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When exactly did critics go soft?

 
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flyingmoose



Joined: 25 Nov 2006
Posts: 41

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:27 pm    Post subject: When exactly did critics go soft? Reply with quote

Resistance 2: B+ GR, 87 metacritic, 5.5 metacritic users

Dead or ALive 4: B+ GR, 85 metacritic, 7.6 metacritic users

Virtua Fighter 5: GR C-, 89 metacritic, 7.6 metacritic users

Burnout Revenge: GR B+, 89 metacritic, 7.6 metacritic users

Dead Rising: GR B+, 85 metacritic, 7.2 metacritic users

Fable 2: GR B+, 89 metacritic, 6.1 metacritic users

Marvel Ultimate Alliance: GR B, 82 metacritic, 6.8 metacritic users

Burnout Paradies: GR B+, 88 metacritic, 6.2 metacritic users


There are plenty more games to add but I think this is enough to make my point. How are so many games that players don't enjoy getting stellar reviews? I mean, how do you guys even come to these high marks?

"Hey Duke, Resistance 2 single player is so mind-numbingly dull that it made my eyes bleed"

"How's multiplayer?"

"It has a cool feature"

"Give it a B+"

And how is it so consistent? How do crappy games get good reviews across the board? What's going on in the industry that has every critic stamping their approval on unimaginative rehashes?

I found GR when I was in high school, which must have been 10 years ago. I recommended you to all my friends and sang praises from every mountaintop in the land, in part because of the humorous and high quality writing, but mostly because you were hard on games. You said that a C was average and stuck to that. These days a game has to be a mutated aberration of morality and science to get anything below a B-.

And I don't want to come across too harsh because it's not just you guys; it's the whole industry. The reason I'm posting here is because the industry has always been this way. You used to be different.
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keepithowitis



Joined: 30 Dec 2007
Posts: 3253

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've noticed this, too.
Xbox360Achievements.org rates games an average of like 10 points above the 'User Rating'. GR's rated games high that were, honestly, completely terrible. Burnout Revenge, I gave a C-, because it is a horrible game, yet like moose up here^ said, you guys gave it a B+. What is happening to the industry?
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JCD
Young Master


Joined: 26 Sep 2006
Posts: 5061

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Helpful links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion

I wish there was a link I could provide that explains the difference between a videogame review, which reviews a game, and the score given to a game. Which is not a review of the game. Hence not being referred to as a review. A score is given as a very general outline of the game overall. It's what's written about the game in the review that matters.
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flyingmoose



Joined: 25 Nov 2006
Posts: 41

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JCD, talking down to me helps nothing. I'm well aware both of the definition of opinion and that a score is less informative than a 500 word review.

None of what you said has anything substantial to do with the content of my post.
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Longo_2_guns
Ruler of the Queen's Navy


Joined: 29 Jun 2003
Posts: 15784

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tend to agree about 99% with what GR has to say. But usually, when it comes to composite scores, the lower scores are from small sites and aren't written as well as the higher ones. Sometimes they don't even know what they're going in to. Like I read a MGS4 review that complained that you have to sneak in the game.

So I'd say that its not so much of GR getting nicer, but more of the rest of the media getting dumber/meaner.
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keepithowitis



Joined: 30 Dec 2007
Posts: 3253

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, but what I think he and I were getting at is the fact that reviewers are consistently saying games are better than what the people think. It is opinion, but it's consistently the same opinion, which is weird.
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Sodbuster



Joined: 10 Jan 2006
Posts: 165

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have to consider the reviewer though. Most of the time, a person who professionally reviews a game is a fan of the genre, and reviews it consistently. They like games that bring in a new concept or play mechanic more then games that are just rehashes, even if they're equally fun, whereas the public is less likely to do that.

On sites that rate gamers' opinion, the gamers don't have to be a fan of the genre to rate a game, and some will rate it negatively for reasons that shouldn't reflect on the actual game, maybe they'll rate it down because it's exclusive to a console they don't have, or because it's too difficult for them. On the flip side of this, bad games will get consistently negative reviews because the reviewer is a fan of the genre and can compare it to the good games, and better recognize it as a bad game.

I agree with GR's reviews of most of the games that I have. That doesn't mean I didn't rent them before buying them, or download a demo. There is a chance that the reviewers just really enjoyed a lot of the games that were released this year. It was a very good year for gaming after all.
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flyingmoose



Joined: 25 Nov 2006
Posts: 41

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sodbuster wrote:
They like games that bring in a new concept or play mechanic more then games that are just rehashes, even if they're equally fun, whereas the public is less likely to do that.


This is pretty much the opposite of the truth. Look at the games I listed -- almost all of them are stale rehashes of a genre that reviewers rated highly but user ratings disliked. Resistance 2, for example, would be an amazing game if we all hadn't played countless shooters just like it. Reviewers lauded it and users loathed it.

People's opinions are more developed than you give them credit for. User reviews tend to love innovation and hate games that only bring more of the same. It's the critics who seem to be giving too much credit to rehashes.
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Lentium
That Weird Guy


Joined: 10 Jan 2008
Posts: 1767

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who is certain that those "uses' actually played said games? It's easier to take account of 100 professional reviews than a mob of 2000 who may or may-not be talking out of their asses.

I remember before MGS4 was even released a ton of "users" were giving it 0's and 10's on IGN without even playing it.

I agree that games are getting less innovative but, I also think every single game is disliked by more than those who like it.
Every game.
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Last edited by Lentium on Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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flyingmoose



Joined: 25 Nov 2006
Posts: 41

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Longo_2_guns wrote:
its not so much of GR getting nicer, but more of the rest of the media getting dumber/meaner.


I actually think that GR is more willing to be mean than other reviewers. If you look at Virtua Fighter from my examples, GR hit it right on the head in terms of what most people seemed to think of the game, and it was only the meta critic average was too generous. Meanwhile I never found an example of GR being far ahead of the meta critic average. Other reviewers aren't too mean (or dumb) -- they're too nice.

The thing is that user ratings -- the people's voice -- is consistently harsher on games than critics. With movies the opposite is true. The critics hold a high regard for excellence and Joe average will usually like a game much more than a seasoned reviewer. I just don't understand why it's different in this industry.
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flyingmoose



Joined: 25 Nov 2006
Posts: 41

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lentium, I agree with you and pay almost no attention to user reviews on exceedingly successful games.

Halo, for example, has a MASSIVE disparity between user reviews and critic scores. That's because it was such a successful franchise that it developed haters who trolled polls. I pay no attention to that.

And I'm sure that some amount of that will exist with any game, but it's much less profound when you get out of the widely popular titles. I'm talking about a widespread trend, which I believe can't be explained just through a few morons score trolling.
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LinksOcarina
The Anti-Fanboy


Joined: 08 Nov 2005
Posts: 11527

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would just like to defend myself as a user reviewer for a moment.

All the games I have ever reviewed I have played, am playing or played in the past in some form, be it ten years ago from my memory of the game, or two weeks ago for two hours straight (Until I burn the disk, ala Rock Revolution.)

I try my best to be fair to the games and have despite my opinions on the industry as a whole, I try to be unbiased. Yeah, Halo 3 is really mediocre, but it is still a good game, or at the very least good enough for a play through, unlike other FPS's out there. It's not ground breaking, but it's not terrible either, it's just slightly above average (A "B" game, really.)

In fact, I think I gave it a B.

But this year especially, the quality of games, in particular those that have come out at the tail end of the season right now, have been fairly good. Fallout and Little Big Planet have lead the way in terms of universal praise, and a majority of the high profile games have been scoring well because of good gameplay designs that, while probably real safe and not as experimental, work fine, look good and play rather well. They may not be exactly those scores you mentioned, but they are pretty close.

Fable 2, for example. I didn't like it as much as Duke has, and I would give it (and I need to write the review for it.) a B-. It's about a high 7 in my mind, since a C is around a 60 (in terms of how I think the grades are calculated according to metacritic.) But other than that, all the games on that list seem fairly accurate, give or take a score to me.

I would also look at who reviews the game. Remember that GR has a staff of three, and numerous contributing writers who have varied opinions on everything. Depending on the writer also depends on the game's score a bit too. Look at The Force Unleashed, Blake gave it a damning C+ (which is accurate for the game.) while Duke gave it a B in a mini user review. the gamers tastes depend a lot on the game their playing, and if they really don't like it it will show in the review.

Now is GR getting soft? I don't think so. I think that their review scores are skewed higher than usual because a number of the games coming out actually are fairly good. Yeah, upon reflection we can see flaws in the games (FINAL FANTASY VII.) but they are overall well done. The reviewers are doing fairly well in keeping it unbiased, and while I can see a score go either way on some games (like Dead Space, Dead or Alive 4, Resistance 2, etc.) it's overall in the right place in terms of what the game really deserves.

Plus you got to remember that opinion polls in user content is always biased, unless they do an actual user review that's good, (like some people on this site, Ivory_Soul, Tyrranis, JCD, myself etc.) You don't have to agree with the actual reviews, but you can see the different opinions that form over the games in a more tangible and credible way, and not some schmuck who is trying to screw up the score because they are a fanboy.
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De-Ting
Formerly Known as Prince


Joined: 11 Nov 2006
Posts: 7906

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bottom line: people who do not professionally review games tend to intentionally bring down their scores just to be jerks.
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Nick_Tan
The Ninja of Nerds


Joined: 22 Jul 2006
Posts: 218

PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

De-Ting pretty much nailed it on the head. Some people who don't like a game for whatever reason get a jerk-off whenever they give it a 1 or a 0 out of 10. Just look at any aggregate pie chart or graph for user ratings (with a sizeable number of votes) and you'll see a bunch of 10's, 9's, 8's, and 7's... and then a good size chunk of 1's with very little else in between. And that brings the average ratings lower than the average critical rating, especially since we, as critics, do not have the luxury of giving things a 1 (heck, anything lower than a 6).

I would also like to point out that for every example you gave, our metacritic score for that game was lower than the aggregate metacritic score.

And just to pat ourselves on the back, here are some choice examples:

Devil May Cry 4 (X360) - Average Metacritic Score: 84 - Our Metacritic Score: 58
Condemned 2: Bloodshot (X360) - Average: 81 - Our: 67
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2 (X360) - Average: 82 - Our: 67
Dark Sector - Average: 72 - Our: 33
Battlefield: Bad Company - Average: 83 - Our: 50
Infinite Undiscovery - Average: 68 - Our: 33
Madden NFL 09 - Average: 84 - Our: 58
Mirror's Edge - Average: 78 - Our: 50
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe - Average: 74 - Our: 58
Need for Speed Undercover - Average: 64 - Our: 14
Wii Music - Average: 63 - Our: 25
Wii Fit - Average: 80 - Our: 58


Last edited by Nick_Tan on Wed Dec 24, 2008 2:08 am; edited 1 time in total
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keepithowitis



Joined: 30 Dec 2007
Posts: 3253

PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just realized something, in that game ratings are like music ratings. I'm sure you all have used iTunes at one time or another, and have you happened to check any popular song? There's like 5-star, 5-star, 1-star, 1-star, expletive, 4-star.. and literally the extreme on every rating down the list. Either 100% or 0 for each rating. It's terrible. Is this what game ratings are becoming as well?
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Jesse_Costantino



Joined: 10 Sep 2007
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nick's right. Shocked

Anonymous ("user") reviews live in the land of extremes. Either a game is "teh best evar!!11!" or it is "stinkier than day-old piss on a ten-year-old pile of dung." So those aren't a very good measure. User averages also factor in a disproportionate amount of negative reviews since people with negative opinions are the most vocal.

"Professional" reviewers try to be more nuanced. From their perspective, even the worst games have some redeeming qualities. Even that stinky, old pile of crap has to have some shine to it, right?

Also, flyingmoose, remember how Metacritic translates GR's grades. Since GR uses the full spectrum of grades, a "B" = 75. So even though R2 got a B+, that only translates into an 83. Lesson? This ain't high school English class. A "C" grade is a 50, and as Nick pointed out, you needn't fear. GR reviewers are still giving out their fair and honest share of average/low grades (and, yes, NFS: Undercover is really that bad).


Last edited by Jesse_Costantino on Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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Jesse_Costantino



Joined: 10 Sep 2007
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

oops. double post. Embarassed
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BigZell2020



Joined: 28 Apr 2008
Posts: 759

PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jesse_Costantino wrote:
(and, yes, NFS: Undercover is really that bad).


Damn right it is...played it once and brought it back to Gamestop. I got balls deep in buying it right away because I was such a fan of past installments that I thought there could be no way this one would suck this much.
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LinksOcarina
The Anti-Fanboy


Joined: 08 Nov 2005
Posts: 11527

PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BigZell2020 wrote:
Jesse_Costantino wrote:
(and, yes, NFS: Undercover is really that bad).


Damn right it is...played it once and brought it back to Gamestop. I got balls deep in buying it right away because I was such a fan of past installments that I thought there could be no way this one would suck this much.


Iv'e been telling customers not to buy that and get Midnight Club instead, because it is the slightly better game.
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