The act of reviewing a video game has and always will be a controversial topic.
As it becomes more commonly accepted that video games are an art form, people are finding it harder to accurately rate something that is as subjective as art.
But as someone who —hilariously enough— got a degree in art, I can tell you that sometimes there are some pure stinkers, and some that are given way too much credit. But, critics aren’t the end-all authority on what makes a good or bad game. Their credibility usually comes with both knowledge and experience. If a video game reviewer was given an MMORPG to review but had never even played a multiplayer player game before, would that be a good person to review an MMO? In short, no. The reviewer would present false information in their review due to lack of experience or a misunderstanding within an entire genre. Different game genres are primarily reviewed by people familiar with their background, history, and playstyle. And in large companies where reviewers are a combination of freelance, contract, and part-time, it’s hard to allocate the best games to each staff member. Alternatively, some reviewers get a big head and overconfidently think they know best about a game they’ve just tried out. In either situation, the backlash is both massive and seriously embarrassing for the writer. Gamers are a fanatic breed, and their criticism of those who critique their passion is…loud. So in that case, here’s 30 Embarrassing Times Video Game Critics Got Everything Completely Wrong
30 IGN - Fallout 4 Review Ignores Streamlined Features
As someone who spent 200+ hours between both Fallout 3 and New Vegas, I can accurately say I’m a fan of the franchise.
Also, as a fan of the franchise believe me when I tell you that Fallout 4 was a mess in plenty of different ways.
Between its graphical changes, constant bugs, and oversimplification of previous mechanics, it was obvious that this game was a downgrade in almost every sense of the word. But, IGN controversially disagreed and gave the game a 98%, which mean's it's 2% away their highest honor — that makes no sense.
29 GamesRadar - Now Crash Bandicoot Is Sitting At The Bonfire
The words "Dark Souls" have lost all meaning when it comes to describing other titles.
At the peak of the popularity for From Software, reviews, publications, and interviews alike loved to compare other video games to Dark Souls.
Most of these initial comparisons were relatively apt, the games shared a lot of similar traits or mechanics. But “Dark Souls” has become a buzzword as of recent and nowhere is it more hilarious than in Gamesradar’s review of Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy. Because when I think 90s era platformers, I, of course, think of Capra Demon's.
28 IGN - Pokémon Alpha Sapphire - Kyrogre: God Of The Sea Is Too Wet
The backlash the writer suffered for this review is a bit excessive, but it's just too easy! Needless to say, reviewing the new releases of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire is no easy task. These are the updated remasters of the original Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire.
But, the biggest complaint is due to a large amount of water Pokémon and seawater, in a game where the plot revolves around the deity of the ocean.
It’s like saying the original BioShock had just too much water. And unfortunately, in this industry, one faulty review can follow you your whole career.
27 Joystiq - Harder Than "Dark Souls" Nier Fishing
Here it is, one of the most infamous reviews. This review was posted on Joystiq and is part of the reason Nier, unfortunately, didn’t sell so well.
This reviewer essentially rage quits due to the slight awkwardness of the fishing minigame that’s required in Nier.
As someone who 100% Nier I can say the fishing, while a bit obtuse, is not difficult. You pull in the opposite direction your brain assumes you would. But not understanding the mechanic plus fishing in the WRONG spot is no reason to quit a game mid-review with a 0/10 ... It should be noted: For as infamous as this review is, it was, of course, a pseudo JOKE!
26 IGN - Somehow Complimented Andromeda's Facial Texture's With A 7.7
Mass Effect Andromeda's a mess. Mass Effect 3 also had a messy script but its gameplay was great just like its predecessors. Mass Effect Andromeda seemed to be a downgrade from the others in every way. Nevertheless, it was a triple AAA release and major review sites have a hard time being negative towards the big releases as we’ve seen.
And for a game rife with unlikable character's, streamlined features, and awful animation, a 7.7 from IGN was absurd.
Personally, if you want hilarious viewpoints on the game, I recommend videogamedunkey’s or Funhaus’s video's on YouTube that accurately display the flaws.
25 IGN - Football Manager 2009, Boy I Wish It Was FIFA
Personally, one of the only genre’s of games I’ve left untouched is simulator games. Title's like Eurotruck Simulator, Goat Simulator, and one such Football Manager.
This review is another for the history books as IGN decided to give the game about managing a soccer team to someone who hates soccer.
The reviewer complained about the lack of player controller soccer, ended up giving the game a 2/10, and compared it to FIFA. You’d think with a title like Football MANAGER, one would expect that you’d be managing a team rather than playing one, crazy I know.
24 Jimquistion - Hellblade's Rare Bug Earn's It A 1/10
This might be Jim Sterling’s worst offender, one he later apologized for.
But in Sterling’s initial review of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice for the PS4, he managed to give the game a 1/10.
This was because he had encountered a relatively rare save bug that wouldn’t let him progress. Unfortunately being the kind of reviewer he is, Jim didn’t wait for a patch or manage to fix his copy. Rather he used his platform to bash on a game for a rare circumstance. Since then he has kindly bumped his score up to a hearty 6/10, which honestly is pretty good for him.
23 Atomix - Ignores The Loudest Fiasco Ever Because Of Star Wars
EA’s microtransactions in Star Wars: Battlefront 2 might have just ruined cosmetics for everyone. It got so bad that the Belgian Gaming Commission had to investigate the game in detail, to make sure it wasn't considered gambling. Microtransactions can be done correctly if it's primarily for cosmetics that don't affect gameplay.
A company has to hold onto their greed, but EA has never been that company.
Apparently, Atomix doesn’t agree because their review of the game ignores this entire aspect. They review the game as if it isn't massively lacking in content or integrity.
22 GameCrate - Game Is Unplayable, Somehow Get's A 9.2
Batman Arkham Knight is a pretty good game. But It’s PC release may be the worst of all time.
Its initial debut on Steam was rife with game breaking bugs, save corruption, and tons of visual errors.
It was essentially unplayable for a long amount of time. Eventually, the developers released a statement that basically said “tough cookies” and left it in a pretty poor state. Horrible bugs aside, the game itself massively relies on the subpar Batmobile mechanic instead of Batman himself. GameCrate somehow seemed to navigate through all these flaws however and gave the PC release a 9.2.
21 GamesBeat - Local Journalist Tormented By Cuphead Tutorial For 26 Minutes
Oh man, this Cuphead footage. I felt so bad for the journalist when watching the video. For reference, Dean Takahashi played Cuphead at Gamescom in a very suboptimal environment.
But the man took 26 minutes to complete the tutorial!
This video on YouTube has over a million views and since then has been an internet sensation. Since the scandal, GamesBeat has let the internet know that Dean isn’t familiar with the genre but was the only one at Gamescom, so he had no choice. An unfortunate situation for the critic sure, but it also poorly represented a game full of charm.
20 IGN - International Gaming Publication Steals Review, Somehow Gets Caught
This one is pretty recent, a YouTube channel called Boomstick Gaming had recently released a review for the fresh out of early access hit Dead Cells by Motion Twin.
Later this same channel would compare his review along with IGN’s official review, and find that they’re essentially the same.
IGN reviewer Filip Miucin didn’t even manage to plagiarize well, essentially replacing parts of sentences with synonyms and calling it good enough. Since then Filip has been let go from IGN and Boomstick Gaming has more than doubled his subscribers! Plus Boomstick really handled the whole situation professionally!
19 IGN - Beyond Two Souls Is Beyond Saving, But Not For IGN
David Cage is incapable of subtlety, depth, or unique ideas. He’s isn't nor ever has been a competent writer. Beyond Two Souls is no exception. The idea was neat, a girl with psychic powers, her ghost companion, and tons of drama. it’s radical on paper. But the script in actuality is a mess of stereotypes, nonsensical nonlinear storytelling, and a fake sense of agency.
Cage still has a large following because he hides his subpar writing behind Hollywood actors and big budget visuals.
Even IGN is guilty of falling for this, and somehow gave the massively flawed game a 9.8!
18 Digitally Downloaded - Somehow Gave No Man's Sky A 10/10 On Release
No Man’s Sky on release was a painful experience. As it’s release date got closer, avid followers of the game starting the notice just how lacking the game was.
So when the time for reviews came around, there was no mercy. Except for Digitally Downloaded. Their review proceeds to talk about how important a game like this is and how exhilarating the exploration becomes. And while these are both true statements, they in no way merit giving this game such a high score.
17 GameZone - Can't Tell The Difference Between Difficult And Dark Souls
Comparing a game to Dark Souls nowadays is essentially just calling it difficult.
When a reviewer can’t see that and still calls something "Souls like," they face a massive amount of backlash from their readers.
And Game Zone’s “9 Games That Are The Dark Souls Of Their Genre” is actually an article talking about 9 hard games. It’s probably one of the largest examples of using buzzwords to make an article more popular. The only game on their list that has anything similar to Dark Souls in its mechanics/theme’s is Dragon’s Dogma, whose director is a fan of Dark Souls!
16 IGN - Think's RE7 Is As Good As Andromeda
So for these next two IGN review’s I’m actually going to talk about its score in comparison to another game on this list. IGN gave Mass Effect Andromeda a 77/100 which is way too kind. But, they also gave the International hit Resident Evil 7 a 77/100.
If there’s one thing in life I’m 100% sure of, it’s that Resident Evil 7 is a much better game than Andromeda.
Resident Evil 7 is held in high regard, even the fans who dislike that it's changed admit that it’s still a good game. It's an absolutely absurd comparison that showcases the problem with IGN's 100-point scale. By trying to add nuance, they distract from the voice of the reviewer.
15 IGN - Sonic Forces Somehow Better Than Lost World
Sonic Forces was the classic Sonic title fans have sadly become accustomed to, heavy story, short levels, and awkward controls.
Yet somehow IGN managed to give Forces a 6.9 while also giving Sonic Lost World a 5.8.
Let me just explain something, Sonic Forces is a post-apocalyptic, create a character game, where all the dialogue revolves around complimenting your character or talking about how scary war is. Meanwhile, Sonic Lost World is a diverse and unique setting, complexly designed game where the dialogue is minimal, and the plot involves getting from A to B. Which sounds like the better Sonic game to you?
14 Destructoid - Jim Sterling Isn't A Fan Of Ezio
Here begins our descent into the Jim Sterling hole. Sterling is a reviewer who used to primarily review for Destructoid but now hosts his massively popular show The Jimquisiton on his site/YouTube. He’s known for his harsh opinions and polarizing arguments.
Assassins Creed 2 is the game that really earned him his reputation.
Jim really lays into a game that, for all intents and purposes, improved on the original in every conceivable way. It’s obvious he just doesn’t like the gameplay of the Assassin's Creed franchise and judges the sequel as if it’s the original. Now, it's criticism, this is his opinion (no one can take that away), but the rest of the industry fell in love with Ezio.
13 IGN - Anarchy Reigns Review Is Pure Chaos
This might be the biggest offender of a reviewer both not understanding the game or genre.
Anarchy Reigns is Platinum Game’s first fore into the multiplayer scene and it’s incredibly ambitious.
Don’t get me wrong the game has graphical issues and plenty of bugs, but its core gameplay and mechanics are top notch. Everything the reviewer knocks the game for is something that’s well accepted in the fighting game genre. Locked characters, a story that teaches you mechanics for online, and basic environments are all tried and true methods for making a successful and competent fighter.
12 Destructoid - Jim Sterling Isn't A Fan Of Starship Troopers Apparently
“The problem with Earth Defense Force is that its utter [redacted].” This is literally the first line of Jim Sterling’s review of Earth Defense Force 4.1: A Shadow of New Despair.
For those unaware, the EDF franchise is one built on it’s…well, charming flaws.
The games are rife with bugs (literally), glitches, and textural inaccuracies. But for all the downsides, they’re insanely fun games. You spend all your time defending Earth from massive insects, with a variety of cannons, space lasers, and giant tanks. I mean come on, at multiple points you fight a knockoff Godzilla with a giant mech! (Again — opinions! He can have them, this is just a funny moment of missing the point).
11 Game Informer- Disagree's That Dead Island Is Dead On Arrival
Dead Island is an ambitious game, it attempted to be one of the first AAA zombie RPG’s. It included a cast of incredibly diverse characters, a tropical island setting, and a Borderland’s-esque system of hundreds of variable-based weapons.
Honestly, the game should have been great, but it was rampant with flaws.
Game Informer's 2011 review of the game isn’t bad, it’s just much too kind. Dead Island is known to be repetitive, clunky, and awkward. It's a title that wasn't well tested, isn't well balanced, and was finally perfected with the release of Dying Light.
10 IGN - Not Avant Garde Enough For Deadly Premonition
Swery is one of my favorite video game directors out there. He is someone I would consider truly unique in his methods of storytelling. But IGN’s review of his biggest title Deadly Premonition, doesn’t seem to agree.
Sure the game is a technical mess, and by a mess, I mean post food fight sort of mess.
But the characters, writing, and the game itself are nothing short of captivating, in a bizarre way. That’s not addressed well by the reviewer who missed the point completely only to give it a 2/10 for technical foibles alone.
9 IGN - Destiny Clone Sequel Somehow Gets Higher Score
I personally put over 150 hours into Destiny 2, and most of that time I felt like I was essentially playing a Destiny 1 expansion.
Destiny 2 is visually inspiring. The characters, music, and set pieces are nothing short of visionary.
But outside of that the game really is just Destiny 1, again. Oddly, Gaming Age and IGN review's seem to sell it as a truly expansive sequel. One that improves upon its predecessor, when that just isn’t the case. It isn’t a bad game, but it’s JUST as good as Destiny 1 if not weaker thanks to its subpar DLC.
8 Gamespot - This Review Is Banana's B-A-N-A-N-A-S
People thought Gamespot was going bananas with this review. Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze is a fresh, inventive, and complete package of a platformer. It was a huge reason why many people bought a Wii U.
But Gamespot’s review really lays it on thick, calling the game bland and much too difficult.
It really feels like the reviewer was playing a different game when reading it. In fact, the blowback from this review was so bad, Gamespot actually re-reviewed the game! They picked a different reviewer and the score was bumped up from a 6 to a much deserved 9/10.
7 IGN - Johnny's Too Mean To His Family In MKX
This, much like the Pokémon review, is one that has suffered ton’s of embarrassment due to one line. IGN’s review of Mortal Kombat X is honestly acceptable.
But he comments on something in his analysis that really got the fan’s going.
The reviewer made the mistake of talking about the tonal dissonance between the serious father-daughter drama in the story mode, and Johnny performing a fatality on his daughter. Of course, the versus battles in fighting games have never been canon, so fan's of the genre had a field day with this article.
6 IGN - Godhand Less Fun Than Game For Literal Babies
Here it is, the most well-known review of all time. IGN’s review of God Hand for the PS2.
For newcomers, God Hand is a game made by Clover Studios who would eventually become Platinum Games.
They essentially created the most in-depth, albeit short, 3D beat em’ up in existence. Where there are over 100 different moves to customize your character with so that every playthrough is unique. The game is heavily flawed in its visuals but overall it's a truly unique experience. But IGN’s review completely misses the depth and charm of the game and gives it a 2/10. Something that gamers still haven't forgiven.
5 IGN - Kirby's Air Ride Review Show's IGN Is Bad At Melee
Kirby's Air Ride was for the Nintendo Gamecube and didn’t sell all that well. But that was because it was such a unique spin-off title.
Air Ride was developed by Super Smash Bros legend Masahiro Sakurai and it shows.
The game is mechanically deep and a ton of fun. But IGN blasted the game with a 5.2/10. This review again attacks the game thanks to the reviewer’s lack of understanding. Calling the game clumsy when the player's execution is the problem, and even going so far to use the same clumsy excuse to knock down the score in multiple categories!
4 Jimquisition - Prey A Space Adventure, Way Too Boring
Prey is an enigma of a game, it’s was a well-advertised, triple AAA release with interesting mechanics and a mysterious story. For all intents and purposes, it should’ve sold gangbusters. But Jim Sterling didn't agree.
To boil down what Sterling thoughts seem to be, he found Prey quite uninteresting.
He saw it as a failed spiritual successor to System Shock. And while some fans agree that mimics are overused in the game, the power system, Gloo cannon, and mimicry are in no way boring. In fact, turning into a coffee cup so I can slide underneath a doorway is deceptively amazing! Just an opinion, of course, but it under sells a tremendous game.
3 Game Informer - Mario Is For Kid's ONLY
The original Paper Mario and the Thousand Year Door is filled with great writing, amazing side characters, and a fantastic aesthetic.
The more recent Paper Mario games have dropped in quality quite a bit, but the name “Paper Mario” is still held in high regard by fans of all ages.
Unfortunately, Game Informer doesn’t agree because their review gives the game quite a low score. This is based on the fact it’s “made for children” as stated in an email response to fan’s who criticized his review.
2 IGN - Sonic Is Just Too Slow in Lost World!
Sonic Lost World isn't an amazing Sonic game. But when compared to the subpar Sonic titles we've gotten in the past 10 years, it's one of the best.
Before Sonic Mania, SEGA fan's only hope was games like Sonic Generations and Sonic Colors.
But apparently, IGN didn't agree in their review for the game. They complained that Sonic wasn't fast enough and that the complex and diverse levels were too complicated. But longtime fans who played originals like Sonic 2 & 3 would recognize that Sonic was never best when he moved "fast". Rather it was best when players had complex, expansive levels to explore, at a brisk pace.
1 Game Revolution - Can't Handle Motion Controls In Red Steel
Red Steel was most gamers first experience with motion controls on the Wii. It was a game very obviously marketed to be like an arcade game.
Red Steel actually did a great job of showcasing the movement controls and applications for weapon-based combat on the Wii.
The sword controls functioned pretty well if your Wii was set up correctly. The story and plot were campy and fun in an intentional way. But everything I just praised the game for was a negative mark against it in Game Informers review. They somehow managed to insult the surface level plot, but then complimented its amazing explosions.