PSXE Rebuttal To Edge's R2 Review: Get Over Yourselves
Update: Just to clarify, the response we link to in this article was not made by an Edge employee; he's just an independent blogger. Officially, Edge has made no response to the R2 review. ...well, now we think they really should, after the Internet went ballistic. Granted, it's a misinterpretation, but obviously people still have a lot to say on the subject.
This is a subject that I've been paying close attention to over the years, and it seems to have finally come to a head. Some of you may or may not be aware, but Edge Magazine gave the recently released Resistance 2 a score of 6 out of 10...which, as you can see, contrasts drastically with our analysis. Obviously, a 6 is especially low; a statistical out-lier that has gained plenty of attention.
In response, Edge has issued an article entitled, "What Are Reviews Good For?", which we ask you to read right now. We're not about to toss up a direct rebuttal without paying respect to the initial argument, and there are many points worth viewing in that piece. Read it, process it, and then let me begin with this- there's a clear implication in the wording of that article that says most reviewers don't understand what "innovation" is, and how this should have a direct impact on a critical review. Secondly, it claims at the end that "it is no one's place to dictate how game reviews are best used." Thirdly and lastly, there's the insinuation that because the typical PlayStation 3 owner's expectations for Resistance 2 were quite high, it would stand to reason that they inject a certain amount of bias into their personal view. At their core, each of these thoughts have merit, and we won't deny the sliver of inherent truth that courses beneath the surface of each relatively complex theory.
But my response, which may or may not resound with the majority of gamers, is that much of that long-winded reply seeks to vindicate the source of the problem while ignoring those who would feel the direct impact of a review. This "yeah, it's good, but it's not innovative!" argument began as legitimate, escalated to trendy, and has now become a complete and total dodge amongst the elitist critics. It's a dodge for a variety of reasons, but chiefly because they can use it to override every positive aspect of a product. I know what innovation is. Most all of us do. We also firmly understand the purpose of video games, and we can analyze more than one significant facet of any given production. The purpose of video games is to entertain, and there are many, many things that affect that entertainment, and it is the critic's job to determine the game's ultimate entertainment factor. Granted, everyone has different personal tastes - which is what makes it difficult - but critics should be able to discern quality from crap.
It's no one's "place" to dictate how game reviews are best used? Of course it is; it's every consumer's place. Your job as a video game reviewer does not exist to feed your own ego; it doesn't exist so you can expound on the most random minutiae of any given game just 'cuz you can spot it. It exists for one reason and one reason only, as does any entertainment review: to serve the consumer. We are trying to advise gamers out there whether or not they should spend their hard-earned money on a particular title. Yes, we have to talk about things like clipping in graphics, sound imbalances, control "wonkiness," storyline flaws, presentation issues, and all of that, but the bottom line always remains the same. Edge, don't hide behind this high-and-mighty, "oh, it's so hard to review games; you just don't understand" mentality. Just knock it off. It's not that hard, and to imply otherwise is a self-serving escapist philosophy that is designed to illicit sympathy from outsiders. I'm not buying it for a second, and nobody else should, either.
Now, about that whole bit concerning PS3 owners making excuses for R2 because they couldn't stand the fact their expectations might've been dashed. Edge uses this reason to attribute for the slew of hostile responses they received for their R2 review, and we don't doubt they're correct to a certain point. We also don't believe hostility is a functional or effective method of refuting a point of view, so we're certainly not condoning all those who sent nasty letters to the magazine. However, this is yet another way of saying, "see, if your expectations didn't make you biased, you'd see the truth...which is our side of things." Or, and we're just tossing this out there as a potentially viable explanation, there are plenty of gamers who had a blast with R2, and felt like blasting your review for saying they wouldn't. If they had listened to you, they likely wouldn't have bought the game - yeah, just more of the same in comparison to Fall of Man, right? - and in turn, would've been most disappointed in missing out on one of this generation's most enjoyable and entertaining games.
In the end, you want to know the prime differences between our review and Edge's? First, we actually tell you why the scores landed as they did; we actually gave concrete in-game examples. Secondly, we correctly determined that the vast majority of all "scorable" and immediately relevant factors in the game (control, sound, gameplay, graphics, variety, etc.) were superior. And thirdly and lastly, we decided that it would be in the consumer's best interest that R2 was worth a purchase. ...and thus far, we've learned that the great majority of consumers agree with that assessment, which means that same majority doesn't agree with Edge's. That, right there, is why your review is wrong. You heard us. Wrong. Get over yourselves, and please remember that you work for the public (it's really nothing more noble than that); not to feed what is apparently an ever-growing and never-sated ego.
Related Game(s): Resistance 2
11/27/2008 Ben Dutka