Gamespot pulls Savage review

S2Games have made a complaint to Gamespot about their review, after they provided evidence that their reviewer had spent very little time playing the game. I have been unreliably informed that it was less than three hours. Being an online only game, Savage stats track and store each players records online, and the reviewers time online was hardcoded onto S2games’ server. Gamespot have neither confirmed nor denied the allegation, but because the reviewer in question can’t provide evidence to the contrary, they have pulled the review, and will produce another review at a later date.

I’m not going to criticise Gamespot, because I think they have done the right thing, but I did think the review was quite poor by Gamespot’s usually high standards. One of the key complaints about the game was that it was not in a persistant universe, and so had no continuity, which for a game which is a mix of RTS and FPS seems a little bizarre. I only know of one game of those types that is in a persistent universe, and that is Planetside. Criticising Savage for not being in a persistent universe, would be like scoring BF:1942 or WC3 down for the same crime, which would strike most people here as odd I am sure.

So who wrote it?

So who wrote it?

Scott Osborne

That guy must be stoopid! Seriously, what kind of a reviewer expects an MMRPG RTS when its clearly not supposed to be? Damn idiot!


Which is really interesting, because I hated Savage for the first few hours I played it, and only kept playing out of stubborness.

The more I came to understand the weapons and skills, and the fact that combat wasn’t, in fact, random, the more I got to like it. It’s got a lot of rough spots, but it’s really a solid game, esp. from an indie developer.

FYI, the stats are publically available, here’s mine:

Although I’m wondering if their time logging is screwed up? It says “Time Playing: 00:37:58” – does that mean it thinks I’ve only played for 37 minutes? That’s WAY wrong, I’ve played at least 5 hours, probably many more.

It thinks you either played 37 minutes or 37 hours; I assume that’s inaccurate either way?

Doesn’t give me much confidence in their statistics assertions then.

Some random statistics for other players followed from malphigian’s games he’s played:

Time Playing: 50:12:23
Ruonin has played 21 times (average time spent per game: 02:23:26)

Time Playing: 65:23:40
Vae Victis has played 53 times (average time spent per game: 01:14:01)

Time Playing: 10:45:18
Jabber has played 132 times (average time spent per game: 00:04:53)

Time Playing: 05:08:06
Orchist has played 155 times (average time spent per game: 00:01:59)

Uh, what?

I’m all for requiring reviewers to play a game a lot before submitting a review (there’s certainly a lot of reviewers who don’t spend enough time with their games), but I’m wondering if S2Games obtained the reviewer’s permission prior to disclosing personal information of the reviewer without his consent, and violating all applicable privacy laws.

I’m sure you have to “I Agree” to a waiver of any possible privacy issue in order to play. I mean, the stats are posted for public view; GS could have accessed them without any help if they’d had a mind to.

I posted this question on the s2forums (worded to try to avoid any potential flame war), and there seems to be some contention about whether that is hours or minutes:

Scott Osborne is also the guy who wrote the terribly misguided Black Hawk Down Review which caused a thread where Bob Colayco made his first appearance to personally attack me. I guess this is just further proof of what a dimwit Bob is.

But keep the guy who played the game for 3 hours, drop Bob.

To be honest, I don’t have a problem with a reviewer playing it this long. Do you really keep slugging it out no matter what when you buy a game? “I paid for this so I must suffer to get my money’s worth!!!”

If after 3 hours the game blows, no way I am going to keep going. I think when you are 12 every game is great and you play it forever no matter how bad. But if the game sucks, it sucks. Don’t tell me after playing 30 hours its going to get better, I don’t have such a pathetic life that I am willing to throw away 30 hours of my life, so I can then play a decent game. There are enough decent games that start out decent.

This isn’t a movie where I can tune out for the first 30 minutes thinking about if Jennifer Connelly really is some new age hippie or not and if that will get in the way of her doing another ass to ass scene while I wait for hulk smash. I think the rules of game reviews are different.


The best thing about this episode is that it introduced me to the Gamespot forums. Does this stuff go on all the time there?

That’s some quality entertainment.

I posted this question on the s2forums (worded to try to avoid any potential flame war), and there seems to be some contention about whether that is hours or minutes

Someone also replied to say that while some people’s stats are being reported incorrectly, that S2Games went through the reviewer’s logs by hand to check the accuracy. That’s not the official word, though, but it sounds like it would be.

Colayco is a full time employee of Gamespot now?


Dragon Warrior 7 starts out VERY slow and it really really gets goi9ng after , I dunno, ten hours. Entire interesting new additions to gameplay pop up way later in the game…

Seems to me 3 hours wouldn’t really even get you through the learning curve for most games. I can see not wanting to slog through until the end, but 3 hours is like one play session. Ah well.

  • Alan

No chance. You can’t bury that sort of thing in a EULA – you have to expressly ask the person’s permission if you’re going to distribute any personal information you collect from him/her.

Three hours for some racing game with a limited amount of tracks and just one or two skill levels I can see. Some games are three hour games, ya know? But man…a FPS/RTS hybrid that undoubtedly will reveal more of its gameplay over a longer period of play time just isn’t suited for a three hour review. Even if it shows you nothing new after three hours, you’re being paid to play the damn thing so you have to slog it out for the benefit of the audience so the important folks, your readers, don’t have to!

No matter how Gamespot figured it out, they probably did the right thing by pulling it.


I paid my money
and I’m gonna see all the movie
And it’s gonna be good
I’m telling you people it’s gonna be good
cause I paid my money, I paid my money
Bring it on, yeah
I see people leaving early, they don’t know what they’re missing
They don’t know what they’re missing
They’re missing half the movie
And I’ll not be screwed,
I’ll not be screwed like the people leaving early
Cause I paid my money, I paid my money.

-- Fear of Pop