The dust may have settled on 2011, but there’s still one more yearly ritual we at GamesRadar have to observe: the Anti-Awards, an annual non-celebration of the biggest missteps and outright abominations the past year brought us. That’s not until this Friday, though, but in the meantime, we’re briefly giving the editorial “we” a rest to ask our editors which games (while not necessarily being the worst thing they played) most disappointed, horrified or otherwise made them cry last year. Some of their answers may surprise you – they certainly surprised us.
Michael Grimm, cheats & guides editor
Personal Anti-GOTY: Battlefield 3’s campaign
I’m usually eager to rip into something for its failings, but 2011 was an extremely strong year for games. They didn’t break (Skyrim excepted), they all had a few interesting or unique moments, and the worst complaint I could levy at any of them was that they were simply boring or uninteresting. On that note, Battlefield 3’s single-player campaign was probably the biggest letdown for me this year, a bland, one-note affair populated with generic characters going through the motions of another sub Tom Clancy military “thriller.”
Russian Nukes! “Shocking” twists! AC-130 level! It certainly had a few good moments, Going Hunting was cool, and Montes managed to be pretty entertaining, but it paled in comparison to the game’s excellent team based multiplayer. If you’re going to fight Modern Warfare on its home turf, you’ll have to do better than this.
Mikel Reparaz, features editor
Personal Anti-GOTY: Call of Juarez: The Cartel
It’s tempting to say “Duke Nukem Forever HURR HURR” here, but that seems a little too cliché at this point – and besides, I can’t really say I was that disappointed in it, seeing as I went in with zero expectations. So instead, I’ll pick on developer Techland’s misguided, milky-looking Call of Juarez: The Cartel, which appears to have driven its charming, underrated franchise straight into a ditch brimming with raw sewage and fire.
On paper, The Cartel was driven by some absolutely fantastic ideas, the biggest of which was three-way co-op that featured separate storylines for each of the game’s three dirty-cop protagonists, and which constantly nudged each player – through secret messages – to quietly undermine the other two. Unfortunately, this extremely clever concept was wasted on one of the ugliest, most thuddingly rote urban shooters I’ve played in years. And taken as a single-player experience, it didn’t even have that going for it, which made the campaign a miserable slog.
The Cartel was a sad follow-up for a series that had previously shown some genuine promise, and when you consider that Techland was apparently working on this and Dead Island at the same time (as the games shipped within two months of each other), the idea of more resources devoted to a less-buggy Dead Island makes it even sadder.
Hollander Cooper, news editor
Personal Anti-GOTY: BloodRayne: Betrayal
Oh, what’s that? Another game by Wayforward? And they’re bringing BloodRayne back in a cool 2D platformer? Neat! That sounds amazing. Hey, cool, the first few levels are actually pretty fun – the art is nice, the combat is fluid, and the acrobatic platforming is… wait, what is that? Is that a floating knife? Like, that’s an enemy in the game? Seriously? A knife. With rocket-boosters on it.
That has to be the laziest thing in the history of—wait, hold on. I’m supposed to bounce on those enemies while fighting other enemies? But the controls aren’t actually meant for that – they’re crappy when it comes to precise platforming! And… wait, did I just turn into a bird? Screw this game. Screw this game a million times over. Screw it until there’re no more screws left in the world, and we need to start demolishing buildings just for their raw materials to make more screws to screw this game with.
Justin Towell, UK content editor
Personal Anti-GOTY: Asphalt 3D
Asphalt 3D wins the unfortunate accolade of being the lowest-scoring game I've ever personally reviewed for GamesRadar. A racing game so bad, the engine sound keeps "changing gear" upwards forever, even if you've hit top speed.
I think the main problem is that it's not even as good as the now-99c iPhone game it's derived from. Graphical touches like reflective bodywork are gone, replaced with a dreadful frame-rate and terrible collision detection. And then it retails for £39.99?! Sure, it was a launch game, but that shouldn't be an excuse – it should be an honour.
I still find it hard to believe that this game could pass Nintendo's quality control process. Even harder to believe that it was shown off on huge TV screens at the 3DS preview event we attended in Amsterdam, frame-rate stutters and all. Why anyone would actually go out of their way to show this off on a big screen to promote anything other than a DVD called "How not to promote your new hardware on a big screen" is beyond me. It makes me sad just thinking about this game. Yuk yukkity yuk yuk yuk.
Henry Gilbert, news editor
Personal Anti-GOTY: Rise of Nightmares
I don’t play many Kinect games, and I bet there were worse titles for the innovative add-on (Blackwater and Hulk Hogan’s Main Event come to mind), but Rise of Nightmares has a special place in my hateful heart. As one of the first M-rated Kinect games, it had some potential, as it was made by a real company (Sega) and initially reminded me, in a good way, of House of the Dead. Sadly, it ended up being less like the Saturn/Arcade classic and more like the infamous Uwe Boll film of the same name.
It starts with the ridiculous controls that force you to recreate FPS movement by sticking your foot out and turning your upper body to move the camera. I’d estimate that setup worked about half the time. Not only was the simple act of walking incredibly frustrating, but waving around your arms to search through piles of skulls, the repetitive combat that was shallower than Wii boxing, and crouching to avoid undead ballerinas were damn near impossible. It was all incredibly ridiculous in unfunny ways, and playing it felt like a chore. One day, there could be a good Kinect game for grown-ups, but Rise of Nightmares wasn’t it.
Lorenzo Veloria, cheats editor
Personal Anti-GOTY: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Call of Duty is the biggest franchise in games for a reason – the games are fantastic. I was Infinity Ward’s biggest fan after CoD 4 right up through Modern Warfare 2. It was about at Treyarch’s Black Ops when the franchise fatigue started for me, but when Modern Warfare 3, came out I bought it thinking Infinity Ward had the power to suck me in as always. It was not so.
For me, it’s all in the multiplayer. Drop shots, killstreaks, level progression – everything I loved was back, but something was missing. I got bored. Fast. Maybe it was the unimaginative, war-torn city maps that seemed to encourage chaos rather than skill; constantly getting shot in the back after I spawned; the sameness of the weapons, perks, and basically everything else in the game; or maybe I just really started to suck at shooters. It was the first time I felt the series failed to deliver anything new. It took no steps backward, but none forward, either. Call of Duty’s magic was lost to me with Modern Warfare 3. It makes me sad.