The 7 – 9 Review Score Problem Personified

Taken from GameSpot’s video review of Infamous 2, a comment from meke12:

“WORST REVIEW EVER. i dont know if anyone else has noticed but compared to all the 9’s and 8.5’s this game got from other good websites, they gave this a 7.5, in my case that’s off my buying list. To me a game lower than an 8 is just an ok game that eventually sucks as you play through it. But this is infamous, the 1st got a 9 and theyre are giving this a 7.5. and they arent even saying it doesnt improve on the 1st. So hats worse about 2, because its not one of the reasons you put in “the bad” section. This Review absoltuey sucks. Its just impossible for one of the biggest gaming websites to give this game a 9 and gamespot gives it a 7.5″

There’s a few things wrapped up here:

  1. That 7.5 out of 10 is somehow a weak score. It shouldn’t be, but reflects how game reviewers love over-using the 8 or 9 out of 10 score on titles.
  2. That the review should be in line with other review sites who gave it higher scores. Isn’t dissenting opinion a good thing when it comes to something as subjective as pop culture entertainment?
  3. That because the score is ‘low’, the entire GameSpot site is wrong. It makes a certain kind of sense for game review sites to give everything a positive-ish score to avoid such reactions, especially if they want to keep eyeball count high and publishers happy.

I’ve got a longer post in mind on the topic of game reviews, but this particular post crystallises one particular point I was going to cover.

One thought on “The 7 – 9 Review Score Problem Personified

  1. Some quick thoughts.

    You are right Unsub, the issue lies in several areas. First off, game “reviews” are not true reviews anymore. They are opinion pieces. I recently stopped going to a “game review” site for just this reason. They are no longer taking a critical eye to the game and telling the “good” and the “bad”, but instead are nothing more than promotional marketing for the dev company. In fact if you watch them closely enough you will see a lot of them ADVERTISING HEAVILY the game you are reviewing . The money from ad revenue has blinded the sites and they value the game companies free stuff and perks, more than their readers and the integrity of their reviews.

    Second, and piggy backed on the previous statement, the review scores are no longer reliable because if a game gets a 7.5 or lower they could loose their freebees. That is why you see so many high scores. The sight in question has proven time and time again that they are not doing reviews but doing opinion pieces. They gave DCUO an 8.0 and the game deserved much less. The writer has been called out many times on the quality of his reviews and his lack integrity and honesty. In fact, on one website he is even referred to with “tongue and cheek” as “Honest” Bill. Since he has written more than one article defending his stances on reviews and his “honesty”. That same site had no coverage of the SOE hacking story anywhere except where users had posted the info in the forums.

    Third, sites, for the most part give almost nothing but 7-10s for their game reviews. Players who spot this trend have to adjust the 7-10 scale to what is really a 0-4 scale and a 7.5 = 0.5 and the game sux. This explains the “Worst review” post because the scales has been scuewed over the years that to be honest, almost none of them are reliable.

    Finally, the above issues are what has confused and tainted the readers of the so called “reviews”. Until reviewers return to really taking a look at a game and writing a real review, this isn’t going to change. I am glad to see GameSpot give a game a 7.9, but an honest reviewer could easily give these types of games a 5 or 6. If you are only going to give games between a 7 -10 then just say so and/or use 0-3 and be done with it.

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