The Top 7… Games that should have sucked, but didn’t

Sometimes we’re let down by big, blockbuster games failing to live up to their potential. In fact, it happens at least a few times a year, and we’re sure to see a few of 2011’s big holiday releases fall flat on their faces.Other times, however, the exact opposite occurs; that rarest of occasions where a game that looks absolutely, positively dreadful ends up being good… or great. It’s less frequent, that’s to be sure, but it’s exciting when we go in with low hopes and leave with a smile on our faces. In 2007 we took a list of games with strange, seemingly uninteresting concepts and got together a list that succeeded our wildest dreams, and now we’re taking another look—this time at a different list of games that rose above the rest and proved us all wrong.

7. 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand

Why it should have sucked: Where do we start? Blood on the Sand had seemingly nothing going for it when we first heard about it. It was developed by a relatively unknown studio and looked like a poor-man’s Gears of War—a game style often mimicked by uninspired cash-ins. It wasn’t even 50 Cent’s first foray into gaming, and the wound was still fresh from the travesty that was 50 Cent: Bulletproof. Oh, and its story might have been the most insane thing we’d ever heard: after being stiffed on the bill during a tour of the Middle East, 50 Cent goes on a rampage in search of a diamond-encrusted skull. Seriously.

Why it didn’t: Yet, somehow, it worked. The gameplay was surprisingly strong, taking after Gears of War but layering on its own mechanics by putting an emphasis on gaining points through skillful kills and tossing in online cooperative play. The story, which sounded like absurdly awful, ended up being just absurd—a work of satirical brilliance that we’re not 100% sure Fiddy knew was meant to be a joke. It’s ludicrous in the best way possible, and a game we’re happy to have played.  There’s even the option to buy new swear words to yell! How awesome is that?

6. Hannah Montana: Music Jam

Why it should have sucked: It’s based on a Disney Channel show about Miley Cyrus (Billy Ray Cyrus’s daughter) traveling the world as pop star Hannah Montana. It’s also one in a long line of games based on the absurdly popular franchise, none of which have broken away from the bottom level of crippling mediocrity. To make things worse, whereas most of the other games tried to mimic the trite affairs of the television show, Music Jam was entering Rock band and Guitar Hero territory—land not often tread on handhelds.

Why it didn’t: It ended up being a mishmash of ideas and concepts that didn’t flow together all too well… but worked just enough to be a huge surprise. The story was just as awful as anyone could have imagined (shopping, yay!), but we couldn’t believe how much we enjoyed making music on the well thought-out music creation system. You can record four instruments separately and play them together, composing your own musical melodies. It’s not as complex as Rock Band or anything like that, but it ended up being much more interesting than we expected, and is still better than Wii Music ever was (despite pre-dating Nintendo’s game by over a year).

5. X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Why it should have sucked: Even back as far as E.T. for the original Atari, movie tie-ins have been absurdly disappointing. 90 times out of a hundred they’re nearly unplayable, and the other ten times usually aren’t anything to be excited for. Super hero games, too, have always struggled, making X-Men Origins: Wolverine look like it was going to be an absolute unmitigated disaster. Dropping players into the shoes of Wolverine sounded extremely fun, but we didn’t have high hopes that the developers would really be able to convey the feeling of tearing apart bad guys as one of comics’ biggest bad-asses.

Why it didn’t: But they actually did. Raven Software didn’t pull a single punch when making the M-rated X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a game that shattered our expectations completely. It wasn’t amazing, but it accomplished the most important goal it could: making us feel like Wolverine. Later levels were definitely weaker than the earlier ones, but the combat was strong enough to allow us to look past that, and to enjoy the impressive visuals, fantastic regenerative effects (Wolverine’s wounds would heal in real-time, no matter how grievous), and downright badassery that playing as Wolverine allowed.


Top 7 WTF


  • WaffleLeech - September 5, 2011 10:09 a.m.

    I loved Just Cause 2, shame it didn't have any multiplayer.
  • ithurtstopoop - September 5, 2011 10:10 a.m.

    u didn't think hannah montana would suck? I heard she could suck a gold ball through a garden hose
  • egregious - September 5, 2011 10:16 a.m.

    50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, a game so good Chris Antista played it for an entire internet audience.
  • Errrrbo - September 5, 2011 10:17 a.m.

    Now THIS is what I'm talking about. This is the kind of Top 7 I love. Great job, GR. I would put Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing on this list as well. It was a Sonic kart-racing game, a combination that makes no sense at all. But it actually ended up being a great racing game, probably the best one since Mario Kart: Double Dash!!.
  • Pocotron - September 5, 2011 10:17 a.m.

    I am proud enough to stand up and say I have played every LEGO game that has come out in the past few years! I love those games to death. Also, I am an 18 year old male. I'm not ashamed!
  • MidianGTX - September 5, 2011 10:23 a.m.

    If you couldn't tell Just Cause 2 was gonna pwn you failed as a games critic!
  • birdro - September 5, 2011 11:32 a.m.

    They explained why they were hesitant, The first Just Cause wasn't very good because it was a lacking package altogether. Just Cause 2's overall quality isn't something that can really be gleamed from previews, like how the game is infinitely more badass than the demo. They did give it a good score, so they seem to have done their jobs fine.
  • xlyesterdaylx - September 5, 2011 10:24 a.m.

    I hated arkham asylum. I know im a bad person. I tried.
  • KFCfoxxy - September 5, 2011 10:33 a.m.

    @xlyesterdaylx Same. I tried so many times but i just couldn't get it.
  • FVDub - September 5, 2011 10:34 a.m.

    Where's Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom? I can't think of anyone who thought that game would be good and it ended up being delightful.
  • MidianGTX - September 5, 2011 10:34 a.m.

    Assuming these games are rated in order... the outcome doesn't really match the article title. It's "Games that should have sucked, but didn't", which would imply the game most likely to suck (probably 50 Cent or Hanna Montana) would be in the #1 position. As it stands, a more apt title would be something like "Games that should have sucked but turned out great".
  • Rubberducky - September 5, 2011 10:46 a.m.

    The demo for Just Cause 2 was fun, but I never got the game, maybe someday... And one more month till Batman AC!
  • rob619 - September 5, 2011 11:52 a.m.

    Just Cause 2, is an incredible game! Soo under rated its a joke! Beautiful and vast locations, explosions galore, sandbox adventure. I suggest peps try it out, im hopefully waiting for the developers to make Just Cause 3, seems very unlikely though :(
  • FinderKeeper - September 5, 2011 12:36 p.m.

    Get it. You won't regret it. Grapple hook FTW :-D
  • mastersword369 - September 5, 2011 11:34 a.m.

    Just Cause 2: one of the most underrated games of this generation.
  • ParanoidAndroid - September 5, 2011 11:54 a.m.

    Aah, Arkham Asylum. Any mention of you never fails to give me the warm fuzzies.
  • rob619 - September 5, 2011 11:56 a.m.

    Reading some of the comments im sooo glad everybody liked Just Cause 2. I know it sounds funny but ive even emailed the developers to make a no 3. It does seem to have alot of fans after speaking to my friends aswell. If we all do a petition or something, imagine Just Cause 3 on a different island? that would be epic!!
  • JBizFoShiz - September 5, 2011 11:47 a.m.

    Just Cause 2 was AWESOME. Wolvie SUCKED. I'm sorry, but the regeneration does not make up for the easy and repetitive gameplay. (Protip: Use the Lunge. All. The. Time.) Blood on the Sand was insanely dumb fun. (Protip: Play online. Do not be 50 cent. Have fun clicking the left analog stick every time you kill somebody)
  • Sjoeki - September 5, 2011 12:11 p.m.

    Like Errrrbo said, this is the kind of Top 7 that makes me come back to this site. And for me kingdom hearts comes to mind, I like Disney and I like final fantasy but at the time I couldn't imagine that they could work so well together! Recaptcha is now even showing words upside down, ehm yay?
  • chrisantistas2inchpenis - September 5, 2011 12:18 p.m.

    Blood on the Sand was the best part of the 24 hour game marathon.

Showing 1-20 of 63 comments

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