Last week we listed what we believed to be the top five launch titles of all time. This week we're flipping the table to name and shame the absolute worst launch titles.
These are games that were so bad that they made us want to avoid the consoles they were on, and even tarnished our memories of their respective platforms a little. For shame.
Here's our list, but what do you think are the worst launch titles ever? Share your opinions in the comments.
Def Jam: Icon - PS3
We don't know how they managed it, but EA Chicago actually made playing as a rapper punching other rappers in the face to the sound of rap music boring. The ingredients for brilliance are all there, it's pretty hard to screw that up.
But somehow the same team that developed the stellar Fight Night: Round 3 the year before managed to put their foot in it with Def Jam: Icon. You'd think they would be pretty handy at putting together a fun face-punching experience. Evidently not.
Def Jam: Icon was a joyless slog through a series of stupid, bouncing environments as we punched and kicked hip-hop stars off all shapes, sizes and record label affiliations. Occasionally we'd spin some invisible records on an invisible "air-turntable" and then stomp the floor to make stuff explode too. That was cool...we guess.
Icon's biggest issue was how much of a huge departure it was from the previous title, the excellent and infinitely more fun Def Jam: Fight for New York. Everything that we loved about Fight for New York was gone - the fast paced action, over-the-top finishing moves, the joy and satisfaction of smacking ill-mannered lyricists square in the chops... and occasionally in the nads. Repeatedly.
EA Chicago deserves a bit of credit for its effort in integrating the music deeper into the gameplay, but unfortunately it's not really what the fans wanted from the series. The previous games all had excellent soundtracks, but at the end of the day it's the punches in bunches that mattered most. We just wanted a great follow-up to a brutal, fast and fun brawler, but we got this disappointment instead.
So who's to blame? Well, apparently EA Chicago ditched the gameplay of the previous titles because Icon's executive producer, Kudo Tsunoda, felt that wrestling and hip-hop didn't go particularly well with each other. Yes, that Kudo Tsunoda. The same one that asked us if we've ever wondered what's the bottom of an Avatar's shoe looks like. And like the Kinect controlled Avatar used following those now infamous words, Def Jam: Icon is a contorted mess.