Boss Rush Banter: What Games Have the Worst Maps?

Sometimes, even when I’m navigating with a map, I manage to get lost. On a recent trip to the zoo, I found myself staring at a paper map and trying to orient which direction we should go to see the giraffes. I often get lost in video games too, despite their maps. It can be easy to get turned around and confused in any game, however there have been some games with particularly unhelpful or ambiguous maps, or difficult to navigate areas. Many players have, at times, found themselves unsure about which way to go to progress in a game. What are some of the best games with the worst maps or most frustrating navigation systems?

A good map in a video game is an incredibly useful tool. While some games don’t need maps, others are greatly improved by giving players this helpful contrivance. Sometimes, however, a map isn’t as useful as it could be, due to a lack of features, the difficulty of mapping a 3D terrain onto a 2D map, or other problems. Obviously older games may not have as intricate or complex mapping tools as modern games, but even some new or current games have maps that obfuscate the player’s goals or lack in detail such that they aren’t as helpful as they could be.

A map from Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Image Credit: Nintendo.

While it is very likely that some of the worst maps in video games are in games that are bad in many other ways, what is interesting for the sake of discussion here is a game that is well received, or generally good, but has a navigation or map system that is frustrating and lacking. 

There have been a number of games I’ve enjoyed, but due to the inability to zoom in on a map, or perceive vertical differences, my ability to navigate suffers. The first game that comes to mind in this context is Shin Megami Tensei V. While I may have had other gripes with the game, the map is probably my chief complaint as it didn’t always help when trying to figure out how to reach specific locations, causing me to spend hours wandering as I tried to figure out how to get to the next objective.

What about you? What game did you otherwise enjoy or had the experience ruined because of a bad map system? Let us know in the comments below or be part of the discussion on the Boss Rush Discord.

The Boss Rush Podcast – Mondays at 7AM ET

The Boss Rush Podcast

The Boss Rush Podcast is the flagship podcast of Boss Rush Media and The Boss Rush Network. Each week, Corey, LeRon, Stephanie, Edward, and their friends from around the internet come together to talk their week in games, entertainment, and more while also bringing topics for conversation, answer listener and community questions, and cover major news and events happening in the video game industry. Watch The Boss Rush Podcast live on Wednesday Nights on Twitch at 8:30PM ET / 5:30PM PT or on Monday mornings at 7AM ET on YouTube and podcast services everywhere. Thanks for listening! You can also get this episode one week early on Patreon.

Anchor | Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google | Twitch | Overcast | Pocket Casts

One thought on “Boss Rush Banter: What Games Have the Worst Maps?

  1. The World Ends With You comes to mind for me. I love the game, but the map is awful. It shows the fashion trends of each area rather than what each area actually is, and it’s so confusing. The only way I could navigate was by memorizing where everything was, which ends up defeating the purpose of the map a bit. The sequel was better about this, but I will never forget how extremely confusing the map on the first game was. Great post!

Leave a Reply