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Should Game Of The Year Rely Solely On Review Scores?
#1
Original article: http://www.psxextreme.com/ps3-news/13849.html

Excerpt:
Ben Dutka Wrote:The biggest question many gamers ask is- "Why can't we just go by the review scores? Obviously, the highest one for any particular source should get Game of the Year." Well, that's not necessarily true.

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Something similar obviously happened at GameSpot, where they just gave PlayStation 3 GotY 2013 to the stellar PS3 exclusive, The Last Of Us. The game only scored an 8 when it was reviewed there, and it was up against multiple 9-scoring titles.
I think this is another good demonstration of the pointlessness of review scores. The Last of Us got an 8 from Gamespot, and if you only go by the scores it makes the site look a little silly when they declare it their PS3 game of the year despite it scoring lower than almost every other nominee in their list. BioShock Infinite and No No Kuni scored a whole point higher, yet the year-end opinion of the site is that The Last of Us is the better game.

Obviously in part it's because GameSpot has a team of people doing the reviews (the person who reviewed The Last of Us didn't review the other games that scored higher), it's not like PSXE where it's mostly Ben's personal voice. Each game released at different times so had different games to compare it to (though even with that in mind, TLoU was rated lower than games like BioShock Infinite that had already released and games that came after like GTA5).

However, if you set the scores aside and read the actual review text then it's a different story. It's clear that these are all quality games that each reviewer very much enjoyed playing, and The Last of Us review doesn't read as something that's 5% worse than Tomb Raider or 10% worse than BioShock Infinite. You can see how each one could be a contender at the end of the year. Moreover, it's clear that The Last of Us is the one that's left a lasting impression on people, giving them moments that are really sticking with them and giving them things to think about.

With all that in mind though, what is the point of review scores? If the scoring system can't even clearly mark out which games are better than others, if they can't even separate out the GotY contenders, if a 7.5/10 game like Devil May Cry is as worthy of consideration as a 9/10 Ni No Kuni, then why have the scores at all? Surely you could just have the text, which highlights the good and the bad, and that would be all the reader needs to make their own opinion on.
ATTENTION - Unless otherwise specified, all opinions stated in the above post should be interpreted as the personal opinions of The Benny (Macho) and not objective fact, even when said opinions are inarguably superior to all other opinions in the thread.

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#2
I think game reviews in general need to get past assignment of scores, or at least go to a five point scale.
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#3
I don't have a problem with review scores because I also read the text but I do take an interest in gameplay/control scores to see if a game is way too much of a pain in the ass to enjoy.
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#4
robodaddy-o Wrote:I don't have a problem with review scores because I also read the text but I do take an interest in gameplay/control scores to see if a game is way too much of a pain in the ass to enjoy.

The problem I have with review scores as they are now is that they suck. In this industry an 8 is considered 'average' and no one uses the ten point scale, so why bother with a ten point scale?

Some sites, including this one, even drill deeper and go with tenths of points. I won't presume to know how or why Ben comes up with his tenths of points, but when I reviewed for this site and was charged with reviewing the same way, the tenths were largely arbitrary. Like I'd want to give a high 9 to a control score, but how high? 9.8? 9.6? What's the difference? How do you quantify that?

The answer of course is to read the text for the justification, but then why have the score?

Just so 'we' are clear I am not criticizing PSXE for this, it's a pretty common methodology; I just take issue with the methodology in general.
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#5
Ahhh, i remember the good old days when an average score 5 or 6 out of 10 was still considered worth your time.
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#6
In what world is an 8/10 an average score? Who would even think that? Are people assuming that an 8 is an average because they can't count?
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#7
I'm of the opinion reviews in general need to go. What is a review? It's one person's opinion not necessarily shared by all in that publication if we use Gamespots GOTY example. Some great games have scored very mediocre scores which can more often hurt the sales of the game. Sometimes though reviews do get it right but I've bought well reviewed games before that have sucked, leaving me scratching my head as to why it's so well received.

Now I know game streaming/gameplay/walkthrough videos have been around for a long time but it's only recently since it's integration with the PS4 (don't have the XBONE) that I'm really coming around to this as my preferred selection tool for games I'm interested in. What I like specifically is that you get to see the game running and interact with the person playing and other people viewing the game and really get a good scope of what a game is like. Much better than a scoring system from one person's opinion.
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#8
robodaddy-o Wrote:In what world is an 8/10 an average score? Who would even think that? Are people assuming that an 8 is an average because they can't count?
Reviewers as a whole have kind of inflated the scores (in response to reader reactions). It's been at least five years since 7/10 became underwhelming, the kind of score where people will consider it not worth a purchase. Some publishers even withhold bonuses if a game doesn't get at least 80% on Metacritic (for Fallout: New Vegas it was 85% and the game got 84%), because anything less than that is barely worth releasing. We've reached a point where we basically only have 8, 9 and 10 for good games, and the whole range of 1-7 for distinguishing bad to average.

Spartan's five-point scale goes some ways to fixing that. Everybody knows you've got two bad, two good and an average. If sites do feel the need to have scores, for getting on game covers or Metacritic or whatever, then that's much better than doing it out of ten or a hundred.
frostface Wrote:Now I know game streaming/gameplay/walkthrough videos have been around for a long time but it's only recently since it's integration with the PS4 (don't have the XBONE) that I'm really coming around to this as my preferred selection tool for games I'm interested in. What I like specifically is that you get to see the game running and interect with the person playing and other people viewing the game and really get a good scope of what a game is like. Much better than a scoring system from one person's opinion.
I use this approach myself, because obviously PC gamers have been recording Let's Plays and first impressions for a little longer because it's that much easier to set up. I also use blogs and reviews though, I just pay attention to who exactly it is who is reviewing. Any sort of opinion from IGN or Gamespot or whatever means nothing because I don't follow those sites, but I have a feel for the various tastes of the people at Eurogamer or Rock, Paper, Shotgun or Quarter to Three, so I know how often my views match up with theirs and can adjust accordingly. Even then though, it's not the 7/10 or whatever that matters, it's the text.

When Hitman: Absolution came out it received positive reviews as a cinematic action/stealth game, people viewing it in the context of Arkham or the modern Splinter Cells. Then people like Tom Francis or Adam Smith, who I knew to be massive fans of Blood Money, were a lot less positive, and I knew I was likely to have the same reaction as them, and I did.
ATTENTION - Unless otherwise specified, all opinions stated in the above post should be interpreted as the personal opinions of The Benny (Macho) and not objective fact, even when said opinions are inarguably superior to all other opinions in the thread.

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#9
The Benny (Macho) Wrote:Reviewers as a whole have kind of inflated the scores (in response to reader reactions). It's been at least five years since 7/10 became underwhelming, the kind of score where people will consider it not worth a purchase. Some publishers even withhold bonuses if a game doesn't get at least 80% on Metacritic (for Fallout: New Vegas it was 85% and the game got 84%), because anything less than that is barely worth releasing. We've reached a point where we basically only have 8, 9 and 10 for good games, and the whole range of 1-7 for distinguishing bad to average.
Yeah but that's the combined fault of people that don't know how to count. Maybe these people should go back to school?
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#10
The Benny (Macho) Wrote:... it makes the site look a little silly when they declare it their PS3 game of the year despite it scoring lower than almost every other nominee in their list. BioShock Infinite and No No Kuni scored a whole point higher, yet the year-end opinion of the site is that The Last of Us is the better game.

I think in the aftermath it's become clear that this was indeed the best PS3 exclusive title this year. And for this category ("best PS3 game") the name implies they want it to be a game that is exclusive to that platform, if possible.

Youy know... Politics like that. The GOTY everywhere are brim full with politics. "This title deserves to win SOMETHING but since we got this other clear winner in that other category we let it win this". Considerations like that are done all over. It's a puzzle, really.
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