Game reviews have existed for as long as games it would seem and with so many review sites and games available now a days, they aim to provide a service to the gamer that answers the ancient question of “Is this game worth my money?” As Too Human reviews have begun to break in gaming media with lower than expected scores and at least one around 4/10, perhaps it is time to examine the review system as a whole.
This gives a reviewer a lot of power as they are the source that delves into a game to inform others of it’s strengths and weaknesses. Many recall the Devil May Cry 3 debacle in which a reviewer criticized a game for his own inability to defeat the second level boss. Or perhaps the more recent issue with Kane and Lynch and gamespot, in which a reviewer was seemingly separated from the company after scoring the game poorly (Ads were placed all over the site for the game).
This begs the question of have reviews been purchased? Believe it or not this isn’t a recent issue, but seemingly a more hidden one. Some may recall Rise of Thr Robots, a 1994 title that promised greatness and delivered a ineffective doorstop of a title. Someone then questioned how the company could release such a mess and also questioned the reviews. Of 8 reviews of the game, scores were 3%, 5%, 19%, 20%, 33% and 35% followed by two reviews at 90% and 92%. When one high score reviewed was asked he responded that “Arms were twisted”. Now perhaps this reviewer meant that someone literally twisted his arm and in his attempt to escpae he accidentally punched the 90% keys and then submitted his artcile to be printed in a magazine and didn’t have a chance to stop it, or perhaps there was another reason…
While the same events seem to occur today, they appear to be more covert in nature. Take the most recent Ratchet and Clank game, Tools of destruction and view the review score to see that it lost points for having “too many gameplay mechanics”. The reviewer felt they weren’t needed and thus scored it down. I can understand not having enough mechanics or having broken mechanics, but getting nailed for having too many fuctional systems (note: not broken, just “unneeded”) is just silly. The same reviewer praises the game for the weapon choice although didn’t find that any of those were unneeded for play. The same review critizes the game for being easy which is odd due to demographics, I didn’t think R&C would be found under “I want to feel like I’m going to throw my controller” gamers. The reviewer ended up giving a score of 7.5.
On the flip side, review scores for GTAIV or both consoles cited several issues with the game including driving being difficult to a fault (which is a crucial part of the game isn’t it?) and being too easy to escape from the law. Gamespot offers a quick point wrap up for the title above it’s review that mentions neither issue in the negative piece (They are in the full review however) and goes on, like many other game sites to award the game a 10/10. Again, this makes no sense. While many review sites claim that a 10/10 does not mean perfection, in my opinion there have been too many 10/10 games in recent times including Bioshock, Halo 3, MGS4 and of course GTA4. While ALL of these games are excellent a deserve scores well over 9, the 10/10 should be reserved in for games that have broken a wall and added something new to the gaming world.
So have reviews been highjacked? Several instances much like the ones above suggest that they have. Game reviewers are no longer free to write how they really feel about games and instead must write to make a developer happy (due to the almighty dollar). The reverse is also true in which reviewers jump on the negative or positive bandwagon (examples include Haze, Too Human, Lair) to score agame similarly to others. Perhaps it is time that number scores be done away with to allow reviewers to give sole impressions of the game. This would elminate the need to give a game a 10/10 or a 4/10 (or maybe this could affect the price tag?) and rather leave it in the hands of the gamer to decide whether the flaws and strengths of the game are worth it, rather than a 8/10. In any case gamers, buy what is fun to you, scores (to me at least) or nothing more than a paid opinion, and those differ.
What do you think gamers? Are reviews busted? Leave you thoughts below! (This Article has been reviewed at a infinity/10)