We’ve all been there before, we’ve had a look around review sites or content sharing sites and the latest popular game has been given a 7/10 score and people go ballistic because it’s not a 9 or a 10 calling it clickbait this and desperate for views but speaking personally and from reading a few of these reviews quite often these reviewers do have good points as to why these games aren’t perfect.
A review score serves a basic purpose, to tell the reader at face value where the reviewer ranks the title in question but the problem with this system is that a review is never that simple. Games are way too complex, and they mean so much to different people that I would argue it’s impossible to give any game an arbitrary number that would not only hold true to how the review felt while playing but also hold true to the quality of the title in question.
An example I can give you would be pretty much any game that has had mixed reviews, the most recent example being Death Stranding. I’ve seen reviews for that title ranging from 3/10 to 10/10 and none of those reviews are 100% wrong and none of them are 100% correct, a review does have an aspect of objectivity but it’s mostly a personal experience. It’s like trying to rate a picture out of 10, everyone looking at it will have different feelings and views about it making it nearly impossible to get all the information you need.
First you have to consider what a review is meant to do, it’s meant to give you an insight into a product before you purchase it to see if it’s something worth your money, the gaming industry has an issue however where hype generated for a game can massively overshadow the actual product and confirmation bias can fuel the public response to the point where if anyone discovers something that’s actually wrong with a game it can be pushed aside in favour of a review with a 10/10 score.
The biggest issue with review scores is how reviewers and the industry have to work around them, quite often you’ll read or watch a review and once you hear the final score it doesn’t seem to fit with what the reviewer said and sometimes a reviewer will have a legitimate issue with the game that means they can’t in good conscience give the game a high score, for example people may remember IGNs review of Prey 2 which got a 4/10 because there was a save bug that deleted the reviewer’s save file therefore costing him hours of time and work, while the bug was not wide spread it still completely derailed his experience of the game which makes his 4/10 justifiable. Of course, most people didn’t read that part and just attacked the reviewer based on nothing but the numeric score alone which I’d like to reiterate is the least important part of the review.
On the other side of the fence however game companies put too much stock in the review numbers with the controversial issue regarding the review scores of Fallout New Vegas resulting in the developers over at Obsidian not getting their bonus because the score was 1 number below the agreed benchmark.
Personally I believe the content of a review should be all that you need to gauge if a game is meant for you or not, the scores need to be done away with as all they do is feed into the toxic culture of personal attacks against people of the industry, if you don’t agree with a reviewer, that’s fine you are entitled to your opinions and if you can tell them why you disagree with them then by all means do so. But if all you can muster is “bad review” or “clickbait article” then you’re just feeding the toxic culture of “everything I don’t like is clickbait.”
At the end of the day I personally feel that the score part of reviews just need to go, not only is the idea of summarising an entire gaming experience into an arbitrary number completely wrong it just doesn’t make sense, all in all I give this article a 7.8/10 too much water.