Should There Be A Standardized Format For Game Reviews?
The question of video game review scores may involve the progression of the industry.
Perhaps it's time to toss out the old-fashioned 10-point scale (some sources already have, and others have altered it), but beyond that, maybe it's time to consider a set format that all legitimate sources will adopt and utilize for the sake of better serving the consumer.
With so many different sources and so many different ways of reviewing games, many gamers claim places like Metacritic and GameRankings aren't quite as accurate with their review averages for games, simply because of the often radically different scoring systems and scoring criteria various sites have. A 9 from one place may mean exactly the same thing as an 8 from elsewhere, due to differences in how the games are analyzed. Why not just have all professional sources embrace a standardized system that uses the same point scale, and focuses on basically the same criteria?
Granted, there should be some variation between the sources, just because that lends a sense of personality to each review. Gamers like to read reviews from particular critics because their viewpoints are similar. We don't want to get too robotic, after all. But the way we review games now is just all over the place; it often leaves consumers questioning score averages and even flat-out ignoring certain sources for personal reasons. Movies are typically scored on a four-star system, as are most forms of entertainment these days; maybe we should do that. Or maybe we could create something unique to our industry, provided the big sites all use it.
This is all in the interest of the consumer. The critic isn't here to prove how much he knows about games, or to get on a soapbox. He's here to inform the gaming community; there is both opinion and objective, qualitative analysis, and the end result must involve either a recommendation or a non-recommendation (yeah, I know that isn't a real term). It's just very difficult to sift through so many drastically different types of reviews and come up with a cohesive, accurate picture. In the end, we're trying to answer every gamer's question: "Is this worth my money?"
And with that at heart, we should probably consider stabilizing the review system. It's about you, not us.
4/19/2012 12:05:10 PM Ben Dutka