If a video game’s control scheme is frustrating, there is little hope for the rest of it. How natural it is to control your character often trumps a great story or graphics. As long as they work and can be learned, gamers usually over look an unconventional control scheme. However, some are so horrible, they make the game unplayable.
Destroy all Humans Big Willy Unleashed
A Wii exclusive, this game takes bad controls to another level. With the Wii’s motion control, you move the camera. Even though there’s three levels of sensitivity to pick from, none of them felt right. With any slight movement, the camera would spin out of control, making the game play frustrating. It’s hard to move, shot, and fight when you can’t see what you’re doing. When in the mech suit, you can throw objects using motion control. It doesn’t work properly and often the objects would go off course. Big Willy should have came with the option to use a traditional controller.
This original PlayStation game is often on “the worst games of all time” lists. Beyond the game’s annoying catchphrases and bad graphics is terrible controls. In a platformer, jumping is key. Unfortunately, Bubsy’s jumps were often sluggish and hard to time right. Another problem was the camera. There was no control over it. Without good camera control, jumping becomes a suicide mission as it would follow Bubsy and not show what you were jumping to. Even making Bubsy walk was a pain. Forget running and turning at the same time, it was impossible.
The Wii offers tons of awful party games. These are not made by Nintendo, but by other publishers who don’t seem to understand or care about making the Wii’s motion control system work. Game Party and its sequels are prime examples of this. The terrible controls make most the of the seven “party” mini-games unplayable. In the darts, skill-ball, and ping-cup games, the controls were incredibly inaccurate. Throwing multiple times using the same motion would produce radically different results. The air hockey’s controls took awhile to get the hang of. Instead of moving left or right, you were suppose to move up and down, making the whole scheme seem off.
Superman for the Nintendo 64 is regularly noted as a horrible game all around. One of the worst features of the game is the terrible controls. They so unresponsive that players might think their controller was broken. When trying to fly or land, it wasn’t unusual to have to push the Z button multiple times before the game responded. Another problem with the controls was while you were flying. It was nearly impossible to complete precise actions. When Lex suspended rings Superman had to fly through, the controls wouldn’t cooperate long enough to let you fly properly.
Released exclusively for the PS3, Lair had horrible controls. The Sixaxis motion control used to fly the dragons was so bad, Sony released a patch eight months after the game was released. The patch allowed players to use the left analog stick to fly instead of moving the entire controller. Before the patch, players had a difficult time of tilting the controller just right and the dragon would veer off course and frequently hit the mountains and they were trying to avoid. Navigating through tight passages was difficult. The patch didn’t fix everything and Sixaxis was still being used to dash or turn.
How well the controls work can make or break a video game. Even if a game has the potential to be fun, players will abandon it because of frustrating controls. How can players enjoy a game if they can’t even make the character move properly?