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    • CommentTimeNov 17th 2011 edited
    Been Playing AC:Rev the last two days and I must say that the gameplay is deeper than brotherhood. Apprenticed assassins, tower defense, bomb crafting-it's been loads of fun so far and
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2011
    It's exagerrated for comic effect, but I see a lot of colleagues nodding along to this piece today...

    7 reasons you don't want to work in games.
  1.  (10320.83)
    I just saw reviews for Saint's Row: the 3rd, and while before, Saint's Row looked really dumb before, this looks really appealing to me for some reason. Especially the co-op. Anyone else looked at SR3?
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2011
    I have played Saints Row 3 for 30 hours. I got it Tuesday. I have also had classes.

    It is fun.
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2011
    @Flabyo Exaggerated for effect doesn't even begin to cover it.

    @Govspy I'm certainly looking at it. All squirrely-eyed, one eyebrow raised. Which in this case, is not a bad thing. I never played the first, but Saints Row 2 was a lot of fun. It really understood that the reason most people like GTA-style sandbox games is for the random dicking around and doing crazy shit they couldn't do in real life (which GTA 4 definitely didn't get). SR3 looks to be that, but even more so.
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2011
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2011
    @Taphead That article sounds more like Gamespot being butthurt over not getting free games than an actual controversy. I loved the part where they concluded that the metacritic reviews must be Telltale employees because they used proper grammar (a skill which obviously no regular gamer could achieve).
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2011
    Well there is doubtless a bit of that as well, but still...

    Sure enough, a cursory Google search on the reviewers' user names backed up our suspicions. One of the reviewers was a user interface artist at Telltale; another was a cinematic artist.
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2011 edited
    Gamespot may be complaining about a "lack of transparency," but given that it only took a google search to confirm their answer (and the fact that Telltale readily admits that employees posted on metacritic) it's still not nearly as huge a deal as they are making it out to be.

    A much bigger deal, for example, is the score padding that comes from actual paid reviewers. Take Skyrim for example. 100% positive reviews from over 70 professional reviewers, with no less than 25 of them giving it a 100/100, is more than a little suspicious. Especially considering that the user reviews put it at about an 8.8/10. Given the amount of die-hard fans for this series, I would have expected to see those scores reversed, with the fans giving higher scores and the keen eyes of the reviewers ending up with a good, potentially great, but not perfect score.

    Industry influence on review scores is a long-standing issue for games. Two employee reviews from people making no attempt to hide their identities does not a controversy make. I return to my original statement that Gamespot is just butthurt about not getting free stuff.

    EDIT: This is an old story, but I think it's relevant: Gamespot Editor Fired Over Kane & Lynch Review.
  2.  (10320.90)
    I hate the scoring system in games. Paid reviews are one of those things that really gets to me, especially after that Kane & Lynch shit. There is no way I would give Skyrim a 100. I love the game, and you should play it, if you're into that sort of thing. The graphics though? The horrible physics? Ugh. Awful. I was telling my friend the other day that if it wasn't for how big the game is, and how much shit there is in it, then I wouldn't play it based on the graphics alone.
  3.  (10320.91)
    well, if it wasnt so big the graphics would not be at the level where they are. its all a give and take.
  4.  (10320.92)
    lol graphics < gameplay any day
    minecraft looks like shit by default and it's still fun
    by comparison, final fantasy xiii looked great and outside of the battles was a shit game
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2011
    The thing I dislike about the most about paid reviews is that as a user of metacritic, I have to adjust what a score means to me based on how much money went in to making the game. I have never seen a AAA game go lower that 65 or so, and it has to be really abysmal to get anywhere near that low. By contrast, a 65 for an indie game means it's probably at least decent, possibly even good.

    Compared to shit like that, Gamespot is really off its rocker if they think that two positive reviews are going to break the system.
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2011
    Video games reviews have been messed up for a very long time. I can't remember where it was, but I remember reading awhile back about how gaming doesn't have any real critics, just reviewers, and they need their own Roger Ebert to provide legitimacy to the art. The closest thing I've seen would probably have to be Yahtzee, but he's an entertainer as much as anything. A good example of how skewed video games reviews get are sports game, which continue to get averages of around 80 or so on metacritic, while if any other genre provided the amount of content and changes that sports games due year after year, there would be loads of backlash and outrage of how the changes could have just been made with a patch or five-dollar DLC.

    Also, art design is way more important than the technical aspects of graphics. Minecraft and Skyrim has that in spades, which I can confidently even though I've fallen out of Minecraft and cannot stand the slow, drawn-out gameplay of Bethesda's RPGs.
  5.  (10320.95)
    I actually write game reviews, and even did it for a published magazine for a while. Review scores tend to be inflated pretty badly, but there is an internal logic to it. The places I write for tend to use a 1-5 scale, with there being no zero but half numbers, so it evens out to a 9-point scale over all. 1, 1.5, 2, etc. Honestly, I'd prefer 1-10, but what's there is workable enough. 1-2.5 is bad, 3 is bad but middle of the road bad, 3.5 is average, 4, 4.5 and the difficult-to-obtain 5 range from good to excellent. Yes, numerically it's messed up, but at least it's consistently messed up.

    As for stating a game is better than it actually is, I've been guilty of over-scoring from time to time. I regret giving Okami a 5, for example, although in my defense I felt it earned it when it was given. Minecraft I'd rate a 5 easily, simply because I've been playing it for a year and fired it up tonight for the 1.0 update, and felt excited to start a new world. It's flawed, sure, but on a 1-5 scale it gets top marks. No way would it merit 100%, of course, but different scales mean different things. I'm willing to bet Skyrim would earn a 5, but like Minecraft 100% is probably overstating the case.

    Still, I don't tend to labor over 400-1000+ words for nothing. Anyone looking at reviews just for the score probably doesn't much care about the game anyway.
  6.  (10320.96)
    I feel almost like I have to play the Jim Rossignol role here and defend games journos from the accusations of corruption or being paid by publishers (which is weird because I work the other end of the industry and I can't tell you how many times my reactions to a review have been 'are you fucking serious?! This got a 7/8/9?! Did you not see [thing1], [thing2], [thing3]?'). I absolutely do think there are establishments of game criticism that are taking backhanders from publishers, and I could provide links to the more suspect reviews in that camp, but I think far more frequently it's a question of time on the reviewer's part. They have maybe enough time to do a quick critical path playthrough of a game on review code before they're expected to have their review in for publication, and they have two or three games that they're handling in the same period. So a cursory playthrough of Modern Warfare 3 done at the same time as, say, [the shittiest game ever] will make MW3 look like a fucking Shakespeare production scored by Beethoven with art direction by da Vinci, whereas in a vacuum it would be rightfully recognized as the latest instalment in the ongoing death of player agency in video game design. I really think it should be the policy of most critical outlets to re-review games after six months or so. So much of reviews feel like they're 'First Impressions' rather than in-depth 'reviews.'
    • CommentTimeNov 19th 2011 edited
    I've been a games and technology journalist for... hell, I think about 10 years now, and one awesome thing about doing that in Commie Reindeerland is that up here the media really is pretty free from industry influence in the level of distorting the game scores. I've been writing both as a freelancer and been the producer (read: writer, reviewer, videographer, editor in chief etc) of this country's only TV show about games, and not once have I been asked to pad the scores of games, or even hinted that it should be done. One magazine did get an angry letter about a "too low" score for a game I'll leave unnamed, sent by a new PR guy in the game company. The letter is on the office wall for people to laugh at, and the new guy left his job soon after.

    That said, I've always hated the scoring in reviews, especially the fucking idiotic 1-100 scoring. I mean, what's the difference between a game that gets 85 or 86. In one magazine where I worked there was a rather idiotic practice of not reviewing games if they'd get a score lower than 60 or something like that, so score inflation ahoy. When I got to the position to actually influence scoring, I took it down a notch, into the Finnish school system scores of 4-10. In that system 7 is an okay game, 8 is pretty good, 9 is excellent and 10 is something that will be talked for years, so most of the scores were at around 7. The best gaming magazine in the country, Pelaaja, has a similarly strict system with their scoring. Me like.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeNov 19th 2011
    I think the issue with the Telltale guys is that by not declaring they have vested interest it counts as shilling, and that can get you sued.
  7.  (10320.99)
    So a cursory playthrough of Modern Warfare 3 done at the same time as, say, [the shittiest game ever] will make MW3 look like a fucking Shakespeare production scored by Beethoven with art direction by da Vinci, whereas in a vacuum it would be rightfully recognized as the latest instalment in the ongoing death of player agency in video game design.

    I disagree. There is no "death of player agency" going on. It's a developing style of game design that prioritizes tight visual narrative, which is something Infinity Ward is incredibly talented at. I've read the article you link to, and it's become a reductionist -- and frankly pathetic -- trend to compare anything that has explosions to Michael Bay. The linear setpieces in the MW series are delivered with a craft and a sense of pacing he's incapable of, to put it charitably. And videogames are a medium in which this kind of approach has unique advantages, and of course, downsides. The same is true of games that prioritize player agency. In SKYRIM, you can interact with everyone you see. But they all talk with the same simplistic animations and impassive face because the world is too huge and complex to give each of them distinctive visual traits, and as a result, the story doesn't have the impact it could have because it always feels like you're talking to puppets. Linearly designed games have the advantage of focusing on a smaller number of elements, and consequently have the time to polish them as much as possible. The downside is that you do what the game tells you to, which I don't mind doing if there's an adequate payoff (not the case with HOMEFRONT, or MEDAL OF HONOR, or BATTLEFIELD 3). What combination of both styles will work depend on the game and its premise.

    And the MW style does not exclude others. Player agency will always be a huge selling point for games, and something developers will want to explore the possibilities of. It's at the core of the medium. What IS becoming an overall trend in gaming that I find absolutely annoying is the urge to have a "press this to do this" notice show up onscreen whenever you come close to something interactive. It breaks immersion and treats the player like an idiot. I can remember that "x" opens doors and turns switches, for fuck's sake.

    I really think it should be the policy of most critical outlets to re-review games after six months or so. So much of reviews feel like they're 'First Impressions' rather than in-depth 'reviews.'

    I want to discuss this as well, but I really need to sleep now, so I'll get to it later.
  8.  (10320.100)

    Yeah, that too. For myself I just consider it to be fucking tacky and amateurish. A really entry level fuck up for a company who's using the net and digital distribution that well.