Review Scores

  • When it comes to game reviews, the scores assigned to them can often be far too generous or negative than what has been written. I know scores for reviews can be arbitrary but they have been responsible for so much needless arguing on the internet, yet I find they punctuate the review in a way that words cannot-although the words are the most important part of any review. There are so many examples of games that get too high a score whereby the reviewer spends a chunk of time spouting criticisms about the game and then puts a ridiculously high score at the end like those criticisms didn't even matter. Indeed it's easy to just go to IGN to find a bevvy of reviews where the score doesn't match what's being written or spoken, but there are many other examples out there. Critics can be too soft too which I find to be irksome, but I guess that's more down to personal preference than anything. I think it's appropriate to drop Dunkey's Videogame Critics videos here:
    Youtube Video

  • A really good article from December 2020 when the Cyberpunk review drama was ongoing:

    Kotaku: The Cyberpunk 2077 Review Drama

    The gist of the article explains the history of review scores in gaming and how a lot has changed since the days of print where the publishers (who want your money), and we the people (who have the money), at least got filtered through a third party (the print publication).

    Whereas nowadays we get most of our info directly from the publishers themselves which is almost always a carefully presented slice of the game (and carefully presented to a misleading extent in the case of CP77). That feed of direct info made print publications less valuable.

    But the writer John Walker argues:

    [...] when there were just a fixed number of established print outlets there were at least editors, publishers and lawyers between anyone who fancied it, and those who actually got the job. This of course had all sorts of deeply negative results, too [...] However, with all these flaws, that authority remained, but was soon to go.

    So nowadays, for me, I'm in the camp of people who think numerical review scores should go away. Since the beginning of game reviews, people should be reading or viewing the review score in context of what was said, but people just see that 6/10 and skip the whole thing.

    But more to Walker's point—there are just armies of people on the internet with a completely warped sense of values who want to satisfy their own egos by affirming that their pre-purchase of a $200 Collections Edition of Cyberpunk was completely warranted and they do that by pointing to high review scores or making their own reviews themselves. Because like we already know... there isn't a filter anymore. Any Joe Shmoe can go online and write a review and that—to me—has made the scoring process almost meaningless in today's context.

  • Part of the problem is that it is surprisingly easy to talk about criticisms, no matter how much you love a game. This goes for everybody, not just reviewers.

    Reviewers also aren't selective with their time and money in the same way a normal person would be. To a reviewer, a decent score means "good enough", but for a regular person a game being decent also means "relevant enough". The equivalent of a bad score isn't "bad game", it is "I simply don't care/not interested".

  • I still find review scores useful. It's really time saving to see a game's average score with all different kind of scores from good to bad and decide if I want to check it out or not.

    Another thing is because we can watch a lof about s game nowadays I can still check out some videos for it and decide for my own too.

    It's not like reviews keep me from trying a game if I am really curious about, they just cause some delays if I am not passionate about it enough and scores' average is not great.

    One of the last examples was Biomutant. I was curious but I saw the scores, technical problems and then first 1-2 hours and decided it's not really worth to spend my time.

  • When someone reviews a game and gives that game a score. I trust that is how they really feel about the game. I can agree or disagree with parts of the review. But unless I know the reviewer is lying, I would believe it's their honest opinion. So I don't have a problem with how they choose to score the game.

    For me. I check review scores because I want to avoid spoilers. Reviews are often too thorough. Describing every single detail and moment of a game. It's more fun discovering those things for myself.

  • In contrast, I feel publisher's review restrictions are getting out of control. Anything specific after the 50% mark in a AAA game seems to be off limits these days.