Nobody ever said critics were perfect. Reviewing anything, from movies to video games, is a tough, subjective business. So like everyone who’s human and breathing, sometimes video game reviewers get it wrong, awarding games with higher scores than they deserve.
Seeing as hindsight is 20/20, let’s take a look at some of the games that critics fawned over while the rest of us simply grew bored while playing. Here are 10 video games that don’t deserve the high ratings they received.
1. Metal Gear Solid 4
Metacritic score: 94
By this point in the Metal Gear Solid saga, only game creator Hideo Kojima himself had any inkling about what was going on in terms of the story. To keep track of all the plot twists, double-crosses, secret organizations, and nano-machines, you’d need an Excel spreadsheet the size of a football field.
The reason players kept coming back to Metal Gear Solid games wasn’t because of the ever-expanding and insanely implausible story. Players love this series for the top-tier gameplay.
So what did Metal Gear Solid 4 deliver? About a week’s worth of cutscenes that made no sense whatsoever and completely sapped any sort of pacing the game had going for it. The gameplay parts are still fun, but it would be nice if they happened more frequently.
2. Bioshock Infinite
Metacritic score: 94
This game may pose some high-minded, philosophical questions at the end, but man is it a slog to get there. The colorful, imaginative game world is gorgeous to look at, but it feels utterly lifeless as you trudge through endless streets and buildings, eating food out of garbage cans to regain your health.
Along the way, you encounter throngs of wholly forgettable enemies who are a chore to fight through, only to come upon another group just around the corner. This game gets an “A” for effort, but a “D” for execution.
3. Resident Evil 6
Metacritic score: 74
By now pretty much everyone agrees that this is the game where it became crystal clear that the Resident Evil series had lost its way. Instead of the kind of tight survival horror games the series delivered earlier on, the sixth installment played more like a Call of Duty game, with guns, explosions, car chases, and lots the other things that have no business being in a horror game.
However, when it launched, critics were too easy on it; they gave Resident Evil 6 a score that nearly qualifies as “generally favorable.” That’s about 10 points too high.
4. Fable 3
Metacritic score: 80
Game director Peter Molyneux is known for making fantastic games like Fable 2 and Black & White. He’s also known for over-promising and under-delivering. Fable 3 is one of his many missteps. This sequel expands players’ options from the previous games, but in such a user-unfriendly way that it shouldn’t have even bothered.
Doing basic things like changing your armor takes longer than it should. Winning over friends and fans is locked away behind boring relationship quests. Worse yet, the ending section is a chore to play, making you wonder why you spent all that time with the game in the first place.
5. L.A. Noire
Metacritic score: 89
Prior to release, the hype for this period detective game was through the roof. The buildup carried over into more-than-respectable review scores. Unfortunately, L.A. Noire doesn’t deserve them.
It is a unique game in many ways. But for everything it does well — investigating crimes, interrogating witnesses — it’s sub-par in everything else, like combat and its entirely pointless open-world environment.
It’s almost as if the developers didn’t know what kind of game they wanted to make and spread their resources too thin. It’s a shame, because a more focused version of L.A. Noire could have been the classic the reviews make it out to be.
6. Dragon Age: Inquisition
Metacritic score: 89
There’s a great game in Dragon Age: Inquisition, an epic fantasy adventure that’s filled with memorable characters and enjoyable RPG tropes. But so many — so many — of the missions are mind-numbing fetch-quests that get boring almost before you even begin them.
It’s one thing to create a truly massive world, as developer Bioware has done here. But it’s a whole other thing to fill it with worthwhile things to do.
7. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Metacritic score: 88
People tend to think of this sea-faring take on the Assassin’s Creed formula as the second-best game in the series, behind only Assassin’s Creed II. Our theory is that they’ve overcompensated by inflating the score, because it’s much better than the dismal mess that is Assassin’s Creed III.
This installment may have some well-executed ship battles, but that doesn’t make up for the crummy AI, the ho-hum story, or the rage-inducing controls that Ubisoft still hasn’t managed to get quite right in any Assassin’s Creed game.
Metacritic score: 95
This series was pitched as two things: a fantastic platformer along the lines of a Mario game, and a tool for players to make levels for other players. Unfortunately, the floaty physics and dreary brown color scheme sapped the fun out of the platforming, while the sub-par design tools did the same for the level-building mode. If you want to design and play awesome platforming levels, try Super Mario Maker for Wii U. Leave Sackboy out of it.
9. Burnout Paradise
Metacritic score: 88
There’s a lot to love about Burnout Paradise. It pioneered the kind of open-world racing game that the Forza Horizon series has perfected. It offers lots of cars and a pleasant setting.
But the most disappointing thing about Burnout Paradise is that it strays so far from the jaw-dropping gameplay of Burnout 3: Takedown, one of the best racing games of all time. Burnout Paradise is a fine racing game, but that’s not what the world needs from a new Burnout — not now, and not then.
10. God of War 3
Metacritic score: 92
There’s a reason God of War 4 will be very different from the previous titles. It’s because the games are about as subtle as an erupting volcano, with a hero whose only personality trait is his seething rage.
While God of War 3 does a great job of delivering spectacle on a large scale, it just keeps hitting the same notes the previous games have already hammered into a bloody pulp. It’s fun to play, but it makes you wish the talented developers would try for something with a little more depth.
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