[Disclaimer: This blog does not represent the views or opinions of Enkido as he exists in a sane state and he cannot be held responsible for the content expressed in this article. For real, it's been a long time but I'm feeling argumentative. Also, cocks.]
Quick Asside: Hey guys, this isn't really what I had in mind for my first blog in a long while, but this little ditty by Omicron1
, combined with my general lack of entusiasm for work today, has me in a writing/arguing mood, so you can thank him for this.
Omicron, buddy, brah, compadre, gezpacho(?), what are you talking about? Yes, Jim is an opinionated man, and the funny thing about that is that he gets paid to be so. As a game reviewer on a video game news site, it is his job to espouse his opinions to the wider gaming public. Furthermore, your comparison to a review of a political speech is disingenuous in its application. It implies that Jim was rating the game on something other than what he was supposed to, which is not true. In the review he states that the game does many things right, but that it also has a number of issues that keep it from being more than just an above average game. Reviewing a game based on your tastes is not dishonest to the reader, it is what a review is meant to do, mainly give a single opinion, and that is all that a reader should expect.
Furthermore, comparing a review score to the average is flabergastingly back assward. An average is informed by its inputs not the other way around. You point out that Jim's score for The Witcher is comparatively lower than the average while his score for MW3 is slightly higher. From here you make the wildly speculative leap that he cannot properly form opinions of these games. Now, I'm no Olympic leaper, my lacking the hips for it, but all that your information says to me is that Jim enjoyed The Withcher comparatively less than others and that he enjoyed MW3 slightly more, which is all that average reveiw scores can objectively tell someone. You seem to fault Jim for not reflecting the average when he contributed to making up the average. He's not unsuitable to review these games, anyone with a basic command of language is suitable to review a game, and often they do (you can see it here in the blogs even). Your question seems to be is he deserving of the audience that he is afforded?
If you will allow me, an odd thing to ask on the internet, because c'mon really, how would you stop me, I'm going to use some similarly flawed processes to prove that the metacritic score is wrong. You say that reviews should reflect what will appeal to a vast majority of others, as evidenced here "If you cannot see through "I like" to "Others will like," what are you doing reviewing games?" (This isn't the flawed part, merely what you said). Well the best way to determine what "Others" liked the most is with sales figures, as people vote with their wallet. For the sake of argument and to give a reference point I'll use the same two games you did, The Witcher and MW3 (this is where there be dragons). Now, according to Metacritic and your own admission, The Witcher and MW3 have exactly the same average, and as a reflection of what "Others" will enjoy they should have sold about the same, as they would appeal to the same number of people. But wait! According to this
, The Witcher sold 400,000 copies in its first week, which is impressive, but rather paltry when compared to MW3's 6.5 Million on it's first day
. Looking at that I would say that that Metacritic is wildly innacurate and that Jim's assesment seems to be more the palletable, jus sayin'.
"Yes, I said wrong. Not wrong for you, Mr. Sterling, but wrong for a review. Call of Duty isn't a 9.5, no matter how much you liked it. The Witcher 2 is not a 6.0. Not in a context larger than your personal experience."
This quote really bothers me. It says right in the review, just after the 6 even, what exactly that score means, "6s may be slightly above average, or simply inoffensive. Fans of this genre will still thoroughly enjoy them, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled." Based on what Jim wrote that sounds like a pretty apt summation of the review, so there's really no issue with boiling it down to a vector there. If you are suggesting that Jim give the reveiw a number that reflects differently than what is stated in the review in order to be in line with what "Others" will feel, then I would argue that that is significantly more dishonest than his supposed crusade.
This is getting a bit overblown now, so I'll finish with one last example. I have been playing Dark Souls vehemently for the last couple weeks whenever I got the chance. I love the game and were I to give an opinion, it would be no less than glowing. My roommate on the other hand, also a consummate gamer, absoultely despises it. Here on Destructoid, with a different reviewer, the develishly handsome Conrad Zimmerman, it received a 7.