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Is It Okay To Change Review Scores?

OnlySP writes:

A few days ago, Polygon made quite the splash in gaming news circles when editor Russ Pitts updated his review of EA’s SimCity reboot, downgrading the score from 9/10 to 8/10 and once again to 4/10. He did this on the basis that the game’s servers, which players were required to connect to even in single-player, were inadequate for supporting the large number of people playing during launch.

This certainly wouldn’t be the first time a publication has changed their review score... However, this is definitely the most significant case of a review score change yet, since it has occurred in the wake of a game that, for all intents and purposes, functions and performed objectively differently upon release than it did in the hands of reviewers who played it early. From this, the following question can be raised:

“Is it okay for publication to change their review scores?”

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BullyMangler1777d ago

yyep . . like snake eater for the 3DS. one of the complaints was that it just didnt feel rite on the 3Ds's small screen . . but now the 3dS XL is out .

guitarded771777d ago

I think some games should get re-reviewed. Take a game like MAG for example. From beta to launch to 1 year after launch, it had changed so much technically, and in content, it was a completely different game. Not every game should be re-reviewed, but there are a few exceptions. Especially dynamic games which grow online.

MikeMyers1777d ago (Edited 1777d ago )

That's true. GT5 is another. It had a rocky start and over time and some updates later it became a much better game.

I think any game that can be fixed with a patch or games that have had serious upgrades should get re-reviewed.

How can you properly review SimCity if it isn't working like it's supposed to? What they should do is give it a low score until it's fixed and then have an updated review or postpone the review.

Outside_ofthe_Box1777d ago (Edited 1777d ago )

I say it's okay to change review scores if something major happens as in this case SimCity. I have no problem with a review site downgrading their score from a 9/10 to a 4/10 as the SimCity issue is major.

As for the MAG and GT5 examples, first off I'd like to say that I thought GT5 was a 9/10 from the start. Most websites refused to review it as a simulator. Going back on topic now, while I agree that both MAG and GT5 certainly improved over time I think it's a bit juvenile to change the scores. GT5 for example still got pretty good reviews across the board most ranging in the 8s it just didn't match the critical acclaim of it predecessors. I think it's a bit silly to go back and change the score from let's say an 8.5 to a 9. Imagine dozens of gaming websites changing scores by fractions of a point for dozens of games. Really unnecessary and most people aren't gonna care about a particular site changing a score up or down a point a year after release.

I don't mind score change, I just don't want it to be a normal thing. Scores should only change if something huge like the situation with SimCity occurs.

rainslacker1777d ago

I think if they change it because of changes to the game, or like the example you mentioned, then sure, re-review it and get the word out.

If people pick up a game more after it's working, then maybe we'll see less buggy games on release day.:)

If they change their review because of commenter outcry, then no. A reviewer should stand by their score if they put one out there. Trying to appease the masses is not how one behaves as a critic...leaving out the obvious that some reviewers aren't really good at reviewing anymore of course.

admiralvic1777d ago

Scores should N E V E R be changed. If anything, you should post a retraction that clarifies what is wrong and why it's wrong or simply do a new review. I only say this because games DO get patches (someimes new free stuff), which may impact the gameplay enough to justify a higher score. However, marking Simcity down for this is simply unprofessional. Logically EA will get the servers working, offer an online mode or work out something that resolves the problem. You shouldn't lower the score over something that literally HAS to fix, much less after you score it.

*waits for a bunch of disagrees because I didn't hate on Simcity*

LOGICWINS1777d ago

"Scores should N E V E R be changed. If anything, you should post a retraction that clarifies what is wrong and why it's wrong or simply do a new review."

But if theres a new review, its more than likely that the score will change lol.

BanBrother1777d ago

@admiral

Yes, but there have been times when reviewers have made mistakes in their review, and metacritic doesn't let them change it. So if a game is unfairly marked down by a mistake, and the reviewer acknowledges this, they should be able to change it.

Also, I think Simcity should be marked down for how poorly it is working now. Who cares if they fix it LATER? So many games are marked down because "it isn't worth the $60 price tag", but that argument becomes irrelevant 2 years later when the game is selling for $10.

EA screwed the pooch (and the sheep who pre-ordered it knowing there was always online DRM), so they should suffer in the review department.

I do agree that it is quite stupid to have to change a review a few times though.

admiralvic1777d ago

@ BanBrother

I agree, which is why I mentioned a retraction, since that is exactly what a retraction is.

Perhaps I worded it a little poorly, I was saying in terms of changing the score to reflect the current situation. Perhaps put down a note saying that currently things aren't working, but to mark it down 5 points after you played a pretty good version of it seems wrong.

mistertwoturbo1777d ago (Edited 1777d ago )

Well to be fair, Polygon still kept a score History for all to see. It's not as nefarious as this article is making it out to be. Technically they didn't "CHANGE" the review score, but rather they "UPDATED" it to reflect the game. Which is good for the people reading the reviews because a game like SimCity in its current state, SHOULD NOT BE BOUGHT and DESERVES a 4/10. If Polygon left the review at a 9/10 with all the issues it has now, then it would look like they were paid off by EA or something.

The same could be said if a game launched at a 5/10, but ended up being so damn good later down the line maybe they could update it to a 8/10 or whatever.

aLucidMind1777d ago

There should be two reviews on each game; one at release and one after all the patches are sent out and the rose-colored lenses (or corporate backing, depends on the reviewers *coughIGNcough*) are gone, which is usually a year or two later. That way you have a review of, say, Skyrim all buggy and (say Bethesda were to actually begin fixing bugs for their games for once) another after. It could really help with some games that really deserve more exposure but never got it because of bugs or other fixable flaws that pushed the score down.

admiralvic1777d ago

The problem is how counter productive that would be.

Even if you did a review on the final version (DLC + patches included), a lot of these games would hit the "too cheap to care" point. I call it that, since typically anything with a lot score drops in price and will hit a point where people will pick it up because it's cheap / low enough to justify.

The other issue is how many elements can be worse. A lot of games get multiplayer modes, which end up dying after a few months. Some games, like NeverDead / Singularity / Binary Domain / Mindjack didn't have a strong start and so the onlines will be virtually unplayable at that point.

Unicron1777d ago

That's one major problem with metacritic. They don't change scores. Games can be endlessly updated, why shouldn't reviews?

admiralvic1777d ago

Relevance and lack of payoff.

After a game releases people generally stop looking, so even if you updated the review for each patch, the audience will get progressively smaller over time. Additionally, most sites don't have a vast number of people working for them, so revisiting a title every time or even every other time a patch comes out would be counter productive, since it's time they can spend posting new stuff (which will bring in hits) or review a new game.

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