Believe it or not, Sony doesn’t just make TVs and too many Spider-Man movies. The international company has made a large share of its fortune by continuously evolving as a competitor in each new generation of consoles. The latest, the PS5, is damn near my favorite console ever, as well as one of the largest, and certainly the most physically unbalanced I’ve ever owned.
Each generation of consoles also has a collection of role playing games that range from making the most of the hardware to leaving players with a bad taste in their mouths. The first system I owned was the original PlayStation, occupying the role of my favorite puppets in the Sesame Street Sports game that was the second most tragic thing to happen in 2001. The titles have gotten better since then, thankfully, but every new generation will still have games that try to skate by without realizing their full potential.
Every system has its worst RPG, and these are the ones on every Sony PlayStation. You may disagree with some of my selections, and whether they qualify as RPGs at all, and that’s completely okay. I still love you, even if others have a hard time with it.
PlayStation 1: Eternal Eyes
A lot of games will see the success of other titles and try to copy their formula in the hopes it will be enough, and that seems to be what Eternal Eyes was going for. While the art style was cute at times, it was also pretty standard for the era and both the protagonists and game mascots look like off-brand versions of other series’ characters. The tactical gameplay isn’t anything special, but the effects and turn-based gameplay may have been a hit among players. It just feels like literally everyone did this better, you know? It’s just bland and nothing good can possibly come out of sitting through hour after hour of the monotonous chores and repeated music. The bar is not high for PlayStation 1 games, but still, I want you to close your eyes and listen to that low-tone music paired with constant beeping and tell me you wouldn’t be convinced you were supposed to kill John Lennon if you played this long enough.
PlayStation 2: Orphen: Scion of Sorcery
The voice acting in this game isn’t that bad, especially when you consider that it’s a dub, but its pairing with incredibly funny character animations and impressive anime scenes make Orphen: Scion of Sorcery unquestionably something special. However, that’s also the reason the overall atmosphere is so awkward. That and the general humor of the PS2 era, coupled with weird translations and dialogue choices (think Kingdom Hearts 2.)
The actual gameplay is a whole different issue, as whoever designed it must have had a premonition of Beat Saber the night they started on it. For some befuddling reason, the player character stands in one place for each battle and throws spells and fireballs at pre-designated weak points on the monster with no real way to avoid attacks. It’s essentially the same strategy as a game of rock-paper-scissors. I love weird animations of characters and games many consider to be bad, but even I can recognize a pretty lame combat mechanic when it’s this blatant. The developer knew what VR games would be like in the future and designed Orphen: Scion of Sorcery around that whole theory, about 20 years too early.
PlayStation 3: Natural Doctrine
Natural Doctrine reminds me of how depressed I was during the PlayStation 3 era, mostly thanks to its drab colors and shallow depth. There just doesn’t seem to be much to this game outside of classic RPG tropes, cliche anime voice acting, and one of the most obnoxious UIs you’ve likely ever seen. The tactical combat isn’t fun or unique in any way. Instead, it largely feels so complex that it’s weighing itself down in the process. There’s no way the children playing this game were planning the complicated maneuvers that this title wanted from them, which probably disappointed the developers as much as I disappointed my parents when I didn’t want to do anything but play video games. Nevertheless, even the story seems to be something we’ve all seen from countless titles before. I’m not mad at you, Natural Doctrine. I’m just disappointed.
PlayStation 4: Ghost Recon: Breakpoint
There was a time when players had a lot of respect for Ubisoft and the Ghost Recon brand before the company became the cash grabbing mechanism that it is today. Breakpoint‘s predecessor, Wildlands, was generally well received and the open world was one of Ubisoft’s proofs of concept for that idea going forward. However, it was also a core example of the company wanting to do everything ‘okay,’ therefore doing nothing well.
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint only evolved on that and made it worse, adding in even more extensive content and the promise of NFTs, which was as well received as anyone bragging about owning an NFT. At that point, the game became a roleplaying experience about how much you can play the title before your head explodes. While many were already soured on the Assassin’s Creed series forays into similar worlds, this really began the spiraling opinion of Ubisoft’s characters and narratives.
Ghost Recon may not see a new entry for a while, as Ubisoft canceled a free-to-play tactical PVP shooter a little over a year ago in July 2022 to the cheers of GR fans everywhere. Whoever talked some sense into the Guillemot brothers needs to do it again and have them return to the drawing board for a good return to the Ghost Recon universe with a story that means something. Thanks!
PlayStation 5: Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance
Especially after the release of Baldur’s Gate 3, the Dungeons and Dragons franchise is something that should be respected, and many viewed Dark Alliance as a disappointment in that aspect. It’s one of the more disappointing launches for the PlayStation 5 so far, especially when it had so much to draw from.
The game doesn’t look bad by any means, but it’s ultimately a mediocre game trying to hide under the name of a popular and known brand. The character animations are stiff and the gameplay is largely pretty basic, reminding me of a watered-down version of good RPG games like Dragon Age: Inquisition. Additionally, it strips away many of the features that players have come to love in these types of games. For example, there’s no ability to create a custom character with your own class. Instead, the game is fixed in its playable characters. That’s not the D&D your mother warned you about!
Check out our Worst RPG’s on Each Generation of Xbox!