Review Scores Are Not "Just Opinion"

Nathan Schmidt writes...

"Review scores only hinder the search for balance between subjectivity and objectivity in the review system. It's not the reviewers fault, or the audiences, it's the system we have put in place. Until that system is changed it falls to the "professional" reviewer to be as objective and informed as possible in his reviews. While I don't think reviewing video games as a product for public consumption is the best way to do things, it's where things stand at the moment. In this system a game review should read more like a review you would read about that new graphics card you just bought and less like a personal anecdote on a reviewer's personal tastes in regards to any given game."

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TheHater3084d ago (Edited 3084d ago )

Great [email protected]#KING read.
Nathan Schmidt, the writer of this wonderful piece, much much much respect to you sir. Finally someone else see how broken the video game review system is.

AridSpider3084d ago

lemme're Nathan? Or you know him personally? -_-

FangBlade3084d ago (Edited 3084d ago )

IGN and GameSpot should take some notes.

"Every time a professional reviewer comes out and says “It's just an opinion.” I cringe a little. I give my opinion on a daily fvcking basis, where is my fvcking paycheck?"

morganfell3084d ago

To any idiot reviewer that is deluded enough to feel there is a shred of objectivity or science in their review process, I hereby call your ass out and dare you to post an unwavering in depth breakdown of your review criteria and then apply said criteria equally across the board witout bias. Be sure to link to the multipage criteria at he beginning of every review.

The Maxx3084d ago (Edited 3084d ago )

I disagree with this. This article is "assuming" that the consumer ONLY goes to metecritic to see the average score and not just reads the review from the reviewer.

I look at the average, and also click on the link to the sites that reviewed the game to read why they gave the score that they did. I don't bother with the many 10/10 scores but rather the lower scores to see what the reviewer didn't like about the game and determine if their dislikes amount to much within my own personal preferences.

A great example is the new AvP game. Metacritic has it at 65. Now my own personal preference is I wouldn't buy a game that is lower than an 8. unless the written review takes presidency over the score. As indicated on Many of the reviews...If you are a fan of the series, you will love this game. Well I am a fan of the series (I own every AvP movie, alien movie and predator movie) and so I bought it, and yes I love the game.

What people don't understand is that there is a reason as to WHY reviewers give the scores they do, and people should be READING the reviews and not JUST looking at a number. However the average number on metacritic is just an quick visual reference for the customer to get an idea where on a scale of 1-10 the game lays. Each customer may have a different scale to which they use to determine if a game is good enough or not to my scale.

Bea Arthur3084d ago

morganfell...there is objectivity, not total objectivity but there is objectivity in reviews. When I write reviews on here (on my other account) I always try to remove my personal feelings from the game and attempt to write a review that is as objective as possible. I'm not going to lie and say that I am totally objective but I think if you restrain your personal feelings, a review can be reasonable objective. Besides if it was totally objective we wouldn't need people to write anything we could just have a score for different components and leave it at that.

CadDad3084d ago

I agree in principle with this write-up, but not with the conclusion.

When I was a young lad, games were just getting their footing (NES days) and there were only a couple of places that you could get reviews of games. A weekly show on cable, and game magazines. Pre-internet for those of you too young to remember..... Anyways, there was a particular magazine that did things right in my opinion. They had a system with 5 'scores'.

1 = skip it; the game is not worth playing (few games ever got this)
2 = rent it if you are a fan, buy it if you are a fanboy
3 = rent or buy if you like it, but you can probably find better choices (majority of games fell here)
4 = worth buying if you like the genre.
5 = Can't miss; Games that the reviewers thought 'everyone' should experience.

This system worked for me for a variety of reasons. First, if the game was rated a 1 or a 2, I could skip the review entirely and not worry about it unless it was a game I was really looking forward to. If it was rated a 3 or a 4, I'd need to read the review to see what they liked and disliked about it, and also other games it compared to. 5's usually just made my crazy with anticipation so I read them.

That system wasn't perfect, and it was of course partially subjective, but the games were all bunched in ranges, and the write-up gave you the ability to decide for yourself, rather than that very specific score (xx/100) we get now. When I see a specific score nowadays, I know I have to +/- the score in a range because there isn't a reviewer out there that can be consistent across the board from game to game. Games are just too different, and there is too much going on in them to get that specific.

A general feel for the range with the score, and let the writing do the persuading and we'd all be a lot better off. There wouldn't be any talk of game x being better than game y because it scored an aggregate 1 point higher..... That type of thinking will do us in.


morganfell3084d ago

Well I said idiot you believe I was talking to you?

That confusion aside if you are objective then you should have no problem posting that in depth breakdown of how you score. If you can't do that then your remarks are hollow and your reviews have no teeth, truth, or objectivity.

Reviewers are afraid of such listed criteria. As soon as there are published standards then there is a document to which reviewers can be held accountable. No more running off willy nilly the first time they find a game full of flaws that blows their skirt up but due to their standards they can't give it an 11 out of a 10.

raztad3084d ago

I'm extremely disappointed on IGN. Their reviews have no standards, are all over the place. Just to get a clear picture, nothing can't be more objective than visuals,

KZ2:9.5 Graphics
ODST: 9.0 Graphics
UC2: 10 Graphics
MW2: 10 Graphics
Bayonetta (xbox): 9.0 Graphics
GoW3: 9.5 Graphics

So I can draw as a conclusion MW2 is as good looking as UC2, is it? and GoW3 didnt set any visual benchmark, it's just as good KZ2 and closely tailed by ODST and Bayonetta.

Still regarding GoW3 visuals the guy that did this review managed to write:

"It is at times the best-looking game ever, but not all assets were created equal. Still, you will be floored." <-- Most ridiculously inconsistent piece of crap I've came across.

Reviews are not opinions. It got to be some sort of objectivity in them.

TheHater3084d ago

What? I had no idea how this person is until today.

Komega3084d ago

@AridSpider Well someone had to play the d!ck card, looks like we found you!

And no he is not Nathan.

Bea Arthur3084d ago

morganfell...and what type of criteria would you propose.

JokesOnYou3084d ago (Edited 3084d ago )

Review Scores Are Not "Just Opinion".....WRONG, thats exactly what they are, just one mans opinion nothing more, if you give them more creditability than that, thats your fault, not the reviewers.


morganfell3084d ago

The criteria is up to the reviewer. It should be detailed, concise, clear and broad based to cover all facets of a game. An explanation will provide in depth breakdown of the criteria. Most of all it should be posted, and followed without regard. This doesn' mean that a reviewer cannot note extenuating circumstances but the readers (for once) will always know where a reviewer stands.

Komega3084d ago

@JokesOnYou I have to respectfully disagree sir. The entire industry lends weight to these review scores or "opinions" as you call them. Not just the author of this article. They can be the deciding factor on whether or not a game is a hit or not. Without them sites like Metacritic would not exist and the landscape of games journalism would change.

Bea Arthur3084d ago we are going in circles. If we leave the criteria up to the reviewer than it can't be objective (which is what everyone complains about). Each reviewer is going to have different opinions on which aspects of the game are the most important. Thus the criteria is ever changing and inconsistent from reviewer to reviewer. We would end up with reviews all over the place. The solution here is for people not to take reviews too seriously. Use them as a guide not a decision maker.

Danteh3084d ago

I agree completely

I always want to punch in the face anybody who says that a review is an opinion. A review is an objective valoration of some game, designed to give consumers some feedback.

And yes, reviews DO HELP when done right, or else instead of buying Uncharted 2 I might have ended buying Leisure Suit Larry and throwing myself out of a f!cking window

morganfell3084d ago (Edited 3084d ago )

No we are not. It isn't that hard to say here is the scale and precisely how we score graphics. Do I have to handhold reviewers?Detail those objective standards you claim to have.

soxfan20053084d ago (Edited 3084d ago )

The biggest problem with reviews is that people automatically assume that a reviewed game is being compared to ALL other games.

We keep hearing "how can (insert game here) get the same score for graphics as (insert game here)?

People have to understand that a review is about ONE game, not a comparison of that game against EVERY other game.

A perfect score for graphics simply means that that particular game's graphics are perfect for what that game is - that's all. It doesn't mean that it necessarily looks better than some other unrelated game.

@raztad - your problem is that you look at one review, and draw conclusions about other games based on the scores of that one review.

Komega3084d ago

@Danteh "And yes, reviews DO HELP when done right, or else instead of buying Uncharted 2 I might have ended buying Leisure Suit Larry and throwing myself out of a f!cking window"

You made me the diet coke I was drinking go up my nose!

CadDad3084d ago

A reader of a review has to assume every game that a reviewer does is from the same scale or the review and review site is moot and utterly confusing to interpret. With that logical assumption, how can the jump not be made to compare scores to all games done by that reviewer or review site? Do reviewers magically use a different set of scales with the same number scheme for each game and not tell us?

A review is about one game, but if the scales used to weigh it aren't used for every game, the review needs to be thrown out or at least discredited.

Exactly why I think xx/100 scores need to go away. Put the games in a vague category, and let the reviewers words speak for themselves.

Also, I disagree with perfect scores meaning the game couldn't be made better, I think a perfect score is given when the reviewer can't think of anything they'd like to see improved. In other words, an NES game released today could still get a perfect score for graphics if the author of the review can't think of an instance in the game where the graphics on the NES hardware could be improved for that game.

At least that's how I view 'perfect'. I have a hard time viewing 'perfect' as 'unable to be done better', and an easier time believing it to mean 'improvements are 100% unnecessary'.


Baka-akaB3084d ago


"People have to understand that a review is about ONE game, not a comparison of that game against EVERY other game. "

That idea falls flat when said reviewer , out of the blue , decides to make a punitive example of a game , precisely with comparison against previous games .

A classic move from some sites/mags and reviewers is now to never attach a particular focus and importance to innovation , and then suddenly , for dubious and various reasons , to fall like a bird of prey on a game , and then proceeding to tear it apart , with vagues and hard to counter claims of not being "innovative enough" .

So you let 10 good but not groundbreaking games pass before you with stellar 8-9 scores , and suddenly one game you care less about , with the same level of quality get the axe ?
That's a big no no in my book .

@Bea Arthur

Well this is precisely what i think morganfell might be refering too .
If some aspects of game production and values are your usual pet peeves , it should permeate on a regular basis in reviews .
Not be an escape hatch to write vague pseudo articles , like places such as Edge often do , with the impossible to refute "not innovative enough" , "or too generic" among a few other traditional cop out .

Take a place like destructoid , even their column are so incoherent and at odds with each others and a few of their articles , sometimes even from the exact same writers . They often border on schizophrenia

badz1493084d ago

for me, review scores are no longer only opinions, but also the symbol of money, hype and sometimes stupidity as well!

+ Show (19) more repliesLast reply 3084d ago
The Wood3084d ago

reviews and meta are broken....This piece highlights some of the reasons.

Komega3084d ago

How we go about fixing the issue is the big question I think. It's easy to say abolish all review scores, but getting everyone on the same wagon is the trick!

Lou Ferrigno3084d ago (Edited 3084d ago )

i agree man,somehow we as gamers have got to make our selves known and express just how biased and badly the media is.

the game industry is trying to go the way of the music industry witch would be a DISASTER for us gamers.
and we cant let that happen.

this sh!t needs to be corrected,and fast! .

i acually think that a good example would be WKC and MAG.. as TONS of gamers bought MAG and WKC and had nothing but amazing stuff to say about both despite the bad reviews of WKC and the good to mediocre reviews of MAG.
^^^^^ a fine example of "fvck the media,its what WE like" .. IMO i wish Sony would Blacklist IGN as well as edge and a few others as we dont need reviews at all imo,wether their a 10/10 perfect score or a 4/10 garbage score.

in the end its ALL ABOUT THE GAMERS,we are the ones who buy the games and put the time into playing them.

EDIT: @ Chubear

Thats were the problem lies though man,its the Numeric system witch kills it and trying to find a solution (other then ignoring it) is acually pretty hard considering just like you said,they rely on it to direct their consumers (gaming community).

Chubear3084d ago (Edited 3084d ago )

No it really isn't. I've been on this for 4yrs now and it's a rather simple solution. However, gaming sites are so dependant on using the numerical systems to rate games cause it's way easier to manipulate their consumer bases i.e the gaming community.

It's not at all that hard to change if we and game developers really want to.

I hear ya but it truly isn't that hard. I wrote Sony a number of years back about this (phone calls e-mails etc) but ofcourse nothing. I think MS kinda stepped in a good direction with a particular feature they implemented by it doesn't really go properly or hard enough.

It can be done and done fairly easily. I am absolutely sure of this.

beans3084d ago

How about only letting reviewers who pass a fanboy agenda lie detector test review games.

hoops3084d ago

No one should take any review seriously or at heart. Play the game yourself then you decide because if you take reviews seriously like a lot of people on this site do (we call them lemmings) then you will miss out on a lot of great games that got poor scores.
I for one loved Too Human and Socom. Both games were fun as hell and great imo and got slayed by reviews. If i listened to those reviews I would have missed out on thsoe games.
Screw reviews. Its one persons opinion no matter how much spin they want to say its not.
You the consumer, player are the final one to chosse and judge.
Don't be a lemming. Review games yourself after you PLAY THEM

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