It is a story as old as time. A game critic criticizes a highly anticipated and fan loved game. Metacritic attempts to aggregate the review and messes up. Then angry gamers freak out in the worst possible manner.
So let’s lay out some details. Michael Thompson wrote a critical review of Uncharted 4. In this he writes that U4 is an inevitable but unneeded fourth installment in a game trilogy. He criticizes it further by stating, “The games have always struck me as garish more than gorgeous, more interested in overwhelming the senses than communicating with them.” Overall, this is nothing more than someone who is not a fan of the series writing up his thoughts. Something that is ultimately harmless. Sadly, some people don’t see it that way.
To compound the issue, the popular, for reasons that seem to always escape me, meta review site Metacritic decided to attribute a score to this otherwise unscored review. What score did they assign Thompson’s review? Why, a 40 out of 100 of course. How did they come to that conclusion? No one really knows. This hasn’t really harmed U4’s average review though. The game currently holds an average of 93/100 based on a total of 91 reviews, with all but one (the WaPo review) being overwhelmingly positive. But let’s not let facts get in the way of angry gamers.
In response to the two incidents above, an angry gamer created a petition on the popular Change.org platform. This petition asks “Remove the Washington Post review from Uncharted 4’s metascore“. Now, I don’t really have a problem with game reviews or people challenging the reviews. That is a healthy part of discourse. Where I do have a problem is with people who have no clue how to communicate expecting to have their absurd demands taken seriously. Let’s take a look at the many problems here.
Im sorry but when having too much detail became a bad thing , this reviewer is out of his mind. I believe U4 is one of the greatest games ever created and it is my personal favorite for sure , although i can justify some reviewers giving it a 9 or an 8. But this is a utter disgrace. Gene , because you were the only respectable staff that responded to this nonsense , you should remove this review fro the metacritic , and post a new , sensible one that can justify its existence.
We are going to ignore the horrendous grammar here for a minute, I will be addressing it next, instead we will address the core of their complaint. The core complaint here is that someone dared to write something negative about their favorite game. That is seriously the major problem this gamer has. Since when is anyone required to like something that you like? They aren’t. They never have been. People are allowed to have their own opinions and own likes and dislikes.
The only sensible request in this initial complaint is that Metacritc remove the WaPo review from the aggregate scoring. This is a reasonable request as Metacritic assigned an arbitrary score to a scoreless review. Metacritic has a section for unscored reviews, and there are currently five reviews there. Why is this one not in the same place?
Moving on to the grammar. Here is a damning representative sample.
Your Washington post for Christ’s Sake , not a 12-year-old’s diary. Treat the game with professionalism and respect.
When your criticism of something you perceive as a childish review is written as if an illiterate grade school kid wrote it, I think you have problems. Just look at that sentence. This entire letter is littered with this type of poorly written screed. How anyone has taken this serious enough to sign it is beyond me. But this is not at all uncommon for petitions regarding games.
This isn’t the end of the problems. The petition concludes with a completely bonkers idea of what a review should be.
Im okay with the guy expressing his opinion , but as i said , when its an official review it must be treated with professionalism and respect , and rules must be applied. This guy doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously by big , crucial sites like Metacritic. It harms the Flawless reputation of the game for absolutely no reason. A review is not about what you think a game is , its about what a game is. Objective measures are applied.
This person seems to be under the impression that reviews are not opinion. They seem to believe that opinion has no place in how one views a game, but that reviews should be objective. This idea is ignorant. There is absolutely no way to write an objective review. Reviewing a game is not like reviewing a microwave. With a microwave, you can put in different food items and use the various settings and determine if the results are what is expected. But games are not microwaves. They are art. Art cannot be judged objectively.
While most everyone can agree that Da Vinci is an accomplished artist, not everyone actually likes his art enough to be willing to put it up in their living room. The same can be said for Mozart’s musical compositions, and Jules Verne’s books. People have different tastes and are welcome to take those into account when writing about the art they experience.
In the end, we have a extremely poorly written petition attempting to address two completely different issues, only one of which is justified.
“This is a reasonable request as Metacritic assigned an arbitrary score to a scoreless review.”
According to a tweet from Metacritic, WaPo did indeed pick the score for that review.
According to the replies to that “clarification” Metacritic still screwed up as the WaPo review of the game, not the one linked by Metacritic gives the game “4 out of 4”
“And in the end, the humble concerns of these four people mesh nicely with the globe-spanning fable of greed, ambition and hubris that they uncover. “Uncharted 4” is one of the most ambitious video games ever created, and it succeeds on almost every level. But its most impressive accomplishment may be its creation of four characters I actually cared about. Four stars out of four.”
Huh, so there are two WaPo reviews: one with a score and one without. Metacritic somehow reported the scoreless review with the score from the other review. And on top of that, it managed to misreport the score as 4/10 instead of the original 4/4.
Either way, it seems odd that Metacritc would include a score with no paper trail. That kind of makes things fishy.
As if we needed more evidence of how silly it is to give a game a score…