The Perfect Score

Just surfing through various sites, and an idea came into my head: Why not see how certain sites stack up against others. Now, I’m not talking content-wise, I’m talking in how they score. There’s been a lot of debate lately (as always) about how certain people, editors, et al rate and score games. Most people loathe the way Gamespot does it, IGN is kind of a mixed bag.

Gamecenter, who I always felt was the most balanced (and fair) source, basically declared Unreal Tournament to be the ‘embodyment of perfection.’ I agree. While I can’t recall exactly what it said of Half-Life, it damn well loved it. The scoring continues along in the manner; Games that were great got the scores that reflect, and games that weren’t, well, didn’t get the good scores.

The same can’t be said for IGN or Gamespot, especially Gamespot. They both rate Unreal Tournament and Half-Life highly (I use these two examples because, obviously, they’re two of the most universally and highly acclaimed games ever), they also both knock off a half a point. Why? They both also basically, in a roundabout way, say that the games are only “at the top of their game, not the entire industry.” Bullshit.

Hell, while I won’t even dare say that PC Gamer is what you would call a decent source with a good reputation, even they trump Gamespot and IGN for objective journalism. They can review beta-copies all they want and they’ll still be a better source for game writing than either of those online shops.

It seems that Gamecenter was the only online source that was run by real journalists who actually tried to cater to the public and the readers as opposed to the advertisers. The rest want money hand over feet, and while that might be great if you’re PC Gamer or CGM and your average reader’s age is small than your shoe size, it’s just not the case online.

I don’t expect the shops to give certain games a perfect score, far from it. I do expect there to be some sort of consistency between the score and the way the review reads. If the score is 9.5, and the review says (in the opening lines no less), “Unreal Tournament is the most complete first-person shooter available.” Well, sorry, bub. I tend to take a 9.5 as being the best first person shooter available, not the most complete. This is a god damn game we’re talking about, not a fucking Saturn Assfuckmobile with three-hundred and ninety-nine different features. Complete’s not an adjective in the gaming industry that’s used to describe how good a game is, it’s used to describe whether you just put out a product that would make John Romero sigh and wipe the sweat off his forehead while saying, “Thank the Lord, now I can finally bury my horse.”

This might come off as anti-Gamespot or anti-IGN, and it damn well should. I know a lot of people’s checks around here (well, maybe not a lot, but some, I believe) are paid by Gamespot, or IGN, or the various magazines, but the print world still has some tact left while the online world is scrambling to make as much money as possible. There’s no way to ensure any sort of honesty, whether it be between editors and writers or game companies and the deal-makers, so it seems as if the online journalism world has taken a complete dive in the gaming industry.

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, it’s just depressing.

(This ill-informed rant was mainly brought on by the fact that I had a dream last night that Bill Harms and Vede were mud-wrestling over the rights to HL 2 exclusives before they both realized that they should put aside their differences and hire Kevin Mitnik to hack his way into AVault and destroy the world’s most threatening menace. They then realized that AVault isn’t the real enemy, and instead tac-nuked Gamespy’s server farm)

I’m not saying review scales are perfect, but that whole rant sounded like something Paul Steed might say, wrapped up in a velvet blanket, wearing a burger king crown, sitting atop his throne in the bathroom of a YMCA. Why should a perfect score be so easy to get? What’s wrong with reserving it for games that aren’t just at the top of their genre, but are truly transcendent, and really represent the best of gaming, period, without qualification?

I came to read this thread thinking it was about something else. :(

I am not sure why you are ranting. Many of the guys who post here write reviews for GameSpot and I respect them a great deal for their opinions.

Exhibit A : Tom Chick. He is one of the best games reviewers in the business and he has had reviews published on many of these sites.

If I want an informed opinion I will read GameSpot or Gamespy. If I want to read a trash review I will read IGN. If I want to read a 20 page essay then I will read AVault. At least we still have a choice.

The irony is that Gamespot has given out perfect 10s to three or four console games, but the highest score a PC game has ever managed to get from them is a 9.6 (Diablo). In fact, their PC scores on average seem to be lower than their console scores. It’s as if they think PC games are inherently not as good as console games.

Did you ever see me bad-mouth one of the writers in this rant? No, Sean, you didn’t. I know Tom Chick writes for GameSpot. I also know he wrote for GameCenter. I also can balance plates on my head while dancing around in circles and giving you the finger.

The point being: None of that matters. I dislike the editors of these sites, and the lessers of the writers among them. Some of the writers of these sites are good, some, but all of the editors are horrible.

But I digress. If you didn’t read what I wrote the first time, you won’t read this.

The irony is that Gamespot has given out perfect 10s to three or four console games, but the highest score a PC game has ever managed to get from them is a 9.6 (Diablo). In fact, their PC scores on average seem to be lower than their console scores. It’s as if they think PC games are inherently not as good as console games.[/quote]

This is my problem with Gamespot as well. I think they have good people there, but generally most of the people seem to be from the console background (or tend to prefer console games)… which isn’t bad but its not balanced. Same with IGN. Gamespy otoh seems to be a little better in balancing but they always seem to get the hand-me-down (rushed)reviews it seems. Plus when I read a review from either of these 3 sites they all meld together. Theres no personality. I like to know what the reviewers like… most of them except the ones we know here, you have no idea what there predisposition is towards certain games are. It would be good to geta little more personality in these sites, not just hip-to-be-cool type, but smart and enthusiastic game commentary.

personally I think the best online site, with mostly balanced reviews is Games Domain. Though its not at all like it used to be, alot of there old people aren’t there anymore like Diane Griffith and Tim Chown (where are they?) … I liked both those two… liked that Strategy and RPG/Adventure areas… was a great idea (sorta like the Gamepen thingy). They were both enthusiastic and intelligent about pc games, soem of the other writers at that time were the same way.

etc

(I had to reply to this, since I was referred to by name in your post.)

Let me see if I have this straight: your ‘logic,’ such as it is, is that because pubs like IGN and Gamespot give scores like 9.5’s rather than 10’s, it’s because they both can’t score games worth a damn and are also rolling around in large piles of dirty money. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. You may not realize this, but any publication that reviews beta games as final code, whether it’s the impeccable, angelic writers of PC Gamer or the dastardly, handlebar-moustache-twirling online villains of IGN or Gamespot, has compromised its integrity. From the sound of things, you don’t really understand concepts like “integrity” and “beta copies.” (Do you even know what the word “tact” means?) Maybe you just read that one editorial in a print magazine that slammed online pubs, and believed every last word of it without so much as blinking. After all, no one is more qualified to make an unbiased and trustworthy assessment of the loose ethics of online publications with respect to the incredibly hardworking, saintly martyrs of print than some guy from print.

Anyway, Unreal Tournament should, of course, have gotten a perfect score of 10 at both those publications, since you personally liked that game so much, despite the fact that the entire editorial staff (staves?) of either publication (who, collectively, probably have many more years of experience playing and writing about games than any single person on these message boards) didn’t agree. Of course, if UT had gotten a perfect 10, and Quake 3 hadn’t, those two publications would’ve been a bunch of biased, anti-Quake 3 fanboys in either your eyes, or the eyes of another raving armchair game critic just like you. And if both games had gotten perfect 10’s, then it would’ve become “obvious” that both publications were staffed by a bunch of “barely-pubescent teenage boys” who only play graphics-showcase first-person shooters, and are obviously biased against the finer, more intellectual things in life, such as French wines and civilian flight simulators. Again, if it weren’t you doing the incoherent ranting, it would be some other incoherent ranter ranting incoherently that these publications were obviously biased / bribed / on drugs, etc. etc.

I should also probably point out that IGN and Gamespot are two entirely different publications with different staff (staves?), different focuses, and different approaches to game coverage. I’m sure your answer will be, “whatever, I don’t care, I hate them both, they’re both more corrupt than immaculate print publications, whose scurrilous accusations I fully believe the moment I read them, without so much as a second thought.” Lumping the two of them together, or indeed, using the two of them together as some kind of broad characterization of all online coverage in the history of the world, is why you’re not really qualified to pass any kind of judgement on either publication, or on online game coverage as a whole.

I think the real issue here is that you read the one article in the one print publication, had nothing better to do, and posted this diatribe based on half-formed “feelings” that online is somehow more corrupt than print, based on the following: no real evidence, your one disagreement with one review score, and also the half-formed accusations in that one print article that you swallowed hook, line, and sinker, accepting it as the unquestionable truth because you don’t actually know any better.

Hi Sinner/Koontz/Johan/etc.

Bye Sinner/Koontz/Johan/etc.

By the way: You are A) Bill Harms, B) Vede, C) Kevin Mitnik. Those are the only three people I mentioned by name. I doubt you’re Mitnik, nor Harms. Vede? Is that you? Hey guy! How’s it going! Say, nice of you to stop with your Tycho/Gabe three-way for a moment to reply. (Though I seriously doubt you’re Greg, unless you forgot your own password to your existing login. Perhaps you could show me where I referred to anyone else by name? You do know what the phrase ‘referred to by name’ means, right? Right? Okay! Just checking!)

Lots of luv,
Met_K

Second by the way: Those were examples. Examples. You know, things you use to… propose… what you mean. Yes, you see? Yes. I hope you do. Convey meaning. Come on now, this isn’t that hard. Oh, and another by the way! I guess you missed the thread where I wrote that I disagreed with that article. How funny. I thought after all my fighting with Steve you’d have guessed that by now.

Fucking idiot.

Umm, they are. At least if you want to factor technical problems (compatibility, performance, interface…) into the score, which are WAY, WAY, WAY more prevalent among computer games than among console games. So it seems quite reasonable that their average score should be somewhat lower.

Umm, they are. At least if you want to factor technical problems (compatibility, performance, interface…) into the score, which are WAY, WAY, WAY more prevalent among computer games than among console games. So it seems quite reasonable that their average score should be somewhat lower.[/quote]

Well, if you want to be that way, then you should lower the score of console games since it forces a lower resoltion on players. PC games generally look better than console titles.

Actually that is the case. I last PC game that I was actually interested in purchasing would be NWN…which is almost one year soon? Most of the games I received were review copies that I played for a week and sold it away. Too many PC games lately are the same boring crap, unpolished, and buggy games I played a few years ago. When I look at games like Freelancer, Postal 2, Galactic Civilizations, Dungeon Siege, or Tony Hawk 4…I weep. Tony Hawk 4 on a 1.2 ghz computer doesn’t even run as good as old hardware like PS2 or gamecube, thats pathetic.

Yet when I look at Playstation 2 games, like NBA Street 2, Vice City, Devil May Cry 2, Midnight Club 2, or Def Jam, I know that I am getting my money’s worth.

Hopefully with games become more NVidia only, my games might actually run normally for once.

I don’t care about looks if its running 10 FPS. Doom 3 looks awesome, but its no way going to run on the common computer.

Actually that is the case. I last PC game that I was actually interested in purchasing would be NWN…which is almost one year soon? Most of the games I received were review copies that I played for a week and sold it away. Too many PC games lately are the same boring crap, unpolished, and buggy games I played a few years ago. When I look at games like Freelancer, Postal 2, Galactic Civilizations, Dungeon Siege, or Tony Hawk 4…I weep. Tony Hawk 4 on a 1.2 ghz computer doesn’t even run as good as old hardware like PS2 or gamecube, thats pathetic.

Yet when I look at Playstation 2 games, like NBA Street 2, Vice City, Devil May Cry 2, Midnight Club 2, or Def Jam, I know that I am getting my money’s worth.

Hopefully with games become more NVidia only, my games might actually run normally for once.[/quote]

So you complain about the “same boring crap” on the PC side, yet your list of cited console games is almost entirely sequels?

Actually that is the case. I last PC game that I was actually interested in purchasing would be NWN…which is almost one year soon? Most of the games I received were review copies that I played for a week and sold it away. Too many PC games lately are the same boring crap, unpolished, and buggy games I played a few years ago. When I look at games like Freelancer, Postal 2, Galactic Civilizations, Dungeon Siege, or Tony Hawk 4…I weep. Tony Hawk 4 on a 1.2 ghz computer doesn’t even run as good as old hardware like PS2 or gamecube, thats pathetic.

Yet when I look at Playstation 2 games, like NBA Street 2, Vice City, Devil May Cry 2, Midnight Club 2, or Def Jam, I know that I am getting my money’s worth.

Hopefully with games become more NVidia only, my games might actually run normally for once.[/quote]

So you complain about the “same boring crap” on the PC side, yet your list of cited console games is almost entirely sequels?[/quote]

NBA Street has made a lot of improvements over the first one. In fact, after playing the second one, I refuse to play “Volume One” ever again. The graphics, tricks, style, gamebreakers, almost everything looks good.

Vice City has a lot of changes as well. Cops can pop your tires, there is motorcycles and scotters, lots more mission, and a totally different theme.

Midnight Club 2 is just plain awesome. You can even play online with no lag which makes it even better. I didn’t like the first one too much, but the second one made some major improvements to get me hooked to the series.

Devil May Cry 2, while lacking in ‘plot’, has a lot of neat things like the bosses and the monsters. The controls seem to be much better to for me and the flips involved make it more ‘streamline’ to play.

Def Jam ain’t a sequel :P

So how exactly are console games better than PC games? I’m still not understanding the argument. Haven’t PC ports to consoles been more successful than their counterparts? I can’t remember playing a console to PC port that didn’t suck.

There are any number of good console-to-PC translations. Recent examples include Enclave, Grand Theft Auto III and Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance.

Peter

Actually that is the case. I last PC game that I was actually interested in purchasing would be NWN…which is almost one year soon? Most of the games I received were review copies that I played for a week and sold it away. Too many PC games lately are the same boring crap, unpolished, and buggy games I played a few years ago. When I look at games like Freelancer, Postal 2, Galactic Civilizations, Dungeon Siege, or Tony Hawk 4…I weep. Tony Hawk 4 on a 1.2 ghz computer doesn’t even run as good as old hardware like PS2 or gamecube, thats pathetic.

Yet when I look at Playstation 2 games, like NBA Street 2, Vice City, Devil May Cry 2, Midnight Club 2, or Def Jam, I know that I am getting my money’s worth.

Hopefully with games become more NVidia only, my games might actually run normally for once.[/quote]

So you complain about the “same boring crap” on the PC side, yet your list of cited console games is almost entirely sequels?[/quote]

NBA Street has made a lot of improvements over the first one. In fact, after playing the second one, I refuse to play “Volume One” ever again. The graphics, tricks, style, gamebreakers, almost everything looks good.

Vice City has a lot of changes as well. Cops can pop your tires, there is motorcycles and scotters, lots more mission, and a totally different theme.

Midnight Club 2 is just plain awesome. You can even play online with no lag which makes it even better. I didn’t like the first one too much, but the second one made some major improvements to get me hooked to the series.

Devil May Cry 2, while lacking in ‘plot’, has a lot of neat things like the bosses and the monsters. The controls seem to be much better to for me and the flips involved make it more ‘streamline’ to play.

Def Jam ain’t a sequel :P[/quote]

That’s why I wrote “almost entirely” :)

It’s just odd that you complain about the “same boring crap” on the PC side and cite several games that aren’t sequels (Freelancer, GalCIv, Dungeon Siege) and then cite a bunch of console sequels. If anything, consoles seem to suffer from sequelitis more than PC games – look at the sports games, the beat 'em ups, Final Fantasy What now?, etc.

There’s also more variety on the PC side, at least in terms of genres. Where are the console strategy titles? The RTS games? The MMOGs? The building sims? The consoles have some, but they’re underrepresented compared to the PC.

You’re right about the GTA, but I haven’t played the others. I’ll take your word for it. But good console ports are still a rare thing.

I don’t want to get too mired in this, but isn’t this more of an argument over stylistic preferences?

There was Tony Hawk 3, which I have, even though I perfer the PS2 because it runs 60 frames.

PC Games are too unpolished, buggy, and most of their games are just carbon copies of another game. RTS games are the huge offender in this since most of them are just “build, research, kill”. Now if it was something like Warhammer or Ground Control where you make an army and try to make good use of the units, then we have something going.

Most of the PC games don’t even run normally nowadays. Patches are now a CRUTCH for most games released. If I have a Geforce 4 and 1.2 ghz with 256 megs of ram and I can’t run Planetside, BattleField, or Postal 2 properly, then I know something is seriously wrong. I remember when I had an 800 mhz with geforce 2 ultra and Max Payne still ran below 20 frames, yet when I look at the XBOX version, obviously above 60 frames.

Most of the console games stick to the ‘easy to learn’ type of deal. They are not asking players to memorize 3000 keyboard commands like Battlecruiser series or figure out some ‘hidden mechanic’ garbage like in GalCiv. Simply put, they give the controls and you play the game from there. NBA Street, which is today’s NBA Jam, is an awesome game that I seriously enjoy. It isn’t the realistic phsyics, engine, or AI that made the game. It was just fun, thats all I ask.

Thats not to say all console games are the best. The best genres still belong to PC like RPGs, FPS, and TBS games. Just saying that there is a good reason why console games are being highly favorable then PC games: Because they do a good job at gaming. Why do you think Microsoft wanted to make a console? Its a much higher profitable market then the PC. GTA3 sold more than GTA1 and GTA2 combined…that says a lot.