Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Taking a Second Look At Review Scores

I know that aggregate game review scores (such as gamerankings or metacritic) should generally be taken w/ a grain of salt. They're helpful to weed out the wheat from the chaff, but that's really all they do. You're not going to base your purchasing habits on a single averaged number. It's more of a consumer tool, but the final say will ultimately be yours.

I know this, yet I still cannot get over the fact that (as of this writing) Halo 3 is the overall gamerankings #4 best game of all time, unseating BioShock with an average score of 95.7%. That literally places it right behind Resident Evil 4 for the Gamecube and right above Goldeneye for the N64. But taking a step back, does Halo 3 really deserve to be set amonst the pantheon of great gaming titles like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Metroid Prime? From what I've played of the co-op campaign and multiplayer modes, I would have to say "No". Though I'm not trying to say that it's not a great game, because it's absolutely a great game. There's enough content here and creative tools for the community to enjoy this game for 3, 4, 5, heck even 10 years to come. But I have to question the gaming critics out there who may be inflating their reviews solely because it's Halo.

Sure, it's a well polished game, but isn't it just offering more features with the same solid gameplay. It's a shame that certain game series' aren't faulted for playing it safe and essentially making the same game over and over again. Halo 3 does offer new features (4 player co-op, Forge map editor, interactive saved film replays) that console shooters have never seen before, but I think Half-Life 2 and BioShock have done a much better job moving the needle forward. And isn't that what a great game should be doing? Sure a game might be an extremely well polished product that does everything right, but does that automatically make it a great game? Shouldn't we expect developers to bring something new to the table and, in addition, do it well?

I guess I'm just worried that games like Halo will continue to overshadow the truly refreshing titles coming out, like BioShock and Mass Effect. Worried that the popular will win out over the more deserving titles once again.

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