So as most of you are probably aware, the reviews for Batman Arkham Origins are out in the wild, and to my genuine surprise it received some pretty low scores.
I have seen some sixes and sevens been thrown around and the motivation for those scores would be the lack of innovations or features, apart from the multiplayer, that sets it apart from the previous games. In short, it's the same game as before but in a slightly different setting.
That got me thinking.
Arkham City and Arkham Asylum both where superb games. Some preferred one over the other, but in terms of mechanics, this was something most Batman fans and in general, most Comic book fans loved about those games. Both of them received scores around or above the magic 90 threshold.
So how is it, that when a game comes out that plays exactly like it predecessors, it suddenly gets a 6 or a 7 for being "basically the same game".
To me that seems a bit out of proportion.
Now lets look at other games that have annual releases and are considered "AAA". Yep, you probably guessed it, I'm talking about Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty and FIFA.
"FIFA ?" you say. Indeed, FIFA. I put that one in the list because it's the biggest selling annual sports game worldwide.
If we look at those game objectively, you cannot deny the fact that( apart from changes in setting and/or slight mechanic tweaks) the games are playing almost exactly the same from year to year.
Soccer is still soccer, Call of Duty remains fast paced Left Trigger-Right Trigger-Respawn, and Assassin's Creed is still white-hooded-dude-with-blades assassinating action. Yet all this games receive annual scores in the eighties and nineties.
What makes it that they get those scores and Arkham Origins does not. My Opinion: bias.
It is expected beforehand that these games should receive this score, that reviewers almost don't dare not to give it a high score, or else risk having the rampaging internet horde berating them for not giving their "AAA-franchise" a good score.
The reason I think Batman might have been given the lower score is also bias.
The opening was there. A new studio about which almost everyone had there doubts whether they could do it or not, new voice actors and a game nobody was anticipating.
Arkham Origins was already at a disadvantage when it was first presented to us, and know that it plays the same as the previous ones, it gets average review score because it doesn't "innovate" enough. Hurrah for journalism and its critical eye.
I feel that games journalism is still at it infancy and might sometimes be to guided by bias, and this might be something worth discussing.
Now to make one thing clear: this ISN'T an Arkham Origins defence post or anything as ridicule as that, nor is this a critic of COD, AC and FIFA.
I just found it curious how a sequal to a a superb game gets an average score, eventhough it's mechanics are exactly the same and therefore still makes it one of the best superhero games out there to date.
Feel free to discuss away.
PS: English is not my native language (dutch is), so if any of the sentences come over a bit weird, go easy on me ;-)