8 Critically Successful Games that Sold Poorly

8 Critically Successful Games that Sold Poorly

These eight games were critical darlings, but they didn't do so well at retail.

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I don't think anyone except me remembers Binary Domain, even though it's a uh better 3rd person shooter than Gears of War.

They gave away Beyond Good & Evil with cheese!? Really?!
That masterpiece of a game deserved so much more.
I still replay it at least once a year.

I can't help but wonder why it never took off.

...Man, this list is depressing. Especially for games like Psychonauts, Beyond Good and Evil and Okami. And yet people barely noticed them? Shame...

Finally, someone who acknowledges that Beyond Good & Evil sold poorly and 99% of the people who praise it never actually played it.

I'm a little surprised not to see Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure on the list. At the time, it was considered a poster child for critical-but-not-commercial success. Gaming blogs and news sites kept nagging people to buy it and calling it amazing, and nobody did.

P.S. Thanks

No mention of Ico or did they sold a decent amount?

Scarim Coral:
No mention of Ico or did they sold a decent amount?

I think Ico may have been passed over for favor of these other games because got a sequel of sorts. It is still a rare gem, to be sure, but I think it's not as big a deal as these other games.

Anyway, it's amazing how most of those games now are talked about in terms of "Awe" by people. They all fell amazingly short in terms of sales, and yet nowadays people are clamoring for sequels for most of them.

Vendor-Lazarus:
They gave away Beyond Good & Evil with cheese!? Really?!
That masterpiece of a game deserved so much more.
I still replay it at least once a year.

I can't help but wonder why it never took off.

I think one reason were the anthropomorphic animals, at least to me it made the game look somewhat childish. I'm still annoyed at myself that I didn't take a closer look at it. I played and bought it a lot later.

The Wii was probably a lost cause for "mature" titles within its first year. Many were starting to see the motion controls were not adding much to the immersion. The 360 and PS3 had plenty of what older players wanted, and many likely didn't have extra cash for another system. Even good kid friendly third party games were lost under the sea of shovelware the Wii shelves collected. It had a few non-Nintendo gems that didn't have the look of a kid's game, but not enough at once to really get noticed by the crowd.

Okami came out at a bad time and probably could have used a better ad campaign. The PS3 (and Wii) was looming over the horizon. A few of my friends dismissed it as "some anime game." The only way I heard about it was the Game Informer review that showered it with praise. The Wii port didn't do well because of reasons I already stated (and it was the only game where the Wii's IR pointer controls felt like a downgrade to me). I wonder if the HD remaster met sales expectations? The DS sequel did better financially, but not by much. Now, if only we could get one last sequel... (Wii U gamepad controls would be great but that system is a curse to good third party games.)

To add another forgotten critically acclaimed, poor selling franchise, Klonoa sure got beat down a lot. Seeing some let's plays of the 2 (er, 3 with the original's remake) console titles had me regretting not trying them out as a kid (not enough money/present allotment). If Namco could make a good compilation, I'd pick them up fast.

09philj:
I don't think anyone except me remembers Binary Domain, even though it's a uh better 3rd person shooter than Gears of War.

I still play it from time to time. Great game, squad interaction was very unusual but very enjoyable.

Zontar:
Finally, someone who acknowledges that Beyond Good & Evil sold poorly and 99% of the people who praise it never actually played it.

Played and bought "first hand" (so the publishers make a profit) are two different things. I was an "offender" like that for Okami when it first came out by borrowing it from a friend, before buying a new version release later on.

Sidenote: not saying it's bad but lack of sales doesn't necessarily mean a lack of fans who liked it,just an issue with enough of them buying/owning the game at the same time. What with rentals, trade-ins, friends, family or piracy.

Nice to see there are still fans of VGCats :)

anyway, it's super sad that BG&E did so poorly, it's definitely top 5 games I ever played

Strangely for an article like this, I've actually heard of every game on this list.

Unfortunately I haven't played most of them, they are mostly games I wanted to play but just never got round to.

Jade Empire & Beyond Good & Evil are two of my favorite games of all time though.

Itsuki93:

09philj:
I don't think anyone except me remembers Binary Domain, even though it's a uh better 3rd person shooter than Gears of War.

I still play it from time to time. Great game, squad interaction was very unusual but very enjoyable.

Oh, Binary Domain. Fun shooter, but the campaign made the average playthrough of Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 look like a massive epic by comparison.

No, seriously. I won't even come close to thinking of myself as a top-class video game speedrunner, but I can blaze through BD's campaign in under six hours. SIX HOURS.

I'll confess I never tried the online modes, but I never was much for online multiplayer to begin with...

Still, when someone like me can burn through your game's story mode in that short of a time, something's not right.

It's still a fun little game, though.

one game is missing. the french comic based FPS, XIII. suppose to be a second game but because it sold so poorly, they didnt bother making part 2 to continue the story.

Neonsilver:

Vendor-Lazarus:
They gave away Beyond Good & Evil with cheese!? Really?!
That masterpiece of a game deserved so much more.
I still replay it at least once a year.

I can't help but wonder why it never took off.

I think one reason were the anthropomorphic animals, at least to me it made the game look somewhat childish. I'm still annoyed at myself that I didn't take a closer look at it. I played and bought it a lot later.

Hmm, that could indeed be a possible reason. Some people also seem to have a thing against Anthro's.
Having grown up with ThunderCats, Sonic SatAM, Gummibears, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, DuckTales, Rescue Rangers, Darkwing Duck ...oh..I should probably stop there..
Ahem, having grown up with those shows, I didn't even consider that as something objectionable.
Thanks for enlightening me as to a possible cause!

09philj:
I don't think anyone except me remembers Binary Domain, even though it's a uh better 3rd person shooter than Gears of War.

YES! I love Binary Domain. It's a fantastic shooter with great characters. It was barely advertised and had to go up against mass effect 3 sadly. Everyone should play Binary Domain.

Vendor-Lazarus:

I can't help but wonder why it never took off.

Some people are put off by the smell of cheese.

OT; I had always wanted to get Jade Empire when it was first released. But I missed that apparently very narrow window. Had to wait until GoG released it.

Interesting... I've played every game and completed most of these except forPanzer Dragoon. I enjoyed them all very, very much and get especially sad when I see 'Okami' and 'No More Heroes' on lists like these. The former is a prime example of a beautifully crafted game with substance, clever ideas and amazing visuals.

And then I remember that I once met a professional game critic that refused to play the game just because of the art style.

Jade Empire was the game that many Bioware fans wanted to play, but many didn't have an XBox. At the time, Bioware was heavily known for their PC Games. By the time the game finally came around on PCs, most people had moved on. A game harmed by exclusivity.

Freespace 2. Love the game and it had great reviews but sold abysmally. Lost of mods but no sequel. Still hoping for a sequel or reboot but the space sim genre is not what it was.

008Zulu:

Vendor-Lazarus:

I can't help but wonder why it never took off.

Some people are put off by the smell of cheese.

*draws breath* HA Ha ha! ,) ^^

008Zulu:
OT; I had always wanted to get Jade Empire when it was first released. But I missed that apparently very narrow window. Had to wait until GoG released it.

Absolutionis:
Jade Empire was the game that many Bioware fans wanted to play, but many didn't have an XBox. At the time, Bioware was heavily known for their PC Games. By the time the game finally came around on PCs, most people had moved on. A game harmed by exclusivity.

Very true. I remember being excited when it came out but the only console I've got is a NES.
still haven't played Jade Empire but I will, someday, soon..ish.

Successful yet didn't sell? Oxymoron. This article could be titled "8 bad games critics were wrong about" or "8 games that failed." Critics do not determine a game's quality. Sure, "All reviews are subjective," but sales are not. There is no New York Times "Best Reviewed" list. As they say in showbiz, the audience is never wrong.

Jade Empire - Bad game. Terrible combat, no customization, small world, low content. Nothing here to attract action game fans or RPG fans. RPG players like good combat and quality customization options.

Psychonauts - Even the developer admits it's bad. Funny story, lousy platformer. Too 'zany' to appeal to anyone beyond a tiny niche.

Vanquish - Trying to mix Devil May Cry with a shooter is a neat idea but it doesn't really work. No multiplayer. Plot is pure cheese. Average game that gets lost in the sea of crap.

Okami - Looks neat but sooooo borrrring. Obscure Japanese mythology does not appeal to Americans. Characters yammer forever and never shut up.

Grim Fandango - Like Psychonauts, too weird for it's own good. People aren't interested in a point-and-click with skeletons.

No More Heroes - Japanese weirdness times a million. Nonsensical story. Combat is shallow and button-mashy. Graphics are crap and the Wii was a lousy console. Suda 51 is an acquired taste and none of his games really sell.

Beyond Good and Evil - Lol, every gaming hipster's favorite game. Game is so bad the author of this article has to praise... the animations? Are you kidding me?! What game has ever sold because of 'Awesome Character Animations?' This is like praising a restaurant for having good parking.

Beyond Good and Evil is essentially a Zelda clone with 1/10th the content. Crummy, shallow combat, dumb animal characters, boring plot that goes nowhere. Lame puzzle-solving gameplay, forced stealth sequences, bugs, short, tiny world and levels, etc. etc. Even the title is bad; obscure Nietzsche quote does not apply well to a colorful adventure game. This game oozes crap from every byte.

The audience is never wrong. Good artists sell!

Man I wish No More Heroes did better, it was a bit clunky at times but I honestly couldn't get enough of it once it rolled out the ranked battles, the sequel had one hell of a fighting system, too bad it never continued.

I would also throw in Elite Beat Agents, it was basically a western version of Quendan, but I loved it and it even left on a mild sequel hook, would buy a new one in a heartbeat, probably because I am a sucker for music/rhythm games.

Grampy_bone:
Successful yet didn't sell? Oxymoron. This article could be titled "8 bad games critics were wrong about" or "8 games that failed." Critics do not determine a game's quality. Sure, "All reviews are subjective," but sales are not. There is no New York Times "Best Reviewed" list. As they say in showbiz, the audience is never wrong.

CRITICALLY successful, as in loved by critics, but sold poorly.

Grampy_bone:

The audience is never wrong. Good artists sell!

Wrong, POPULAR artists sell. Often things are popular for a good reason, but often the things that sell aren't good at all.

Unless you expect me to buy that Transformers 4: Age of Extinction is better than Boyhood or Birdman.

Or that Call of Duty and Madden are better than Undertale, which is literally the most highly rated PC game of all time.

 

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