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On Metacritic Scores

Owning the Territory on GamesIndustry.biz is an interview with Paul Wedgewood of Splash Damage about what the future holds for the UK-based developer following their deal with ZeniMax Media, though specifics about what they are currently up to are still being withheld. An interesting point he touches on is highlighted in a separate article, as he describes the emphasis publishers now place on achieving specific Metacritic scores as "ridiculous," and while he is quick to point out that they are not receiving such pressure from ZeniMax, he also admits that Splash Damage is obviously still eager to get good reviews. He also makes the point that the way games are reviewed make summarizing critical acclaim a dicey proposition: "We know that some websites score quite high and some quite low, but in general, all websites tend to score between 60 and 100. There's never a 37. It's as if that whole section doesn't exist, so zero starts at 60, so three stars, and goes up to five. It's just not really an accurate enough measure."

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26. Re: On Metacritic Scores Jan 21, 2009, 15:37 |RaptoR|
 
I've always questioned the reviewers qualifications when they mention games as "deeply flawed," etc...

In short, game reviews do little to sway my opinion of a game.
 
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25. Re: On Metacritic Scores Jan 21, 2009, 00:53 Ruffiana
 
Metacritic. Letting the minority decide what's good for everyone through averaging!  
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24. Re: On Metacritic Scores Jan 20, 2009, 23:09 Jerykk
 
There's three PC games on Metacritic with a score of 49, 48, and 45. http://www.metacritic.com/games/pc/

Is this dude smoking crack?

I think what he meant is that the rating scale for most sites is as such:

6 (and below) - Utter crap.
7 - Mediocre.
8 - Good.
9 - Great.
10 - Totally awesome.

Logically, a 5 would be mediocre but that's not the way most reviews work.
 
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23. Re: On Metacritic Scores Jan 20, 2009, 22:10 Kxmode
 
all websites tend to score between 60 and 100. There's never a 37. It's as if that whole section doesn't exist, so zero starts at 60, so three stars, and goes up to five. It's just not really an accurate enough measure.

There's three PC games on Metacritic with a score of 49, 48, and 45. http://www.metacritic.com/games/pc/

Is this dude smoking crack?
 
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22. Re: On Metacritic Scores Jan 20, 2009, 18:54 theyarecomingforyou
 
What that highlights is the hype dying down. For the first month it was way up there, with choice quotes like "I'm unable to go back to straight and simple first-person shooters.
That's pretty standard. Far Cry 2 did a lot very well, above and beyond most games that achieve that score, but the disappointments were also quite serious and the game lost much of its appeal when you worked out the formula.

See link again - it was not CGI. They built a working motorcycle that operated completely differently from normal bikes.
I never said they didn't build a working motorcycle - I've seen the videos on YouTube. But some scenes were clearly CGI and everyone I talked to noticed it and also highlighted it as a weakness. It's obvious to a blind guy: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=l1H9k5oxero

Kong himself was absolutely fantastic, as were the T-rexes. I never once thought I was looking at CGI.
Wow. Just wow.

To call the CGI work in King Kong shit, then say that Transforers was good is like...
As I said some scenes were very good, while others were terrible. Iron Man also had some strong scenes but others were weak. The Dark Knight was more consistent but the CGI was still more prominent than the previous film. In general CGI is still not very convincing and I find it more of a distraction than a benefit.
 
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21. As for 60 to 100... Jan 20, 2009, 17:36 jdreyer
 
Designing games is now a mature industry. Professional teams are able to make the vast majority of games with all the basics in place and functioning. This means that the vast majority of games are going to do what was designed and allow them to garner a baseline of 60. That's the technical side. When games are not properly designed, executed, and tested, you end up with Limbo of the Lost (plagarism issues aside), a game so bad that it's being artificially pushed up by users on metacritic, but is actually a terrible game that would garner single digits, if it hadn't been pulled off the market. To get to 60 you just go through the motions, but to get up to 90 requires that the team execute both technically AND artistically. A new game needs to be engaging and interesting, drawing the user to continue playing it. It needs to be fresh and familiar at the same time. It takes intelligence, planning, creativity, direction, some luck, and the ability to execute within budget. This is an incredibly difficult balancing act, as this example shows. To be able to do all of that and come out with something high quality that is cohesive, engaging, fun and broadly appealing is magic.  
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20. Re: On Metacritic Scores Jan 20, 2009, 17:30 Tumbler
 
Inquisitive
Shit I just watched "Tropic Thunder" it scored 82% on Rottentomatoes. It also happens to be a steaming pile of junk. God what a crap movie.

...what? I paid cash money to see this in the theater (and was nervous about spending it) and I don't think I want to see it again but that was money well spent...

The Character Tom Cruise played in that movie had me falling out of my seat. And Robert Downie Jr as a black guy? The movie standing on it's own wasn't that interesting, but the acting was hilarious. It felt more like an improv night or something but my god can you tell me you had a straight face when tom cruise was dancing in front of Mathew McHanahay (however the fuck you spell that) trying to convince him to sell out his friend for a G5?

That movie was money well spent.

"I am talking scorched Earth Mother Fucker. I will Massacre you. I will FUCK YOU UP." Fucking awesome.

If I'm ever kidnapped and held for ransom I want Tom Cruise as my negotiator.

This comment was edited on Jan 20, 2009, 17:32.
 
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19. Re: On Metacritic Scores Jan 20, 2009, 17:07 Kosumo
 
I thought that the CGI in Kong was kind of hit or miss. Kong himself was absolutely fantastic, as were the T-rexes. I never once thought I was looking at CGI. The stampede was just alright, but the ship was awful.

Well, the ship was real. (there may have been a few CGI shots of it, but most was real, even in the fog, it was a 3 week second crew shoot)

To call the CGI work in King Kong shit, then say that Transforers was good is like, well, saying George Bush was not a very good pesident, but at less no one got hurt. i.e. You have to want to believe that to make it true.
 
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18. Re: On Metacritic Scores Jan 20, 2009, 16:55 jdreyer
 
The only purpose that metacritic serves is to point you in a general direction. The best way to use a critic is to find a critic whose tastes are similar to your own and read his or her reviews. Then if they recommend something, you can be fairly sure you'll like it too. For example, I love listening to Ben Crowshaw, but would never play anything he recommends or miss something he doesn't. Our tastes are just too different, and he gets his hate on a bit too much (to hilarious effect, though).  
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17. Re: On Metacritic Scores Jan 20, 2009, 16:50 jdreyer
 
Now theres a lot to say about King Kong whether you liked it or hated it. But it's CGI was nothing but absolute top notch and there has been nothing that has come remotely close in the years since.
I thought that the CGI in Kong was kind of hit or miss. Kong himself was absolutely fantastic, as were the T-rexes. I never once thought I was looking at CGI. The stampede was just alright, but the ship was awful.

This comment was edited on Jan 20, 2009, 16:56.
 
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16. Re: On Metacritic Scores Jan 20, 2009, 16:24 Zyrxil
 
Far Cry 2 scored 86 on PC, 85 on consoles. That highlights the opposite - that a lot of hype can't generate high review scores.
What that highlights is the hype dying down. For the first month it was way up there, with choice quotes like "I'm unable to go back to straight and simple first-person shooters. Far Cry 2 hasnít just exceeded my expectations, itís blown them away." from reviewers given exclusive first looks, playing the game under primed conditions, and writing reviews with adrenaline still in their veins. Hype is what companies do when such a large percentage of game sales happen in the first week of release.

It was obviously CGI in the movie, regardless of whether there was an actual model for some scenes. It was cringe-worthy when Batman rode it up a wall to spin it around on the spot. The Batpod was the cheesiest part of the entire film.
See link again - it was not CGI. They built a working motorcycle that operated completely differently from normal bikes. The seat spinning? Also 100% functional and not CGI.

In order to give Batman the ability to maneuver under low clearances, the Bat-Pod can physically lower and elongate itself. On set, the front forks extended and the chassis hugged the ground, positioning Goy parallel to the groundóand that's before pulling a 360. "The saddle is free to rotate," Crowley says. "It allows you to do all kinds of odd movement within the frame of the bike."

This comment was edited on Jan 20, 2009, 16:25.
 
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15. Re: On Metacritic Scores Jan 20, 2009, 16:20 theyarecomingforyou
 
I don't think relying on the opinions of others is really a good way to support your own opinion.
I agree, it shouldn't be relied upon but it is of some use as an indicator / gauge. It's like Iron Man getting 32 - I don't need to read the full reviews to know the game is almost certainly going to be terrible, though that doesn't discount that some people could have found it enjoyable. And while I really enjoyed Clear Sky it's valid to state the score of 75 reflects that there were some problems / design decisions that reviewers found issue with. All I'm saying is that Metacritic scores aren't simply made up; they have some bearing.
 
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14. Re: On Metacritic Scores Jan 20, 2009, 16:13 Bone43
 
don't think relying on the opinions of others is really a good way to support your own opinion. If I dislike a game, I'll specifically point out what I don't like about it and why. Explaining your opinion is the best thing you can do rather than saying "But everybody else likes it!

Exactly what a review does points out the good and the bad.
It just seems to many AAA titles are given a free pass to 90% or better.
 
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13. Re: On Metacritic Scores Jan 20, 2009, 16:11 theyarecomingforyou
 
Is that a joke? A 10 million dollar marketing campaign and lots of hype is all that you need to get 90+ scores. See Far Cry 2.
Far Cry 2 scored 86 on PC, 85 on consoles. That highlights the opposite - that a lot of hype can't generate high review scores.

You mean the Bat-pod? The one that wasn't CGI at all?
It was obviously CGI in the movie, regardless of whether there was an actual model for some scenes. It was cringe-worthy when Batman rode it up a wall to spin it around on the spot. The Batpod was the cheesiest part of the entire film.
 
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12. Re: On Metacritic Scores Jan 20, 2009, 16:04 Jerykk
 
Obviously the Metacritic score alone is a poor way to judge a game but if it's used to support an argument then that's acceptable.

I don't think relying on the opinions of others is really a good way to support your own opinion. If I dislike a game, I'll specifically point out what I don't like about it and why. Explaining your opinion is the best thing you can do rather than saying "But everybody else likes it!"
 
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11. Re: On Metacritic Scores Jan 20, 2009, 15:55 theyarecomingforyou
 
Also, it's annoying how people use Metacritic scores as a way to make you feel stupid for liking a game. "You liked Mirror's Edge? It's Metacritic score is 77... you're a noob!" Or the opposite, "you didn't like Metal Gear Solid 4? It's Metacritic score is 97!"
Obviously the Metacritic score alone is a poor way to judge a game but if it's used to support an argument then that's acceptable. For instance, if someone says that Oblivion is "crap" then that could be countered by someone else arguing why they liked it and showing that according to Metacritic it is the second best scoring RPG, joint with Diablo; clearly it would have to have some merit if it is ranked so highly, therefore the term "crap" doesn't apply. At the end of the day games are a subjective medium and just because a game scores 98 on Metacritic does not mean people have to like it - it merely shows that a lot of reviewers found it to be of very high quality.
 
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10. Re: On Metacritic Scores Jan 20, 2009, 15:50 Zyrxil
 
It doesn't really matter where the scale starts though as a game still needs to be very good to get the top scores.
Is that a joke? A 10 million dollar marketing campaign and lots of hype is all that you need to get 90+ scores. See Far Cry 2.

The Dark Knight was a similar case - some incredibly well done scenes (Two-Face, at least for the most part) and some very weak scene (anything involving the bat-bike)
You mean the Bat-pod? The one that wasn't CGI at all?
 
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9. Re: On Metacritic Scores Jan 20, 2009, 14:49 StingingVelvet
 
Metacritic can be useful as a guide to what is considered a good game, but it shouldn't be a be-all-end-all barometer of quality. Reviews at the end of the day are opinions, and people's opinions are different.

I like reviews that don't even offer a score, just state the experience and let people decide based on their own judgement. If all Oblivion reviews left out the 95 scores and just stated "Morrowind made more mainstream" I would have had a clearer picture going in than I did.

Also, it's annoying how people use Metacritic scores as a way to make you feel stupid for liking a game. "You liked Mirror's Edge? It's Metacritic score is 77... you're a noob!" Or the opposite, "you didn't like Metal Gear Solid 4? It's Metacritic score is 97!"

Annoying.
 
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8. Re: On Metacritic Scores Jan 20, 2009, 13:08 DG
 
IMO they should shoot for a balanced scorecard of measures. Basically the metacritic score is one of a number of measurements.

Metacritic alone is obviously a poor measurement, but in combination with others and with it's weaknesses in mind it does have some use. If only because it allows for comparison with competition or standards (with limited accuracy, but very cheaply). What's the alternative? The area is very difficult to measure anyway.

In determining success of a game sales (and profit) is obviously most important but there are other considerations such as the tech and learning which may benefit future titles, goodwill gained from customers who enjoyed the product (and thus more likely to buy another with the same logos on it) etc etc. Just one example: a dev makes a good game and then the publisher contracts someone else to make an expansion pack. The expansion may sell better for a game that sold reasonably to customers who really enjoyed it than if it was a big seller but most people put the pad down half way through.
 
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7. Re: On Metacritic Scores Jan 20, 2009, 12:28 theyarecomingforyou
 
But it's CGI was nothing but absolute top notch and there has been nothing that has come remotely close in the years since.
You've got to be kidding? The CGI was appalling in many scenes, especially during scenes like running from the dinosaurs - the direction was also pretty poor during those scenes. Even the stronger scenes left a lot to be desired. There has been plenty of MUCH better CGI since then. Transformers had some exceptional graphics for part of it, though other scenes were incredibly weak. The Dark Knight was a similar case - some incredibly well done scenes (Two-Face, at least for the most part) and some very weak scene (anything involving the bat-bike). The Lord Of The Rings and Peter Jackson's King Kong were both examples of CGI overload and it really detracted from the films.

NEway, I'm not suggesting that other people couldn't have liked / loved it but the rating seems high in comparison to other films of similar quality.
 
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