The MEDIOCRE Awards 2016

The best of the best have been celebrated, the worst of the worst received their punishment, and all that’s left is the gulf of creativity in the middle. The pedestrian. The everyday. The completely unimportant.

Such cardboard pointlessness deserves attention too!

Yes, it’s time for the second annual MEDIOCRE Awards, as we pay homage not to the spectacular, but to the truly unremarkable. These were the games of 2016 that were exemplary only in their lack of excellence. Once again we “celebrate” those games that failed to wow and succeeded in being disappointments and wastes of time.

MEDIOCRE!

No Man’s Sky
(Check out the review!)

One of 2016’s most hyped games also turned out to be one of the least interesting. Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky was undoubtedly controversial – controversial enough that many were upset to see it missing from my rundown of the year’s worst games – but the product itself is the embodiment of lackluster.

Little more than a threadbare survival game with stereotypical crafting elements, No Man’s Sky is a tedious waste of time, relying on repetitive tasks, recycled content, and a building-block approach to procedural generation that saw little variance in “story” encounters and regular repeats of animal parts and environmental details.

No Man’s Sky is so dull that it’s actually at its most fun when you’re doing nothing – there’s at least a calming, laid back experience to be had in simply cruising the skies of yet another Bruiser Bar-colored planet. The grinding drudgery of resource collection and survival meter management is just thoroughly miserable.

If we ignore all of Hello Games’ promises (and they did promise a load of bullshit, regardless of what apologists claim), we’re still left with a game that has little going for it. So many procedurally generated planets, such a vast universe, and so little to do in it. There’s no point offering a massive game world when the best it has to offer is the occasional squirrel dinosaur that you can’t even ride.

It’s a prime example of how overvalued “content” is in the game industry – nebulous, monotonous content that has no value when it comes without context, variety, or meaning. So many “open world” games are little more than gigantic unassuming maps with recycled objectives scattered around them, just so the publishers can tell you how “big” their game is.

No Man’s Sky is the logical extreme of this prevailing industry attitude. It’s so very big… and so very bloody empty.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
(Check out the review!)

It’s hard not to believe Mirror’s Edge Catalyst – an answer to intense fan demand – was developed under duress. So much about it seems to be wearily checking boxes rather than striving to provide a memorable experience. As it dawdles sluggishly from one tired plot point to the next, this sequel to a beloved cult classic was just another open world snore-fest.

Combat is the same old shit over and over again, especially once you access the “switch place” move that lets Faith get behind the identical, unvaried enemies and hit them in the back. It’s such an effective trick that it’s the only one that matters. Despite the game itself wanting players to perform all sorts of aggressive parkour attacks, the environments are poorly designed for any walljumping action so fighting boils down to a few dull stock moves.

Despite the more open world, Catalyst‘s map is restrictive and choking, forcing players back and forth down the same old pathways and desperately trying to up its running time with the usual assortment of collectibles and repetitive side missions. It’s “Open World 101” in terms of game design, and the best that can be said of any of it is that DICE made an acceptable game.

Acceptable, and far from interesting.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is so creatively bankrupt that its final battle is against two stock enemies that have been encountered loads of times before them. The big twist is that there’s two of them.

Fuck this game.

Layers of Fear
(Check out the review!)

I’m perpetually puzzled as to how Layers of Fear got both the publisher backing and illusion of credibility it received this year. An unassuming walking simulator with horror dressing, Bloober Team’s tale of a mad artist falls down the Horror Trope Tree and smacks its head against every branch on the descent.

Remember that time you walked forever through some corridors but it was a trick because the moment you turned around the exit was behind you? Remember that scary ghost lady with the twitchy head? Remember doors slamming shut and then jostling violently because OH MY GOD SOMETHING’S TRYING TO GET IN!? Remember creepy dolls? Remember wheelchairs? Remember how scary wheeeeeelchaaaaairs are in games?

WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELCHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIRS!?!?!?

This is basically Layers of Fear‘s primary trick – reminding you just how trite horror games have become due to them all repeating the same obnoxious cliches.

There’s a baseline quality to the overall production – it looks decent, has some nice sound effects, and generally controls well enough – but it never rises above that baseline. Most of the game is spent wandering around a glorified amusement park haunted house, looking at the stereotypically “spooky” things.

Sometimes there’ll be a rudimentary puzzle, but that’s about it. The fact you can’t get hurt by any of the game’s “threats” becomes apparent all too soon, and with that obvious note comes the vacuuming of all possible tension. Had there been some genuine risk to the player – or at least a convincing pretense of such – then some of this game’s tricks could have been effective. Instead, it’s toothless.

Layers of Fear could only be recommended to somebody who’s never played a horror game before and could therefore be convinced by its predictable tricks. Why would you do that, however, when you could simply recommend a better game?

No, this game is only truly worth playing in a world where no other horror experience exists at all.

Super Mario Run
(Check out the review!)

A half-baked runner game bolted onto a half-baked city builder, Super Mario Run could have been good if it focused on one thing. Instead, in typical Nintendo fashion, Mario’s big mobile showcase desperately attempted to be quirky and ended up lacking in every department.

It shouldn’t really be that hard to make a Mario runner, but that’s exactly Nintendo’s problem. The company can never do what’s expected and just has to add as many little twists and variances as it can. While that attitude can be noble, there’s such a thing as trying too hard, and a game that really should’ve just been “Super Mario Bros. with tapping” became an online-only game about playing recycled tracts of level over and over.

I hate writing about Super Mario Run. I hate writing about it because it’s an insipid product and the apathy it inspires in me is paradoxically aggressive.

What burns me up is how much I was actually looking forward to this one. I try not to get hyped for games because hype is a terrible thing, but I cannot overstate how much I think a Mario runner is a great idea. It really is!

It just couldn’t be allowed to stay a great idea. It had to be fucking quirky.

And that made it fucking dire.

The Tomorrow Children
(Check out the review!)

The Tomorrow Children has a lot of potential, but this satirical free-to-play game was too sterile, too robotic, too pointless to achieve much beyond making the player feel like they wasted time – and potentially money.

You’re a girl in a visually unappealing plain white world, building a “town” alongside other random players. The “town” is just a messy collection of buildings placed in the empty void by users with no mind for city planning. Gameplay mostly revolves around taking a slow-as-shit bus to various randomly generated islands and mining for resources using tools with stereotypical durability meters.

Take the bus to the island, gather stuff, take the bus back, drop stuff off, repeat. That’s most of the game. There’s some dreary combat and weird little dolls that turn into NPCs when you bring them home, but that’s about it. Most of the game is working to earn currency to buy better work gear. One of those games that exist only to perpetuate an uninspired economy.

When you “beat” the game – or rather, meet your current town’s goals – your reward is starting again in another town. The time until you meet your goals is dependent on how well the town’s doing when you get there, but the goal always leads to the same dire letdown.

A shameless waster of time, The Tomorrow Children loves making players wait around doing nothing. Wait for the bus! Wait in line to interact with an object! Wait for something fun to happen! Unless you adore gathering pointless shit for the sheer sake of gathering pointless shit, you’re going to find the F2P-by-numbers drudgery quite painful indeed.

About the only thing the game can be proud of is its player character design, but the beautifully creepy puppets primarily serve to highlight how lacking in artististry the rest of the world is.

The Tomorrow Children might not be the most boring free-to-play game I’ve suffered, but it’s up there.

The Technomancer
(Check out the review!)

More like The MEHchnomancer! Haha, I’m so funny.

The Technomancer is yet another attempted RPG from Spiders, the developer that always seems to be trying its best despite making mostly forgettable rubbish. I loved Of Orcs and Men, but the studio’s really struggled to put something together since, and The Technomancer is yet another piece of wet tissue paper.

Like the majority of Spiders’ library, The Technomancer hovers in the “explicitly not terrible” realm of videogames, resting on the fact it’s not the worst game ever made despite its relative lack of redeeming qualities. The Technomancer is explicitly not terrible. That’s really the best you can say about it.

Despite desperately wanting to be Mass Effect, this sad little RPG is such a small and constrained playpen. It pads itself out with mission after mission taking place in a handful of locations that demand excessive backtracking. Hours can be spent in the first city, but not because there’s much to explore – it’s just the poorly written quests keep taking place in said city’s pitiful assortment of alleys and caves.

There’s a surprising amount of detail in Technomancer‘s lore and backstory, leading one to believe this may once have been a much bigger project. Spiders was ambitious with this one, which serves to make the piddling end result all the more tragic.

Combat is an erratic mess, the camera is an active hindrance, and you can’t squeeze more than thirty frames-per-second out of the thing on PC.

Whether things got cut or it was simply deemed too much work to make Mass EffectThe Technomancer is a game that both tried really hard and doesn’t try at all. There are so many clues that effort and thought was present during development, yet somehow the release version treads water and plays for time to an extreme level.

And it’s just so… so very…

MEDIOCRE!

  • Landusk79

    MEDIOCRE INDEED!!

  • EuanG

    Honestly, Mirrors Edge Catalyst is worse than mediocre: it is an open world platformer where it’s impossible to platform in a broken world. Not to mention the “unlockable moves” that restrict basic moves for no positive reason.

    • Once I realized that the “open world” was actually just three large chunks separated by linear singular paths I was just confused. Why make an open world game if it’s designed so poorly you just want to fast-travel everywhere?

      • diamond

        I had fun with it myself.

  • Watchmedance

    Wait, so Layers of Fear has no threats in it? Why the fuck is it so highly praised?

    I saw the header image and thought Mad Max was on this list. Now I’m wondering if it came out this year. Despite playing it, I can’t remember. It was that mediocre that it made that little of an impression on me.

    • Andrew Barloq

      It was 2015, I remember it came out the same day as The Phantom Pain.

      • Watchmedance

        That’s right… Wow. It’s been a while.

    • Johan Kristian Milde

      Layers of Fear is a quite decent walking simulator, but it certainly is a walking simulator. The haunted house ride comparison is quite fitting for it. The game would probably even have been better without the handful of puzzles thrown in to be gamey.

    • CaitSeith

      Probably they never played a horror game before.

  • backtoklondike

    ME: Catalyst was the only game from EA that I’ve been interested since Mass effect 3. And when I played it it felt like I was playing an Ubisoft game and what I mean is that it’s presented so lackluster that you could hate it but it has so many good things that instead you feel disappointed instead.
    I (and many others) thought that Mirrors Edge would be perfect for open world and what we get is this. And the worse part is that might be the last Mirrors edge we might get.

    • diamond

      I thought the open-world was pretty good.

  • Clavus

    I enjoyed Mirror’s Edge Catalyst quite a bit though. It’s not particularly outstanding, but once I got into the flow of things there was plenty to enjoy in simply exploring paths, fetching collectables or doing races. Beautiful world design too.

    • Viking Mana

      Well, that is only if you’re the kind of person who enjoys doing those kinds of tasks. I, for one, got twice the amount of hours out of Far Cry 4 than all my friends did, because I went about collecting the 400+ collectibles. If you’re not into that though, it’s quite a vapid experience that could be done in two afternoons.

      Take a game like Skyrim – If you ever get tired of running through Draugr dungeons, there’s very little there. Or an even bigger example – World of Warcraft, a game that I’ve played on/off for more than a decade. If you ever get tired of doing the same kinds of repetitive things, then those games are immediately going to lose their appeal.

      • diamond

        Same here, I think Far Cry 4 was so much better then the godawful Far Cry Primal, which for me was the very definition of creatively bankrupt. It felt like that game was originally intended to be an expansion ala Blood Dragon, but got stretched out into a full-priced game at the last minute(just like Saints Row 4)because of Ubisoft’s greed. TotalBiscuit was 100% right about that game.

  • Vohaul86

    Not worth a video of its own?

    • Viking Mana

      No point making such a mediocre video.

      All jokes aside – It’s hard to imagine how this would even work as a video? I don’t know how Jim would really put his usual energy into explaining how a bunch of games are so dull that they struggle to justify their own existence.

    • Fallen Prime

      Last year’s was also an article.

    • SirNinja

      These are games that inspire apathy more than anything. It’s quite fitting that they’re “celebrated” with only an article.

  • Sned

    Super Mario Run isn’t an endless runner: it’s an auto runner, but the levels end.

    • SilentPony

      Is that a distinction without a difference?

    • Sam Lindberg

      No one cares.

  • Fistfullofjam

    Hang on, what’s No Man’s Sky? never heard of it

    • nikolas orava

      it’s any other survival game BUT IN SPACE

      • Fistfullofjam

        >Not getting the joke

        • JackDeth

          No joke to get.

    • Turi

      No! Do not tell. This is a precious person, a gemstone. Do not smash this beautiful oblivion just to let the ugly light in. Ignorance can be bliss and in this case it is. I also do not know how someone could have missed it and this is a once in a lifetime chance to study it.

  • Sperium3000

    UGH! GROSSLY INADEQUATE FOR THE TASK AT HAND!

  • Zephir

    It’s incredible how quickly I forgot The Tomorrow Children despite having its logo in front of my face everytime I turn on my PS4…I forgot that almost as quickly as Lost Reavers on Wii U…

  • ShinAkuma

    I tried Mirrors Edge Catalyst. The cinematic parts ran at 7 fps and in-engine around 30 fps… on a GTX 1070… Got a refund and never touched that game again. . Turns out this problem was common on the PC port. If the developers aren’t giving two shits about their game running even decent on a PC then why should I even give two shits about their game? What an immense piece of shit

    • diamond

      I thought the game was pretty good myself, though I played it on Xbox One.

  • Dave Dogge

    Like this comment if you emailed Sony UK for your money back for No Man’s Sky digital download after playing it less than 5 hours and they just replied 4/5 days later telling you to piss off.

  • XionEternum

    Meh…

  • Fallen Prime

    I don’t even think I was aware of two or three of these games, and excepting No Man’s Sky, I definitely forgot the others ever happened.

    So yeah. Fitting list.

  • 7_13

    I am totally ok with that list.
    When I looked up this year’s releases list I was amazed by what games didn’t even get a mention here (or anywhere else I would’ve noticed). Like FarCry Primal a.s.o.

    • Terriosaurus Hex

      You obviously didn’t read the review or listen to the last podquisition it would seem.

      • 7_13

        With “here” I meant that list up there.
        But thanks for the reminder, i actually have to catch up on the podcasts.

        • Mitch Pelham

          Jim really liked Far Cry Primal if memory serves.

          • 7_13

            ah ok. that would explain it’s missing on the mediocre list 🙂

  • mrhair

    Regarding Layers of Fear, I said in the review thread that “No doubt this is fair, but I have an idea that I’ll enjoy it for all that.” I can now say, that you were right and I was wrong. What a relentlessly tedious experience that was. “Dolls are scare, right? Here’s a doll! Please be scared!”

    • Lord Dracula

      The moment they used an Ouija board I quit.

    • Sorry you went through the horrible tedium too.

      I can’t believe that game got DLC.

      • 09philj

        Given a choice, would you rather play Five Nights at Freddy’s or Layers of Fear?

        • Artemiy

          Given that Jim actually gave some mild praise for FNAF (even if he doesn’t “get it”)…

      • CaitSeith

        Ok, what horror trope did they forget to put in the original game that now has been added to the DLC? Bad acting voices?

        • Artemiy

          Killer animatronics.

      • Artemiy

        At least it was fun to watch Markiplier play it…

    • I’ve noticed multiple sources praise this one. It’s on some best of lists too, from people who bill themselves as more or less highbrow critics.

  • trn

    I hope you had an ok Christmas, thanks for last year, I guess. Here’s hoping 2017 isn’t too bad.

  • Benj

    You should have put Dishonored 2 on her just so you’ve got one of Laura and one of Gavin’s top 10 games of the year in your mediocre list.

    I want CONFLICT!

    • Olyphantastic

      Didn’t he give Dishonred 2 a 5 or something like that? Isn’t that the definition of mediocre?

  • Terriosaurus Hex

    This list is soooo last year

    • Benj

      Current year argument. Your point is invalid.

      • Terriosaurus Hex

        I am a lesbian time traveller. Point remains valid.

  • Surf Orich

    I knew exactly what No Man’s Sky was going to be when it was
    first announced way back in 2013. They said “procedural generation”
    and “trillions of planets” and my first thought was “ok, so you’re
    going to go around a trillion barren planets that all look the same.” That’s
    what procedural generation is; we’ve already been through this before. Look at
    things like the SLIGE map generator for Doom; this crap been around forever. Everyone should have caught on by now.

    The fact that Hello Games didn’t talk about the gameplay with
    any specificity should have tipped people off from the beginning. They just
    kept touting the number of planets. I don’t know where this idea that they made
    big promises came from; they just played the same old “we can do big
    numbers” card that developers have been doing with video games since the
    beginning of the industry. The public then contrived this magical game in their
    own heads where you could do anything. Even though, once again, we’ve already
    been through that crap before: look at the Battlecruzer 3000AD series.

    It was absolutely surreal watching the world be excited for
    No Mans Sky. When I told people how it was going to turn out they typically
    reacted with outright hostility. It’s one of the weirdest hype cycles for any media
    product I’ve ever seen.

    • diamond

      Me too, I got downvoted on Reddit by butthurt NMS fanboys for saying that I knew as soon as that game was announced that there was no way in hell it could possibly live up to the trailer.

    • MJC

      How can you not be aware of all the promises they made? It’s been covered several times by several people. There’s multiple videos and articles on this very website about it, just look them up and you can find the evidence of the promises made and broken.

    • Jack Trevor

      I recall saying it was a survival game on one of the Jimquistions about NMS after hearing Giant Bomb say what it was at a preview event.

      And nobody believed me.

    • James Rochester

      Procedural generation will eventually get there (albeit probably later than sooner) and the No Man’s Sky devs fed those expectations by misleading everyone about what their algorithms were capable of. That E3 2015 presentation was pretty shameless, and that was the point that the hype got really out of hand I think.

      And honestly I feel like I’ve seen more smug told-you-so’s about No Man’s Sky than I have people who genuinely expected it to be revolutionary. It doesn’t even make sense to have assumed that No Man’s Sky’s procedural generation would only be as good as previous games. This is a technology-driven medium and overall that was still the best aspect of No Man’s Sky. There wasn’t enough variation to sustain the game past 20 to 30 hours, no, but it was better than you’re implying.

    • Terriosaurus Hex

      I’m with you dude. The amount of seething hatred the game seems to have drawn from people makes me a little worried for a lot of people’s sanity. It’s like they need to believe they were the victim of a scam, without ever being experienced in what a scam actually is. I hate the word, but “entitled” keeps popping into mind. Why do people keep shooting hype down, yet fall for it anyway and get buthurt and blame everybody but themselves while not learning a single thing? It’s almost like people want to look more cynical than they are. Cynicism? it ain’t that fucking fun or cool, it requires a level of unintended suffering, beyond a point you get to learn to appreciate the small pleasures in life the hard way.

    • CaitSeith

      And giving it a 5/10 review score was worth of a DDoS attack on The Jimquisition site… I just want to grab those fanboys and slap them on the face; but Hello Games already beat me to it.

  • BornFlunky

    “Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky was undoubtedly controversial – controversial enough that many were upset to see it missing from my rundown of the year’s worst games – but the product itself is the embodiment of lackluster.”

    Like, I get that, but then I remember Jim describing Mighty No. 9’s reception in The Mighty Has Fallen as “the game itself has been judged by fan and critic alike as basically medicore at best — a rare consensus…”

    And Mighty No. 9 made the Worst list.

    I can understand if that’s largely attributed to MN9’s negative impact on the general opinion of crowdfunded products. And as another huge believer in crowdfunding, I -want- to fully agree — but I genuinely think the No Man’s Sky debacle was worse. Perhaps not more damaging — it’s not like the AAA industry functions off trust anymore, and while being developed by a small studio, NMS appears to be largely regarded as a game from that space — but arguably more damning, if that makes any sense.

    In Jim’s video discussing whether or not Hello Games lied, he mentioned the comparison that had cropped up between NMS and Colonial Marines. And honestly, I agree — Murray’s more of a Molyneux, rather than a Pitchford. If I’m being honest, however, as someone who is largely disconnected from Aliens as a franchise, and who never believed in No Man’s Sky (having been burned by promotions before)? I genuinely feel that both products, and the advertising thereof, were equally bad. Two games whose promotion were almost entirely built on demonstrably false information, and successfully wriggled their way out of legal retaliation.

    • diamond

      But Jim himself absolutely hated Mighty No 9, so much so that he had to ask Laura to review it for him.

      I’m with Angry Joe on NMS, I think it was just as bad if not worse then the Colonial Marines debacle(I can honestly say i’d much rather play through that game again then go within a 100 foot radius of NMS)

      • BornFlunky

        Also true. I think it’s fair to say that Jim responds to bog-standard open world survival crafting with comparable (and certainly understandable) vitriol, if only going off of the “tips for Early Access” Jimquisition.

        I dunno. Just irked me, slightly, I suppose. Not really mad about it, just figured it was worth adding my own two cents on the matter.

    • MJC

      “I can understand if that’s largely attributed to MN9’s negative impact on the general opinion of crowdfunded products.”

      It is. Jim explained this immediately after announcing MN9. Maybe you should rewatch the video.

      • BornFlunky

        I did watch the video, and saw that part. Hence why I brought it up, to set up my response to the notion.

    • Jack Trevor

      The main difference is NMS actually had competent people working on the game.

      For as much blabbering as they did pre-release, at no point did a member of staff actively insult the community because they didn’t understand why people liked NMS in the first place. Nor does it look like they blew their budget on side projects and frivolous stuff unrelated to game development.

      The only thing you can really hold against Hello Games is how vague they were on everything. Mighty No 9 is way worst because we knew what the game was supposed to be and they fucked it up royally.

      I could name several things worst than NMS because at the end of the day, a boring video game came out. And everyone moved on without giving it a second thought.

    • George

      Well, from what I have read of Jim’s work on the NMS matter, I’ve come to believe that he thought there were some small redeeming qualities to NMS. That in NMS when your doing nothing or the game is functioning as a walking simulator it worked best. But that’s just my interpretation of his various video essays and writing on the matter.

      Also, I would say that the development/ marketing of MN9 had a much worse impact on games as an artistic medium. Simply because on a pure emotional level, if not a technical one, the game was so offensive. From what I saw people genuinely put their hearts (and money) into something only to have that idea shit on. “Cry like an anime fan on prom night” kind of summed that up.

      <3

    • LatePocketwatch

      In regards to comparing No Man’s Sky to Colonial Marines, while with all things PR it’s subjective to each part of the public, I walk away with the impression that Colonial Marines was more malice than incompetence advertising wise. And I think a large part of that is that Colonial Marines was less ambitious and an existing property.

      By this I mean that while procedural generation is an established technique I was convinced that they were attempting to push it into new areas. Hello Games knew Spore, Minecraft, and Space Engine existed and I think were inspired by them to create something artistically novel. I don’t think they succeeded particularly well. A lot of players didn’t find anything to get attached or spur them further. In Starbound I at least liked villages and ‘unsealing’ caverns instead of just walking into them even if it shared a lot of NMS’ problems. But I think the substantial update, which I have not played yet, shows they were sincere.

      Colonial Marine’s is a survival horror shooter, with an iconic movie for guidance. I won’t pretend designing AI is easy but with Dead Space existing I’m absolutely certain it’s feasible. The game had more tools to play with basically. While they both had unrepresentative demos there is no reason why the finished xenos didn’t have better behavior, or the game better scripted events, or the atmosphere wasn’t better. No Man’s Sky does have an explanation, not justification, that their novel technology just wasn’t up to making consistently enthralling worlds like the ones they cherry picked.

      Long story short. NMS technically did everything they set out to do, infinite exploration, but lacked that transformative element to make the whole thing click and be compelling by reason of that’s a tall order. Colonial Marines demonstrated exactly how to distill the franchise in the demo. So any deviations from that with more basic tools like level design come off as cheap to the public.

      • BornFlunky

        Ultimately, I just don’t see a difference in what we were shown about either game leading up to release, at least not on a technical level. As far as I’m concerned, they can both be boiled down to “potential consumers were shown unrepresentative footage, were told non-existent features would exist, and they were not appropriately, legally reprimanded for their demonstrably false advertising.”

        On that level, I believe the two to be identical. I believe the cynicism and malice on the part of Colonial Marines was (at least almost) entirely on Randy Pitchford’s shoulders.

        There was no cynicism involved in the promotion of No Man’s Sky, but that ultimately doesn’t make the false advertising any less slimy, at least to me.

      • diamond

        I think No Man’s Sky’s advertising was VERY malicious(The fact that the screenshots and videos on Steam are still not at all like the final product is proof of that)

        Colonial Marines did get better with a patch which improved the A.I., and a number of people did praise the single-player DLC, with some saying it was better then the main game.

        • CaitSeith

          “The fact that the screenshots and videos on Steam are still not at all like the final product is proof of that”

          So did Colonial Marines. Jim pointed out that several times that Steam had the demo’s screenshots.

          “Colonial Marines did get better”.

          And NMS seems to be trying to follow that route with their own patches and adding features. It certainly seems to be following Colonial Marines footsteps closer than Jim thinks (for whatever that’s worth).

  • diamond

    I disagree on Catalyst, I think it’s a really solid game overall, it didn’t feel “creatively bankrupt” to me in the least, same with Technomancer.

    • Jack Trevor

      Considering what I’ve seen, you’re in a pretty small minority.

      I can at least see someone enjoying those games but there are better ones out there you could be playing.

      • diamond

        No, i’m not in a “small minority”, the game’s Metascore was far from horrible(72, not great but not terrible either) and plenty of fans of the previous game did enjoy this one.

        So what if there are better games out there? You can make that argument for almost every game, that’s the most nonsensical and lazy argument i’ve ever heard against a game.

        • Jack Trevor

          You’re still in a minority.

          While I may be broad stroking here, but when I talk to people about what games were good games this year, those games don’t come up. Ever.

          Plus you can’t hide “simple” and “straight-forward” with “lazy”. Plus I’m quite sure more people would agree with me then you if I cared enough to make a show. But those games are not worth it.

          • diamond

            Why? Cause you say so? Why do you feel the need to say i’m “i’m in a minority” for liking a game you don’t like? Why the fuck do you even care? Do you just get off on trying to insult people for daring to like something you don’t like? I can’t think of any other explanation for why you seem to have such a hard on for my taste in games.

            So what if people you talk to don’t bring them up? That means less then nothing, if you hang out with the same group of people, it’s very easy to forget that other people outside of your group have different and opinions and like different things then anyone you know.

            Also the game is not “lazy” just cause you say so, that’s just your opinion, not an indisputable fact like you mistakenly believe it is, the devs clearly put effort into the game(even Total Biscuit who did not like the game admitted it did clearly have effort put into it)

            You’re quite arrogant if you think more people would agree with you on everything. Whether a game is “worth it” is again, your opinion, not a fact, i’ll defend Spiders to my death regardless of what naive and ignorant fools like you say.

        • 09philj

          A good game need not push the envelope in every direction. It just has to be good in it’s own niche, or provide some small things to make it a little more special. Persona 4 Golden is a better JRPG than Bravely Second, but I’m happy to own them both because they each bring their own flair to the genre that I can’t get elsewhere. The Technomancer is a failure because it does not carve out it’s niche; it does not justify it’s existence when it’s so easy to boot up Mass Effect, or Witcher 3, or Deus Ex, or Shadowrun Hong Kong, and get whatever The Technomancer wants to give tenfold.

          • diamond

            I disagree, I think Technomancer DOES “carve out it’s own niche” and most definition does “justify it’s own existence”(can’t say the same for BF1), just because those other games you mentioned does not mean other games that don’t have as big of a budget cannot exist, that’s insane troll logic and false equivalency if i’ve ever heard it.

            I’m personally not a Witcher fan myself, and I fail to see what it really has in common with Technomancer, the Witcher series is open-world fantasy, whereas Technomancer is a hub-based sci-fi RPG, so you’re really reaching if you say they are in any way similar, likewise Mass Effect is different as it’s more squad-based. Shadow Hong Kong is also a top-down RPG, so it has more in common with Wasteland 2 then it does with any 3-D games.

            So I fail to see any kind of logic in your post, Technomancer gave me a different experience then any of those games, but still a good one, so you are talking out of your ass when you say that just because other games you like more exist, that games like Technomancer should not exist, that’s one of the stupidest fucking things i’ve ever heard.

    • Charlie Koszulinski

      I played Bound by Flame, which is also by spiders, and wasn’t too impressed. Aside from maybe one or two interesting characters, the combat was clunky and repetitive, the story was boring, and the whole game came off as a Dark Souls wannabe.

      Looking at Technomancer (awesome name, btw) it just looks like more of the same clunky combat, more boring story, and the character and creature design is even worse than that of Bound by Flame (I liked the monsters in that game).

      So all in all, Spiders are a very underwhelming developer that is probably satisfied with making just ok games and not really pushing the envelope further.

      Same goes for CI games, too.

      • diamond

        I didn’t like Bound By Flame either, but I did like Mars War Logs, and Technomancer felt like an improved version of that game.

        I found the combat and story enjoyable and liked the designs and aesthetic of the game. I think Spiders actually are trying to push the envelope, cause you don’t really see that many sci-fi RPGs.

        • Charlie Koszulinski

          Maybe you’re right. I never played Mars War Logs, but it didn’t really appeal to me through trailers and gameplay. Bound by Flame left such a bad taste in my mouth, though, I dunno if I could bring myself to play Technomancer.

          And maybe they are trying, it just comes off as them going through the motions. I guess it’s just me, but I haven’t found that hook yet.

  • Xirbtt

    You forgot Titanfall 2. ;D

    • diamond

      and Battlefield 1, I don’t even need to have played that game to see how bland and uninspired it is, I watched an entire playthrough after watching TotalBiscuit’s very negative video on the game, just to see how much worse the campaign got, and it did not dissapoint. DICE really needs to get their shit together for the next BF game, they really need to do Bad Company 3 to get themselves out of the rut they’ve dug themselves into.

      • Tylericous

        Most people would probably disagree with you though. It got fantastic reviews and many say that the campaign is actually good. I mention this because I think most would say DICE has got out of a rut rather then dug themselves into one.

        • diamond

          Critics may have loved it, but a number of BF fans feel like the series went in the wrong direction, Yahtzee also hated it.

          • Fyou

            Jesus people sure seem to be desciples of TB and Yahtzee around here. Yahtzee is occasionally entertaining, but is far, far too cynical for me to get any value whatsoever out of his actual opinions. TB has too stupid of a name for me to literally have ever watched a single video of his. People spout these youtubers opinions out like it’s going to change the opinion of someone who doesn’t care enough to have found those videos themselves. It won’t. Ever. You might as well tell me your uncle’s opinion on things, it will carry the same weight.

          • diamond

            That’s just Yahtzee’s shtick, and I can see why he’s cynical, Total Biscuit is a not a stupid name at all(John Bain got it from a Terry Pratchet novel) and you should be slapped silly for saying that.

            Saying you won’t watch a video just because of someone’s name is the stupidest fucking thing i’ve ever heard anyone say, you are a complete fucking brain-dead moron who is a waste of life.

            Nobody gives a shit about your pathetic garbage opinion, so you might as well stop wasting everyone else’s time with your asinine and inane garbage.

          • diamond

            fucking idiot

          • diamond

            Jesus you’re a fucking idiot, i’m not trying to change people’s opinions, i’m just saying I agree with TB’s and Yahtzee’s, if you actually bothered to read you’d know that, but you’re too fucking lazy so I guess that’s not surprising?

          • Drew C

            Tbh, if you go through this thread, you’ll properly find ever mention of TB and Yahtzee come from Diamond who’s seems to of latched onto an appeal to authority logical fallacy for this thread (I can count at least 55 comments spouting the exact same argument). There is a reason I and others have the dull bore blocked.

        • diamond

          Dosen’t feel like DICE got out of a rut at all, feels like they dove in head first.

      • Simon

        Was certainly one of the best looking games of 2016.

        Haven’t seen the TB review but not a fan of him anyway so probably won’t.

        Jim >>>>>>>>>> TB

        • diamond

          It was all style and no real substance.

          What does that arrow thing mean? I always see people using it, but it never made any sense to me, I think both TB and Jim are good in different ways.

          • Charlie Koszulinski

            Those aren’t arrows. That’s a greater than/less than sign (I forgot the actual term for it). If the pointed end is facing TB, that means he’s lesser than Jim, if the open side is facing TB, that means he’s greater than Jim.

          • diamond

            Ah so that’s what it means, still seems a bit weird to me, it’s like more a obtuse way of saying you like something better or less then something else, seems like it would make more sense to just say that instead of trying to look cool by using math symbols.

          • Ben Mitchell

            But Math symbols >= Just saying it :3

          • Nitrium

            … and thus more efficient. It’s really similar to “afaik”, or “btw” etc. This > that.

          • Fyou

            Greater or equal?

          • Simon

            I assure you I wasn’t trying to look cool! I just work too much with numbers. I’m the one that usually has to ask what abbreviations mean. I had to look up SJW because of Jim. Now I know I find the term quite handy!

          • diamond

            SJW is a very stupid term.

          • Simon

            It’s the greater than symbol. So the more > symbols you put is the more the more you’re saying the former is greater than the latter. Same would apply to the less than symbol. Comes from mathematical notation where sometimes two are used to indicate “much greater/less than” and this is a hyperbolic extension of that.

    • Marcus Maphesto Wedin

      Heresy!

      • Xirbtt

        I think he hyped it too much. It’s boring slop.

    • MJC

      No he didn’t, it was in his Jimquisition Awards video. Didn’t win, but got an honorable mention. ;D

      • Xirbtt

        But Titanfall 2 is so bad. D:

  • Jak

    Maybe I’m greedy for more content but I expected far more mediocre games in Jim’s list.
    On the other hand my heart is emotionally shrivelled and dried out like a forgotten raisin too miserable to be eaten, so most games seem mediocre to me.

    • diamond

      I’m with Gavin in that I think gaming is now better then ever.

      • Jak

        I’m with you and Gavin on that, though my tastes are getting more refined. Or to put it more bluntly, with the quantity of games around I’m just hard to please.

        • diamond

          I have the opposite problem in that there’s so many games I want to play that it’s sometimes hard to choose.

          • Jak

            Good for you, my Steam backlog/library is exploding, so many games that are meh and that I don’t want to play at the moment.

  • Amer1ka

    This is pretty close to the perfect list of “meh” games of the year. I think the TMNT game could have possibly made it. The game is just so meh and is a huge letdown by Platinum who had never fully let me down before (I even liked Korra). I guess it could also be thrown in the pile of worst games but I didn’t think it was that awful. It just didn’t give me what I was expecting with TMNT getting the Platinum action treatment. Then throw in that 30fps cap and no co-op. Ugh.

    • diamond

      That game for me was the very definition of average.

    • Uzuki

      Same here. The B team are pretty miss or hit, but they missed hard on TMNT. Like seriously, how could they mess up TMNT? That should have been right up their ally, especially afterror they did a good job with Transformers.

  • Imperial soul

    You missed dark souls 3 in my humble opinion as the games is no different since it began with demons souls and it has not improved since in fact demons souls is the best one .

    • MJC

      1. Many people would disagree with you on that.
      2. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Like Watch Dogs 2, Uncharted 4, and Dead Rising 4 all tried to fix something that wasn’t broken this year and made big piles of shit where good games should have been. I’d rather have Dark Souls 3 be another Dark Souls than get another goddamn disaster that throws out everything people liked about the franchise like Dead Rising 4.

      (and seriously Uncharted 4, why did you replace all the third person shooting with stealth mechanics that weren’t even as deep as the ones found in The Last of Us? WHY IS UNCHARTED 4 A SHITTIER VERSION OF THE LAST OF US?!?!?!)

      • Imperial soul

        The thing is uncharted knew when to stop and move on unlike something like halo or assassins creed that’s being milked to death.
        The biggest problem dark souls has is trying to top demons souls .
        Dark souls 3 was ment to be this big thing to make up for dark souls 2 and just ended up being disappointing.

        • Anton

          Halo knew when to stop; Bungie did what they wanted and moved on. Too bad MS had to dig up the corpse of the franchise.

          • Imperial soul

            It’s why I don’t like the Xbox no fresh ideas just old franchises that need to be retired .

          • OctopussGrift

            I agree that there are things that Dark Souls could improve. Although there is actually a way to figure out the invisible crystal bridge without massive trial and error.

            Jim, Laura, and Gavin addressed their reasoning behind giving the game so much praise despite it not evolving much from the previous entries; there is no contender for the Tough but Fair ARPG throne. Dark Souls is the best at what it does and its imitators don’t even come close to touching it.

            I’ve tried a couple of the Dark Souls imitators and the only one I have liked was Dark Mous, and even it had some issues.

          • Imperial soul

            I don’t disagree with their personal opinion but if we all thought the same the world would be boring but for a game so highly praised it has a hell of a lot wrong with it that from software could of fixed but did not bother .

            And tough but fair left that game in dark souls 2 and they have made the mistake that hard is good but dark souls is its own curse as DSs and demons souls was so good that from don’t know how or are scared to change/improve anything that’s why we can’t have an easy mode or turn invasions off without going offline or even fixed the bloody camera .

            The guys that did lords of the fallen are the guys to watch with their new robots souls game and even Noih .

            If we get a dark souls 4 from from software they can’t just push out a clone of DSs one and just chuck more enemies or status effects to artificially ramp up the difficulty making you go through an area where you mobbed, poisoned ,ganked and slowed buy water/mud is not good level design .

          • diamond

            Can you please uses commas in your posts and not use so many run-on sentences? It’s really confusing to understand what you’re saying.

          • Imperial soul

            Ok 👌

          • OctopussGrift

            If they can give From a run for their money it’ll only be good for fans of their kind of game. I hope someone can shake From so they don’t fall into complacency.

          • Imperial soul

            I hope so too we are on the fifth souls game if you count blood-borne and all the same not much has changed on part due to the hard core fans that refuse to accept any.
            To be honest I think lords of the fallen was better than dark souls .

          • diamond

            Strongly disagree, Quantum Break had some nice fresh ideas and Gears 4 was really good.

          • Imperial soul

            Quantum break was a good idea but is few are far between sorry to be the Sony pony but look at their line up of games including third party exclusive coming and you look back at Xbox and its just halo wars 2 and a new console that no one will buy as no one has 4k TVs thats why the PS4 pro is not selling .

            Where did all the new IPs MS promised disappear to they boasted they had more new IPs than Sony when the Xbox one released?
            MS have some great studios but they are being wasted they own rare and what are they doing with them um nothing .
            I bet if they pull 343 and epic game off gears and halo said go nuts make your own game they would come up with something great .

          • diamond

            dude you really need to work on grammar badly(Commas, use them), your long run-on sentences are confusing to read.

            Xbox One has actually been outselling PS4 for the past six months, sounds like you need to do your research, Xbox One has other good looking upcoming exclusives besides Halo Wars 2, there’s also Scalebound, Sea of Thieves and that new Crackdown game.

            None of Microsoft’s IPs have dissapeared and their studios are not being “wasted” at all(Sea of Thieves looks like a return to form for Rare)

            Gears and Halo are already great franchises, I fail to see how pulling the current studios off them will improve them(BTW Epic actually did not work on Gears 4, that was done by a completely new studio called “The Coalition)

            You are a Sony fanboy and a pathetic and delusional one at that.

          • Imperial soul

            Your funny I like you .
            The problem with the sales figures is you don’t get to see how many traded or sell after getting their Xbox and we get more Xbox compared to PS4.

            Gears could be a good game again but judgement really put me off and same is true for halo as halo 4 was awful.

            Let be blut 343 have not blown us out the water with their take on halo but I see the talent they have and I think it would better used doing their own projects .

            Lets give someone else a go at halo
            I could bash the Xbox and MS all day long for it faults but I try to look at its positive
            Then again my opinion is invalid as I’m a Sony pony and I think the best games are on the ps vita and Nintendo DS .

          • diamond

            I don’t get the hate for Judgment at all, I thought that was a really good game.

            343 pretty much is Bungie under a new name, a lot of the staff there are people who left Bungie, they’re doing a good job so far so I see no reason to give the series to someone else.

            Halo 4 was not “awful” in the least, it was a damn good game.

          • Imperial soul

            People hated gears judgement because the game was two half games the missing part from gears 3 and the mission base main campaign.

            Plus the multiplayer was not as good as gears 3 instead of the classic cog vs the locust it was just red vs blue with unearthly amount of micro transactions .

            So all the character had gone having the
            locust queen or cog general give you orders and updates made it feel like battle and not a training exercise.

            Xbox exclusives don’t hold the magic they used to for me anymore I always get the feeling their an MS executive controlling development and budget to much .
            In fact it was halo 4 and gears judgement that turned me off the Xbox for good .

            when I bash the Xbox it not cos I hate it or trolling its because I want the magic it used to have for me back that Sony PlayStation games do for me now .

          • diamond

            Not really no, quite a few people really enjoyed that game(it has a 79 on Metacritic)

            I’ve never touched multiplayer in any of the Gears games(i’m not a fan of multiplayer period) so that criticism is totally irrelevant to me.

            Xbox exclusives still impress me quite a bit, I think Sony does plenty of executive controlling themselves.

            The notion that two games turned you off Xbox for good sounds a wee bit silly to me.

            I think the exclusives on both consoles are pretty good.

          • Imperial soul

            I’m glad someone enjoys them as it was not just those two games put me off Xbox but it was the straw the broke the camels back .
            The disappearance of JRPGs and Japanese games from the console was a another big issue for me .

            Who knows maybe when the Scorpio comes out their games that will change my mind .

          • diamond

            I personally couldn’t give less of a fuck about JRPGs, I personally do not find them appealing at all(I agree with Yahtzee on his criticisms of the genre)

            Scorpio won’t have any games exclusive to it that aren’t also playable on older Xbox models(Microsoft would have to truly insane to try that, after the massive backlash their original plan for always-online DRM got, there’s no way in a million years they would try and risk something like that).

          • Fyou

            I have a 4K TV and a PSPro. Your opinions are nowhere near as universal as you believe them to be.

          • diamond

            I think 343’s Halo games are still really good.

      • Amer1ka

        Uncharted was probably changed because it’s become internet chic to called Nathan Drake an unapologetic mass murderer. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind if they went the Deus Ex or Dishonored route where you could play entirely how you want…which includes the ability to do a pacifist run. But Naughty Dog didn’t quite go that far with Uncharted 4.

        • diamond

          I don’t think so, I think they just wanted to put in a stealth system to make the game more like the new Tomb Raider.

      • Tylericous

        I heard Watch Dogs 2 was better then the first one anyways. Like what did it tried to fix that wasn’t broken?

        • diamond

          They kinda fucked up the upgrade system, as now you have collect Key Research in order to be able to unlock certain upgrades(whereas in the first game, upgrades were only gated by normal game progression) also earning enough to unlock upgrades is more time-consuming and tedious then in the first game(where you could earn XP from things like doing takedowns and escaping the cops), plus the Key Research data is often on rooftops and you end up having to search everywhere for those damn scissor lifts just so you can reach them.

          Also I didn’t care for the removal of the karma system and I hate how enemies can wake up on their own after being stunned, pretty much makes trying to play non-lethal pointless.

          I still enjoyed the game overall though.

      • Anton

        Uc4 still gives you the option to go in loud, and unlike tlou, does not punish you for it.

      • Imperial soul

        Dark souls has stuff to fix like that damn camera 5 games and the camera is still awful especially against big boss ,the lack direction who the hell worked out how to get back to the undead asylum if not by chance/luck or hacking or the invisible crystal bridges .
        A lot of darks souls is say jim days guess what the developers was thinking .

        For the next game i want from to do something fresh like the guys who made lords of the fallen .

      • diamond

        Strongly disagree, I think all three of those games were damn good(i’ll admit I didn’t like some of the changes in Watch Dogs 2 or DR4, but they were still really damn good overall)

        Uncharted 4 didn’t feel like Last of Us to me at all.

        Dead Rising did not “throw out everything people liked” in the least, lots of people(myself included) hated the timer in the previous games and were grateful to see it gone for good.

    • Jack Trevor

      Except he put it in his best games of 2016.

      • Imperial soul

        Does not deserve to be their I respect jims opinion but DS3 is just inferior version of demons souls .
        I’ve played from software games other than dark souls like armoured core and I have always wondered if Sony did not help them make demons souls would from software have been able to of done it on their own?
        And I think the answer is no .

        As the only time dark souls changed was when Sony came back in and helped them with blood-borne.

        Final fantasy 15 should of been in its place a dying franchise that’s revived it self from The awful FF13 to back to a good game .
        Yes it has issues but it’s not the same game for the 4th time still with no story .

        • Fyou

          You respect his opinion but demand he change his list of opinions? That checks out.

          • Imperial soul

            No Jim has his own opinion and I have mine .
            No demands here friend just sharing my thoughts with the void like jims has .
            Sorry it perfectly checks out I don’t think dark souls 3 did anything note worth of an award.

            In the end no one listens to either of us he says don’t pre order video games so what do we do ?
            It’s just a bit of fun .

    • CaitSeith

      He didn’t missed it. He put it in the Best Games list.

  • Anton

    I personally would have added Dead Rising 4, but besides that, a pretty solid list.

    • diamond

      I think Dead Rising is a damn good game and not mediocre in the least.

  • Jack McQueen

    Now I want a bruiser bar, damnit Jim.

  • Kuroi Kaze

    This list itself is unremarkable.

  • Jack Trevor

    A good list. I wouldn’t disagree with any of those.

  • tom

    No man sky is far worse than mediocre.

    It’s forced Insufferable survival, walking sim on planet, and inventory management systems are some of the worst I’ve experienced. Those are large parts of the game that are not mediocre, they’re horrendous.
    And Through which you have to gather countless resources all done at a astonishingly slow walking pace with forced abominable combat that is just rubbing salt into an open wound.

    This game is the worst contradiction I’ve ever played. Force-feeding modern popular systems like survival/inventorying management/slow walking, into an exploration game was a clueless and idiotic developer trying to fill in gameplay in the worst way possible. Horrible. No wonder they lied so much even they knew what they were making was rubbish.

    It also has the worst creature design in a high profile game I’ve ever seen.
    Also The most insulting end of a game imaginable ( go watch YouTube videos of the end).

    Then there is the insane amount of lies about game, and a patently misleading ad that is still advertised on the steam page, Charged full $60 for the pain, And the countless bugs. OMG x 1000.

    Not Mediocre at all. Complete garbage.

    • diamond

      Total Biscuit agrees, he hated that game from the moment he started playing it and has said it’s one of the worst games he’s ever played.

      • Fyou

        Good for TotalBiscuit?

      • Artemiy

        I’ve seen his stream and the framerate drops has been abysmal.

  • Kev’ Bryant

    I’m enjoying playing through The Technomancer at the moment. It’s slightly better than mediocre. No good reason why you can’t play as a girl, though (VA budget?).

  • Lloyd

    One could argue that being mediocre is worse than being bad, at least when it comes to entertainment. Bad stuff can still be found entertaining for different reasons, create interesting discussions, or at least pose as lessons of what not to do.

    So is it not worse to be an unremarkable, forgettable, waste of time?

    • George

      I truly believe that being boring or unremarkable is THE cardinal sin of any art.

      At least if a piece of art is offensively bad (for whatever reason) then it made some kind of a connection.

    • Ronald Nand

      I think its definitely the case for something like movies or tv shows, you can rip on how bad it is while watching it. But in terms of videogames, you still have to play the bad game, if the badness comes from poor game design or controls its going to be uncomfortable to play. So I don’t think making a videogame as bad as the ‘The Room’ could ever be enjoyable for the player.

      • diamond

        There are cases of that like Deadly Premonition(Which Jim gave a 10 for that reason) and Ride to Hell(which Yahtzee recommended people play to see how terrible it was).

        • Ronald Nand

          I saw the combat for DP in a lets play, it looked like a real slog to go through. Same with Ride to Hell. I suppose some people might find enjoyment in bad mechanics, not me however. The same way a poorly shot movie or bad special effects can be visually painful for the movie goer. I guess it comes down to ‘different strokes for different fokes’ or however that saying goes.

          • diamond

            DP actually isn’t a slog, i’m playing the Director’s Cut on PS3 right now, the combat is actually really easy and you can run past most of the enemies if you want.

          • drownedsummer

            Considering how easy it is to get an infinite weapon really early the combat is actually not that bad. Still very clunky.

  • The only game here I might disagree about is Layers of Fear. The lack of an explicit Game Over screen does not, in my opinion, inherently suck the tension out of an experience. In my experience it is the exact opposite, in fact, that usually derails things. Nothing hurts horror more than repetition, and dying over and over again is nothing if not repetitive.

    With that said, it’s probably a bad idea to label the game a survival horror. It’s more of a tour horror than anything.

    Jim mentioned there are “better horror games out there,” but I’m not entirely sure there are? I haven’t heard of any, that is. Despite being a pretty horrific year on its own, 2016 didn’t really offer many spooks when it came to videogames.

    Maybe I don’t have a finger on that particular pulse, though. Layers of Fear was the only major horror I can think of.

    • Eon264

      When Jim said there were better horror games out there he didn’t mean specifically in 2016. PT, for instance, is a better horror game and that’s just a demo. While I agree with your assessment that repetition breeds indifference (see alien: isolation), never getting smacked down is much easier to get bored of in my opinion. At least the alien is legitimately intimidating even when you’re kind of done being afraid of it, once you dispel the illusion that something is a threat that’s basically the end of it. It’s kind of like if you were in a haunted house but all the curtains were taken down so you can see all the inner workings, it’s a lot harder to get spooked by something when you can see it from across the room. It could probably work if it had something new to say, or it still had a lingering sense of psychological horror like silent hill normally does, but this game follows the genre tropes to the very letter and never steps outside of that. As such it has nothing to draw a genre savy player in unless they just like seeing the spooky lady with the shaky face.

  • Will113

    Based on all the reviews I’ve seen Mirrors Edge Catalyst has two main problems.
    1. The open world is bland and uninteresting.
    2. Combat seems to have been designed for quick movement and using the environment to your advantage…and then they had most of the combat take place in small, cramped rooms.

    • diamond

      I personally found the open world more interesting then say any open world in the Assassins’s Creed games.

    • GrumpyMishka

      The open world is fine, even if its not the greatest thing ever. Each district feels very distinct, each has its own artstyle and music theme. Sometimes the path narrows to an alamring degree, but it usually happens at transitions between these districts, mostly because these paths are locked till you get a neccessary thing to access next area. I agree, it’s uninspired, but it isn’t that great of an issue some reviewers made it look like.

      Combat works fine as well, I like what they were going for, but it could be easily cheesed by this round move and I really think they shouldn’t have included it in the game at all.

      The game itself is gorgeous to look at, it runs fast and smooth (almost 60 fps at consoles, I believe?) the music is awesome, it has one of the best scores in videogames period.

      When the game plays out as intended – when you run like crazy, successfuly chain tricks, wallruns, jumps and punches and kicks to move guards out of your way, combined with its visuals (both graphics and artstyle) and sound it’s really, like Yahtzee said, catarthic.

      Its not the best game ever, it has its issues, most of them are pointed out by reviews. But I don’t agree with the mediocre label. It can’t offer as much content as Witcher 3, GTA 5 or MGS 5, and maybe its initial price tag was undeserved, but it was discounted heavily a few times, if you enjoy this kind of things, I think it deserves giving it a shot.

  • Polishfury5000

    Ah, what a fun little list to wrap up a pretty good year for games. And I’m not going to argue against anything on that list either.

    NMS is a bit toss, but I still enjoy it in spurts as a nice pallet cleanser after a long night of shooter PvP. My usual routine is play a few Battlefield 1 operations with friends (2 months later and that game still has it’s hooks in, so fun) then go explore a new planet once people start logging off.

    Anyway, hope everyone has a safe and happy new year. Excited to see what kind of gaming entertainment 2017 brings us.

    • diamond

      Hearthstone is my go to pallet cleanser game. I like making weird decks like Total Biscuit does for his videos.

      • CaitSeith

        By the way, are you a whale too?

        • diamond

          Nah, I’m not as well off as Total Biscuit, so I can’t afford to buy dozens of packs for every new expansion.

  • Hynox

    Noticed that Dishonored 2 was not on the list despite your low rating. Made me feel real happy.

    • twigcollins

      I thought the storytelling and dialogue took a massive hit in Dishonored 2, and I was pretty disappointed, but even I can’t say the Jindosh and Dust District levels were mediocre. The Jindosh level alone almost rates it a ‘must play’ for me.

  • Kyle Pierce

    Thought Pokemon Go would be on here.

    • ATBro

      Too shit to be on the mediocre list, too mediocre to be on the shit list.

  • Jiryn

    I would have loved this even more if you called it the “MEH AWARDS”
    I agree with most of them, Layers of Fear I picked up and enjoyed… but it was more for the stupid things they THOUGHT would scare us. Like the creepy doll who runs into a wall with a hilarious sound effect, which repeated every time you turned around,

  • Blacklight

    This list is pretty meh.

  • La Chica Incognita

    I didn’t think Layers of Fear was so bad. Frankly given how horror games have been going lately it was pretty good by comparison.

    • Yusblind

      That’s a sad way to look at it.
      It feels like settling for bad because there is worse.

    • DucksonAPlain

      The DLC definitely belongs on the list, tho.

    • Alex Jones

      You could see that a lot of effort had gone in to it, but frankly I found it really dull

  • Muddy Scarecrow

    I am very shocked that Mafia 3 wasn’t on here. A game that not only repeated the same objectives over and over again over the course of ten or so hours, but a game that Jim himself said he remembered nothing about when he finished it. That sounds like mediocrity to me. But then again he probably forgot he even played it

    • Kolbe Howard

      Mafia 3 had an awesome setting, layered and nuanced characters and some pretty brave writing for a video game. Hardly mediocre at all. If anything Mafia 3 showed that games media is nothing but a pack of hypocrites.

      Where was all this complaining about repetitive mission structure for the past like 6 Assassin’s Creed games? What about Far Cry? Shadow of Mordor? Watch Dogs? Even Fallout 4 and Metal Gear Solid 5? Nope give all those games 10/10 they did nothing wrong. For some reason Mafia 3 is the one that particularly offended them.

      • Charlie Koszulinski

        I think the problem in Mafia 3 lies in its mission structure. I never beat the game, so I can’t say too much about the story, but doing a story mission or 2 and then taking a few hours to clear out rackets before moving on was such a chore. And I agree with you: that’s exactly how Assassins Creed structured their games and it’s terrible. Instead of finding a balance between story and gameplay, they separate them. They’re supposed to compliment each other, like the games you mentioned above, but instead, all it amounts to is busy work.

        It’s like reading a book, but whenever you get to a new chapter, you have to stop and clean your bathroom. It’s annoying.

        • Kolbe Howard

          Fair point. The pacing in Mafia 3 can be an issue at times. However I don’t think it affects Mafia 3 too adversely because the game is more a story of a time and a place than it is a character-focused revenge story. That stuff is there obviously, but it’s secondary to capturing the societal issues of the turbulent year of 1968.

          I was so into the game world that I rarely cared about the huge wait time between story missions. I just wanted to see more of the world. The game is excellent in it’s period piece details from it’s fantastic soundtrack to it’s authentic car handling and sound effects. It’s just a beautiful little time-capsule that deserves more credit than I think it got.

          I have never, ever, ever played a big AAA game in this time period before and that for me, transcends any gameplay issues it might have. And for the record I think the combat is excellent, it’s just the stealth that’s rather boring.

          • diamond

            Same here, I was too impressed with the setting to really be bothered by the mission structure.

        • diamond

          Not for me it wasn’t, I loved clearing out all the rackets, I actually went to the trouble of doing all the objectives even after I had done enough damage to go after the next lieutenant, because I wanted the game to last as long as possible.

          I didn’t find it annoying at all.

          • Kolbe Howard

            I did the same thing. My personal hallmark of a good game, is one that I hesitate to finish. Mafia 3 was one of those games. When I finished it I was pretty sad it was over.

          • diamond

            There is still the matter of the three story DLCs coming out for the game later, all of which sound pretty good.

      • diamond

        Agreed, I found it bitterly ironic that critics were willing to praise the AC series(Which i’ve always found very overrated and overhyped) and other bland and mediocre open-world games like Far Cry Primal in spite of them being extremely repetitive, yet somehow Mafia 3 is the one they choose to pick on, makes no damn sense.

        I didn’t find Watch Dogs, Fallout 4 or MGS 5 too repetitive myself though.

    • Charlie Koszulinski

      Mafia 3 was this year’s Mad Max for me. Such awful games. Such a shame too considering how great Mafia 2 was. Or how Mad Max more or less cashed in on Fury Road.

      • diamond

        Mad Max was not “awful” at all, it’s one of my top games for last year, and no it was not a “cash in” on Fury Road, that’s a total lie, it’s not a tie-in to the movie.

        • Justin Kruk

          The end boss is literally one of immortan joe’s sons. It is absolutely a tie in prequel.

          Its a great fucking game with more character customization than FO4 brought to the table too

      • Lucid Loon

        Mad Max is firmly in the quite good category. Best looking desert in a game to date.

        • diamond

          Yes, the best looking desert in a video game since RAGE.

        • Thomas Pierson

          Loved Mad Max, but the desert in Journey wins for sheer beauty IMO.

      • ATBro

        Your scale for quality is waaay out of whack. Mad Max was fine. Definitely not awful. Mafia 3 was also fine. Definitely not awful. I think you should spend some time with truly bad games to gain a little perspective.

        • Charlie Koszulinski

          Maybe my scale is out of whack, but I expect more than boring, repetitive, filler gameplay from AAA games. All Mad Max is, is going from base to base and clearing them out with derivative combat, poor vehicular handeling, and an upgrade system that borders on the pay to win design. The bosses were all the same and were very easy, for that matter, the environments were bland, the story is dumb and the ending is meaningless, and the whole gameplay aspect was collect scrap and clear out sections of the map like a check list of chores. It’s all busy work, it’s not fun, and Mafia 3 fell into the same ditch. They were bad.

          I will say this, though. As terrible as the driving was, the convoy takedowns were kinda fun. Other than that: Garbage.

    • ATBro

      Well, sure. That reads as mediocre… but is it THE MOST mediocre?

  • Yeah, this all seems about right. I’d probably put Far Cry Primal on the list. A fantastic idea…but it doesn’t feel like it got enough out of it. I mean, does anyone remember FCP anymore?

    • diamond

      I certainly forgot about it until other people brought it up, i’ve loved every FC game prior, but this one really felt like a lazy cash grab. FC needs to bring back Jack Carver if it wants to reinvigorate the series.

      • YoDude

        You’re very strange.

        • diamond

          I’m not the only one who disliked Primal, TotalBiscuit did not like it nor did Yahtzee.

          • Imperial soul

            I did not like it either I couldn’t get on with the far cry series.
            but I could see how someone else would like it .

          • diamond

            Yeah I can see how someone who has a fascination with Cavemen times might enjoy it(since that’s not really been done in a game before).

          • Fyou

            Does Yahtzee like anything though?

          • diamond

            Yes actually, watch his Top and Bottom Five year end lists and you’ll see.

          • drownedsummer

            Quite a lot. You can generally tell a game that he likes even if it is the subject of a ZP video and one he clearly dislikes.

      • drownedsummer

        Doubtful they will as the series has well become the Final Fantasy of FPS games.

    • Charlie Koszulinski

      I never forgot about it, I just haven’t played it since it came out. I will always remember that Primal was sort of a “turn of the century” for Ubisoft as it kicked off their greatest year with a strong contender.

    • Polishfury5000

      I honestly thought it came out last year. Did it not get a lot of advertising or something?

      Only recently picked it up, but I am having a lot of fun with it. FC4 kind of bored me, so FCP has really resparked my interest in the series. Wouldn’t mind seeing the series sticking to historical or ancient themes.

      Though I’d never say no to a Blood Dragon 2.

      • Charlie Koszulinski

        Glad to see I’m not the only one who thought Primal was great and 4 was boring. As much of a stereotypical, white savior, douche Jason was, at least he had personality.

        • Polishfury5000

          4 wouldn’t have earned so much of my scorn if they would have actually written full arcs for their antagonists too.

          The only characters I liked and thought interesting were Pagan Mihn and his lieutenants. Would have chosen to side with them had I the option, rather than the other two clichéd leaders.

          • diamond

            Yeah Ajay was not a great character, though the gameplay was still solid enough that I could past that, Primal was just boring as fuck though.

        • diamond

          I thought Primal sucked hardcore.

      • diamond

        To me FCP felt like an expansion stretched out to a full priced title at the last minute(the fact that it uses the same map as FC4 is a good indication of that)

    • twigcollins

      Best animal petting simulator. 10/10 would pet again.

    • Martina Veselá

      Far Cry Primal was awesome. I’ll admit it was the second Far Cry game I’ve ever played, the first being Crytek’s original, but it was a lot of fun and the prehistoric setting really made it stand out.

  • HisDivineOrder

    You forgot Pokemon Go.

    …that is all.

    • Taznak

      Pokemon Go could only charitably be described as mediocre

      • Justin Graham

        Tell that to the countless people still playing and enjoying the game.

        Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean that it’s trash. And if Jim hasn’t played it (which I’m not sure he has?), then of course he’s not going to put the game on a list of his most mediocre titles.

        • The Interloper

          He has. He reviewed it and did a whole Jimquisition calling it “the best worst Pokémon game ever”.

    • ATBro

      This is a list for mediocrity, not trash.

  • Scars Unseen

    It’s an okay article. I’ve seen better.

    • Nitrium

      I see what you did there. MEDIOCRE!

  • Nezumichan

    Wow… I… disagree with nearly everything on this list, and the only ones I don’t are because I haven’t played them to judge.

    • OreMiner64

      Well…It IS his Opinion…

  • AQA473

    This is a fair list, except for Mirror’s Edge. I’m not surprised, of course, after Jim’s review of it. I don’t comment on the site often but as someone who own two copies of the game, the graphic novel, the collector’s edition, and has read and written fanfiction for the series, I feel a burning desire to speak up.

    A lot of people are saying this was a great year for games, others are saying the opposite. I mean, Blizzard’s new IP came out this year so what are we gonna do? And then Naughty Dog took a shit again so everyone’s putting that on a pedestal and blah, blah, blah. My personal Game of the Year is Mirror’s Edge, despite also loving Dishonored 2.

    Yes, Mirror’s Edge has problems, and I’ve lain awake at night thinking of simple but crucial improvement that could’ve been made to make this game extraordinary, but I still think it’s the best of what came out this year. *waiting for gunshots*

    The worst thing about the game was the express lack of Celeste, a returning character from the original game, who was featured in the prequel graphic novel but was not even mentioned in Catalyst. the fact that Celeste’s absence is my biggest problem says something. Though that probably speaks more for what I value in the game rather than what’s actually important.

    The open-world side of it is honestly quite functional, and it’s meant to be an “open-world” as much as it can be seeing as you’re restricted to the tops of skyscrapers. Like someone here mentioned, each district feels unique and has their own themes, styles, and primary means of traversal (fuck the construction district). The collectibles are numerous, and a lot of people have complained about their seeming uselessness and nonsensical inclusion, like audio logs from Faith’s parents on the top of some random building her parents likely never visited. Personally, I enjoyed all of it. It never came off as strange to me, but I wish they maybe had a hacking game or something more cyberpunk, like Grid infiltration, when you grab security ships. I still enjoy occasionally coming back to the game and search for them, have a nice checklist for each district to keep track of them.

    The combat is probably my favorite combat in a game since Lightning Returns *waits for my door to break down*
    Like others have said, the game encourages the use of parkour attacks while the environment actively discourages it, and other sequences require Faith to dispatch all enemies before proceeding which contradicts a game about running. To both of those I’ll agree, but I don’t think they’re as serious issues as people make them out to be. My biggest complaint is the sheer lack of diverse enemies. The funnest enemies to fight were the second enemy type, not as weak as the first but much less armor and agility than those that came later. They exemplify what makes the combat system itself so great. Every encounter, whether I was fighting one or five of these guys, I was able to fight them differently. I could mix up my attacks, use nearby walls or rooftop vents, run and slide like I used to in the original game, and my personal favorite, knock enemies into each other. I didn’t have the “switch places” ability early in the game because I was actively hindering myself so I could enjoy the game more. Until I met those “elite” assfucker units that Jim complains about in the ME:C mention in this article, I didn’t need to switch ability. If the game kept enemies like this, with some variance, I think the flaws in the combat and environment would fewer. The enemies, I felt, were the biggest problem. I had no issues with it until the latter half of the game.

    I could go on about this game, and I can see why people agree with Jim on it being mediocre, but I loved it to bits. It’s my GotY, but so was Lightning Returns so take my opinion with a grain of salt, and I can’t help but feel that people don’t give this game the chance it deserves. There’s problems, but I constantly think about it and it’s the only place to find gameplay like this. Titanfall 2 did some neat things with its movement, but doesn’t go as far as Mirror’s Edge does, and I’m not sure any other game ever will.

    • diamond

      Catalyst isn’t quite my GOTY(That would be Doom) but it’s on my top games of the year list, some idiots on here where talking about me being “in the minority” just for saying I liked that game, not sure why that person cared so much about my own personal tastes in games, guess some people are just obsessed to a ludicrous degree with having every single person share the exact same opinions on everything as they do.

      • Nitrium

        I actually own Catalyst but never got round to playing it. Other what I thought would be better games and movies kept getting in the way. I also own Vendetta: Curse of Raven’s Cry, that was on Jim’s worst games of 2015 list, which given it has pirates in it, I’m sure can’t be THAT bad… (I bought it specifically for this reason).

        • diamond

          You bought Raven’s Cry? Wow I feel so sorry for you.

          • Nitrium

            I bought it on a whim, because I wanted to see if Jim was right about it being THAT bad. His review seemed very hyperbolic to me. The game looked about as janky as say the Risen games, which I enjoyed a lot.

    • Mueti

      Hey, you’re not alone!
      I too have Catalyst nearly on top of my personal GOTY list (only second to Blood and Wine). While I can’t agree with you about the combat (it’s alright) that doesn’t really matter when you fight for a total of a couple of minutes over the course of many, many hours, as you can still avoid most encounters.
      The core of it, the running, is absolutely perfect and overall I think Catalyst is an absolutely stellar game!

    • ATBro

      There are a ton of red flags in here that make this essay a little suspect. That being said, I enjoyed ME:C quite a lot too. It isn’t my GOTY mainly because structurally it was a little busted, and it’s upgrade path didn’t tie in cleanly with the overall experience. But the gameplay is as strong as ever and the aesthetic is still top notch, if a little noisey compared to the original.

      • AQA473

        What makes it a little suspect? And I agree with the upgrade path. I wish that “switch places” move wasn’t in the game.

  • darkmage0707077

    I love this list, Jim! But may I make what I think/hope is a minor request?

    Would it be possible for you to make an “All the Others” list of the games you played/reviewed that didn’t make any of these lists? Just the names and maybe their review scores and that’s it: we can do the research ourselves (on your site, to start) if we’re so intrigued.

  • mattinacan

    Fallout 4 is my most mediocre and disappointing game of the year

    • Rizzle

      Didn’t that come out in 2015?

      • Gazza

        Not everybody buys games the moment they are out.

        • OreMiner64

          …Adding Fallout 4 on a 2016 list still makes little to no…..Actually no, it makes absolutely no sense

          • Brotown

            /s

          • Lies That Bind

            You could make the argument that the dlc was disappointing which came out this (last) year.
            But he didn’t so I dunno!

        • Brotown

          …Right? Not everybody watches movies when they first come out either!

    • Brotown

      I hear ya. Speed 2 goes down as my most mediocre and disappointing movie of the year…

    • diamond

      that came out in 2015, not 2016.

    • Christoph Brinkmann

      2015 is not 2016.

      2016 is not 2015.

      This list was about games that were mediocre in 2016. Not 2015.

      Fallout 4 came out in 2015. Which, as previously discussed, is not 2016. Sure, it came out in November of 2015, but November of 2015 is still 2015, and not 2016.

      Hope that helps.

  • Leah

    You forgot Just Cause 3 – the pure embodiment of ‘meh’

    • Ben

      also came out last year

    • GrumpyMishka

      yeah, I’ve bought it in the bundle with Rise of Tomb Raider. Though it didn’t cost me much, I still wish I’ve saved this money for something better.

    • Wayne You Nerd

      The map is huge but there’s not a lot of cities in Medici than it was in Panau, plus every small town I’ve liberated felt too samey and cut-n-paste. Vast areas in the middle of Medici are nothing but forests, mines & quarries and don’t have that variety of deserts & mountains than previous nations.

  • Thomas Pierson

    I really enjoy Spiders RPGs; They aren’t great games and I wouldn’t argue against Technomancer being on this list; but there is just something about them that appeals to me. They seem to share a wonky vibe with the likes of Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, and Divine/Beyond Divinity that resonates with me.

  • Alex Jones

    Gears of War 4 – loved the previous games but the addition of microtransactions and RNG card packs instead of regular unlocks makes it feel like a glorified free to play game

  • dishonored 2, it was mediocre at very best.

    • Dustin Barlow

      As much as I hate myself for agreeing with you…. I have to agree with you. It is Dishonored 1.5. Everything is happening exactly like it all happened in the first game. Game keeps teasing these Behemoth Whales, and this massive mysterious continent…… Never get to see the Whales…. Never get to see the Pandyssian Continent…. SIGH!

      • I wholly agree with you, I don’t like to admit it ether T_T

  • Knight_On_Fire

    I guess he’s not allowed to change his mind on Fallout 4. It’s brave to disagree with yourself. No love lost.

    • Rob

      Or not, as it’s, y’know, good. Sorry they finally decided to trash the awful levelling system, or whatever other nonsense complaint you have.

      • Super APM

        What ignorance. Tho it does make sense, CoDtards to tend to not be able to grasp anything above shooting something in the face for hours on end.

        Here’s everything else wrong with Fo4:
        *Buggy as fuck and barely works
        *Repetitive as fuck side quests
        *Barren world
        *Garbage plot with a ton of plot holes
        *Paper thin characters
        *Limited dialogue options
        *Boring as fuck

        • Mark Smith

          I fucking love Fallout 4 and I’m far from a *sigh* ‘CoDtard’. Fucking hell mate, I know this is the internet and we all have to get into our own subreddit box or whatever but learn the difference between whats been hyped and what just fails to tickle your poor atrophied spuds.

          And fuck ain’t boring unless you’re doing it wrong.

  • Super APM

    I feel like you should bump these “Mediocre GotY” lists up to ten games, you know considering how many of those we get these days