Review Numbers - We're Doing It Wrong - Jolt815 Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Review Numbers - We're Doing It Wrong

 

People tend to forget that when they read a review of a game, they are reading someone's opinion. Still, the weight of a published review of a game can be a hefty one. Gamers often have a go-to website or reviewer they turn to when a deciding factor is needed on a game purchase. I mean... why shouldn't we? We frequent gaming websites and publications because we connect (in some way) to the staff. We respect their opinions on video game related things, and the scoops and inside information they bring us on a daily basis. For the larger sites/publications, the staff is paid for their knowledge and opinions. So, apparently, while reviews are only opinions, those opinions matter. 

The last review I was eager to read was that of Crysis 3. The morning of the game's release, I navigated to the GameInformer review of the game. I was ecstatic that Crysis 3 received an 8.5, as I was eagerly awaiting my local Gamestop to open so I could pick up my copy. I've been waiting for the game for months, and it is one of the very few games I will pick up at launch this year. Something struck me as odd, however. I will paraphrase here, but someone commented on the review and said something along the lines of 'An 8.5? That's it? I'm not wasting money on this game!' 

I thought about it for all of 2 seconds before I asked myself "When did an 8.5 turn into a bad score?" On a scale from 1 to 10, and 8.5 is extremely good. Since when does a game need a score of 9 or higher to be considered worthy of our time? A 9/10 is on the cusp of being a perfect score for a game. No game, in my opinion, deserves a score of 10 because absolutely nothing is perfect. 

Then I thought back, and realized that games that get a score of 7 or 8 are looked down upon by the majority of gamers. Why? I don't have an answer. It's a legitimate question that boggles my mind every time I see comments on these reviews.

Maybe this is due to my age or experience, but if a game earns a score above a 6, then it has done its job. A 6 is above average on a scale to 10. While the game may not be the most groundbreaking or innovative title out there, it is still above the middle point. The real criticism or skeptical thoughts should come when a game receives a 5 or lower, because that would make the game below average... at least, according to the numbers. 

I've noticed, while lurking around a few review sites, that staff don't give out a whole lot of those below average scores. I can understand the reasons... I mean, maintaining a respectable relationship with developers and publishers is crucial if you want information on upcoming games and inside information. I'm of the mind that properly informing your readers/subscribers should come first, however. 

When I see a game score less than a 5, I smile to myself I know I shouldn't, but it shows honesty on the part of the reviewer. Take Colonial Marines, the recent Aliens game into account. It was a highly anticipated game that reviewed horrendously. After delays in the launch of the game, a fantastic product was expected. I haven't played the game (and I won't), but apparently it failed in several aspects of what the game should have been. 

Even in the above case, the gaming community was angry at the low review scores, saying things like "No game deserves a 4" and other such nonsense. If a game is horrible, consumers deserve to be warned before we spend our hard-earned money. 

Right about now, it probably sounds like I'm taking two different sides of the coin, and saying that they are both wrong while simultaneously agreeing with them both. That's not the case. What I am saying is that we, as gamers, need to consider the review scores of games with a little more than just a grain of salt. More often than not, reviewers of gaming websites are pretty knowledgeable about the product they are paid to review. 

What really needs some attention is our interpretation of the review numbers scale. A score of 8 isn't a bad score. A score of 7 isn't a bad score. A game that scores between mediocre and perfect is probably a worthwhile experience if it fits your preferences as a gamer. Then again... one of the perks of being a gamer is having your own opinions about things, including review scores. These are simply mine.

Oh. Crysis 3 was fantastic, by the way. It's deserving of that 8.5 score, if not more.

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