There are many highs and lows within the video game industry. Big companies with years of experience can promote an upcoming game in an already popular franchise for months or even years, only for the final product to fall short. Other indie publishers can go forward with the smallest of budgets and little marketing behind them, only to publish one of the biggest hits of the year. You never know what you are going to get when it comes to the gaming industry. A game’s popularity and critical acclaim do not always match the overall gaming experience. One of the things gamers find more often than not in video games is that some games receive stellar reviews, only to produce some of the more boring or lackluster gaming experiences one can imagine.
While critics may have raved about Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed III and the beautiful settings of the wild American Revolution, fans felt the game fell flat with a protagonist that lacked the same draw as Ezio Auditore of the previous three games. Who can forget critics raving about the highly anticipated return of the parkour loving Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, only to be let down with a less than stellar amount of action and heavy focus on timed trials instead?
There are several games out there that have fans and critics divided, and that’s what we are here to explore today. Let’s take a look at twenty-five of the most boring games that critics absolutely loved and gave good reviews to.
25 Surgeon Simulator (71%)
Let’s start off this list with one of the more popular games you see pro gamers uploading videos of these days, Surgeon Simulator.
Releasing in 2013, the game focused on a fictional surgeon in the UK who performed various surgeries on patients, including one in space and one on an alien, which gained him the title of Best Surgeon in the Universe.
This game’s idea of fun was straight up surgery, which to those not interested in the medical field, is kind of dull. Yet critics gave it mixed to positive reviews, with an average score of 71/100.
24 Mass Effect (91%)
While the Mass Effect series overall is one of the most popular sci-fi RPG’s in the world, the first game was not the most fun game in the series. It’s lucky we were able to get a second game, as the first had great stories, but clunky and slow gameplay. The firefights were simplistic and if not for the game’s mythology and characters, the series might have ended there. Despite the lackluster gameplay of the first game, the game itself received an average score of 91 by critics.
23 Metroid: Other M (79%)
One of the most popular franchises in the gaming industry has to be Metroid.
The story of Samus and her fight against galactic threats has become a gaming phenomenon.
Yet, not all games in the franchise were created equal. Metroid: Other M, is known by many fans to have destroyed the air of mystery surrounding Samus as a character, and featured un-skippable cut scenes that drove fans mad. The game averaged a score of 79/100, making it a critical success.
22 Dragon Age II (79%)
While the video game franchise that put dragons and fantasy back on the map is super popular for most gamers, the second game in the franchise was one of the least exciting. Rather than build upon the success of the game’s predecessor, the sequel decided to limit players to one area and made the combat more simplistic. While fans lost a bit of love for the franchise after this game, the game itself got a rating of 79/100 from critics.
21 Prototype 2 (79%)
Acclaimed for its larger than life open-world sandbox gameplay and all-powerful protagonists, the Prototype series is one of those games that you either love or hate.
While gamers who enjoy nonstop sandbox gameplay and destroying the world around them will love this sequel, those who enjoy games with a bit more substance will find this game sequel quite boring.
Plus they made the original game’s protagonist into the villain of the sequel, and fans have a love/hate relationship with the story overall. The game, however, received a critical score averaging about 79/100.
20 Final Fantasy XIII (82%)
Despite being part of one of the most popular and beloved gaming franchises in the industry, Final Fantasy XIII failed to give gamers the gameplay experience they had hoped for. While the graphics were beautiful and fans loved the Lightning Saga overall, the gameplay felt more like the developers were holding the gamer's hand throughout each level, making this game feel a little lackluster. The critics raved about it, however, giving it a score of 82/100.
19 Assassin’s Creed III (85%)
In all respects, Assassin’s Creed III should have been a hit.
The power of a successful franchise behind it, the game featured an American Revolution setting and brought a close to the Desmond Miles portion of the story being told.
The graphics were beautiful and the history being explored was a pivotal moment in our world’s history. However, fans failed to connect with the game’s protagonist, Conner Kennway, and the title featured several glitches. Despite this, the game received an 85/100 critical rating.
18 Watch Dogs (80%)
Despite getting a much more successful sequel, the first Watch Dogs game did not live up to the hype building up to the game’s release. It had a powerful story for protagonist Aiden Pierce, a lone hacker who’s niece is taken out by criminals and becomes a vigilante in a futuristic version of Chicago. Yet, the game was super serious and never had a moment of fun, personable gameplay, never allowing gamers to connect to the story or characters. The game did receive an 80/100 score, however, so critics loved it.
17 Just Cause (73%)
Gamers have to be glad that this series really began at the second game and got a shot at critical success despite a lackluster beginning.
While critics rave over Just Cause 2 and the games that followed (as do gamers), the first game in the franchise did not have the same beloved gameplay mechanics and while it had the potential for a wonderful sandbox title, the tools were never provided to give gamers an edge otherwise. Despite this, the game received a 73/100 from critics.
16 Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst (74%)
This is a case of a fantastic concept for a game that just never got to find its footing. While the game itself is visually spectacular and creative, the revamped Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst (a sort of remake of the original game) has a plot and main missions that only last a couple of hours. Most of the game’s material comes in the form of time trials and parkour style challenges, which become boring after a while. The game still wowed audiences, getting a 74/100 rating overall.
15 Super Paper Mario (85%)
Nintendo is a powerhouse in the industry, but not every game is a major success with longtime fans. While banking off of the classic Nintendo franchise’s star power, gamers had a hard time connecting to this Nintendo Wii release.
The game itself held some pretty repetitive levels, poor 3D graphics, and failed to balance the game’s RPG style gameplay.
It turned out to be more or less a typical Super Mario game but with the “paper” element. Critics loved the game, however, giving it a score of 85/100.
14 Gears Of War: Judgement (79%)
After the third game in the franchise ended in an apocalyptic, emotionally driven narrative that saw humanity rise from the ashes of a war, the prequel game showed the rise of two of the franchise's core members, Baird and Cole. Set years before the original game, gamers found themselves in control of Baird and other COG soldiers as the monstrous Locust horde first made their invasion known, surviving long enough to learn the true extent of the enemy’s forces. The game felt more or less the same as previous entries, not really adding any new content and limited the number of weapons you could carry to just 2. The game received a score of 79/100 despite this.
13 Grand Theft Auto IV (98%)
While this classic game was a major hit with gamers back in the day, the release of GTA V has made this game’s lackluster graphics and clunky gameplay hard to ignore.
GTA IV just doesn’t stack up to the fifth game’s gorgeous graphics, compelling story, and nonstop action and gameplay, not to mention new additions like FPS style gameplay and online multiplayer.
While considered boring by today’s standards, the game received a 98/100 from critics.
12 Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (88%)
While most gamers play the Call of Duty games for its multiplayer experience, some gamers (myself included) genuinely enjoy the single-player experience. Getting the gameplay style of a multiplayer game with the story and characters of a single-player experience, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was one of the most acclaimed games of the series. Its successor, however, failed to live up to the hype, delivering a shortened campaign and lacking any surprises or twists in the story to make the game more exciting. The critics raved about it, however, giving it a score of 88/100.
11 Alice: Madness Returns (75%)
Taking a dive into the horror genre of gaming, most gamers appreciate the horror genre for more than just a few jump scares or gory gameplay.
No, the true heart of these games lies in the story itself, which heightens the scares that accompany the game (Outlast is a great example of this).
However, this game’s graphics and revamped origin story of Alice in Wonderland could not stop the gamers from being bored with an overextended, 15-hour campaign that overstayed its welcome. Critics loved the game, however, giving it a 75/100 score.
10 Dead Island (80%)
As a zombie game, Dead Island is entertaining. That is if you enjoy area after area of infected resort-goers and islanders attacking you and having to constantly rebuild weapons rather than exploring for the sake of exploring. The game suffered from a more than predictable storyline and a cast of characters that were difficult to root for at times. Only the game’s combat made this game fun to play at all, but thanks to the success of Dying Light, this game has had trouble getting a sequel off the ground. The critics at the time, however, loved the game, giving it a score of 80/100.
9 Far Cry 4 (85%)
One of gaming’s most popular franchises has to be the Far Cry franchise.
Each game taking place in a new location and story, the fourth game felt like one of the franchise’s weaker settings.
The gameplay and mechanics of the game itself felt eerily similar to the third game, (just different characters and setting), and failed to implement any changes to the game overall. While fans loved the third and fifth games in the series, critics gave this fourth game a score of 85/100.
8 DmC: Devil May Cry (85%)
Having a franchise backing you doesn’t always work out in the end. Another hugely popular franchise, Devil May Cry attempted to revamp the series by westernizing Dante. However, due to horrible boss fights that are considered the worst in the franchise, strange creative decisions taken by the developers and a system in which gamers had to use certain weapons to defeat certain enemies, the game failed to live up to the franchise’s popularity. Critics, however, gave the game a score of 85/100.
7 Mario Party 9 (73%)
The Mario Party games never were able to live up to Nintendo’s popular franchises like Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros.
While having the iconic Italian plumber Mario in the title was a smart move, the game featured lackluster mini-games that failed to embrace the Mario franchise’s roots.
This game tried to get creative by adding boss fights and paid homage to Super Mario Galaxy, but by this point, gamers felt the franchise had lost its appeal. The game received a score of 73/100 from critics despite this.
6 Killzone: Shadow Fall (73%)
Fans definitely have a love/hate relationship with this PS4 game. While critics gave it a 73/100 rating, gamers found the game’s gameplay to be dull and repetitive. This clashed with the game’s stunning graphics and design, although the levels themselves and the gunfights in combat also became repetitive, making this game a failure in gamer’s eyes. Luckily the studio behind this game went on to make the critically acclaimed by all game Horizon: Zero Dawn, so it looks like they learned from their mistakes.
5 Kingdom Hearts RE: Chain Of Memories (68%)
Despite the powerful hits this franchise has produced and with the third game premiering in a month or so, we have to mention one of the series low points, Kingdom Hearts RE: Chain of Memories.
A Game Boy Advance exclusive title in its initial release, the PS2 version combined the original game’s card combat system with the original game’s real-time combat, making a strange combat mixture that did not blend well.
Despite this critics gave the game a 68/100 score, a more or less positive look at the game.
4 Prince Of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (75%)
Before the Assassin’s Creed franchise took off, one of Ubisoft’s most popular gaming series had to be the Prince of Persia. A Pre-Sequel of sorts, the game took gamers to a time after the first game (Sands of Time) and the second game (Warrior Within), the game was contained in a single location and failed to deliver the combat system fans came to love in the second game, making this a more-or-less failure to revitalize the franchise. Critics loved the game, however, giving it a score of 75/100.
3 Gran Turismo 5 (84%)
This is another one of those games that is dependent on the player.
If you are a long time fan of the franchise, the fifth game felt like coming home.
However, other gamers found the fifth game lacked any real progress aside from the overhauled graphics and could have benefited from updated gameplay and more ready-made race tracks at the game’s release. Despite fan reaction, critics praised the game and it’s stunning graphics, giving it a score of 84/100.
2 Borderlands (84%)
Although it began another majorly popular FPS open world gaming franchise, the first Borderlands in the game did not capture the same love that the sequel and pre-sequel did. Its locations were nowhere near as vibrant or well preserved as in future games, and featured a dumb AI system and not fully formed storyline that made it hard to connect to the game overall. Luckily the sequels fared much better, but critics still gave the first game a score of 84/100.
1 BioShock 2 (88%)
While just as visually stunning and engaging as the first game, fans had a hard time connecting to the game’s plot.
Playing as one of the first Big Daddies, you awake years after your demise, searching for your little sister who has grown and is in danger.
The game fails to build too much upon the first game, adding few if any improved game mechanics. BioShock Infinite breathed fresh life into the franchise, but this game failed to live up to the hype in gamer’s eyes. Despite this, critics gave the game an 88/100 rating.
You can read about other boring games with great reviews from our very own Mark Sammut here!