Why I Don’t Use Review Scores

If you’ve been following for a long time, you’d notice that there’s something missing from my write-ups. That’s right, there’s no review scores. I’ve said in the past that I have a distaste for review scores because I feel that there’s an unreasonable weight put on them. A big game that released recently has only cemented my beliefs.

Death Stranding has been really divisive, with the gameplay not gelling with a lot of people. A phenomenon that hasn’t gone unnoticed is reviewers being mixed on the game while still giving it high scores. Because it’s the internet gaming community, some people speculate if these reviewers get paid off.

The answer to that maybe lies in the IGN review. IGN dared to rate the game a 6.8, stating honest critiques of the game. The result was a bunch of people being snarky assholes about it at best or just plain assholes at worst.

Death Stranding is hardly the first game that got gamers angry over bad reviews. Hell, it doesn’t even have to be bad, just less than what fans want. Let us never forget Twilight Princess‘s 8.8, which is a perfectly respectable score but had a shitstorm over it. Like oh boo hoo, it was 0.2 points away from a 9.

With how people react so negatively to “bad” reviews, maybe people should consider that reviewers aren’t scoring disproportionately high because they’re being paid off, but because gaming culture discourages honest criticism? Or at least, honest criticism that doesn’t come in the form of a YouTuber that does bad fucking skits?

Like, I’m not too vocal about my thoughts on review scores because I feel that I’d get mixed up in that crowd. I remember seeing this take that’s like, “don’t let a score dictate how you feel about a game, play it for yourself,” and I was like, yeah, that’s valid. Then the tweet was followed up by the usual song and dance of anime avatars complaining about game journalists and I’m like, oh.

And another thing about that attitude is that I usually see it directed toward games that’s less than an 8. Like, it’s fine if some reviewer gives a game a “7” or whatever because that’s still a perfectly fine score; it’s just that the gaming community is so brain poisoned that anything less than an 8 just means “bad.”

Like, for example, let’s talk about Nier. I absolutely think it’s a 6 out of 10 game because it’s kinda clunky, not nice to look at, and wasn’t very fun – but it still won its way into my heart. It’s a game that still holds merit because it has a great story with a fascinating world and fantastic soundtrack. In the eyes of the gaming public, a 6 is a death sentence. In reality, a 6 should be viewed as a flawed game with stuff worth looking into – which is what Death Stranding kinda seems to be.

The last problem that I have with score culture is that people put more weight on the actual score than the actual review. Fucking nerds will look at a number and be happy or mad without bothering to understand why. To me, the number shouldn’t matter, but the actual thoughts that goes behind it. In fact, that problem of reviewers giving disproportionately high scores along with their critical reviews would be a non-issue if the score wasn’t a thing.

For a lot of people, review scores aren’t a summary of a reviewer’s thoughts, but something to validate the thoughts of the reader/viewer. Plenty of gamers don’t want honest reviews, to the point that reviewers don’t give scores that fit in line with what they honestly think. To them, it’s about cheerleading for their favorite brands, and fuck you if you don’t give them the respect they deserve.

And so, I think review scores suck. We don’t need them. All they do is encourage gamers to be assholes. The reactions to the reviews for Death Stranding – and now even Pokemon Sword and Shield at the time of writing – just further confirms my stance. I will never use review scores for Indie Hell Zone, and I sure as hell wish I didn’t need to use them for my stuff on Phenixx Gaming.

Anyway, what happened in Bolivia is a Christofascist coup and anyone that sides with it or sticks to the lie that Evo Morales is an authoritarian is complicit.

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