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Sick of the numbers?

Just a bit of a rant, I guess, but I'm tiring of the whole review score thing. IDK when this happened, whether it's getting more common or even if I'm just getting too old and too damn grouchy to put up with it but review scores are increasingly the most annoying thing in the gaming world to my mind.

A couple of points then:Firstly, we have far too many sites that use seven out of ten,3.5/5 or 70% to denote an OK game, a decent game whatever. It's lazy from the reviewer and it's become a score most gamers feel shows a game they won't be buying as increasingly anything below an 8/10 seems a big risk. Reviewers use it as a safe score that upsets nobody but I fear the time is coming when the safe seven will leap up to an OK eight! Seriously, they use precious little of the 1 to 10 scale as it is but the insistence on giving sevens so as not to offend has crept up to the point we don't know if a seven means the game's actually pretty good or a stinker that the reviewer wasn't brave enough to pan for fear of getting Gerstmanned!

Secondly,where did all these perfect games come from? Why are sites giving away ten/ten or 100% so frequently? Has the art of game development gotten so impressive that we're regularly seeing perfect games? If so why haven't I played one yet? I've played some AMAZING games, games that will stay with me til I pop off this mortal coil and games I'd be proud to stick up for as tantamount to works of art. Christ, I've eulogised long and hard over OoT but it ISN'T perfect and wasn't even when it was released with all the limitations of the N64.

Reviewers will say that a ten/ten doesn't mean the game is perfect but merely that it's awesome, better than a nine or whatever but that's bunkum. 100% is an ultimate,5/5 and 10/10 are the same-they are PERFECT scores which implies a game getting them is, indeed, perfect. The limitations of only using the top four numbers of a /10 scale is partially to blame for this and, indeed, those mags and sites using a percentage system give perfect scores far, far less often than those scoring out of five or ten. But whatever, there's no perfect game and shouldn't be any perfect scores as what's gonna happen, say, when a perfect game DOES arrive? Does it get 11? What if the sequel to a ten/ten scoring game is actually an improvement on the original? MMMH? No, perfect scores are silly and need to stop.

Actually, I could go on all night about how review scores have become meaningless and the fact Metacritic exists to homogenise all this pointless and unrelated guff and , in turn, the industry takes it seriously and just adds to the sense of real farce. Does anyone seriously think a ten/ten from Edge for a Nintendo exclusive is as hard earned as a 360 or PS3 exclusive getting the same from them? BTW Edge are one of the few sites even claiming to use the full 1 to 10 range of scores!Ninty apart their tens are pretty rare but other mags and sites hand 'em out like crazy these days and it only adds to gamers thinking any game rating below 8/10 is a turkey.

Then consider that people, gamers, also take Meta scores seriously when looking for what to buy-what does this mean? It means the score has become all important even at a time when it's at it's most unreliable. It's understandable that we busy people want a quick way of evaluating where to splurge our hard earned gaming pence but the net result is we use an inaccurate site which puts together the scores from a load of other sites that don't even use the same scoring system and if they do they rarely use the whole, or the same, range available to them anyway!Yeah, you'll get a rough idea of how many critics liked a game but how does that tell you it's something YOU will like?

GTA4 was adored by critics(and oddly I agree-I think it's deserving of a lot of it's praise even if not perfect scores!)but most GTA fans thought it was poor. This happens a bit for most people-three or four times a year I'll find myself puzzled by how the critics either loved or hated a game I manage to feel the opposite way over-and when does this happen to me? That's right, when I look at scores rather than reading a few reviews by people I know to have similar tastes to myself. In short, the scores and the rush we live in is stopping us, even those like myself who KNOW you need to read the words in a review to know if something's right for you personally, from looking at things properly. In our haste we're not reading the words and the scores are often unreliable or misleading anyway. I mean, even when there's no score for a game on a review Meta make one up!

So, what's the answer? We could hope the sites get together and all agree to a set range and a set system to mark games and use a percentage system to give them more room to differentiate between great games without giving them that mark of perfection. We could hope they all stop putting scores on at all-but that's not happening. All I fear we can do is what we really know we should anyway-find a couple of like minded reviewers or those who tend to like what we like and hate what we hate, stick to them, ignore meta and, above all, ignore the effin numbers. IDK if the cake is a lie but I tell you, I'm pretty sure the numbers are telling porkies.

And, yes, I know we tend to look for the numbers because we'e busy but games are getting dear and money's tighter now for a lot of us so wouldn't it be wise to actually read the words and reduce the risk? I find that when I do the number at the end often bears little relation to what I've read anyway! Which just goes to show how much even similarly minded people can vary over something so seemingly simple but the tone and mood of the review along with the appeal of the content it reveals is what guides you really so do the decent thing and turn your backs on those charlatan numbers!

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Bereaver3144d ago

Numbers are used for several reasons, but the first, and most useful reason is being the ability to judge your purchase before you purchase.

Why is it the most useful? Because some people just don't have the money to buy all those games. Why buy a 7/10 game when a 8/10 game is right around the corner?

Of course, numbers aren't necessarily your opinion, BUT, given an unbiased site or a given overall average that points high. It's generally a good sign that you're not gonna spend money on a game that you don't want.

So yes, I do agree that numbers can be..... misinterpreted or... abused even... But 99% of the time, "given an unbiased site or overall average" will point to a game being worth a purchase, or not worth a purchase.

This in no way dictates if the game is bad or not... It's just that the economy isn't doing so well, and that's the way things are changing.

I mean, I'm no poor bastard like others out there. But I can't go spending my money on everything right now. I've recently opened up a dance school and Shanghai and I'm sorry to say, but my RL comes first.

Gameplay9993144d ago

I could not agree more Mastiffchild. Perhaps it is the younger gamers that have made review scoring such a big deal while older gamers, I'm 27, possess a keener insight in these matters.

BlackCountryBob3143d ago

I never understood why a 7/10 is average; surely that is why a 5/10 exists. If 7 is average, then why do you need between 1-6 to quantify bad but the difference between average and excellent is 3 points. No wonder I see so many tv adverts with 4/5 splashed across the screen.

Myself, I don't really care for reviews, there is either a game I want to play or one I don't; I don't need a manchild with an inflated sense of his own worth scrambling for credibility by failing entirely offer a pseudo intellectual edge to their 'work'. This is made worse by the hog in the corner that is Metacritic (because everyone knows that it must be true if everyone agrees right?) which for some reason leads to grown men rushing to spend hours putting together graphs to show how publication x (usually Edge) is wrong because it scores some game x points under the metacritic average (because being a critic means either following the herd or staying quiet and not rocking the boat; considering gamers rave about having choices and options in games, it is interesting how they insist so on uniformity and order in the critique of games and game culture).

Personally, while I rarely read reviews, I would rather read a review where a personal opinion is given rather than a number to reflect some arbitrary scoring mechanism to enable comparisons.

That said, I don't consider a 10/10 game to be a sign of a perfect game, it is more that it is a piece of gaming excellence. In the same way that a 10/10 movie is rarely perfect, it is a sign that it is an exemplary piece of work which is worthy of being experienced by everyone. Doesn't mean it is perfect or that everyone will love it, just that it is something you should definitely try at least once.

mastiffchild3141d ago

Yeah, I get that I'm being picky but it's, imo, the result of 90% of games falling in the 6 to 10 area that makes games getting a 10/10 seem less worthy and it also means that, often, the numbers are just arbitrarily stuck on the end to cause the least offence.

Were sites and mags using more of the range avaialable or even sticking to the same age as each other it might be different but right now lots of review scores either make little sense or bear no relation to the game they're supposed to. I've played games averaging around seventy percent on <Meta and some have been WOEFUL while some were excellent. I'm just saying the numbers aren't doing their job of being visual shorthand for gamers in a hurry.

3141d ago