Whether you love them or hate them I think we can all agree on these two aspects of games journalism; Review scores are awful, and review scores are very difficult to ignore. For this month’s Band of Bloggers prompt I’m going to appeal to your inner contrarian by asking you to tell me about all of those times the critics and reviews were wrong!
This month’s prompt is meant to be fun, but I fully understand that some of the takes you or I bring up might be kind of spicy, so I’ll throw out some softer, cooler takes as examples. For example, The Last of Us is not a perfect 10/10 game, especially when it was originally reviewed on the Playstation 3. Zombie apocalypses had been done to death well before June 2013, focusing on a heartwarming plot and characters and the drama of a zombie apocalypse too had been done to death (most notably in gaming by TT’s The Walking Dead). This was also a game that featured crafting which, after Tomb Raider (2013), Far Cry 3, and Dead Rising 3, didn’t make The Last of Us stand out. It all worked well enough, and if you connected with the characters maybe you thought it was a perfect 10, but I saw it as a 4 or 5.
I was going to cite Senua’s Sacrifice as an example because of that time Jim Sterling gave it a 1 out of 10. In fact, I disagree with a lot of the scores Jimbo has given out, but what really got under my skin was giving Arkham Origins a 3.5 but giving Pokemon X and Y a 9.5. Both games are derivative sequels that use established gameplay and characters to set up a story that doesn’t really offer much in the way of stakes, neither are particularly well optimized, and both games are perfectly fine. I thought maybe Jim reviewed the PC port of Arkham Origins, which was notoriously bug-ridden but apparently he went with the Xbox 360 version (which was also glitchy).
As for Pokemon, it seems like the review on Destructoid opened by saying Pokemon isn’t meant to change and players would be wrong to expect a different gameplay and narrative structure. Arkham Origins isn’t a 3.5, but I would put it closer to a 6, especially given how patched it is at this point. I would rate Pokemon X and Y similarly, 6 or 6.5 because even though it’s a really pretty game the main innovation is to make the experience easier, and that’s before mega evolution completely trivializes the combat.
I’m going to leave the rest to you! My examples might have been a little bit hotter than I intended, but it doesn’t have to be like that at all. Even if you think a 7.5 is a 7, or an 8 is a 9, I’d love to hear about those games that you think were given the wrong review score...like that time Chris gave the best Zelda game of all time a 6.5, no Chris, I haven’t forgotten about that Chris! Just make sure when you post your blog or Qtoid update to mark it with a #BOB or #BandofBloggers. Stay cool everyone!