The 10 worst Square Enix games of all time

Forspoken doesn’t even come close.

Two-hour free Balan Wonderworld lands on consoles and PC next week

Image via Square Enix

When you’ve been around the block as often as Square Enix has, you’re bound to push some duds to match the stellar line-up that fans are used to. With a brilliant array of IPs and developers alike in their pocket, Square Enix has also pushed out its fair share of titles that make users scratch their heads, if not outright spew vitriolic remarks. Here are the ten worst Square Enix games of all time — thus far, of course.

Related: Forspoken breaks the Square Enix mold with magic, parkour, and emotion but misses some fundamentals – Review

10. Babylon’s Fall

Image via Square Enix
  • Released March 3, 2022
  • Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5

Live-service games, also known as Games-as-a-service or GaaS, feel like they’re strangling the gaming industry. Instead of offering meaningful experiences and interactions, players are supposed to be locked into titles without time to play anything else, because more playtime means more money for shareholders. Babylon’s Fall is a title that fell victim to this decision-making, with a mountain of obscene monetization — a $60 title with paid battle passes that can cost an additional $100 to complete, and an in-game cash shop is a difficult sell for the best of titles. For something as weak as Babylon’s Fall? It’s a quick death — the title is ending its service on February 23, 2023, and is no longer for sale as of September 13, 2022, just a few months after release.

Related: The 10 best couch co-op games for ps5

9. Unlimited Saga

Image via Media Graveyard on YouTube
  • Released June 17, 2003
  • Platform: PlayStation 2

Unlimited Saga was ambitious but fell flat — with seven different playable characters that the game consistently swapped between, the entirety of the title felt like a fever dream of confusion, mediocre JRPG mechanics, and bizarre storytelling that struggled to make sense. Unlimited Saga did bring the world some humor, though inadvertently. PSX Nation stated ‘I would rather have a root canal without anesthesia than to ever put myself through the pain that is playing this game.’ Square Enix wanted a deep, mechanically involved title, and it shot itself in the foot instead.

8. Deus Ex: The Fall

Image via Square Enix
  • Released March 17, 2014
  • Platform: PC, Xbox 360, Mobile devices

This aptly named title is still a sore spot for many in the industry — the brilliant Deus Ex franchise humbled by its own hubris. The title was intended for mobile devices, but due to some interesting decisions, came to PC and Xbox 360. Much to everyone’s surprise, the watered-down graphics, gameplay, plot, mechanics, and strategy didn’t make the franchise any new friends. The silver lining is that Square Enix sold their Deus Ex rights, and we might get to experience the world once more as the dystopic adventure it should be.

7. Mindjack

Image via Square Enix UK
  • Released January 18, 2011
  • Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

The concept seemed straightforward — control the minds of your enemies and wreak havoc. The experience was much like the trailer, however: a jumbled plot and mediocre gameplay that never really touched its zenith. Mindjack feels like a title that had a brilliant concept but failed its own execution every step of the way. At the very least though, Mindjack was playable, and that’s important to note in a list such as this.

6. Fear Effect Sedna

Image via Square Enix
  • Released March 6, 2018
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

With beautiful cel-shaded graphics and an isometric view, Fear Effect Sedna was to be the reinvigoration of the Fear Effect franchise. The graphics weren’t enough to pull this title from its hole. It was dug with a broken tactical system that struggled to function and repetitive combat that had players looking to drop the controller after the first few engagements. In a different world, Fear Effect Sedna revitalized the genre — in this one, it just gave Square Enix the spooks.

Related: The 10 best Square Enix games of all time

5. 0 Day Attack on Earth

Image via Square Enix
  • Released December 23, 2009
  • Platform: Xbox 360 Arcade

It seems difficult to muck up the top-down shooter — it’s one of the original game genres, after all. 0 Day Attack on Earth took this, apparently, as a challenge. Even the trailer for this title was lacking chutzpah, but that mediocrity continued as players fought aliens in Tokyo, New York, and Paris. The backdrops of the cities were seemingly pulled by satellite imagery, the enemies were forgettable, and the action was impressively disappointing. A timer was added to missions to seemingly bring a boost of urgency to the gameplay, which managed to frustrate gamers only further.

4. Left Alive

Image via Square Enix
  • Released March 5, 2019
  • Platform: PC, PlayStation 4

The title Left Alive seems impossible to exist — many of its issues were frankly already solved by other titles, from the action scenes to the stealth segments. That wasn’t enough to stop Left Alive, however, and it was panned by critics and gamers alike. The fact that veteran developers from Armored Core, the Metal Gear Solid franchise, and Xenoblade Chronicles X all worked on this is mind-boggling.

3. Balan Wonderworld

Image via Square Enix
  • Released March 26, 2021
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch

Balan Wonderworld was brilliantly creative, with imaginative worlds and characters. It was also forgettable, had iffy controls, and was astonishingly repetitive for how creative the game looked. The final boss fight had a few players complaining of epileptic patterns of strobing lights, the ‘wide variety’ of outfits that were heralded for the game actually consisted of most outfits providing players with a singular action, and the level designs frequently seem teleported from the worst action platformers of yesteryear. There was even a juicy lawsuit against Square Enix that came to fruition over this game.

2. The Quiet Man

Image via Square Enix on YouTube
  • Released November 1, 2018
  • Platform: PC, PlayStation 4

As Art House titles go, The Quiet Man was either going to be a masterpiece that redefined the action-adventure genre or a massive flop. Unfortunately, The Quiet Man turned to the latter upon release. This title turned the weird up to eleven — dialogue was only available upon the second playthrough, meaning players had to work through this bizarre slog of adventure and atrocious combat twice in order to understand what was happening in the game. Like a limp fork, being unique doesn’t automatically mean you’re good.

1. Final Fantasy: All the Bravest

Image via UpToDown on YouTube
  • Released January 17, 2013
  • Platform: iOS

A mobile Final Fantasy that is memorable for one critic noting that ‘it’s almost insulting to play.’ In Final Fantasy: All the Bravest, players can unlock up to 40 characters to battle at once, which came to help the endless battles against seemingly random enemies. Moving across a gameplay map was an immaterial state of progress, as the next battle felt precisely the same as the first. With no customization, the strategic depth of a puddle, and obscene microtransaction costs, this title fell flat on release. Another critic colorfully described playing the battles to a ‘lobotomized baboon’ tapping the screen non-stop, with the end goal being for Square Enix to ‘make as much money as possible.’