Worst Video Game of the Year — 2012 GuySpeed Awards
2012 may have been another stellar year for video games, but for every AAA title sure to contend for coveted “Game of the Year” honors, there were at least a few duds.
As the year winds down to a close, we’ve decided to take a look back at all the year’s biggest flops and disappointments in video games. If you already made the mistake of playing one of these titles, we’re sorry. As for the rest of you, let this list be a handy guide of what games to stay far, far away from at all costs.
It’s time to pick one “best of the least” and crown one game the worst of 2012.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City [PC, 360, PS3]
What could have been an intriguing new take on the standard Resident Evil formula ended up being nothing more than another boring shooter with terrible mechanics. Even more disappointing, in a series with a rich and storied (albeit convoluted at times) narrative, RE: ORC couldn’t even manage to put together a coherent plot that made any sense. The class-based gameplay definitely set this game apart from its predecessors, as did the online multiplayer. Unfortunately, the mediocre options available, and lack of polish and quality left much to be desired.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified [Vita]
The PlayStation Vita launched earlier this year, and though its initial launch line-up was fairly impressive, there had been little else throughout the year to keep players interested. As one of the most successful gaming franchises of all time, it was basically a no-brainer for Activision to try and capture some of that success on the Vita by bringing a new Call of Duty title to the handheld. Sadly, Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified was a mess of a game. The campaign was a mere 45 minutes long, and the online multiplayer was a stunted version of that found on the console. Coupled with a $50 price tag, Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified is easily one of 2012’s biggest missteps.
Amy [360, PS3]
Trailers for Amy created a particular vision of a downloadable survival horror game appearing to have plenty of promise. Once the game finally arrived however, all hopes for a competent playable experience were dashed. Amy’s central objective was to guide a young child with impressive powers through a zombie-filled world in hopes of making an escape. Crippled by awful controls, a mind-boggling checkpoint system, and a severe lack of finish, Amy began 2012 as a front-runner for worst game of the year. Nearly twelve months have passed since its release, and no other game has come close to the incompetence witnessed in Amy.
007 Legends [360, PS3]
James Bond games have a special place in many a gamer’s heart since Goldeneye came out for the Nintendo 64. Though the franchise has had its fair share of misses, and a few hits sprinkled in throughout the years, none of the previous entries in the series were quite as insulting as 007 Legends. Focusing on some of Bond’s previous missions (read: movies), 007 Legends put you in the shoes of a dreaming Daniel Craig, who relives ‘Moonraker,’ ‘Goldfinger,’ and ‘Die Another Day’ amongst others. That doesn’t sound so bad, until you realize the final mission in the game, Skyfall, is held out of the retail game, and is given away as DLC. That’s right–the game didn’t ship with a conclusion. Say what you will about the rest of the games on this list, at least they had the dignity to end.
Dungeon Hunter: Alliance [Vita]
Most launch titles for the Vita were pretty impressive. That said, there was a handful of duds dropped on the unsuspecting public as well. A port of a PlayStation Network title from a year before (which itself was a slightly upgraded mobile game), Dungeon Hunter: Alliance was easily one of the most disappointing games released not just for the Vita, but this year. Repetitive dungeons? Check. Shoddy graphics? Check. Boring and uninspired Diablo-esque gameplay? Check, check, check-ity check. Fans looking to find a dungeon-crawler to take on the go weren’t just let down, they were insulted.
Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor 
Back in 2002, Steel Battalion released for the original Xbox with one of the most elaborate controller peripherals of all time. A decade later, From Software and Capcom teamed to bring a new generation of gamers and consoles another entry in the franchise. Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor would make use of the Kinect peripheral, and allow players to control mechs from the couch with gesture controls. Unfortunately for all involved, the complex duties of running such sophisticated tech as the mechs in Steel Battalion wasn’t meant for simple arm waves and hand wringing. The game ended up a cluttered mess, with inexact operations ruining what could have been a welcome return of a cult classic series.
Rabbids Land [Wii U]
Nintendo helped popularize the board game video game with its Mario Party series. Though there wasn’t a Mario Party game to launch alongside the Wii U, there was a board game video game featuring those indomitable Rabbids that just refuse to disappear quietly into that good night. Rabbids Land doesn’t have a whole lot going for it. The mini-games range from mediocre to awful and annoying. Nothing says “good time” like holding up the Wii U gamepad, and blowing into the microphone. There’s a major lack of variety, and unlike mini-games in titles like Nintendo Land and the older Mario Party games, Rabbids Land doesn’t involve the whole group very often, which results in a lot of watching other people play a video game. What fun.
NeverDead [360, PS3]
Immortality is a common trope in games. NeverDead took that concept to a whole new level, allowing gamers to play as a man who could be hacked, slashed, dismembered, and decapitated all in the name of fun. Well, at least that’s what Konami wanted gamers to believe. Instead, NeverDead was an exercise in futility and poor game mechanics. Stumbling around levels as nothing but a head trying to get back to its body was pretty funny the first few times. After a few hours though, the allure of never dying, and constantly having to regain control of your own body after being shredded in two lost its appeal.
Resident Evil 6 [360, PS3]
Capcom’s big sequel was easily one of 2012’s biggest disappointments. A convoluted plot, hamstrung by a bizarre design direction to include as many genres as possible, left Resident Evil 6 a muddled mess with no real focus. Bringing two of the franchise’s biggest protagonists together should have been a momentous occasion, but instead, the big meet up between Leon and Chris was overshadowed by a litany of quick-time events, overwrought cinematics, and a supreme lack of survival horror. Resident Evil has been going to the way of full-on action game for a while, but the sharp leap from Resident Evil 5 to this year’s entry proved to be too much, and Resident Evil 6 is one of the worst entries in the series to date.
Mass Effect 3 [PC, 360, PS3]
Easily the most divisive game of 2012, Mass Effect 3 certainly has its defenders. Of course, after the controversy surrounding the game’s ending, and subsequent “Extended Edition” DLC from BioWare, there were just as many detractors of the sci-fi franchise. Mass Effect 3 was supposed to provide Commander Shepard and the fans with a suitable finale to the trilogy, but instead ended up giving players a headache with an absurd conclusion. Players invested a lot of time and energy into making choices they were told would matter in the end, but when it all came down to it, BioWare dropped the ball, and no matter what choices players made over the years, everything came down to just two decisions at the end of ME3. To make matters worse, the choices weren’t that different, and resulted in almost identical outcomes. It’s a shame such a phenomenal series will be best remembered for it’s terrible ending, but like TV’s Lost, the ends don’t always justify the means.
Voting for the 2012 GuySpeed Awards closes on Jan. 15 at 11:59 PM EST. Fans can vote once per hour, so keep coming back to see if your least favorite game wins!