Today's article is brought to you by the number 10

TENIt has long been known that I don’t agree with the numbered review system. I stand by the Penny Arcade method of asking (or reading the input of) people who have similar tastes as you if you should play a specific game. I frequently get asked how was "insert game title". And I’ll either say, "it was great you should play it," or "it wasn’t so good," and then recommend something similar.

Stephen Totilo is leading a fantastic discussion on the "10" review score. He notes that 4 of the 12 highest rated games ever (according to have been released in the past 10 months. Doesn’t that seem a little strange? I personally agree with Stephen Totilo and don’t think we’ve reached some golden era of games but that reviewers are more easily impressed.

"Our vocabularies and scoring systems are coming close to failing us. We’ve said "great" and "10″ so much lately, that it is hard to fully distinguish and to intelligibly recommend the work we’re playing. Can we say why this great gameplay is better than that great gameplay? If we can, well, are we? Are we being clear?

It seems to me that we who play and discuss games are often and extremely impressed, moreso than has been the case in the past."

I have read and listened to several reviews of Grand Theft Auto IV. I’ve also played the game a bit. While it has surprised me by how good it has been, I wouldn’t call the game "perfect" or think it deserves that mystical 10 rating. The melee controls are bad, the driving is still loose, and that camera can be wonky. Yet this game is getting 10s like crazy.

Does marketing and hype have an effect on a final review score? Absolutely! Halo got 10s also but I don’t think it deserved it and I’m a fan of the franchise! I’m not sure there is a good solution here. Locking reviewers away from the Internet is the only thing I could come up with.

If the graphics are what is skewing reviews, then reviewers need to look at games differently. They need to think, "if this game was on the NES or SNES, would I still like it?" A game like BioShock would probably still hold up; the moral choices, the discovery of what you have ultimately become and the twist scene. But what about Halo 3? Would GTA IV hold up if it was top down like the first two?

All these questions way to get strait answers, but the article is a good read.


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Author: Creighton DeSimone View all posts by

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