2023 has been quite the year for gaming. We’ve seen highs like Starfield, Baldur’s Gate 3, and Diablo 4, and success stories for indie games like Sea of Stars and Dave the Diver. We’ve seen some absolute flops too, though: Redfall and Lord of the Rings: Gollum, I’m looking at you. As we delve deeper into spooky season and winter approaches, I didn’t think there was any room for more bottom-tier games, but Skull Island: Rise of Kong might just have snatched the last place crown.
Skull Island: Rise of Kong marks the end of an 18-year videogame hiatus for the Eighth Wonder of the World, and is described as an “exhilarating third-person action-adventure game [that] lets you become Kong on a journey of vengeance as you fight to claim your rightful place as King of Skull Island.”
If that sounds exciting, then I’m sorry, but I have bad news for you. Following the game’s official release on Tuesday, October 17, the internet has absolutely obliterated it, and while I try my best to be sympathetic, I can’t help but agree.
Graphically, the game is an absolute mess. A cutscene where Kong takes on what I can only guess is some form of feathered dinosaur creature looks like it’s straight out of a PS1 game – and not one of the good ones.
Framed by blocky-looking grass, the purple animal roars at Kong, triggering what appears to be some form of flashback that appears as a random still photograph covering the scream. Enraged, Kong turns on a 360-degree axis, roaring and launching himself at the creature, slamming into the ground, and throwing pixelated dirt up around him. We never hear or see the other animal die, and honestly, I’m okay with that.
Never did I think that I’d be saying The Lord of the Rings Gollum looked good, but right now I’m rethinking that. The textures are awful, everything has a bizarre black outline around it and… honestly, just see for yourself.
And it really is a shame. The original 2005 King Kong game remains a fond favorite, scoring 80 on Metacritic when it first debuted. While I’ve never been a huge fan of videogame adaptions of movies, I remember thinking it looked pretty damn cool way back when but wasn’t allowed to buy it because I wasn’t old enough. Looks like I won’t be buying this one, though, that’s for sure.
If Skull Island: Rise of Kong is a stark reminder of just how much better videogames were back in the day, then we have a list of the best old games to give you that dopamine burst. Otherwise, why not check out the best PC games – because let’s be real, this ain’t on it.