Metacritic. To some, it's the entire basis of their next purchase. To others, it is just a loose guideline, a light factor in deciding whether or not to wait for a price drop. It has impacted the gaming community as a whole so much in the past year or so, maybe even longer, where articles pop up constantly stating what game has what score. It is even ammo that powers the fanboy wars out there. But to the single gamer, how much does it impact you?
The basis of this article came from a statement made by Geoff Keighly on his show, The Bonus Round (and no, this isn't just a rewrite of his quote and saying it is an article), where he asked the question on how much difference a few points make. I found this to be quite intriguing, and it definitely had me thinking throughout the day. He made a great example with Dante's Inferno, a game that is a God of War 'clone' as people say. The game has a 75 score on PS3 and a 72 on Xbox 360. Some people would find that 7's are an ugly number, and are instantly put off by it. But what if the game increased in just four measly points, just how many more people would buy it? I would bet a tons more people would, because an 8 (or 80) is a lot more attractive than a 7. It 'shows' the game has some great potential but was just short of greatness. It 'shows' that this purchase you are making will not make you regret handing over the cash. But is this what the scores really say? Or is that a false representation?
So should these few points really make a difference? Should a game that has a 78 metacritic be frowned upon when next to a game with an 80 score? Let's say you are interested in two games but can only buy one. Let's take this example: You want a first person shooter and obviously the two biggest fps' on the market now are Modern Warfare 2 and Bad Company 2. MW2 has a 94 on metacritic and BC2 an 88. Without knowing anything for either game, chances are you would pick Modern Warfare 2 due to its higher score. But Bad Company 2 isn't a terrible game at all, and is only 6 points shy of Modern Warfare 2. And if compared to say, MAG, which is good but wasn't critically acclaimed, Bad Company would look like a god. So why do these few points make such a difference? If a person sees how similar the scores are why wouldn't they do further research? I'm sure some people do, but metacritic is still the deciding factor for many, especially those who rarely buy games.
This goes for game reviews in general. People skip right to the score because to them that is the bread and butter. So one game could have that 94 and the other an 88, but people will never know why each game has that score. They will never know the reasoning and it could even bite them in the ass later on. These people would just buy the higher scoring game based on the instinct of higher equals better, even if the difference is minimal. If we think of scores this way, why don't we ask why a game didn't get the 100 and only has a 94. Why is it still 6 points away? That could be just as fair of an argument when thinking from this perspective. You could even say a 94 sucks ass in comparison to a 98. Would you buy the 98 game over the 94?
I think the gaming community has been so spoiled by games receiving 90+ scores that anything under 90 is ****. I also think the major reviewers are practically giving 90's away. Now some games very well deserve it, but Modern Warfare 2? Seriously? That one goes without saying. IGN giving GTA 4 a 10? A 10?? GTA 4 is an excellent game no doubt, but c'mon. And all these scores are from hype as well, and we see later on how undeserving these games are of their scores, but the metacritic in the game's launch is all the matters now isn't it?
I think this is a great topic and a question that can have many people thinking. How much does metacritic or review scores for that matter impact your purchases? Do you think you have a better gaming library because of it? Do you feel you missed out on some gems due to their 70's and low 80's scores?