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Awful Games That Players Like More Than Cyberpunk 2077

Metacritic scores may be an imperfect metric by which to judge a game's quality, but they can oftentimes indicate a general trend or widespread sentiment among a sampling of a game's playerbase. Notoriously, Cyberpunk 2077, following a series of delays, was released full of bugs — some amusing, and others game-breaking. When contrasted with the significant hype built over its years-long development, many players found its state at release a disappointment.

The PC version of Cyberpunk 2077, which includes the majority of reviews from critics, currently sits at a Metascore of 90, earning it "Metacritic must play" honors. A humble 6.9 user score is notably disparate from that significant critical acclaim, but nevertheless indicative of the reception of those played it on its optimal platform.

Within the game's first week of release, both console versions of Cyberpunk 2077 have sat at dismal user ratings of 3.9 for Xbox One and 2.9 for PS4. These may be more kneejerk reactions than measured assessments of quality. However, this means there are certifiably terrible games that players could be said to have enjoyed more than Cyberpunk 2077.

Night Trap

Night Trap: 25th Anniversary Edition, which is a questionable re-release of the trashy classic Night Trap for PC, Switch and PS4, has a Metacritic user score of 4.9. Averaging Cyberpunk 2077's three user scores and rounding up grants it a cumulative 4.6. Therefore, players like Night Trap more than Cyberpunk 2077.

The majority of Night Trap consists of live action cutscenes, in which players witness a sleepover plagued by murderous vampiric invaders. It is most famous, however, for being the subject of a congressional hearing over the effects of violence in video games. Because of both its legal notoriety and its campy aesthetics, Night Trap is not mere trash but cult classic trash.

Comparing Cyberpunk 2077 and Night Trap: 25th Anniversary Edition is a study in expectations. Player reception to Cyberpunk 2077 — which professional reviewers, according to Metacritic, agreed is a great game at its best — is due to the game not living up to player's hopes. On the other hand, Night Trap promises little, so assessments of its quality are implicitly softened by players knowing what they're in for, and getting exactly that.

Shadow the Hedgehog

Shadow the Hedgehog was first introduced in Sonic Adventure 2 as a sort of Bowser to Sonic's Mario – sometimes he's a villain, other times he's an anti-hero. And since Sonic was originally Sega's edgier counterpart to Nintendo's more family-friendly Mario, the black, red and evil version of Sonic would therefore have to be even edgier still. For these or maybe other unquantifiable reasons, Sega released a game in 2005 in which players controlled a hedgehog with a gun.

Shadow the Hedgehog was the first full-on starring role for Shadow, and instead of simply emulating Sonic's high velocity adventures, Shadow the Hedgehog shifted genres entirely into a third-person shooter. It also includes two of the most messed up things to happen in the Sonic franchise.

If that all sounds like a disaster, that's because it is. Shadow the Hedgehog is quantifiably not a disaster of the same magnitude as Cyberpunk 2077, however, sitting at a user score of 6.2. This means that the hedgehog gun game is an entire 1.6 points less disastrous than future gun game.

Sneak King

In Cyberpunk 2077, money rules all. Its Night City setting, therefore, is plastered with advertising, its cityscape a monument to vapid, dehumanizing corporatism. Though Cyberpunk is set in the future, its world is, as with most speculative fiction, meant to inspire reflection upon our current reality. And in our current reality, there's a video game for Xbox 360 starring The King, the commercial mascot for the Burger King corporation. In Sneak King, players control The King as he sneakily delivers actual Burger King menu items to generic, Sims-like townspeople.

Mercifully, Sneak King is nowhere near the breadth of The Sims in scope. It was only obtainable for $3.99 at Burger King restaurants between November and December in 2006. 

Quite unmercifully, however, Metacritic users have rated Burger King's shameless product placement stunt better than Cyberpunk 2077. Sneak King sits at a Metacritic user score of 5.6, effectively valuing Cyberpunk 2077 lower than the corporate content it intends to satirize.

Anthem

BioWare's looter shooter Anthem is likely to be remembered as one of gaming's biggest flops. Similarly to Cyberpunk 2077, expectations for Anthem ahead of its release were high, primarily due to BioWare's pedigree as a studio. Therefore, when the game came out and was, by many players' estimations, not very good, it was the subject of a degree of backlash comparable to that of Cyberpunk 2077's ongoing console release debacle. But just how comparable are fans' levels of disappointment about these two games?

User scores for Anthem across its three platforms average out to a 3.8. The average score for Cyberpunk 2077 on console, meanwhile, is a 3.4. So, in the battle to not be the worst, BioWare ultimately takes the crown from CD Projekt Red.

BioWare hasn't given up on Anthem, and still plans to implement significant changes in the future so the game will more closely match players' initial expectations. CD Projekt Red also apologized to fans for the state of Cyberpunk 2077 on console, promising considerable fixes and updates. Whether either studio can win back its player base will ultimately be up to the fans.

Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn

Shaq Fu, one of the most bizarre fighting games ever, was released for the SNES and Sega Genesis in 1994. Though the game is famously bad, it predates the advent of Metacritic, so it's therefore irrelevant to any discussion of quality relative to Cyberpunk 2077. In 2018, however, a crowdfunded sequel to Shaq Fu, subtitled A Legend Reborn, was released for Switch, PS4, Xbox One and PC. Players soon found out that not even 24 years of hindsight could turn Shaq into the cool video game hero he so clearly wants to be, with A Legend Reborn being considered one of the worst games of that year.

On Metacritic, Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn has a higher User Score (a 6.3) than Critic Score, likely a result of fans of Shaq and/or contributors to its crowdfunding campaign more easily finding things to like about the game. That said, even its 49 Metascore ranks higher than Cyberpunk 2077's aggregate score at the time of launch. 

Luckily, this could be a teachable moment for CD Projekt Red: more cameos from NBA players in its next open-world adventure.

Shrek Swamp Kart Speedway

Shrek Swamp Kart Speedway, a Game Boy Advance Mario Kart clone that takes place in the Shrek-verse, currently sits at a Metacritic user score of 8.7. Does that mean that people love Shrek Swamp Kart Speedway? Objectively. Is its user score so high not because it's a great game, but because of coordinated trolling? Most likely, at least judging from accolades like those from user Tmonohan: "[It's] so cheap. But it is cheap in a good way. Its sound quality is like a beautiful ogre roar. Playing this is the perfect thing you can do to 'please' Shrek. It makes me cry like I'm peeling an onion. 10/10."

Cyberpunk 2077 collapsed under the weight of high expectations. While ambition isn't inherently bad, it was at least partially the impetus for Cyberpunk 2077's downfall. It's easy, however, to champion a game made with no more ambition beyond cutting Mario and pasting a pixelated Shrek.

Laziness shouldn't be rewarding, but the lesson in this particular case seems to be that sometimes it can be. All it takes is a foul-mouthed green ogre.