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Are the PS4's launch games really that bad, or...?

Over the past few days, gamers around the world are filled with glee now that the PS4 is available on store shelves. And many more gamers will be filled with glee once the Xbox One launches in about a week. Over the past year, the game industry has harped about how PS4 has superior hardware, how the Xbox One has superior online, how the PS4 has superior first-parties, how the Xbox One has a superior controller, how [fill in the blank, we've heard it all]. The differences between the two consoles seem numerous, but there's one thing they seem to have in common.

Average launch games.

"Average launch games?!?" you say? Well, if Metacritic is to believed, the headline titles for PS4 and Xbox One are just...average.

Two of PS4's biggest exclusives, Knack and Killzone Shadow Fall, have a 56 and 73 Metascore, respectively. Terrible? Well, maybe not. These are, after all, launch titles. Killer Instinct and Dead Rising 3 also sit in the mid-70s Meta range. Average games? Maybe not. These are, after all, launch titles.

Not like Metascore matters, though, right? It was about the time that Uncharted 2's number of Perfect 10s skyrocketed that the gaming media and certain sects of forum warriors decided unilaterally "Metacritic doesn't matter anymore". Then again, if you have a game like Knack averaging less than 60/100 on Metacritic, there must be something wrong with the game, right?

Perhaps neither Sony nor Microsoft were ready for next gen. Maybe they rushed these games. Maybe it's a bit too early to 'jump in'. Instead of 'Greatness Awaits', we should've waited for greatness. That is, if Metacritic and the reviewed posted on Metacritic are worth any serious consideration.

Honestly, I don't think the games they've shown are as bad as the scores let on. Rather, I think there are a few other factors at work here.

First, let's just tackle the elephant in the room: gaming journalism is corrupt as can be. Am I blaming the low scores on bribes or lack of professionalism? Partly. Every new generation is a fresh start, a new beginning, a chance for game companies to prove themselves. The last year has shown that a beloved game company can quickly fall from grace if they go against their fans' desires. And to be perfectly fair, all three "flubs" (Xbox One, Wii-U, Vita) have been quick to change their tune and try to appease their fans. All three "flubs" have recovered remarkably from their low point earlier in the year.

On the other hand, journalists have been slower to catch up. A lot of journalists were blindsided by Microsoft's announcement of the Xbox One and its draconian policies. Trying to be good fans, they spun each piece of negative news but eventually it got to be too much. Certain journalists *cough*Sessler*cough* have continued to show their bias, but for the most part gaming journalism has re-aligned itself and they're ready to do their job and report gaming news fairly. And with that in the cards, journalists don't want to look too soft. They don't want to be seen as 'biased' to either the PS4 nor the Xbox One. Result? Lower review scores.

There's another factor at work. For all of last gen, we dealt with "review score bloat". An 8/10 for a AAA title was an outrage. A 7/10 for a AAA title was a death sentence. Every game that was - supposedly - worth playing averaged in the very high 80s but typically a 90 or above was a requisite for being considered a top-tier title. Year after year, more and more 9/10 games came out. Year after year, the 9/10s were rolled out for pretty much any and every big-name franchise.

And that was idiotic.

What we might be seeing is reviewers hitting the Reset button on review scores. Instead of front-loading the generation with 9/10s and 10/10s, reviewers are being a bit stingier with their praise, which is perfectly fine. C'mon, we ALL konw that these launch titles will be *okay*, but they'll be surpassed in a few years when bigger and better games come along. Does anyone disagree? As such, there's no value in bloating their scores. It'll only continue the toxic trend of review bloat.

Is review bloat the only reason why these next-gen titles are getting such average scores? Nah, I think in some cases it really is just good ol' bias and lack of integrity. That's never going to go away. What is important - as a gamer - is to read the reviews and try to discern whether YOU will or won't like the game in question. Sadly, most reviews lack any critical thought. The reviewer explains the mechanics, talks about some cool mechanics, talks about some flaws, and then hands down an arbitrary score (which often doesn't even seem to match the tone of the review itself). Most reviews are terrible at actually giving you enough good information to draw your own conclusion.

I do hope, however, that journalists ARE hitting the Reset on review bloat. What we as gamers must do is hit the Reset on Metacritic (so to speak). We need to stop being so obsessed with differences in score (and differences in sales numbers...OH GOODNESS PLEASE) and instead focus on the content and value of the game. When review scores lose their power over us as a gaming community, reviewers won't abuse them. Better yet, videogame publishers won't manipulate news outlets in order to acquire better review scores, which is what led to the widespread corruption in the game journalist industry in the first place.

Are the PS4's (and Xbox One's) launch games really that bad? Hmmm, kinda. These are launch games. I hope that no one is so caught up in the marketing hype that they REALLY believe these games are going to be landmark titles. They're launch titles. They'll be fun. They'll be okay. But these games probably aren't all that mind-blowing. And guess what? That's perfectly okay. I don't need a game to have a 90+ Metascore or high praise from a so-called "professional" reviewer for me to enjoy a game, and neither should you.

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DragonKnight1619d ago

Hell no they aren't. I just got my PS4 today and already downloaded Warframe (SPACE NINJAS!!!) and Resogun (OMG, that game is beautiful!) from the PSN store. I'm just waiting for AC4 to come in so I can sink some real time into that and I'm not really a shooter fan (even though I DL'ed Warframe) so Killzone, BF4, and CoD aren't even on my radar.

I have had a lot of fun with Resogun even though I suck at shmups.

Also, I've had absolute NONE of the "issues" that allegedly plague the PS4. No "wobbling" (seriously?), no "loud fan" (yeah right), no any coloured "Light of Death" (lmao), and no HDMI problem either (but I know how to insert an HDMI cord properly), and I got my console from Amazon ( mind you). So not only are the games great, but the console itself is great as well and I can't wait until the real games start coming out.

March is going to kick my wallet's a$$ with all the games for PS4 and PS3 coming. Infamous, Dark Souls 2, FFX/X-2 HD collection, possibly Watch Dogs, I know I'm missing something. I've never had so many games to choose from.

Also, if you haven't seen it, check out what 7thLevel and 8th think of Knack.

NewMonday1618d ago

the "low" scores the XB1 games are getting should send the trolls back under the bridge, every time they start hating we will just remind them of this.

lets end the obsession with "perfect" scores.

ABizzel11618d ago

I've played Killzone, BF4, Assassin's Creed, Need 4 Speed, and all the downloadable games, and I can easily say no the majority of these games are easily 8/10.

I truly think reviewers are doing reserved reviews, cause normally these games would be getting high 8's and maybe a few 9's, if they were PS360 games, but since they're PS4 and XBO games they're critiquing harder just because it's new hardware, when in fact we all know launch games are generally graphical and ideological improvements over the previous console games.

Killzone, BF4, Assassin's Creed, Need 4 Speed, Blacklight, and Resogun are all 8+ IMO.

SilentNegotiator1618d ago

It's time to end the idea that 8+ is the only acceptable score range and a generation starting with PS4/XO scores like these is a good way to curb this practice. Who do the publishers punish when the AVERAGE reviewer gives a 7/10?

"I've played Killzone, BF4, Assassin's Creed, Need 4 Speed, and all the downloadable games, and I can easily say no the majority of these games are easily 8/10"

That's your opinion. So long as a review justifies its score with its analysis, you can't call foul that the scores aren't high enough.

XboxFun1618d ago


I was really expecting you to write a blog about the PS4 reviews and the bias of the media. You need to be on top of these PS4 issues.

On topic:
Besides the SNES console launch I don't think any console has had a super strong launch line up. 360/PS3 launch games are still fresh on my mind and I remember them being very lackluster. They were mostly ports of PS2/Xbox games with a minor graphical upgrade.

We as gamers are in this for the long run. We shouldn't be worried about the first few games released for each system.

DragonKnight1618d ago

Why would I write about trolls lying about PS4 issues? I have a PS4 and experienced NONE of the issues that we hear about, and every single one of my friends who have a PS4 have that same experience. PS4's issues are so miniscule they aren't worth talking about, but they are overblown by people like you and the amazon 1 star review trolls.

jessupj1618d ago

I'm in shock. I actually agree with XboxFun for the very first time.

Well, I agree with the second part of your comment at least.

You just couldn't write a rational, logical comment with actual truth and then stop. You had to add a narky, immature comment to Dragon.

Still, it's a very big improvement over your usual behavior. I award you a cookie.

fenome1619d ago

Everything is so skewed right now, it's ridiculous. Let's take Knack for instance, the fan-base really enjoys it. If it's a game that you think you might like then give it a shot. People seem to really want this game to fail. I'm not saying it's the best thing since sliced bread, but in my mind it is a breath of fresh air.


Metascore 56; 25 professional reviews, 3 positive, 14 mixed, and 8 negative.
User Score 7,2; 55 user reviews, 47 positive, 0 mixed, 8 negative.

For some reason I could only find 3 of the 8 negative user reviews and this was the FIRST AND ONLY game any of them have reviewed, here are their profiles:

The point is, trolls are EVERYWHERE, you gotta use your gut. If the game has something about it you think you might enjoy then don't let the mindless bashing of this game sway you. I think this game is going to grow on people more and more as time progresses.

annus1619d ago (Edited 1619d ago )

The thing with that is it is a two way street. There may be a few people trying to bring the votes down, but go look at the people who rated it high (a massive amount compared to the negative trolls). Most have two or three games rated, of which Knack and Killzone have 10s. It really isn't a good way to tell, at least the press reviews aren't skewed as much.

It still doesn't change the fact that it's just an opinion, if you really want to know for sure you have to try it out yourself.

fenome1618d ago (Edited 1618d ago )

Very relevant response and now that I read back on it, I did come across as a fanboy that's frothing at the mouth. It just pisses me off that what this game stands for is getting swept under the rug. I miss local co-op, I miss just playing games.. I guess my age is just starting to show, I don't know. I just miss the good old days when me and some friends could pick up some controllers and fuck shit up. I'm not saying this is the game to do it, but at least it's here.

You ever played battletoads vs. double dragon? I won that shit in the parking-lot at Walmart when I was a youngster, a truck pulled up and they had a game competition, it was EPIC!

Guess I'm just feeling nostalgic, I don't know.. I'm sick of shooters and the same old shit..

Beer and a keyboard can also lead to some stupid shit :p

Kevlar0091619d ago (Edited 1619d ago )

Review Scores aren't based on a fun scale of 0-10, they're based on story, controls, creativity, and then fun. A lot of people are saying "Knack got 6/10 but I found it fun, how dare they". It's alright you think the game is fun and worth $60 for you, but the review isn't based on your scale of fun.

I think it's funny when people say review scores don't matter only to get offended when a game they like recieves a lesser score. It's one thing to say "this reviewer gave the game 4/10 when everyone else gave it 8" but it's another to say "another 6? What do they have against it". A 6/10 for Knack or a 7.5 for Killzone is the trend, not an outlier. Just like how the worth of a game varies from player to player, the review and analysis of a game veries from reviewer to reviewer. In this day and age you can't put out a conventional game and expect it to naturally rise above the rest, it has to be better in terms of story and gameplay to stand out

The reviewers for PS4 games are the same reviewers for PS3 and 360, they aren't some cult with the single purpose to shut down the PS4. People buy certain games because they want memorable experiences, a reviewer imo should take that into account when reviewing a game. They should ask "does this game stand out from all the other games in the genre" If it does then naturally it should get above decent scores. If it's nothing remarkable then it ideally shouldn't.

Like many of us I want to see the PS4 succeed, to get as many creative, awesome, and special games as we can get. The wrong thing to do would be to put our own idea of fun over the critical aspects of a game. Ask yourself "could this game have been better" and go from there. This is the perfect opportunity for the developers of games like Knack or Killzone. If people find them fun despite getting "only" 6's and 7's, imagine if they got 8's, 9's or 10's. Don't sell yourself short

fenome1619d ago (Edited 1619d ago )

I don't think it should be getting 9's or 10's across the board, but I think it deserves more credit than it's getting. 6 and up is fine, personal preferance at that point, but 3's or lower, why? Nothing's broken in it and those are scores for games that are pretty much unplayable. I'm not just out defending the PS4 or Sony or any of that crap, I just think this game deserves a little more credit for what it stands for. A game you can play with the family, LOCAL CO-OP. A stupid fun game that wasn't overly complicated or took itself too damn serious, but can still provide a challenge for even hardcore gamers.

I wouldn't even be posting any of this if it wasn't for a lot of the crap I've read in the comment sections from people who are never gonna play this game, but just hope it crashes and burns for the hell of it. You can practically see the smug expression on some of the comments from people that just want this to fail for no reason other than some weird sense of self-satisfaction, I don't get it..

and yes, I still did agree with you

memots1616d ago

Knack review would be higher if the game was 20$ or 30$.
They missed the boat by making it a 60$ game, ive been watching people playing on twitch and it looks fun , but not 60$ fun

Nicaragua1619d ago

The three main games that everyone seems to talk about are Killzone, knack, and resogun.

I'm a huge Killzone fan but the game sounds rushed. Everyone seems to agree that it looks superb but has a mediocre campaign and is missing some pretty important multiplayer features such as squads, clan support, and in game voice chat. That's pretty atrocious for such a flagship multiplayer title.

Knack looks ok. Not brilliant, not crap, just ok. If it was £20 I would buy it but there is no way I would pay £50 for a game which looks like Lego God Of War. I can see this being one of the free ps+ games in the very near future?

Resogun looks superb but I can't help feeling that a big part of why people are loving it so much is the price tag which means that people are even more blown away by the quality they are getting at such a low price.

That's my take so far. I don't have a ps4 yet but I will be picking one up at midnight on the 28th.

xeno041618d ago

Personally I think the launch titles are indeed average, except for resogun that is, that thing is fun. :)

Bimkoblerutso1618d ago (Edited 1618d ago )

Yeah, I'm with you.

The only problem here is that "launches" are hyped as the most exciting times in a consoles life, but are ironically (and historically) some of the most boring times for consoles.

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