Warning, incoming rage.
We all have that one game. That detestable, despicable game that sits lost and forgotten apart from our collection. The same one that, when mentioned to friends (or otherwise normal coworkers) gets nothing but praise and cries of "How could you possible not love it?" We don't just not love it, dammit, we hate it! And we're not afraid to admit it. It's not our fault the rest of you are too blind to see its teeth-gnashing, aneurysm-inducing flaws.
Nonetheless, we'll give it a shot. Each editor has selected a game that has won widespread praise, yet that he or she feels - quite frankly - is crap. Dive into this list with an open mind, and you might just... no, you know what, we don't care. Close your mind. Keep playing these infuriating games. WHO CARES IF WE NEVER GET ANOTHER SKIES OF ARCADIA. GO PLAY MORE CALL OF DUTY. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONGWITHYOUPEOPLE!!
Ashley Reed - Final Fantasy 13-2
Though the Final Fantasy 13 saga may not be the most well loved of FF titles, of them Final Fantasy 13-2 is certainly the favorite. And oh, what a black hole of hatred I have in my soul for that game. While the battle system was an improvement on 13's linearity, I would have gladly taken 100 Final Hallway games over the shallow plot and shoddy characters 13-2 dropped in my lap.
Where 13 actually had a decent if flawed cast, 13-2 removed all the folks worth a damn, replaced everyone else with flattened and awful versions of themselves (I think I've developed a persistent eye twitch from Serah fawning over how cute it is that Snow's being a jerk to her), and added in some of the most infuriating characters I've seen in a long time. Like Noel. Fuckin' Noel. Refusing to do the one thing that would save the universe full stop because it involves killing a guy with whom he has zero friendly interactions but they're somehow totally great friends! Combine that with inconsistent and illogical time travel, a final 'twist' that might as well have written in the clouds, and the fact that Noel is so goddamn stupid that he's singlehandedly responsible for the death of mortal universe and I... JUST!
Connor Sheridan - Borderlands
Ugh, Borderlands. I want to love you! I love shooters. I love action RPGs. I love distinct art styles with lots of bold colors. I love corny jokes. All the elements are there, but I still hate Borderlands. You have to understand, I'm pretty good about giving games the benefit of the doubt even if they don't grab me straight off - particularly if tons of other people seem to really enjoy them. But rarely have I felt more actively disinterested in a game than when I tried to play Borderlands.
Maybe it's how the first region is full of skags and axe-wielding psychos, which makes for rote backpedaling as you unload ammunition into their faces. Maybe it's how the first few hours of the campaign are spent performing asinine tasks for unpleasant characters, like trying to grind through an MMO that calls you names whenever you turn in a quest. Even good co-op company (yes, I was playing in co-op) couldn't keep me from dozing off at best or actively resenting the experience at worst. Maybe Borderlands 2 and the Pre-Sequel fixed all these problems, but I don't really care enough to find out.
Andy Hartup - Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
I just don't understand the appeal of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Many members of the GR+ staff swear by the game, citing a wealth of special attacks, imaginatively designed arenas, and lashings of Nintendo fan-service as the reason for its greatness. All I see is a mess of color, as if an excitable toddler has vomited Skittles onto an LED screen. I mean, what the hell is happening? It's wanton chaos. It's like the Harrowing Of Hell by Jheronimus Bosch, with all the clawing, naked sinners swapped for Nintendo mascots.
During the games I played in the UK office, literally no-one could work out who was winning or why, which really takes the sting out of victory. "Oh, I came first did I? Fuck me, I thought I just kept falling off a ledge and getting my nose broken by Yoshi." And, honestly, why does no-one see the futile absurdity in someone like Samus Aran smacking the Duck Hunt dog in the jowls, while the Wii Fit trainer tries to brutalise Kirby in the whatever-it-has-instead-of-bollocks? I'm out.
Sophia Tong - Final Fantasy 7
I know I'm going to get hate for this, but I did not like Final Fantasy 7. I've played most of the FF games as they were a big part of my childhood. I even dumped an ungodly number of hours into FF11 - how's THAT for dedication and love for the series? I tried playing FF7 when it came out, but the whole jump to 3D and polygon graphics just did not appeal to me. I was not blown away. I was blown away by the intro to Final Fantasy 8, and when I booted up Final Fantasy X my life changed. But Final Fantasy 7? Meh.
I eventually went back to play through the entire game on PC, and just couldn't bring myself to be invested in any of the characters. That OMG HOW COULD YOU scene? Felt nothing. Meanwhile, the ending to Crisis Core? Cried. I loved that game, but maybe I was just not in the right frame of mind when Final Fantasy 7 came out to really enjoy it. The music was good though. Gold Saucer FTW!
Justin Towell - Destiny
Destiny is mind-cripplingly dull. The 'characters', the 'plot', the 'void damage', the colour coded rarity system of weapons that everyone seems so het up about - I couldn't care less. All anyone ever seems to do is grind. And everyone keeps saying 'oh the game doesn't begin until level 8, 15, 20, 30... WHEN DOES IT GET FUN?
The enemies only seem to have two attacks each. There aren't enough planets. I can't feasibly play with everyone else now because I haven't bought the DLC. There is no spark of life in its cold, dead eyes. I hate the Ghost thing and its stupid disinterested voice. Destiny is a husk of a game and I don't know what anyone sees in it. There, I've said it.
Lucas Sullivan - Gunman Clive
I'll never understand why people praise Gunman Clive. Maybe they've been blinded by the low, low price tag of $2, which sounds like a steal - but I've easily played a thousand free Flash games on the 'net that were 10 times more enjoyable than this trite 2D shooter. The graphics are either bland or butt-ugly depending on your tastes, the controls are floaty and unresponsive, the soundtrack seems to be a sampling from 'My First Chiptune Album', and the stark level designs are straight garbage.
If you're going to rip off Mega Man stage gimmicks, your controls need to be on point, instead of making me feel like a jellyfish in low gravity. Also, it's best to avoid a difficulty curve that goes from toddler easy to 'Why am I still playing this vile horseshiz' hard. The fact that so many people compare this repugnantly unfun grind of trial-and-error platforming to the greatness that is Sunset Riders makes me sick to my stomach. Kill me for this radical opinion if you must - just promise that you'll bury me with my money.
David Roberts - Skyrim
I wouldn't say I hate Skyrim, exactly. Hate is a word I'd reserve for real dreck like Ride to Hell Retribution (or those hoverbike segments in Battletoads). But by God, I will never understand the undying love and devotion this open-world fantasy RPG gets - especially when compared to the vastly superior Fallout series.
There certainly is something impressive about how Skyrim generates seemingly never-ending quests to get lost in, but the world and its characters do absolutely nothing for me. Why should I spend the time talking to everyone and solving all their asinine little problems if I don't even care whether they live or die? Maybe I just prefer dinking around the futuristic wasteland of North America more, but every time I've tried to get into Skyrim, I last about six hours and then I bail.
Jann Jones - Super Mario Bros. 3
I don't like Super Mario Bros. 3. There I said it! I was the hugest fan of Super Mario Bros. 2. I loved the weirdness of it and have many, many, many fond memories of playing it with my brother. In fact, it was one of the few games the we beat together.
I was pretty excited for 3. I even faked friendship with a girl who I knew had a copy of the game, just so I could go to her house to play it. And then karma struck for my trickery; a few levels in I was confused and I didn't like it. I know it has Tanooki Mario and a ton of things people other people love but I just couldn't muster any enthusiasm for it. I expect I'll be eating lunch alone from now on.
Lorenzo Veloria - Half-Life 2
I've probably put more than a thousand hours into the Call of Duty series, BioShock is one of my favorite games of all time, and I simply can't stop playing Destiny. Outside of a Zelda adventure, blasting away enemies, throwing grenades, and scoring long-distance head shots are my favorite gaming pastimes. But the one FPS game I just can't manage to enjoy at all is Half-Life 2. Matter of fact, I pretty much hate all Valve shooters because they all share the same flaw.
Sometimes it can be the tiniest detail that turns you off to a game, and that one little thing in HL2's case is simply the way the Valve shooters handle. Moving around feels you're just controlling a floating head (and not just because you can't see your legs). Running feels more like flying (not in a good way) and there's no weight to your steps. It sounds like a lame excuse, but for some reason that floatiness kills my immersion immediately. It's really the only hurdle I can't get past, and much like with Megan Fox's toe thumbs, I just can't overcome it.
Maxwell McGee - World of Warcraft
MMO's are video game hell. They strip otherwise interesting genres of all fun and enjoyment. In their place, they stuff their victims full of monotonous tasks (collect 5 beaver pelts), point-and-click combat, and ravenous paywalls. The only tradeoff for all this BS: multiplayer. You can play with an entire world of other people who are running around yelling and cursing and killing one another - often for no reason. Does this remind you of someplace?
At the very bottom of this hell sits World of Warcraft, laughing and weeping into a lake of fire. WoW's corruption is slow and insidious. In the beginning it's all fun and games, but after a year or two the 'fun' becomes 'work' and the 'games' become 'obligation.' It isn't here to entertain you. It's here to enthrall you with its unending quest for loot which will let you get better loot which will let you get better loot which will...
Also the selfie feature sounds dumb.
MAIM. KILL. BURN.
We've shared some of our darkest gaming secrets with you, dear reader. Now it's time to balance the scales. Let us know in the comments below your least-favorite, but still wildly-popular, game. Just be prepared for plenty of backlash from everybody else.