Knack and Ryse: Why I’ll Never Trust A Review Again

Remember the good old days when you browsed your local games store, picked out a game that you liked the look of and took it home to try it? Hell, remember when you had a local games store?!

Ryse

Somewhere between then and now, the concept of trying a game yourself before passing judgment on it has been cast aside. Instead, these days we spend a large chunk of our time checking websites like IGN, Eurogamer and Polygon, waiting for their “professional reviews”.

What’s funny of course is that once these reviews are out in the wild, what typically follows is a gigantic flame-war in the comments section, while people frantically cancel their pre orders and write death threats to the reviewers. God I love the Internet… read on sports fans.

While I don’t doubt it can be useful at times to get another person’s opinion on a product (which is all a review is I hasten to add, it’s not gospel or anything like that), ultimately the only person’s thoughts which matter are your own. I know, mind blowing, right?

Its common sense when you sit back and think about it like that, but it’s interesting how we as gamers are all guilty of checking these websites from time to time and get passionate about what we find there. Whether it’s rejoicing that a game has reviewed well or getting furious that a game hasn’t reviewed as well as we were hoping, we’ve all been there at some point.

Better still, the boundaries of what makes a good game seem to have moved over the years. In the past, a 9-10/10 meant the game was basically essential, a 7-8 meant a great game but not for everyone, a 5-6 meant a good game despite some rough edges and a 1-4 meant the game wasn’t all that great. These days however, if a game gets anything less than an 8, it’s typically considered garbage by gamers and one to avoid.

Queue the whole purpose of me writing this article (if you can call it that). Out of all the next-gen titles I’ve played so far, the two titles I have enjoyed the most may surprise you. No, not Dead Rising 3, not Killzone (though that is pretty good), not Forza 5, certainly not COD Ghosts. At the time of writing this, my favourite two titles are Ryse on X1 and Knack on PS4. Their Metacritic scores? 60 and 54 respectively, ouch.

While I don’t doubt both games have their faults, I absolutely loved Ryse’s cinematic storyline and had a great time playing through Knack’s challenging, nostalgic adventure. Both games are generally considered to be terrible by the gaming community, largely due to the professional review scores they were issued.

Conversely, Battlefield 4 has a Metacritic score of 86 and the bloody thing still doesn’t work properly 5 months after release! I appreciate shooters are very popular but it’s getting a little ridiculous when an online FPS which doesn’t even load most of the time is awarded a higher score than 2 titles which are lacking a little when it comes to variety.

In an attempt to prevent this becoming a rant, I suppose all I’m saying is to give some of these supposedly “poor” games a chance. Review scores are but one person’s opinion, which may or may not agree with yours. Personally I cannot stand the GTA series, does it therefore deserve a poor review? Of course not, it just reinforces the point that no one can predict whether you are going to enjoy something or not.

I must admit that is something I am absolutely loving about PlayStation Plus at the moment. Each month I am being treated to a new game to try, which isn’t costing me a penny. I don’t need to read reviews for it or go in with certain expectations, instead I can just fire it up, play it for a while and see if I get into it. It’s a refreshing change of pace and one I wish I could experience with every new game I play.

If you have any thoughts on this I would love to hear them in the comments section below! =)

Dave – NGXN

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About Stimo

Reviewer at NGXN

Posted on 02/04/2014, in News, Opinions and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Hyp3rSint4x

    I’ve had to sift through plenty of reviews to find ones that actually reflect my values. A great example of that would be how Thief started to get butchered in the days before it’s release. What struck me has hysterically stupid was when some reviewers were complaining about it’s weak combat system and how it “forced” you to use the stealth option rather than confrontation. The only thing i could think was “Uhh, it’s THEIF! The purpose for these series is to steal anything that’s shiny and not nailed down!”

    Regarding Ryse, I actually touched on a bit of this in my review, basically stating that even though this isn’t a blockbuster of a game, it’s still hardly worthy of the relentless bashing that it received.

    People love to rage on the net. By someone putting something “down”, it inherently puts them “up”. So by saying something is “beneath” you, you indirectly claim that your tastes and expectations are “above” that thing. And since all you have to do is click “Submit”, you can rant all you want without any real life recourse.

    Spoiled upstart kids these days, getting all sassy on the interwebs….

    • Pretty much my thoughts in a nutshell 🙂 I too found it hilarious when reading through the Thief reviews. Yes, I’m sure the AI is a little wonky at times and the visuals are hardly next-gen, but I still really like the look of the game as I love stealth games and Thief seems to tick the right boxes. If a game falls into the stealth genre and plays well as a stealth game, it should review positively.

      As you say, there’s no consequence to people typing a bunch of hateful bile and pressing “send”, hiding behind some anonymous username. To be honest I prefer the days where the only gaming news I read came from the monthly magazines which came out – this coming from someone who writes on a gaming news blog every day..

      • The net is full of people bashing anything. Even just putting up a comment on a review of a game or even a console they don’t like to just troll. If i like the look of a game I always end up getting it. It’s always nice to see the game you are interested in review high but i try not to go by it. Ryse got a low score but i still bought it day one and enjoyed it. Still play it and looking forward to a sequel.

        Too many people compared Thief to Dishonored, which i think is silly as they are different games. A stealth game should only be a stealth game. Too mnay developers are trying to make their title for the main stream. a COD clone. This is why i hate COD there is no real variety any more. Only indie games can do this now without going under if it failes.

        I’m glad to see less games focusing in multiplayer now and going for narative. Too mnay games tried to tack on a multiplayer that was not needed. Leve multiplayer to the guys who know how to do it.

      • The internet was certainly at its worst during most of last year – i.e. during the build up to the new consoles. Flame wars were kicking off left, right and centre, all because someone liked the look of one games console instead of another. Gaming is an enjoyable past-time and nothing more. It was quite pathetic.

        It’s true shooters like COD/Battlefield have effectively created a market where there is little variety but I honestly cannot blame them for churning out these games – after all, they are in this business to make money and FPS’ are certainly where the widespread demand is. To them its easy money.

        Fortunately, Knack and Ryse both sold pretty well (as launch titles typically do) so poor reviews haven’t really effected their success, but its a shame to know that interesting looking titles like Murdered will probably fail later this year when they inevitably get ignored due to “average” reviews (that game has 5-6/10 written all over it) despite being something new and interesting.

      • Oh the irony!

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