I write restaurant reviews for some local publications in my town and one of the things I hate to do is to assign a numerical score to a review. I feel the same way when reading about video games. Why? First of all, when you give something a number such as a 9/10 – the reader knows nothing except that you think this is a good game. Most people will glance at a score and then ignore everything else you had to say. That is only the roof of the surface though…
The real issue I have with review scores is that it forces two things that are not the same to be compared. A 7.0 Resident Evil game is not the same as a 9.0 Final Fantasy game. They come from different genres, different companies, different budgets, etc. However, the numerical scores will cause people to compare the two at face value…when they actually have nothing in common.
I was reading this great review on Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City by Jim Sterling on Destructoid earlier tonight. The review is insightful and Sterling explains what he felt the issues with the game were and that he found himself still enjoying the game, despite its flaws. He scores the game a 7.5 and then people in the comments lash out against him for not scoring “better games” higher. Yet they are comparing games that do not fall into the same genre, console, etc. People need to realize that reviews are subjective. There is no truly wrong or right review score and as long as the reviewer shares his opinion, he has done nothing wrong.
Some people even claimed that he was bought off by Capcom to give a high score. These are probably the same people who claimed that Mass Effect 3 review numbers were purchased by Electronic Arts. First they are unhappy that the numbers are the same, then when someone is different they claim the same logic. Honestly, gamers need to grow up and form their own opinions. Read the review and make the decision for yourselves. Stop blaming someone for sharing their opinion and doing their job.
There might be some crooked journalists out there, but trust me – many journalists value integrity. They know they have a duty to their publication and to their website to be honest. There is nothing worse than spending time on a project and then having people trash all over it in the comments.
That’s my 2-cents on this issue.