When It Comes To Review Scores, Gamers Are Part Of The Problem

by Brock Beauchamp, posted on 19 March 2010 / 19,159 Views

Disclaimer: This is an opinion piece and in no way reflects the opinions of VGChartz as a company or its staff as a whole.


It's nearing on two years since I wrote my editorial complaining about the state of the gaming review system. I still believe it's just as broken as it was two years ago, but I'd like to tack this addendum to the piece how you, the average gamer, are helping continue this system of back-slapping and journalistic mind-melding.

Lately, Internet forums have gone into DEFCON 5 over several magazines and high-profile reviewers that have bucked the norm and given popular franchises less than stellar write-ups. When one writer takes the time to play a game and post their thoughts to their respective websites and tell you, the reader, what they really thought of the game, many readers seem to ignore this and scroll directly to the bottom of the page. When they see that their favorite franchise has been saddled with the tragic score of 5/10, they immediately begin to hyperventilate and Outlook.exe files across the land begin to fire up in preparation for an assault on that reviewer after what obviously was a lapse of judgement on his part or full-blown mental retardation, depending on whom you ask.

In most reviews, writers point out their likes and dislikes in each game and while I steadfastly believe that they do a rather poor job of maintaining a reasonable level of expectation for what a game can and should be to a player, breaking down a game's contents is of the things they do pretty well, all considering. Yet few pay attention to this in favor of fawning over Metacritic and GameRankings. Both are useful tools in their own right because they put multiple reviews at the tip of your fingers in just minutes, but the aggregate score itself is only second fiddle to content. What does it tell you? It boils down hundreds of thousands of words of text into a number that means little on its own. One reviewer may love the story of Final Fantasy, another may hate it. One may hate the gameplay while the other loves it. Both may score it 7/10. What did you learn from that aggregate score? Here's a hint: absolutely nothing.

Let us admit a simple fact: reviewers are human beings. They have an opinion on something, just like you or I. They will hate games that you enjoy and list as one of your all-time favorites. They will score games 4/10 that you would give a perfect score. I hear people scream about how reviewers should conform to some kind of mysterious standard. What does that even mean? Being disingenuous with their own opinion while reviewing a game is the last thing we should wish for as a gaming populous. That leads to the very problem we're facing now, which is that game reviewers have largely gone the way of groupthink and rarely have the courage to stand up and say that they didn't like a game because most of their peers have already shot it into the 85+ spectrum of Metacritic.

Courtesy of our very own VGC poster Kasz, here is a great quote from Roger Ebert regarding movie critics:

"I have quoted countless times a sentence by the critic Robert Warshow (1917-1955), who wrote: "A man goes to the movies. The critic must be honest enough to admit that he is that man." If my admiration for a movie is inspired by populism, politics, personal experience, generic conventions or even lust, I must say so. I cannot walk out of a movie that engaged me and deny that it did. I must certainly never lower it from three to 2.5 so I can look better on the Metacritic scale.

I cringe when people say, "How could you give that movie four stars?" I reply, "What in my review did you disagree with?" Invariably, they're stuck for an answer. One thing I try to do is provide an accurate account of what you will see, and how I feel about it. I cannot speak for you. Any worthwhile review is subjective. If we completely disagree, my words might nevertheless be useful or provocative. If you disagree with what I write, be my guest. If you disagree with how many stars I gave it, you can mail your opinion to where the sun don't shine."

Instead of taking that reasonable approach to reviewers and their opinions, gamers swear off Edge Magazine because they recently gave a big-budget game a 5/10 which is, under their scale, an “average” game. Instead of embracing the review sites that have the courage to say what they believe instead of deferring to a Metacritic aggregate in an attempt to fit in, gamers revolt and throw childish tantrums across gaming forums throughout the world. These gamers are so short-sighted that they fail to realize that these people are the ones we should look up to, not crucify, boycott, and complain about for months on end. Do we have to agree with their scores and reviews? Hell no, but at least they're putting themselves out there instead of white-washing a game's faults because their parent company depends on thousands of dollars of ad revenue from the publisher of said game.

To put it in Old West terms, many of you are actively cheering for the man in the black hat, you just never stopped complaining long enough to realize it.

In a final point, let's take a look at the movie industry and their review system. It's not unusual for one reviewer to award a movie with a 95 score while three others punish it with a 60 or below. In fact, it's the norm within the industry. Let's take a look at a few examples:

Inglourious Basterds was nominated for Best Picture by the Academy and will surely enter cult film status within a decade. What did it score on Metacritic? A whopping 68 out of 100. How did it rate so low? It's simple; eight reviewers rated the movie at 50 or below. They pointed out their likes and dislikes and surely informed many people about why they didn't care for the movie. That's the way it's supposed to work. It should also be noted that five other reviewers gave the movie a perfect score.

But wait, didn't they expand the Best Picture list this year? Maybe Inglourious Basterds isn't that great of a movie. So let's browse through a few of the recent movies that have won the Best Picture award:

• Slumdog Millionaire: 86 Metacritic, one score at 50 or below.
• No Country For Old Men : 91 Metacritic, two scores at 50 or below, including one 38.
• The Departed: 86 Metacritic, two scores at 50 or below, including one 40.
• Crash: 69 Metacritic, 13 (!) scores at 50 or below.
• Million Dollar Baby: 86 Metacritic, 3 scores at 50 or below, including two 20s!

Not only are reviewers more scattershot across the movie board, which leaves me to believe that they're not so bloody afraid to give their real opinion of a movie, but look at those scores! Those are the “Best Pictures” of their respective years as voted on by the most powerful film organization in the world and one of them can't even pull a 70 in an aggregate system.

Do you know how many video games Metacriticed over 90 in 2009? According to Metacritic, across the six major platforms, 12 games were better than the average Best Picture of the past five years. That's one year of gaming and that is only including multi-platform titles once. There's something wrong with this system but not all the blame can be put on the reviewers. We, the gaming population, have to rise above these childish antics and stop score-whoring every game that releases. In fact, I'm of the opinion that no Metacritic score should be used for anything ever again, period. We should stop blasting reviewers for having an opinion and breaking a game down piece-by-piece in their writing merely because they didn't give the score “we” wanted for that game. If you can't spend enough time to read a review to see if the reviewer marked off points for a game element that you consider to be a plus, you should really just shut the hell up and not talk about the review. Or maybe you should read the piece and argue the validity of its points. That would be a novel concept.

For those of you who can't be bothered to read this editorial, let me summarize the above paragraphs so you can go back to bitching about a reviewer having the courage to state his or her opinion:


Edit: Thank you for all the comments on this editorial, both affirmation and criticism, but I have one thing that seems to be misunderstood and unfortunately, VGC has come under some fire for a few things that were said. Some of you have construed this piece as an attack on meta scoring systems. This is not the case. Meta systems are simply a purveyor of information and do not, nor should not, control any of the information that comes to you, the reader. They relay information, nothing more, and therefore the fault lies in the review system. Proof of this lies in the fact that Metacritic has scaled their gaming review green-yellow-red system differently than other forms of media. That's not an indictment of Metacritic, that's an indictment of the gaming press.

Personally, I do not agree with the way much of the gaming public views aggregation sites and their numbers. On the other hand, I think aggregation sites do a pretty damned good job of putting many sources of review at our fingertips, which was a point I made early in my editorial.

Anyone who knows me understands that I would never write this unless I fully believed it. I do. My original piece did not differentiate my criticisms well enough. That fault lays in my hands, the writer, and no one else. I'm not apologizing for my opinion, only that I did not state it clearly enough.

Disclaimer: This is an opinion piece and in no way reflects the opinions of VGChartz as a company or its staff as a whole.

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goldingku (on 31 May 2010)

I personally like it.

MontanaHatchet (on 23 March 2010)

Honestly, I just think the review system is too complicated. With movies, you have a pretty simple scale (4 stars). With videogames, you have a scale out of 100. With scores determined by percentages, it just becomes too freakin' complicated.

rocketpig (on 23 March 2010)

Under Edge's system, 7/8 out of 10 is an above average game. And I do not subscribe to the idea that reviewers should be scared of ravenous fanboys who complain about game scores of unreleased games that they haven't even played and will scream about, even if the general gaming populace finds it rather unimpressive. I cannot stand people who blindly follow a company and will argue with others who do not. As I always say, I hate companies. I love products. I adore my Macbook while laughing at the iPad. I really like Windows 7 but think the Zune Store is a joke. Continue ad nauseum.

AngelosL (on 23 March 2010)

Sorry,but I couldnt disagree more with this article.Gamers don't "scare" critics.That's ridiculous...Reviews are bad nowadays because the gaming companies have the policy of paying to get good marks. On the other hand ,gamers, even "fanboys" are needed.If noone spoke and if there was no reaction to reviews the gaming industry would be like modern music industry.Pretty polished on the outside,but with no soul. It's absurd to accuse the gamers about the flaws of the system.I say all people should become "fanboys" and protect the things they love most. And if a game doesnt deserve it,well, I dont think people are that stupid.They can See it themselves.go check Edge's marks on PS3 exclusive titles.Heavy Rain got 7/10(!), God of War III got 8/10(!!!!) and FFXIII which was expected to be a strong title for the ps3 got 5/10(it's a rather controversial game,but it certainly isnt that mediocre)...Isnt it plain obvious??? These people SHOULD be scared of the gamers opinions. Power to the people ;)

ameratsu (on 22 March 2010)

"Meta systems are simply a purveyor of information and do not, nor should not, control any of the information that comes to you, the reader. They relay information, nothing more, and therefore the fault lies in the review system." I don't think so rocketpig. While they are a purveyor of information, they have a role beyond simply collecting and relaying information. They represent the sum of collecting trusted reviews for a quick look at how the game has been received. On MC, each reviewer gets a 3 line blurb that's supposed to be the "bottom line" and a review score translated to MC's scale. For gaming reviews in particular, there's a tendency for review scores to be tightly clustered. VG reviewers feed off each other and early reviews set the tone for reviews to follow. The issue here is that gaming media, like all other internet media, is increasingly geared towards being condensed and extremely easy to get the drift of quickly. Longer pieces or reviews are skimmed for relevant information and things considered superfluous are simply ignored as people prefer the tl;dr format to any in depth or particularly insightful material. Anyone who falls outside, especially below the given score spread for a certain game is largely ignored even with valid points while all the reviews who largely fall in line are supposed to represent what the game is actually like. The lower scores are less worthwhile because they're so far off aggregate score. This results in these reviews being more controversial to forum goers but seen as less representative than scores clustered around the mean. In this sense, metacritic goes beyond providing information and reorganizes how game reviews are read by appealing to the desire to have immediately consumable and tangible information while putting much less emphasis on the critical or opinion content of reviews and having a marginalizing effect on reviews that are lower than "normal".

mike_intellivision (on 22 March 2010)

Good read. I think one of the biggest problem with game reviewing right now is that there tends to be "group think" whereas movie reviewers show their true thoughts. Mike from Morgantown

keithdowd (on 22 March 2010)

The review system employed to rate video games (VGs) is surely flawed, but I believe this error results less from VG critics and their readers and more from the very medium they are trying to critique. The majority of the rating systems employed by gaming magazines and online score aggregators employ a rating schema that is similar to those used by the film industry, in that, a reviewer conveys her opinions about a game and then assigns a numeric score that is meant to quantitatively represent these opinions in a manner that allows readers to quickly apprehend the quality of the game. There are certainly flaws in this very rating system that could (and should) be discussed in length, however, I am more interested in pointing out how this rating system is even less appropriate for scoring VGs than it is for films, movies and music, principally because VGs are a dynamic (rather than static) medium. When a movie is released for consumer consumption and critical feedback it is released as a “complete package” in the sense that there is little about it that is going to change after it is introduced to the public-that is, film as a medium is static post-release. VGs, however, are dynamic because they can change significantly after release due to the application of patches, updates, expansions, and user-created content. For example, after Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) removed the original playable classes from Star Wars Galaxies (SWG) in favor of a significantly reduced and supposedly more streamlined class selection with a major content update patch, the player base of SWG rapidly declined due to the game having experienced a dynamic alteration that completely changed players’ very experience with the game. In essence, gamers who enjoyed playing this game prior to the content patch found themselves now playing an entirely different game after the content patch and even more interesting is that this dramatic change occurred swiftly in an almost overnight fashion rendering all earlier gaming reviews about this game inaccurate and moot because these reviews were no longer describing the VG they are reviewing. Other examples like this one abound among video game releases that are in one condition when they are released but find themselves in an entirely different condition six months later, such as Vampire: The Masquerade (VTM), which was introduced to the public with a riveting story yet buggy technical presentation that reduced the game to a largely unplayable state for many players, however, due to the addition of several updates and patches, some created by players themselves, many of the technical problems plaguing the original release of the game were removed creating a far more enjoyable gaming experience. In this case, as was the case for SWG, earlier reviews condemning VTM for its troubled technical flaws were no longer relevant because of the updates applied to it post-release – movies rarely experience such dramatic change to their composition which render earlier commentary about them obsolete in the same way that updates made to VGs after release can and often do to their respective reviews. Readers of this article may criticize my argument thus far by suggesting that a reviewer’s opinion about a particular movie may change over time resulting from age and life experience in a manner similar to how a VG critic’s opinion may change about a game due to the application of updates and patches. However, it is important to note here that in the former case it is because of the changes that occur within the individual that transform previously held opinions about the movie, whereas in the latter case it is the changes that occur to the game itself (rather than the individual) that recolor earlier thoughts about the game – in short, these are two fundamentally different processes at work. To tie this point back to the disconnect that exists when using the movie review system to critique VGs, just because a movie critic may come to appreciate a film in a different way over time causing her earlier review of the movie to differ from her presently held opinion, the movie itself has not changed – it remains static – and in a similar vein the earlier review she composed about the movie is still inherently valid. However, should a VG receive a patch that significantly improves upon its technical performance or adds additional content that increases its entertainment value, then the game has changed – that is, it is dynamic – and any earlier reviews critiquing the game are no longer valid in the sense that these earlier reviews do not accurately represent the current state of the game that is sitting on store shelves for interested gamers to purchase and play. I remember reading an article where a VG journalist espoused the view that game reviews should only concern themselves with critiquing the state of the a game upon release, or the way it plays ‘out-of-the-box’ as the author so eloquently put it, and perhaps that was sound advice for VG critics a few years ago, but today many VGs, even VGs that require only a single player, are requiring gamers to create personalized online accounts for their games that ease the hassle of updating by automatically patching the game to its most current version each time the game is launched thereby securing that the majority of gamers are playing the same (state of the) game. Look at Steam – every time you launch the Steam client it assesses the version of every single game you presently have installed on your computer (and linked to a Steam account) and patches these games with the most recent update without you ever having to lift a finger. Automatic updating systems, like the ones previously mentioned, are also finding their way onto current-gen home VG consoles, such as X-Box Live and PSN Online. Console games, once considered immutable after release, are now becoming just as dynamic and changeable as their PC counterparts. The simple reality is that games can and do change over time, and in some cases so much so that they are entirely different experiences from what they were at release, even after only a mere year, so how are VG critics supposed to adjust the way in which they review VGs to meet this new model and provide their readers with accurate reviews of the VGs they are interested in learning more about? Here are some of my ideas. First, all VG reviews should be prefaced with the date the review was published and the version of the VG being reviewed. Scanning most popular VG critic publications reveals that presently most reviews include the date of publication for each review but rarely do I see reviews that also go one step further to alert the reader to the version of the game client they are reviewing. Including this information for readers is imperative given the dynamic nature of the medium and the rapid manner in which VGs can change due to client updates released after the game hits store shelves. Second, VG reviewers should periodically revisit and review games that have been released and exhibited a strong player-base and shelf life. It is likely that these games have received the most attention from their publisher in the form of updates to meet feedback from players and the larger gaming community. Given this additional attention to tweaking the performance and playability of these games on the part of their publishers, it would not be unlikely to find that they have changed significantly since their original release and revisiting these games to critique how these changes have improved (or diminished) the experience they provide would be very helpful for both newcomers interested in possibly purchasing them for the first time as well as veterans who are trying to decide whether they should return. Finally, the best way for players to learn about a VG of interest is to be able to try-before-buying. A natural extension of this perspective is that publishers should release demos that give players the opportunity to try out their games before purchasing them, and, pushing this view a little farther, publishers should also released updated demos of their games that have received significant upgrades in the way of patches and expansions. Doing so would be both beneficial to publishers and gamers, in that, publishers may entice gamers who originally had no interest in their games when they were originally released and gamers may rediscover games that they had initially discarded. So long as VGs continue to be released there will always be critics and pundits espousing their opinions in the form of game reviews that will pattern themselves after their movie counterparts. This system of critiquing VGs is not likely to go away any time soon. But, there are certainly ways, such as the ones discussed here, in which these reviews can be improved to better provide accurate and valid information for their readers to assist in their purchasing decisions.

dmangstars (on 22 March 2010)

@rocketpig I agree with most of what you have said, but again, video games are both art and sport. Would you down rate a version of a basketball game if it the ball was an ugly color, even if it was the best game you have played in your life? No, you would mention it, but not let it kill your opinion of it. Likewise, if it was the most cool looking ball in the world with a plasma pocket in it that made it glow like it was an ethereal god ball, but the game variation sucked, you would be like...this game sucks, you wouldn't play it for the ball. I know I am opening up a whole can of worms here. Yes, Games have an art to them. However, the Design is far more important. As a graphic Designer i can tell you from experience 70% of looking at something is concert (based on functionality), 30% on aesthetics. So we have hit a bigger question? How should we rate games? Should we rate them as games? or as pieces of art? Form over functionality? Usability or aesthetics. Obviously I am simplifying...aesthetics do play a part into the "fun" factor of a game. But how much weight should they carry? These are the "standards" that I think most gamers want. And i wish more reviews kept more along a standarized overview (most of the time these days, like i said before, a review focuses on singularities rather than an overview of the experience. I'm not attacking your opinion, and I think for the most part you have a point. However, I still think advertising revenue has a bigger impact of the sad state of game reviews rather then the annoying fanbois that everyone has come to expect anyway. None of these readers ever stop reading a publication because of a single review they don't agree with, regardless of their threats.

rocketpig (on 22 March 2010)

Dmangstars, the technical side of a game is more important than a movie but it exists in film as well. I agree with your sentiment about making sure that a proper appraisal of the game is necessary in a review but I think most reviewers do an okay job of that, though some room for improvement is always there. I'm not comparing games to movies in this piece, though I have done so before. What this is about is the way they are viewed within the critical world. And there seems to be far less discrepancy between game reviews and movie reviews. When we're dealing with what is essentially art (though on a lower level in most cases), opinions regarding EVERYTHING in a game should be varied. That just isn't the case. If you were to read three or four high profile reviews, block the site name at the top, and switch review scores, I bet you wouldn't have the slightest clue that anything had been tampered with. That shows a lack of integrity within the system and a group-think mentality.

dmangstars (on 22 March 2010)

Comparing video games to movies is, and always will be a pointless comparison. Video games are ACTIVE entertainment, movies are PASSIVE. You are better off comparing rating a video game to a sport then a movie. Or even an appraisal of a house. Video games do have standards that are above the like/dislike. These are concert FACTS that need to go into rating a game, here are a few examples 1. Is it Buggy? 2. It it optimized for the platform (full framerate (24fames/30feilds/60framepers) 3. Are the controls responsive (this is a little bit more ambiguous but still...) 4. Does the game feel balanced? In Multiplayer are matches even? does one side/weapon/car/ect have an overly advantage (this is a subjective observation, not an opinion) There are more, but i think you get my point A good video game review comes in 2 parts. The appraisal (how well it functions) and then the personal feelings of the reviewer. A reviewer should not let his personal feelings get in the way of the appraisal part, this is true amoung movie reviewers as well. How often have you read, "the movie was shot GREAT, but still the story sucked"...you see? So many reviewers are leaving out the appraisal of the game. Or are just overly hyping a single feature. Most of the reviews these days sound bought, and you can usually tell when a page is plastered in game advertisements, that they gave the game a good review. I agree the fanboy complaining needs to stop. But so do the bought out/inconsistent reviews. The number value needs to be more "standardized" as well, half the score for the appraisal, half for the opinion. AND PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop comparing video games to movie reviews.

gekkokamen (on 22 March 2010)

I agree with rocketpig. We spend too much time and effort on "someone else's opinions", and the only one, the ONLY one who benefits from that is METACRITIC, the one we empower more and more over the views of the industry. And with our constant "clicks" and visits to their site, more power to them. More money too. Money from a rabble of fanboys. It's just pathetic when you look at it that way. WE are pathetic.

dino46 (on 22 March 2010)

Loved the article.

fukudalakasone (on 22 March 2010)

Oversold definitely, but overrated, probably not as user opinion for MW2 is generally considerably lower to that of editorial opinion which restores things to equilibrium.

Colonel-Killzone (on 22 March 2010)

Uncharted 2 overrated lol ???? IF any game was overrated in 2009 it would most def be call of duty modern warfare 2.

fukudalakasone (on 22 March 2010)

Unsurprisingly there is a bias in the marketplace for Sony Playstation games which is not surprising considering it is the most successful home console gaming brand of all time. Games that release on PS3 tend to be reviewed more favorably than their XBOX360 counterparts. Uncharted 2 is one of this generations most overrated games as it's score(s) were inflated as a result of the systems previous failure to deliver a truly spectacular game of its kind at the time for the industrys greatest gaming brand and when it finally released, perfect 10s left right an center from users (i.e. us regular gamers). I am yet to find a single user score average below 9.4 on the web, pretty much unprecedented for any videogame in history. According to the vast majority of the internet, Uncharted 2 is the "greatest game of all time.", a feat that 100% GUARANTEED would not have been achieved if the game were to have been an XBOX360 exclusive where it would've surely been docked by a whole perecent and would've only managed 95% average ration like Mass Effect 2.

Kai Master (on 22 March 2010)

I remember when i was a kid, in VG mags, a score under 90% was considered bad.

nomorehalo (on 22 March 2010)

Well said. FFXIII had got me thinking again just how busted the review system is. Not because the scores are too low, but that an 85 average seems bad. Gamers, myself included, really look into scores too much and major changes need to be made for anything to improve.

kennyrester (on 21 March 2010)

Here's where the whole comparing game reviews to movie reviews thing falls to pieces: Game reviews are, and should be, a lot less subjective. Unlike movies (for the most part), games can live or die on technical accomplishment. A buggy/polished game will be buggy/polished to any reviewer and they should all mark it down/up for that. Same goes for other technical aspects like accuracy of controls, sense of speed in racers, the feeling of recoil in shooters, lag in online games etc. Obviously films, albums and that can be well or poorly produced, but I think it would be very difficult to argue that it matters half as much in other media as it does in games. THAT is why there's less variation in scores on metacritic, problem solved. Hurray!

Srhodes8 (on 21 March 2010)

I think one thing that is to be understood, however, is that gamers believe that the reviewer is there to serve THEM. Let me put it this way, there was a time when it felt like every new game that came out was a rave. That they were all incredibly good games no matter what. I don't think simply giving a game a lower score of a 5/10 means that it's more "honest" just because they pick at it more. Gamers have generally been very agreeable with one another through the years. It wasn't until recently that many gamers began disagreeing with each other. And much of it was done for the sport of enraging other gamers. That's what the "This game is overrated," crowd is there for. Their only real reason for their meager existence is to inflame an get the blood boiling of people who enjoy a game. And let's admit that the more popular something becomes, the more these people are apt to sprout up. If Halo had sold 500,000 copies instead of 5,000,000 many of the gamers who say, "It's overrated," would probably be saying, "It's a shame it hasn't been played more." Those people DO exist. The ones who will love a game until it becomes popular... then they hate it. In short, listening to the average "gamer" isn't going to do you much good either. In fact, many of them are more useless than the critics they berate. Anytime someone says, "It's overrated," I know never to ask for their opinion again. But I think it works both ways. Let's take Final Fantasy XII. It has a Metacritic score of 92. How do we know those critics weren't honest? The Final Fantasy fanbase is so broad and vast. It's quite possible that yes, all those critics honestly loved Final Fantasy XII. Many of the core fanbase, however, did not. And because those critics were berated so much many of them were afraid to give Final Fantasy XIII a score higher than an 9. At best it could get a 9, but no one was willing to above and give a 9.5, even while many of them openly admitted that the game was better than XII. But because of being berated by so many fanboys who accused them of giving the previous game in the series universal praise... they change their standards not to sound too biased in favor of Final Fantasy XIII. And this happens a lot. Metal Gear Solid 2... critics loved it so much. Fans were bitching and giving it ones JUST BECAUSE OF RAIDEN! They ignored the gameplay, ignored the story and ignored how much work Kojima and company put into the game. So when Metal Gear Solid 3 came out? Critics changed their standards not to appear too biased. And lo and behold, there's a whole cult of Metal Gear Solid fans who consider it the best in the series, while it has the lowest critical score of the critics BECAUSE THEY WERE AFRAID OF GETTING THE SAME BACKLASH THEY WOULD'VE RECEIVED FOR METAL GEAR SOLID 2! So yes, critics will give lower scores as a means to say they aren't bias. A game they want to give a 9 to will suddenly get an 8 because they don't want to appear to actually be fans. This happens a lot too. Any time a game receives hype and the fans are disappointed, critics will temper their expectations for the next one because fans will make them feel bad about giving a game a good rating. Of course, the opposite happens too. Crash Bandicoot--the first one--was ripped apart by critics. Fans didn't like that. So they were a lot nicer to the next two installments. In short, gamers are to blame because they're constantly getting upset. Your article comes off as saying, "Those who give lower review scores are being more honest." I don't think so. When it comes to movies and video games you're looking at two very different crowds. Most anyone will spend money on a movie ticket and go see a movie. Even if it's a bad one. Gamers, on the other hand, are less likely to spend 60 bucks if they know they won't like the game. This is why a game that gets a low aggregate score on Metacritic might have a higher user score by fans. And, of course, there's that stupid, "It's overrated," crowd who will make sure that any game receiving universal praise will make sure a game gets a 6.7 or something for the user score. If anything, critics should at least be given credit for having played the game. On Metacritic or the imdb where you can also find user ratings... they don't HAVE to provide an opinion. I could easily go on Metacritic and give Halo a 1 without ever having played it. What I'm basically saying is, what if the universal praise is also something quite honest? I don't just look at the score. I actually read the reviews. If a game gets a 7 I want to know why. But I also want to know what a 7 means to them. The reviewing system is messed up because, like movies, it's not consistent. A 7.5 to one publication may mean "mediocre" while a 7.5 to another might mean, "It's pretty damn good." It's odd. Your example with edge is perfect. a 5/10 means average to them. Yet to others it means something entirely different. Most others would say that means it's quite "mediocre". But even movies and video games on a place like Metacritic are even aggregated differently. Inglourious Basterds got a 68/100. On Metacritic that means "Generally Favorable Reviews," for a movie. For a video game on Metacritic 68/100 means "Mixed". For movies, anything that's 80-100 means "Universal Praise," for movies. For video games it's 90-100. Anything from a 75-89 on Metacritic for video games simply means, "Generally Favorable Reviews." That's why comparing movies to video games on Metacritic is not the most substantial way to make the point you're trying to make. If Roger Ebert gives something 3 stars, it comes up as 75. If a game gets 3/4 stars it comes up on Metacritic as a 75... and because of the mentality and strange scoring system... a movie that gets a 75 is considered good for a movie by movie goers... but mixed for a video game to gamers. In spite that both would get 3/4. You see what I mean? I don't think you're attacking Metacritic or anything. But you do seem to put forth this idea that if a game seems to be gaining universal praise, the majority of those critics are lying. I don't think they are. There actually used to be a time when gamers liked that sort of banning together. Movie critics typically send people to the types of movies they don't like. They'll send someone who hates Horror Movies out to review horror movies. At least gaming critics will send someone who knows and understands say... RPGs out to review RPGs. They don't always engage in sending a guy who hates First Person Shooters out to review Call of Duty Modern Warfare, for example. I have a greater respect for critics than actual gamers because at least critics are being forced to back up their claims. Although sometimes they are definitely not always good (IGN, for example, gave Kingdom Hearts II a 7 for being too easy where you could just press the X button... but gave Crisis Core a higher rating... when you do the same thing... and gave Final Fantasy XII a 9.5 where you don't even have to press a button to play... but even that's confusing because different people wrote the reviews with their own different standards in mind). The problem with gamers is that they think critics are there for the sake of serving them. They're not. And while most critics can't be very objective, most of the reviews are there for the sake of helping people. They're not there to make the decision for the consumer. Only to help them consider what it is they're getting into. Thus, a gamer might read a review that has a 4/10 and say, "Well, he didn't like this, but it still sounds like something for me." Thus the guy who gave a game a 4/10 helps a gamer to decide that it's for him despite not being for the reviewer. I read reviews to get an idea of what I'm getting from a game. Not necessarily to know if the game is good or bad. As for the 12 games that outscored Best Picture Nominees... you're ignoring the MORE games that got mixed or average ratings. Of course people go on and on about the high scoring games. That's the appeal. It gets people talking. Likewise, most of the games that get lower scores hardly get any attention at all. It's the other difference between movies and video games, I think. Movies have a much more diverse audience than gaming does. Anyone can sit down and watch a movie and form an opinion. It takes a bit more to get enjoyment out of a video game. If you're bad at a video game, for example, it's harder to tell people about it if you don't even know how it plays or how it works. Even worse, what if you play so little of the game and don't even get far enough to tell people? Put simply, it's like an independent or cult film. It's not for everyone and the people it isn't for are less likely to be exposed to it so it seems like more people like it. No Country For Old Men had a ton of fan reception until it went mainstream. Then the people who the movie wasn't made for... saw it and suddenly it wasn't as well liked. The independent reception was good. The Mainstream was very very mixed. As gaming has gone mainstream the cool thing seems to be making sure everyone knows how bad a game is rather than how good. Because it seems like much in gaming is good. That comes from the fact that gaming is still fairly niche. As gaming goes mainstream you're seeing more diversity in the reviews. You come off as saying that lower scores mean more honesty and that doesn't seem right to me. It was this attitude that caused some good games to be given lower scores because they were afraid of being accused of bias. As I said, the movie industry is a lot more diverse than the gaming industry. Looking at Inglourious Basterds, for example, you had critics who gave it a low score because they were offended at the fact that it wasn't "historically accurate." Now what idiot would go to see Inglourious Basterds for that particular reason when from the moment we all knew about it we knew that wasn't what we were getting? In short, some people didn't even review Inglourious Basterds for what it was. They reviewed it for what it wasn't. The opposite also happened, of course. With certain critics playing favorably to more popular games. Grand Theft Auto IV was given several tens, even by those who noted that they discovered bugs in the game and let it slide (while other games like True Crimes Streets of New York were heavily criticized for such). So that does happen. They're gamers, what would you expect? Did Final Fantasy XII really deserve critical praise or did they just give it to the game for being Final Fantasy? That's really hard to discern considering how diverse the Final Fantasy fandom is. That's based off 64 critic scores... on a game that sold over 5 million copies worldwide. The idea that 64 people can be responsible for how 5 million people react to a game is absurd. But again, we're not supposed to use reviews to make the decision. We're supposed to use it as a means of helping us make a decision not TO make the decision. If you go through actually reading the reviews most of them aren't so bad. I think the problem is how people look at that Metacritic Score and use it. Again, you've got whole sections of gamers ready to devote themselves to bashing ANYTHING that socres high on Metacritic. And this is a trend that, especially in gaming, is becoming increasingly popular to do. Because for some odd reason you just have gamers who are so busy trying to prove they're "non-conformist" (an oxymoron if there ever was one) that they make it a point to rally against what seems very popular and support the underdog. I was recently reading an Entertainment Weekly where one of the critics was reflecting back on a review he wrote 20 years. His opinions had changed on the film pretty woman. He grew to like it more, he said. Then he pointed out, "A critic has the right to be wrong." The same is true of gaming critics as well. You like a game one moment, then you don't like it the next. Some games age and become more accepted than they were upon their original release while others don't. In short, gamers take critics too seriously, and critics fall for this idea that they're supposed to be there to serve gamers and tell them what's good and what's bad. But a critic isn't supposed to say what's good and what's bad. A review is supposed to tell you what you're getting and analyze it. Gaming forums are populated, for the most part, by people who are driven by devotion and love more so than the critics they berate. Anyone can say, "How can they like that game? It sucked." Yeah, ANYONE can say a game sucks. It takes A LOT to explain why and do it with validity. Most gaming critics, as far as I'm concerned, do a better job with that than most gamers who complain do. They may not always be honest, but at least even with their lies they're at least doing what they can to defend themselves. Gamers just seem to get upset that the critics aren't conforming. A game gets a 9.5 and people complain that the critic is a fanboy and blah blah blah. A game gets anything lower than an 8.0 and they get upset that they didn't like the game enough. The same gamers It's very strange (and amusing). Sometimes this happens even when you read comments from people that clearly read the review. Gamers are, as a whole, some of the most annoying people to deal with on the internet.

kupomogli (on 21 March 2010)

At the time of this comment, Gamespot has 37/50 reviews in the range of 7/10 or higher. With IGN 18 of 25 games were 7/10 or higher. So that means that the last 55 out of 75 games they've reviewed have been above average games? The whole system is skewed. A 1/10 is lowest, 10/10 is perfect, so you have eight points in between. 5/10, 5.5/10 and 6/10 could be considered average. Going and reading user reviews at Gamefaqs can be held to a higher regard than reading a review at any journalistic gaming site. Atleast most of the readers there actually stick to the 5/6 being average standard and judge games based on how good they are rather than throwing reasons out there just to reduce the score and give no real reason why. http://www.gamespot.com/reviews.html?type=reviews&mode=all&sort=post_date&dlx_type=all&sortdir=asc&official=all http://www.ign.com/index/top-reviewed.html (click on recently reviewed.)

akuseru (on 21 March 2010)

Only thing I know for sure is that reviewers are all biased idiots. They don't really review the games, they just give us their worthless opinion. There are no professionalism involved what so ever. Everything is supposed to be subjective and to be honest, why would a reviewers subjective opinion be of any interest? I would rather listen to real gamers instead of biased reviewers. As long as reviewers do not have the skill of reviewing something (include valid objective points in their reviews instad of subjective garbage) I will always look down upon reviewers.

r505Matt (on 21 March 2010)

Bravo indeed, almost missed this article too. BTW, I love the disclaimer at the top and the bottom =)

kowenicki (on 21 March 2010)

BRAVO!! Sensational article. But the whining isnt ALL gamers is it....?

TheLordHimself (on 21 March 2010)

I completely agree that so many gamers tar sites/magazines with a brush if they have a review score that they don't agree with. "OMG did you hear what IGN gave game X? They're a complete joke!" I've played low rated games that I've loved to bits but I'd never turn around and call those reviewers stupid just because they didn't like it.

mikwow (on 21 March 2010)

Wow, one of the greatest text about video games i've ever read.

Draknahr (on 21 March 2010)

The game review system should be similar to other grading systems. Anything below 55-60% = failure. Meaning that there is something majorly broken with the game and almost half of its content is either almost unplayable or very poorly done.

Asriel (on 21 March 2010)

Couldn't agree more with this article. I'm an Edge subscriber, and despite not agree with a fair number of their reviews, I don't throw tantrums about it. I also use Metacritic as a source for a variety of reviews, rather than using the metascore as a tool to determine a game's quality.

rocketpig (on 21 March 2010)

If nothing should be a 10/10, why have a 10 rating scale? It's non-sensical.

chrisrayn (on 21 March 2010)

But reading's hard. :-( And yes, 10 out of 10 SHOULD mean perfect. 100% of quality means just that. Nothing should be 10 out of 10. The only game I've played in recent memory that was a 10 out of 10, a game I could go back to and play over and over and not get tired of it, is Braid. I don't even know if I would give that one a 10/10. More like a 9.5/10. Oblivion deserve a 9.5 too. Anyways, my opinions don't matter any more than the rest of yours. Brock is right.

rocketpig (on 21 March 2010)

Aion, there's a significant difference between "better" and "more technically advanced". I'd argue that Fallout 2, despite its technical deficiencies compared to modern games, still stands as the best WRPG ever created. KOTOR is right there in the discussion as well. Half-Life is still one of the greatest shooters of all time, despite being 12 years old. I'd rather sit down with HL and its mods than 95% of the shooters released this generation. Super Mario 3 is still one of the best examples of how a side-scrolling platformer should work and play. It's the same reason I can sit down and watch Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Dr. Strangelove, or any other example of great black and white cinema and still think they're better than almost anything I've seen in the past decade. Shit, in the world of sci-fi, I still don't think I've seen better examples than 2001 and Empire Strikes Back. Quality art stands on its own regardless of the passage of time. Which is why people STILL talk about Deus Ex and Shadow of the Colossus and will continue to do so until the day I die.

Aion (on 21 March 2010)

I think the review system is just fine. The several 10's are justified and a fact that games are getting better and better each gen.

rocketpig (on 20 March 2010)

No, no game is perfect. Perfect scores should still be awarded. To me, a perfect game is one that is nearly flawless technically, with superb art direction/writing, plays in a way that engages the player but does not frustrate needlessly, and re-defines how we think about games in that genre. Basically, a game that raises the bar to unprecedented heights. Not just raise the bar for other games, but make most games before it look foolish in comparison. In the past 20 years, I think there are maybe 3-4 games that have done that for me. I'd have to think it over for awhile. Certainly nothing I've played this generation, that's for certain. Maybe the closest would be Mass Effect 2 and Super Mario Galaxy. Portal is way up there as well but the shortness and one dimensional (pun intended) feel of the game just knock it down a bit. Again, those are just my opinions but I guarantee you I could back up my opinion with solid reasons why those games are so fantastic, which is the point of my piece overall.

VGFreak1225 (on 20 March 2010)

Its always nice to hear some reason outside of the idiocy that is 75% of the web's population. If everyone understood this then we wouldn't have articles on PSXExtreme complaining about Edge giving Killzone 2 a 7 out of 10 or people saying that the "troll" Jim Sterling is doing a disservice to the industry. Oh, and a 10 out of 10 shouldn't mean a game is perfect. No game is perfect.

Seraphic_Sixaxis (on 20 March 2010)

My thoughts on pretty much everything is negative at first pretty much, so no.

TheGameFather (on 20 March 2010)

Just you and everybody else involved stop bitching so much and try and highlight the positives more. Spend most of your time trying to figure out whats good about the game, any jackass can ramble on forever about whats wrong with it. No matter what the game.

Michelasso (on 20 March 2010)

Yeah, sure. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. Too bad that reviewers are paid for them. I usually tend to read the reviews. Like I did RTFA. But someone should explain me how in hell can a game like FF XIII get a score lower than 70%. Even 40 from Destructoid! Was the guy under drug? Then there is another thing. I do look at Metacritic. But it's also true that the reviews I trust the most are the ones from IGN (USA). For some reason the Brits and Aussies in IGN are always more difficult to please. Then I look at Gamespot. I didn't for a year because they were far too biased toward the X360. Still Metacritic is a tool to judge. But at the end we are the ones making the decision. And since we are entitled to our opinions... We are also entitled to think that some reviewers are just a bunch of wankers. Isn't it? ;-)

-ku- (on 20 March 2010)

piggybacking on lynxis points I think the review system should be redrawn games should rate on 10, 20 100 point scale but games reviewers believe are under 6 (60)should just be rated unsfatisfactory instead of fighting for little points. Example Dynasty Warriors is a fun hack'n slash but it gets repetitve and annoying though you can still find hours of fun in it so as can be seen it usually get a 6/6.5. There was a steam punk game called Damnation I believe and it had huge hype but when reviews came in it got 3,4 5, 6 scores so in this sense you have to ask yourself am i going to recommend it if so I give a six if not just say dont play. The thing that Xplay seems to do well is with their 5 point system in which you can't narrow a review down to 80 or 100 if its a good game but it give you an idea and naturally you'd listen to the point to see the full details.

dbrad000 (on 20 March 2010)

A movie is an investment of seven or eight bucks and a couple of hours of my time. A game is an investment of sixty bucks and 40+ hours for an RPG. As such, I generally do not pay a great deal of attention to reviews from movies. If it looks interesting, I may go see it, and if I don't enjoy it, I am not out much. I do, however, pay attention to reviews for games, as I do not want to lay down that much money and invest that much time without an idea of what other people think of the game. However, I pay more attention to what the reviewers say instead of the score they give a game (which is one of the reasons I purchased White Knight Chronicles, and I enjoyed it, despite the abysmal meta). BTW, based on the reviews I have read, I feel that Edge's use of low or unusual scores are an attempt to draw attention instead of an attempt to produce honest reviews. If I felt that Edge was producing honest reviews, I would join you in your defense of Edge; however, I do not feel that this is the case, so I have to disagree with that particular aspect of your assessment.

Linkasf (on 20 March 2010)

The review system has been inflated since this generation started. I don't believe the scores given to any games, especially when most 90%+ rated games are shit and short compared to the last generations.

NoPantsHoSlappa (on 20 March 2010)

fanboys would crucify you for dissing their beloved game whatever it may be.

C_Hollomon (on 20 March 2010)

If you paid for a game with your hard earn money and played the game then you have the damn right to say your likes and dislikes about the game. I hate it when people get mad at you for your opinion on a game you played but yet they never played the game themselves. Like I never played Forza 3 so I’m not going to say it’s good or bad. The game looks fun and people enjoy so it’s stupid when some people go around and say it’s shitty and GT5 will be better. GT5 may be better but Forza 3 doesn’t look shitty to me and this comes from a PS3 only owner.

lynxis (on 20 March 2010)

I find that video games do not review well as a medium. This is because of the time investment needed to play a game and understand all facets of it is very high. Most modern games provide at least 10 hours of enjoyment. With that type of time investment, I'm just not going to play a game that I do not enjoy. If I can't give a game my full attention for the majority of the play time, I feel it would be unfair of me to review it. The games that I do enjoy are thus reviewed as such. It's very hard to remain objective when you are playing something that you enjoy in the first place and the scores you give will reflect that. As opposed to a movie, which is at most 3 hours, you can sit through the whole thing and even if you don't like it, you can still review the entirety of it.

heedstone (on 20 March 2010)

The review scores from the films that are way below metacritc are from crappy relatively unknown review sites. If any of them had of come from a reputable magazine (eg. Empire) I would of complained about them. The reason people are pissed at Edge is because it USED to be a high quality rerputable magazine but within the last few years it has been gradually going down the toilet. Publishing random scores like they've just pulled them out a hat. And some would say (me included) that they show a marked bias in their reviews. I would be just as pissed at Empire if they reviewed movies as badly as Edge reviews games.

MontanaHatchet (on 20 March 2010)

Excellent article Rocketpig. I would've wrote an article similar to this long ago, well...if I wasn't so lazy. It's great that someone is willing to actually stick up for reviewers and point out that they're allowed to have an opinion. And it's such a shame that many of our members are too slow to understand that.

TheButcher (on 20 March 2010)

Your article makes sense for us adults in the room, but your article seems to neglect the fact that the video game market has a large base of teenagers and kids who are very active on forums. Let's be honest at that age you tend not to be very analytical about things. Movies on the other hand are not as dominated by kids who complain. Video Games are the entertainment of choice for the younger audience. The reviewers themselves might have to take the brunt of this effort to make a change, cause the kids ain't leavin' any time soon.

coolbeans (on 20 March 2010)

@Carl No you can't determine a bias from a certain collective just from showing a graph that a certain person FROM that collective averages a lower score for games on a certain console from the average on metacritic. I'm sorry but that's not how it works in reality especially when you consider WHY that's the score they gave when looking at what they wrote for those games. You only argue with the score but not the written review itself? I must ask, have you read this entire article? lol

loves2splooge (on 20 March 2010)

Thank you for writing this article. You summed up my frustration with gamers and the gaming reviewers who cowardly inflate game scores to appease fanboys. I love it when I see a game reviewer have the balls to tell it like how they see it. Most of them are lapdogs for game publishers. Game publishers give game "journalists" an "in" (free games, invitations to game media events, advertising revenue, etc.) and the reviewers in turn return them a nice favor with an inflated score. And I can totally relate to the whole outlooking .exe files to reviewers. I used to write reviews for free for GameFAQs, MobyGames, etc. (I'm not giving my old aliases so don't ask) and I would get mail bombed and shit hardcore (naturally I didn't open that stuff). Way too many gamers have no life beyond participating in childish piss fists on the internets. Gamers can be the most annoying people on the planet. They deserve all the stigma they get in the media. And I'm ashamed for being associated with this group just because we share the same hobby. This is also why I wouldn't ever consider writing reviews for Vgchartz (or anyone else for that matter). I would only ever consider writing a review for a game if a) I have a favorable opinion of the game and b) I have to beat the game before I even accept an assignment to write a review so that I avoid that uncomfortable situation where I have to write a review for a game that ended up dissapointing me. So in a way I can empathize with game reviewers. They are too afraid to give their honest opinion of a game if that opinion slants towards the negative side. And for good reason. Who the hell wants to be harrassed 24/7 via e-mail (viruses, mail bombs, etc.) as well as on XBL/PSN?

thanny (on 20 March 2010)

Oh this is a great article. The whinging of certain members about final fantasy lately has just been pathetic.

RenderMonk (on 20 March 2010)

I have to agree with you. I recently started reviewing games myself, and when I came across a game that I was particularly excited about, in my mind I would say "Oh this game is getting a perfect 10!" Then as I played on through, if I was being honest, it would be something more like this, "Well, it at least deserves a 9.5!" and so on, until after finishing the game and writing my review that the game actually ended up somewhere in the 7.5-8.0 range. Not that it's all about the score, but that if you start with a high expectation for something, then your bias influences your score or opinion of the game, and that's not right. Most importantly I wanted to say to the writer of the post, We will never have the ratings be completely fair, due to the ad pushers like you said, and because those whiners you are referring to are children. The ones that come out and start/continue the flame wars, that bash these games, or say they're "EPIC FAIL" or "FTW"....they're kids. Between the ages of 8 - 14 with a few scattered adult infants to fuel the fires. We can't honestly expect unsupervised children posting on their computer to actually maintain a certain level of dignity or self control. There in lies the problem.

milkyjoe (on 20 March 2010)

The point about 12 games in one year scoring higher than a best picture winner sums it up for me. I love games, but I refuse to believe that we'd have that good a year every year. Of course that points to the movie review system being far better than the gaming review system, and I'd have to agree with it. Take Alice in Wonderland, which is one of the big movie releases of the last month. I've seen reviews for that ranging from 1/5 to 5/5. Would we expect similar for a big gaming release? No, the lowest score would be around 3/5, sometimes maybe even 4/5. That's 80% at the lowest. It's just not logical that everybody would love something that much that it would score so well. There has to be someone out there who thinks something like Uncharted 2 or Batman AA deserves a 1/5 score, but they don't get given it. Maybe this is because game reviewers live in constant fear of being blacklisted by publishers, who knows, but something isn't right with the system. We should be able to say that we think a big game sucks without fear of backlash.

TWRoO (on 20 March 2010)

I wholeheartedly agree. Game reviewing has become a system where a good portion of reviewers (not neccessarily from no-name websites) are just copying reviews already out for the game, and as the early reviews of big name games are made by those given incentives from the games publisher, scores are slowly inflating. The complex scale of at least 10-points, but more often 100 points (out of 100%) doesn't help things either.

Podings (on 20 March 2010)

Review scores are not to be taken tha seriously to begin with. But rating games based on a /100 scale? That is ridiculous, and doesn't even make sense to the end user. It has come to be common knowledge that if a game is worth playing, it should get a score greater than 7.5. Why? Are all the scores below that reserved for various degrees of suck? Rate your games on a /5 or /6 scale, WITH NO HALFS OR DECIMALS, so that the individual scores still make sense and hold a value. Sure, it may not be accurate for distiguishing which game is better by .2, but numbers are an inadequate meassure of quality what art and entertainment are concerned to begin with.

DraconianAC (on 20 March 2010)

So wouldn't the solution be to get rid of the score's in general?

slowmo (on 20 March 2010)

Great article, yet still people will bitch about Edge.

sniper936 (on 20 March 2010)

k author, just STFU, i mean seriously. If you want an example EVERYONE, and i mean EVERYONE complained about was the AVP score. the author of it went non stop about how the controls are impossible to understand, and i replied to it saying that it is not true and at that time there were about 10 or 11 posts in which 100% of them agreed with me, i havent checked it lately, but the controls are not at all hard to learn. i learned the controls for all 3 species in AVP on day 1 of the demo. its like some of the reviews consider the game to be for REALLY casual gamers. someone who plays a game maybe once every few months and takes a year to fully learn the controls for a game. i read the entire review for AVP, and almost none of it a greed with. i mean if i were writing a review that only my grandpa would have read, it wouldnt even be anywhere near the level of control difficulty the AVP review is. Im only using the AVP review as an example, for it seems that when the author played it, he simply died 400 times in a row and didnt get 1 kill and ended up smashing his controller and saying "F*** THIS GAME" honnestly the reviews that this site especially gives are not very good, i dont want to hear "its jsut one person" no seriously for most reviews ive read, atleast 95% of them disagreed

Squilliam (on 20 March 2010)

This piece needs a review score at the end. :-D

Baalzamon (on 19 March 2010)

I scrolled through, half reading, but didn't find a rating at the bottom to complain about :(...hehe, jk

Profcrab (on 19 March 2010)

Wow, nice disclaimer BTW. Someone's feathers must have been ruffled. I haven't seen this on an editorial here before. Cute.

FaRmLaNd (on 19 March 2010)

I agree that movie critics are less afraid to give their true opinions. Pretty much every other medium doesn't get the crazy near perfect scores that games seem to easily pump out.

.jayderyu (on 19 March 2010)

Great article. I loved it. I agree. I have come across many reviews I don't like. I don't bitch about it. I love watching Zero Punctuation, but I disagree with about 80% of them. Hey though I'm not starting a thread for every game he slams. Many features he doesn't like I do, some features he likes I don't. It's the nature of games. Too bad not enough people recognize that :\

Profcrab (on 19 March 2010)

@ oniyide Yatzee's ZP reviews are great and he shows that you can say negative things about games that people love, as long as you are entertaining. However, since he assaults nearly ever game he plays, people just expect him to trash a game now, and eve lovers of the games like it when he takes on their games because his reviews are pure entertainment. I don't know if I've ever considered them to be useful for buying a game. Meanwhile, on the other side of the fence, many other reviewers feel that they have to play circus seal for the developers and the overzealous gaming population, so they fall in line with everyone else. If anything, Yatzee should prove that a reviewer will go farther by being honest (and also somewhat entertaining) than being a prostitute for the current reviewing system. No one hears they when they are are just a part of the chorus. If they are good enough, and unique enough, developers will still send them their precious review samples so their game gets greater visibility. I give that post a 9.6.

richardhutnik (on 19 March 2010)

Wow, without knowing it, Brock is touching on my inspiration for my Goes-to-11 blog videogame review site. I have decided to have NO game go below 10/10, and have some be 11/10 I think are real good. I have Over 9000 also, but that won't be touched. Anyhow, Brock please feel free to drop me a note here. I would be up for you helping me use the Blog to break Metacritic and also point out how absurd things have come to. So, to sum up, yes you also brought up the Goes to 11 bit from Spinal Tap, and you also bring up the complaints seen with Final Fantasy XIII. My attempt to destroy Metacritic is by saying NOTHING negative, list only good points, and have 10/10 as the minimum score.

Soonerman (on 19 March 2010)

Good job Brock! Tell them to stop bitching!

oniyide (on 19 March 2010)

I dont know how many people heard of the theescapist.com, but on that website they have a page calle Zero Punctuation, a british guy reviews a game, and is brutally honest, he completly destroys most of them. He has no "bias" either, Halo was destroyed as was Smash Bros. Brawl, and Uncharted 2 (which I Like) check it out its funny

Profcrab (on 19 March 2010)

@ thismeinteil I think Mr. Obeso's link here provides a better answer to why a standard isn't truly necessary. As opinion pieces, compartmentalizing a game may not be any more helpful. So, a standard need only be an explanation of a ranking. For example A - I liked this game and if you like the type of elements that I applaud this game for, then you should buy it, B - I like many elements of the game and my overall experience was positive, but there might be some elements that even fans of the genre might not think were the best. C - The game was playable, but I enjoyed and was annoyed by elements of the game in almost equal proportion. D - I did not enjoy many elements of the game and would not have this game on my purchasing list. F - This game was horrible and unplayable. I don't think anyone would enjoy it, but I could be wrong. All of those rankings are simple and subjective. To understand the elements that the writer is referring to, you would have to read the article, but at least you would know if that particular reviewer actually liked the game or not. I want to know his personal experience. After reading enough reviews from a writer, you should get an idea of their particular slant and what they do and do not like about games. No one critic is ever going to represent the whole gaming population, and they shouldn't try. I give that post a 9.4.

rocketpig (on 19 March 2010)

Hey, great piece, Jamie. I love the dating angle you start it off with. So perfect.

Jamie Obeso (on 19 March 2010)

Brock Beauchamp, you are cool, and I completely agree with what you're saying. And, of course, leave it to Roger Ebert to be able to sum it up more concisely than anyone; he is the man! I wrote an article recently with a similar message, if you care to ever read it: http://gamerlimit.com/2010/03/blog-editorial-reviews-are-opinion-pieces/

moondeep (on 19 March 2010)

I think you meant DEFCON 1, which is the highest alert level.

Rawnchie14 (on 19 March 2010)

But to add, yes, it is complaining flamers that cause reveiwers to baby certain games in their reviews - in order to prevent getting trolled or harrassed. But movie-buffs harass critics too - they just have thick skin, and a strong enough following not to care about haters. We need some no bull reviewer to give people the f-u. lol

Rawnchie14 (on 19 March 2010)

Agreed. Game reviewers are too soft on games, and should rate them far more harsh than they do. Game review sites want people to agree with them on reviews so that they will continue to visit their sites. If a game ever is marred with some problems that may drive a gamer away or contain glaring technical issues - these shouldn't be overlooked, as they are, in overall scores just because it's "Overall, a great game". FFXIII is a perfect example. The first 20 hours suck the big one, but it gets better as you go on. That does not mean "Oh free pass, its FF, it gets better, high score anyways." It means it should be rated lower for this. It's only fair to games that do NOT start off slow. Even I rate games higher than they should be, but that's why I'm not a reviewer. But what I expect from a reviewer is to not give games free passes on flaws because of its other merits, or past merits in the series. It's crap that a 75 is "mixed reviews" on Metacritic, when it starts at 60 for movies. Get critical people. No game merits 100's like far too many games reap.

thismeintiel (on 19 March 2010)

@ profcrab Of course reviewers should have their own standard, at least within their own publication. You can't knock a game for having technical problems and then later not knock a game that has technical problems, too. This is where part of this hatred comes from. People see bias when things like that happen. I'm not saying a reviewer shouldn't give their opinion on a gameplay standpoint, but when it comes to technical aspects (i.e. frame rate, texture detail, lighting, shadows) of a game there needs to be a standard. Just because you love a franchise or specific genre, there is no excuse to not take off points if their are technical faults. In other words how can the same site, IGN, give GTA4 a 10 in graphics, while still saying there are flaws, but give GoW3 a 9.5 in graphics? Anyone who looks at both will tell you that GoW3 looks better than GTA4. I'm fine with GoW3 score, but not with GTA4. 10 should be perfect. So if you say a game has graphical flaws, it should not get a 10. You may say, "But no game is perfect, so no game would get a 10." Exactly. No game should be getting a 10, unless it truly is perfect. The overblown scores to games that are getting rated at the same level, sometimes even higher, than games that try to iron out all of its flaws is where a lot of this hate stems from.

Kenryoku_Maxis (on 19 March 2010)

Its obvious that the people reading the reviews are part of the problem. But it goes deeper than just people whining about a game not getting the score they want or a game getting a lowered score on Metacrfitic. It goes back to these 'gamers' who have centered their lives on sites like IGN, Gamespot and 1up and how if a certai nscore doesn't meet a 9.0, 9.5 or 'A+', they will personally bitch, moan and 'petition' for weeks on end (until the next major game comes out and the cycle starts over). So yes, I fully agree that the problem starts with the gamer. We feed these reviewers and they gladly produce the food for those angry, bitter fans. But still, the reviewers are the core of the problem as they are the ones pushing it. There will always be crack addicts. You should still try to limit the amount of Cocaine in the world.

CChaos (on 19 March 2010)

Well written article. I think another problem is that gamers don't realize just how psychotic some are. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if games are just rated high to prevent the attacks and death threats that come from people who believe their 'favorite game' deserves a 10. Killzone 2 comes to mind, same with MSG4, both of which had reviewers who were actively attacked (viciously at that) for rating the game, gods forbid, an 8 and a 9.5 respectively. The review system is broken because there are too many gamers insane and broken enough themselves that it can never be fixed. The whole system should be tossed and people should be forced to actually read the damn articles. It'll never happen though.

teigaga (on 19 March 2010)

I agree with the article and also feel that far too many games are rated higher then they probably should. It seems that lately any game that fuctions is derserving of a least a 7.5

Jexy (on 19 March 2010)

@mark, I agree with you in a way about that, because in general, it would be true. However, gaming is the ultimate form of entertainment, you spend 10 dollars on a movie, yet 60 on a game, because it provides much more entertainment. A "big game" as you say, is generally "big" because it provides tons of entertainment. People can complain all they want about a game like MW2, but in the end, its fun to play with friends, hence why SO many people have bought it and play it. It's harder to get away with a crappy game than it is say, a crappy movie. Hollywood can spit out crap like all the Scary movie and American pie sequels, because they know they will make money. If you made games that terrible now, that were really worthy of a composite score of 10%, the company would likely go out of business (And they do). The only way movie companies go out of business is normally bad accounting.

Jexy (on 19 March 2010)

@Cueil, the problem with the Wolfman is that it WAS more like a werewolf movie. He is the Wolf MAN. Hence why in the original, he looked half MAN. The remake screwed it all to hell and made him look like a werewolf. But yes, I know the reviews for bad movies like that aren't all over the place. I was just mentioning it because I was hoping for a good remake, and I was let down. But I didn't see it because all I needed were the reviews. It's like they forgot what they were doing. It's the same way Hollywood screwed up Hollow Man. Based on H.G. Well's Invisible Man, his only real power is that... he's invisible! Yet at the end of that crapfast, he also becomes INVINCIBLE, unable to be harmed by anything that would kill a normal human. It's like they forgot he's still just a regular guy, just invisible, not indestructible. Also, I don't follow ANY reviewers. I always look at the collective whole. I have no idea which critics my own reviews would even match up against, because I really never look at who writes the reviews, I may just glance at what publication it is.

heywoodjablome (on 19 March 2010)

unbiased reviews are hard to find these days. remember LAIR? they paid like 2 mil to advertise and then the company that got paid gave the game a terrible review and the reviewer was fired for telling the truth about a game. there's a lot of pressure when writing reviews

markml0528 (on 19 March 2010)

well said. i agree with him, i think the gaming populace has become too accustomed to giving every "big" game at least a 9.0 on a gaming site. eventually (if it hasnt already happened) what's a 9.0 gonna mean when 100 games hav a 9.0 rating? it becomes less meaningful as time goes on.

Cueil (on 19 March 2010)

@Jexy things like "The Wolfman" are really not scattered... they are polarized... I think half the morons expected to go watch a damn werewolf movie... low and behold... it's Wolman not werewolf haha... as for the review system... it's fine... you find reviewers you agree with and you pay attention to them

The Ghost of RubangB (on 19 March 2010)

Never forget: Ebert co-wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. "This is my happening and it freaks me out!"

Wagram (on 19 March 2010)

Funny to note how most of the movies that are rated 40 or lower are better than the movies that are rated higher. I honestly thought that Slumdog Millionaire movie was garbage.

Jexy (on 19 March 2010)

I agree. I'm a big movie buff, I rate and review every one I see... but I still think a movie like Rush Hour 2 is 4 out of 5 stars... why? Because an 80% is about what I felt it was to ME. It made me laugh, and I had a great time watching it. Yet its score on Rotten Tomatoes is probably in the 50's. Granted, most of the time I tend to agree with critics, but on the opposite end, I HATED No Country For Old Men. I can tell that it's polished and "good" but after the main character dies without us seeing him die... it was a snoozefest. And the ending was awful. So I gave it a 2 out of 5. When most gave it a 4.5 out of 5. For movies, I'd rather look at Rotten Tomatoes than MetaCritic, as MetaCritic only has a tiny bunch of reviewers that they pick from, and too many of them have forgotten that quote that Ebert said. They don't have the respect that Ebert does, so they don't have the same platform to stand on, and therefore, cannot all give their honest opinions, or at least, it skews their view of it in order to not look bad within their peer group. Ebert just doesn't care because he's number 1. Also, the Academy Awards, as we all know, is so politically motivated, and half the awards given out in a year will be for lifetime achievements instead of to the actual deserving winner, so it's a bad example to use. Heck, didn't Shakespeare in Love beat out freakin Saving Private Ryan? I mean please, we all know that's a joke. Anyway, I don't have anything to worry about with my games so far... as I tend to read reviews before purchasing. My collection is pretty top notch and I'm thankful reviews were in place (I check IGN for a composite score) to help me with my buying. For instance, my favorite game, Mass Effect, I bought because I like RPGs, but also anything to do with space and exploration and the future. And it was in the low to mid 9's, plus it just won their award for best game of all time on the Xbox or Xbox 360 I believe. So I got it, and have been extremely happy. Reviewers also save me my money at the movies, because if I see on Rotten Tomatoes that a movie I wanted to see (The Wolfman) is in the 20's or 30's, there is basically no way I'm going to like it, and after reading reviews, I know I won't. Then again, Hollywood loves destroying it's classics by remaking them.

thegameist (on 19 March 2010)

I've always said, I would prefer to read a magazine or site, that has reviews but doesn't assign ANY score to it. I read them, I want to know the likes and dislike, not a number. Too many of my favorite games have terrible metacritic scores, and there are games above 90 that i thought we awful, for me to think a number matters anymore.

Profcrab (on 19 March 2010)

@thismeintiel Reviewers should not have a standard. The problem is that a standard exists now. Reviews that do not have a conforming rating are believed to be invalid. That is the problem. Reviews should be diverse and reflect varying opinions of the game. The numerical ratings should similarly reflect that diversity. They do not, so they are, instead, invalid. I give that post a 9.3.

The Ghost of RubangB (on 19 March 2010)

Don't tell rocketpig about Haze! He'll probably have flashbacks.

thismeintiel (on 19 March 2010)

Pretty good article. But you forget, all sites and magazines are biased against the Wii. :-P But seriously, as you pointed out, there are huge flaws in the review system. So, it's kinda impossible not to bash a site/mag for reviews that don't even follow there own standards. Let's look at the reviews from IGN for Bayonetta and FF13, for example. Now, for Bayonetta IGN gave it a 8.2 on PS3 and a 9.5 on the 360 (even claiming to be the best action game of this gen). The difference was due to slowdown and loading. What's funny is how most of the time a multi-plat game gets one review and only near the end do they discuss the differences between each version. But for PS3 Bayonetta, they felt the need to write its own review, which pretty much bashed it (why a game that still gets a 8.2 needs that kind of treatment is beyond me). Now, for FF13, there is a max of 2 sentences that describe the differences (noticably lower resolution/detail and 3 discs) and they don't mark off even .1 point? How does that even make sense? It doesn't. So, until these reviewers get some kind of standard, at least among people of their own site/publication, their is going to remain people who bash reviews. Not to even mention the times it seems so obvious they inflate a score, for fear of backlash from "fanboys". *Cough* ODST *Cough* However, you do make a good point when you say that people take it too serious when they only claim AAA titles are any good. I mean look some of the sigs we have on this site (or any gaming site for that matter). "X console # of AAA titles = ??, Y console # of AAA = ?? So X is better than Y" Seriously, who cares. AA and A games are still good, too. Hell, I had more fun playing Haze, a game that enjoys a 55 meta rating, than some AAA rated games.

Profcrab (on 19 March 2010)

Loke, the problem with the reviews is not there is a response to them on internet forums, it is that gamers have developed this expectation that the outcome of all the reviews to fall in line with each other. So, unlike the reality that not everyone likes every game that seems to be liked by everyone else, reviewers are expected to produce the expected review score. In fact, no matter what the reviewer actually states in the review (that many never read) as long as his or her rating falls in line with the reviewing industry standard for that game, their review is considered valid by many gamers. When a reviewer bucks the trend, then gamers not only disagree (a valid response if they find the game play elements attractive that the reviewer did not) but take it to the next level of declaring the review illegitimate. This is the step that causes all of the video game reviews to be suspect. Now, lets get to why this is bad for us. Because of the expectation that these rated reviews be uniform, we are gaining less insight into how the individual gamer tastes might affect his or her enjoyment of the game. So, as a person who has not been a big fan of JRPGs for some time, a uniformly glowing review of FF13 does nothing for me. I want to know if it offers something interesting that might make me interested. In fact, I am receiving tons of reviews that are intended for lovers of the genre. This problem is more pronounced the greater the hype, expectations of the game, and the size and influence of the publisher and/or developer. The reviewing industry is so incestuous that reviewers are under pressure to make sure that their review of a big name title is within parameters. That, and the bar for those games is set higher than smaller titles. A reviewer that really doesn't like the game is under pressure to give a score that is at least in the realm of good, just maybe on the lower end. So, the lowest score they can give the game is a 7, and even then they are ridiculed. So the number system itself is so polluted by expectation and publisher influence that the entire scale is off. There are no use for numbers from 1-6 or metacritic 0-60. These are parts of the scale that reviewers are only free to use if a game is universally lambasted. So, it is not that a reviewer might be criticized for what they write, it is that what they write is not seen as all that important. Their score and how it affects the aggregate score is what gets people riled up. Because people spend time measuring the e-penis size of their favorite game when they are not measuring their own, a game is expected to do either universally well or universally medium (seldom universally poor, that is reserved for the reviewing industry designated whipping boy). I would respect the gamer reviewers far more if the aggregate scores of games represented a diversity of opinions instead of an industry standard. If the scores and reviews are to reflect how gamers would accept the game, they should reflect the diversity of opinions and tastes that are present in the real market. Nothing should get a perfect 100 or even close because I assure you, not everyone is going to like every game. Even those that are fans of that genre. As for me, most game reviews are too heavily influenced by industry expectation for me to trust them, so I rely on word of mouth to make my purchasing decisions. There are a few developers that I will buy from on the first day because of their track record, but that is a short list. I give that article a 9.6.

rocketpig (on 19 March 2010)

Wonktonodi, you're looking at a symptom and declaring it the problem, not the root of what is causing everything to look askew. Metacritic had to adjust their games vs. movies scales because games reviews were being softballed so badly. That's not a flaw in my analysis, that's a flaw in gaming journalism. When a third party has to change the way they operate because one system (gaming) is being so lenient on their industry compared to other mediums (films and books), that says something pretty damning about gaming's review process.

kupomogli (on 19 March 2010)

I agree with the topic, but there's also the fact that a lot of journalistic reviews are extremely biased, giving a lot of AAA games high rankings when they don't deserve it, God of War series as an example, and a lot of good games low rankings and then just bashing the hell out of the game and really giving no reason. For God of War, the entire series has amazing graphics, but fairly poor gameplay and storyline. God of War is no Devil May Cry, Devil May Cry 3, or Ninja Gaiden Black/Sigma, both gameplay or story, but the series always gets near perfect scores. If you read how sites like IGN or Gamespot, etc, review games, they "state" they review them based on what they've done in comparison to other games and advancements on sequels. If a game such as Devil May Cry 3 blows God of War 2 out of the water in every aspect except for the graphics, yet GoW 2 gets rated the same, there is obviously some bias, especially when it came out two and a half years later. Let's not ignore the fact that GoW2 is essentially no different than the first game and they really didn't do anything but update the graphics and how smooth the game plays in comparison. It's because how much companies pay the sites off to get a high rank. Then you see games such as Brigandine Legend of Forsena or God Hand reviewed by a site like IGN(received a 3.0 btw.) It's like these reviewers never even cared to review the games so instead of putting any effort in to try and attempt to see the good qualities in the games, they bash them left and right in all qualities. For example. The reviewer who reviewed Brigandine bashed how every time you attack one enemy with another, it changes to a 3d animation and shows the attack and the counterattack. Did the reviewer ever decide to go to the options menu just once. As it's clear as day "Attack Animations ON/OFF," "Summon Animations ON/OFF." Because of the reviewers stupidity of not giving a damn about trying to attempt to review the game, he just went out and bashed the game on absolutely every aspect, not even giving any good marks to the game where it's clearly deserved. The review is extremely short also giving hardly any detail about how the game really plays. Then here's the entire summary of the God Hand review. "This game is hard. I suck at video games and life. God Hand gets a 3.0" The main thing in the entire review is how the game is hard and the camera angle sucks. Wait, what? God Hand has a crappy camera angle? Instead of emailing and spamming the retard who wrote the review, someone made a review response on Youtube instead(linked below.) Also, for a journalistic review, there are far too many grammar errors in this review. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyfbtSyX3mc Last. There are reviews like this. Wild ARMs 3 and Suikoden 3 both got good review scores at Gamespot. 7 and 9. More than likely since they came out at about the same time they were reviewed by different people. However if you read the Wild ARMs 3 review itself. Half of the first page is why the original Wild ARMs isn't the marvel that FF7 is(which WA is better btw) or that Wild ARMs 2 isn't liked because it's "similar" to the previous game. Why base part of your review on two different games? Also, when bashing the original Wild ARMs in the Wild ARMs 3 review, the reviewer gave false information that FF7 came out before Wild ARMs did and that Wild ARMs came out in 2008. In the US, Wild ARMs came out five months earlier than FF7. April 2007. In Japan one month earlier than FF7. Here is the review in question(linked.) http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/rpg/wildarms3/review.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=gssummary&tag=summary;read-review So again. Another journalistic reviewer, but instead of bad grammar and spelling, now spouting off false information and bashing not one, but two games in the series instead of just reviewing the damn game that he's supposed to. But on to the reason why I mentioned Suikoden 3. In that same Wild ARMs 3 review, the reviewer marked off on Wild ARMs 3 not having any voice acting and also the game still having random battles. During this time, almost every RPG still had random battles and the only game that had a lot of voice acting was FF10. So now you see why I mention the Suikoden 3 review? Both random battles and voice acting. So yeah. If a game reviewer wants to mark points off on something because it didn't do something your favorite game did, Final Fantasy 10 with voice acting in this case, then they can. There's no consistency with these reviewers as I'm pretty sure this reviewer went on to review something else that probably had no voice acting and may have been an RPG with random battles and possibly came out with a glowing review. Just because a game doesn't have random battles is the style they wanted to make it into. Don't mark off points because they're not advancing out of that area, especially when every game you praised in the same review follows the exact same formula. So yeah. I don't disagree that most people aren't reading the reviews and just looking at the number, but more often than not do I see a review about a game I've played that's not a AAA title being paid off on that there isn't any sort of quality work. Look. You're not going to review a Final Fantasy every time so you're not going to get that big bonus based on a complete and utter lie you have to make up which you call a review. Atleast review the games you get properly because it's your job.

Wonktonodi (on 19 March 2010)

something to not though is you can't compare the number scores between movies and games and get a 1 to 1 ratio. A score of 90 for a game would be like an 81 for all the other mediums that they have the score for movies, music, and books. I agree that there are problems with the rating system but that part is a flawed argument. So although only one of the movies scored above 90 all but one of the ones you listed had more than the equivalent to a game scoring above 90

rocketpig (on 19 March 2010)

Loke, I'm not disagreeing with what you're saying about scores not matching up with the text found in reviews. I'm not commenting on it because I wrote about that kind of thing in my editorial two years ago and spoke my peace on that subject. And who did I insult? The guy where I said he didn't think things through very carefully? That's hardly an insult because it's the truth. I pointed out the MASSIVE flaw in his thinking in that very post.

LokeSTL (on 19 March 2010)

@rocketpig There it is again: arrogance. If you'd read into what the person is trying to say, instead of conducting a word analysis and twisting his/her words against them, you might get what they're saying. There is a problem with consistency of reviewers. For one game the reviewer will dock points for what they call "graphical clitches" and in another game mention graphical glitches, but dock no points. Shouldn't points be taken away if a negative was found in that area? Sure they should. So why didn't they? Upon reading the article(that is what this "editorial" is about, right?) you come to find out that they really loved the game. So a game gets a break in the technical department because the reviewer liked it? B.S. Did you insult him just for disagreeing with you? Don't be a hypocrite.

Mr Khan (on 19 March 2010)

Good for telling us what we need to hear. We all rant about score inflation for the games we don't care about, but cry foul at anyone who dares have a negative opinion about something we enjoy. The whole system just needs to be severely restructured.

rocketpig (on 19 March 2010)

Congratulations. You just spent your first two paragraphs describing the entire point of a meta aggregate system. Too bad so few use them that way. And arguing that the main reviewer should be dropped if he or she ranks the game the lowest of the five is insanity on the highest level... you're arguing that editors should stand over their employees and say "unless you think JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE, your ass is canned." What is the employee going to do at that point? Write the review based around others' opinions of the game, not what he or she really thinks of the title. You didn't really think that one through very carefully, did you?

toMsonsLLC (on 19 March 2010)

Just a small add-on, Grand Theft Auto 4, use IGN for example. They gave the game a 10, which is fine. They said, "A 10 doesn't mean a game is perfect -- it means a game is pushing boundaries, expanding a genre, and doing many things to a level so far above and beyond its competitors that they overshadows any flaws." This is fine and all, give the game a 10. They gave the game a 10 also for graphics, while they say it's not the best we've seen, and it has glitches and what not. Than DAMN, dock it in graphics. Lets not be paid off biased dip-shits! Be honest here, and than still give the game a perfect 10 of a overall score. All cause you dock points in one field doesn't mean it can't get a "perfect score", it just means you aren't going to blindly look past issues cause you love the game.

toMsonsLLC (on 19 March 2010)

Meh, bad read. Just him crying trying to defend reviewers whom are unfair. When big blockbuster games come out, companies should have 3-5 people rate it so a score doesn't seem like crap. Say God of War 3 for example; The game gets a 80, 93, 97, 91, 95. You would be like whoa, what is this.. And say if the main reviewer is the 80 guy, you drop him on a dime. Their is no room for biased decisions, when we read reviews we want to hear objective reasoning's to why this game go this. But when you see giant inconsistency like this, it's terrible to affirm that reviewer. He should be dropped from that series for good, and only be reviewing huge titles if you like the games. Don't say it's kinda the same gameplay.. No shit, you want cars in it? See what I am saying? You have to appreciate those games for what they are before. Lets now say FF13... One gives it a 86, 95, 77, 79, 81. What you can see from this is that some people liked concepts, while others didn't. You can than use the initial review for the man who rated the game a 77, or even the 95. Just need to take steps to not throw out biased garbage reviews for big titles, cause people will complain about it. It becomes bad when game sites say "graphics" and what not. Lets use GOW3 for an example, I will start with a fact here. It's the most detailed game ever to be on a console. With this, how does this game not get a 10 for every site in this category, and set the new standard in video gaming. Uncharted 2 which held the previous title didn't even get 10's in ton of reviews for this subject (Graphics). This isn't some opinion, where you can say I don't like how that guy looks. That is NOT graphics! This field is for pure detailing of textures, and stretches out to things like shadows, lighting and other things. Here they need to stop their stupid bias. You can look at them give games like MW2 10's in graphics, and GOW3 gets a 9.5.. And they give Bad Company 2 a 8, so where in the f**k is some consistency? It's just pure bias on subjects that aren't really an opinion. You can't say FF13 looks as good as GOW3 or Uncharted 2, but this is what these crap sites are implying without checking up on their own work they put out.

Games4Fun (on 19 March 2010)

Well, I never trust reviews anyways. I would have missed on so many games that are Gems to me if I had. The scores are just silly as no one uses the same kind, or seems to. My biggest problems with reviews is when it is not opinion but when they straight out lie. For a recent instance. Matt at IGN saying Fragile Dreams is a 6hour game. Well, perhaps if you rushed threw it only doing the main objectives and or have played it before that would be true. But I am 10 hours in and still going. To me in this review it was a flat out lie. I do recall actually getting upset by this, which made me even more upset that I was getting upset! lol anyways nice article.

Pmac3000 (on 19 March 2010)

This is full of so much truth. I like game reviews I read lots of them. I use them to get an idea along with video clips if its something I would be interested in. Even if it is not knocking out 9's or 10's that does not turn me off a game. I also respect those that tell it like it is with there reviews. It does not mean I agree with them,but It is there Opinion and they are taking the time to inform me on what the feel about a game. I must say that this was a fantastic read,and to those that are bumed about there favorite games geting low scores...Who cares?? do you still like it? Then fuck it. play your game and enjoy.

TheTruthHurts! (on 19 March 2010)

Great article, well written, and spot on I would like to add.

Ssenkahdavic (on 19 March 2010)

Some reviewers do exactly what you said, they put in their articles the good and the bad. The only real problem I have, is when they (the authors) have NEGATIVE aspects in their review and do not dock the score for these. If two games have the same problem, they should be docked the exact same for that problem. Does not matter how popular or good one is over the other (that is for docking somewhere else) but for the exact same problem, it should be equal. Make a rule and stick to it.