Most of the time, games that players find enjoyable will receive a ton of critical attention. However, game critics aren't above getting swept away by hype, and sometimes, customers will be left wondering why some overrated video games were so well-received by the press.
When it comes to video games that nobody actually likes, it often feels like no amount of bad word-of-mouth buzz can cause an expensive yet mediocre title to flop. It appears that gamers sometimes want different things than reviewers, as the things that make a game impressive don't guarantee a title will be fun. The most controversial titles are critically successful, but loathed by the vast majority of players who didn't receive a free copy to review.
These train wrecks are video games people lie about liking, simply because Metacritic said they were "universally acclaimed." Players know when they're having fun, and no amount of fancy language or big-budget trailers can change that.
Destiny — Developed by Bungie and published by Activision, the former's 2014 release after splitting up with Microsoft wasn’t exactly well-received by critics and fans. The developers set out to change this with 2017's Destiny 2. While the company did address some of fans' concerns about the franchise's lore and storytelling, the improved reviewer scores made it seem like this was a far superior title.
The truth is that it is essentially the same game as its predecessor, with the same boring fetch quests that have you taking out visually similar enemies in different locations. The weapon mechanics are almost identical to how they were before, and it's arguable the whole thing could have been a full-price expansion to the original.
Developer: Bungiesee more on Destiny 2
Passage was one of the first indie games to receive widespread press attention when it came onto the scene in 2007. Unfortunately, it wasn't much of a game. The "story" sees the player advance through time as their character progresses through life in the space of just five minutes. At one point, players can choose to bring a love interest along with them, which makes it impossible to fit through some passages, but is nonetheless pretty sweet. At the end of the game, the character expires (as does his love interest, if you chose to bring her).
Critics felt that Passage contained several emotional moments that made it stand out as a piece of art, rather than simply a game. Others argued it was a tremendously boring game that was also pretty ugly. While both arguments are well supported, it's hard to describe the game as fun, which one of the main draws of video games in the first place.
Developer: Jason Rohrer
Gone Home set the standard for "walking simulator" games when it first came out in 2013. While it's still one of the best examples of the genre, it doesn't ask very much of the player, and offers little replay value. Players explore their character's parents' home, turning on lights and fondling a bunch of emotionally-significant objects and letters.
While the '90s nostalgia is heavy, there's nothing to do in the game other than walk around and look at stuff. While the story features plenty of strange foreshadowing and none of it pays off. The ending feels too weird to be realistic, and yet it is not creepy enough to be fascinating.
Developer: The Fullbright Companysee more on Gone Home
Like it or not, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare changed the face of online first-person assault games forever. However, the same cannot be said for 2011's CoD: Modern Warfare 3, which was a tired rehash of the things that made the original so successful four years prior.
Modern Warfare 3 was the first game in the series to be released after the heads of Infinity Ward left the company under controversial circumstances. Despite the praise that the third installment in the Modern Warfare series received from critics and frat types, the old creative talent was noticeably missed. The story from the previous two games wrapped up on something of a flat note, with all excitement removed from the most dramatic moments due to poorly-scripted events. The multiplayer disappointed in a similar manner by keeping everything almost exactly the same as it had been in Modern Warfare 2.
One of the big hooks of the Modern Warfare story has always been gritty, intense sequences of first-person tragedy. In the first game, players are forced to control a soldier who survives an atomic blast, and who crawls around hopelessly for a few minutes before succumbing to the end. The second game made players take control of international bad guys who wage assault on an airport, which was perhaps a little too gritty, but still received a ton of press attention. Then, in Modern Warfare 3, the Eiffel Tower takes out a bunch of people. While the scene was meant to be devastating, it played out as more outlandishly goofy.
Developer: Sledgehammer Games, Raven Software, Infinity Ward, Treyarch
Genres (Video game): First-person Shootersee more on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3