Bringer of Words
- Jul 30, 2008
Speaking as a professional reviewer, this is more a human limit rather than a games writing-centered one. We have to make assumptions in order to communicate. By using the words I do, both in terms of word choice and chosen language, I'm making assumptions about what you (my reader) will understand, and how well it will resonate with you. If I use FPS, I can assume through context you can figure out whether or not I mean frames per second or first-person shooter, and what sort of audience I'm gathering if I'm willing to use those kinds of acronyms. An Escapist reader will probably be able to get it, but a regular New York Times or Wall Street Journal reader might not, and that's an assumption I have to make in order to even have a hope at successfully communicating to my reading audience.Something Amyss said:This is why we need personal opinions out of reviews, even though reviews are heavily reliant on personal opinions.
At the same time, if the type of gamer who enjoys Assassin's Creed isn't what you would define as the "core" gamer, I'm not sure why this is the big issue. I would think, then, that it's the increasing obsolescence of the "core" gamer and the lack of touch with modern gaming that becomes the problem, because no matter what the medium of journalism, a medium which so heavily revolves around franchises like this will find itself with many critics who are positive towards it.
It's not wrong to make assumptions about who one's audience is, because it's a necessary part of being able to communicate something. The disconnect spoken about in this comic becomes more about whether or not a reviewer can successfully convey what mechanics and aesthetics make up that subjective opinion. For example, I know I don't particularly care for a games like the Metal Gear Solid series, but in that opinion, I recognize where my subjective tastes for those mechanics translate differently for others, and my review of an MGS game would be written to reflect that. Likewise, I recognize that though I may love platformers like Dustforce or Super Meat Boy (Personally, 9/10 and 7/10 respectively), I recognize that the average audience member will be easily frustrated by the nail-bitingly difficult central mechanic, the aesthetic for both are very highly subjective, and the games are made or broken on precision, which isn't for everyone.
However, it's worth also recognizing that my reviews will never be in a vacuum. My scores are going to appear alongside at least 5+ others in Metacritic, and the words I've written along with those scores will be foiled against the words others have written, and all of that together will paint a very clean, clear picture of the game that any consumer with a smart phone can access at any time when deciding if they want to pick up a game. So if my subjective tastes don't mesh with another - or even the majority - there are more options, and it's not the end of the world.
You do realize this is an industry that goes through something to the effect of hundreds of AAA titles on a yearly basis? You cite a single example of a single publication as proof that no one will ever give a low score to a AAA game because of it. I mean, I agree, that was genuinely awful.Karadalis said:See, AAA publishers don't need to threaten anymore... It was already well established what will happen to you if you go against the choir and give a AAA title a low score in the past.
But bear in mind the Call of Duty: Ghosts, published by the big three, averaged 68 on Metacritic [http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/call-of-duty-ghosts], which would be a failing grade (D) by the bizarro US-grading scale we use for game reviews. The Elder Scrolls Online didn't fair much better with a 71 [http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/the-elder-scrolls-online]. Nor Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns at 69 [http://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation-3/lightning-returns-final-fantasy-xiii]. Or Final Fantasy XIII at 65 [http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/final-fantasy-xiii]. Or Doom 3 at 59 [http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/doom-3-bfg-edition].
I mean, the scale is very heavily weighted toward the top, I'll grant you, but relative to the others in the scale, it's not like AAA games have ever been immune to criticism like you suggest. Any game can be, and often will be, panned by the critics.