Gaming in the 21st century has become one of the biggest forms of human entertainment. Its application requires time, dedication and energy with every new game becoming larger and more adventurous with extra freedom and choice than ever before.
Big Business investment, celebrity endorsement and cross platform gaming has expanded the gaming universe immensely, allowing big game titles to become lavishly acclaimed even before releasing.
With each New Year comes a catalogue of games that are destined to be played by thousands of gamers around the world. While some games are more commercially successful than others, whether that be due to genre, the series or even the developer, I’ve decided to look at those that were adored critically but in actual fact were very average.
The selection and placement of games on this list is sure to ruffle some feathers, and not everyone will be in agreement, however, gaming is seriously big business and players should do their research before spending their hard earned cash and be wary of exceptionally overrated games.
So here are 20 terrible games that got amazing reviews and please do feel free to mention any other possible candidates in the comment section below.
20 LittleBigPlanet - Metacritic Score: 95
Coming in at number 20 and our first entry on the list, is the puzzle platform game LittleBigPlanet. Developed by, Media Molecule and published by Sony, LBP was released back in 2008 alongside Sony’s PS3 console and was praised for its creativity, visuals and audio. Despite the rave reviews LBP received, it wasn’t the video game it was made out to be. Sure its level of freedom and customisation are extravagant and the graphics are solid, but it lacks a certain ‘Wow’ factor. It has a basic story line, its difficulty doesn’t challenge the more extreme gamers and despite its immense creative opportunities, it manages to feel repetitive. LittleBigPlanet is essentially Sony’s attempt at a 3D Super Mario Bros with level design and how it’s considered to be rated as highly as other PlayStation platform classics like, Rayman Legends, Ratchet and Clank and Crash Bandicoot is baffling.
19 Bioshock Infinite - Metacritic Score: 94
Bioshock Infinite is the first game to feature on this list that is targeted for its poor gameplay. Following on the success of Bioshock and Bioshock 2, Bioshock Infinite was again beautiful to look at and fun to explore, while ticking all the narrative boxes. The game was considered to be ‘the most anticipated first person shooter of 2013’ but was a tremendous let down to hard core Bioshock fans. The game invokes the simplest form of cover shooting while adding an NPC companion about as useful as ‘little sisters’ without ‘big daddies’. Not the worst game of all time, but terrible in comparison to its amazing reviews.
18 Watch Dogs - Metacritic Score: 80
It’s hard to think of a game title that was more overhyped than Watch Dogs. At first, it appeared to the be the first real challenger to Rockstar’s ‘open world’ throne, promising players immense possibilities but with a concept that was closer to reality. Although game developer Ubisoft’s third person shooter was well received from critics, it was absolutely decimated by its player base. To begin, the graphics, colour scheme and load time were not even close to what Ubisoft promised from their preview trailers. Then there were the constant game glitches, terrible AI and clunky vehicle mechanics that made the game an unwanted challenge. All while this is happening, players are forced to get behind the actions of main character, Aiden Pearce, a professional hacker seeking revenge for his murdered niece, even though it was mainly his fault due to the bank heist he committed against the games criminal underworld in the prologue of the story.
17 Gears of War 4 - Metacritic Score: 84
The first Xbox exclusive entry on the list is a controversial one. The first Gears of War game ticked all the boxes as an alien cover shooter with the addition of a decent storyline, loveable characters and co-op gameplay. Gears of War 2 managed to take it to the next step and to quote the Gears of War motto, it was ‘bigger, badder and more badass’. Gears of War 3 just managed to tie it all together and then Gears of War 4 went full Die Hard 5! And I don’t mean that in a good way. Gears of War 4 had so much potential as it was the first game of the series to make an appearance on the next generation console, but failed to capitalise on such opportunities. Introducing a new set of characters and gameplay style, the new developers jacked up the action and reduced the quality of the storyline. The game failed to reinvigorate itself and its high rating should be a warning to potential buyers.
16 God of War III - Metacritic Score: 92
It’s easy to see why fans of God of War are excited right now. The trailer for the upcoming reboot looks sensational, as Santa Monica Studios look set to drop the hack and slash combat style while adding more complexity to the main hero, Kratos. Less could be said for its predecessor God of War III. The third entry into the Greek God killing series is full of button mashing mechanics, child-like sex scenes and ridiculous, but boring boss battles. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good hack and slash button bash, but God of War III, which by now had exhausted the genre after two previous games, used it in the wrong places. Over production of this game brought in the excellent ratings, but the high calibre reviews didn’t match the games content.
15 Minecraft - Metacritic Score: 93
I have to admit that this choice is purely personal, as I have never understood the hype and craze behind Mojang’s sandbox title, Minecraft. The game has been hugely successful, selling over 100 million copies as of 2016, which has resulted in massive reviews from critics all over. But it’s just a building game!! Minecraft is one of those games you pick up when you physically and mentally have nothing else to do with your time. Yes, you can create whatever you want and the possibilities of your creations are endless, but that’s about it. For a game that receives 9/10 review scores, you would think it would offer more elements to justify its exceptionally high rating.
14 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - Metacritic Score: 88
The Call of Duty franchise has evolved massively over time, but for the last few years the game has stagnated with the most recent assembly, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, not being well received by both fans and critics. However, it’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 that makes this list because it firstly was reviewed generously and secondly, it's where the game officially threw its campaign out the window and focused solely on the same repetitive online shooter than fans are still subjected to today. Modern Warfare 3 was probably doomed from the start with Infinity Ward and Activision having to better, if not replicate, their highly acclaimed Modern Warfare 2, but somehow that didn’t stop it from achieving high scores with the critics. Modern Warfare 3 struggled to tie up its story, making it shorter than the previous two games and the online was a bland, unpatched mess, which left fans of the game begging for the return of Treyarch.
13 Resident Evil - Metacritic Score: 91
The Resident Evil original collection is considered as one of best video game series to date, but it’s purely there for nostalgia’s sake. The games are old, yes, but that doesn’t make the game any better because of that. The horrible camera angles and clunky mechanics are bad enough to drive even the most patient of gamers insane. On top of this, the game lacks scary moments, with most jump scenes incredibly cheesy and the poor visuals make it hard for the player to achieve any sort of suspense while playing the game. While Resident Evil 7 has been well reviewed and seen as a return to prominence for the franchise, we think that the franchise was kind of overrated to begin with.
12 Dishonored - Metacritic Score: 91
Dishonored took first person stealth to a new level when it was first released back in October 2012, even though Far Cry 3, somewhat matched it a month later. Critics praised the game, another Bethesda production based on betrayal, following the path of a character searching for a loved one in a world plagued by poverty. See where I’m going with this? There was nothing Dishonored offered that other Bethesda titles didn’t and yet it still brought home the bacon. Its combat was extremely similar to Skyrim and its story was comparable to Fallout 4. Dishonored may look good on the surface, but once you enter the game, you feel a sense of unoriginality slice through you.
11 Pokemon Diamond and Pearl - Metacritic Score: 85
It was a tough call between Pokémon Diamond and Pearl and other ‘highly rated’ Pokémon titles that could have made the list, especially the unadventurous remakes of Pokémon Red and Green. However, I’ve decided to go with Nintendo’s first Pokémon game on the DS because despite the new opportunities a new console brings, Game Freak still produced the same game that we had already been playing for 10 years. Many fans believed Pokémon Black and White were more overrated, but I’ve gone with Diamond and Pearl purely because I felt the aforementioned game produced slightly better and cooler Pokémon. Diamond and Pearl visually wasn’t very stunning and its Pokédex wasn’t very appealing, while its storyline was a carbon copy of previous games. Yet, in spite of this, Diamond and Pearl continued the 10-year trend of well-rated Pokémon games.
10 Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain - Metacritic Score: 93
Metal Gear Solid is one of the all time great games and so were the sequels that followed it. The game's mastermind, Hideo Kojima, created the best telling narrative in gaming history and looked set to finish it on an a high. That was before he and game publishers Konami broke up and what followed was an extremely rushed game that failed to finish of the incredible saga. The game is beautiful to look at and the AIs are intelligent, but with an open world, you would have hoped for more versatile side missions and more creative main quests. The illusive villain, Skull Face, was a nice addition ,but once he was out of the way, the pointless tacked on ending left a sour taste in the mouth of Metal Gear fans.
9 Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception - Metacritic Score: 92
Naughty Dog rarely produce anything of poor quality, with a list of titles that make the PlayStation exclusive developers one of the most beloved video game makers around. Such a collection of games that make Naughty Dog so good is the Uncharted series. The action packed games that follow the adventures of, Nathan Drake, mix epic adventures, strong narrative and beautiful visuals to produce quality gaming. The first instalment brought the series to life and the second blew our minds, but the third… just made par. Perhaps Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception wasn’t terrible, but it definitely lived off the fame of its predecessors. The game lacked any new exciting features and added a villainous plot that didn’t really make any sense, which made the game a little bit of a drag to play and took away from the series gripping storyline.
8 FIFA 16 - Metacritic Score: 84
I’ll be the first person to admit, I Love FIFA. I’ve owned every one of them since 1999 and despite the criticism that suggests the game rarely moves on from its previous edition, I stood by the game and would routinely defend it. That was until we came to the year 2016. FIFA 16 was a backwards step for the football franchise, regardless of its solid reviews. EA focused heavily on its Ultimate Team mode and ignored all of its other playable options, leaving the game as old as ever. They at least made some good changes to the gameplay, but they forgot how to do simple things such as accurate passing between players, making the game extremely frustrating to play. As if the franchise hadn’t taken the life of enough of my controllers!!
7 Gran Turismo 5 - Metacritic Score: 84
Gran Turismo 5 is probably the biggest disappointment on this list for myself personally. As a huge fan of the Real Driver Simulator, I had a lot of expectations for Gran Turismo 5, after a five-year wait period after Gran Turismo 4. The game promised to be as real as ever, with real time damage to cars in case of crashes, and offered an even wider range of cars than ever before. Both those promises were largely false with the biggest let down being the lack of damage to cars and how it affected the racing. On top of this, the collection of cars were just remastered editions of cars from previous games with a lack of new models. Rated highly amongst critics, probably due to the fact it’s still the closest game we have to real life driving, the game failed to add the next gen engine that the series and the fans deserved.
6 Fallout 4 - Metacritic Score: 88
Fallout 4 is a game that offers players endless playable storylines that can keep gamers busy for hours, while offering a huge world to explore and farm. The drawback from this? You get clunky mechanics and continual bugs at any moment. We have to give Bethesda credit for their innovation and ambition, but have you ever heard the phrase ‘your eyes are bigger than your stomach’? While trying to take on so much, Bethesda didn’t manage to pull away from the already great Fallout 3 and failed to use the newer console to improve on smoother gameplay, better looking surroundings and their already impressive ideas. While not the worst game of all time, it's just not as good as the critics led us to believe.
5 Far Cry 4 - Metacritic Score: 85
Far Cry 4 makes this list for committing the biggest video game crime of all: COPY AND PASTING! Ubisoft’s (making its second appearance on this list) first person shooter came off the back of a remarkable Far Cry 3, which was huge success worldwide as they took their one man army theme to the next level, wowing us with brilliant visuals, action and great narrative. They then decided that they would do the exact same thing with Far Cry 4, but instead of coming up with something original, they decided to make a carbon copy of their previous invention and sell it for millions. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a brilliant strategy from them and, to be honest, fans and critics of the game should be the ones to blame for giving this lazy developed production any kind of recognition.
4 Batman: Arkham Knight - Metacritic Score: 87
The Batman: Arkham series has well and truly died, even if the ratings for Warner Bros’ latest instalment, Arkham Knight, were critically well received. Let's get the good points out of the way first… it was much better Arkham Origins. Warner Bros decided to move back to Rocksteady Studios after WB Games Montréal failed to deliver on the previous game and it made a difference, but not by much. During the game, you spend most of the time driving round in the Batmobile, which is fun at first, but becomes a tedious grind once you realise nearly every mission involves the use of the suped-up tank. Then there was the predictable story, the same old game mechanics and gadget selections and the insulting DLC that offered roughly 20 minutes of gameplay. Yet, this game was still strongly appreciated by critics, making us ask the question; how?
3 Grand Theft Auto IV - Metacritic Score: 98
It’s a well-known fact that every new GTA game is greeted with open arms and with games like, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, a game considered one of the greatest of all time, it's easy to see why. However, GTA IV should not have been considered in that category. The first GTA to step up its game graphically, focused on realistic physics and a more real life approach to crime in their remastered Liberty City. But by dropping the over the top satire for a more realistic approach, Rockstar ruined the fun that GTA games brought to players. This game may have been well received critically due to its huge marketing campaign and the suggestion of'big things. But as far as the GTA franchise is concerned, this is the weakest of the lot, with the inclusion of stereotypical characters and lack of replayability making it a particularly overrated game.
2 Assassin's Creed III - Metacritic Score: 85
Once again, there were a few choices from this game series that I could've made, but I settled on Assassin’s Creed 3, as it is where the series officially killed itself and I mean quite literally killed itself. After the first Assassin’s Creed, which was praised by critics despite its repetitive gameplay and confusing storyline, Ubisoft returned with Assassin’s Creed II, which is the best one they've made. Unfortunately for them, they wasted their time with what can only be described as mini games (Brotherhood and Revelations) that by the time they got to the next chapter in the story, the series had lost its way. Assassin’s Creed III was destined to be a disappointment, despite scoring favourably with most critics. While the gameplay aspects were solid, it was the storyline that fell flat, as the game attempted to make the Assassins and Templars as bad as each other, leaving players guilty that they were supporting the Assassins all this time. The ending of the game is another explanation all together, as Ubisoft killed the main character and the series in one swift blow.
1 L.A. Noire - Metacritic Score: 89
Taking home our prestigious award for terrible game with amazing reviews is none other than Rockstar Games’ Neo Noir action/adventure detective game, L.A. Noire. L.A Noire’s reception from critics was outstanding, as it was praised for its slow, but thriller-like pace and its exceptional interrogation elements. However, the rest of the game fell flat. The investigation into each crime was repetitive, as your character strolled around the crime scene looking for clues in a tedious fashion. The resulting finale to each mission would always end in a foot chase, which was fun at first, but boring after the first go. On top of this, its open world offered nothing but a map in which the game was played. L.A. Noire’s premise got itself an excellent rating, but its performance let us down and that's why it's first on our list.