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Why the Perfect Game Review Scores are Misleading
by Michael Hahn on 11/15/11 03:10:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Over the last two months, a lot of big budget AAA games have been released for all platforms. I wrote an article about that subject here. These games have been over-hyped and advertised by the various media outlets in the media and online. The game is released and the review scores follow. These review scores are supposed to be factual opinions based on the product itself. The review should be done by someone who can be non-partial to the game or franchise in their writing.

 

Reasons Why Review Scores are Too High or Perfect:

 

  • Corporate Pressure – Give us a good score or we wont give you a copy to review again.

  • Paid For – We will advertise on your site for a positive review and score.

  • Fanboyism – Someone who overlooks the problems and promotes based on love.

  • Notoriety – Someone who is looking to get printed as a quote elsewhere by providing the score.

  • Playing Nice – Doesn’t want to offend anyone but wants people to like the score

  • Career Advancement Goals – Writing a super review to get noticed in the industry

 

Those are the wrong reasons for a glowing review score. No game should be scored high if the game is missing content and needs to be patched on release day. Once a game gets patched, a bug is fixed and therefore the game wasn't perfect.

Review scores also have too many different types of metrics. Please stick to the 1-100 scoring. It seems to be more accurate and overall widely accepted. You can easily dock points for one thing or another based on flaws or bugs.

So when your reading a the reviews and comparing it to others. Think about those reasons above why a reviewer chose to rate the game high. If they can't provide a reasonable explanation of the score, then it isn’t a good review. It just becomes more baseless game reviews clogging up the internet driving up site traffic.

 

 

What new games have you played lately that were graded too high only to be disappointed? Should the score have been lower?

 

Additional Reading and Links:

Metacritic : Aggregates music, game, tv, and movie reviews from the leading critics.

Blog Post: This Holiday Gaming Line Up is the Best in Recent Memory

 

 

Follow me on Twitter @mbhahn

I am available for hire.

This article is also mirrored on my blog site at www.mbhahn.com


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Comments


Prash Nelson-Smythe
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Another reason is the reviewer getting genuinely swept up in the temporary hype, which is very common.



Most people don't need to trust review scores these days when there is so much more information at hand. For me, a game is usually only worth buying if people are still discussing it positively a few months after release. This instantly filters out the crap that people forgive when wearing hype goggles.



Another useful resource is youtube gameplay videos including "let's play" videos and blind "let's play", where you watch someone playing the game for the first time.



Reviews are just another source of information but the scores are mostly worthless.

Michael Hahn
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good point!


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