Sigh... I really don't know why I should even consider reading so-called "professional" reviews ever again. This is becoming increasingly ridiculous. Of course user ratings are prone to skew and manipulation, but player reception seems to be exceedingly bad this time around, some players I trust confirm the negative impression, and the "professional" critics seem to have an extremely hard time explaining exactly why the game deserves above-mediocre ratings.
You can never trust user scores on Metacritic. They are double that value or more on Gamespot and IGN. As for the 2-point difference on those sites, it can be explained in many ways: maybe the press doesn't have the same fatigue from playing the same game over and over again since that's their job?
I remember reading somewhere that a 79 is basically a "this game is bad, but we're not allowed to give it a bad score". That's pretty damn close, there.
I personally haven't bothered with mainstream reviews in years. They're far to focused on trying to be consumer advice -- "does this game have enough content to justify a $60 price tag?" -- with virtually no real criticism -- "does this game do anything new and interesting? is it worth the time it asks me to invest in it?". I'm an adult with a full-time job -- my time is a bit more of a precious commodity to me than my money. Give me weird, interesting, bold, daring, rough, flawed games, not something I've played 20 times before.
I absolutely and whole-heartedly second what Joe said above. Give me stuff that's new and interesting! I systematically avoid most games that are "blockbuster" material, since they almost always fail to entertain me... Be it Halo, Gears of War, CoD, Tomb Raider or what have you.
(Edited by Patrick Bregger (85305), Nov 18, 2012)Re: Press vs. players
Patrick Bregger (85305), Nov 18, 2012
Fun fact: user scores are basically useless because people are not able to comprehend that scores besides 0 and 10 exist. So, yes, I definitely rather resort to professional reviews. At least there I can be pretty sure that the reviewer actually played the game and usually receive a more balanced reasoning than "This game SUXXX" or "BEST GAME EVA". Also professional game reviewers who critically destroy a game are normally more entertaining to read than the raging idiots who write tousand words about one or two small things they don't like.
Really, the only place in the internet where I even consider taking user reviews into account, is MobyGames. At least we have a few standards and don't publish everything.
They did post a little piece about this once.
Also, 4 critic scores aren't particularly relevant, wait for some more, though admittedly I wouldn't hold my breath for the average dropping noticeably lower. Generally I tend to look at a critic scores list and pick a couple (that are in English) from the top and a couple from the bottom, from sites I know of (and didn't dismiss as crappy - because since the main thing I do on here is submit ranks, it's pretty hard for me not to know of one), see what's to like and what's to dislike and then decide whether I'm interested in the former and can live with the latter.
Personally, the only reviews I ever (rarely) bother with now are the ones here on Moby, simply because most user reviews are by fanboys who wouldn't criticize it is it beat their mother senseless or hate it so much can't see anything good about it, no matter how good a game actually is, and professional reviews never really seem to criticize AAA games, just adjust there end score slightly, spending most of the game just babbling on about features A,B,C & D and how good they are, with at best a very minor criticism.
Just give me a game and I'll review it myself.
I'm not convinced to Web 2.0 and peer review. Just as you guys said, most people either give extreme ratings or just repeat what others say, like mindless sheep. This may sound harsh, but if you give the right to speak to anyone, expect plenty of riff-raff without manners or education. There will be wise people trying to speak their mind, but will get flooded by the brainless crowd.
That's why I agree that the best option are selected independent reviewers having some experience, style, cultural education and historical hindsight. Quality of a professional reviewer, but without the dependency on payroll & good standing with publishers.
I stopped buying gaming mags over 10 years ago.
I also found appalling the quality of review websites. In order to learn anything about Uprising'44 I visited gry-online.pl & tvgry.pl Just to think they have premium content option! Their reviewers' vocabulary is lacking, everything sounds amateurish despite that fancy front-end...
MY COMPUTOR WASN"T NEW ENUF TO RUN THA GAME. 0 OUT OF 10!!!!1
(Edited by 雷堂嬢太朗 -jotaro.raido- (46693), Nov 19, 2012)Re: Press vs. players
雷堂嬢太朗 -jotaro.raido- (46693), Nov 19, 2012
havoc of smeg Wrote:
Does anyone else remember that massive burst of internet fanboy rage years ago when (I believe) Gamespot gave a Zelda game a "pitiful" 8.8?
My favorites are when you have a review of a AAA title where the actual text in the review calls out a half dozen major flaws, which together significantly tarnish the experience. Final score: 9.1! Then the same week on the same site, you see a review of some niche title with no hype from a small publisher. Review text talks about how it's really well-designed and does a lot of cool things, and is a lot of fun despite a lack of that spit-shine you see in big-budget titles. Final score: 7.6!
This discussion I had with a game reviewer may be relevant here. I consider Darksiders II a very bad game so I went to metacritic to have some fun with the always redeeming professional reviews. The average was an 81 on the PC version, not a surprise. But when I read the review of RPGFan and noticed that the reviewer negatively criticized the game with more or less the same arguments as myself, but he gave it a 70!? I send him a mail asking why this was the case and he basically said that for RPGFan 70-79 is the average, it's there in their policy, o_0 So, basically, video game press uses the grading system of anglosaxon schools (ABCD pass, EF not pass) with a 0-10 scale. Viva la coherence!
This was the discussion if you are interested:
Me: "Sorry to bother. I coincide mostly with your review of Darksiders II. After playing it for a couple of hours I wanted to read some reviews and confirm myself how inflated game reviews tend to be. Most reviews were as expected, but your score is so transparently incoherent with the rest of the review that I just need to ask you this. After basically saying that the game is a complete waste of time and implying that playing it was a very negative experience for you, why do you give it a 70%? And the silly and poor narrative receives a 68% and the repetitive and uninspired gameplay receives a 70%? What is the logic behind this!?"
KM: "Darksiders II isn't a great game and it isn't a terrible game; it's somewhere in the middle. I think it's on the low side of average, therefore, a 70% does it justice, which amounts to a C- if you'd like to think of it that way. The game is completely functional and some people are likely to get some enjoyment out of it. I reserve scores lower than 70 for games that aren't likely to please anyone. As for the differences between story and gameplay scores, I think the gameplay is functional, but deeply flawed, while I think the story is below functional, being incoherent and obtrusive."
I don't really trust any one person's review to give me the right opinion on a game; I don't have one particularly 'preferred' reviewer. But I do favor independent reviewers and/or smaller websites; I feel they have less pressure to conform with the mainstream opinion on things. These days I also tend to prefer reviews where ratings are done away with completely and the focus is on describing the game experience. Plus, I think I'm old enough to recognize a review that's not really honest.
As for big websites and magazines. I don't trust them anymore and I rarely read them. Why should they be objective and bash the AAA titles that fail? They shouldn't, because
(1) AAA game publishers pay them the most advertising money.
(2) AAA game publishers 'arrange' the most 'interesting' interviews with 'leading figures in the industry'.
(3) AAA game publishers 'leak' information to preferred sources first.
(4) AAA game publishers are always busy inviting professional journalists from big publications to all sorts of 'corporate events'.
... and the list can go on. You don't bite the hand that feeds.
(5) AAA game fanboys that are typically a large part of the userbase of those sites raise hell when scores are lower than ~85%
..but even MobyGames favors reviews with numerical rating - only those are accepted for MobyRank, right? Indeed, a summary of pros/cons works better than % score.
Reviews generally tend to favour numerical ratings; I've always favoured them myself, but recently I've started leaning towards reviews that take great effort to actually describe how the game plays and feels. One good example is the 'Wot I Think' series of articles on Rock Paper Shotgun. Their review on CODBLOPS 2 (singleplayer, the only thing that interests me) didn't need a rating to pretty much convince me it's a game I'm not going to touch. Their review of Waking Mars, on the other hand, convinced me to actually give a fair chance to a game originally made for Apple iOS machines - something that normally doesn't interest me in the least. Again, no numerical rating, just an overall feel of the game. And I've enjoyed Waking Mars tremendously these last few days.
Personally I liked Metacritic to give an idea of whether a game's worth buying. I only read the reviews that rated the game the worst. That gives me a decent idea if the lesser parts of the game are elements that bug me.
If a game has an average score of 90+ it's probably worth playing regardless of the genre. If it's a genre I really like and it has a 75+ it's probably worth playing.
If the user score is red it might have annoying DRM. If it's green it's an indie game.
Hate to defend Black Ops II, but the user reviews for that game on metacritic are just worthless. For everything others have already said, but also because there is a lot of polarization on the big titles. I'm sure plenty of the low reviews are from hatters who have not even played it or have not played it other than a few hours. If it were a less popular game, the user score could be meaningful, but not for Black Ops II.
This is what is called "review bombing", and it's common on sites like Metacritic and Amazon. It entails a large number of people spamming something they don't like with negative reviews, regardless of whether or not they've actually played or bought the product. I can guarantee you that most people in those reviews have never actually touched Black Ops II, or likely any of the most recent COD games. They just hate Activision and what the game stands for.
I typically don't read reviews before I play a game. I may check the scores to see if the game was actually recommended, but I prefer to go into a game completely blind. That way I don't know what to expect, nor do I have any predisposition to the game that may colour my experience.
I don't have any issue with professional reviews for the most part. I think that they're given a bit too much importance in this industry, but considering the price and time investment required to play a game, it's not surprising that we consider other people's opinions before diving in.
This seems somewhat appropiate reading. Basically, MCV is trying to make the new Hitman game look good by flat-out ignoring all the negative reviews out there (of which there are quite a few).
The affair includes a delicious line where MCV says "Grumpy Eurogamer appears to be the odd one out at the moment" (Eurogamer gives the game something along the lines of 7/10). Because if you can't argue with them, you can always resort to name-calling --it's the professional thing to do.
Interestingly enough, from what I've heard, this time the single-player of Black Ops II actually has a few innovations and is of adequate length.
Confirmed. I played it couple of times, it's good. It has variety and strategic element and whole lotta gadgets. And probably most importantly a branching plot with choices along the way and different endings.