Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 79

Thread: Why We Should Drop Review Scores - Editorial

  1. #1
    RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff InstaTrent's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Saint John, NB
    Posts
    328

    Why We Should Drop Review Scores - Editorial

    Many aspects of the video game industry are predicated upon review scores, but is this reliance doing more harm than good? I think it's high time we took a step away from review scores and let the reviews speak for themselves:

    http://www.rpgamer.com/editor/2012/091212ts.html

  2. #2
    A Witness to Destruction Moderator DarkRPGMaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Batesburg, South Carolina
    Posts
    4,433
    I have to agree. The most you need to know is whether it's worthy of buying or renting.
    User Database Check
    Pages cleared: 98
    Users cleared: 2940
    Current Year: 2010
    Spammer-Banning Battle Theme: You Will Know Our Names
    Number of Spammers banned: At least 2000 at this point.

  3. #3
    RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Aloria
    Posts
    114
    I'm an analytical person. I like seeing numbers. The fact that review scores are heavily opinionated should be taken as a given. I usually try to find multiple scores and compare them (adjusting for rating schemes when necessary) or find reviews by people that I've found to be close to my own tastes. I honestly don't like just seeing a solid "buy" or "don't buy" when I'm looking at a review. I want to see the conclusion first. I want to see how the different aspects of the game broke down for the reviewer. Something as definitive as "buy" doesn't tell me how strongly the reviewer felt about the game. How do you quantify a polar conclusion? Could you imagine the total mess a binary system would make of Metacritic? How am I supposed to know if it is a "buy right now" or a "buy in the bargain bin?" I should be able to get all of this information without having to read a lengthy review...give me your conclusion and then I'll decide from there if the game is even worth my time to read a review about.

  4. #4
    Quia ego sic dico RPGamer Staff Severin Mira's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Milton Keynes, England
    Posts
    1,693
    Going on a bit of a tangent because I'm deliberately ignoring its effect on stuff like Metacritic/Game Rankings, which seems the biggest issue for the Editorial, a "Buy/Don't Buy" type thing on it's own is still just as bad as a review score. If you don't have the context for why it's given that then you're quite probably going off even less information on how good the reviewer thought it was. The way around that of course is to have a "Buy/Don't Buy If..." list, which starts to get into the area of why not just read the review and figure it out yourself (assuming it's been written clearly enough to do that).

    Also being an analytical/mathsy person, my personal opinion is that review scores (including minor scores and +/- points) are an interesting metric that I generally quite like to see - as with Silk it helps me decide if I might be interested in reading the review further. But it shouldn't be taken as the be-all and end-all of everything (especially when comparing across sites/reviewers), which is as much an attitude thing for readers as anything else. Why should I be punished because others can't take them with a grain of salt? :P
    "If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands."
    Twitter: severinmira | Xbox Live: Severin Mira | PSN: severinmira (EU), severin-US (US) | Skype: severinmk
    Final Fantasy XIV: Sevirain Kristinger (Leviathan)

  5. #5
    The fact that you can't really filter games on RPGamer depending on their score, makes a number completely pointless.

    In any way, I can really only agree. Back when I was still in that high-class gamer community it was completely forbidden to give reviews a score. It was also forbidden to use smileys of any kinds on forums for example. That would have lead to an instant ban. Reason behind this was basically than every good journalist should be able (or should LEARN to be able) to express all his thoughts in such a way he can convert the quality of a game without adding a number to it. The smiley rule was basically to learn to express feelings in words. It helps writing better reviews.

    The only time where I really EVER made use of scores was when I'm browsing RPG Maker game lists. But there the score isn't from one person but rather an average from hundreds of people. It helps a lot there because you will have 100000 crappy RPG Maker games and are looking for the 100 gems inside of them. In such a case a score is nice. But in a review? I don't really see the purpose.

    But then again, I also dislike stand alone-reviews. I hardly read reviews, because I think without a discussion, there is not much information you can draw from it (at least not more information than you can get by simply watching a gameplay video). In a discussion this is much better. You can talk about details there and go in depth how that can be good or how they can be bad and what kind of gamer you need to be to enjoy it.
    That's why I hardly read reviews (I really only read the + and - points, I don't read the text nor do I care about the score, RPGamer scores are total non-sense anyway, at least for my taste), but am pretty active in forum discussions about games and game design.

  6. #6
    Ysy St. Administrator Macstorm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    5,397
    Big difference between nonsense and something you can't comprehend.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm

  7. #7
    The problem with reviews, with score or no score, is that they are nothing else than the personal opinion of the reviewer. The benefits of a well-written review come from the fact that the better a reviewer can put transform his own impressions in words, the more the reader can relate to his experience understanding why he liked or not a certain aspect of the game.

    A "professional review" is no better than an advice from a friend when it comes down to deciding whether a game is worth buying or not. It all depends on how much the recommendation or advice weighs on the decision of buying a game. I would say trusting just in one opinion is not very recommended, no matter who shared his/hers opinion, or how detailed was the opinion. However, depending on the affinity of the person with who provided the opinion, it may be enough. Someone can argue that even just the score is enough for him/her, and if he/she is happy with that, I see no problems.

    In the end, the only thing that matters is that be it just one number, or scores for a few categories, or a detailed review made by someone who played 5,000 games in his entire life, or just a "cool, bro" from a random person, everything is just a opinion and it is up to the buyer to decide if he/she will take it into account. Then, if the person follows blindly the average Metacritic score or a RPG Gamer staff review to buy a game and repents it, this person has no right of complaining about Metacritic or the reviewer because it was his/hers own decision to trust the number or the words and make it the only parameter in his/hers decision of buying the game.

  8. #8
    I have to agree. The most you need to know is whether it's worthy of buying or renting.
    Pretty much this. If I did reviews my ratings would be in the realm of "Day 1 Buy, Buy New, Buy On Sale, Bargain Bin, Rental".

    Reviewers have to provide some kind of easy to print score though, so there isn't much point in talking about this.

  9. #9
    Ysy St. Administrator Macstorm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    5,397
    Quote Originally Posted by tilinelson2 View Post
    if the person follows blindly the average Metacritic score or a RPG Gamer staff review to buy a game and repents it, this person has no right of complaining about Metacritic or the reviewer because it was his/hers own decision to trust the number or the words and make it the only parameter in his/hers decision of buying the game.
    Agreed. We give words and scores here at RPGamer to offer up as many parameters as possible for helping gamers understand how we felt about a game. I would never recommend someone using any review anywhere as the sole basis for purchase making. The words within can help to shape said purchase, but in the end, it's all on the buyer. We're just here to inform.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by tilinelson2 View Post
    A "professional review" is no better than an advice from a friend when it comes down to deciding whether a game is worth buying or not.
    Actually I disagree on this one. A really good reviewer is able to understand what is his opinion and what are relevant facts and can actually write a review that is completely without any personal impressions. If you ask a friend, he will just give you his opinion. That's a big difference.

  11. #11
    That Guy You Hate RPGamer Staff omegabyte's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    5,162
    Quote Originally Posted by Rya.Reisender View Post
    Actually I disagree on this one. A really good reviewer is able to understand what is his opinion and what are relevant facts and can actually write a review that is completely without any personal impressions. If you ask a friend, he will just give you his opinion. That's a big difference.
    Yeah, that wouldn't be a review. It would be a game manual. You can't have a review that isn't at least partially subjective. It's impossible.
    "It's okay to fail as long as you learn that you failed!" - Neptune, Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory
    Follow me on Twitter
    Read my serialized, comedy-fantasy web novel, The Almanac of All Things - http://www.thealmanac.ca - Read All of Part One Now!

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    337
    I am guilty of looking at review scores to judge whether or not I'm going to buy a game, but only because I wasn't planning to buy the game in the first place. If the review scores look decent enough, I'll read the reviews and then decide. If the game is in a series I'm into, I usually just look at previews before buying the games.

    Without review scores, it'd probably take me longer to search through lists of games to find things to buy when I feel the urge to get more games, but that's probably the only big difference it would make for me.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Rya.Reisender View Post
    Actually I disagree on this one. A really good reviewer is able to understand what is his opinion and what are relevant facts and can actually write a review that is completely without any personal impressions. If you ask a friend, he will just give you his opinion. That's a big difference.
    Everything that falls under the arts and entertainment umbrella can't be said to be objective. The only "objective" thing you could say about a game is whether it has bugs that render it unplayable or not. All the rest is a matter of taste. Even sentences like "it uses the traditional turn-based battle system", or "it offers world exploration" may be misleading. Besides, what are the "relevant facts" on a game? You can't explain that objectively.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Macstorm View Post
    Agreed. We give words and scores here at RPGamer to offer up as many parameters as possible for helping gamers understand how we felt about a game. I would never recommend someone using any review anywhere as the sole basis for purchase making. The words within can help to shape said purchase, but in the end, it's all on the buyer. We're just here to inform.
    Yep, that is pretty much what reviews are worthy for. I'm not against reviews, and in fact I read lots of them and sometimes use their info to make a decision. Sometimes I opted for games that every reviewer seemed to dislike because the information provided was enough for me to understand I would like the game (and one of those games is one of my favorite RPGs).

    I'm more worried about the use people make of reviews, scores, top lists, etc, than the reviews, scores, lists themselves. Unless the person who writes the review, gives the score or compiles the lists lie on purpose to mislead the readers to fullfil a secret agenda, a review or a score is just another piece of information.
    Last edited by tilinelson2; 09-12-2012 at 11:43 AM.

  15. #15
    BEARSONA Administrator Paws's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    7,968
    *twitch* *twitch*

  16. #16
    Member lolwhoops's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,494
    Well, I have a blog and I game a lot so I decided at some point I'll review a game or two, or more maybe I dunno, just whatever I beat along the way and I decided that having a number as a score would be unnecessary for me. For a non professional review done on something like a forum post or a blog where you have all the time and space you want to discuss the game at length I figure it is easier for the people reading to be given an opinion such as Must Play, Great Game, Average/Pretty Good, Below Average/For Fans Only, and the ever popular Bad, Just Plain Bad.

    But for an actual review site, magazine or anything trying to be professional there should be:
    -a score
    -rating breakdown of game elements (such as graphics, story, battle system, ect)
    -pluses and minuses
    -a concise and accurate description of the high and low points

    I, as just some guy on the internet, want to just talk about a game whether I like it or not, a reviewer should be trying to inform and for that I think the score is an important part. I particularly like RPGamer's review style so I stick around here.
    lolwhoops: a Gamer's Blog
    ^^is my blog! Updates whenever I feel like it! :D

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by omegabyte View Post
    Yeah, that wouldn't be a review. It would be a game manual. You can't have a review that isn't at least partially subjective. It's impossible.
    Maybe for you.


    Everything that falls under the arts and entertainment umbrella can't be said to be objective. The only "objective" thing you could say about a game is whether it has bugs that render it unplayable or not. All the rest is a matter of taste. Even sentences like "it uses the traditional turn-based battle system", or "it offers world exploration" may be misleading. Besides, what are the "relevant facts" on a game? You can't explain that objectively.
    That facts are misleading or forgotten doesn't really make it more subjective, it just makes it worse. A good reviewer should be able to tell what relevant facts are.

    The examples you gave already work pretty well:
    "It uses the traditional turn-based battle system." is a good objective fact. The readers know themselves if they like this kind of battle system or not. Just from the fact, they can tell it. However a sentence like "The battle system feels slow and boring." doesn't help the readers much as this is subjective. Just because the reviewer didn't like it, it doesn't mean that they won't like it.
    Last edited by Rya.Reisender; 09-12-2012 at 12:28 PM.

  18. #18
    複線ドリフト!! RPGamer Staff Quin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    United Kingdom
    Posts
    1,312
    Quote Originally Posted by Rya.Reisender View Post
    "It uses the traditional turn-based battle system." is a good objective fact.
    No it isn't. "Traditional" is a subjective term.

    befriend (v.): to use mecha-class beam weaponry to inflict grievous bodily harm on a target in the process of proving the validity of your belief system.

  19. #19
    New Member TokyoOctopus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Alexandria, VA
    Posts
    3
    They dropped the numbered scores in Play magazine a few years ago... I guess it didnt really work out very well for them considering they are no longer around... I loved that magazine too.

  20. #20
    RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff Nekobasu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    240
    Quote Originally Posted by Rya.Reisender View Post
    "It uses the traditional turn-based battle system." is a good objective fact. The readers know themselves if they like this kind of battle system or not. Just from the fact, they can tell it. However a sentence like "The battle system feels slow and boring." doesn't help the readers much as this is subjective. Just because the reviewer didn't like it, it doesn't mean that they won't like it.
    What if the reviewer offers context for why battles feel slow and boring? The supporting evidence won't appeal to every reader, but it situates the opinion among a continuum of less hotly debated facts.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •