Biggest Letdown Miscellaneous Awards

Worst RPG

The Caligula Effect

Worst RPG
Second Place
Third Place


The Caligula Effect has some interesting ideas, however, the finished product is a mess. Its developer had previously struggled mightily on the technical side with the PlayStation Vita versions of Sword Art Online games and certainly didn't do any better here. The frame rate is horrific, the responsiveness of the controls is awful, and lengthy loading screens crop up everywhere.

In addition to all the technical problems, the game is mind-numbingly repetitive with an excessively complex battle system where most of the options are either completely useless or incomprehensible as to what benefit they might provide the player. Though there are attempts at emulating depth with AI characters, the basic implementation of them just makes it painfully obvious that there's nothing meaningful here. Locations add to the boredom, as though they are large, they lack any distinguishing features, leaving players just wandering down corridors that look the same over and over again.

However, despite all of this, publisher FuRyu has kept faith in the ideas and is remaking the game for PlayStation 4 in Japan. Perhaps with a different developer and a new platform, something can be salvaged.

Making a great game can sometimes be boiled down to two simple things: good ideas, and the ability to execute and follow through on them. Games that rehash the same mediocre ideas but with increasingly more modern and smoother execution come off as forgettable. On the opposite side of the spectrum lies Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates, a game teeming with good ideas but with a consistent lack of follow through on any of them, making a memorable if unwanted mark on our Worst RPG list. It feels as if the game has been released still in the early planning stages — offering many intriguing elements in its story and gameplay mechanics but not fleshing out any of them beyond initial design. Couple that with the myriad of bugs, including the gamebreaking kind, and you've got a game that stands out for the wrong reasons.

What happens when a company takes the art style, setting, and characters out of a beloved franchise and changes the gameplay from a strategy RPG to an action RPG? Sega carried out this experiment in game design with Valkyria Revolution and the results were unsurprisingly disappointing. Plenty of series have spinoffs that attempt to take things in different directions, but Sega and Media.Vision jettisoned too much of what made the original games great and combined what little remained with mediocre combat and an underwhelming story. Hopefully, with a true Valkyria Chronicles game set for release in 2018, Revolution will become a forgotten footnote in the Valkyria series.

by Alex Fuller, Charalampos Papadimitriou, Joshua Carpenter


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