7 Video Games That Have Terrible, Terrible Artificial Intelligence

GTA IV Nico busted

In this next-gen era where we’re all obsessed with graphics, AI (or artificial intelligence) is something of an underdog. It’s the lame, divorced uncle that no one wants to sit next to at dinner parties. The one who also happens to be a trash collector for a living, which means that – much like the AI in games – he’s utterly necessary but frequently undervalued.

Although most games these days are so reliant on online multiplayer, where the need for AI is completely removed by having actual people from around the world shoot you in the face instead of an algorithm, it’s still important. Single player games will never die out, of course, and now that graphics are more or less photo-realistic, it might mean that developers finally switch their priorities back – and maybe even make AI cool again.

It’s been around for long enough, and is arguably the very thing that true videogames were built on, so it is about time it came back to the fore. Did you know, for example, that even those four ghosts in Pac-Man had individually programmed artificial intelligence? No? Well, then you’re a disgrace. The original Halo certainly had a good go, too, and even gave the game the subtitle of Combat Evolved because it was so unique. I’d certainly never witnessed allies driving me around in vehicles before, or enemies rolling out of the way to dodge grenades.

But as far as AI has come, and as amazing as we’ve seen it get (Tom Clancy’s Advanced Warfighter anyone?), there’s certainly been some totally terrible misfires.

Here’s a list of them, see if you don’t agree.

Comments (27)

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  1. motiondownsays:

    So you don’t like any of the Assassin’s Creed games and yet you’ve bought every single one of them? If you hate them so much maybe you should’ve stopped buying them. Just a thought.

    1. Ciarán Uttingsays:

      I guess I’m just a relentless optimist. Or my own AI is as bad as the game’s.

    2. Punkindrublic1says:

      I am just going to go out on a limb and guess that they don’t have to buy these games and that they are donated to them from the gaming distributors. I could be wrong though.

      1. Ciarán Uttingsays:

        Occasionally we get sent press copies of games for review. I have never received an AC game though.

    3. Lihn Mahrsays:

      He writes a blog about video games, stands to reason he would prob have all the big name games regardless of his personal view. How else do you research games other than playing them?

  2. Christopher Davidsonsays:

    I thought it was Liberty City Police Department…not NYPD ;p

    1. Ciarán Uttingsays:

      You’re right, and have the best Avi ever.

  3. Roxtafsays:

    In regards to Assassin’s Creed, you must know that you are feeding the troll, so too speak, when you put money into the franchise right ?
    Also you don’t mention at all that they have made major impovement to those guards throughout the franchise, and they realy have.
    Be kind and make a list of games with extra ordinarily good AI within the same genres, that would at least give the impression that you are not one of those people who can’t apriciate how hard it is to make a computer act smart 😉

    1. Ciarán Uttingsays:

      OK, Roxtaf. Challenge accepted. In my defence though, it is much easier to take the piss

      1. Roxtafsays:

        Granted, i look forward to your list. might put a few games on my to boy list 🙂

  4. Johnny Bravosays:

    While I disagree with you on Assassin’s Creed, I respect your opinion. They have made significant improvements though throughout the series. All in all, a well-written article. Good job mate.

    1. Ciarán Uttingsays:

      Thanks Mr Bravo!

      1. Johnny Bravosays:


  5. Megatronsays:

    I lost it at the GTA IV one lol. So funny. True aswell but don’t think it was improved that much in GTA 5 either

    1. Ciarán Uttingsays:

      GTA V let you hide in bushes, so that was good enough for me

  6. B Ssays:

    “I’m talking about games such as Dead Rising, where the
    characters you’re encumbered with can merrily wander into a seething
    nest of zombies, get stuck in knee-high water fountains, or generally
    behave like they have less brain function than the undead monsters
    they’re supposed to be avoiding.” – Your description reminds me of the general population of people in and around the town where I live, and way too many of these people have driver’s licenses. Scary, isn’t it?

    1. Ciarán Uttingsays:

      haha, terrifying.

  7. The Incredible Bobsays:

    Agreed on GTA IV. God that game was a disappointment. I’m glad I bought Saints Row 3 shortly after. That game filled the void that a crappy GTA IV created, heh…

  8. Bryan Flynnsays:

    This is the best article ive read in a long time, the part on gta iv had me laughing so much i got chest pains. and then fifa 12, a week ago my friend convinced me to go back playing it, must have been some sort of sick joke because it has me throwing the controller off the ground like a 5 year old

  9. Charles-Olivier Massiesays:

    As an avid nhl 14 player, nothing is more infiuriating than playing in eashl without a full human roster and leaving the AI in charge. It is beyond me how the ai is mostly unchanged since Nhl 09

  10. sgmaroufsays:

    XD XD XD
    the GTA iV bit
    is hilariously hilarious

  11. Okami Amaterasusays:

    How about games that have good AI? Call of Duty multiplayer AI aren’t perfect, but they are better than most other AI. Timesplitters 2 on the hard difficulty. If they saw a teammate die, they would walk over and look for you, they did the same if they saw you for a split second. Hell if you touch them when they can’t see you, they will turn around.

  12. Okami Amaterasusays:

    Oh and Happy Wars, their AI can be smart sometimes but at other times they jump off the edge of a map…Or entire teams jump off a map to go after a player…

  13. Davesays:

    Skate 3!

  14. Jill Sandwichsays:


  15. nspjblacsays:

    Now you can add Stellaris to this list. Abysmal AI that literally runs sectors into the ground, doesnt DOW any anyone or do any expansion at all. Also a crappy game, but its a paradox game on release day, so not a surprise

  16. Lihn Mahrsays:

    To the people whos rebuttal is “you hate it but you bought it, er er, dum dummy face” do realize this writes a blog about video games right? Hes not just a fan who may find other aspects about said game or titles fun and intriguing, but he also uses said games for information. So yes he would probably have titles that maybe are not his favorite. Just a thought. Ps all sports ai are terrible. I spend more time with toggles and points trying to make a game seem real. And I too dont know why the Framingham Eagles can keep in step with The Philadelphia Eagles.

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