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Critical Dissonance / Video Games

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  • While Sony’s PlayStation Move has been more critically acclaimed, it hasn’t captured the public imagination as much as the Wiimote and the Kinect has. While Xbox and Nintendo fans have cried Hypocritical Fandom on the Move's fans, PlayStation fans on the other hand argued that that the real reason for the Move's struggles was Invisible Advertising. Sony barely marketed the Move while Microsoft poured millions into marketing the Kinect. Even today, Sony still treats the Move as an afterthought (which makes the fact that it’s sold nine million units very surprising) while Microsoft has even developed alternate uses for the Kinect (such as use in science classes and medical colleges).
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  • The Nintendo Wii, as well as many of its games. The dissonance goes both ways. This can likely be explained (in a few cases) by the critic falling outside the target demographic.

Creators

  • Way Forward has invoked this a few times:
    • The PS2 adaptation of Spy vs. Spy has a critic score of 38 on Metacritic. Ironically, this time around it were the critics who got disappointed with the fact that a lot of the stuff that made the original comic-book series so great was not kept into the PS2 adaptation (keep in mind that the critics that reviewed it were indeed fans of the comic book). This did however not stop it from having a user score of 71% and people regarding it as one of the hidden gems on the PS2. It seems that the game is suddenly very playable once you get over the fact that it’s unfaithful to its source material.
    • DuckTales Remastered: While quite a few reviewers have found the game’s archaic mechanics (minimal save points, NES difficulty gameplay, and overall lack of innovation) grating, this hasn’t stopped fans from gushing over it. Video reviews are extremely positive about the game and viewer ratings tend to be much, much higher than critic ratings.
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    • Double Dragon Neon is beloved by those who have played it and is seen as a fun, solid gaming experience, especially in co-op, but a few critics, notably IGN, hate this game, citing clunky gameplay, and sometimes not enjoying the ’80s-style Genre Throwback elements. Most can agree the soundtrack is great though.
  • Many games from Platinum Games:
    • Madworld’s spinoff, Max Anarchy (aka Anarchy Reigns) was considered average by critics. General gamers, on the other hand, while not enjoying it as much as Madworld, enjoyed it a lot more than the critics did.
    • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was loved by critics, but general gamers, while not considering it a bad game by any means, usually consider it to be Platinum’s weakest effort (that is, until TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan was released, which is so far unanimously considered by both critics and gamers to be their worst game by far), as well as one of the weaker efforts in the Metal Gear series.
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    • The Wonderful 101 has been received far better by general gamers than critics. Critics liked it, but found it way too hard and overwhelming, whereas general gamers love it because it’s hard, and doesn’t hold your hand like most modern games do. Most gamers have even went so far as to saying that it ranks with Bayonetta 2 as the best game on the Wii U. However, despite all of this praise, it did not sell very well retail-wise, with the price being cut in half mere months after release, as Nintendo released it the same week as Grand Theft Auto V, and because they gave it lots of Internet advertising but no television advertising whatsoever (outside of Japan, anyway), and all of its Internet advertising has been pushing people to buy it on the Nintendo eShop rather than at retail.
    • The Legend of Korra. Its dissonance is the exact opposite of how the TV show started. Most critics despise it with mixed to negative reviews all around. Fans, on the other hand, are generally more forgiving with the general consensus being that while the game is one of Platinum's weakest games, it is, at the least, considered a decent try.
    • Star Fox Zero. Thanks to controls with a high-end learning curve, the game wasn't too well-received from critics, but gamers that took the time to learn it loved the game and praise it highly.
  • The majority of the games made by SUDA51:
    • Shadows of the Damned was critically acclaimed, getting eights and nines across the board. Suda fans usually consider this to be his worst game, due to it missing the trademark bizarreness and craziness of his other works, for being too slow-paced, and for being a third-person shooter rather than a hack-and-slash.
    • Lollipop Chainsaw got a mixed to average reception from Western critics. Gamers and Japanese critics, on the other hand, found the game to be very good, and a much-needed return-to-form, but found it to be too short. It became SUDA51’s top-selling game of all time, selling 700,000 copies a mere two months after release. In addition, view counts for most YouTube videos of it usually range from 300,000 to four million, and there are far more cosplayers of the Lollipop Chainsaw characters than there are cosplayers of characters from other Suda games.
    • Killer Is Dead got mixed reviews from critics. Half of them trashed its combat for not being like Devil May Cry or Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and criticized the story for being all over the place. Also, the game’s Gigolo Mode has caused controversy among professional critics as well. A lot of them calling it ‘perverted’ and some saying the game would kill Suda’s career. Fan reaction was a lot more positive towards the gameplay, and some feeling it’s a good spiritual successor to Killer 7 themes, and No More Heroes play style. As for gigolo mode, most fans did not find it offensive (in fact, many found the controversy overblown), but they didn’t think it was all that special either, feeling the mode was boring and the least interesting part of the game. The only thing gamers, fans, and critics can agree on is that the game is short. Also a case of Values Dissonance, as the game has received higher ratings in Japan, some of which is because of the controversy.

Genres:

  • Fighting games have this issue because each game requires extensive knowledge of the gameplay system in order to appreciate (i.e. takes more time to learn than the average video game), and because the bulk of the experience is in the core multiplayer gameplay, not so much in a single player campaign. This is especially problematic with fighting game sequels, which may be seen by reviewers as too similar to their predecessors, yet completely different to the dedicated fans. Street Fighter III, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite are examples of such games that are much better understood (from a gameplay standpoint) by their hardcore communities than by reviewers. On the plus side, the first two of those games eventually got enough Tournament Play to show the public why they are significant.
  • Roguelikes in general tend to get the shaft from professional reviewers. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, Shiren the Wanderer and Izuna all received incredibly vitriolic reviews from Western critics, but to the userbase and Japanese critics, they’re some of the best games on the DS.

Games and Series

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    A - E 
  • Alpha Protocol was absolutely savaged by reviewers for its rather rough combat and stealth as well as a seemingly endless supply of Game Breaking Bugs … but players loved it for its truly massive amount of narrative choices and interesting spy story, quickly elevating it to Cult Classic levels.
  • The Army of Two series is one of the few video games to achieve commercial success while still getting mixed/poor reviews. Then came the third game which is both commercial and critical failure, ending with the obvious.
  • Asura's Wrath seems to be having quite a bit of this. It’s had relatively mixed reviews, but the game is adored by the many regular non-reviewers who have played it, especially fans of anime. Here’s an example from GameTrailers.
  • Super Back To The Future Part 2 is hailed as the video-game adaptation of Back to the Future that is so good that it should have gotten a release outside of Japan. Plenty of people who played it gave it decent reviews on gamefaqs. Many people might not know, however, that the only contemporaneous video-game critic of the time (a French critic) who reviewed it, gave it a 40%.
  • Batman: Arkham Knight: Critics gave it positive reviews (higher than Origins, but lower than Asylum and City and none of the reviewers listed on it's Wikipedia page rated it below a 7/10), but it is seen as polarizing among fans. Even players who like the game generally consider it to be the weakest installment in the Arkham franchise due to it's questionable plot-hole ridden story, overuse of the Batmobile in gameplay, mediocre boss battles Captain Obvious Reveal of the title antagonist, overpriced DLC and broken PC port. Even though the critics agreed with some of these points, they were more forgiving of them than actual players were.
  • Battlezone was loved by critics when it was released in 1998, gaining scores above 80% in gaming magazines and winning several innovation awards. It flopped in the market though, supposedly because consumers didn’t know what to make of the Real-Time Strategy/Tank Simulation/First-Person Shooter genre mix. The sequel received mixed reviews courtesy of its cutting-edge graphics killing performance and a plethora of bugs at release, but it likewise became a Cult Classic, enjoying a large Game Mod and competitive multiplayer scene.
  • According to some of the analysts from GameTrailers, they believe the BioShock franchise is heading this way, calling it a critical darling with middling sales.
  • The 'god game' Black & White might just be the king of this trope video game-wise. It was released to unanimous critical acclaim in 2001, earning nines and tens across the board and being immediately declared one of the greatest games of all time by many publications. The general public, on the other hand, was less enthusiastic about the final game, with many complaining about its slow pace, unforgiving gameplay, and numerous game-breaking bugs (plus, good luck getting the game to run on anything more recent than Windows ME). The backlash was, in fact, so great that many critics later reconsidered their initial assessments of the game. It was number one on GameSpy’s “25 Most Overrated Games of All Time” list and now [seen as little more than a footnote in video game history. Part of the reaction was also backlash to Peter Molyneux, who had (as he often does) promised a lot more for the game than it actually ended up being.
  • Blade Kitten was loathed by critics, but its player base has been much kinder.
  • The 2017 indie beat-em-up game Bloody Zombies, which is about stopping London from being overrun by zombies, received pretty good scores from the few critics who played it, averaging around an 8.5 out of 10. That being said, the few gamers who played it absolutely hated it, with the Switch version in particular being the third lowest-rated game on the console on GameFAQS. Though considering how obscure the game was, it's entirely possible that this was the result of people not getting what they were expecting from it.
  • Call of Duty:
    • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 boasts a robust 89 critics’ score and a paltry 3.3 users’ score, with over two thousand negative reviews (mostly complaining that it’s ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops with a paint job’ or that it’s not as technically impressive as the previous games).
    • Post-Modern Warfare, the series this trope in general — each entry has been critically acclaimed and favorably reviewed but the series seems to have a memetic status among large parts of the gamer community as a symbol of everything wrong with video gaming and video-game journalism.
  • Cel Damage received fives and sixes from critics, and its Metacritic ratings are 67 (GCN) and 65 (Xbox). None of this has stopped it from becoming a huge Cult Classic, or from getting an HD rerelease for all current Sony systems.
  • Chrono Cross has a fairly minor but notable version of this. Audience: very popular (was a Greatest Hits game) but incredibly divisive among Chrono Trigger fans. Critics: unanimous praise (is one of a handful of games to get a perfect 10 from GameSpot, for instance).
  • Civilization:
    • Civ V received good reviews from the gaming press, but something of a backlash from a certain subfraction of hardcore Civ players, who felt that the game was excessively simple and "dumbed down". The critics were right; Civ V ended up being an enduring and overwhelmingly popular game, and even many naysayers reconsidered their initial assessments after the Gods & Kings and Brave New World expansion packs substantially fleshed out the game.
    • Such that many Civ V fans were, in turn, among the most vocal critics of Civ VI when it was released. The gulf between critics and fans was perhaps lessened this time by the fact that Civ VI was a more full-featured game at launch (in fact, one of its big gameplay changes was to add a new layer of complexity), but it was still there.
  • Code of Princess received mixed to positive reviews from critics, but sold surprisingly well in North America. Ironically, the game performed so-so in its native Japan. The producer, Yasuo Nakajima, said he would like to do a sequel for the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One because of the game’s success in North America.
  • Crash Twinsanity got lower critic scores than Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex and the Titans series and didn't sell as well as them, but was MUCH better received than those games by fans of the series, typically being considered the only post-Naughty Dog Crash Bandicoot game to be as good as the original trilogy despite the flaws from its rocky development.
  • The Dead Island games has gotten lukewarm to completely negative reviews. Many game players think it’s completely awesome. Strangely enough, a lot of game reviewers would give the game praise while still giving average to terrible scores — saying they understand why people like it, but also saying it’s still not a good game (particularly Rev3Games).
  • Deadly Premonition played with this. While fans gave it good reviews (the Metacritic user score is 8.3 at the time of writing), critics were all over the place, with the lowest score being a 2 and the highest being a 10. The game ended up winning awards for being so critically polarizing.
  • In a similar situation, Dead Space 3 has been, for the most part, well-received by critics. In terms of fan reception, however, the reaction has been very mixed. While it is generally accepted to be a decent shooter and having clever multiplayer ideas, the fact that it isn't very scary at all was a huge strike against it from fans of the series, which is fair considering the series is supposed to be a horror series.
  • Deus Ex: Invisible War got decent ratings from reviewers. Fans were less kind.
  • Diablo III has an average critic review of 87%, while the playbase ranks it as 35%. Through this is due to requirement of being online at all times, the subsequent server problems from overloading (the “Error 37” message even earned Memetic Mutation status), the controversial Auction Houses, severe lag spikes as well as many Game Breaking and server-crashing bugs that came with launch. Luckily most of these bugs were fixed in the first few days, but it was too little, too late in the eyes of many gamers. This seems to have changed with the release of patch 2.0 and the first expansion, Reaper of Souls. While critic scores seem about the same, general consensus among fans seems to be that it is a welcome improvement.
  • Digimon World 3 got mixed to negative reviews from critics, with an average score of 47 on Meta Critic, because of its difficulty, length and some other technical issues. However, it is considered a Cult Classic among fans, with an average user score of 8.4, notably thanks to the card battle system among other things.
  • Dm C Devil May Cry was a textbook case of this trope both before and after the game was even released. Critics praised it, giving the game scores mostly around eights and nines. The user response, though, especially from fans of the original Devil May Cry games, was more negative overall, bashing on how the writing is immature, the characters are unlikeable, the gameplay is watered down and easy, etc. As of this writing, the averages for critic scores and user scores on Metacritic are 86 and 44 respectively. Also, it was a top game in January sale charts, but only because there were no other major releases at that time, selling only roughly 600,000 out of expected 2 million (now 1.2 million after revising the sales projections) as of this writing, with global sales dropping sharply after the first week. As for Vergil DLC, critics bash it for going back to the stone age of earlier DMC games, while the gamers admit that even if it is not good as the previous games, it is a step in the right direction.
  • Donkey Kong Barrel Blast, a racing game with controversial drumstick-like controls. Players generally consider it mediocre or good. Professional critics generally consider it mediocre or bad.
  • Dragon Age II: 82% critical acclaim, while the average player review is 42%. Most critics liked it very much for its good graphics, interesting characters, and Grey and Grey Morality. On the other hand, many fans of the first game hated it for diverging from the gameplay of the original and the far less open environments (particularly as they were often re-used), as well as the significantly reduced effect your choices have on the world. The grit of the first game was even more prevalent, only instead of being able to improve the country of Ferelden in one or two very meaningful ways (that the player chooses), the player’s attempts to do anything in Kirkwall are often thwarted. This was typified by the ending, which some players despised.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition managed to avert this, pleasing both fans of Dragon Age II and Mass Effect 3 and detractors...but only in the eighth-generation consoles. This is played straight in the PC and last gen Ports due to flaky graphics and framerate and unintuitive controls. Compare the user reviews for the game on the PS4 with the PC on Metacritic: there’s a marked difference.
  • Driver 2 was disliked and considered inferior to the original by most critics, but the majority of the Driver fandom loved it and many consider it to be the best Driver game released.
  • Dynasty Warriors and its spinoffs are practically ‘Critical Dissonance: The Game Series’, particularly in its later installments: critics pan the games for the fact that the gameplay has remained the same throughout all entries while fans love it for its simple, chaotic action, as well as the sheer Catharsis Factor.
  • An unexpected downplayed example is in the third (outside Japan) instalment of the Warriors Orochi crossover which, while still suffering the same criticisms the last games did, many critics actually praised it for its Gotta Catch 'Em All approach to obtaining the characters and its more complex story. And of course the long-time fans liked it even more.
  • EarthBound: Criticism from test audiences and the bizarre marketing slogan of “This Game Stinks” made it quite a hated game by critics. After a brief bit of Vindicated by History, it is now regarded as one of the best comedy games of all time, as well as an above-average RPG. For a while it seemed that it would never see a rerelease, but its cult status got it released for the Wii U’s Virtual Console.
  • Evolve got reviews ranging from good to great, but it was thrashed by audiences. Though they acknowledged the game was fun enough, they found the game’s pricing model ($60 starting, day-one DLC adding $130 more) to be a ridiculously bad one for a multiplayer-only game, with many opining that the $190 'complete' game was comparable to those a tenth of its asking price. Players were Vindicated by History when the game made a clumsy shift to Free To Play on PC a year after launch, then ended support entirely in October of 2016. Hardly surprising, considering that head count is everything for multiplayer-only titles.

    F - J 
  • Fallout 3 averaged 9/10 reviews that labeled it a masterpiece, while Fallout: New Vegas averaged 8/10 reviews that labeled it fun-but-flawed. Going by sales and audience scores, most fans of the franchise would reverse the two (and a good chunk would call that generous to 3). New Vegas suffered under critics for being seen as a Mission-Pack Sequel and an Obvious Beta, while fans pointed to the far more extensive world, better story, improvements to gameplay, and working better as a sequel to the earlier games.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy II: One of the only English reviews of the game was positive due to the story. Everyone else hates the gameplay with a passion.
    • Final Fantasy V: Fans mainly call it mediocre for having a much lighter tone than IV and VI, critics like the non-serious tone and class system. Doesn’t help that it was localized ages after II and III, so it had no nostalgia factor to protect it from comparison with the PS1 games.
    • Final Fantasy VII: Critics love this game, fans are a Broken Base ranging from ‘one of the best of the series/all time’ to ‘not all that great’ to even calling it ‘the worst thing ever to happen to RPGs!!!’
    • Final Fantasy VIII: Most critics lauded the game upon release, while fan reaction to its gameplay and story/characters was very polarized.
    • Final Fantasy X: At release, it was critically acclaimed, but widely despised by the fandom. It did, however, become Vindicated by History over time.
    • Final Fantasy XII: Excellent reviews on release, but polarizing among the fans for its drastic departure from the usual FF mechanics (more of an active time flow than turn-based combat, the lack of a true job system, and Vaan and Penelo). Over time, the game became Vindicated by History due to a number of factors, but mainly the release of a more-divisive game in XIII, and the release of Game of Thrones which caused many to compare XII's plot to it and find plenty to enjoy.
    • Final Fantasy XIII: While reviews were mostly positive, it received major backlash from the fanbase because of its linearity. Despite that, it had enough of a fanbase to get a direct sequel.
    • Final Fantasy XIII-2: Western critics gave it throwaway ‘average’ scores to ‘punish’ Square Enix for XIII being what it was and also for the debacle surrounding Final Fantasy XIV; certain fans found it to be a significant improvement.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • The original Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light did not review well upon release due to poor graphics and being difficult to understand. Many players, however, were much more positive toward the interesting gameplay and likeable characters, to the point that sales shot up after about two months due to word of mouth, and Fire Emblem went on to become one of Nintendo's flagship series.
    • The remake, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon actually got hit with this so badly that some fans were convinced it received bad reviews, sold poorly and was the reason the next game didn’t get localized. All completely untrue, it actually got a respectable Metacritic average of 81 and sold reasonably well (a more likely reason for New Mystery of the Emblem’s non-localization is that it had the misfortune to be released when the DS was all but dead in the West, and any serious localization would be seen as a gamble Nintendo wasn’t willing to take). Fans weren’t nearly as kind, mostly due to suffering a major case of "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny, and the controversial side quest requirements.
    • Fire Emblem Awakening is by far the most critically-acclaimed game in the series and one of the most critically-acclaimed games on the 3DS. Within the Fire Emblem fandom, however, it's a major case of divisiveness, with the "hate it" crowd being extremely vocal, and it's best to leave it at that.
    • Fire Emblem Fates was divisive enough to earn its own Broken Base page before the game had even released in the West. The most controversial aspects of the game — the story, its characters, and the localization — are a polarizing issue with the fandom, and the "hate it" part of the fandom is so vocal that you might be forgiven for thinking the critical and public response was negative as well. It isn't: critics and the majority of the public have responded very warmly to this game, with both professional reviewers and casual fans praising its interesting story, lovable characters, and fun gameplay, and it even managing to sell three times the amount Awakening did on launch.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's is one of the most famous example of this in video games. Each game in the series regularly receives a lukewarm reception at best from critics, only to receive continuously high marks from the general audience.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's World. Critical reviews are overwhelmingly negative, yet the game managed to get 87% user approval on Steam. In this case, however, the critical reviews were so negative that Scott decided to improve the game and re-release it for free.
  • Gauntlet Dark Legacy: Reviews from critics were mixed, without any positive reviews. On the other hand, players loved that game for its co-op mechanic (up to 4 players at the time with an increase difficulty), memorable musics, various landscapes and decent difficulty curve. While the game has its flaws, players find it fun to play and still desire a sequel in the same style of Dark Legacy.
  • Gone Home received high praise from critics regarding the story and gameplay mechanics, while gamer response has been a Broken Base in regards to the quality of both.
  • Gotcha Force: Critics were mixed about this game, but mostly had lower reviews for it. On the other hand, its score is a solid 2.1 points higher among users on GameSpot. It’s still got something of a cult following, due to the insane level of Replay Value, comically bad dialogue, and lots of borgs to choose from.
  • Go Vacation received mixed to low critical reception when it first came out, with many dismissing it as just another minigame collection for the Wii. Players, however, enjoyed its large open worlds, relaxed setting, and just how deep some of those minigames could get, to the point where it became a Cult Classic. It was even liked enough to see a rerelease on the Switch!
  • Upon release, Grand Theft Auto IV was praised by critics as one of the greatest games of all time. That is not metaphorical; over on Metacritic, it holds a critics' score of 98, tied with SoulCalibur and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 for the second-highest score ever given to a game, behind only The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Initially, the fan reaction was similar, but there always existed a subset of fans who criticized the game for its dry, Darker and Edgier tone and it lacking a number of popular features from Vice City and San Andreas, with the most high-profile new feature, the friendship system, being seen as a Scrappy Mechanic even by many people who otherwise liked the game. This critical view of IV grew more prevalent with the release of Red Dead Redemption and especially Grand Theft Auto V, which combined the technical improvements made by IV with the more over-the-top style of San Andreas (or, in the case of RDR, a radically different setting) while dropping the friendship system. Nowadays, many GTA fans consider IV to be good, but badly overrated at the time by people more impressed with the novelty of the first GTA game on seventh-generation consoles, with V basically doing everything that IV did only better, especially in its Updated Re-release on PC and eighth-generation consoles (at least gameplay-wise; V's story is itself fairly contentious).
  • Guns of Icarus Online got a Metacritic score of 64, but a user score of 8.8. Part of this dissonance is because the reviewers played a pre-release version of the game that was still somewhat buggy and rated it down for said bugs, despite being told that it was a pre-release version and, thus, not fully finished. Some reviewers also blamed bad experiences on the gameplay, when the real cause was their crewmates.
  • Homefront got a fairly middling reception from critics, due to a combination of It's Short, So It Sucks! and not breaking out of the bounds of the ‘military FPS’ formula. Hasn’t stopped it from selling over a million units.
  • Hogs of War was not looked kindly upon by critics, but it remains a Cult Classic amongst gamers for its great humour, excellent voice acting, awesome music, and overall being a great party game. As such, its fanbase is small, but fiercely devoted.
  • Hyperdimension Neptunia: This game caters heavily towards otaku who love other Nippon Ichi games and meta-jokes about video games in general. Almost everyone outside of that group (including reviewers) hated it. There’s a whopping 34-point difference between its professional and user reviews on Metacritic. All but two reviewers gave it a negative review. All but one user gave it a positive review, outside of the way healing worked. This applies to the second game in the series and the franchise as a whole, and both the creators and fanbase have embraced this wholeheartedly.
  • Another such game is Jaws Unleashed, which sold over 250,000 copies on the Xbox alone despite having a Game Rankings score of 54%. GameSpot later gave the game the “Worst Game Everyone Played of 2006” award accompanied by a video where Alex Navarro expresses his outrage at this game having outsold Psychonauts five times.
  • Jet Set Radio, despite having gotten excellent reviews for its original release, got very mediocre reviews for the HD rerelease, citing its ‘dated’ gameplay and graphics, and horrible camera angles (however, the HD version lets you adjust the camera with the mouse or right analog stick, which adds to much better camera control than in the original version). Sega fans, on the other hand, loved it and thanked Sega for bringing back one of their favorite games from them.

    K - O 
  • Every new installment of the Kingdom Hearts series following Kingdom Hearts II appeals to critics just a little bit less. The fanbase remains as rabid as ever, especially in the wake of the HD rerelease, but the series's tendency to focus more and more on original characters as opposed to Disney characters plus the prevalence on handheld consoles rather than home ones and the increasingly convoluted storyline leaves a lot of critics feeling cold towards the whole thing.
  • Kirby Air Ride is in a similar situation to Gotcha Force, with a lot of critics panning it for the one-button mechanics and the lack of depth while it received much higher user scores due to the major multiplayer focus and City Trial.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 is praised by critics for adding new elements to the game and having maps better than the ones from the original game. Fan opinion is very mixed because it has a zombie outbreak taking place in the daylight, melee weapons, and characters that aren’t as memorable as the original survivors. It doesn't help that there was controversial fact at the time that the game was released a year after the first one, making people think Valve was trying to milk fans for money. That controversy has mostly been forgotten since the game was different enough to justify the price.
  • The Legend of Dragoon received mediocre scores across the board. Players, on the other hand loved the game.
  • The Legend of Spyro trilogy. Critics tended to give them mediocre to outright bad reviews, with a few exceptions (like the Polished Port of the second game available on the Game Boy Advance). However, they managed to get fans (though not necessarily classic Spyro fans), and even spawned their own unique fanbase.
  • Skylanders. Positive reviews from critics, and as made evident by impressive sales, a huge hit with the kids; but the reboot is out-and-out loathed by fans of the previous entries of the franchise, with the few fans who have positive opinion suffering from harassment by these fans.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is one of the most critically-acclaimed games of all time, with perfect 10 scores from multiple publications. Among Zelda fans, it's a major Contested Sequel, with some going so far as to call it an outright terrible game. Part of this might be due to Hype Backlash, however. Complaints include controversial motion controls, increased linearity, the limited inventory and Item Crafting system and debate over the quality of the story and characterizations. Fans also can't seem to make up their minds as to whether it's too different or too similar to earlier games.
  • Lost Odyssey received middling reviews from Western critics for being a Cliché Storm of the JRPG genre. Its fans thought it was more Troperrific.
  • Lost Planet 2 got mixed reviews from critics but the public seems to think more highly of it.
  • Madden NFL ’13 and NHL ’13 have been praised by many critics for their new features and heavily revamped gameplay. The response to both games among fans, however, has been far more polarizing (as the Amazon.com review pages for both games demonstrates).
  • Mario Kart: Super Circuit is tied with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the most acclaimed game in the series, but while fan reception isn't outright negative, it tends to be viewed as So Okay, It's Average.
  • The Mario Party series is usually met with scorn from critics who constantly cite how the series’ graphics are dated and that the series never seems to add anything new. Fans, on the other hand, like the collection of mini-games to play and the gimmicks used on every board. Mario Party 9 had both camps do a complete turnaround where the critics gave the game some praise for actually trying something different while the fans blasted the game for trying something different.
  • Mass Effect 3 has the average player review on Metacritic being 22% and the average critic review being 95%. This can be traced to the unsatisfactory endings (which were so polarizing that BioWare launched another version with an epilogue), a possible raid by 4chan’s /v/, and some hate for Dragon Age II that seeped into hate for ME3. Also worth noting is that the PC version, which requires use of EA’s extremely unpopular Origin service and caused some people installation problems, has a much lower player review score than the console versions. Many people were up in arms about the day-one DLC, ‘forced’ multiplayer (before the Extended Cut, it wasn’t possible to get enough EMS to unlock all endings from single-player alone).
  • Really common within the Metal Gear franchise. On Metacritic and other sites Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty ranks as the best Metal Gear game but several fans dislike it for Raiden coming out of left field, its convoluted story, Raiden having no real point to the story, overuse of cut scenes, and Raiden not nearly being as Badass 'or' interesting as Snake. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater stands as the most popular game in the franchise by fans and creator Hideo Kojima himself but sites rank it lower due to a lack of a 3D camera (for its original release anyway). Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots took a bigger spot but fans tend to dislike it due to its excessively long cutscenes and everything explained by nanomachines. Another case happens with the spinoff sequel Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance which is reflected in Metacritic and GameRankings whose user review score is considerably higher than the ones from the critics, despite Raiden being the main character like in MGS2 but has been Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.
  • Metro 2033 got a rather flat reaction from critics. Players, on the other hand, apart from those who complained that it wasn’t Fallout 3 or S.T.A.L.K.E.R., fell in love with it, driving sales of the game into the millions. And then Metro: Last Light came around and managed to surpass those sales within its first week … while garnering critical acclaim. The release of Metro 2033 Redux vindicated the first game, as it too has garnered critical acclaim.
  • Metroid: Other M: Seemed to get mixed, but generally favorable reviews from critics. Fans, on the other hand, hate it for a large number of reasons and largely chuck it into Fanon Discontinuity.
  • Metroid Fusion received very good reviews from critics (and is considered one of the best games on the GBA). However, many fans rank it much lower due to its linearity and contrast with the series theme exploration. However, after Metroid: Other M, its status improved dramatically within the fanbase since it tackled its linear progression and story much better than Other M did.
  • Mortal Kombat 3. Critics find it to be one of the highest points of the MK series, while fans feel that it was the game that caused the series to go downhill for over a decade until Mortal Kombat 9 came out.
  • NBA 2K20 is a particularly extreme form of this. The game does enjoy a "reasonable" critic score on a number of websites, ranging from mixed reception to glowing praise. But the user scores, on Metacritic and the game's Steam page, seldomly score above a 1 out of 10, with its horrendously glitchy launch and blatant microtransaction and gambling presence as the culprits.
  • New Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo DS received a 96% from The Official Nintendo Magazine, but its relatively easy gameplay has made it unpopular with many fans of the Mario games, with many people agreeing that New Super Mario Bros. Wii is the superior game. This is likely due to the Wii version being the first 2D platforming Mario game to have simultaneous multiplayer, as well as being significantly more difficult, and hilarious to watch when four players are playing simultaneously.
  • NieR: Initially panned by critics for subpar graphics and too many fetch quests, loved by users for the deep, engaging story and killer soundtrack. Doubles somewhat as Vindicated by History.
  • Operation Darkness has a Metacritic critic score of 46 and a user score of 7.1. Professional critics cited problems such as poor camera control, dull graphics, and a lack of in-game tutorial while fans enjoy it for its unique gameplay elements and positively absurd storyline.
  • The Out Of The Park Baseball series has a tendency to be loved by critics and reviewers, but Metacritic user reviews are far more negative. The 2007 edition, which made several unpopular gameplay and interface changes. stands out the most, having a 96 critic score and a 2.5 user score.

    P - T 
  • Pathologic is a bit of a special example, due to it being a really bizarre game. Some reviews (even positive ones) don’t even call it a game. Many critics disliked Pathologic and warned against playing it, saying that it wasn’t fun at all and was far too bleak. Most fans of the game completely agree with this, but love the game’s plot and atmosphere nonetheless.
  • PAYDAY 2 was widely praised by critics for vastly improving mechanics from the first game and adding many new elements to make the game feel new and stand out. Fans, however, blast the game for RNG loot drops, level grinding, and the large amount of DLC being released.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire received good reviews from critics, but at this time, much of the fandom from the past two Gens was losing interest in the series after the first two Gens, and the feeling of a reboot (completely separate region with about two-thirds of the old Pokemon missing), as well as the storyline (several fans consider Team Magma and Team Aqua the worst villains in the series), did nothing to change their minds. However, the games gradually gained more favor until Game Freak responded to the many requests for remakes with Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, and the infamous "Too much water" complaint from IGN's review is viewed as a joke more than a legitimate complaint (though those games also had a Broken Base).
    • Pokémon Channel was savaged by critics for the lack of interactivity, while fans loved it and the entire point of Pokemon Channel is obvious from the title. That and the segments are pretty funny, well-made, and also supports linking to the GBA Pokemon games.
    • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl also received good reviews and sold higher than any game from Gen III. However, a good chunk of the fanbase views the games as the series' nadir. Common complaints include signs of being an Obvious Beta (a slow frame rate and long saving times after looking into the PC), a weak storyline (to the point where several fans consider Team Galactic, and it's leader Cyrus in particular, the worst villains in the series) and a regional Pokedex not only filled with evolutions to older Pokemon and Legendaries but also questionably organized (the dearth of Fire-types is a particular point of ire). Several people gained a better opinion of the Gen with the Updated Re Release Platinum, which had a better frame rate, a more expansive regional Pokedex, a bit more depth to the storyline, more after game content, but even it still garners controversy from the fanbase despite continued praise from critics.
    • Pokémon Black and White got stellar reviews across the board, with Famitsu giving it a perfect 40/40. The fans however... weren't so favorable. While they agreed that the storyline and music were the series best, even people who liked it didn't think it was near-flawless, with several people criticising the decision to not have any Pokemon from different regions until the aftergame, the regional Pokedex for consisting of mostly Expies of older Pokemon, the designs of several of the new Pokémon, the song that plays whenever your health goes into the red, and the aftergame.
    • Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, conversely, are some of the worst-reviewed main series Pokémon games (if still well-reviewed), with many reviewers complaining It's the Same, Now It Sucks! due to the games being Mission Pack Sequels that reused a lot of assets from Black and White and returning to a more formulaic story setup after their predecessors' deeper storyline. However, they're also among the most beloved entries by dedicated Pokémon fans (particularly of the hardcore variety) for their expansive postgame and selection of bonus features.
    • Pokémon X and Y got generally positive reviews. The fanbase was much more divided, with many criticisms regarding the storyline, the characters, and the added Pokémon.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon got this as well. Critics viewed Sun and Moon as excellent and a contender for the best games in the series, but the fandom, while generally considering it good, still has criticisms of the games, like it removing some well-liked features from previous games.
    • Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!: While critic reviews were still favorable, the games have received a polarized response from fans. While considered a cute, charming entry to the series, it was an entry-level Pokemon game that was easier and shorter compared to other main-series Pokemon games, and fans disliked how wild Pokemon battles, abilities, held items, postgame, and online functionality were removed or compromised. Its $60 price tag, as well as finicky catching controls, also didn't help.
    • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon received very lukewarm reviews by Western critics, who disliked the repetitive gameplay and felt that the roguelike style was unsuited for Pokemon. Players (and Japanese critics from Famitsu as well) disagreed, and there's a common consensus among the Pokemon fanbase that the games have the best soundtracks and stories of the entire franchise. Even more amusingly, Gates to Infinity, the third installment which was generally disdained by players, received slightly better reviews than its predecessors.
  • Resident Evil 6 is a weird example as it not only split the fans but the critics as well. At best you could possibly make the argument that the fans had mixed opinions but still leaned positive, but the critical reception was all over the place. It seems that the people who enjoyed it the most were those who preferred the more action-heavy RE games (4 and 5) over the earlier survival horror ones.
  • Saints Row: The Third and Saints Row IV were generally well-received by critics (the lowest scores they got being in the high 70s), but have a divisive response among players (fans of Saints Row 2 hate them with a passion) for the Reverse Cerebus Syndrome that the story takes and the perceived Badass Decay of the Saints.
  • Silent Hill 4: The Room holds an average score of 76 on Metacritic. Many fans of the series are far less kind, citing multiple frustrating gameplay elements and having to go through each area of the game twice.
  • SimCity (2013 release), much like DMC and Dead Space 3, is also suffering the same exact thing, as evidenced by its poor user reviews on Metacritic. Much of this can be attributed to the critics reviewing it in a controlled environment where the network connectivity served to give some minor enhancements to gameplay. However, when released there was a connectivity fiasco which almost completely broke the game. In EA's rush to fix the issue, many features had to be disabled or dialed down, resulting in the players getting a much worse game experience after they buy it than the reviewers had before it came out. Even after the problems were fixed, however, the game was still blasted by longtime fans for being much easier and more streamlined than earlier games.
  • There is an increasing disconnect between fans of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise and professional reviewers, from both directions. It does not help that several Sonic fans tend to be abnormally rabid in defense of their icon of devotion. It has gotten to the point that many fans of the series outright dismiss reviews from certain outfits due to this dissonance, considering the reviewer/site untrustworthy due to the critic’s past mistakes. For instance:
    • Sonic Chronicles received relatively decent reviews but was disliked by fans, mainly due to mediocre gameplay, a soundtrack that just sounds like bland Midi covers of other music from the series, and being an Obvious Beta.
    • Both episodes of Sonic the Hedgehog 4 received this treatment, though fans were much kinder to Part 2.
    • This can even happen when fans and critics agree on a game’s merits (or lack thereof). Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) was universally reviled, but fans were angry because they considered the official critical scores (averaging around 6.5) insufficiently low. It is more divisive now, ranging from 'terrible', to 'not that bad', to even (as far as a Vocal Minority of fans are concerned) 'actually pretty good.'
    • Sonic Unleashed had the dissonance happen from the opposite direction. The game received mixed-to-negative reviews from critics (IGN rated it worse than Sonic ’06), but fans — while admitting it was nowhere near perfect — thought it was a huge step in the right direction for the series. Though nobody much liked the Werehog.
    • The Colors era games have been praised as a return to form for the series, but didn't sell as much as other games in the series. The people who bought them are generally divided. One camp loved the Lighter and Softer tone, music and gameplay. A second camp despised the humor focused story, cartoonish art direction and music, difficulty, and perceived attempts to copy Mario.
    • The Adventure era games are also polarizing, despite praise. Criticisms include Polygon Ceiling, boring characters, boring story, and dated voice acting.
    • Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal got this treatment in contrast to Rise of Lyric which is universally reviled by fans and critics alike (many calling it worse than Sonic ’06). Most critics despise it as much as they despise Rise of Lyric while fans give it a So Okay, It's Average, the general consensus being that while it has its share of faults, it is a step up from Rise of Lyric due to it being free of technical glitches and at least attempting to feel like a true Sonic game.
  • Spec Ops: The Line. Critics, by and large, were impressed with the game's story and themes (if generally finding the gameplay decidedly lacklustre - neither noticeably good nor bad), but it sold very poorly. Players who did pick up the game were divided - one camp thinks it's brilliant for opening questions that many other games conspicuously fail to acknowledge about simulated violence, power fantasies, morality, and other assumptions that come part and parcel with the genre, in the frame of an affecting and stark character study - enough that a critical examination supportive of the game was written. A second finds it pretentious, hypocritical, self-righteous about imaginary violence, and too flawed in itself to be making any criticisms (especially in the way the game itself pushes violence on the player, with the White Phosphorus incident being the most extreme example). It was enough to spawn two games mocking Spec Ops' morality play: Video Game Morality Play and You Were Hallucinating The Whole Time. A third camp didn't care about the story and dismissed it as yet another shooter set in the tired modern military genre, with mediocre cover-based gameplay.
  • Critics who reviewed Spider-Man: Web of Shadows gave the game mixed reviews, citing the repetitive gameplay and lackluster story. Casual gamers and Spidey fans loved it, enjoying the flashy combat and the web-swinging as well as the ability to play Spider-Man as a straight hero or a villain, while hardcore shippers appreciated how it focused on Spidey and Mary Jane as a couple due to it coming right around the time a certain story broke them up, with fans often ranking it alongside the likes of the PS1 game, Shattered Dimensions, and even the acclaimed Spider-Man 2 as one of the hero's best video game outings.
  • Similarity, the 2010 Splatterhouse remake was mostly panned by critics whose complaints ranged from a wonky camera to an overreliance on gore. Player feedback, however, was generally much more positive.
  • Star Control 3 was a critics' darling when it was released, reviewers praising its simulation aspects and story, as well as treating the now-infamous puppets and CG effects as quite high-tech for their time. Fans, however, have not been so kind to it, calling it an affront to the series' original creators, who similarly don't treat it as canon in any way, and it's clear that its special effects have not aged well in the slightest.
  • StarCraft II received unanimously positive reviews from critics, but reaction from fans and the e-sports community was more mixed. Criticisms focused on whether the game was superior to the original, perceived balance issues, and accusations that the storyline was clichéd and predictable.
  • Street Fighter X Tekken. It received eights and nines from mainstream review sites, but was heavily mixed in the fandom. For more casual fans it did okay, being a relatively simple entry without a need for a lot of commitment, and giving a colorful reinterpretation of Tekken characters. However, it faced serious backlash from the fighting game community for a number of reasons (mostly due to the gem system, the Pandora mechanic, the immense watering-down of the Tekken characters, and the various shady business practices involved in its development). It doesn’t help that the game was put out at a time when Capcom’s reputation was being tarnished game after game, with SF X: TK being the breaking point for many. It was also pulled from most official competitions not long after release and is generally considered the weakest entry in the Capcom crossover series (at least, until Marvel VS Capcom Infinite came out).
  • Numerous games in the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series (specifically Underground 2) are loved by fans yet the critics’ scores imply they are average. The only ones people can agree on are Shred and Ride, which of course hardly anyone could get to work, as well as Pro Skater 5, which was enough of a rushed mess to end the series altogether.

    U - Z 
  • Ultima IX received decidedly mixed, but generally positive reviews. Amongst the fanbase, it's generally considered the worst in the series, due to it's simplistic gameplay, game-breaking bugs (which granted, the reviews also criticized), inconsistencies with the other Ultima games, and the way in which exposition is handled. Naturally, The Spoony Experiment poked fun at this in his review, where he spent a part of the opening portion reading several of the positive reviews on the box.
  • Watch_Dogs received a fair amount of acclaim upon release. However, on Metacritic and Steam, the game hasn’t been received very well, citing the graphics which look nothing like what was shown on the trailers, screwy physics, horrible driving mechanics, bland narrative, and the ‘innovative’ hacking mechanic being nothing more than ‘walk up to a terminal and press X to hack.’ The fact that the PC port requires UPlay regardless of where it’s purchased, and will not run on setups that don’t have N Vidia hardware, also doesn’t help.
  • Yiik A Postmodern RPG: Critical reviews were mixed on this game, with some reviewers loving it and some hating it. General audiences hate it for lots of reasons, many stemming from the controversy that a character's death was based on a real woman's death due to the writer's admitted obsession over the case.
  • Yo-Kai Watch 2 has been getting mixed reviews by critics to the point of it getting a lower score than the first one on Metacritic (Currently 72 to the first game's 76), but player and fan feedback has been generally much more positive, with them considering it a huge improvement over the first game.
  • ZombiU got positive reviews from critics and the public, but wasn’t a huge seller and consequently the game is far from making any profit for its developer Ubisoft. The leading theory is that gamers have become accustomed to zombie games being akin to Resident Evil-style action shooters, and were turned off by ZombiU’s slower pacing and greater emphasis on horror.


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