Not all gimmicks are created equal. Some of the greatest games ever made were born from a great gimmick — and some of the worst gimmicks drag down otherwise good games. Here we’re going to talk about the worst gimmicks to plague gaming. These aren’t the most common gimmicks, and most of them are unique to their specific games, but the bad gimmicks we’ve listed ruined any chance for these games to find success.
The difference between an acceptable gimmick and a terrible one is pretty simple — while some gimmicks weigh down the experience of the game, they don’t completely ruin it. Mario Galaxy is still a great game despite the motion-control gimmick. Other games aren’t so lucky — Instinct Mode, Werehogs, mobile RTS bases, Kinect and drawing with the stylus pen. These are some of the gimmicks that made us tear our hair out with frustration.
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Stasis Isn’t Just For PvE [Destiny 2: Beyond Light]
Destiny 2 is in a weird place. The looter-shooter had a strong year with a new expansion Beyond Light that fans both love and hate with every fiber of their being. Planets were destroyed and replaced with reskinned locations from Destiny 1, Exotic weapons were removed, and lots of activities were put out to pasture to make room for — …not a whole lot.
And none of that compares to the vitriol generated by the new Stasis ability. This cool new function allows you to temporarily freeze enemies in combat and dish out huge damage. It’s a welcome addition to PvE where the new subclasses can wield it. But for some reason, this ability is not locked out of PvP modes.
Stasis is a power specifically designed to freeze people for a few seconds. When you’re hit with Stasis, there’s nothing you can do but wait to escape. You can’t escape early. There’s no defense. And literally every player in the game has access to it. What were the people at Bungie thinking?
Walking Yourself To Death [Shenmue 3]
Shenmue 3 is a time capsule of a game. For fans of the original games, it’s a killer piece of nostalgia — complete with awkward English voice-acting and a pastoral pace to the story that create a kind of old-school unpolished charm. While the fighting system isn’t the same, it’s totally serviceable and doesn’t ruin the experience. There’s just one big issue: walking kills you.
Presumably to add more simulation elements and give Ryo a reason to actually eat in Shenmue 3, walking around the village drains stamina. Your stamina and your health are the same thing, and running causes your HP to drain even faster. Early in the game you’re desperately poor and purchasing even a few food items can be prohibitively expensive.
And it’s a big problem. If you don’t bring enough food, you’re stuck slowly walking around with 1 HP. Get into a fight, and you won’t stand a chance — and even if you do have food, you’ll have to waste it just to be at full HP before a battle. This is one weird system that actively kills your momentum just by making walking around a deadly task.
Check out more gimmicks from the Hall of Fail on the next page.