Yooka-Laylee reviews are coming out and thoughts are ...mixed

sXeth

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Nov 15, 2012
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Phoenixmgs said:
Seth Carter said:
7/10 average is for "proper" games though. Some of its marketing concerns, but the trend also starts to correlate with the rise in Internet and Digital Distribution. Which created tonnes of shovelware, buggy garbage, rejected high school programming class assignments, and literally games that have a 5% chance to start up or get out of the menu screen to fill in 0-5 with.
And, again, no other medium rates its art like that either. Movies released to theaters aren't automatic say 2-star movies because of Steven Seagal direct-to-video garbage or those knockoff Asylum movies (Transmorphers, Snakes on a Train, etc.).
I dunno, if you find a movie on direct to video that bricks your DVD player, induces massive motion sickness on the audience, is an empty soundstage with a red filter on the lens for 3 hours, made entirely of stock footage, or literally an unresponsive DVD menu. I'd imagine you rate that lower then 73 minutes of Steven Seagal being a cardboard cutout or people being doused in corn syrup.

Games have a lot more room for varying grades of absolute s***, which accounts for the allotment of more then a point/half star,
 

Saltyk

Sane among the insane.
Sep 12, 2010
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I'm actually a little surprised that it's so all over the place. Mind you I've checked Metacritic in the past and the summary usually has at least a few moderate and low scores there. It's rare when a game is nothing but positive reviews there.

But yeah, the criticisms I'm hearing make sense. It's like Banjo Kazooie, warts and all. If you're okay playing a 20 year old game with 20 year old design philosophy, you'll enjoy it. If you don't, you probably won't like it as much.

Casual Shinji said:
Yoshi178 said:
called me out on it? more like jumped down my bloody throat and bombarded me with "you're wrong, prove it!" type comments even wanting me to do full on in depth research about Jim's entire history and dig up like like 20 or so games to compile a list of review scores that "support" my claim even further and more in depth despite the fact that i had already listed like 3 recent Playstation reviews from the Jimquisition website and compared them with the scores they Gave Yooka Laylee, and another game being Zelda.
You didn't have to do any research. One of the earliest posts showed favourable scores Jim gave to Nintendo exclussive games. All you had to do was look at it, and then you would've come to the logical conclusion that he wasn't a Sony fanboy.

And while we're at it, how does Jim not liking Yooka-Laylee prove he's a Sony fanboy? The game is on the PS4. You're acting like he pissed all over it because it's a Nintendo exclussive, which it isn't.


hell someone even just asked me last page if i know how "debates/discussions" work? last i checked i didn't even know i was in a debate, i just said something and then got dragged into a massive debate because people disagree with the thing i said.
You do know you're on a forum, right? Meaning the posts you make are read and sometimes responded to by other people. That's the whole idea behind a forum; discussion.
Honestly, I'm not sure if I should be amused at Yoshi or angry. I mean he pointed at that Jim gave games like Persona 5 and Horizon high scores like that's proof he's a Sony fanboy. Yet, those games got high scores all around. How does that prove anything? That's literally saying this guy likes something that everyone likes and that proves bias. And Jim gave BoTW a 7/10, but he's also stated that he actually likes the game, he thinks it's a good game.

So I'm thinking, should I find it hilarious watching someone who ignores reality and substitutes their own because that fulfills their narrative? Or should I be mad that he won't listen to reason?
 

shrekfan246

Not actually a Japanese pop star
May 26, 2011
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Joccaren said:
Lets look at Yooka Laylee. He doesn't like 90s style platformer collectathons. He buys a 90s style platformer collectathon, and his review is largely "2/10, its a 90s style platformer collectathon".
I'd hesitate to say that he doesn't like them straight up. It seems he may not be particularly fond of them, but he was even into the demo Playtonic released for Kickstarter backers.

To me, this is just stupid. Why even bother reviewing something if you KNOW you're not going to like it going into it? It'd be like me playing Dynasty Warriors and giving it a 2/10 because it isn't a RTS game - and you can bet your ass he'd have a field day with someone attacking one of his favourite franchises for being what it was promised rather than something else that I wanted. He'd be saying it was stupid to review it as an RTS when its obviously not - yet its exactly what he has done.
Hell, he has done similar before - he rounds up all the 2/10 reviews for games from Metacritic and ridicules them for being out of touch. A lot of fanboy trolling, however he even ridicules the ones that just didn't enjoy a game and rate it really low for not enjoying it at all, for disagreeing with him. He doesn't get a defence for doing that same thing here.
Primary difference: The vast majority of Metacritic 0/10 or 10/10 user scores aren't actually going into lengthy explanations for why they think the way they do.

Of course, he's entitled to his opinions, his opinions in this case are just worthless though. The review could honestly have been summed up as "I don't like 90s platformers, this is one".
Hell, IGN gave a more impartial review. Fucking IGN. That's a joke.
Here's a question - Why is that useless? Assuming that someone reading a review from Jim Sterling knows at least a little bit about his general likes and dislikes and also has well-reasoned knowledge of their own likes and dislikes, why is getting Jim's opinion about the game bad? What do we, as readers and potential consumers, lose by reading the opinions of someone who had an incredibly bad time with a game, bearing in mind that other reviews still exist which might better inform the way we personally would feel about how egregious the game's problems are?

When it came to BotW, I can understand his criticisms a bit more. That said, he went too far in ignoring the merits of the game, which was evidenced in other episodes where he praises other games for doing the exact things BotW does, yet never mentioned for BotW. There was also a bit of expecting the game to be something else, rather than reviewing it on its own merits, but I can understand a small amount of that, and that's fair enough. His criticisms were mostly fair, though he seems to have missed a lot of the positives because of his focus on them.
I'll be coming back to this, but for now I'm just going to say that people don't need to focus on whatever you seem to deem necessary - that's kinda why you shouldn't ever just solely follow one reviewer.

Jim reviews games 100% by how much he enjoyed them - with his pre-play biases strongly impacting the scores. If before trying something he thinks its going to be bad, he's going to rate it poorly because of that rather than coming at it with a fresh mind. This is ok, however it means you cannot take him as a remotely reliable source of game quality or enjoyability. His analysis is often also simplistic or flawed, meaning there's minimal takeaway from it.

"But all reviews are subjective" I hear you say. To an extent, is the answer. I've heard "What other medium has an average 7/10 review score?", as if Jim giving a 2 is him fighting this trend. It isn't. He is perpetuating it. Games have relatively high review scores because reviewers review them almost solely on personal enjoyment, and most people tend to enjoy the games they play. Hence, high review scores. Jim doing exactly the same thing, but not liking a couple of games, isn't bucking the trend - its continuing it.
Counter question; When's the last time a respected movie critic reviewed a competently executed movie in a genre they didn't like a 2/10, because they didn't like the genre?
I'll sit and wait. The answer is, it doesn't.

And that's the difference between videogame reviews, and other reviews. Other reviews have actual critics; people who are literate in the medium they are reviewing, and provide a baseline objective review, with some subjectiveness sprinkled in. Even that subjectivity often comes down to how good the writing is, which is only partially subjective as there are again objective qualities people can base their reviews on.
When it comes to videogames, the majority of reviewers are illiterate. They don't understand game design theory, how things fit together, and the effect it has on the game. As a result of this, they can only give a review based on how they felt about the game, and that turns it from somewhat subjective, to fully subjective - as shown with Yooka Laylee. This is useless, unless your taste in games is exactly the same as the reviewer's.
And yeah, such hobbyist reviewers exist for movies and books and such too. However you ALSO have professional critics who know what they're talking about. Jim is considered the latter, whilst being very much the former. That's the problem.
All right, and here we come to the main meat of the "this is what you should be focusing on!" thing that you apparently believe. There's a lot to unpack here, so I'm going to try taking this piece by piece.

Jim reviews games 100% by how much he enjoyed them - with his pre-play biases strongly impacting the scores. If before trying something he thinks its going to be bad, he's going to rate it poorly because of that rather than coming at it with a fresh mind.
This is 100% conjecture on your part, as none of us actually know what goes on in Jim's head when he's going through his critique process. There are many times he's stated that he's gone into a game with one expectation and come away with something completely different; that tends to happen to many people and it's a pretty big reason why you can find weekly threads about how "overrated" any given game is.

When's the last time a respected movie critic reviewed a competently executed movie in a genre they didn't like a 2/10, because they didn't like the genre?
I'll sit and wait. The answer is, it doesn't.

And that's the difference between videogame reviews, and other reviews. Other reviews have actual critics
You seem to be missing a primary component that comprises the difference between video games and other media. When's the last time a respected movie critic had active control over the movie they were watching?

If you don't think interactivity plays any role in how a person winds up viewing a video game, then... well, I'm gonna have to call into question the relevancy of any criticisms you're making here in this post of yours.

Other reviews have actual critics; people who are literate in the medium they are reviewing, and provide a baseline objective review, with some subjectiveness sprinkled in. Even that subjectivity often comes down to how good the writing is, which is only partially subjective as there are again objective qualities people can base their reviews on.
Have you ever read an Ebert review? Serious question.

When it comes to videogames, the majority of reviewers are illiterate. They don't understand game design theory, how things fit together, and the effect it has on the game. As a result of this, they can only give a review based on how they felt about the game, and that turns it from somewhat subjective, to fully subjective - as shown with Yooka Laylee. This is useless, unless your taste in games is exactly the same as the reviewer's.
We're gatekeeping video game critique now? I didn't realize that I needed to get an MSc in video game design to write about video games.

I'm being flippant here because the technical aspects of, say, film reviews written by people who have extensively studied filmography are entirely useless to the large number of people who have not. The layman doesn't care how well-shot a particular scene was, and will barely care about how "shaky cam and sporadic cuts make action scenes hard to follow". In fact, that's information which is just as useful to the reader as a video game critic describing their experiences with a game's control system--which is to say, it has wildly varying usefulness depending solely on who is reading.

And yes, it is a problem. It isn't just a slight "Well just find a reviewer you like" problem, it creates a huge level of inconsistency.
Reviews Don't (And In Fact Shouldn't) Need To Be Uniform.

What were Jim's criticisms of Yooka Laylee?
-Simple Combat
-Poor level design
-Poor platforming controls
-Poorly written dialogue
-Poor voiceovers.

Score? 2/10.

Now lets look at Mass Effect Andromeda.
All of those points, except Simple Combat, apply. Platforming is even a pretty core part of the game, blocking of several areas until you complete a platforming puzzle and being required to finish the main story. Does he mention it though? No, of course not.
The game is also extremely buggy, and is a technical shitshow.

We get a 5/10 instead, because... ok?
For the same set of complaints, except bugginess being swapped for simple combat [With combat being a rather minor part of the game in question], we get hugely different review scores. In fact, prior to posting, he was contemplating even giving Andromeda a 7, despite he himself believing it was nowhere near as good as Zelda, which he also gave a 7.

Am I saying he should have reviewed Andromeda lower? No, I think 5-7 is a far range for it. Yooka Laylee, however, from all I've heard, also sits in that range, if not higher.

The scores are entirely arbitrary and utterly inconsistent. You literally cannot tell the quality or enjoyment of a game from them, as they change based on how you're feeling the day you review the game. Today a 7 means great, tomorrow it means average.
You do realize that the games aren't the same, right? In fact, you do realize that there are rather large, sweeping differences between the two games, even if they might share certain downsides?

This is why a baseline level of objectiveness in reviews is useful, and expected in all mediums outside of games.
And people do do these kinds of objective analysis of games - they just don't write reviews. Numerous people will break down what makes a game tick, why some things are fun, why others aren't, because they're literate in game design. But again, they don't actually review the games, because that's not their focus. Their focus is on increasing game literacy, using examples.
Here's something that's really fun: You're subjectively asking for objectivity in video game reviews. You know what I don't particularly find interesting to read about in video game reviews? The technical aspects of a game from a detached, impersonal perspective. I don't need to read about the control scheme of a game and how it relates to the main character traversing the world; I want to read about how that system actually translated to the person controlling the game. It's a fine distinction, to be sure, but there's also this little line of yours:

why some things are fun, why others aren't, because they're literate in game design
This isn't how... anything works, actually. I think Dark Souls is a fantastic game, but I'm never going to be able to convince someone of that if they don't enjoy it, and there isn't anything to be gained from them acknowledging that the game is or isn't well-designed from a purely objective standpoint. It doesn't matter. They don't like it, so to them Dark Souls is not a fantastic game. If reviews were based around any level of objectiveness, then there wouldn't be three negative reviews for the original Alien film. If criticism in general was based around any level of objectivity, then Ernest Hemingway would either be singularly celebrated or reviled, and not some weird mix of both depending on who you ask.

You argue that there's little worth in the subjectivity of someone's opinions when they're ignoring or otherwise unknowledgeable about the technical aspects of what they're reviewing (apparently, since I could spend another hour going on about how the only way you'd think someone is entirely ignorant about the technical aspects is if you haven't even read the review yourself and wrap this all back around to the fact that you don't need to study video game design to understand how the basics fit together to form something that should be enjoyable); from my position I find little worth in someone couching their criticism behind clarifying that something is, in fact, technically sound and has met some baseline for quality. Technical prowess means very little to me, beyond any developer who just isn't capable of meeting a basic level of it. Many games have a basic level of technical quality, it does nothing for me to be told how and why they are capable titles on a purely playable level.

Were reviewers to learn from videos such as this, some basic game design literacy, they would be able to both enjoy games more in general, being able to actually play games better and thus derive more enjoyment from them, rather than stubbornly sticking to a skillset from their favourite genre even when it doesn't apply, but also review games better, stating why some systems don't work at a design level, and why some do.
Throw in some writing literacy, and screenplay literacy, and hell, you'd have a good reviewer who could tell you how well designed something is and how it all fits together - and that does, for games at least, directly correlate to how enjoyable a game tends to be for its target audience. Throw in some subjective "I like/dislike this genre, and I don't/do enjoy this game" to keep the exact same quality of subjectiveness in reviews we have now, and you'd see average review scores plummet to 5-6, extremist review scores disappear for the most part outside of exceptionally good or bad games, and reviews become useful for everyone.
Now, you might have the impression that I think video game reviews are completely fine and don't need to change after all of this, which I will expressly state is not true. I don't disagree that with better knowledge, reviews could be made better. I don't disagree that there is a market for reviews which are directly informed by intimate knowledge of video game theory and design. But this is the sticking point:
and reviews become useful for everyone.
Every review doesn't need to be useful for everyone.

Books have their markets. Films have their markets. Television, comics, magazines, music, board games, video games, phones, clothes, even makeup and certain foods, even schools. Why can't critics? Why must they conform to some arbitrary standard that deems their writing "useful" for a nebulous group of potential readers whose tastes they'll never be able to predict?
 

Phoenixmgs_v1legacy

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Seth Carter said:
I dunno, if you find a movie on direct to video that bricks your DVD player, induces massive motion sickness on the audience, is an empty soundstage with a red filter on the lens for 3 hours, made entirely of stock footage, or literally an unresponsive DVD menu. I'd imagine you rate that lower then 73 minutes of Steven Seagal being a cardboard cutout or people being doused in corn syrup.

Games have a lot more room for varying grades of absolute s***, which accounts for the allotment of more then a point/half star,
Critics don't review such low quality products to begin with, so it's not even part of the scale. Roger Ebert gave out zero star reviews for example. I very much feel he would prefer a movie that broke his DVD player over how much he hated the movies he gave zero stars. An empty soundstage with a red filter over the lens would've been less reprehensible and even less time wasting than some actual movies.
 

Phoenixmgs_v1legacy

Muse of Fate
Sep 1, 2010
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shrekfan246 said:
Snippity Snip Snip
Completely agree. There's some objectiveness to anything; however, something being objectively good or bad is usually not the reason why something resonates or does not resonate with someone. The hitbox quality of say Dark Souls (or any other melee focused combat game) is objective, but the amount that hitbox issues negatively affect a person's enjoyment can vary greatly from person to person; thus even something objective is in the end very subjective. Same thing with framerates, some people really don't like anything below 60fps whereas I couldn't care less as long the framerate is stable. I have written paragraphs detailing how bad I feel Naughty Dog is at making 3rd-person shooting controls but Uncharted 2 and The Last of Us are amazing games IMO. The great subjective qualities of those 2 games elevate them far beyond their "objectively" subpar controls. Whereas the much inferior subjective qualities of Uncharted, Uncharted 3 (the narrative was such a mess), and Uncharted 4 cause me to rate those games at no higher than a 5/10.
 

Joccaren

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Mar 29, 2011
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shrekfan246 said:
Joccaren said:
Lets look at Yooka Laylee. He doesn't like 90s style platformer collectathons. He buys a 90s style platformer collectathon, and his review is largely "2/10, its a 90s style platformer collectathon".
I'd hesitate to say that he doesn't like them straight up. It seems he may not be particularly fond of them, but he was even into the demo Playtonic released for Kickstarter backers.
Considering his review quite literally starts with "If there?s one thing that can be said in Yooka-Laylee?s favor, it?s that Playtonic absolutely nailed the creation of a late 90s 3D mascot platformer.

Unfortunately, I do not mean that as a compliment."

If it is an absolutely perfect rendition of a given genre, but you hate it - its kind of implied that you hate the genre. The genre, to Jim, is a 2/10. He has explicitly laid that out in his review.

Primary difference: The vast majority of Metacritic 0/10 or 10/10 user scores aren't actually going into lengthy explanations for why they think the way they do.
I will agree there are many of them. There are others that don't write 3 pages of review, but do say that they dislike the game, and review it based on like/dislike rather than any technical merit. And he ridicules them the same as anyone else. Just writing "I don't like this game" for 3 pages doesn't make a review any more relevant, just longer. Jim's review can honestly be entirely summed up by that first line; you know EXACTLY what you're getting by reading it. The following paragraphs are basically just repeating it ad naseum for different sub components.
You ridicule others for reviewing based on feeling, you deserve criticism for reviewing based on feeling too.

Here's a question - Why is that useless? Assuming that someone reading a review from Jim Sterling knows at least a little bit about his general likes and dislikes and also has well-reasoned knowledge of their own likes and dislikes, why is getting Jim's opinion about the game bad? What do we, as readers and potential consumers, lose by reading the opinions of someone who had an incredibly bad time with a game, bearing in mind that other reviews still exist which might better inform the way we personally would feel about how egregious the game's problems are?
Lets say you know a little bit about Jim's likes and dislikes. You don't need to read the review. You already know what it'll be.
Hell, you don't need to read any reviews like this when you know anything about a reviewer - you already know what the review is going to be based on the genre and series. Its like people accusing Yoshi of in this thread; he'll come to the defence of Nintendo all the time [Haven't exactly followed most users enough over the last few years to know if this is true, but it seems to be people's impression of him]. When a thread about Nintendo is started by Yoshi, most people kind of seem to know where its going to go.

Without any baseline objectivity to a review, its pointless. Getting Jim's opinion about the game isn't bad, but the review is pointless, because you already have his opinion about the game. When I can get more information on the game's faults and strengths from an IGN review, and IGN is more unbiased, that's ridiculous. And that's what blows my mind here.

I'll be coming back to this, but for now I'm just going to say that people don't need to focus on whatever you seem to deem necessary - that's kinda why you shouldn't ever just solely follow one reviewer.
Its not that he's not focusing on what I deem necessary, its that he's inconsistent with his focus. For a game he likes, he'll focus on one set of criteria that he likes. He'll then completely ignore these criteria in other games he does not like as much, eschewing praise for the very things he praised other games for. If you're just going to change what you count as a positive based on how much you like the game... That's stupid, and unhelpful.

This is 100% conjecture on your part, as none of us actually know what goes on in Jim's head when he's going through his critique process. There are many times he's stated that he's gone into a game with one expectation and come away with something completely different; that tends to happen to many people and it's a pretty big reason why you can find weekly threads about how "overrated" any given game is.
Its fairly evident from the reviews he gives, however. He's often fairly open about this as well. Yes, sometimes he can be surprised by something being not at all what he expected; if he looks at something and goes "That's a CoD style FPS" and it doesn't turn out to be Spec Ops, his review is essentially already written though - and a CoD game doesn't need to be Spec Ops to get a different review from other CoD games. He eschews the details within a genre of what makes them fun or not, and just reviews it based on a handful of personal opinions he has before even playing the game.

You seem to be missing a primary component that comprises the difference between video games and other media. When's the last time a respected movie critic had active control over the movie they were watching?

If you don't think interactivity plays any role in how a person winds up viewing a video game, then... well, I'm gonna have to call into question the relevancy of any criticisms you're making here in this post of yours.
I think you're underestimating the extent of game design. Yes, you can interact with a game differently to another person. Good game design guides your interactions, has pre-planned how you'll act and react at certain points, creates a good interest curve - ect.
Its the difference between, say, Skyrim and Breath of the Wild. Both are open world games, both have a lot of different ways for people to interact with them. Skyrim is generally regarded as reasonably mediocre, though got a range of reviews, mostly positive, when it came out. It doesn't control the flow as well as BotW, and isn't as well designed. BotW gets consistently high reviews, and likely will for its foreseeable future, because it designs its world with proper interest curves, subconscious guiding, and various other game design tools that most reviewers aren't literate in, and don't even notice, but that greatly impact how enjoyable a game is, even for those who don't know they exist.

Additionally, you seem to be missing the idea that a reviewer can actually review the interactivity, and that it also has a baseline objective quality that has been designed. Yes, its one more thing to review than in a movie, that doesn't fundamentally change how the review has to be structured though. Its just one more thing to be literate in.

Have you ever read an Ebert review? Serious question.
Yes, and your point is?

We're gatekeeping video game critique now? I didn't realize that I needed to get an MSc in video game design to write about video games.
I think you'll find that later I say "Yeah, some of this is cool, we also need serious reviews, and for there to be a distinction between the two".
When serious and 'enjoyment' reviews are treated the same, and seen as the same, its problematic for understanding a game from reviews, and often in terms of criticisms and such as well. Were Jim widely considered an emotional reviewer that just rated things based on how much he liked them, rather than trying to present his reviews as more objective and fact-based, things like the BotW DDoS probably wouldn't have happened, because fewer people would care. Sure, it isn't a magic cureall for all the problems of the internet, but having an opinion-based review be well known and present themselves as opinion based, and fact based reviews known for being fact based, with respect and delineation between the two - things would be more informative for the consumer, and less flamable.

I'm being flippant here because the technical aspects of, say, film reviews written by people who have extensively studied filmography are entirely useless to the large number of people who have not. The layman doesn't care how well-shot a particular scene was, and will barely care about how "shaky cam and sporadic cuts make action scenes hard to follow". In fact, that's information which is just as useful to the reader as a video game critic describing their experiences with a game's control system--which is to say, it has wildly varying usefulness depending solely on who is reading.
You say this, yet you underestimate many things about game design, and how useful criticisms can be.

The translation of your 'shaky cam and sporadic cuts' analogy is "Scenes were confusing. Was bad". The former says the same thing, but gives a reason, which informs both your average Joe that some scenes are confusing or painful to watch, while also informing those more literate as to the exact reasons so that they know whether that specific thing will bother them or not.

Likewise, videogame design does this too. Jim's current review; "Level design is bad". Umm... Ok? In what way? His only example is the fact that the game didn't tell him the solution to a puzzle and he had to figure it out himself. That's not bad level design. Being more literate, as even IGN was closer to [Again, that's just embarassing], we find out that the maps are large, and lack a minimap to tell you where you are going, or pre-telegraphs to guide you subconsciously. Of course, the reviews only mention a portion of this, but you can glean some of it from the simpler statements they use - its just thoroughly ambiguous as to whether these are the problems, or other aspects such as walls that imply being climbable but aren't, and other such communications issues exist.
Or, BotW. "Item durability is bad, its always bad". Ok, fair opinion, but it doesn't actually tell me much about the game. Game design people have gone into depth about how it serves to balance difficulty as you enter a new section, and how it plays into the 'pick up enemy's weapons' systems, among other things, so that I know that sure, maybe I'm not going to like that my weapon breaks all the time - BUT I know that I won't have as many balance problems, and I'll appreciate weapon variety and other mechanics more because of it. Not only does this give me more information about the game, it also frames me to enter playing the game so I know how to enjoy it, rather than framing me to not enjoy the game and just focus on weapons breaking. More literate reviews are, plainly, more useful.

Reviews Don't (And In Fact Shouldn't) Need To Be Uniform.
I don't mean inconsistency between reviewers; I mean inconsistency within a reviewer's own reviews. Repeating a part from below; Jim himself was originally thinking of giving Andromeda a 7, even though he believed it was not as good as Zelda. That is him admitting the inconsistency in his own reviews, as a 7 doesn't have a uniform meaning for Jim - it has a wide range of meanings depending how he feels on the day about what a 7 is. That's problematic for understanding how enjoyable a game is.
Reviews sure as hell shouldn't review a game the same as each other just for the sake of it, but they should be consistent in their own reviews. That should honestly go without saying.

You do realize that the games aren't the same, right? In fact, you do realize that there are rather large, sweeping differences between the two games, even if they might share certain downsides?
Yes, there are genre-based differences. So again, we get to the point where Jim is reviewing based on genre, rather than based on the game. They share the same downsides, and positives. Get two completely different scores because they are in different genres. And half of Yooka-Laylee's negatives are genre based to begin with.

Again, the reviews themselves seem to be rather useless; I can just look at the genre of the games and see how Jim will review them. This is exactly my point.

Here's something that's really fun: You're subjectively asking for objectivity in video game reviews. You know what I don't particularly find interesting to read about in video game reviews? The technical aspects of a game from a detached, impersonal perspective. I don't need to read about the control scheme of a game and how it relates to the main character traversing the world; I want to read about how that system actually translated to the person controlling the game. It's a fine distinction, to be sure, but there's also this little line of yours:
Here's the thing; you're illiterate in game design. You think all that can be talked about is control schemes objectively. This is patently false.

Everything that you enjoy about a game can be talked about in game design terms, because it was designed so that you would enjoy it. Not just control schemes. Did you find that racing section fun? A literate reviewer could break down in proper detail exactly what made it fun; letting average joe know its fun, while letting others know WHY its fun, so they can tell if its their type of fun or not. And if there's a problem, it allows others to see whether that problem matters to them, or will be easily ignorable.
A number of reviewers try to do something along these lines, however they don't have the game design literacy to do it properly, meaning it again comes down to "I found this fun".

This isn't how... anything works, actually. I think Dark Souls is a fantastic game, but I'm never going to be able to convince someone of that if they don't enjoy it, and there isn't anything to be gained from them acknowledging that the game is or isn't well-designed from a purely objective standpoint. It doesn't matter. They don't like it, so to them Dark Souls is not a fantastic game. If reviews were based around any level of objectiveness, then there wouldn't be three negative reviews for the original Alien film. If criticism in general was based around any level of objectivity, then Ernest Hemingway would either be singularly celebrated or reviled, and not some weird mix of both depending on who you ask.
See above. You very much CAN convince someone that Dark Souls is a fantastic game, even if they don't enjoy it. Hey there, you've met someone that thinks that now. What you can't do is convince them that they can enjoy it. I know exactly what makes Dark Souls enjoyable, why it works, and how it pulls together, from game design literacy and experience. A review telling me what makes it so enjoyable before buying it would have let me know that I wouldn't enjoy it, because I could have understood the feel it builds towards, and how it does it, and noted that its not my thing, while still being well designed. Know what doesn't help? "Dark souls is a great game. The environments breathe atmosphere, and the combat is deep and engaging with many different approaches able to be taken, and...." - a standard review. Its glowing, and most will be. And the negative reviews don't really give me any context for it being negative either. What am I to believe about how I'll enjoy it without playing?
The answer is with a good review. An informative one that tells average Joe "This is a great game", while also giving the detail necessary for more literate readers to understand what makes it great, and whether they'll like it or not. It also frames you to enter the game in a way that'll be more enjoyable and maximise your odds of having fun, while increasing the literacy of game players. Higher literacy of game players means fewer slow boring tutorials as designers can trust we'll understand what's going on, and better more enjoyable games because of it.

You argue that there's little worth in the subjectivity of someone's opinions when they're ignoring or otherwise unknowledgeable about the technical aspects of what they're reviewing (apparently, since I could spend another hour going on about how the only way you'd think someone is entirely ignorant about the technical aspects is if you haven't even read the review yourself and wrap this all back around to the fact that you don't need to study video game design to understand how the basics fit together to form something that should be enjoyable); from my position I find little worth in someone couching their criticism behind clarifying that something is, in fact, technically sound and has met some baseline for quality. Technical prowess means very little to me, beyond any developer who just isn't capable of meeting a basic level of it. Many games have a basic level of technical quality, it does nothing for me to be told how and why they are capable titles on a purely playable level.
And again, you're still missing the extent of game design. It seems you think its chance and magic that make a game enjoyable to play, the designers just make sure its not buggy and that the controls work, and hopefully it all fits together. Average games, yes. The truly great games? Everything is designed to a T, and you can break down exactly why its fun.
You CAN'T do this without some education in game design. Much like a literate movie reviewer doesn't need to go to film school for 3 years and graduate with a diploma, neither does a literate game reviewer need to do so. They can't just be an average Joe off the street though.
Subjectivity is useful, and can be conveyed even in a predominantly objective review. It can still exist. However, the reviews become more informative, and more useful to everyone; from your average Joe, to a literate player, who likes, or who doesn't like. It loses nothing, and gains everything. At least if competently written.

It isn't couching your criticism in "Technically its playable", a well written review would honestly do the opposite. It'd outline that systems fit together, and point out where they fall apart and put it out as "Unfortunately, despite most of this being well designed, this one flaw pulls the whole experience apart in this way". A reviewer who reviews purely on opinion also wouldn't need to do this; They could do exactly what they do on Metacritic user sections ATM; "I don't like it, its this genre/developer/series". Because that's essentially what Jim's review was. Forgive me if I don't see the point in 3 pages of review just saying the same thing over and over. It does nothing for anyone to just repeat yourself "I don't like 90s platformers". Jim's review could easily be summed up by his first line, as I've already said, in full detail. If you want 3 pages of review trying to provide some objective, qualitative and useful information - like he seems to try to - you've got to actually provide some objective, qualitative and useful information. Pick one, or the other. Pretending to give design criticisms, while only giving out an uninformed opinion, is, as I've said many times, useless and pointless. Average Joe has to read 3 pages of stuff he doesn't care about, and informed Joe just looks at it and goes "This is rubbish" - or worse, gets confused by what you're saying, believing that your praise or criticism is objective, and buying games that they'll hate because you pretended to be objective while enjoying them, without actually being so, or missing games they might love, because you pretended to be objective in criticism whilst not being so.

Now, you might have the impression that I think video game reviews are completely fine and don't need to change after all of this, which I will expressly state is not true. I don't disagree that with better knowledge, reviews could be made better. I don't disagree that there is a market for reviews which are directly informed by intimate knowledge of video game theory and design. But this is the sticking point:
and reviews become useful for everyone.
Every review doesn't need to be useful for everyone.
Hobby reviewers, sure. When you're reviewing professionally, you should try and make your review as useful as possible, to as many people as possible. If you don't have to sacrifice usefulness to one group to improve it for another group, you should do so. Its kind of what goes with being a professional reviewer. Not every reviewer has to do so, sure, but the better reviewers will tend to.

Books have their markets. Films have their markets. Television, comics, magazines, music, board games, video games, phones, clothes, even makeup and certain foods, even schools. Why can't critics? Why must they conform to some arbitrary standard that deems their writing "useful" for a nebulous group of potential readers whose tastes they'll never be able to predict?
They can still have their markets. They still have subjective input. However their reviews are actually more useful than Metacritic user sections, and that should honestly be expected of professional reviewers. They don't have to have the same opinion on everything, they should be informative though, and not purely reactionary.
Its what separates a supposedly 'professional' and respectable reviewer, from just your average internet user.
 

Joccaren

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Oh no. A huge level of inconsistency in videogame review scores? You know what that means? Nothing. Nothing of any importance at all.

At worst it means we can't accurately gauge whether we'll like a game by some number some guy put on it somewhere. Next we'll have to read the actual review, or read about the game in different places or watch a lets play. That would take less time than it probably cost you to put up that wall of text you got there. I honestly don't get what you think the problem is.
It means that a bunch of reviews are utterly useless. Sure, the world ain't ending, however someone, say Jim, giving a game a 7 means shit all, and reading his reviews give minimal information on the game itself. Essentially, his reviews are useless, and you may as well skip over them and just watch the lets play, or read another review that'll give you exactly the same info his does, but more of it.

First world problems and all, but I see useless reviews as a problem for both the reader, and the reviewer. Its a waste of time for both, and could easily be made better with just a minimal amount of thought towards consistency in a reviewer's own scores [Not talking about different reviewers, I'm talking one reviewer giving 2 games they believe have vastly different qualities, one is great one is wank, the same score. That makes their ranks useless, and often when they are its because they don't have the meat in the actual review itself to back up that score, and thus the review itself also tends to be useless].
 

Callate

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Jim overdid it. I'm not contesting his right to have his opinion, but again, when you tender your "opinion" as a review, you're presuming that it will be of significant use to other people- more so than any random yokel piping up on a forum page, say. Giving YL a 2 put him at the extreme edge of the scale of critical reviews without much cover- and the review itself gives the strong impression not so much that the game is bad as that it rubbed him, in particular, the wrong way.

Compounding the problem is the way his own page describes review scores: 3 says "it may have had some potential at one point, that's been lost to lousy design, glitches, or some other unfortunate failure."; 2 says "there is no hope of a positive experience ever shining through all the broken features and atrocious ideas. Only the truly desperate will be able to dig through the mire and find something passable."

So one is left to conclude that A) for some reason Jim chose to back Yooka-Laylee's Kickstarter, despite never feeling the game had any potential and B) the twenty-three other critics who gave the game mixed-to-positive scores (on the PC version) can all be described as "the truly desperate".

And, y'know, typical Jim Sterling hyperbole, perhaps, but he doesn't really have anyone to blame about that but himself. He didn't do a good job on this one.
 

sXeth

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Phoenixmgs said:
Seth Carter said:
I dunno, if you find a movie on direct to video that bricks your DVD player, induces massive motion sickness on the audience, is an empty soundstage with a red filter on the lens for 3 hours, made entirely of stock footage, or literally an unresponsive DVD menu. I'd imagine you rate that lower then 73 minutes of Steven Seagal being a cardboard cutout or people being doused in corn syrup.

Games have a lot more room for varying grades of absolute s***, which accounts for the allotment of more then a point/half star,
Critics don't review such low quality products to begin with, so it's not even part of the scale. Roger Ebert gave out zero star reviews for example. I very much feel he would prefer a movie that broke his DVD player over how much he hated the movies he gave zero stars. An empty soundstage with a red filter over the lens would've been less reprehensible and even less time wasting than some actual movies.
Movie critics don't. Art critics don't. (Mostly) Music critics don't.

Games are strangely this one oddball form where somehow the absolute dregs of garbage are for some reason sold in reputable marketplaces and cross the desks of the reviewers as anything more then fodder for comedy. The fact that multiple reviewers like to mix critic with comedian and sometimes actively seek out the crap for joke fodder probably doesn't help.
 

Phoenixmgs_v1legacy

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Seth Carter said:
Phoenixmgs said:
Critics don't review such low quality products to begin with, so it's not even part of the scale. Roger Ebert gave out zero star reviews for example. I very much feel he would prefer a movie that broke his DVD player over how much he hated the movies he gave zero stars. An empty soundstage with a red filter over the lens would've been less reprehensible and even less time wasting than some actual movies.
Movie critics don't. Art critics don't. (Mostly) Music critics don't.

Games are strangely this one oddball form where somehow the absolute dregs of garbage are for some reason sold in reputable marketplaces and cross the desks of the reviewers as anything more then fodder for comedy. The fact that multiple reviewers like to mix critic with comedian and sometimes actively seek out the crap for joke fodder probably doesn't help.
Video game critics don't review that garbage that is on Steam either. If they did, then you'd be able to go to IGN/GameSpot's recent reviews and see nothing but shit games because 40% of Steam's library was released in 2016 and average game scores would've taken a nosedive last year. The worst they will have to review is some lackluster licensed tie-in games, which seem to be lower in quantity than they used to be.
 

CaitSeith

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Joccaren said:
Hobby reviewers, sure. When you're reviewing professionally, you should try and make your review as useful as possible, to as many people as possible. If you don't have to sacrifice usefulness to one group to improve it for another group, you should do so. Its kind of what goes with being a professional reviewer. Not every reviewer has to do so, sure, but the better reviewers will tend to.
Sorry, but from where did you get that professional reviewer guideline? What authority is in charge of establishing how professional reviews should or shouldn't be? Who is your qualified and properly certified source for accurately "professional review" standards?
 

CaitSeith

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Pseudonym said:
So has anyone here already played yooka laylee? Any thoughts on the actual game. It apparently is somewhat mediocre.
Not really. But I have seen the pattern of reviewers having a more favorable perception for the PC version. So I'll probably give it the benefit of the doubt and someday try it there.
 

K12

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Eric the Orange said:
Lisker84 said:
To be fair, Jim Sterling seems to hate just about everything.
According to meta critic Jim rates games 0.5 points lower than average. Which doesn't really seem significant enough to say he "hates everything".
I agree and I think that 0.5 average difference will be fully accounted for by the fact that he uses all the numbers between 1 and 10 (even for high profile games) rather thanjust sticking with 6-10.

He did really fucking hate Yooka-Laylee though!
 

Avnger

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Joccaren said:
Pro-tip: Taking your personal opinion on a topic and labeling it "objective" does not, in fact, make it objective.

All you're doing is describing a review style that fits your wishes. Stop pretending that reviewers changing their work to fit your wants is somehow for the good of everyone. It's disingenuous and insulting to everyone else when you claim to speak for us like your personal opinion is a representative one.
 

marioandsonic

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I played around in the game's Toybox for a while today to see if I would like the game.

And...well, it played very similar to Banjo-Kazooie. So it looks like I'm going to get what I wanted.

I'll probably get it off Steam tonight or tomorrow.
 

Orga777

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The problem with the game is that it fails to adapt to modern times. The game has all the problems old 3D platformers had when they were first made back in the mid 90s. However, those mechanics are now old, outdated, and pretty horrible by modern standards. It is fine and charming in a game released in 1996 since the technology was new and at the time, unheard of and good. However, if say, every single 3D platformer game made after 1996 played exactly like those made in 1996, well... It would be awful. 3D platforming has grown now and should not be held back by 1996 limitations that no longer exist. It is unforgivable for a modern release to have those problems. Nostalgia is way too powerful a tool these days. Rose tinted glasses make people blind to serious problems in their favorite games. :/
 

Phoenixmgs_v1legacy

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Callate said:
Anyone who wants to argue that review scores don't matter might want to take up that question with the folks at Obsidian.
That's just a really shitty business practice. Bonuses should be given based on sales as how much something sells is really the only true metric for how successful it was. I'm sure a publisher would be far happier with a game selling millions of units with whatever score vs a game that sold under a million but had literally a 100 Metacritic score. I don't think a bonus given to creators based on critic score has ever been done in any other medium because of how backwards stupid it is.
 

Joccaren

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Sorry, but from where did you get that professional reviewer guideline? What authority is in charge of establishing how professional reviews should or shouldn't be? Who is your qualified and properly certified source for accurately "professional review" standards?
Professional review; Creates reviews to be useful to others.
Otherwise, you're not different from a Metacritic user review. If we have any distinction between professional and hobbyist at all, that's the minimum it really can be. Put effort into it, take pride in your work, and make it to help others.

Its like asking who creates the distinction between professional game devs and hobbyist game devs. Technically, every single person who sells a game for money is a professional game dev, even Digital Homicide. I think we all agree there is a world of difference between them, and those who are at least somewhat trained in the profession, who create very different types of work.

I ain't putting out a full set of guidelines of "Thy review must contain thus", I'm just saying that if you want to be professional, you should be taking it seriously as your job - taking pride in your work, and creating it to be as useful to others as it can be.

Avnger said:
Joccaren said:
Pro-tip: Taking your personal opinion on a topic and labeling it "objective" does not, in fact, make it objective.
I don't remember labelling anything that was opinion as 'objective'. I mentioned that including more information in a review makes it more informative for those reading it - hot damn, such subjectivity there - that Jim's review can be summed up in his very first sentence - try and show me something that isn't him just repeating a part of it for a different subsection of the game - that most aspects of a game can actually be boiled down to something objectively designed - funnily enough, this is the entire 'game design' theory, and why some designers are great, and others mediocre - and that most reviewers aren't well versed in design theory and thus are relatively illiterate when it comes to videogames, unable to give proper explanations for why they felt the way they felt about things - MAYBE that's an opinion, but show me the abundance of reviewers who are highly literate in terms of videogames, and can give those detailed explanations about how everything comes together. Oh, and stating that if you know what a reviewer is going to think of the game, and they don't put any objective info in their review, then there's not really a lot of point to reading the review - I'll concede maybe there's an entertainment purpose, but for informing yourself on the game you already have all the information you're going to get.

Hell, about the only time I can really see it going that way, is when I say that game reviewers shouldn't treat their personal opinion as fact, and should instead stick to being either opinion and clear its an opinion, or actually fact based. I guess the irony of that is lost on you though, considering the next section...

All you're doing is describing a review style that fits your wishes. Stop pretending that reviewers changing their work to fit your wants is somehow for the good of everyone. It's disingenuous and insulting to everyone else when you claim to speak for us like your personal opinion is a representative one.
Right, so me saying that there should still be reviewers who review just based on opinion is me saying that that's a review style that fits my wishes?
Me saying that not every reviewer has to be the same, not every reviewer needs to follow the same guidelines, and that other people's taste in reviewers should still exist - just being clear about whether they're talking opinion or fact [Hello irony] is me saying that reviewers should only follow my wants?

Yeah, I'm going to go with you didn't really read half of that - which yeah, fair enough, its long - but don't criticise when you miss half of what's written.

I'll also challenge you; how are reviewers being more honest about opinion and fact, becoming more literate and making their reviews more informative for those in the know, without losing any of the subjectivity they had before, NOT a better situation for everyone? Ok, sure, reviewers need to put in more work. Everyone is clearer on what they're reading though, people can still at a glance find out a reviewer's opinion of a game, and the high level problems, but people can also read about the problems in more depth to discover whether they'll affect them or not.
Nothing is lost, stuff is gained, and more clarity about the content of the review exists. How is this worse for anyone? Or are you assuming I'm saying reviews should be 100% objective and logical without any opinion, or uniform, or some BS like that that I've never stated?
 

Joccaren

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Orga777 said:
The problem with the game is that it fails to adapt to modern times. The game has all the problems old 3D platformers had when they were first made back in the mid 90s. However, those mechanics are now old, outdated, and pretty horrible by modern standards. It is fine and charming in a game released in 1996 since the technology was new and at the time, unheard of and good. However, if say, every single 3D platformer game made after 1996 played exactly like those made in 1996, well... It would be awful. 3D platforming has grown now and should not be held back by 1996 limitations that no longer exist. It is unforgivable for a modern release to have those problems. Nostalgia is way too powerful a tool these days. Rose tinted glasses make people blind to serious problems in their favorite games. :/
This is pretty much entirely subjective opinion {Little dig at hello irony again to my above quote}.

It isn't just Rose Tinted Glasses, and outside of poor camera controls, I'd like you to tell me what all of these serious problems in the game are. I still play Banjo Kazooie and Tooie, DK64, and Mario 64, among other Rare classics, on my N64 which I keep in my room. I can state the handful of design problems that were never fixed and actually persist and have gotten larger in todays games, but these nostalgia based problems... I mostly fail to see them.
Especially considering I'm enjoying them in this day and age, which the whole "Rose Tinted Glasses" thing implies should shatter my fond memories and make me realise how bad they are - but its not. Its making me realise how good they are, outside of the handful of issues that still exist today, and how much I really wish there were more of these games around today - basically why people backed it in the first place.

Its ok, people can have different tastes to you. There is actually a lot to love about 90s collectathon platformers. Maybe not to your tastes, but to a lot of people, they're great games, and the modern equivalents are often a lot worse.

Phoenixmgs said:
That's just a really shitty business practice. Bonuses should be given based on sales as how much something sells is really the only true metric for how successful it was. I'm sure a publisher would be far happier with a game selling millions of units with whatever score vs a game that sold under a million but had literally a 100 Metacritic score. I don't think a bonus given to creators based on critic score has ever been done in any other medium because of how backwards stupid it is.
While I agree with you, I think publishers use it to try and gouge the goodwill of a given brand. Sure, maybe Call of Warfare; Modern Age Inquisition sold 5 million copies this year, but it received an average metacritic score of 30, and people stopped playing after a week, so if we try to franchise the game its unlikely to go well - and that was our whole revenue plan for it!

Meanwhile maybe a game only sold 500,000 copies, but got near perfect scores in the user reviews. Give them a small amount of funding to start a franchise, and you've got 500,000 likely guaranteed sales, plus the potential to grow the series into a powerhouse franchise in the future; like what happened with Mass Effect.

Its an interesting idea, but of course deeply flawed thanks to review bombs and trolling, as well as the fact that these days marketing plays way more of a role in whether a game sells or not than any other factor. Put enough budget behind it and you'll move millions. And unfortunately, publishers are learning that lesson too well.