Being critical about Metacritic

Opinion is one of the most important things which make us different from one another. What’s for you may not be for everyone else and the same can be said for modern gaming. With a wide variety of gaming consoles and gaming experiences to enjoyed during this generation, it is no wonder there are so many ‘Games Journalists’ to cast their eye over the latest games and news in the industry. In recent times, fans of certain gaming series have been tarnishing gaming reviews via Metacritic. Metacritic gathers review data from various sources to work out an average score and while the site’s reviewer’s scores are reliable, it is the user’s reviews that are causing the controversy as some of the scores are going over-the-top in an effort to diminish a game’s reputation.

I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion even if it does not side with your own views but the User section of Metacritic is an unnecessary way of lowering a game’s reputation. If it really is as bad as everyone is suggesting, then the media and reviewers can determine this and an average score can be met. There are many routes for your average Joe to express their opinions on such as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and YouTube. Metacritic should be a reliable source for unsure members of the gaming community to see what the majority of reviewers think of the game. The downside of this otherwise useful website is down to everyone’s favourite villain, the trolls.

Trolls are everywhere in the gaming community these days from the realms of tea-bagging in Halo to someone on the other end of the microphone who is looking to scream and harass you at any given chance while asking their ‘mom’ to make them a cheese sandwich. I believe that a problem these days is that people aren’t as open-minded as they once were. There was such a time where gamers could enjoy the fruits of their Sega Mega Drive while playing Sonic and then load up their Super Nintendo and go on a journey with Super Mario. It seems that the rivalry between Sony and Microsoft has meant that you either have to prefer one to the other. Games too have developed unhealthy rivalry with games such as Call of Duty vs. Battlefield, FIFA vs. Pro Evolution Soccer and Tekken vs. Street Fighter.

Another thing which ‘feeds the troll’ is that many people don’t like radical changes. Call of Duty has stuck with the same concept ever since it created the iconic Call of Duty 4 which many other first-person shooters have tried to copy. COD has stuck with this theory however and is partly the reason why so many people still buy the game as it doesn’t change from one title to the next. Some believe that COD needs to step out of this tried and tested gaming pattern and create something new while many believe the game’s series needs to stick to what it knows best. As soon as any game which could potentially be a ‘COD killer’ is released, the rival game is shot down immediately by the hardcore COD players and Metacritic is often at the forefront.

The latest Devil May Cry (DMC) was released a few weeks ago and received excellent reviews from most of the hierarchy in the gaming industry. Many were very excited with what Ninja Theory had created but some refused to believe it could be good and all because of one reason… Dante’s (the main character) appearance was different to the previous games most notably that his hair colour had changed. Some didn’t even bother playing the game and decided to direct their anger at their hero’s changed hair on Metacritic by reviewing the game very poorly. Reviewers from published websites gave the game 84 while the user scores rated the game 3.4 out of 10. There is no way that many gaming journalists could get a game so wrong, is there? It’s their job or hobby after all. Trying to bring a respectable game down to a trolls level is something which should never be done, never mind over whether Dante is blonde or brunette.

As a result of some of these individuals, I think that Metacritic needs to stay but the user review section needs to be removed. When a game is released and receives a poor user review score compared to a great review score, it is often the bad score from the user which finds itself in the spotlight and drawing the community’s attention from the great game it is. As competition grows within the games industry from mobile and free gaming, retail games need all the help they can get. I believe that in order to do this, Metacritic needs to be reviews from games journalists and not someone who will give the game 0/10 without playing it. It seems harsh but I don’t believe the troll problem will be over anytime soon.

@SimonMarshall6

the author

23, Scotland, Great Britain, Enjoys Football (Soccer), Basketball and Running, Manchester United are the team for me!

  • thewolfkin

    i think you’ve completely undersold the aspect of user scores artificially inflating the reputation of a game by the way. Trolling goes both ways.

    Metacritic should be a reliable source for unsure members of the gaming community to see what the majority of reviewers think of the game.

    crikes man. you’ve unrealistic and overly idealistic expectations of Metacritic. At BEST Metacritic can be used by members of our community to get sense of the pulse of a game. Which a) is not unlike what you’re saying and b) exactly what happens. In what way does Metacritic fail you? user scores are seperated from critic scores. If you want an ‘honest’ guage of how the community feels about the game you use the critic rating. The user rating mostly works as a ‘desenting’ opinon place and I thin it’s great for that. Yeah there are troll posts but they’re also easy to pick out. and since most people don’t really care about desenting opinions even this concept is mostly a non-starter.

    There was such a time where gamers could enjoy the fruits of their Sega Mega Drive while playing Sonic and then load up their Super Nintendo and go on a journey with Super Mario.

    This is a common complaints but honestly I think that’s just the industry being big now. Part of the reason you couldn’t bash sonic like you do now was because you had two friends to talk about games with.. if one of them was at war with you over console beef you’ve lost half your friends. The industry wasn’t pumping out games at the rate it was then. It was possible to play all the games. You can’t do that now.. you have to choose and with these prices choosing means you’re more dedicated to the games.

    There is no way that many gaming journalists could get a game so wrong, is there? It’s their job or hobby after all.

    um yes. Gaming Journalists are sometimes grossly incompetant. I’m not suggesting this is the case here but conceptually this is something that very well could happen. Especially if for instance it’s a more obscure genres like the bullet space shooter, or stuff like Yakuza or Dynasty Warriors. Again this is hypothetical not direct examples. Yet I recall reviews for Yakuza that Yakuza fans were shocked at.

  • http://www.GameNTrain.com/ Eric Hoff

    I can see the issue where with anyone being able to leave a review score, haters, trolls and other people just trying to be annoying can come and dump on games that truly do not deserve it. I am not saying that many people who do user reviews are not valid, but I am sure that there are more than a handful that warp the score for sure.

    I do feel that professional websites, bloggers and authors are a better source for these reviews being that they have a reputation to uphold. I am not saying all sites who do reviews are 100% valid but at least they have a name that they have made or are trying to make for themselves.

  • DaTruth

    Don’t F with the fans plain and simple. Metacritic user scores is a very good way to tell if a Developer had pissed off their entire fanbase. I mean it takes dedication to get a supposedly well received game down to a 3/10 user score, How many unhappy fans would that take? The only game that gets undeserved hate on meta is CoD. Every other game deserved i for pissing off their fans.

    • METALGEARDILDO

      Betraying a fanbase and a game being poor are totally different things.