Worst PC Game Launches of 2013

Call of Duty Ghosts - 02

That’s a nice foreground texture you have there, Ghosts.

Call of Duty: Ghosts (November 2013)Ghosts only just makes the list. Many of its problems were the of the all-too-usual “rubbish PC port” variety, like a lack of FOV options, weird key-binding issues and a bunch of crappy textures. Oh, and in the PC version Riley the Dog is replaced by Microsoft’s famous paper-clip pal, Clippy, for mysterious reasons.

Okay, that was a lie.

But I’m including the game here for two reasons. First, the completely artificial and arbitrary 6GB of RAM limitation that prevented people with (say) 4GB from even trying to load up the game. Second, Activision’s hilariously litigious response to a user-made FOV patch.

So, Does It Work Now? Ghosts is probably still a strong contender for worst entry in the Call of Duty series, but that’s a separate issue to the PC launch. Where that’s concerned, the memory limitation has been removed and FOV patches are fully developer approved. No complaints there.

x rebirth (2)

Just let the words “smalltalk mini-game” sink in.

X Rebirth (November 2013) – The tag-line for the X series is Trade, Fight, Build, Think. Out of the four, only “Think” could really make any sort of claim to be working as intended in X Rebirth when it launched in mid-November; and the thing most players were “Think”-ing was “Can I convince Steam to give me a refund after playing this for six hours in an attempt to find the game inside?”

X Rebirth is a trading game that believes a suitable introduction to its trading system is a four hour mental and physical exercise with no solution. Actually, that’s not quite true. The solution is to download a saved game from somebody who somehow managed to make trade ships behave themselves long enough to complete a simple transaction. Lack of trade means a lack of materials, and that rules out any building you might have planned on doing.

X Rebirth is a space combat game that believes you don’t really need buttons to cycle through your targets or any sort of space radar/gravidar to keep track of where those targets might be. You certainly don’t need AI pilots who can navigate the large station structures that hang around in each sector, because it’s much better to just have them bump endlessly into things like a child’s clockwork train trying to chug through a wall.

X Rebirth is a PC game with horrendous frame-rates and a suite of graphical options that basically do nothing to amend that problem. It’s also a PC game that thinks you hate keyboard shortcuts and would prefer to navigate through controller-style radial menus all day long.

So, Does It Work Yet? Like Rome 2 and SimCity, X Rebirth’s problems cut deep, spreading far beyond the technical and into the heart of its design. Being able to land on space stations to conduct certain trades sounds like a pretty desirable feature, until you meet twenty NPCs with less personality than the game’s main menu. Hoping between sectors on galactic highways sounds alright too, until you actually have to do it more than once. A co-pilot to accompany you on missions doesn’t seem unreasonable, until you hear her speak. Patching is well underway, but judging by the number of complaints still hovering near the top of the game’s official forums it’s not yet in a state you’d consider release-worthy.

Ashes Cricket 2013 gif

Ashes Cricket 2013 (November 2013) – The extraordinary saga of Ashes Cricket 2013 begins back in the summer, when the game was originally due for release. At the last moment, the title was delayed to coincide with the November Ashes series instead.

If that threw up some warning signs, the game’s stealth release on Steam and subsequent self-evisceration in various splendid YouTube videos nailed the signs into the ground and added flashing lights. Sure, you could make a decent argument for that video being a semi-realistic portrayal of England’s recent Ashes failings, but even Alistair Cook’s jaded and weary charges know how to knock the stumps over when the opposition is trying to run for 38. Probably.

Fun though the footage was, you have to remember that it represented the actual culmination of a two year collaborative effort between developer and publisher to make, and sell, a cricket game. That’s what they made. In two years. 505 Games clearly thought they could get away with it on PC (despite being planned as a multi-platform title, it only came out on Steam,) then very quickly decided that, actually, no, they couldn’t.

Just a day after appearing on Valve’s digital service, the game was pulled from sale and 505 put out a lengthy and astonishing apology in which the publisher unreservedly put the blame on developers Trickstar and made the textual equivalent of pleading faces at licensees and sponsors. It was a crafty dodge, but there’s no real way of avoiding the fact that someone, somewhere at 505 made the final decision to try to release Ashes Cricket 2013 on to an unsuspecting world.

[yop_poll id=”27″]

Thanks to them, we now have new question to add to the philosophical canon: “If a game is cancelled after it’s already been released, is it really a cancellation?”

So, Does It Work Yet? If you were quick enough to buy a copy, it’ll still work through Steam in the strictly semantic sense that it launches. In every other sense, no, it doesn’t.

The Big Vote: After reliving all that I’m too demoralised to pick an overall ‘winner’ for Most Rubbishest PC Launch of 2013, so that’s where you all come in. Leave a vote below for the game you feel did most to break your heart (there’s a space for “other” if it’s not listed above) and we’ll publish the results on IncGamers in around a week’s time.


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Related to this article


  • Kodes

    How about CoD Ghosts for a shite launch too? Except that can never be fixed. It’s just a big steamer of a turd!

  • Kodes

    And there’s page 2, there it is 😀

  • nasarius

    While I’m tempted to go with X Rebirth as the most personally disappointing (even if they fix all the bugs, it will still probably be a mess in terms of design), it really has to be Ashes Cricket. So bizarre in every way. And funny, of course.

    • Shoomer

      I think I’m going to have to pirate a copy of Ashes Cricket (if anyone bothered to crack it) just for the WTF value. Incompetence on this scale deserves to be preserved for all time.

  • John Matrix

    Articles like this are why I wait for 75% off sales.

  • lol

    lol, you forgot Aliens: Colonial Marines

    what a pile that game is

    • Shoomer

      I got it for £3.75 on a Steam sale. It wasn’t worth it. I should spent the money on a pint instead.

  • TonySoprano

    how about realms of arkania hd? another fucked up release

  • Peter Parrish

    Good suggestions – I’ll mention some of these next week’s piece revealing the voting results.

  • Pickles

    Day One: Garry’s Incident and Aliens: Colonial Marines.

  • Remon


    • sorudo

      warZ was released on 2012, it’s certainly the worst launch, let alone the worst game but it’s not for 2013.

  • eric

    How about Final Fantasy XIV? Server errors. account issues. long queues. not enough servers. No afk implementation.

    • Michael

      That about FFXIV is bullshit, it has absolutely no graphic issue at all, and technical issues, pretty much none.
      That there are not enough servers is not the game’s problem, long queves either. Afk implementation, really ? You don’t expect to sit somewhere safely, do you ? There’s no safe place where you can just “zone out”. No afking allowed, actually, since the servers are needed, you just occupy a slot for absolutely nothing, if you afk for more than, like, 5-10 minutes.

      • Finuve

        for the first few weeks there was no AFK kick, and servers were clogged with no queue implementation. Those that got logged in never logged out for fear of not being able to get back on. Those that weren’t logged in were spamming the login button since there was no queues.

        Then the instance servers were constantly crashing trying to load up any instance, and since pretty much everything in this game is instanced (yay MMOs right) you pretty much could not progress at all.

        Then there was the massive amounts of super easy hacks done (send a packet saying I have 1 billion gil, server believes it and I now have 1 billion gil).

        And the performance in crossfire and SLI is still horrible. I can get Crossfire to run at acceptable FPS using the FEAR profile in CCC, however this creates flickering in brightly lit areas.


    Ok, so. COD disappointed me since World At War. BF4 being slightly broken is still a better game. BF3 was absolutely awesome, even BF2 still keeps up to my standards. SimCity. Fail. Stick to SimCity 4. Ashes Cricket? Hell, any game that involves sport is destined to be bad. Except for PES and FIFA. Those were actually pretty good. PES being the best of course.