The Top 8 Buggiest Video Games Ever Made
People have different experiences with games. Some can get through a game with no issues, and yet others suffer. Much like life, then. I've played a lot of games in my time, and all if not most of them have their annoyances. Sometimes these are fixed with patches, graphics card driver updates, or installing some other sort of software or fix. Some games however are broken, and they may even remain that way even if the developers bother to release patches for the game.
And the kicker is that they aren't terrible games, some of them, but they just have that habit of annoying you with poor programming, and plenty of bugs and other issues. And yet I keep coming back to them. I'm a sucker for punishment it would seem.
These are some of the worst offenders in my experience when it comes to games that should have spent more time in development, and in some cases shouldn't have been released at all. You may add your own games in the comments below.
Soldier of Fortune 2: Double Helix (2002)
When I upgraded my PC years ago, this was the game that I was destined to test out on this system – apart from Ghost Recon, which came bundled with my graphics card. Damn I loved that game. Hated the GPU though. Funny how we often do that: upgrade just for one game.
Anyway, I’d played this game before at a friend’s house, and for some reason I didn’t really notice all the little annoyances back then. Perhaps he’d patched it, or I was just lucky.
The game was horrid. In fact it was in a way responsible for me not wanting to even bother with SoF 3: Payback – or whatever it was called. I just knew it would end up being even worse, partly because the developer wasn't Raven – and Raven messed up with Soldier of Fortune enough, frankly.
There were minor and major glitches in this game, and I don’t even know if I could list them all. It would take forever. The clipping issues, the invincible enemies who wouldn’t go down no matter how many times you shot at them, baddies who would explode in to tiny bits if a door so much as closed on them while they had their foot in the way. Oh well, saves me the trouble. And not to mention the shoddy animations. I don’t know if that was really a bug though. Just wanted to say it anyway. The AI was rubbish too.
The worst part of this game was encountered during the mission in Columbia. Do you remember the helicopter ride? If you played this you’d see just how horrible a glitch this is. Probably one of the worst ever. You set off down the river at the helm of an M60 machinegun, with “The Flight of the Valkyries” blaring in the background. You were gearing up for an intense fight. And it was – just not what you expected.
The first time I played the section on my PC, I seem to recall it was fine – just way too unforgiving for my taste. The real trouble started when you died and had to start over from the checkpoint at the beginning again. The next time or the time after that, you’d be in the chopper, but you wouldn’t be able to see anything out there. No jungle, no terrorists or people you had to shoot. Nothing. The screen was just a beige colour and you could fire that M60 all you’d like – you wouldn’t hit anything at all. But you could exploit this bug to your advantage however. If you left the the PC alone for long enough, eventually after just flying around in circles for a while, you’d end up at the “end” of the mission, with the pilot on the radio saying you’d “made it”. “Damn that was a tough one, sir. I’d never encountered resistance such as that! That was ultra thick fog.”
But it left me with lingering nightmares. Every time there’s a helicopter mission in a game, I start praying that it won’t end up like SoF 2. The Vietnam of first person shooters if there ever was one.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky (2008)
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow Of Chernobyl was one of those cult hits that took the PC gaming world by storm. Released in 2007 after years of lingering in development hell, we were caught up in the atmosphere of the near-deserted zone of exclusion surrounding the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. I couldn’t get enough of it – I must have played it through several times. And not to to mention the mods that have been churned out over the years by adoring fans to keep it alive, and make it that much better.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky came along a year or so later, and it acted as a prequel to SoC’s events. It was doomed from the start however. Crashes five minutes in to a play session, making some areas simply unplayable, freezing, and game-breaking bugs such as not being able to advance to any area outside of the swamps, due to the programmers forgetting to put a “yes” option on the prompt that asks you if you want to exit the area. I thought it was intentional – that I had unfinished business and that I had to stick around in the swamps a bit more until I was allowed permission to exit. Why ask in the bloody first place if you can’t leave anyway? Oh, I can leave. I’ll just exit the game, that’s all.
And that’s not it. There were blank white backgrounds and textures – and I wasn’t even running an ATi GPU when playing this title (usually the main culprit). And to add to the mix, there were completely stupid, pointless, unwinnable faction wars that saw you battling over and over again for the same spot you took just seconds ago. Don’t know if bugs were involved here, but it just adds to the frustration of playing this game.
Yes, it’s like I’ve been told and like I've said before, Shadow Of Chernobyl wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t without its bugs and bits and pieces seemingly left out of the game. But Clear Sky was a joke in comparison. It was nearly unplayable for me for a whole year, and I had to wait for patches to come out so that I could update the game to the point where at least it didn’t kick me out of the game so often, and I could actually play and finish it.
This is what makes Call of Pripyat likely my favourite in the series, just for the fact that there were less bugs and more polish, and you could actually play the game for more than a few minutes without the constant fear of a crash in the back of your mind.
Fallout: New Vegas (2010)
This title was released a couple of years ago, and all ready the month it was released, it was cropping up on lists of the buggiest games ever made, including this one. It could be argued that it has received the most media attention out of any buggy game. In fact, I’m of the opinion that there’s always one game responsible for every one of these lists ever made – and New Vegas was the culprit in this case. I’ll admit it.
Initially when I saw Fallout: New Vegas, I thought it looked like nothing more than a glorified mod for Fallout 3 – except it was just developed by another studio this time, which included guys who had worked on the original Fallout games in the 90’s.
But as it got closer and closer to releasing in 2010, I actually changed my tune and started to get a little excited about it. I all ready nabbed it within a month of it coming out. I’d all ready heard of all the bugs and crashes encountered in the game – even having seen some on YouTube and various shows about gaming, which would be enough to put some people off entirely. Despite this, I played it anyway, and almost immediately I was drawn in. Even more weapons than Fallout 3, and loads more atmosphere – this was better than said game in several ways…
Except for the bugs, errors, freezes, and most annoying of all – the crashes. The game became a laughingstock on the internet with people showing off all the hilarious things that happened to them while playing New Vegas. It’s a great game, but just so frustrating that it’s easy to see why some people hate it so much – while others love it and accept its flaws.
It was mainly the freezing during the game, which forced a reboot of the PC, or else it was the crashes… or the corrupted savegames. And in some areas of the game, they became almost constant. Every five minutes it would bomb out, and I would have to wait for that little message to come up telling me the obvious: “the game has problems, and should have spent a while longer in development or play testing or whatever” – something technical like that. Even after all its patches, there is still a myriad of problems.
Every time I encountered these constant crashes, I thought to myself: Obsidian really f@cked this up in a big way. But despite this, I still am very impressed with the things they got right, and would gladly fire up the game right now and play it, and brave the misery once more.
Half-Life 2: Episode 2 (2007)
Most of Valve’s games have polish, but the same cannot be said for this second part of the still-incomplete series of Half-Life 2 episodes. And this one was supposed to be the most interesting too, seeing as we’d seen most of the sterile City 17 in Half-Life 2 and Episode 1. In this instalment, players got to travel outside of the City with Alex Vance in tow, and getting to meet some new interesting characters as well as some old ones – and in some cases, some old characters with new faces, courtesy of the Source engine.
But there were a few annoying, and in some cases persistent bugs in the game that irritated the hell out of me.
Right at the start of the game, I noticed that Gordon Freeman couldn’t stop jumping up and down. Maybe he was just excited to finally be out of the city, and to be able to explore the surrounding countryside, but my bet is that it was likely one of the most annoying bugs I have ever come across in a game, ever. I went online and tried to find a solution for this, only finding a theory that suggested that it had something to do with the screen ratio – you know, when they talk about 16:1 or whatever. And this apparently meant that the game would continue to chuck out this bug as long as you had an old-fashioned CRT monitor, and not an LCD. Unfortunately at that time I indeed had an old CRT monitor. Funny, because I had no such problem with the previous episode.
So for the entire game, Gordon was jumping on and on and on and on wherever he went, made even more annoying by the fact that there was the sound to accompany the jumping, like some overexcited brat. If this had been a game focused on stealth, there is no way in hell that you would have been able to play it the way it was intended to be played. It was probably worse than Garrett’s tap shoes in Thief.
Then in addition to the jumping for joy bug there’s the crashes you had to contend with. And I still remember finding out the crazy-@ss solution that would help you progress in the game. Before you reached a certain point where it was guaranteed to crash, you had to look right, crouch, look at the ground, and move sideways towards your desired destination, even if enemies were attacking you at that very moment. You just had to ignore them, assume the position, and squat and hover like you were about to take a dump, and move sideways like a crab if you wanted to prevent the game from crashing. Really?
The crashes that occurred were supposedly due to a texture error or several.
Still, one thing I can say is that the only thing worse than a lot of little bugs is one or two big bugs – and I’m not talking about the Antlions or their cousins, the oversized glow-worms either. Two really, really frustrating bugs that prevented me from playing this game ever again. And if Episode 3 or Half-Life 3 (soon to take Duke Nukem Forever’s place as king of vapourware) ever does see the light of day, then I expect it to be extremely polished and lacking the irritations that came with Episode 2.
Valve can do no wrong, you say? They have. They have, indeed.
Men of Valor
It came as a shock to me to realise, only years later, that this came came out of the same development studio that made Medal of Honour: Allied Assault. From a polished game such as that to a buggy mess like this is a quite a come down. But I suspect it may have had something to do with the fact that most of the people who worked on Allied Assault founded Infinity Ward and developed the first Call of Duty games. That, and Men of Valor used the Unreal 2.0 engine, which was said to be "difficult to optimise" for the console version of the game. So here we have a classic case of a game that could have been potentially great being dumbed down for the console-playing masses.
A few minutes into the game and I already didn't like it. The AI was stupid. This was evident when I picked up a football and threw it back to a fellow soldier, who then just stood there with arms wide open as the football hit him in the stomach.
The dumb AI made the single player campaign that much more difficult, seeing as the squad based combat element failed as I was often forced to face enemies on my own, with my squad mates otherwise engaged, or missing in action. It made the game that much edgier and damn unforgiving. Not particularly fun to play at all.
Dark Messiah of Might and Magic (2006)
There’s one major bug in this game which can crop up at any time, and that is one that causes the game to crash during a loading point between levels. This apparently isn’t even fixed after patching the game with two big patches. Some even claim the game is made worse after applying said patches. The best way is to fix it manually – and that is achieved by altering the amount of virtual memory one has on their system. That and there’s some clipping issues and some serious lag.
The game is said to have been poorly programmed but yet I still find myself coming back to it years later. It’s a diamond in the rough. Very rough. But if you can get past the problems it has Dark Messiah is still immense fun to play.
The Sims 3 (2009)
The Sims 3 had more than its fair share of bugs. I think this was encountered with every Sims game, but this one was the worst. People coming home from work and just burned blank, likely from touching a live wire and getting the shite shocked out of them. Taking them and putting them in the shower was supposed to be the only way to fix this but sometimes it just didn’t work.
And let’s not forget the mysterious drinks tray that stayed attached to a Sim’s hand making him look like he was carrying a minigun or something – which may or may not have had something to with the unusable and immovable dishwasher that sat in the pantry because I couldn’t move it to the kitchen while renovating. Disappearing Sims; objects appearing all grey due to some texture issues… oh, and the broken speed up feature which meant you had to literally waste real hours waiting for Sims to stop sleeping.
Diablo II (2000)
Blizzard has done a stellar job of releasing patches for this title to this very day that fix a number of issues in the game. I haven’t seen that much dedication from many developers. Most studios will release a few within the first few months and then just forget about the game and move on to the next or just give up trying to rid the game of all the faults it has.
There is still a couple of persistent bugs in Diablo II that ruin my enjoyment of it and they are both related to the mercenary AI. Companions are supposed to teleport if they get left behind and the distance between you and they is to great. But they usually don’t. They just stand there and the only way to make them budge is to exit the area and re-enter it, or teleport out of there and back to the town.This is not particularly useful say when getting hacked to pieces by a demon, and you're really just focusing on surviving.
"Hey, help me out here! I'm dying!"
"Sorry, can't. We have to go back to town. I won't fight without my magical shoes on."
"You know what? Get bent!"
And even if they do manage to keep up with you, sometimes they turn invisible, and this makes it a bit difficult to keep tabs on where exactly they are. It’s probably better to have a good strong character and just go without help – or choose a character like the Druid or Necromancer so you can summon comrades whenever you feel like it at the expense of mana.
Maybe it boils down to the fact that I've played this game recently and so these bugs immediately come to mind, but they are more than a little annoying.
I realise my list might seem rather tame compared to others. I haven't played greats like Daikatana, you see. I suppose because I just had the good sense to avoid it like the plague and save myself the misery, and some money, too. Maybe I am one of the blessed ones who hasn't yet put his fist through a monitor (although I've tried), because a game pissed me off so much. But I think we can all agree that buggy, half-baked games are the absolute worst.
Out of all the games here, which would you say is the buggiest you've played?
© 2012 ANDR01D