Top 22 Worst PlayStation Games of Each Year (2000 - 2021)



Top 22 Worst PlayStation Games of Each Year (2000 - 2021)

VOICE OVER: Callum Janes WRITTEN BY: Ty Richardson
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today, we're counting down our picks for the Top 22 Worst PlayStation Games of Each Year! For this list, we're taking a look at the worst PlayStation games that launched in their respective years between 2000 and 2021. Do note that we're prioritizing games that released exclusively on PlayStation hardware or, at the very least, launched there first before migrating to other platforms. Our list includes "Kanck" (2013), "Lair" (2007), "Mortal Kombat: Special Forces" (2000), "The Inpatient" (2018), and more!
Script written by Ty Richardson

2000: “Mortal Kombat: Special Forces”

“Mortal Kombat” was going through a really rough patch at this point, having suffered two abysmal releases with “Mortal Kombat 4” and the “Mythologies: Sub-Zero” spin-off. “Special Forces”, on the other hand, spelled trouble for the franchise. Instead of trying to improve their chops in 2D fighting or platforming, Midway turned “Special Forces” into a 3D beat ‘em up loaded with bland environments and tainted by awful controls. Sure, it introduced a few fan favorite characters like Tremor or Tasia, but there is little fun, if any, to be had in “Special Forces”. Just a few minutes with this game will tell why it’s the worst game in the entire “Mortal Kombat” franchise.

2001: “The Simpsons Wrestling”

As any “Simpsons” fan could tell you, the franchise has pretty much done everything an IP could possibly do, albeit not often with the quality fans have come to expect. “The Simpsons Wrestling” was unquestionably something that could have been executed a LOT better. As if rigid controls and stiff animations didn’t make the game an ordeal, the broken gameplay and balancing made everything tremendously worse. Choose anyone other than Flanders and you’ll be in for a rough time. It doesn’t help that this game came AFTER the success of WWE games like “No Mercy” and “War Zone”.

2002: “Shrek Treasure Hunt”

To expect a good “Shrek” game is to expect a “Half-Life 3” - it just isn’t going to happen. However, the absolute worst “Shrek” game you could ever play is this PS1 travesty. “Shrek: Treasure Hunt” is nothing more than a drab collection of minigames that offer up very little entertainment and absolutely no satisfaction in conquering it. By the time it’s over, you’ll be overcome with so much pain and misery that you’ll most likely regret the hour or two it takes to complete the game. Take it from the writer of this video - he’s played it, and he’s been miserable ever since.

2003: “Celebrity Deathmatch”

The 2000’s saw a plethora of bizarre licensed games, but of them all, we never expected a game based on the titular forgotten MTV show. And yes, it is horrendous in every way. Hardcore fans of the show might get a few laughs out of it, but for the most part, its humor quickly makes it outdated from the commentary to simply the roster itself. As for the gameplay, it’s unbearably simplistic, requiring nothing beyond button-mashing. No skill - just mash your controller. Even at the initial price of twenty bucks, reviewers were telling their followers to buy other games.

2004: “Ape Escape: Pumped & Primed”

For a time, “Ape Escape” was one of the many reasons to own a PS2. If you weren’t playing “Jak”, “Sly”, or “Ratchet”, this was certainly in your library. Unfortunately, “Pumped & Primed” was the first warning that the series was going stale. Rather than giving players more monkey-chasing action, the game roped them into a minigame collection. Problem was that only a handful of the minigames included were fun; the rest were very “meh”. We aren’t against the idea of an “Ape Escape” party game (or a massive PlayStation crossover party game), but surely there were better ideas to keep players invested until “Ape Escape 3”, right?

2005: “Ape Escape: On the Loose”

Look, we promise we aren’t dogpiling on “Ape Escape”. In fact, we almost threw “MediEvil: Resurrection” on here instead! However, “On the Loose” was a massive misstep that cannot be ignored. See, “Ape Escape’s” gameplay and usual control scheme require the use of two analog sticks. It’s part of the reason why Sony developed the DualShock controller in the first place. The issue with “On the Loose” was that it launched on the PSP, a handheld that had only ONE analog stick. Because of this simple oversight, this remake of the first game was made far more frustrating and annoying than the original. Honestly, this was one of many games that killed the franchise.

2006: “Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII”

“Dirge of Cerberus” has often been described as the most painful experience in the “Final Fantasy” franchise. It’s easy to see why that’s the case when the story is so lackluster and boring that you could fall asleep during its extensive and frequent cutscenes. While some might have enjoyed the gun-blazing action, others noticed and criticized the incredibly dumb enemies and bland level design. That’s pretty important for an action game trying to replicate “Devil May Cry”! Unless you care that much about “Final Fantasy” and its lore, “Dirge of Cerberus” is very much a game best left forgotten.

2007: “Lair”

As one of our editors would tell you, “Lair” had an incredibly cool concept and had the potential to be a hit. Ride around on dragons blasting other dragons out of the sky and using the motion controls to knock opponents off their dragons? That sounds awesome! Unfortunately, that game exists in another dimension. In this world, “Lair” has gone down in infamy as one of the worst PS3 games. Rather than work with the player, the controls are constantly fighting them, proving to be unresponsive and inconsistent for most of the game. Somewhere, there is a good game in “Lair”, which makes it so sad to see this one facet single-handedly destroy an otherwise beautiful and creative game.

2008: “Secret Agent Clank”

It’s hard to imagine a “Ratchet & Clank” game that’s anything below solid. Alas, “Secret Agent Clank” proves to be a forgettable experience. That isn’t to say the Warbot’s game is completely atrocious. It’s got the same weapon-swapping action as any other game in the franchise. It’s problems are just a poorly-paced story with some obtuse boss battles and minigames. We could forgive the bad optimization, but when you’re constantly having to switch between playing as Clank, Ratchet, and Captain Qwark, it feels less like a “Clank” game and more like your usual Lombax-Warbot fare.

2009: “The Punisher: No Mercy”

How hard can it be to make a good “Punisher” game? You just make a shooter with some cool upgrades and abilities to use, right? Well, apparently, it’s harder than that, judging by the abysmal quality of “No Mercy”. Yes, there were some upgrades to make the game a bit more enjoyable, but for the most part, it was just that - another shooter with nothing to really stand out from the crowd aside from its name. “Punisher” fans might get some enjoyment out of it. For others, it’s not really worth the time even with its extremely short campaign.

2010: “Sackboy’s Prehistoric Moves”

As we’ll see over the next two entries, the PlayStation Move was one of Sony’s biggest botches. “Sackboy’s Prehistoric Moves” certainly didn’t move units either. It’s not that it was a disastrous disappointment or was marred by technical problems per se. “Prehistoric Moves” simply failed to show anyone why they needed a PlayStation Move. There wasn’t really much to extrapolate from the game - it was about the length of a simple demo and does nothing to make playing it worthwhile. And considering the creative ambitions Media Molecule has been known to have, it was rather disheartening to see such a half-baked attempt.

2011: “PlayStation Move Heroes”

If there was any Move title that should have been the platform’s flagship game, it should have been “PlayStation Move Heroes”. Years prior, fans had been itching for a crossover game starring Jak & Daxter, Ratchet & Clank, and Sly Cooper. The trifecta of PS2 mascots under one banner? That would have been enough to sell anyone who grew up with those characters! Alas, it was a gigantic waste of money. The controls barely worked half the time, the camera was constantly getting in the way, and the combat was the barest of bones. Like, to the point where you could tell there was never any meat on it to begin with. You could say “PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale” delivered a more promising crossover than “Move Heroes” did.

2012: “Wonderbook: Book of Spells”

On paper, “Wonderbook” was a really neat idea. You had this peripheral that would use the power of the PS3 to deliver an augmented reality experience. There was certainly potential to be had with games here, especially for something like “Book of Spells”. Unfortunately, “Book of Spells” never showed the peripheral’s true potential. You learn a handful of spells from “Harry Potter” within a couple of hours, and…well, that’s it. There’s no real game here. In other words, even “Potter” fans might not get a big kick out of it, not when you have much more immersive experiences like the Universal Studios parks.

2013: “Knack”

When you think of PlayStation launch titles, you don’t think of “Knack” the same way you think of “Ridge Racer”, “Twisted Metal”, “Jumping Flash”, or even “Battle Arena Toshinden”. No, you think of “Knack” with a laugh and say, “I can’t believe that was actually a thing.” Granted, “Knack” could have been a lot worse than we might be making it out to be, but it’s one of the most mediocre games to come out of Sony. While it showcases the processing power of the PS4, that’s really the only thing you can give it credit for. Combat is boring, the story is weak, and the writing is your typical family animated movie fare. Even if you were an early adopter of the PS4, there was little reason to pick up…”Knack”.

2014: “Natural Doctrine”

We’d get our hands on a good tactical RPG on any given day. The same cannot be said for “Natural Doctrine”, however. While it does boast some solid textures in its character models and environments, the game is just too damn hard, and we aren’t saying that as in “it’s hard to figure out”. The AI is unbelievably brutal and will kill off your units before you can even come up with a strategy to turn the tide of the fight. On top of that, the game gets so cliched in its dialogue that it quickly proves intolerable. There are much better tactical RPGs worth your time.

2015: “Fat Princess Adventures”

As a top-down online multiplayer game, “Fat Princess” is a fun and hilarious franchise to jump into. As an action RPG, well…what the hell happened here? “Fat Princess Adventures” not only looks awful, it plays awful, too. It isn’t long before the fatigue sets in due to the game’s tedious nature, and the combat is nothing to write home about, which isn’t the kind of mediocrity a hack-&-slash should strive for. By the time you finish the short campaign, you’ll have already forgotten the whole thing and ready to move onto something better.

2016: “Hardware: Rivals”

If “Call of Duty” was to try and go the route of “Twisted Metal”, you’d get “Hardware: Rivals”. Only caveat here is that the game is about as fleshed out as “PlayStation Move Heroes”. You have team-based deathmatch gameplay in vehicles, four vehicles to choose from, and a handful of skins for those vehicles. So, what’s the problem? Well, it was boring. There was little skill required in offing opponents, maps did nothing interesting to invoke chasing opponents, and there wasn’t any real personality on display. It was just another free-to-play game that tried opening shop with very little to offer.

2017: “Life of Black Tiger”

In all honesty, we’d argue this is the absolute worst game on this entire list! The deeper you dig into “Life of Black Tiger”, the more catastrophic it becomes. Monotonous gameplay, piss-poor visuals, outdated controls, inconsistent frame dips, empty environments, laughably terrible localization, and to top it off, stolen assets from Shutterstock and YouTuber “JackonTC”. “Life of Black Tiger” was a total trainwreck, and the fact that PlayStation allowed it to be promoted on its own YouTube channel is an enigma in itself. Do not buy this game. Don’t even do it to “see for yourself”. It is not worth it.

2018: “The Inpatient”

Supermassive Games saw a lot of praise for its work on the 2015 horror hit “Until Dawn”. So, when we heard about “The Inpatient” being a prequel, we naturally got excited! And our excitement quickly died when we saw just how bad it really was. Whereas “Until Dawn” kept its calm moments unsettling and its high moments intense, “The Inpatient’s” slow pacing make those high notes few and far between. It results in a horror game that doesn’t do much to try and scare you, and the few times it does try, it never hits. Really, there’s not much reason to play it, even if you wanna know more about “Until Dawn’s” lore.

2019: “Flowers Are Dead”

If it weren’t for “Life of Black Tiger”, then “Flowers Are Dead” would have certainly been the worst game on this list! Unlike that disaster, “Flowers Are Dead” was a clear cash grab on the “walking sim” craze, aiming for some kind of “artistic” status with very, very minimal effort. And we aren’t even talking about the lack of substance in the broken narrative. The game is barely functional! You’ll see text clipping into objects and sometimes with other text, the framerate dips constantly, and the camera makes it all disorienting. In other words, there is nothing here to justify its price point. Even if it was free, we’d be asking for our money back.

2020: “Predator: Hunting Grounds”

After the rousing success of the ill-fated “Friday the 13th: The Game”, many were eager to see developer Illfonic tackle another license. Enter “Predator: Hunting Grounds”, an asymmetrical multiplayer game that disappointed even “Predator” fans. The way it worked was that one team had to complete a mission before the Predator could hunt them down and take them out. Basically, you had a group playing “Call of Duty/Far Cry” while the Predator was…well, Predator. There just wasn’t any excitement until both parties met, and when they did, the matches would end almost instantly. That brief burst of action just wasn’t satisfying enough to sit through the long load times and queues.

2021: “Destruction AllStars”

Honestly, what can we say that we haven’t already said about “Destruction AllStars”? Of all the games that launched within the PS5’s first year, one can easily say this was the biggest flop. There simply wasn’t much for players to invest in here - not in the empty maps, not in the cringey cast, not even in the offline single-player content that you had to pay with premium currency to unlock. Sure, its online connectivity has improved, and the gameplay has gotten tighter. Sadly, everyone has moved on, and even at twenty bucks, it’s not really worth your time. We even did a whole video about what’s wrong with the game over on MojoPlays, so go check that out.
For 2020, Last of Us Part II should have been awarded the "Worst Sony Game"