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Top 10 Video Games with Great Stories but Terrible Gameplay

VO: Daniel Paradis WRITTEN BY: Alex Crilly McKean
Script written by Alex Crilly-Mckean Sometimes the story can outweigh the terrible gameplay. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we are counting down our picks for the top ten video games with great stories but terrible gameplay. To have your ideas turned into a WatchMojo or MojoPlays video, head over to http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and get to it!

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Top 10 Video Games With Great Stories But Terrible Gameplay

So close, yet so far. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we are counting down our picks for the top ten video games with great stories but terrible gameplay.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the video games which had great ideas going for them but sadly some of the more technical aspects held them back from being masterpieces. We won’t be including the likes of Heavy Rain, which in itself is all story and whose gameplay almost seems like an afterthought.

#10: “Killer7” (2005)

This game is … an oddball to say the least. It has the narrative hallmarks of an early Quentin Tarantino film with stylish characters, lots of killing and a very unpredictable plot, and it’s these traits that have made the game a cult classic for well over a decade now. That said the game takes a very unconventional approach with it’s gameplay and it doesn’t always work out; progression is heavily railroaded, gun fights keep your feet planted in place, and the combat can get rather repetitive over time. Still you can’t fault the game for trying something different at the time.

#9: “Deadly Premonition” (2010)

The one that truly divided players, some regarded it as complete trash while others hailed it as an example of how video games have truly become an art-form. For the most past we agree the investigation into the Raincoat Killer as well as all the supernatural aspects involving the White and Red Rooms make for a compelling supernatural police procedural. However, on the gameplay front they might have been trying too hard to be out the box. The open world aspect was diminished by the constant need to eat, sleep and maintain hygiene while the mini-games just felt like a total waste. We’re taking on horrific monsters here guys, we don’t have time to play darts.

#8: “Alpha Protocol” (2010)

While not as well-crafted as in other games like Mass Effect, there was some legit joy to be found in the branching dialogue choices in this espionage-action RPG. As secret agent Michael Thorton, you found yourself engaging in various missions across the globe as well as investigating an overarching conspiracy that had you questioning who you could really trust. Throw in some decent romances and plenty of options for who you side with and there was a lot going for it. Alas, it was let down at the finish line with sloppy combat, repetitive boss fights, weak customisation options and left the impression that it was more style than substance.

#7: “Asura’s Wrath” (2012)

In terms of cinematic presentation, Capcom managed to deliver a game that was a feast for the eyes, taking visual cues and inspiration from Buddhism while blending it together in a sci-fi setting. After being betrayed by his fellow demi-gods following the murder of his wife and kidnapping of his daughter, Asura sets out to take his revenge and destroy everything that gets in his way with his bare fists. Now don’t get us wrong, we enjoy beating the crap out of a boss that’s as big a planet, we just wish we could control more than ten percent of it. In fact, if you count the hours of actual gameplay vs cutscences…it’s embarrassingly low.

#6: “Deus Ex: Invisible War” (2003)

Hot off the heels of its critically acclaimed predecessor, Invisible War had a tough act to follow given the scope and magnitude of the original’s multiple outcomes. Opting to combine all three endings, the players must now take on the role of Alex D as they try to stop four new global superpowers from taking charge of the world. It was always going to be a challenge to live up to Deus Ex’s splendour, but even then the forced combat, non-linearity, universal ammo and miserable looking aesthetics made the overall package seem like pale reflection more than worthy sequel.

#5: “The Last Guardian” (2016)

Look, if you give us a giant dog chicken and make it as cute as possible then of course we’re going to get emotionally invested in your game. Considering this is the spiritual successor to the masterful Shadow of the Colossus, we knew we were going to be getting minimal dialogue but some otherwise poignant storytelling. Unfortunately, as heartfelt as the relationship is, it doesn’t spare us from Trico’s tendency to dillydally when it comes to commands, which will more often than not results in you plummeting to your death on more than one occasion. Bad dog chicken!

#4: Dragon Age II (2011)

In the awesomeness that is the Dragon Age Trilogy, there is little room to doubt that the second instalment remains the weakest. Not to say it doesn’t have a lot to offer in terms of an engrossing narrative. The growing tension between Templars and Mages made a compelling point on the subject of race relations and how fear and prejudice makes villains out of us all. Though for all of Bioware’s greatness, choosing to set the entire story inside the less than visually charming Kirkwall and simplifying the combat did not work in its favour.

#3: “Nier” (2010)

Talk about a disjointed final result. It seems that for everything great about this spinoff of the Drakenguard series, there is also a noteworthy critique. Nier’s quest to save his daughter from a deadly illness known as the Black Scrawl was filled with a plethora of truly shocking twists that kept us coming back for more, however the lifeless environments, rather bland lead character and forced meshing of gameplay styles certainly made it a chore at times. Combat can border on exceptional, but the side quests are a gigantic waste of time, it pretty much goes back and forth on that front, keeping this JRPG from reaching greater heights.

#2 “Mafia III” (2016)

What could have been a goldmine finds itself mired in the greatest sin a video game can offer; it gets real boring, real quickly. With its repetitive mission pattern that it never seems to stray from and just a lack of creativeness when it comes to combat and gameplay in general, Lincoln Clay’s bloody tale loses much of its impact. This is great shame since it’s cutscenes bolster astounding graphics and performances from its actors that deserve to be ranked with some of gaming’s best, unfortunately seeing the same kill animation a hundred times in a row isn’t a great way of setting the tone for a supposedly gritty look at racism and violence in 1960’s New Orleans.

#1: “Divinity: Dragon Commander” (2013)

You are the bastard son of an assassinated emperor, and must have to wage war against your siblings in order to bring peace, all the while engaging with the emissaries of the other civilised races to determine the laws of the land, interacting with your generals, and even traversing an arranged marriage. Oh, and you can transform into a dragon. How could you mess that up? By watering down the RTS element that’s supposed to make up the other half of the game, and failing to utilize the draconic transformation mechanic to its fullest extent. As such, battles become burdens that we’d rather not bother with, especially when we have a lizard queen waiting for us back in our chambers!

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