Most gamers have been in the situation where a game is coming out and have been awaiting the big reviews. One says eight. Another says a 9 and then we’re comparing them on Metacritic. Down the line the game file on your PS4, Xbox One, or PC is updated. It’s fixed some of the bugs and added some content. So; do the scores need to go up now? By how much? If the scores don’t go up is that review redundant…? It’s all a bit messy and lately we’ve been thinking about this at MGL, and all of us are questioning if video game reviews in 2017 need to move with the industry here on MGL.
We recently held discussions here and all of us agreed game reviews feel stuck in the past as we are doing them. This isn’t just a “rant” piece either (although I will rant a little). This is our first step towards a change here on MGL for all our reviews, which we do currently score. But should that continue?
We REALLY want your thoughts here gamers. Do video game scores matter to you anymore? If so, what do you want to see in a modern game review to improve them? Be ready to comment at the bottom, Disqus or Facebook comments are there. Plus we have some votes on our massively likable Facebook Page.
Here’s why we think it’s time to move on and give you gamers a review system for gaming today…
The 9/10 Games People Don’t Enjoy… And Low Scoring Games We Love
I think most gamers can put themselves in this situation: game reviews come in and the game gets a 9/10 or more and you think, “YES! I will be getting that launch day!” Down goes £50/$60 or other lumps of currency elsewhere, and… You don’t like it.
It plays nice, looks good but it’s just not for you. Me and Dark Souls for instance. Or our writer Neal who (wrongly!) doesn’t like Uncharted. Natalie is totally against all Call of Duty games despite consistently high review scores. And this is after I edited them all sending piles of examples!
The point is, that number does nothing for the person’s taste. The review content may well point to people who may not like it. But people don’t always take in the whole review. The score is the mark of quality here. Developers put them on trailers and images with maybe a small quote. Perhaps the person and the game should be more important than a number…
The same happens the other way too, some low scoring games just work for you and it’s one of your favourites. I know I’m a fan of The Order 1886. Despite the negatives, it was a game I enjoyed and want to see a sequel to. The same goes for Mafia 3, Ryse: Son of Rome and again, there are more examples.
I’m sure you have one right now.
But the point is that the number gives no indication to the individual player if it’s to their taste. It helps rate the game as a construct, the overall quality of it. But not taste, preference and who will truly enjoy it, and certainly not helping those that may not enjoy it.
Surely a game review now should give some indication what type of gamers it will appeal to? And those it won’t, regardless of how good it may be as a product.
Patch Me Up; I’m Good to Go
The other huge thing here is the whole patching process. Gone are the days of a development team making a game go truly gold and sending out to the world for review and sales. Knowing full well if they missed a giant bug that was it, the game and maybe the studio was done for.
Now if a game is poor, it gets fixed. If it’s bad and there is a budget, you get a new game practically a few months later.
Look at Mass Effect Andromeda. No one can tell me they thought that game was ready to launch when it did. It needed 3-4 months of play testing and fixing then it would have been a worthy release from Bioware. But patching means you can download what is the size of another entire game practically to make it more playable and a better product.
So… What is the point of scores in that situation? Yes we can go over and re-review if there is time but… The damage is done at this point for many.
For most websites to update or re-review a title the frantic release schedule makes it near impossible plus, people tend to make up their minds. Once a few bad scores and bad reviews are around a game is done. Homefront: The Revolution put some massive patches on that game to make it better, and it did. But unfortunately that game will always be considered a disappointment.
The Destiny, Division And Mass Effect Factor…
Destiny managed to get somewhat of a better reputation after The Taken King made the game significantly better. It still has its core issues (don’t get me started) but it made a difference due the Sony and Activision marketing machine. But it’s still a dead game to some gamers thanks to the so-so launch. Even the sequel is hitting a wall of resistance with certain players burned by the original and Bungie have a lot to prove.
First impressions still mean a lot, that much is clear.
Speaking of first impressions, I am one of the unfortunate gamers that played The Division when the infamous “Laptop” chaos was going on. Early in the game you “login” to a laptop as your person and carry on your adventure… but everyone was doing it at the same time and it simply did not work!
Myself and others here on MGL experienced this before it was removed and it really did make the first few hours with the game a lesser experience. Now, there is more to criticise with The Division, as I’m sure many of you are thinking. But this is another game that initial review scores can’t be considered appropriate now.
Lastly, Mass Effect Andromeda. I mean, I’m a huge Mass Effect fan and I’m always on the Facebook Mass effect group (hi all) checking things out and sharing my thoughts on the series. From my first go at Andromeda the game has undergone a huge update process. Now we have added features, different shaders to make eyes and faces look different. This is basically a change to the game’s main structure.
Patching and big updates has really changed not only the games content following release. But also what state they release in. There is no way there is a consistent approach to get games 100% ready at launch as there used to be.
A Game Review System For All Games and All Gamers
It’s time to come up with something new. We’ve all been of the same opinion here and hope you understand why.
Reviews used to be based on a static product, a game used to launch and we’d read Gamesmaster (yes I’m old) to see how good it was. The content and score would, in a way, still be valid now.
This is not the case anymore, movies it might be and other entertainment too. But we all know gaming is special, this is why we love It. And because we here at MGL all love it, we think it’s time game reviews in 2017 do something different.
What that is here on MGL, isn’t something we want to prescribe to you gamers either. We want your ideas and the types of things you want to see in an up-to-date review system.
Let us know if YOU think review scores need to move on. And what you WANT to see in game reviews gong forward. Use the Disqus comments below or head over to our Facebook page to get involved. Big games are coming up so we’ll be moving fast, make sure you get involved.
Right, time for a big slice of “Irony Pie” as I setup a ton of backlogged reviews, all with scores on them! For now at least…