5 'bad' entries in popular video game franchises that are actually good

Did you enjoy any of these entries in these acclaimed video game franchises? (Images via Remedy Entertainment/Square Enix/EA)
Did you enjoy any of these entries in these acclaimed video game franchises? (Images via Remedy Entertainment/Square Enix/EA)

Video game history has seen countless iconic franchises, from big names like GTA, Halo and Uncharted to niche ones like Bayonetta and Metro.

All of these franchises have seen success one way or another. However, there is almost always one entry that ruins a franchise's reputation in fans' eyes. This could be either due to experimentation or a sheer lack of understanding as to what makes the franchise revered.

There are many games that have been called the "black sheep" of a particular series. However, it's not always so black and white. Despite its shortcomings, an entry may not necessarily be a bad game.

Here's a look at some games that aren't as bad as their critics think they are.

Disclaimer: This article solely reflects the opinions of the writer

5 games that aren't as bad as naysayers make it out to be

1) Saints Row 4


Volition's 2013 entry in the underrated Saints Row series is often described as Saints Row 3.5. It technically is, as it was originally intended to be a DLC for Saints Row: The Third.

The end product turned out to be the same game, just duller. Saints Row 4 was chastised for moving away from the roots of the GTA-clone series into over-the-top territory.

While the series has always been aloof in its vibe, the inclusion of aliens and simulations definitely crossed the line. Add in superpowers, and what fans were left with was basically EA's Prototype but with an SR3 skin.

This excludes how the devs canonically ruined any chances of a direct sequel to a traditional Saints Row experience.

While the criticism is most certainly valid, given the game's bland missions and side objectives, it is still a fun experience.

Saints Row 4 is a true power fantasy, an archetype of games rarely seen these days. The powers and fluid traversal in the game make it a super laid-back experience that is fun to mess around in.

For all its faults, it's hard to stay mad at the stuff the game does get right.

2) Final Fantasy XIII


Following huge anticipation, Square Enix released Final Fantasy XIII in 2009 for the PS3 and 360.

While the JRPG's beautiful visuals and amazing ATB (Active Time Battle) combat were the highlights, it was panned in several other areas. The main criticism centered on the nonsensical story filled with inconsistencies and the hallway-level design.

However, the Paradigm Shift system is pretty fresh, and the combat is quite tight. Sure, the AI can be weird, but the eye candy visuals and decent gameplay make it worth a try, at least.

The game is far from perfect, but the seething hate from Final Fantasy fans is kind of unwarranted.

3) Dead Space 3


This game is best described as Resident Evil 6 of the Dead Space series. Akin to Capcom's 2012 title, the latest main entry in the iconic EA franchise took an action-oriented turn.

While the Dead Space series is renowned for its survival and creepy factor, Dead Space 3 lets the player go to town with a focus on constant action and fights. Its open areas also felt like filler. Throw in a subpar plot with cliche writing, and you're left with a mediocre shooter.

The one saving grace is its co-op. Unlike most games, Dead Space 3 sees the second player control Carver, whose existence ties into the main plot. You're not a clone that disappears during cutscenes here.

The repetition and padding of the gameplay are also softened with another player. If anything, Dead Space 3 is worth picking up with a buddy due to the decent amount of effort put into it.

4) Alan Wake's American Nightmare


Alan Wake was released in 2010 to massive critical acclaim, leading to a sequel of sorts.

Alan Wake's American Nightmare was released in 2012. Set after the events of the first game, the story takes a pulp fiction route. It features the titular writer in a time loop, but this was where the key faults began. The game was termed repetitive because players had to re-do the same few levels.

However, it does improve over the original. To keep it brief, there's more gun variety, gunplay is enhanced, and there are more interesting enemies. An arcade mode is included for players who love the combat.

The decision to have the story revolve around Mr. Scratch isn't ambitious, but it doesn't need to be. It is a side-entry after all.

Overall, Alan Wake's American Nightmare is not bad by any means. In fact, this is the most positively received console/PC title on this list.

Hopefully, the upcoming sequel to the game will deliver.

5) Deus Ex: The Fall


Originally released for smartphones in 2013, Deus Ex: The Fall takes place alongside 2011's amazing Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It received a PC port in 2014 and was widely panned for technical issues and a cliffhanger.

Developed by N-Fusion, it is basically a scaled-down Human Revolution for smartphones, which was honestly an achievement for a 2012 mobile title.

Narratively, it follows the novel Deus Ex: Icarus Fall's protagonist Ben Saxon. After a Neuropozyne shortage hits, he sets out to discover alternatives, only to stumble across private corporations meddling in illegal matters.

That aside, the gameplay is a near copy of Human Revolution, down to the gold-and-black aesthetic. The energy, hacking, stealth, and augments systems make a comeback, and so do exploration-driven non-linear level design. All of these operate well enough within the game's mobile roots.

The atmosphere is surprisingly good, and the writing is decent as well. The essence of Human Revolution can also be felt within its optional side quests.

Too bad Deus Ex: The Fall sits at an embarrassing 45 on Metacritic. For Deus Ex fans, this is certainly worth a try, even though the story will never be complete due to the project being deemed a flop.

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Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh
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