#51 Posted by nnotdead (94 posts) -

i too dislike the 10+ scale. i found it funny that when games scored 8 or under, and gamers would complain about the score, a lot of people from the site would say its still a good score. Gametrailers reviewed the last Ractchet and Clank, and gave it a high 7 score. i doubt many people where that hyped for the game, because there wasn't much talk about the score, but GT later talked about it on their weekly podcast. at the end of the conversation one of the host said its ok to skip the game for not being good.

i was always surprised that this didn't take off. i mean they just confirmed what a lot of gamers where complaining about. outside of 8-10 the rest of the numbers where meaningless, because the rest of the scale meant the game was bad. so if people complain about a game scoring an 8, it's because today that means it was barley good.

#52 Edited by leebmx (2342 posts) -

@Korne said:

@leebmx said:

@SuperSambo: @Korne said:

That's just the thing... Metacritic works better with Giantbomb's and Xplay's 5 star system. A 3 star game is the equivalent to a 60/100. The problem is not these scores, but all of the others that use higher scales but average the scores to 78%. These are the scores that need to change.

Interesting....I don't think it works at all. After all we surely can't be saying that a 5/5 on GB is 100% game. I bet GB has a way higher number of 100 games on metacritic and that can't be what Jeff etc really want the world to think they are saying in their reviews.

Maybe they don't care, which would be fine as Metacritic would be silly if it wasn't for all the power that has been invested in it, but I can't see how they can think the 5 point scale makes sense extrapolated out to 100.

EDIT: don't misunderstand me I think the 5 point scale is the best if you have to use one - which I would prefer not in truth - however it just gets courrpted by Metacritic turning it to a 100 point scale.

This is where it gets weird. 100% does not mean a perfect game by no means, but yet it is used so frequently in gaming. And you'd be surprised how many sites give waaaaay more 100% than giantbomb. But really, if you want to simplify the scale (aka no more 93s), you have to allow the entire scale to be used. This includes 100% and 0%. I think that's all I want. I'm tired of the 60-100 scale... I want to see the full 0-100... and I want 50 to be the score of an average game. If the average of all scores given is in the upper 70s, something is wrong.

That's fine if everyone uses the 5 point scale - then it can mean to you what you like and yes it makes more sense to use it the 5 point scale, I agree. However what makes no sense is to take a score from the 5 point scale place it where it should mathematically go on the 100 point scale and say it is the same thing. - It's not.

At a quick glance there are 67 5 star reviews on Giant Bomb. If you can find me a site using 100 point scale with anywhere close to this i'll eat my hat, your hat and any other hats you have lying around.

#53 Posted by Talis12 (522 posts) -

reviews are a combination of facts (graphics not up to par, bugs/glitches, etc.) and personal opinions (fast/slow gameplay, story to short/long, etc.) and therefor a score is never accurate.

if you have a clear list of things to go through and have to check the boxes to come to a score at the end you could do a score.. but games are to divers, even within the same genre, to have such a list.

i read/watch reviews to know to the reviewers opinion and experiences with the game.. i dont go, does it have an 8/10 or more? I'll buy it!

write reviews without scores.. problem solved.

#54 Posted by Foggen (941 posts) -

TL;DR: Game designers are whiners.

#55 Posted by Humanity (11849 posts) -

@nmarchan: Not really. As a matter of fact I think they could have taken out inventory, leveling system and just left dialog trees with cover based combat and it would still receive high 90's across the board.

#56 Posted by MormonWarrior (2825 posts) -

Getting rid of scores would be idiotic. A review is a value statement on a game, and if you can't quantify it or grade it in some way then you've made no serious argument. I like Giant Bomb's method because it doesn't get into that whole "what's the difference between 8.8 and 9" problem. It's more a "hey, this game's amazing you should play it" or "I liked it, but you might not" to "this game is total garbage and should be avoided" which is useful.

Also, I like Metacritic a lot. I don't swear by it, but guess what: I haven't found a game under 80 that was more worth my time than those above 80 in the past ten years of using it fairly regularly. I've learned that reviews for games are a lot more "right" than movie, book, or music reviews which are nearly 100% subjective. So if your game falls under there...sorry, it's only alright, or mediocre, or bad.

#57 Posted by DarthB (268 posts) -

Looking forward to more installments. Good shit Patrick, good shit.

#58 Posted by Bats (130 posts) -

"You guys shouldn't criticize video games at all, btw Mass Effect 3 comes out in a few months, don't forget to preorder, and also play the demos from other games, and jump through a bunch of other hoops to get most of a game, while being shoehorned to a platform nobody asked for!" is more or less what I took away from this. Here's a solution for you, stop making shitty games and you won't get shitty reviews *shrug* I appreciate criticism in reviews because I want to know the issues I may have with the game, I don't want to know how much I'm going to like a game, that's for me to decide when I'm playing it, but something that would detract from my experience or save me a good chunk of money? Well I would like that before I make a purchase, esp since Demos are largely a thing of the past these days.

#59 Posted by happypup70 (184 posts) -

Maybe I am being daft but critic is the proper term to call someone who reviews things. And a critique is what a critic produces. And criticism is the foundation of a critique. So aren't reviews merely subjective criticism anyway. When I look to buy a game I look at critics that share a similar taste in games. I cannot stand dolly pardon

#60 Posted by Korne (640 posts) -

@leebmx said:

@SuperSambo:

@Korne said:

That's just the thing... Metacritic works better with Giantbomb's and Xplay's 5 star system. A 3 star game is the equivalent to a 60/100. The problem is not these scores, but all of the others that use higher scales but average the scores to 78%. These are the scores that need to change.

Interesting....I don't think it works at all. After all we surely can't be saying that a 5/5 on GB is 100% game. I bet GB has a way higher number of 100 games on metacritic and that can't be what Jeff etc really want the world to think they are saying in their reviews.

Maybe they don't care, which would be fine as Metacritic would be silly if it wasn't for all the power that has been invested in it, but I can't see how they can think the 5 point scale makes sense extrapolated out to 100.

EDIT: don't misunderstand me I think the 5 point scale is the best if you have to use one - which I would prefer not in truth - however it just gets courrpted by Metacritic turning it to a 100 point scale.

Game Informer has a 0-10 scale, but uses decimal places. They have given a lot 10's... like at least 5 a year. 1UP uses a letter grade scale, where an A+ gets turned into a 100. Gamepro uses 1-100 scale, and seems to give everyone 100s (DOA2 Hardcore, NBA Street, XIII!). Eurogamer, even with their tough grading system, has had over 50 10/10's (although they have been around longer), and they also have the lowest average score (66).

I have heard the argument that the reason these averages are so high is because the sites tend to not review the horrible shovelware. I personally don't see why that matters. It just seems like a way to justify pandering to readers and publishers.

#61 Posted by Babylonian (883 posts) -

Maybe the best thing about that Sessler video is that the only GDC audience member in frame is a dude with like the most serious ponytail on the planet.

#62 Posted by sanchopanza (252 posts) -

@Spankmealotus: No no, I understand perfectly his point and I still disagree (I mentioned that being critical of a design choice is just as valid as any other).

Regarding the industry thing: you can't just look at a game in isolation, you have to consider the industry and the games that have come before it. If we took a blank slate approach with every game, would we not give 5 star reviews to every Dynasty Warriors game? (despite the fact they have been pumping the same thing out for like 10 years now).

Even if we do consider a game as its own thing surely a reviewer should be able to say he finds the design aspect of a game to be uninteresting, dull or needlessly restrictive, if not would we be unable to criticise idiotic QTEs because they are 'outside events' and everyone has them? Who, at that point, decides what constitutes a 'review' and what constitutes a 'critique'.

#63 Posted by Ravenlight (8057 posts) -

@patrickklepek said:

Why don't you chill out, Gingrich?

I LOL'd

I'm really enjoying these off-the-cuff pieces.

#64 Edited by Napalm (9230 posts) -

@pavakah said:

Mr. Heir arguing for no more review scores is about as palatable to me as someone from Chevrolet arguing that Consumer Reports shouldn't give automobiles ratings because comparing their car to Honda's car via a rating is too reductive.

Actually, Consumer Reports reviews for safety concerns as well. Everything is thoroughly tested. It wouldn't make that much sense for them to forgo review scores after all of the heavy testing they do, and they grade and rate different aspects of the vehicle in question; not so much a catch-all score. Where as a car can possibly kill you if it has shitty airbags, a videogame just ends up being a shitty, short-term investment. Your analogy is rather poor.

Also, I wanted to add that I am in favor of getting rid of review scores. I'd much prefer what I think Edge did, (I believe it was Edge), where they have a 'Parting Shot' which drips the more vital information in a few short sentences to sum everything up at the end of the review. You can still recommend or not, something, without needing to resort to a score.

#65 Edited by Seppli (11233 posts) -

We, the enthusiasts, already got that 'sidedish' to game reviews. Podcast and fan & enthusiast forums. Podcasts usually are way more honest, off-the-record kinda affairs with the individual opinion of the people behind the review publications shining through. And fan forums with the full spectrum of haters to apologetic fan boys give some contrast to the usually more measured professional opinions.

The industry can't print that on their boxes though. Marketing needs 'legitimized opinions' to advertise their product with recognizable quality seals. Creating 'Critics', personalities with name recognition in the broad audience, could lead to such a thing as marketing leverage by criticism instead of review score.

But how to create that recognizable and highly respected critic? It's the crux of gaming, that it's an interactive medium and it's the player who puts the last hand on the product. Putting the final responsibility for the game experience into the consumer's hand is making the job of critic extremely hard. First, a critic has to bring a game to life with inspired gameplay and then communicate this magic to his readers.

Games and the requirements to their players are much broader and deeper than music or books or video. The mechanical depth of gameplay of every genre and storied game franchise cannot be explored by a single individual. Most genres do require genre specialists to play them, which in turn makes their opinions as critics not broadly applicable.

The more open a gaming experience is, the more does it depend on the player's virtues, rather than it's immediate design. Gamedesign then takes the backset to world simulation and has to be more circumstantial. Less of a script and more of a general flow. Not everybody is blessed with all the virtues to properly experience and enjoy those games, which is true for critics, as well as consumers. How often do I see consumers rag on top rated games? There are people out there who hate on GTAIV and call it boring, whilst it is mana from heaven for others.

I think the future of gaming and game criticism is an 'Editorialized Gaming Experience'. Let's be honest here, the enthusiast press is more of a marketing tool already. It's only natural for digital distribution platforms to roll reviews, forums and professional criticism together and blend it with their retail business.

Steam, Xbox Live, Playstation Network, Origin and whatnot - that's were the revolution has to happen. Though it's more likely that the industry will prefer to self-fellatio their goods instead of allowing a more honest reflection to be visible pre-purchase. I think properly editorialized digital distribution outlets would be amazing and the way to go.

#66 Posted by Pezen (1814 posts) -

Am I the only one reacting to this statement by Manveer; "Readers, like players, don't know what they want. They just want what they currently like; they have little vision for the future." -- Sure, I'm not a game designer and I certainly don't profess to know anything about making games. But I know what I want, and I know what I wish existed, and I know what I hope for in the future. Just wanting "what I currently like" is absurd, why would I want the industry to stagnate like that? Maybe I'm reading more into it than what's there, but it feels extremely patronizing.

#67 Posted by FoxMulder (1767 posts) -

Honestly, quick looks are really what I use to determine whether I'll play something or not. As informative as reviews can be, actually seeing the game in motion as someone gives commentary works so much better. I still read the reviews for more a more in-depth look and the rating can be a sign of whether or not I'll like something. But in the end it really is my intrest in something that will get me to buy it.

I think Jeff said it best when referring to Borderlands. He surley loved the hell out of that game, but the terrible boss battles kept it from a 5. Same with Deus Ex, he really loved everything about it but it too had problems. Doesn't mean they can't be some of the most fun games of all time, but they aren't 5/5 due to some setbacks. While a 5 star review may cause a game to grab my attention, it rarely does unless I like the demo or the QL looks really great. GB gave Dead Space 2 a 5, but I really have no intrest in buying it after playing the demo. It looked great to play in the QL, but the demo just showed it wasn't for me. I am sure it is a great game in it's own right, but I will probably never play it. I had a really great time playing The Saboteur a few years back, but that game is definately a 3. It entertained me as much as a 4 or 5 could, but it had much to it that kept it from being a smoother and well made game and something I'd play over and over.

It's pretty much the same for movies with me. If it sounds interesting, has people I like in it, or is made by someone I like I will definately be more inclined to like it. Had "Crazy, Stupid, Love" not had Steve Carrell and Ryan Gosling, I would have never seen that wonderful movie. Even then I'm not that huge a Carrell fan and I mostly saw it because of Gosling. I liked Carrell on the Office, but have only seen a few movies he headlined. If a game doesn't intrest me in anyway to begin with, it probably wont grab my attention. I would not have played Shadows of the Damned if I wasn't already a fan of Suda 51, but even then all of the humor and style I saw in the QL was what made me immediatley go out and buy it. I was not dissapointed in any way with that game! Same with Arkham Asylum, I like Batman quite a bit, but I was not going to get it just because of Batman alone. I got it becuse I liked the demo, and even the suprise glowing reviews did sway me from being only a little curious to 100% on board with the game. It was somewhat of a blind buy as the demo was short and didn't show much other than the combat, but the praise from GB pushed me to eventually buy it!

It's one of the main reasons I follow GB and no other gaming sites. I feel they generally like great games that I can also enjoy if I give them a chance. I was never even considering getting Saints Row the Third until GB said how great and crazy it was. The first two games just seemed like straight up GTA ripoffs about gang bangers and urban street crime, but 3 seemed to finally do it right and make it more intersting than just being a "gangsta's paradise". I tried playing 2 since it came free with the PS3 version, but I could not get past the first mission because of it's terrible controls and poor humor/dialogue. It really showed how well they got it right in 3. Now I know not everyone loves 3 as much as GB does and they were super dissapointed that they just didn't get it. So they aren't always 100% with everyone's taste, but they have led me to some pretty great games! More so than any other non-personal game site would have ever done. It's the reason I watched them when they were on Gamespot, and why I followed Jeff immediately after his firing.

Oh wow did this turn into ramble that I did not mean to!

So in conclusion, while I do look a review scores in some respect, they can only sway my intrest and really never fully convince me to buy a game. They can make me look more into a game, but seeing it in action and even playing demos are really what convince me to buy a game!

#68 Posted by lockwoodx (2532 posts) -

@FoxMulder said:

Honestly, quick looks are really what I use to determine whether I'll play something or not. As informative as reviews can be, actually seeing the game in motion as someone gives commentary works so much better. I still read the reviews for more a more in-depth look and the rating can be a sign of whether or not I'll like something. But in the end it really is my intrest in something that will get me to buy it.

I think Jeff said it best when referring to Borderlands. He surley loved the hell out of that game, but the terrible boss battles kept it from a 5. Same with Deus Ex, he really loved everything about it but it too had problems. Doesn't mean they can't be some of the most fun games of all time, but they aren't 5/5 due to some setbacks. While a 5 star review may cause a game to grab my attention, it rarely does unless I like the demo or the QL looks really great. GB gave Dead Space 2 a 5, but I really have no intrest in buying it after playing the demo. It looked great to play in the QL, but the demo just showed it wasn't for me. I am sure it is a great game in it's own right, but I will probably never play it. I had a really great time playing The Saboteur a few years back, but that game is definately a 3. It entertained me as much as a 4 or 5 could, but it had much to it that kept it from being a smoother and well made game and something I'd play over and over.

It's pretty much the same for movies with me. If it sounds interesting, has people I like in it, or is made by someone I like I will definately be more inclined to like it. Had "Crazy, Stupid, Love" not had Steve Carrell and Ryan Gosling, I would have never seen that wonderful movie. Even then I'm not that huge a Carrell fan and I mostly saw it because of Gosling. I liked Carrell on the Office, but have only seen a few movies he headlined. If a game doesn't intrest me in anyway to begin with, it probably wont grab my attention. I would not have played Shadows of the Damned if I wasn't already a fan of Suda 51, but even then all of the humor and style I saw in the QL was what made me immediatley go out and buy it. I was not dissapointed in any way with that game! Same with Arkham Asylum, I like Batman quite a bit, but I was not going to get it just because of Batman alone. I got it becuse I liked the demo, and even the suprise glowing reviews did sway me from being only a little curious to 100% on board with the game. It was somewhat of a blind buy as the demo was short and didn't show much other than the combat, but the praise from GB pushed me to eventually buy it!

It's one of the main reasons I follow GB and no other gaming sites. I feel they generally like great games that I can also enjoy if I give them a chance. I was never even considering getting Saints Row the Third until GB said how great and crazy it was. The first two games just seemed like straight up GTA ripoffs about gang bangers and urban street crime, but 3 seemed to finally do it right and make it more intersting than just being a "gangsta's paradise". I tried playing 2 since it came free with the PS3 version, but I could not get past the first mission because of it's terrible controls and poor humor/dialogue. It really showed how well they got it right in 3. Now I know not everyone loves 3 as much as GB does and they were super dissapointed that they just didn't get it. So they aren't always 100% with everyone's taste, but they have led me to some pretty great games! More so than any other non-personal game site would have ever done. It's the reason I watched them when they were on Gamespot, and why I followed Jeff immediately after his firing.

Oh wow did this turn into ramble that I did not mean to!

So in conclusion, while I do look a review scores in some respect, they can only sway my intrest and really never fully convince me to buy a game. They can make me look more into a game, but seeing it in action and even playing demos are really what convince me to buy a game!

Well said.

#69 Posted by TheVideoHustler (412 posts) -

The market keeps you employed, the market sells your game. Metecritic is a huge chunk of the Market.

God I hate game developers. It's a business now people, accept that or go be an indie developer working out of your basement.

Don't complain about Metacritic when your mouth is full of it's money.

(In reply to that youtube video, Patrick's article is awesome)

#70 Edited by leebmx (2342 posts) -

@FoxMulder said:

I feel they generally like great games that I can also enjoy if I give them a chance. I was never even considering getting Saints Row the Third until GB said how great and crazy it was. The first two games just seemed like straight up GTA ripoffs about gang bangers and urban street crime, but 3 seemed to finally do it right and make it more intersting than just being a "gangsta's paradise". I tried playing 2 since it came free with the PS3 version, but I could not get past the first mission because of it's terrible controls and poor humor/dialogue. It really showed how well they got it right in 3. Now I know not everyone loves 3 as much as GB does and they were super dissapointed that they just didn't get it. So they aren't always 100% with everyone's taste, but they have led me to some pretty great games! More so than any other non-personal game site would have ever done. It's the reason I watched them when they were on Gamespot, and why I followed Jeff immediately after his firing.

Really agree with you about this bit. I never would have touched SR3 without all the praise from the crew which show how much more important than scores/criticism/reviews is the opinion of someone whose taste you are familiar with and you trust.

It all comes down to this in the end. Even the laziest person who just looks as scores will stop doing so and have to dig deeper if he keeps buying games he doesn't enjoy because they have 90+scores. This is why GB is so good for me and why Jeff and the rest's integrity is so important to this site. Without sounding too cheesy the guys are like a group of friends to me with differing tastes but viewpoints I understand and believe in and therefore I can trust a game recommendation from them like I would a book one from my real world friends.

#71 Posted by TheVideoHustler (412 posts) -

@Foggen said:

TL;DR: Game designers are whiners.

Never mind my comment. It is all summarized here

#72 Posted by Humanity (11849 posts) -

Make a 7 point scale BAM problem solved everyone lets go home!

This is an excellent game! SEVEN OUT OF SEVEN HEXAGONS!

#73 Posted by leebmx (2342 posts) -

@Korne said:

@leebmx said:

@SuperSambo:

@Korne said:

That's just the thing... Metacritic works better with Giantbomb's and Xplay's 5 star system. A 3 star game is the equivalent to a 60/100. The problem is not these scores, but all of the others that use higher scales but average the scores to 78%. These are the scores that need to change.

Interesting....I don't think it works at all. After all we surely can't be saying that a 5/5 on GB is 100% game. I bet GB has a way higher number of 100 games on metacritic and that can't be what Jeff etc really want the world to think they are saying in their reviews.

Maybe they don't care, which would be fine as Metacritic would be silly if it wasn't for all the power that has been invested in it, but I can't see how they can think the 5 point scale makes sense extrapolated out to 100.

EDIT: don't misunderstand me I think the 5 point scale is the best if you have to use one - which I would prefer not in truth - however it just gets courrpted by Metacritic turning it to a 100 point scale.

Game Informer has a 0-10 scale, but uses decimal places. They have given a lot 10's... like at least 5 a year. 1UP uses a letter grade scale, where an A+ gets turned into a 100. Gamepro uses 1-100 scale, and seems to give everyone 100s (DOA2 Hardcore, NBA Street, XIII!). Eurogamer, even with their tough grading system, has had over 50 10/10's (although they have been around longer), and they also have the lowest average score (66).

I have heard the argument that the reason these averages are so high is because the sites tend to not review the horrible shovelware. I personally don't see why that matters. It just seems like a way to justify pandering to readers and publishers.

Eurogamer has reviews going back to the last millenium. Giant Bomb has been around 3 years and has more 100% (if you want to look at it like that) reviews. If Giant Bomb had been around the length of time as Eurogamer we would be talking over 200 5 stars. It is completely wrong for Metacritic to make out Giant Bomb uses the 100 point scale when in fact they are limited to only 5 different scores out of the 100 apparent possibilities.

#74 Posted by jasondesante (617 posts) -

isnt it simple, if you are going to write reviews that don't fully explain the technical features, you are wrongly representing the game, and if you decide to criticize it for something obvious that you will not criticize a different game for a similar problem, you are also evaluating every game from a different standard.

if you aren't going to write a proper review then don't call it a review, if you want to vent your feelings call it something else because if you criticize zelda for having many things that are similar over the series but never mention how skyrim's gameplay is essentially unchanged after 3 games, then you clearly aren't evaluating every game equally and definitely aren't treating them all fairly if you never even mentioned such a simple essential new tool to zelda as the beedle.

#75 Posted by HadesTimes (887 posts) -

Great article. But as crazy as it sounds, I think it would be good for the industry and for developers if we got rid of review scores and if publishers ignored Metacritic. After all, no one cares that Transformers Revenge of the Fallen got a crappy review score; it still made a fortune. So if your a successfully selling game, what difference does it make what a bunch of Metacritic review sites say? Even more telling, if you happen to look at the Music reviews side of Metacritic. There wouldn't be a music industry if anyone was given raises and jobs based on those scores(harsh!)

#76 Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (7028 posts) -

While I do think occasionally critique of a game can border on an opinion piece rather than a review, I think it is the gaming press's business to call developers and especially publishers out on their bullshit. If something has become stagnant or subpar due to a marketing department's decision that "we want more of the same," it is by all means okay to call out that in a review. Saying that a developer's job and livelihood depends on the review of a journalist is, quite frankly, part of the job. If you're part of a team that has developed a cruddy game, I'm sorry, but it's no different than being part of a team anywhere else. No matter what job you work, someone's critique is always going to make or break your career - be that a customer, a journalist, the public's opinion, coworker reviews - whatever. Should everyone then get special treatment and consideration in reviews because it might cost them their job otherwise? Hell no, of course not.

The five star rating works best for now, but I do agree that journalists should push their readers more towards the text review rather than the score. Oddly enough, I think video reviews are the middle ground for this. Lazy or time-constrained readers can more easily sit through a quick two minute review rather than sift through paragraphs to find the answers or the affirmation they need. That should never stand in for a good text review, though, as that's the backbone of good journalism.

Moderator
#77 Posted by Olqavtoras (261 posts) -

Can't wait for part 3!

#78 Posted by pavakah (127 posts) -

@Napalm said:

@pavakah said:

Mr. Heir arguing for no more review scores is about as palatable to me as someone from Chevrolet arguing that Consumer Reports shouldn't give automobiles ratings because comparing their car to Honda's car via a rating is too reductive.

... Your analogy is rather poor.

I would give it at least an 8 out of 10.

#79 Posted by wumbo3000 (1100 posts) -

Does this guy not understand that sometimes people need reviews to see whether a game is worth their hard earned 60$ or not? Reviews are used as purchasing advice, not some overall critique of the gaming industry. They exist to help consumers use their money wisely so they won't buy a piece of content that they won't enjoy. It's pretty simple.

#80 Posted by bassman2112 (995 posts) -

Thanks again for the amazing article. I'm not sure if you saw the Reddit post a few days ago that linked to some graphs depicting how the majority of Gamespot/Metacritic games were rated. The 'average' for both of them ended up being around the 70% - 75% area. I tend to agree that the 5 star system is a much better one for both the readers and developers alike. Having 60% as 'average' means anything below that should require some work, anything above that has some good things going for it. As it stands, having the 'average' be so high means that anything above that becomes trivial and hard to point out which games are truly exceptional.

Again, thanks for the thought provoking article =) Keep it up, I am loving GB more having you on staff haha.

#81 Posted by MajesticOverlord (191 posts) -

I'll admit I've been lazy at times and simply skipped an entire review to see the score, only to come to the conclusion whether or not I should buy the game. However there are times where I've simply already made up my mind on whether I'm going to, or not, purchase a game. Alone in the Dark 5 did very poorly when it came to reviews but I still went out and purchased the game, a decision I don't regret. Vice versa, a game did very well with scores, bought it and I was ultimately shattered by regret. After that experience I spent more time reading about a games flaws before I decided if it was worth the money and so far its paid off.

Excellent read and I'm looking forward to part 3.

#82 Posted by studnoth1n (232 posts) -

simple enough. take away the numerical ratings if you really want people to read the article. the question is, are the articles really worth reading, especially as a form of criticism? this assumes many of the writers for those review publication are even capable of writing a clear, organized, and insightful critique.

this also assumes yet another factor, which is that we already possess an established form of criticism for this particular medium, which i really don't think is the case.

for the most part, we're borrowing from other forms (film criticism), and though there exist many parallels between the two, that form of criticism isn't always appropriate to conversation. the criticism falls apart when the writer is either unable, or unwilling to properly articulate their critiques (i.e. opinions), or associate with the right term, then the tendency arises to make things up as they go along. in all honesty, it's the readers obligation not to be enticed by this rather lazy and callous approach to writing.

the other possibility, perhaps the medium hasn't evolved enough to truly warrant any type of formal criticism. perhaps it is more appropriate to evaluate and measure the game, based primarily on the functionality of the game's inherent "mechanics." which to that extent, a numerical rating system is still probably sufficient, at least for the time being.

#83 Edited by cikame (1228 posts) -

I was under the impression reviews already contained the writer's criticism.
Review's arn't stories, they are facts written in a descriptive way to help people understand how the reviewer felt as they played the game, if the game crashes multiple times or has some weak voice acting isn't that criticism?

#84 Posted by Philzpilz (225 posts) -

Well... now I feel bad for unironically liking McDonalds

#85 Posted by Viking_Funeral (2180 posts) -

Reminds me of the old quote by Henry Ford, "If I'd asked customers what they wanted, they would have said "a faster horse".

#86 Posted by FoxMulder (1767 posts) -

As great as it would be to get rid of scores and all of this Metacritic crap, would it be logical? In all honesty when I do check other publications for reviews I never read them, I will look at the score and the summation at the end. To get rid of scores completely would mean people would have to read each review from each site fully. I do enjoy reading Giant Bomb's reviews, but other sites I've tried to and they lack much in terms of personality and creativity. If it ever happened, then people would only stick to one site and that publication would depend on their loyal followers. Maybe a summary at the end of a review could help, but in the end the system just won't work without the score representing the overall review.

I admit that I do go along with Rotten Tomatoes sometimes for movies, but even if something has a low percentage that I really want to see I will see it anyways. If something I'm on the edge about gets good reviews, I may be more inclined to see it. I do follow Screened, but Rotten Tomatoes really kind of is what I go to for movies. I find my opinions differ here and there from what Screened does, so I will use Rotten Tomatoes to help inform myself. I find with most film critics you kind of have to read the reviews as most don't give scores, or only have the 4 star rating system. But for the most part I don't like reading reviews for something so short like a movie. A movie isn't as much of a commitment as a $60 game, which I think is the reason game critiques are so heavily focused upon. A movie with crap reviews will still earn millions at the box office, but mediocre games or under-the-radar games can live or die by the critics. If you see a bad movie, oh well, there goes $10. If you buy a bad game there goes $60 and now you have this physical disc of crap staring at you. You could trade it in, but even that is pretty much losing more money. It's that which really made me question people who I knew that would blind buy DVD's all the time.

It's why games pretty much depend on critiques to even get any notice, and probably why developers get as angry as they do. Movies can take only a few months to make,compared to years for a game. If a movie does bad the filmmakers and actors already made their big bucks and could care less. The only thing a bad movie can ruin is the reputation of the main players in a movie, but even then bad actors and filmmakers still get work year after year. If a game does bad lots of people can lose their jobs and may possibly have a tough time finding work afterwards. Its probably why recently we have heard a ton of lashing out on the developer side towards critics. I'm sure for any artist hearing negative critiques can be rough as much time and effort is put into their work. Developers lash out because they probably truly thought what they were working on was pretty great, and possibly because bad word of mouth can sink a game like no other.

In the end though it is all a matter of opinion. Although in some cases you have to wonder if developers even play their own games, or they just rest and then recover for their next project. I have a hard time seeing that anyone, even the creators, could enjoy something Duke Nukem Forever! I have to wonder after it all comes together and they see it isn't great, they just have to surrender and get it released. Publisher pressure is probably another issue that can make or break something with potential.

#87 Posted by M3rlin (70 posts) -

I witnessed the phenomenon myself that reviews without a final score ultimately don't seem as relevant. I usually read everything on Shacknews.com EXCEPT the reviews, as they do not assign a score.

As to "criticism" in reviews, I like those sections a lot and even expect it in a way. A recent example that comes to mind is Jeff's MW3 review, in which he says it's a very well-made game that lacks innovation, however.

#88 Posted by SuperCycle (349 posts) -

I think from the beginning I've sided more with Manveer's approach. I don't think he was trying to say that you shouldn't be critical of games that your reviewing, or point out flaws within the game, but I believe that he is saying you shouldn't criticize the genre that the game you are reviewing is in. Uncharted 3 is a third person action adventure game with a linear plot. It shouldn't be faulted as a game for being what it set out to be, It should be judged on it's own merits as a part of that genre. Criticize what it had done wrong in that genre. Like how the aiming was slightly unresponsive and the plotting felt a bit awkward at times.

#89 Posted by Brendan (8808 posts) -

@Pezen said:

Am I the only one reacting to this statement by Manveer; "Readers, like players, don't know what they want. They just want what they currently like; they have little vision for the future." -- Sure, I'm not a game designer and I certainly don't profess to know anything about making games. But I know what I want, and I know what I wish existed, and I know what I hope for in the future. Just wanting "what I currently like" is absurd, why would I want the industry to stagnate like that? Maybe I'm reading more into it than what's there, but it feels extremely patronizing.

That's not what patronizing means.

#90 Posted by SaturdayNightSpecials (2536 posts) -

If you asked a player after Call of Duty 3 what they wanted, they would have wanted Call of Duty 4 to be more World War II awesomeness. It took someone with vision to take that game to the modern day.

This is really short-sighted and honestly a bit insulting. There was demand for COD to move to a different era even after the second game, and more so after the poor reception of COD 3. The WWII shooter backlash happened just like the modern military shooter backlash did, and not because some 'visionary' developer descended from the skies and brought us the knowledge that we should be tired of WWII. It was because players KNEW what they wanted, as they very often do.

Of course good developers can deviate from the obvious progression and come up with something better, and of course the mainstream is often satisfied with more of the same, but to act like developers are the only ones with the capacity for imagination, or the ability to understand what makes games good and extrapolate new ideas from that understanding, is extremely arrogant. And the same goes for making that assumption about readers of game commentary/criticism.

#91 Posted by Qwinn (36 posts) -

Best gaming website ever! Thanks to Patrick for bringing something different to the table. Never been so happy to part with $50 each year. Love you guys!

#92 Posted by spartanlolz92 (520 posts) -

i disagree with what the guy said about people wanting more ww2 shooters have call of duty 3 -___-. i had always wanted a modern warfe game if you will and i would have liked a sequel of it if it was a good game. but i dont want to be piled under by sequels that show no progress in the technology department like graphics or the engine.

#93 Posted by Pezen (1814 posts) -

@Brendan: Alright, enlighten me?

@SaturdayNightSpecials: I'm glad I wasn't the only one thinking that.

#94 Posted by M3rlin (70 posts) -

Patrick, do you think the review score inflation could be linked to the American Grading System in schools and universities that basically all writers grew up in?

I was a German high school exchange student in the US a couple years back and am now doing my Graduate studies in NYC. Both times I was surprised how closely distributed most of the grades are at the top end of the grading scale: A+ to B-.

A C was already a bad grade. From Germany, however, I was used to the equivalents of C's and D's being decent grades. Only the top performing third of the class got A's and B's, so it was really something special to be up there. In the US I felt, most of the distinction was made between A- and B+.

Game reviews I feel have ended up in the same cul-de-sac where reviewers have to be extremely cautious when giving away the final +/-0.5 points on a scale of 10, because that's where amazing games overtake great games.

#95 Posted by Napalm (9230 posts) -

@pavakah said:

@Napalm said:

@pavakah said:

Mr. Heir arguing for no more review scores is about as palatable to me as someone from Chevrolet arguing that Consumer Reports shouldn't give automobiles ratings because comparing their car to Honda's car via a rating is too reductive.

... Your analogy is rather poor.

I would give it at least an 8 out of 10.

You should also quote the rest of my post where your analogy was systematically ripped apart.

#96 Edited by gringbot (101 posts) -

Manveer-

This means, if a site disagrees with its reviews being used on Metacritic, it should get them pulled from the site or make changes to how its scores are interpreted.

Patrick-

Let me bring around the question to that prompted this dialogue. Are you so opposed to "criticism" being part of a "review" because it's implied that criticism will, inherently, skew more negative?

Bingo. Doesnt seem like Manveer actually wants a new system, but a way to take more advantage of the current, and broken, one. Sounds like a true supporter of SOPA, imo.

#97 Posted by sanchopanza (252 posts) -

@M3rlin said:

Patrick, do you think the review score inflation could be linked to the American Grading System in schools and universities that basically all writers grew up in?

I was a German high school exchange student in the US a couple years back and am now doing my Graduate studies in NYC. Both times I was surprised how closely distributed most of the grades are at the top end of the grading scale: A+ to B-.

A C was already a bad grade. From Germany, however, I was used to the equivalents of C's and D's being decent grades. Only the top performing third of the class got A's and B's, so it was really something special to be up there. In the US I felt, most of the distinction was made between A- and B+.

Game reviews I feel have ended up in the same cul-de-sac where reviewers have to be extremely cautious when giving away the final +/-0.5 points on a scale of 10, because that's where amazing games overtake great games.

Don't know about the review score comparison but when I was in uni (in the UK) my friend went on an exchange to the states and after he came back our uni automatically reduced his grades by 20% if I remember correctly. This was a uniform policy across all faculties, the rationale being that in the US grading is much too lenient and is not on par with the UK grading scale. So an A in the states translates to about a C or a mid 2.1 in the UK, just though I'd share that with you.

#98 Posted by happymeowmeow (226 posts) -

Patrick,

Enjoying these articles, keep it up ! Been a fan since the podcasts on the the G4 website and pleased to see you on GiantBomb.

What I hate the most in this ongoing debate is the attitude that "nothing can change", or "it's the way the system works, deal with it", etc. Nothing is immutable. The video game review system as it exists right now is a joke, and if there is enough desire to actually make it something beyond the Spike TV level of legitimacy, it will happen.

(Speaking of Spike TV) there is always the question of if the video game industry even merits serious criticism. One aspect of them will always be product, designed to fulfill our power fantasies and need for escapism, and at worst to be cynical addictive money and time wasters like have popped up in last few years (Zynga). I suppose you could make the parallel to film and bring up the fact that the same medium that gives us Adam Sandler movies has also given us Stanley Kubrick. We've got Farmville, and we've also got To the Moon.

Personally I've always leaned towards the "slash and burn" solutions when it comes to review scores, no matter how unpractical that probably is.

#99 Posted by DantronLesotho (52 posts) -

Has anyone ever tried to merge the critical score with the rest of the totals that come up?

What about: success of intent, critical score, broad appeal, controls, appearance?

Or what about an aggregator like rotten tomatoes where it's just based on recommend/wouldn't recommend?

#100 Posted by MrMazz (1080 posts) -

Good shit Patrick I dig this whole debate.