Did ME3 Get High Scores Because Many Critics Didn't Finish It?
The fans are pissed and yet, the review scores are, for the most part, through the roof.
Maybe none of those critics were fans (although that's difficult to believe). Or maybe, just maybe, the fact that many reviewers simply don't have the time to finish big games like Mass Effect 3 before posting a review played a role.
I did not finish ME3 before posting the review. Back in 2009, I posted a clarifying feature that dealt with the harsh truths of the state of game reviewing; accept them or not, those all remain true today. While a few - a very few - of the biggest sources have the staff and resources to play every game through to completion before issuing a review, for the vast majority of sites, it just isn't possible. And given the demanding nature of the gaming public, we can't afford to be late. You lose attention and traffic if you're frequently late.
I will absolutely guarantee that not every critic finished ME3 before writing the review. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if most didn't finish. Some hardcore fans who have complained bitterly about the endings have even suggested as much, saying there's no way the game would've received such high marks if more critics had actually completed the adventure. It's a perfectly legitimate question and one that deserves to be addressed. However, I can only speak for myself; you'll have to be satisfied with that-
First and foremost, in over a decade of reviewing games, I have very very rarely written a review, finished the game in question at a later date, and said to myself, "Gee, I want to change my score." The bottom line is that seasoned critics know when they've seen enough, when they can accurately gauge the product's quality, and this almost never requires us to complete the game. Perhaps when the day comes that sees much more complex storylines, this will change. But that's the only thing that will change; controls, basic mechanics, graphics, music, voice performances, etc.; these elements won't suddenly become much better or worse as the game progresses. That just doesn't happen.
Secondly, I've seen the endings now and no, I'm sorry, I wouldn't change my score. I really don't see what all the ruckus is about but admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of the franchise. Call that bias if you like, and say that it renders my score null and void, but that's the way it is. I would also direct you to reviewers I know completed the game and still awarded it a very high score, so perhaps this isn't too big of an issue. Thirdly and finally, maybe it's important to acknowledge that at its core and from an analytical point of view, Mass Effect 3 is a superior piece of work. At least doing that much will give BioWare some of the credit they deserve.
As for the rest...fight amongst yourselves. ;)
Related Game(s): Mass Effect 3
3/21/2012 8:53:12 PM Ben Dutka