Gamers are a… passionate bunch. A lot of us have incredibly strong opinions about the games we love. On the flipside, we also have strong (if not stronger) opinions about the games we hate.
The problem is that there have been a bunch of high profile releases over the years that have massively divided opinion. There are some titles that are simultaneously showered with critical acclaim, and still manage to attract scores of haters. The below five games are titles that you’ll find gamers continue to argue about to this day.
No Man’s Sky
When Hello Games launched No Man’s Sky back in 2016, it was quite possibly one of the most despised releases of all time. Overzealous promotion on the part of creator Sean Murray led to some inflated expectations from fans – expectations that were not met when the game released with a good chunk of the promised features completely absent.
Faced with death threats and all manner of truly horrendous abuse that the staff absolutely didn’t deserve, Hello Games could have simply moved on to a new project. Instead, Murray and his team buckled down and worked to make No Man’s Sky the game they’d originally promised it would be.
After several substantial, free updates, No Man’s Sky now has multiplayer, a variety of missions, a social hub, base building, vehicles, and all manner of quality of life improvements. Those who stuck with it, or returned to it recently, will argue that it’s a completely different game to the mess that landed in 2016.
Others are less easily convinced, arguing that Hello Games had their chance and the studio shouldn’t be praised for adding features that were supposed to be in the game three years ago. These people will likely never return to No Man’s Sky, but they’re missing out.
Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare never really had a chance, and you have to feel a little sorry for it. To be fair, I think the fans made it clear that they weren’t happy with Call of Duty drifting closer and closer into science fiction territory, so I suppose the reaction to a new CoD that was basically a full on sci-fi shooter was entirely predictable.
The launch trailer went on to become one of the most disliked YouTube videos of all time. Over three years after the trailer was released, at the time of writing, it has 42,812,171 views, 603K likes, and a whopping 3.8m dislikes. No wonder Infinity Ward has gone back to Modern Warfare for its latest entry.
The thing is, if you look hard enough you’ll find people willing to argue that Infinite Warfare isn’t a bad game. At all. it might not be the kind of game people expected from Call of Duty, but given we get one every 365 days, what was the harm in changing it up for one entry?
Infinite Warfare was a well-made and exciting sci-fi FPS that deserved better. That’s what some people say, anyway. Not me. I’m too scared of the hardcore CoD fans to suggest such a thing.
The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker
When Nintendo first unveiled the cartoony aesthetic of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, it went down like a fart in a lift – particularly because fans had been expecting a more realistic take on the franchise following the Spaceworld tech demo from a year before, which showed a beautifully rendered Ocarina of Time-style Link doing battle with Ganondorf.
Once the game released and fans got their hands on it however… well, opinion was simply split pretty much down the middle which, to be fair, was an improvement on everyone being against it. Those that gave The Wind Waker a fair shot found it to be on of the finest Zelda titles of all time, and certainly one of the best games on GameCube.
The bright, cel-shaded visuals ensured that characters were brimming with emotion, the vast ocean was packed with secrets to discover, and the story was one of the most ambitious and heartfelt we’d ever seen from a Zelda.
That’s what those in the pro camp (myself included) think, anyway. The Wind Waker has less and less detractors every day, but there are still those that argue it’s too easy, far too short, and the “kiddy” visuals aren’t consistent with what they expect from Zelda. They’re wrong, obviously.
Dark Souls is a funny one. I don’t think I’ve talked to a single person who’s finished FromSoftware’s punishing RPG – or at least come close to finishing it – and also has a bad word to say about it. You’ll often find these people have nothing but praise for the intricately designed world, complete lack of handholding, challenging boss battles, and rich lore.
Weirdly, it’s those exact things that Dark Souls fans love about the game that its detractors hate about it. The problem is that a vast majority of the camp against Dark Souls never got very far through the game, meaning they never had that moment where it’s complex world and systems suddenly click into place and they suddenly “get” it.
To be clear, I’m not trying to make a dig or invalidate the reasons people who don’t like Dark Souls have. It is a divisive game precisely because of the difficulty and impenetrable lore. If you’re going to hate on a game, those are some fairly solid reasons.
Unfortunately, it’s a From Software game, so that moment where everything clicks can be different for different people. For some, it’s right away. For others, it’s not until a few bosses in. It’s exactly the same with Sekiro and Bloodborne. Some people just don’t have that kind of time to invest in something they’re not enjoying, and that’s absolutely understandable.
On the other hand, some people would argue the nerds that don’t like Dark Souls should just git gud so we can all take about how great it is. Trying to argue with those people is basically the Dark Souls of online debates, though.
Final Fantasy VIII
I have met many people on my travels, and the ones who love Final Fantasy VIII really, truly love it. I’m taking genuinely slavish devotion to the JRPG, the kind that makes me think they might have secretly joined some kind of cult whose only goal is convert entire world to their cause.
Personally? I’m kind of in the middle with this one, so I can see both sides. Those for Final Fantasy VIII claim it’s the best in the series that takes some truly brave risks given that it’s a follow-up to the incredibly popular Final Fantasy VII. They praise the deep battle system, rich cast of characters, and story that isn’t afraid to throw all logic out of the window in the interests of a good time.
Those who hate Final Fantasy VIII argue that Square Enix threw everything that made VII out of the window just for the sake of changing stuff up, the battle system is completely useless, and the story and characters are completely unbelievable, even by Final Fantasy standards, with many complaining that there are just way too many plot holes and characters doing unexpected crap for literally no reason.
Still, at least we can all agree that the game’s theme is a work of beauty. Hopefully when the remaster launches later this year, it’ll convert a new wave of fans, and maybe even change some long-held perspectives on the game.
Are there any games you absolutely love that almost everyone else you know seems to hate? Where do you stand on the five games above? Don’t let me know personally, because I loathe confrontation in any form, but do be sure to discuss it… someone. Anyone but me, basically.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.