours waiting for something to happen... 

Bloodborne

I get it now, Souls is a series that's too good to be entertaining!  You don't actually enjoy it, you just rack up countless hours being bored senseless while saying it's the best thing since speedballing and decrying anyone who doesn't as a "fake gamer" and blammo!  You're instantly the talk of the GameFAQs forum playground!

Blue Dragon 

Generic gameplay, constantly out-of-focus camera, a bad framerate, and Deep Purple's Ian Gillan singing the most hilariously terrible boss theme of all time (penned by the god of Square fanboys, Hironobu Sakaguchi, because of course it was).  It's the student film of RPGs.

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

Brave Story: New World

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.

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin

Another copy-pasted portable Castlevania because Konami's board of directors has to make their Lexus payments and MGS4 is still more than a year off.

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 "reduce people you hear about online to purely evil cardboard cutouts and then anonymously bully them into killing themselves lol" 5 they've just gone all-in on pandering to hatemongering Kiwi Farms/8chan culture crusaders...

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 this game, I'd chuck it into the sea and and find something more mentally engaging to occupy my time with. Like a muddy stick. 

Code Vein

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

Cosmic Star Heroine

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

Criminal Girls

Its 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.  Hey guys:  PORN CAN BE FOUND ON THE INTERNET. FOR FREE. There is absolutely no reason to buy trash games to see it. 

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.

Dark Souls

Grind for 2298 hours to crank a platinum trophy out of this plotless, ugly, boring, janky piece of shite, then spend 400 times as long online braying about how you're the one true gamer and everyone 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 'gamer cred' you've built up by being a hatemongering forum toadie in the 8Chan Army is going to disappear unless you start the cycle all over again.  So you'd better quit your job, drop out of college, sell every other game you own, drown your personality in the bathtub, and dedicate the balance of your lifespan to the cult of bland, hacky and uninventive gaming brownie point chasing, From Software!


Death Stranding

Kojima shits in your mouth

Death Stranding Fanboys 

Kojima shits in your mouth and you ask for seconds

Death Stranding Director's Cut

The guy who directed Death Stranding is releasing a "director's cut" just to re-release a game that's 99.6% identical to the last version and milk more money out of this insulting piece of trash.  Fuck off forever Kojima

Disco Elysium

Shuffle through forest after forest of dialog trees which, much like your senile grandpa, manage to ramble on endlessly about every topic imaginable while never having anything to actually say.  All the while hoping that every choice you're given 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 seven 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, an arthouse version of Planescape Torment is not something I particularly want to spend any more of my dwindling time on Earth beating my head against, especially when it has nothing meaningful to convey beyond "PAY ATTENTION TO ME, I HAVE AN ASSOCIATES DEGREE IN LIBERAL ARTS AND WAY TOO MUCH FREE TIME!".

Dragon Age: Origins

Baldur's Gate but with none of the gameplay depth, challenge, competent writing, fun setting or interesting level design.  Even the voice cast sounds bored, like they know that they're stuck in a booth reading such a shlock script for the next month.  But hey, it's got sex scenes, so if you're thirteen years old, think playing with an electronic toy is somehow a rite to manliness and don't know how to use incognito mode on your dad's laptop, you'll probably play through it anyway.

Dragon Age 2

Same crap, now with lazy copy-pasted dungeons, shitty enemy AI and the same three monsters over and over again for hours!  Oh and the developers got caught posting dummy reviews for their own game on Metacritic at their publisher's encouragement.  Classy! 

Dragon Ball Z: Kyoshu! Saiyan / II: Gekishin Freeza

Pick card, watch unskippable 30-second animation.  Then they have the nerve to make the games require heavy grinding, too...

Ehrgeiz (Quest mode) 

A mediocre arena fighter gets a mediocre dungeon crawler minigame.  Just play Diablo instead.

Elden Ring

The most boring, imaginationless cookie-cutter Souls game since the last one.  But you're going to buy twelve copies anyway and grind out every last cheevo in it and its $250 of DLC and then spend 8000% more time than you did on that defending its honor online because you're a mindless lemming who can't even pee without permission from your gods on 8chan, so it really doesn't matter what I say anyway.

Ephemeral Phantasia

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

Eternal Ring

A really dull, dreary dungeon crawl with grind-heavy crafting mechanics, unintuitive "puzzles" that can only be solved through tedious trial-and-error or checking a guide every 30 seconds, and no trace of a storyline.  So basically, a From Software game.

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 same inane quests and crap combat either way. And there's a dedicated fart button to go with the naïve, childish 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 hack and not the heavenly visionary the gaming press hyped him up as. 

Fantasy Life

Change job, do minigame, build 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!

Genshin Impact

Breath of the Wild but it doesn't feel anywhere near as good to play, installs spyware on your computer and is full of pay-to-win gacha crap.  Yay...

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

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?

Hylics

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

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 a 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.

King's Field II

Dark Souls' nihilistic, plotless, grind-heavy boredom, but it didn't have a big-name publisher behind it so nobody cared.  Makes you wonder...

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 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 pacing and grating music...

Legend of Dragoon

How did this dreck 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! Yeah, that'll be just as good!" 

Legend of the Ghost Lion

It's like Pokémon but instead of Charmander as your first monster you get an African kid. ...Wait, what?!

Lost Kingdoms

Another dull, plotless From Software game, now with tedious card collecting!  Pass.

Lost Odyssey

Hironobu Sakaguchi splits from the company he bankrupted to remake the third-worst Final Fantasy that existed at the time.  And as you'd expect, the quality is right on par with that game and has the same hacky writing and flat-as-a-board characters as the terrible movie he sunk his old company with. The hardest of passes. 

Lufia and the Fortress of Doom

The first game was as bland as it gets.  Overlong animations and generic, boring dungeons.  Play the sequels instead, I guarantee you'll have a much better time. 

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 fun way and it just turns into a slog after the first few levels.  I don't know, somehow this one's just less than the sum of its parts.

Mass Effect

A science fiction epic for the ages. ...The ages thirteen to thirteen-and-a-half.  Anyone older than that should demand something better than this mediocre, derivative slop. 

Mass Effect Andromeda

I'm just going to paraphrase an Old Man Murray review here:

I believe Electronic Arts makes a case for why it is okay, and even cool, to pirate games. So remember kids, why buy an EA game when you can just pirate it? Save that hard earned money for someone who deserves it (any other company in the gaming world).

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 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....

Okami

People have told me, with zero hint of irony, that this is the best game Capcom alumni have ever made.  I'll 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 RPGs 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 Shade, the same division of Quintet that made Granstream Saga.  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 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). 

Quest for Glory 

Take Sierra's asinine puzzles and hateful game design engineered to railroad you into unwinnable states and add grinding! Pass. 

Rambo (NES) 

Zelda II, only not fun and much more annoying to navigate!

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.  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, look it up.

River City Ransom Underground 

"What can we do to improve on a cult 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 very good 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 even less content at the same price.  What's next, are they going to take out the graphics and just make you fight based on sound cues?  ...Nah, that would actually be kind of clever and innovative, and From is nothing without selling the same dated, subpar game design to you over and over again at full price.

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 kind of edgelord version 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 crap while braying that Oblivion's horse armor is literally the worst thing to ever happen to gaming I swear I'm going to break their teeth...

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.

Star Ocean: Till the End of Time

How do you take an already terrible, cringe-inducing game like Star Ocean 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 a beautifully-crafted 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. 

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 boring crafting and clunky real-time combat that fanboys unironically claim is the best ever created.  I guess they've never played Ys or TWEWY or NieR or Panzer Dragoon Saga or Parasite Eve or Trials of Mana 2019 or Diablo or Torchlight or Yakuza...

Triangle Strategy

"Hey a new tactical RPG from Square.  It's been a while, I hope it's good." 
(Shitty looking overprocessed fake-2D graphics and paint-peeling voiceover that makes me want to die) 
"Nope." 
(Goes back to playing Divinity Original Sin II)

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.

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 damage. 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.