5. Fable 3
I was initially in two minds about including Fable 3 in this list, since the game doesn't technically have a great deal of bugs or missing content, it just feels like it does. The Fable series is a fairly famous group of fantasy (and more recently, steampunk) RPGs. Or, perhaps 'infamous' is more appropriate. Infamous for promising the world but delivering more of a photograph of the world (the witty implication being that it lacks depth).
I'm not going to give a spoiler warning because geeze guys, it's been out since late 2010 (although in retrospect, that sort of counts as a spoiler warning). You play as a prince (or princess, it's very modern), brother/sister to the king. You find out your brother is super-evil and decide to lead a revolution, but a conservative one, none of that 'representative democracy' hogwash. Once you've succeeded in deposing your brother, it becomes your responsibility to ready the kingdom for an invasion of shadow/ooze monsters. You have one year to do so. As the player, you would have no goddamn idea that you have a year, however. The 'game' after the revolution is just some Good/Evil decisions and a couple of fairly short missions, with an entirely arbitrary number of days crossed off the calendar after each one. I'll give you an example. You have 365 days left, right? After day 121, the Final Battle begins. Yes, you miss half the year. This why I feel that Fable 3 deserves a place on this list. This is a section of the game that could have been more important than the revolution, and it just feels rushed and empty. We lead revolutions in games all the time, we rarely have to deal with the aftermath.
4. Pirates of the Caribbean
Don't let the name fool you, it isn't the movie tie-in game. Although it is set in the Caribbean, and features pirates. Undead pirates. And Aztec gold. And the ghost ship, the Black Pearl. But there's no Johnny Depp stealing everyone's limelight, Barbossa was a way better captain, shut-up.
It's a sandbox RPG where you sail around the Caribbean looting the ship out of everything that isn't nailed down, especially if it's French. There are quests, a gambling minigame, a sweet pirate city, fancy clothes, and so on. Unfortunately, there's more; unfinished quests and an assload of bugs. Not adorable flying horse bugs – ones where events don't trigger so you have to reload but you only save before major events, so what, you have to lose hours of progress because of rushed release schedules? To hell with that, Counter Strike doesn't have these problems. Or maybe it'll just crash to desktop, who knows. It's tragic really, the game could have been amazing. In sandbox RPGs, it's always vital that the simple act of travelling be enjoyable, and Pirates of the Caribbean manages that well (as long as you're not on land, at least). Sailing around is always relaxing, especially with water physics that realistic. And the hurricanes? Christ. They'll rip chunks out of your ship and tear your sails to shreds. For a game from 2003, it's really damn impressive.
If you're wondering why it has so many bugs...it was published by Bethesda Softworks. So, there you go.
3. Fallout 3/New Vegas
It's another game by Bethesda, because duh, obviously. Far more famous than Pirates of the Caribbean, the Fallout series are beloved RPGs set in a version of future America that been devastated by nuclear war. You battle mutants, dangerous animals, bandit gangs, shadowy organisations, and man's inhumanity to man. The games are brilliant, with excellent story-writing, characterisation, music and environment design, and much more, but go play them and experience the majesty of the American Wastelands for yourself. However, they do have their problems too. Particularly Fallout 3 and New Vegas ( I group them together because New Vegas is just a spin-off, not a sequel, the graphics and engine are essentially the same). To put it simply, they are bugged worse than a huge pile of bugs. When I tried playing the Fallout 3 DLC, in some areas I had to quicksave every couple of steps to make progress, that's how often it crashed.. It really did ruin it for me. I love Fallout, but I don't play often, it can get frustrating.
2. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 – The Sith Lords
Knights of the Old Republic 2 (hereafter to be abbreviated to KOTOR2) is an RPG set several thousand years prior to the events of the films. It is not to be confused with the MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic. KOTOR2 is, in my opinion, one of the greatest RPGs ever made, even with all the problems that allowed it to qualify for its place on this list. To summarise the plot, you play as an amnesiac ex-jedi who is being hunted by the Sith. Your companions all have hidden agendas and lie to you even more often than the goddamn villains. Several are outright trying to sabotage you. Because that's how friendship works. The characters are all interesting and well-developed, even the robots. Hell, the droids probably have some of the best dialogue in the game. I don't really want to say too much, since I honestly think that you should just play the game yourself. However, it has its flaws too.
Due to rushed deadlines, great swathes of content had to be cut. A huge factory that manufactures assassin droids, for example. It's even alluded to by characters in dialogue, and evidence can of it can be found in the form of files on the disk, which goes to show how pressured the developers were to release it before they considered it complete. Later on, fans released mods to restore the lost content (and clean up the many glitches). I've played it myself, it's good, but – and no disrespect for the hard work put in by the modders – it's just not the same as studio work.
1. S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl
If you've ever caught yourself thinking; “You know what? I really feel like playing a first person shooter/ survival horror set in an alternate history Chernobyl that suffered a second nuclear accident that caused terrifying mutations and spatial anomalies, while the entire area is overrun with bandits and paramilitary organisations trying to profit from the chaos. With a brutal difficulty curve and no tutorial”, then congratulations, S.T.A.L.K.E.R: SoC is clearly the game for you. Don't start partying just yet though, because the game was never actually finished (which didn't stop anyone from releasing it, obviously). It's just riddled with bugs, almost unplayably so, and a lot of content was left out. Not just locations and items, but goddamn game mechanics, like a faction system. The game is still great, and would easily make it onto my list of games that everyone should play at least once (other examples include Metroid Prime, MarioKart and Portal), but if it had actually been finished I think it would be one of the top 20 games of all time. By anyone's standards. I should probably mention that, as with KOTOR2, S.T.A.L.K.E.R has its own dedicated fans who spent an ungodly amount of time creating mods to restore missing content, fix bugs, and even update the textures and AI. They've worked miracles, considering the mountain of issues that needed addressing, but I'm still bitter that the issues were there to begin with.