What's up with all the perfect review scores?

Discussion in 'PC Gaming' started by Richard, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. Richard

    Richard Mord's imaginary friend
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    Although GTA4 is but the latest in a trend I've been observing it still boggles the mind how so many publications are giving new "sure-thing-blockbusters" perfect scores, as in 10/10 and 5/5 and Bestest-Game-EVAR! and so on. Bioshock had a few, then Halo 3, Orange Box, CoD4 and now GTA4. Look at this:

    Even if you ignore then three IGN sister sites, what is going on? And many of these give GTA4's graphics 10/10, etc. While I've not played the game to say whether it is a perfect game (though considering I feel there's no such thing as a perfect game I'm guessing it isn't) I can at least see the screenshots and movies and while the game looks great, it does not beat every other game in the graphics departement, not even for the platform so graphics at least shouldn't get a perfect score.

    So what's the reason for this trend in recent game reviews? Is it just the advertising dollars influencing the editors? Are reviewers becoming afraid of criticising games they know will be huge hits regardless of scores? Are they playing to the crowd? Are reviewers stupid?
     
  2. suryad

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    I dont believe in a perfect game. And I always take reviews with a jar of salt. The only review that is worthwhile IMO is my own. I know for a fact I am not going to buy GTA it just does not appeal to me so all these reviews are just irrelevant.
     
  3. Scott_Arm

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    I don't have a huge problem with it. I find video game reviews get a little obsessive about granularity in scoring (8.3, 9.6 etc). I'd rather see them switch to a "five star" scale and give out half stars, and give out a few more fives. I mean, really ... when I'm playing a game, I don't jot out notes on an elaborate scoring sheet and decide that something is a 9.8. If it's a 9.8 it's a perfect score. Every game is going to have some faults, but nearly perfect is the best you can get and should deserve a 10/10 or 5/5.

    As to why we're seeing more of these perfect scores? I'm not sure why. Maybe the reviewers are starting to feel the way I do. Maybe it's pressure from advertising money. Maybe the bar really is being raised by all of these games. I have to say, they're all VERY high quality titles. It's probably a combination of all three.
     
  4. tirminyl

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    I believe it is a combination of everything. Would you want to be that one site that doesn't give this game a perfect score and actually knock it, as you do other games, for its technical issues? Catering to the audience and falling to pressure from other review sites will happen with such a high profile release.

    As stated, I don't rely on reviews and review scores for my decisions on game purchases. I knew long before, even with its perfect score, that I had no interest in playing GTAIV.
     
  5. Bludd

    Bludd Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall
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    Who has done such a thriving city scape at that level of detail before?
    If not a 10/10, it's at least a 9.6/10.
     
  6. Dresden

    Dresden Celebrating Mediocrity
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    Assuming I even buy GTAIV, I'll be sure to return it if it isn't a religious experience now that I've read this.

    Something tells me these reviews were already written long before it's release by a group of GTA fanboys. The "perfect" game doesn't exist.
     
  7. Bludd

    Bludd Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall
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    So by that reasoning, a student should never get a perfect score on a paper because the perfect paper doesn't exist?
     
  8. Dresden

    Dresden Celebrating Mediocrity
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    So by my line of reasoning nothing is perfect, regardless of what the reviews for one of the most overhyped video games in modern history dictates. I've noticed a trend with a lot of these sites, that trend being they're getting pretty generous with doling out perfect scores, which I find a little silly.
     
  9. Bludd

    Bludd Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall
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    Then you agree completely with my last post.
     
  10. Dresden

    Dresden Celebrating Mediocrity
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    Actually, no I don't. But gather from my statement what you may. I fail to realize any situation, no matter how relatable you attempt to make it, where there's the embodiment of perfection. You may. I don't.
     
  11. Bludd

    Bludd Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall
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    You are not making any sense. Do you actually mean to imply that these game review scores are meant to state that a 10/10 game is the same as the philosophically ideal concept of the perfect game?
     
  12. Dresden

    Dresden Celebrating Mediocrity
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    What's your definition of a "philosophically ideal concept of the perfect game?" Of course, I'm not an idiot. Nor am I claiming that games that received the perfect score were devoid of bugs or issues, or in my own words "the embodiment of perfection." My point is I'd rather not read a review that claims these games are the digital equivalent of a Rembrandt painting. I'd rather read a review site that rates in percentages, and dishing out "perfect" scores never happened. Sometimes it appears reviews sites are being too generous to further the hype. That's my point.
     
  13. Richard

    Richard Mord's imaginary friend
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    Two can play at that game Bludd: Has any game done such a colourful and luxurious jungle as Crysis at that level of detail before? If not a 10/10, it's at least a 9.6/10. Heck, Crysis even has crabs, turtoises and chickens running around!

    Obviously a review is a (deeply) subjective appreciation of a game but if you say 10 is the max a game can get then any game that gets it should have no (major) faults. Are GTA4's graphics the very best the 360/PS3 has seen? Not in my book. Do the NPC animations glitch at all? Is there any repetitiveness in the NPC's clothes? Are the vehicles as high poly as the ones in GT5? Is the entire voice-over catalogue well delivered and emotionally touching? Is the story engrossing at all times? Is the game long enough so that people like me can feel satisfied all the while ADD kids will still want to complete? When the game is released on the PC can it run well and reasonable graphics on 5 year old computers? Does it support a wider variety of hardware than other games while having no crashes and few bugs? No game is this perfect.

    Since I teach programming at Uni, to answer your question about the student. I only give top grades to those students that go above and beyond what was asked in the exam and during the semester, when they show they didn't just spend a weekend memorising stuff and went out of their way to learn the nuances that I can't obviously teach during classes due to time constraints. In a nutshell, did the student make me a better teacher?

    The problem with this multitude of perfect scores is this: what if tomorrow a game comes out of nowhere that is better, in every respect, than GTA4. What is that game going to get? 11/10?
     
  14. Scott_Arm

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    Are percentage scores really helpful. If I have game A and game B and they scored 94% and 93% relatively, what the hell does that mean? What is 1% difference in a game? Is that granularity useful?

    Why not score 100% if you feel the game is as close to perfection as is reasonable to expect? If you never score 100%, then maybe 99% is now the score people are going to argue about. Does a game deserve 99% or 98%? Are reviewers giving out 95+% scores too easily?

    Reviewers should keep it simple and keep the scoring to a scale that's easy to understand. 3 is average, 4 is exceptional and 5 is a classic. Everyone can understand that.

    As for reviewers being too generous to further the hype, I think it happens. Was it gamespot where that guy quit because he was being pressured to give a better review for an advertisers game? I'm not sure how rampant the practice is. I'm sure some fanboy reviewers are much easier on their favourite franchises because they feel some attachment. Overall, I think if you use something like metacritic to get an overall picture of reviews and pick and choose which ones to read in detail, you'll get a pretty good indicator of a games quality.
     
  15. Bludd

    Bludd Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall
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    I agree, Crysis is 10/10 in my book! :)

    Isn't this kind of selfish? This makes it progressively harder to attain top grades in your class. I can't believe your University doesn't have some kind of guidelines for scoring. At my university, the general grades are thus:
    Symbol
    Description
    General, qualitative description of valuation criteria
    A
    Excellent
    An excellent performance, clearly outstanding. The candidate demonstrates excellent judgement and a high degree of independent thinking.
    B
    Very good
    A very good performance. The candidate demonstrates sound judgement and a very good degree of independent thinking.
    C
    Good
    A good performance in most areas. The candidate demonstrates a reasonable degree of judgement and independent thinking in the most important areas.
    D
    Satisfactory
    A satisfactory performance, but with significant shortcomings. The candidate demonstrates a limited degree of judgement and independent thinking.
    E
    Sufficient
    A performance that meets the minimum criteria, but no more. The candidate demonstrates a very limited degree of judgement and independent thinking.
    F
    Fail
    A performance that does not meet the minimum academic criteria. The candidate demonstrates an absence of both judgement and independent thinking.

    There are some slightly different criteria for technological courses, but they have the same basic scale. They are not in English, and I can't be bothered to translate them. :)

    edit: that was supposed to be a table, but anyway, it should be readable
     
    #15 Bludd, Apr 28, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2008
  16. Scott_Arm

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    But are these realistic expectations for a game of GTAs size and scope?

    Give it a 10/10 and that is the new standard for a perfect score for that type of title. You say in the review, we thought it couldn't get better than GTA4, but it did. The bar gets raised over time. Should reviewers go back to the PS2 days and lower the review scores because those games no longer stand up to current titles?
     
  17. Richard

    Richard Mord's imaginary friend
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    I saw that argument with Oblivion and its bugs. You can give the game/devs a little slack but you can't simply excuse noticeable and repeateable problems. By that rational a game that tries to model the entire USA can get away with stick figures and crappy dialogue?

    I (obviously) haven't played GTA4 thus, apart from graphics, I'm only asking questions. I'm also asking if the game's hype machine, name recognition and expected sales aren't driving the excuse for perfect scores rather than, what you say, giving the game a little slack for its ambitious goals.

    That's why I said "tomorrow" with a literal meaning. Obviously, as you imply, a review is a snapshot in time of the state of the art. A game coming out in the next day is different. Here's a concrete example. Halo 3 was released on Sep 25-27 in The-Parts-Of-The-World-That-Matter (tm) :razz: and got many perfect scores. CoD4 was released 10 days later and also got perfect scores. One can't even argue that the two games are different enough to award both perfect scores. Both are FPS. They both had short single-player campaigns and a strong MP component. They were both available on the same platform. Just some food for though but here are some publications that gave both H3 and CoD4 a perfect score (taken from Metacritic):

    AceGamez
    G4 TV
    GamePro
    GameShark
    GameSpy
    GamingAge
    GotNext
    Official Xbox Magazine
    Thunderbolt
     
  18. Bludd

    Bludd Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall
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    The only way to solve this is to have all reviews be written and performed by Yahtzee/ZeroPunctuation. :)
     
  19. Richard

    Richard Mord's imaginary friend
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    It's the same argument as the game. Say if you have a student that aces the exam; do you give him a perfect score? And what if you have another student that not only aces the exam but turns in papers without being asked, asks tough questions because he was researching advanced topics concerning what he learnt in class, etc. Should both these students get the same (top) grade?

    My Uni does have guidelines and in fact they are even stricter than what I exposed here. Basically we grade from 0 to 20 but in the majority of courses (such as mine) a student can only get a 16. If he scores higher in the exam he has to defend his grade in an hour long examination where the faculty basically tries to see if the student does some of the examples I gave above. I.e. we try to acertain whether the student truly deserves the grade or whether he just memorised stuff/got lucky/cheated/whatever. Depending on how the examination goes he can even raise the grade he got in the exam. For instance, he gets a 18 in the exam but after the examination he could walk away with a 19 or even 20. Likewise if he fumbles and clearly demonstrates lack of knowledge his grade can go way down; although we don't grade the student lower than 10 out of courtesy.

    Defending the grade is entirely voluntary however, so a lucky student that gets an 18 in the exam (despite being a "12 student) can forgo the examination and stay with the max, 16.
     
  20. Richard

    Richard Mord's imaginary friend
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    Heh, agreed and thanks for the laugh!
     
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