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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 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....

The 3rd Birthday

A giant middle finger to a PS1 classic.  Horribly boring cover shooter gameplay filled with tedious fights against bullet sponge enemies, some of the worst monster designs I've ever seen, a terrible, nonsensical story written and directed by the hacks 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...

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 or 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 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-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... 

Bioshock

Carbon-copy System Shock 2's script, then do a find-replace on the script to replace "Space station" with "Underwater city" 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 the whole plot and every character therein a lame, heavy-handed straw man about objectivism.  Get zillions of awards, millions in sales and get lauded as a genius who can do no wrong by game journalist hacks who just transcribe publisher propaganda and never bother to to any actual research, let alone play video games.

Bioshock Infinite

Same braindead pew-pew crap as the original Bioshock, now with Ken Levine's sloppy self-serving commentary on American jingoism and race relations handled with all the subtlety of a brick to the face.  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.  Seriously man, 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 lowest-common-denominator 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 beaten with a hammer 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 narcissistic psychopaths. Ditch the bullshit famechasing and play some real games; its not like any of these subhuman amoebae will ever mention you again or even remember your name anymore five minutes after you're gone anyway.

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 fanboys, Hironobu Sakaguchi, because of course it was).  It's the student film of RPGs.

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.

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 "devalue the lives of strangers you hear about online until they're pure evil cardboard cutouts and then bully them into killing themselves for social brownie points you'd otherwise never get as a pack of personality-deprived psychotics lol" 5 they've just gone all-in on pandering to hatemongering 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 with 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 miserable 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 11 months and what little 'cred' you've built up by being a famechasing 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 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.


Death Stranding

Kojima shits in your mouth and charges you $60 for it

Death Stranding Fanboys 

Kojima shits in your mouth, charges you $60 for it 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 at nearly full price and milk more money out of this insulting piece of trash.  Fuck off forever you washed-up, embittered old hack.

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...

Diablo III

Bobby Kotick takes a shit 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)

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, love to ramble on endlessly about every topic imaginable despite never having anything insightful or 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 pro-fascism propaganda ("look at how many more successes you get 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 PhD IN PSYCHOLOGY I PAID 200 BUCKS FOR AT DEGREE MILL ONLINE!".  Yeah, you and every other smug jackass with a pair of calipers and a pile of throwaway Twitter accounts, pal; but at least most self-proclaimed genii on Twitter 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 before this (Arx Fatalis), and after too (Prey), but Dishonored is one to skip.

Dragon Age: Origins

Baldur's Gate but with none of the gameplay depth, challenge, competent writing, fun setting or interesting level design, instead covering up the lack thereof with shitty, shallow combat every 11 steps.  Even the voice cast sounds bored, like they know that they're stuck in a booth reading a schlocky hackwork 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 of passage 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 with their publisher's implicit encouragement.  Classy! 

Elden Ring (and every other crappy game From 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 game From's dispiritedly farted out since 1994.

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 ugly washed-out graphics, no music, near-constant grinding, 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.

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 cynical algorithmically-calculated shlock 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 big-boy 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.  It's also completely meaningless because 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 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!

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years

Final Fantasy IV was a game 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.  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 even going to waste my time on this bullshit."

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 you could be playing dozens of better games 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 themselves the one true master of spirit and universe = One big No Thank You.

Idea Factory

Has there ever been a more apt name for a soulless shlock mill?  It's perfect. Taking a medium that was formerly a brilliant means of creativity and self-expression and trivializing it down to a soulless algorithm-powered trash assembly line in search of cheap profits at the expense of rubes.  But if it gives you and your creepy friends at anime club another shitey porn game every 3 months, who cares, right? 

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 peddling the I'm a horribly oppressed white man in America grift on nazi-adjacent sites like Breitbart to stay relevant. Classy! 

King's Field II

25 years ago From was already cranking out the same tedious, nihilistic, plotless nothing as Dark Souls, but they didn't have a big-name publisher behind them 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 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-looking 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.

Lost Kingdoms

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

Lost Odyssey

Hironobu Sakaguchi splits from the company he nearly ran into the ground 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 madlib plot template and flat-as-a-board characters as the terrible movie he sunk his old company with. The hardest of passes. 

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.

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. 

That's your reward for over 100 hours of repetitive gunfights, plagiarized plot points and trite, boringly-acted dialog. There, I just saved you 200 bucks

Mass Effect Andromeda

I believe Electronic Arts makes a case for why software piracy is okay.  Ethical, even.  After all, why pay EA full price for the privilege of beta-testing their 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 instead?  Save your valuable time and money 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.

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 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, Icewind Dale 2

I've tried to get into these games about 30 different times each and every time I do I get completely bored of them within the first hour.  Third Edition D&D's a fine, flexible and streamlined system for the freeform creativity-encouraging nature of tabletop play, but it's utterly fucking miserable for video games - a medium with rigid rules by necessity and inherently built around (for lack of a better term) powergaming.  Moreso when the gameplay of NWN/IWD2 is built to set aside the 'role playing' element and have the overwhelming majority of its focus be on combat, resulting in over half of everything just being there for 'completeness' and serving no practical purpose whatsoever.  Call me a casual babby if you want, but at least with 2E games like Baldur's Gate I know how to build my characters to fit their archetype - Fighters and Rangers tank damage and chop up mooks, Mages change the course of battle with well-placed spells and shouldn't be anywhere near the actual fighting, Clerics are good for killing undead, buffing and healing nastiness, Thieves disarm and set up traps, Bards support, Paladins break the game, Druids are a cruel joke and shouldn't be used ever.  I dare you to tell me how any combination of forty different classes and 25 races and 250 different spells and 100+ Feats adds up to any significant gameplay advantage in NWN2; you can't do it.  But I'm sure some will try and be smug as fuck while they do because they think it'll make them look cool and smart in front of their douchey circle of friends who all have level 35/22/18/15 half-drow wizardmonkfighterclerics and have enough millions of worshippers to buy themselves godhood in-game and soon will in real life too so kowtow before us worm!

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 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 alas, they found a way. 

Quest for Glory

Take Sierra's hateful old guess-the-syntax adventure game engine with cheap deaths from innocuous actions and add 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 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 crack were legal I'm sure they'd be more than happy to do that instead; it isn't, though, so fomenting a faux-intellectual but genuinely pro-eugenics 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 to ever happen to gaming 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.  He's the Steven Seagal of gaming - a flash in the pan who might have been fun to watch for a brief time in the '90s, but is now mostly just an international embarrassment starring in one awful project after another while desperately trying to convince everyone himself that he's somehow still relevant.  It's time to let go, kids.*

*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 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 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 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 fun or empathy it might have.

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, Suikoden III, 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 Panzer Dragoon Saga or Mario & Luigi or Parasite Eve or Trials of Mana 2019 or Indivisible 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 - dry exposition that reads like AI generated filler text (and probably is), grating dialog, one-trait characters in a high school setting so they can just go down the list of every overused trope that setting 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 Chrono Trigger.  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 uncompromising, 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.

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...

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

Grindobland Boricles X