Gamespot give Postal 2 a 4.8

It’s definitely not doing too hot (surprise), though 4 out of 8 reviews have actually given it 70%+ (59% average)

Wow, sparked quite a thread over at Shacknews

Every thread over at Shacknews is “quite a thread”, in a sense.

Big George from 3DR weighs in:

NO game is worth a 4.8/10. It’s unfair and it’s biased. And reivewers tty to wield this power. Postal 2 is BETTER than Unreal 2. PERIOD. And Unreal 2 got 75’s and higher everywhere.

So, fuck biased, unfair reviewers with axes to grind.


I don’t like ppl trying to make an example of this game. You don’t like it? Fine. It’s not a 4.8 unless it’s a totally buggy piece of shit that’s NO FUN TO ANYONE. Postal 2 IS fin to some people.

Sorry, lame ass, uppity reviewers piss me off.

Is that really him, though?

I think this review makes a case for editors changing reviews.

It is not a case of “getting it” as some shack readers think, because whatever grand idea they were trying to achieve in Postal2 is meaningless 2 seconds after the game just isn’t fun - but I do think it is a valid issue of comparative rating being askew.

Rayman Arena was given a 5.1 by gamespot - even though to play the game, you have to insert both CDs that come with the game in sequence everytime you play the game. Erik gave it a 1.5/5 in CGW, a 3 in gamespot terms.

Erik is obviously a bit more harsh in his reviews than most reviewers, so when you compare his 4.8 to a Ryan Davis or Andrew Park review, the numbers are not going to be comparable. Is this Erik’s job to edit himself and fit his score in with the company paying him? Or is it their job?

In the end, a site’s function is to deliver a comparable metric of the quality of the game. In this case, I think gamespot failed. Which is why I think a simple rating of - buy, try or avoid or some other simplistic method is superior to the wacky Gamespot numbering system. While they try to blur the numbers with their mediocre - great - or whatever wording system, the thing that sticks is the numbers.

Having said that, I am still surprised even for Erik the low score. We had discussed the game in length and I was expecting a 6-7 rating.


NO game is worth a 4.8/10.

So the scale should just start at five, because it is objectively impossible for a game to be worse than that and not just be the reviewer Nazis truncheoning another poor electronic yarmulke? Hell, once you start the scale at 5, doesn’t that then mean that no game deserves a score below a 7.5, which means that no game deserves a review below an 8.75, which means… ad infinitim, up until the point where the score range starts at 9.99999 and ends at motherfuckin’ 10.0.

George Broussard - “Every game is a ten!”

Once you’ve explored its admittedly novel violent interactions for an hour or two, there really isn’t much left to do. If the core combat had been better, it’d have a lot more staying power. Also, I have no problem knocking a few points off for the absurdly long and absurdly frequent loads. If your game takes place in a GTA3-like open architecture city, loads like that are unacceptable. I’m not sure if the demo give you a real sense of just how awful those load times are.

After reading Erik’s review, I’m not sure why this game got a lofty 4.8. If I understand the review correctly, there is nothing interesting about the non-combat portion, and the combat portion is boring and dated. The graphics are mediocre in the exteriors, and the interiors are bland and underdeveloped. The city doesn’t feel alive and the humor is forced and juvenile. Finally, the lack of interesting gameplay is compounded by inexcusable load times.

So why did this receive a 4.8? Or is the reality that anything below of 6 is deemed terrible and the actual number is rather irrelevant?

Or is the reality that anything below of 6 is deemed terrible and the actual number is rather irrelevant?

I don’t know if the GameSpot editors would agree, but in practical terms, this is the case. Their scale seems to work more like a grading scale–in the 70s equals a “C,” in the 60s equals a “D,” below that is a failing grade.

That’s not exactly how their ratings description describes it, but how they want it to work is irrelevant compared to how it works in practice. The reality is that anything in the bottom half of the scale is a failing grade, and a 4.8 is effectively the same as a 1.0 (in that you wouldn’t want to spend money on a game that received either score).

Like I said in some other thread, having this level of granularity in a scoring scale seems pointless to me. How many different degrees of “don’t buy this game” do we really need?

The graphics are mediocre in the exteriors

Well, technically, I said the exteriors “look good”.

I actually wish the Gamespot scoring system was more complex, so that I could assign scores on a sliding scale based on how much you’re paying for the game. Like if you’re at a garage sale and Postal 2 is 50 cents, it’s an 8.2.

More proof that the optimum scale for grades is in the 1-5 range.

Numerical scores are ill-suited for providing that level of sophistication, though. That’s what the text of the review is for. In any event, there are very few games that I wouldn’t try for fifty cents…

An interesting post from that Shacknews thread:

Postal 2’s load times aren’t bad because of loading resources & such, they are doing a wacky trick to simulate a persistant world in an engine that doesn’t support it.

When you change levels in Unreal, everything in the map is reloaded. The only thing that carries over is the Player and the Player’s Inventory. You’ll notice when you cross loading zones in Postal 2 that people you’ve killed stay dead and weapons/ammo you’ve picked up stay gone.

What they are doing is saving the state of the people you’ve killed, stuff you’ve picked up, and a bunch of misc stats into an actor and they then insert that actor into the Player’s inventory so it carries across to the next loaded area. The next area parses through that information and then sets up the map accordingly.

If they had changed the Unreal engine to accommodate this, the load times would be significantly faster IMO. Unfortunately, they do it through Unrealscript which is pretty slow.

Useless trivia, but after poking through their code, that seems to be what is going on.

If the developers had been smart, then they would have toted the long load times as a feature–one designed to try the player’s patience and egg them on towards acts of violence in the game. In fact, they could have made them extra long, with annoying extras like load bars that start over when they fill up and elevator music.

Ben, I’m too lazy to go look at that “who are you” thread, but I’m hoping that next to your name it doesn’t say “Game Designer”.

As far as levels of badness, though, I agree with you. I’ve been reading Erik’s reviews for a while now and when it comes to first person shooters I pretty much trust him completely. He’s probably played more of them at this point than I ever will. If Erik rates a game below a 7.5 I’m not gonna waste any time on it, so a 4.8 or a 0.3 are the same.

I think Jim put his finger on it. Once a game is rated below the “don’t bother” line then it doesn’t really matter how far below it is. This is all rather subjective and even using tenths of points is probably silly.

Quake 2 kept track of enemies and items between levels, and it did it pretty quickly, even when I had a really low end computer (p-200 with no vid acceleration) to play it on.

Didn’t Deus Ex do something similar? I remember it said “saving” as well as “loading” when you entered a new level. First I thought it meant auto saving, but I didn’t find any such saves, so I suppose it meant that they were actually saving the level (without removing the “saving”-message). In your savegame directory there were also lots of separate files with names related to the levels you could go back to.