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Top 10 Most Controversial Video Game Reviews

VO: Dan Paradis
Script written by Nathan Sharp Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion...but people can be very opinionated about that! Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Controversial Video Game Reviews! Special thanks to our user “HazzaBozza” for suggesting this topic using our interactive suggestion tool at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Top 10 Most Controversial Video Game Reviews

How dare you have an opinion! Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten most controversial video game reviews.

For this list, we’ll be looking at video game reviews that caused outrage and hysteria amongst the gaming community.

#10: “Assassin’s Creed II” (2009)

Jim Sterling is definitely a controversial figure in the world of gaming, and his review for the universally acclaimed “Assassin’s Creed II” was definitely no exception. Sterling gave this sequel a head-shaking 4.5/10, which was lower than the score for the first title, claiming it to be “mind-numbingly repetitive” with “puzzlingly bad graphics” and “piss-poor animation.” Users immediately called Sterling a troll who was intentionally stirring up controversy for attention and clicks, while others simply called him an “utter dumbass.” And that was probably the last time that gamers defended Ubisoft.

#9: “Grand Theft Auto V” (2013)

This controversy was a response to GameSpot’s review of “Grand Theft Auto V,” in which critic Carolyn Petit brought up issues regarding the game’s treatment of women, claiming that it “celebrate[s] sexism.” This went about as well as you’d expect within the gaming community, as Carolyn was quickly labeled “feminist scum,” among many other colourful things, and a petition was created calling for her immediate termination from GameSpot. Suffice it to say, the petition was ultimately unsuccessful.

#8: “Prey” (2017)

If you were a professional critic and ran into a game-breaking bug, what would you do? Score the game based on what you experienced? Delay the review? Detract major points for its major technical issue? This is the situation IGN’s Dan Stapleton found himself in when his review copy of “Prey” ran into a game-breaking bug not once, but twice. Stapleton enjoyed the game aside from that, but his wall-hitting experience led him to score the game 4/10. This tarnished “Prey’s” score on Metacritic and led many others to declare that gaming journalism was dead. The score has since been remedied, but the review had already left its mark.

#7: “Killzone 2” (2009)

Who knew that a perfect review could cause so many people to lose their minds? After G4’s “X-Play” gave “Killzone 2” a perfect 5/5 score, both Microsoft and Sony fans collectively went haywire, forcing Adam Sessler to go on air and defend himself and the company from the abhorrent comments directed towards them. Sony fans took offense to the lack of enthusiasm over the game, despite the perfect score, while Microsoft fans complained about X-Play’s supposed Xbox bias, and it all caused Sessler to have a bit of a breakdown.

#6: “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End” (2016)

If you scored 90% on a test, would you go insane and personally attack your teacher? No? Well that’s what happened to IGN’s Lucy O’Brien, who found herself on the receiving end of some seriously pissed off fanboys after giving “Uncharted 4” a 9/10. She called the game a “remarkable achievement” and praised nearly every aspect, minus a bloated third act. This caused “Uncharted” fans to lose their minds, showing complete disgust that IGN scored recent “Call of Duty” titles higher and showering personal abuse on O’Brien over her rating... even though O’Brien had never reviewed a Call of Duty game for IGN. Keep in mind - all this over a 9!

#5: “Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire” (2014)

IGN’s review of this title will undoubtedly go down in infamy, and will probably live on in Pokémon culture for years. The review was practically glowing with praise throughout, but the score ended up being a curiously low 7.8/10. In the review summation, points were docked for the game having too many HMs and for having too much water, despite being set on numerous islands. This caused fans hours of laughs as they tore into the review, criticizing the summary and making jokes out of it in the process. And thus the “too much water” meme was born.

#4: “Alien: Resurrection” (2000)

Using the left and right analog sticks for first person movement now seems like second nature. However, back in 2000, this was a foreign concept, and we have the review to prove it. “Alien: Resurrection” is considered to be one of the pioneers behind this control scheme, but at the time, this layout completely baffled GameSpot’s Steven Garrett, who criticized the game for this setup, claiming: “The game's control setup is its most terrifying element. The left analog stick moves you forward, back, and strafes right and left, while the right analog stick turns you and can be used to look up and down.” It’s hilarious to think back on this supposed flaw, which would eventually revolutionize an entire genre.

#3: “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” (2017)

The Jimquisition
Remember when we said that Jim Sterling was a controversial figure? After leaving Destructoid and venturing out on his own, Sterling still enjoys mixing it up, as evidenced by his review for the new “Zelda” title. This game received near unanimous perfect scores, but Sterling gave it a 7 out of 10, citing a number of flaws and imperfections in an otherwise solid Zelda game. Not only was this complete heresy in the eyes of “Zelda” fans, but his review also dropped the Metacritic score from 98 to 97, which meant it was no longer tied for the site’s second highest-rated game. This was the final straw, as his site was DDoS’d by rabid fans.

#2: “DRIV3R” (2004)

PSM2 & Xbox World
For those of you don’t remember the mess that was DRIV3Rgate, here’s the 4-1-1: most outlets gave this terrible game 3s and 4s out of 10, but two magazines, PSM2 and Xbox World, had given spit-take-worthy 9/10s months earlier, forcing many to launch an investigation. Both outlets were owned by Future plc, and many believed that they gave glowing reviews in exchange for exclusivity. Along with that, critical posts on GamesRadar (also owned by Future) were suspiciously deleted and some positive posts were traced to a marketing company who had previously admitted to using shills in forums. Not a good look, guys.

#1: “Kane & Lynch: Dead Men” (2007)

This average-at-best game was given an appropriate 6/10 review from Jeff Gerstmann of GameSpot, and no one was particularly surprised. That is, until it was announced that Gerstmann had been fired from GameSpot. Suspicion quickly grew when many noticed that the game was heavily advertised on the site. While Gerstmann was forced to stay quiet on the matter due to a non-disclosure agreement, he has since admitted that the poor review WAS a big reason for his termination, as Eidos threatened to pull advertising from GameSpot in retribution. Things worked out for Gertsmann, however, as he went on to co-found Giant Bomb… which was later bought by CBS Interactive, the same company that owns GameSpot.

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