The best games that Metacritic says are rubbish
on Feb 15 by

The best games that Metacritic says are rubbish

I hate videogame review scores. I dislike how so many game reviews simply attach an arbitrary number as a signifier of a game’s quality. It’s nonsense really, and those sites who review with no score automatically go up in my estimation – I may not always agree with what they say, but at least I’ve read what they’ve written.



Metacritic of course, is where all those scores, those numbers, congregate to give you a ‘who’s who’ of video games quality. Now I’m not disputing the games that end up there at the top of the pile are not worthy. Your Bioshocks, Orange Boxes, Grand Theft Autos – all fantastic games without  doubt – and worthy of being held in high esteem. What does trouble me however, are the games that frequently fall into what I call the ‘Yellow Zone’.


This is the band of scoring that takes in the 50-75% scores. Now, the argument is, that these are the ‘average’ or ‘medicocre’ games – but the truth is, these are the titles that either divided opinion, or worse, are the games where certain journalists either had an axe to grind (giving a low score as punishment) or simply didn’t ‘get it’ (so hedged their bets with a ‘safe’ score).


‘Uuurgh…. I don’t understand what this game is…. I’ll give it a… er…. 6!’

said A. Man (about a game)


Yes, there are games in there that ‘deserved it’ – but the fact remains, if you’re in the Yellow Zone, you’re automatically considered ‘unworthy’ to a certain extent. You slide into the greasy yellow pool or mediocrity. Now, seeing as I’m all about the underdog these days, I thought I’d pick through the bones of this wasteland and give you my top ten games that Metacritic thinks are a bit rubbish – but you might actually quite enjoy!




This detectivey, open-worldey, survival horror-ey curiosity made very little impact on it’s release back in 2010. Basically, most reviews said it was a bit rubbish, something of a clumsy mess, and duly went about the business of kicking its face off. And then the public got its hands on it and people started saying how awesome it was. Truth is, Deadly Premonition IS a clumsy mess, often incoherent, technically wanting  – particularly where the game’s audio is concerned – and where the controls are often exasperatingly clunky and sluggish. But in amongst all this, as games of this kind so often find, it has an atmosphere and appeal all of its own. Like a lame and slightly over-aggressive puppy – you know your should drown it in a sack of bricks, but every time it bubbles to the surface you find yourself loving it more. Big props to Destructoid for giving this 100%. Shame on IGN for its miserly 2.0.


Metacritic Says: 68%

I say: You owe it to yourself to dig out a copy – its undoubtedly one of the most memorable games you’ll ever play, if nothing else.





Maybe I enjoyed this because it was up against so little competition on home console. One thing I do know, it had nothing to do with the art style, as it’s the sort of thing that makes me want to puke my guts out until my stomach lining is red raw. Horrible art aside, for the month that I was into this, I enjoyed it immensely. It’s a well executed Strategy RPG – a genre we’re so spoiled for choice with on handheld, but rarely as a sit on the couch with a nice big telly experience. I found the characters ugly but charming, with dashes of humour and, for once, I enjoyed the fact that size-wise, the game didn’t outstay its welcome. It not an earth shatteringly original SRPG – but it’s very nicely made all the same.


Metacritic Says: 68%

I say: A nice lazy Sunday afternoon game. Pig ugly mind you, but it does have a certain charm.





I debated whether or not to put this in, because since it’s release I think all intelligent life in the universe know that EDF is amazing. It’s a real B-Movie of a game – putting you in control of Mr Soldier against a load of massive ants and assorted sci-fi enemies. Big, dumb and amazing fun, it’s certainly no looker – trading production values for a riot of entertainment and it does absolutely everything else right.  From the layers and layers of cheese, to the volume of weaponry, the endless ants to destroy and the fact that, in terms of pure stupid-as-hell entertainment – EDF totally and utterly delivers.  Some reviews got this absolutely spot on which is great to see – and yet what baffles me are the legions of reviews which could just get over it’s budget production and enjoy EDF for what it was – videogame entertainment in one of  its rawest, most brutally honest forms.


Metacritic says: 69%

I say: Probably this generations most notable ‘Cult Classic’.It’s not a case of’ ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ – more, ‘so good it’s bad – in a good way.





So many people just didn’t ‘get’ this. One quote metacritic picks out from a review is pretty much pitch perfect. It comes from the now dead, Xbox World magazine in the UK and reads, ‘Quite easily the best not-very-good game we’ve played in a while’. Nier is a real hodge-podge of styles and influences, a little Zelda-ey, a little RPG-ey, some shootery bits and platformey bits – but in its somewhat ramshackle nature it has a heart and soul that truly shines though and a has both a gorgeous heart-strings tugging story, not to mention a soundtrack that, in all honestly, I think is my favourite of this generation. Another of those games that you can find really cheap. If you let it’s rather dream-like tendrils sink into you, you’ll be enthralled.


Metacritic Says: 67%

I say: A mesmerising and enchanting adventure – brimming with imagination and atmosphere.





Probably opening up a can of worms with this one – but now that the dust has settled, I kinda think people find it’s cool to hate on this game. I’ve been vocally critical of Resi 6 myself. While it doesn’t meet my expectations of what a Resident Evil game should be, In retrospect it really isn’t a bad action game at all. As an straight action game I think it stands on it’s own merits. It has variety, plenty of content and high production values – it is an enjoyable game in its own right. I find this entry on Metacritic particularly annoying, as the user score marks it out as being one of the worst games ever made? Is that really the case, internet? REALLY?! Of course not, don’t be silly! If you found you gave this a miss because of all the furore surrounding it – why not make your own mind up.


Metacritic says: 67%

I say: Stop your whining and get over it.





I play a lot of fighters – I’m very picky about the fighters I play, and I’m a whore for 2D fighters with sprite artwork. To be fair, Arcana Heart’s  sprites are not the best – a little lower res compared to something like King of Fighters 13 or BlazBlue. However, as far as fighters goes, it is an absolute JOY to play. A homing button that lets you fly around, an Arcana system that lets you customise your favourite character to a certain extent (basically, anyone can have a fireball or projectile if they want it – or a dashing grappler if they want it) and a cast of characters that has not a single clone in the roster. Of all the fighting games I own, Arcana Heart 3 is the one I keep coming back to the most.


Metacritic says: 68%

I say: Anyone who knows what they’re talking about understands that this is the fighting game of this generation. FACT.






Someone on this site – can’t remember who – said they liked shooters that felt like a journey. That sometimes, playing bullet hell games felt way too stressful. I really like bullet hell games, but I do totally get where that dude (dudette?) was coming from. Omega Five feels like a 16-bit shooter in HD clothing. Control a guy or girl bedecked in suitable Japanese sci-fi kink, choose your favoutite weapon and blast through lavishly furnished levels populated with strict enemy waves to be memorised. What Omega Five lacks in imagination, it more than makes up for in being solid, colourful, fun, polished and old-school. I’ve come back to this shmup time and again since it’s release, because it’s just such a simple pleasure to play through.


Metacritic says: 72%

I say: A basic scrolling shooter sure – but one that’s been exceptionally well crafted and is thoroughly enjoyable throughout.





Not going to lie – give me a game where I can dress up pretty ninja girls in flowery kimonos – and then get them to stab dudes through Shoji (that’s paper doors Japan fans!) automatically gets a 98% review score in my brain. It’s like it triggers some kind of insta-buy alarm up there. So I’m clearly biased and not to be trusted – however, for all its obvious flaws (like dumb-as-hell AI and ropey visuals) I absolutely LOVE Tenchu Z. It’s my favourite rubbish game of this generation, because it”s obscenely fun to play. Once your chosen Ninja is all skilled up and customised to your liking – it makes you feel like a total badass. This game makes me feel like a proper Ninja lady – and some people pay well over the odds for that kind of feeling. You’ll be able to find this for like £5 somewhere – and it’s worth ever penny.


Metacritic Says: 56%

I say: It’s like Pac Man – but with pretty Ninjas and oodles of blood. No nonsense stealthing that makes you feel like a lady… sorry, badass, I meant badass






There was a time when space-flight sims were everywhere – now they’re among the most under represented genres in gaming. I miss them, I really do. Unbeknownst to many, Square and Game Arts teamed up to make quite a good one – this one. It’s your usual space sim fare – relentless dogfights, escort and protect missions and battles against hulking great capital ships. This one tries to go the extra mile by tagging on a schmaltsy teen drama over the top. It’s VERY cheesy – but fun with it actually. However, the meat and bones of this game come from ship customisation (that has a genuine impact on the way you play) and visuals that are nothing short of breathtaking on occasion. Some of the difficulty spikes are a little mean at times – but there’s NOTHING else like this available on console right now. Well worth trying to find.


Metacritic Says: 64%

I say: A hyper-colourful and actually very fun and complex space flight sim once you cut through the layer of CG cheese slathered over the top.






I think this game sold like fifteen copies in total. For some reason UbiSoft decided to put some ass-ugly robot on the front of the western box – completely hiding the very nice, crisp and clean sci-fi anime aesthetic that the game actually has. Gameplay-wise it’s an even tougher sell. Basically this is a one on one fighting game – only the fighters are mechs – and the moves are bullet patterns. It’s basically a one-on-one bullet hell game – if you can imagine such a thing. Both characters are invisibly tethered to each other as well so you’re always facing each other – always moving in relation to each other in gracefull arcs while you spit bullets at each other. As a game between two human opponents it’s fantastic – as a single player game, not so much. But if you have a live-in gaming buddy, it’s something unique and – when you begin to work it’s subtleties – ludicrously competitive.


Metacritic Says: 60%

I Say: Make sure you have someone to play with for goodnessake. Okay? Excellent – then buy it. It’s really very good.


ILJG runs the I Love Japanese Games Facebook Page.
His views are not those held by Rice Digital or it’s partners.


  • Dalagonash

    Arcana Heart 3! Woo!

  • Marcus Delby

    Another one for Arcana Heart 3! What an awesome fighter. I think you can buy this for like £10 most places now. This list is awesome btw.

  • Panzer

    i dislike myself metacritic , just coz how the hell can make the avegare point on so different score systems of those gaming sites (sorry for the broken english), is like A + 4.5 (1-5) + 9.0 (1-10) = 7 WTF?!

  • Nik Thorpe

    I’ve got Deadly Premonition and – no kidding – Wartech. I was a big fan of G.Rev from my days as an active Dreamcast importer and made sure to pick that one up straight away!

    It’s an unfortunate phenomenon, but one that has always been the case and probably always will be. For example, a good number of my favourite PS2 games inhabit the Metacritic yellow zone. Have a look at some interesting examples I came across:

    God Hand
    Killer 7
    Forbidden Siren
    SOS: The Final Escape
    Raiden III

    Obviously not everything in this zone is buried treasure – games like Sonic Heroes and Driv3r can safely be passed over – but as long as you’re a discerning buyer, a lot of fun can be found in places that few dare to tread.

  • Kitsumeda

    Nier was a phenomenal game. Shame the studio shut down.
    It had its flaws, such as the limited pretty empty world, lack of side quests that don’t involve harvesting and lack of side quests after half of the game. But it also had one of the best plots in a game as well as interesting blending of genres from time to time (Resident Evil camera, dungeon crawler top down view, 2D segments).
    Probably one of the most underrated games of this generation.

    I was always tempted to get Deadly Premotion but I still haven’t. Seems very interesting.

    Probably another badly rated game is SIREN: Blood Curse. I played the demo and it was genuinely freaky.

    Another yellow zone game is Binary Domain. It was a pretty interesting TPS.

  • Kamille

    6/10 is not bad, especially a 6 that comes from an average, is just that so many reviewers hand out so many 9’s and 10’s that the 6 seem irrelevant.

    I mean, does a 7/10 means good and the other numbers below it are all reserved for crap? Why use a scale of 10 then when 7/10 is the average?

    • I ? Japanese Games

      This is EXACTLY why review scores are so utterly, utterly stupid.

      People say 5 is ‘average’ – but when a game gets a ‘5’ you’re basically saying it’s bad.

      And so 7 becomes the ‘average’. but then the only games that are considered ‘good’ are those in the 8, 9 and 10 range – so anything outside that are automatically considered less worthy – when they’re not.

      It’s total lunacy.

      • Chibithor

        That’s only true for terrible sites. If you’re going to IGN or Metacritic expecting good review scales then it’s your expectations that require fixing, not the sites.

        • Kitsumeda

          That’s totally true. I remember playing through The 3rd Birthday twice and then watching the review on game trailers. I was amazed the game got a 6 out of 10, because it’s probably the best game I played on the PSP.

          I don’t know if anyone remembers a game called Amy. The game got 1s and 2s. It’s not a great game by any means but considering it’s a budget download only title the game isn’t that bad. A 1/10 should be for a broken unplayable game that has nothing going for it.

  • your-a-cunt

    Not actually shit games are they.
    If they gave it a score of less than 50% then I’d agree.
    Cunt article.
    Written by a cunt and read by cunts.

  • oo7PorscheMGS

    Why play Resident Evil 6 when Resident Evil 3 and 4 and Dead Space 1 and 2 are better? The other games I understand, but Resident Evil 6… no thanks. It’s an action game pretty much… why waste money on TRASH when THE LAST OF US is coming out? The developers of RE6 DON’T deserve your money. Stop wasting money on trash games, and REWARD the developers who take the TIME and CARE to make their game UNIQUE. RE6 is anything but unique or creative. It’s trash. Ok, I’m done 😉 But anyone who played the demo could tell. From the $hitty camera to the boring “action” and “cover system”, it was l a m e.

    • 60hz

      lol “Last of Us”… if you like Lost of Us, you must love COVER SYSTEMS… (i mean really what’s with the hearing mechanic… i mean… really???)… come on man really… honestly found that game to be extremely overrated… how many times were people guarding the wrong way, just so i can stealth kill them… that’s called lazy design, and what’s with my shiv running out after one neck stabbing, i mean HOW DOES A SHIV RUN OUT!?!?!? And what’s the one hit kill guy, who looks JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER GUY!?!? Oh his head has mushrooms :-/ Why can’t anyone else one hit kill me, they all have teeth… sorry color me “not impressed” – and i wont talk about the melee system…

  •ëlla-F-Reinders/638143550 Ariëlla F. Reinders

    All the games showed got a score of 50 or higher, in general a 50 means a game is mediocre but not actually “bad” as the title suggests. Most mediocre games are plagued by technical issues, but can still be fun if you can look past their shortcomings. I’m sorry, I was just expecting actual “bad” / “rubbish” games.

  • Alanar

    I am not the only person on this planet to actually like Tenchu Z? Color me surprised! I mean, I know this game has some very obvious flaws and its really repetetive nature kept me from finishing it, but I still enjoyed my time with it. Same goes for Tenchu DS, which was less sneaking and more about placing traps.

    Regarding the score issue: I personally stopped caring so much about review scores. Admittedly I do skip to the closing comments and score of reviews for games that I don’t really care that much, but I prefer making up my own mind about the games in question. I found myself having a lot of fun with obviously flawed games – and not because they may provide excellent riffing material. I already mentioned Tenchu Z and Tenchu DS, but I’ve got more examples.

    Sonic 2006 is a mess of a game but beneath all those loading screens, control issues and bugs there was a core that I enjoyed. Castlevania: Judgment is a horribly unbalanced fighting game that lacks the depth other fighters have. Even so, I played it for hours on end with my friends because every now and then, a simple, shallow fighting game is all you need for a good time.

    After picking up SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters DS on impulse (and full priced at that), I decided to look up some reviews – most of them turned out to be pretty negative – and for a second I thought about returning the game. Thankfully I decided to give it a shot anyway, because for all the AI flaws, the lack of difficulty and some really stupid fetch quests, there is an enjoyable collectible card game to be found here.

    The license-based games of Avatar: The Last Airbender are mostly forgettable coop action plattformers – and yet I own them all, without a hint of shame. And speaking of a lack of shame: Style Savvy/Style Boutique? That fashion-centric management sim on the DS and 3DS? While not critically panned per se (due to not many revieweres caring about them), they still rank high among my favorite DS games.
    These are just a few examples for games that I enjoy despite them being anything but popular with reviewers. Of course, trying out games beyond the “guaranteed hit blockbuster 11/10 super AAA product” spectrum can prove itself to be a risky affair. There are a few cases where I think the mediocre scores were justified, such as Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard and Tron: Evolution on the Xbox 360 (and even then I know people who like those two games). But I think the joy of discovering an entertaining, underappreciated piece of gaming outweighs the risk of picking up garbage burned onto a disc.

    tl;dr – I just play the games I like or want to, regardless of what scores they got, and have been pleasently surprised more often than not.

    • I ? Japanese Games

      YES! A fellow Tenchu Z brother! :)

  • heero2001

    Good list! I feel the same way as you! People always say 6 is not a bad score because 5 means it’s an average game. I think that’s crap because the only games that I ever see get 5 or below is movie games and shovel ware. It doesn’t matter 5 is suppose to be the average, the fact is with so many games coming out, most people, other than fans of a particular genre, will skip anything under 8.

  • 60hz

    Great list… i barely pay attn to metacritic after several of these experiences… but you are spot on RE6, i can’t believe how they trashed the game for not being the game the wanted… nothing to do with whether the game that the devs set out to make was any good (and it was) but only thing that matter is YOU DIDN’T MAKE THE GAME I WANTED SO WAAH! One of the best Mercenary modes, and some actual new mechanics in a 3ps!?!??! that alone should make it an 80 – let alone the graphics, the amount of content…

    and damn folks hated on wartech – wow… and then they say they want something new… don’t forget there was a lot of butt hurt over Virtual On Oratoria Tangram, and i’m sure Psychic Force 2012 god a drubbing over here (and that’s hands down one of the best, and most innovative fighters PERIOD)…

  • Ice Climber

    Can we have a follow up called; “Bad games Metacritic says are great”?

  • M.C.M

    Great write-up, Nier was one of the best games I played this generation, everything was just breathtaking, especially the music.

    I never let a review score effect my decision on purchasing a game, one because 99% of reviewers are rubbish at games and have no skill whatsoever, two they don’t share my main appeal for a game which is music that fits immensely with gameplay & aesthetics, and three they aren’t me.

    Most reviewers these days don’t point out the facts about a game and instead nitpick about how it didn’t cater to their taste/skill level, so a bad review score is given which just turns out to be incredibly misleading. Recent examples are the terrible reviews for TW101 & DKTF.

  • drfurry2134

    sorry, couldn’t take the article seriously after arcana hearts. yea it’s fun, but it’s definately not the fighting game of this generation. if you really want to give that award to an amazing underdog fighter that’s superior to shitcom fighters, skullgirls wins all day erry day