I had an early Christmas present in the form of an 80gb PS3, from my lovely girlfriend. Whist I was looking forward towards finally playing some of the games you lot keep going on about, I was interested in trying some games that might have missed being ported to Wii (pause for laughter).
Since they were quite cheap, I thought I'd give Lair, and Kane & Lynch a try. Both scored abysmally across most reviews, leaving the developers pulling their hair out, racking their brains as to why. I've ignored reviewer advice before, and consequently found an excellent game in Dewy's Adventure: Too cute for adults, too difficult for kids.
It's been discussed before that perhaps Hype is a monster trickling honey into our ears at night: GTA IV had nearly perfect scores all around, and yet as Saints Row 2 is released, I can't help but wonder at all the "Why SR2 is better than GTAIV", or "Yeah, GTAIV was a bit pants, wasn't it? articles floating about. It can go the other way too: issuing a How To Review guide, or watching and invested magazine zealously fire a reviewer, are good starts.
Even so, what happened to objectivity? I know we all consider our opinions to be objective, but this is why we often need a second. If a game was so fantastic, why do we suddenly prefer a game that received a significantly lower score (SR2s 83 to GTAs 98)?
Lair, and K&L scored 53% and 64%, respectively. And yet, playing them, it seems way off the mark (they should have been higher, in case you never actually played them), in the same way GTA IV is in no way a 98%. Perhaps we need re-reviews after 6 weeks, without the hype, after any teething problems have been fixed. After years of as a PC gamer, I certainly don't see patching as a bad thing, but giving a score a higher mark because you were caught up in the moment wont win you over with the late arrivers either.
How about a depreciating system? Where a score is lowered regularly as time goes on (up to 10%?). Surely this would allow for newer games, that try something different, but didn't get in there first to be at par with the older games?
Why not give up scoring all together? Since quantifying 6-50hours of gameplay across umpteen genres and a dozen platforms into a nice round number is ill-fitting. Famitsu have a nuanced yet sensible approach, with 4 reviews in one. It's not perfect, and subject to the same hype, but it's better than one man's view.
There's too much of "I can't believe I did that" in the world of reviews. More so with well scoring games (GamesDaily just had their 10 ten games they can't believe scored well); we don't seem to care as much about games we've fobbed off as another derivative clone, or have pissed us off for other reasons.
Personally I'd be happy for a trusted reviewer to give a game the thumbs up. "Yes it's good, buy now". "Yes it's good, but not worth the asking price". But they need to be consistent.
There are things reviews often ignore. The price, for example, is neglected all too often. Yes, Rock Band is fun, but paying off the whole kit isn't. Surely this must come into consideration. It certainly a major point of scrutiny with downloadable games.
That's it. I've had enough. I'm gonna have to come up with my own review system that'll make chaos theory look like paint by numbers. It'll be segmented into everything that make the game, both obvious (graphics, sound, controls) and obscure ("Do I actually like this?", "Any nice touches worth mentioning?", Price, Recommendations?).
Back in 6 months of getting fit running up an Icy mountain, pouring beakers of blue fluid into a test tube, and nursing a sick animal back to health, all in montage put to 80s pop!!
In the mean time, give Lair, and K&L a go. If anything, they're anywhere between 7.5 and 8.7 in the true "out of 10" scale. But then I've just pulled those numbers out of my ass. I wonder how many others do the same?