When Uncharted 4 was recently released, it garnered some pretty high scores across the board. But as usual, there were outliers, and in this case one of them was none other than the Washington Post themselves(*).
The review itself was fairly critical of not only the most recent entry in the series, but the entire Uncharted franchise itself, saying it "[..] never excelled at storytelling", but was rather an "accompaniment to overwhelming visual technology". I personally disagree with this statement. Loudly. If there's any point the Uncharted series stumbles on, it's the gunplay, not the bloody story. It has classical treasure hunter stories, filled with entertaining characters and good humour.
But I digress. The reviewer stated that, "“A Thief’s End” is less a conclusion to Nathan Drake’s story than an affirmation of the inconclusive wreck it has always been.". It has quickly become apparent that the fans of the game have taken less than kindly to this statement, as a petition has appeared requesting the review be pulled from Metacritic.
The reason? For some reason, despite the WP not giving the game a score or rating of any kind(in fact, a separate reviewer on the same website gave the game four out of four stars), Metacritic has put the game on their aggregator with a score of 40/100, dragging the overall Metascore down to 93 from 94. Even the voice actor of Nathan Drake, Troy Baker, came forth to support the petition.
What are your thoughts on this matter? Should the review be pulled from Metacritic? Should the Metascore be altered to N/A? Are fans just overreacting again?
* I have my own problems with the WP over something entirely different that I'm not going to bring up here, but I'm doing my best to make this post as unbiased as possible.
Jeff is a mean boss
28th July 2002
MetaCritic in general needs to go away, it's a crappy way to score games and causes more issues than it solves.
Keep in mind that everything I am about to post was written with very little knowledge of Washington Post, Metacritic, Metascores, or the Uncharted series altogether. Now then...
What are your thoughts on this matter?
People are idiots. On both sides of this matter.
Should the review be pulled from Metacritic?
Why should it be? Because it spoke of the game in a negative light? Because other people disagree with the opinions presented? No, I think not.
Should the Metascore be altered to N/A?
If WP did not give a score, then yes. I think it should be standard to have a N/A score for any reviews that don't actually give a score. Just seems like common sense to me, unless N/A means something mroe to Metacritic in particular. It very well could, I know next to nothing about Metacritic.
Are fans just overreacting again?
I do believe so, yes. First off, it drops the score by one point. ONE. POINT. Does it really matter that much? I personally don't think so. Second, what's to stop others from seeing something like this happening, and then start creating petitions to remove other reviews they simply don't like, thus creating a new censorship system? Lastly, I think the game should speak for itself. From what I've been hearing, the games in the series do speak for themselves, so why are fans worried anyway?
17th June 2002
One of my favourite* games journalism websites, Eurogamer, recently (well, a year or so ago) dropped scores from its reviews almost entirely**. It's an improvement of epic proportions.
A score is so fucking arbitrary. What does 'seven out of 10' really mean, exactly, when you're talking about a wholly subjective review of a piece of entertainment? If it was a thoroughly objective review that merely used tickboxes - "there are 10 million polygons on this model, this meets the minimum requirement to achieve 10 out of 10 for graphics"; "there are seven different weapons to choose from, this meets the minimum requirement to achieve seven out of 10 for gameplay", etc - then sure, why the hell not. It wouldn't be useful for anything, but why not. But it's not an objective process. It can't ever be. So what does the score mean?
It's not helped by the fact that most review sites, either out of fear of angering the publishers that they are basically beholden to, or simply because they too don't fucking understand what scores actually mean, don't even use the full range of their own scoring systems. Take IGN for example: nothing ever scores less than seven out of 10. They use the top three digits almost exclusively, and anything that scores less than seven is generally utter garbage. What does that bloody tell us?! It's bad enough that the scores are meaningless anyway, but now the numbers don't even conform to any kind of logic! Five out of 10 sounds decidedly average, right? It's right slap-bang in the middle of the score range, after all, and where a website does make a half-hearted effort to define what their scores mean, they usually tell us that five out of 10 is "middle of the road", "average", or some similar wording.
NO, FIVE OUT OF 10 IS A SINFUL PIECE OF GARBAGE THAT SHOULD BE BURNED AND BURIED FOR THE REST OF TIME!
So, the score doesn't mean anything, and it's used too conservatively to tell us anything useful even if it had a meaning to begin with. Why the fuck do we still have them anywhere then? After all, the only way you'll ever find out if a game is for you from a review is to read the contents to get a feel for what it's all about. The fact that you might not even have the same tastes as the reviewer - because, as we discussed earlier, a review is a subjective overview about how much one dude enjoyed the game - makes that score at the end even more fucking useless than it was when it was 'only' meaningless and badly used. One man's 10 out of 10 is another man's one out of 10, after all.
Scores are utterly, hopelessly useless, meaningless, poorly-used, and unreliable, then. So why does anybody care?
People who get irate about the arbitrary, meaningless, confined score appended to reviews are merely tribal fanboy partisans who want everybody to like a game because they do/because it's on their platform of choice, and can't understand that people have different tastes. That is the only reason anybody gives a shit about scores, and it will remain the only reason. The fact that this drama about a Metacritic score is happening right now is a testament to that - people aren't up in arms because the review isn't fair, they're up in arms because the review marks down their latest favourite game that is exclusive to their favourite platform.
tl;dr Bollocks to Metacritic, and review scores in general can wank off too.
* Used to be, anyway. The new editor has taken it in a click baity direction that I can't be arsed with anymore. ** Though they are proud to say they don't place scores on their reviews, they do have a scoring mechanism really - some are slapped with an 'Avoid' badge, which you can take to mean a score of 1 - 7 out of 10. Some are slapped with a 'Recommended' badge, which you can take to mean 8 - 9 out of 10. A few are slapped with an 'Essential' badge, which you can take to mean 10 out of 10. The rest aren't given a badge, which you can take to mean 7 out of 10. I imagine, though I haven't checked, that Metacritic is able to determine this accordingly, which is probably the only reason they bothered with the badges in the first place - the traffic they get from Metacritic is probably significant enough that they need to be listed there.
When IGN gave Stellaris 6.7/10, instead of the 9/10 that others were giving it, I have to admit I did throw a bit of a hate party at them. I'm still uncertain whether the guy playing the game actually understood it, but in the heat of the moment(and excitement), it's easy to forget that it's still an opinion piece.
But yes, scores are useless and non-representative.
Follow A Paranoid
25th November 2006
This whole mess just reeks of retardation. First are the fan boys forcing a review site to vindicate their personal opinion of a game they love more than their family, and this is not the first time they tried doing this. ( Anyone remembers the Kojima cultists having a fit with the last MGS review score?) And of course reviewers/journalists who proudly wear their corruption and personal agenda on their sleeves.
Makes me pine for the days when a game was solely judged by it's merits alone and not by loud obnoxious fan boys or by gaming journalists with agendas or just being outright corrupt, as I suspect in the case of Stellaris and IGN. (Since Paradox is not big enough to throw alot of bribes around unlike a triple A company)
My advice is to just avoid these mainstream gaming websites altogether and look for alternatives. (Tech Raptor and Niche Gamer comes to mind)
17th June 2002
It's not necessarily corruption that's the cause, at least not intentional corruption.
One of the biggest problems with gaming press is that, unlike almost any other journalistic medium, they are wholly reliant upon the gaming industry on which they report for their entire existence. Without invites to the big press events, they can't cover early announcements as well as other outlets - and guess who sends out the invites? Without early access to press releases, it's hard to keep their sites useful as a first port of call for gaming news - and guess who sends out the press releases? Without exclusive interviews with developers, it's hard for them to get juicy scoops - and guess who controls whom developers can be interviewed by? Without early access to review copies of games, it's hard for them to compete with other review sites - and guess who sends out the review copies?
Regardless of how ethical the gaming press try to be, they will always and forever be dependent upon the corporations they are supposed to be objectively covering. And that's tricky to juggle at best. Big publishers literally control the press, and that's virtually unheard of in any other medium. Unfortunately it's almost always been this way too.
So there's an understandable fear of giving big-name games anything less than a mediocre review score at best, even if they're stinking garbage. Yet another reason why scores are irrelevant.
Follow A Paranoid
25th November 2006
Yeah but in this case it was the Washington post, hardly considered a gaming rag and pretty much biased in every aspect of reporting.
I find it interesting you think Uncharted is about gunplay given how horrible the gunplay was in the first two games (i never played others)