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The Worst Games Of 2024 So Far

It might be early, but 2024 has already been a great year for gamers. Unexpected hits like "Palworld" and "Helldivers 2" have blown us away and set the stage for future developers to take unique approaches to marketing their own games. Looking ahead, we've got the "Shadow of the Erdtree" DLC to look forward to, as well as "Star Wars Outlaws," a "Final Fantasy 14" expansion, and so much more.

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All that said, just like in 2023, not every game that's been released this year has been a winner. Some games narrowly miss the mark and become forgettable failures. At other times, bizarre decisions from developers and publishers alike leave players with a game that looks like it was a bad idea from the very beginning. In picking these games, we've considered both their critical reception and the overall fan response. Some games have managed to strike a chord with gamers in ways that aren't immediately apparent to reviewers, and vice-versa. Some games are disappointing because they're attached to a franchise with lofty expectations. Some games simply fail in everything they set out to do.

2024 has already seen failures big and small, and though we might not be talking about them in a year's time, we'll go ahead and memorialize these fallen titles here.

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Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

The writing was on the wall before "Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League" even released. Early previews of the game were looking bleak, and things went from bad to worse when publisher Warner Bros. Games decided not to send review codes to most outlets before the game launched. That not only sent a message that the publisher didn't believe in the game, but also forced anyone who wanted the $100 Deluxe Edition that included early access to the game to make their purchase completely on blind faith. When "Suicide Squad" finally dropped on February 2, everyone immediately realized why that was the case.

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After paying $70 to pick up the game, players quickly realized that they were dealing with some of the worst impulses of the live-service model. "Suicide Squad" is overflowing with generic missions that stubbornly refuse to offer any memorable rewards. Combat is largely by-the-numbers, and the enemies are repetitive roadblocks that don't actually put up much of a fight. The game has some cool ideas, like fun traversal methods and interesting applications of the abilities of various team members, but all of that is buried by the onslaught of filler quests and an utterly lackluster story. Even the climactic boss fights feel cumbersome and tedious, which isn't a great look for a game that's supposed to be getting players to log in daily for months on end. Perhaps unsurprisingly, user reviews were even worse than the eventual pro reviews. You can read our review here.

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The failure of "Kill the Justice League" ended up having an adverse impact on Warner Bros.' bottom line, with head honcho David Zaslav specifically citing the game as a sales disappointment, particularly when compared to last year's numbers. In many ways "Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League" is the 2024 flop that keeps on flopping.

  • Release Date: January 30, 2024
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
  • Genre: Action, Third-Person Shooter
  • Metacritic Score: 60 (PS5), 61 (Xbox), 63 (PC)

Devil May Cry: Peak of Combat

"Devil May Cry" might be the coolest gaming franchise out there (and it's wild to think it almost never happened), and over the years it's given us hours of heart-pumping action gameplay. The games tend to be fast-paced and loaded with unique combat mechanics that make hacking and slashing your way through enemies an absolute blast. "Peak of Combat" was supposed to bring all the joy of past "DMC" games to mobile platforms, but it hasn't worked out. It's less that "Peak of Combat" falls flat on its face and more that the game doesn't try to do much in the first place. Instead of wowing fans with exciting new combat mechanics, the game essentially copies all the systems from "Honkai Impact 3rd," but it only does so half-heartedly. 

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The combat is beyond repetitive, and the overly-stuffed UI makes getting through it a legitimate challenge for all the wrong reasons. You might be able to squint at "Peak of Combat" long enough to play the game anyway, if not for the overdone gacha mechanics that plague so many mobile games. The game's confusing series of progression systems also constantly bombard you with notifications, all with the goal of ultimately roping you into buying some of the game's premium currency. This is absolutely one to avoid.

  • Release Date: January 9, 2024
  • Platforms: iOS
  • Genre: Action, RPG
  • Metacritic Score: 41

Silent Hill: The Short Message

"Silent Hill: The Short Message" unfortunately makes this list despite its few redeeming qualities. The game is entirely free, and not in the sense of the free-to-play games we've all come to dread. It's also a legitimate console entry in the "Silent Hill" franchise, which is something that diehard fans have wanted for years.

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Sadly, "The Short Message" doesn't do anything particularly well. The story is about as paint-by-numbers horror as you can possibly get, with teenage main characters suffering from an amount of angst that would feel right at home in a '90s teen movie. There aren't any real exciting twists in the plot, and the gameplay isn't really going to keep you on the edge of your seat. For the most part, you spend your time in "The Short Message" walking into spooky rooms, interacting with creepy objects, and uncovering tidbits of the story. You get to partake in a chase scene with a genuinely creepy monster every now and then, but those moments aren't liable to spike your heartrate too much. Some critics also found the game's portrayal of mental illness to be somewhat problematic, as well as underdeveloped.

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For what it is, the game isn't worth complaining about all that much — but it really isn't worth taking the time to play, either.

  • Release Date: January 31, 2024
  • Platforms: PlayStation 5
  • Genre: Horror, Survival
  • Metacritic Score: 52

Skull and Bones

"Skull and Bones" was a long time coming, and it unfortunately disappointed pretty much everyone who spent years waiting for it to launch. "Skull and Bones" finally set sail following a decade of development, multiple delays, and a reported $200 million budget to show for it. The game is meant to offer a rousing simulation of a pirate's life on the high seas, but many players have noted that monotony sets in quickly. Repetitive missions and skirmishes put a damper on the solid ship customization and combat mechanics, reducing many of the battles on the high seas to feeling like a routine. 

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Critical reviews noted that the game feels surprisingly limited in what it offers, making its $70 price tag and Ubisoft's promises of a "quadruple-A" experience feel particularly bold, and not in a good way. Not helping matters is the lack of a cohesive story or an open world for pirates to traverse on foot, not to mention the presence of a currency system for microtransactions — all of which making the game feel less like a fully-realized title being sold at full price. User reviews have been especially harsh, with players decrying the game's grinding progression system and bugs on the console release.

Though Ubisoft plans to continue updating the game in the future, "Skull and Bones" has thus far failed to reach the heights of previous pirate-centric games like "Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag" and "Sea of Thieves," both of which have been out for a quite a while. As of this writing, "Skull and Bones" is reportedly having trouble maintaining a healthy playerbase, thanks largely to this bad first impression.

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  • Release Date: February 16, 2024
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X
  • Genre: Action, RPG
  • Metacritic Score: 58 (PC), 59 (PS5), 63 (Series X)

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