Tuesday, August 28, 2007

How I View Game Reviews

So recently, there have been several debates over game reviews and the scores tied them. Everyone has their own idea of what they should be for a particular game, since we're all armchair critics when we analyze our favorite forms of media. However, BioShock has proven that no matter how good the review scores are, they're never good enough. When Gamespot gave it a 9 out of 10 (currently its lowest score so far), fans decried the review as a ploy to get more net traffic. They claimed that if BioShock could finally dethrone The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time off the top spot (avg 97.7%) on gamerankings.com, it would encourage devs to make more art house masterpieces with richer stories and better gameplay. The fact is, one score isn't going to change anything. The game has already received a great deal of well-deserved praise. The positive buzz even helped 2K Games, its publisher, enjoy a nice 20% bump in their stock price, filling the void of that the GTA IV delay left behind.

I just think it's funny that people are mad at Gamespot for giving Metroid Prime 3 an 8.5. I think it's cool that they're not afraid to point out a game's flaws, and not just talk about the good parts. Long time fans of the series are still sore over the 8.8 that The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess received by Gamespot. Sometimes, I think when a sequel come out for a classic series, people expect a certain review score. However, the legacy of a series should in no way factor into a game's review. Originality counts for a lot. So does innovation. You could make the best game of Madden ever, but if it's a hair better than last year's version, it doesn't deserve the same praise.

Personally, if I'm interested in a game, I usually check out the reviews from sources like IGN, 1Up/EGM, and Gamespot. I know I can trust them to provide a fair, unbiased spectrum, that actually uses the whole 0-10 scoring range. There are too many publications that view 0-5 as a bad score, 6-8 as okay, and 8-10 as good. This, unfortunately, seems more in line with an American grade scale than a professional review scale. If the video game medium is to be taken seriously, this type of thinking has got to stop.

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