Predictions Come True

[As Read on GIO.]

Glancing back to February…

A Short Blog About a Few Games

Hey there folks. I don’t expect you to recall this at all, so I will gladly provide a link to it, but I wrote a little blog about some predictions I had concerning several scores for games that had not released as of then. Now, all games save two have been released, so I’m posting some further updates about that blog, just to show some interesting feedback I’ve encountered thus far. That blog can be found here. Of the eleven games I was predicting scores for, nine have since been released, and I accurately guessed two scores right on the money, while I was within 0.5 points for three others. The other four were slightly larger gaps, with the largest being a nearly 2.0 point difference (SimCity at 6.5 as compared to my prospective 8.25). Now, I’ve noticed some interesting things from my predictions, and I’d like to share them with you- all in the name of science of course, as this was a mathematical experiment of sorts.

I think first up, I will talk about the two games thus far that I have accurately guessed scores for: Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Gears of War: Judgment. As it is, this whole process has been quite interesting, and what started off as a blog to simply pass the time has become something I’ve come back to at least four times over the past nine months, in order to update the constant stream of data. I know this particular blog may be a little premature because the final two games have not released yet, but I feel it is timely enough.

1: Correct Predictions

I have a habit of picking out a previewed game here and going “I think that one will get somewhere in the ballpark of an 8 out of 10.” Usually, I’m pretty close to it. Also, for whatever reason- I put it down to my CS degree, but it could be something altogether different- I’m good at remember extraneous details and many numbers and patterns. For example, I can tell you without looking that Gears of War 2 received a 9/10 score in 2008- scout’s honor, I didn’t look. How do I remember that? I have no earthly idea, but it comes in handy, especially when I don’t want to have to look up my previous reviews to see what score I gave a game. I can usually just remember it, and be fairly certain I am remembering correctly. Anyway, that’s slightly on and off topic, so I’ll get on to what you are really waiting for- the details.

I correctly predicted, over six months ago, the scores that would be given to two games- one a Gears of War prequel, and another a Tom Clancy sequel. Both are fine games, and I identified them as two separate types of games when predicting them, which I believe is what led me to the success I had. The method I went about in predicting the scores for the eleven games I’ve predicted total was quite simple. First I gave a semi-broad range of where I thought the game would score, then I narrowed that down to one particular score, and then I waited to see if I was correct or close thereby. For the most part I’ve been pretty accurate. For the games that I was close to with my pinpointed score, I was well within bounds with my broader scores, for the most part.

Remember Me’s 7.75 awarded to it by GI was in my broader score, although my pinpointed 8.5 was not so accurate. Injustice: Gods Among Us’ 9.0 was in my broader score, although my 9.25 was slightly off. Those are just two other examples of my methodology. Regardless, whatever I thought of- through prior experience with series and pure guesswork based on what I’d seen of the new IPs, paid off to some extent, and proved to be an exciting game of chance as well. Sort of like the lottery…

I predicted Gears of War: Judgment would receive an 8.5, which it did, mainly for the same reasons I was skeptical about, and that were brought up sure enough in nearly every review I read of the game- GI’s included of course. It was a prequel, and I was certain that would prove problematic enough in convincing others to like it- when we had thought the series was ending as a trilogy with GOW 3. Some of the gameplay mechanics I had heard about in coverage prior to its release made me skeptical as well, so I dubbed it a ‘High Risk’ game to be developed, and gave it a decently good, but not great score of 8.5 for that. Turns out I was right for most of those reasons. However, in my personal review, I gave the game an 8.25- slightly lower than I predicted others giving it, though for mostly the same reasons.

I predicted Splinter Cell: Blacklist would receive a 9.0, which it most definitely did, and did not dub it any risk of a sequel, as the Tom Clancy label has generally proved to be pretty steady in terms of quality and score. I was nearly positive that it would receive at least a 9.0, and actually thought my score was a little lower than it would get- surprisingly, I was wrong in that case. I actually gave the game a slightly higher score in my personal review, with a 9.25, but that is mostly besides the point. I thought, based on past experience with Ubisoft and the Splinter Cell series alone, that I would have the strongest chance of getting this particular prediction right- and I did.

2: Close (And not-so) Predictions

In case you are curious, some of the other games that I deemed ‘risks’ were Tomb Raider at a mild level, SimCity at a high level, Injustice at a mild level, and Lightning Returns at a medium level. Obviously, Lightning Returns has not released yet, so I don’t know how close to the issue I am on that one. However, for the others, I seemed to have pretty much guessed how many problems they would have and how well received they would be as well, overall. My rating of risk assigned went on a scale of mild-high, with mild being the lowest, medium being middle, and high being the highest of course.

The first game I’ll talk about, where I was reasonably close on my prediction, is Tomb Raider- the 2013 gritty, action, survival reboot of the classic Lara Croft. GI gave the game a score of a 9.25, and I myself gave it a 9.0 in my personal review and loved it. However, I originally predicted it would receive somewhere in the ballpark of 8.5 to 9.0- pinpointing that down to an 8.75. My reasons for this were simple- the past three or so Tomb Raider games had each received around an 8.5 to 9.0 and although this was to be a reboot, it was Crystal Dynamics still, so I didn’t think that much would honestly have changed. Surprisingly, I was quite wrong in that regard- and pleasantly so. I wasn’t too far off, but those 0.5 points couldn’t have been any different in my mind.

The second game I’ll talk about is God of War: Ascension. Now, this one, I was a little bit further off on my pinpointed and broader scores. I predicted somewhere in the range of an 8.75 to 9.25 score, and then narrowed that down to a 9.0. Well, GI gave the game an 8.0, and I myself would’ve given it somewhere around there as well. So, I was a little bit further off on this one. My reasons for wanting to believe it would achieve a 9.0 are roughly the same as for Tomb Raider’s- I based my thoughts on the previous titles, console-wise, and not really including handhelds. Wince two received mostly perfect 10s from most reviews, and the other received still excellent marks of around 9.5 range, I thought that- while this would be weaker in terms of story and as an unneeded prequel, it could still eek out a 9.0 easily. Sadly, I was mistaken. What resulted was a good game with some noticeable flaws, and one of the weaker entries in the series- ranked lower than the handhelds GoS and CoO. Unpopular multiplayer and a lack of story just killed the action.

The third game is Bioshock Infinite. I expected this title to be good, but I didn’t know how well it would be received- with one Bioshock game getting universal praise and the other getting panned. What I did basically acts as an averaging of what made the first good and the second not-so good, and then I added in some of what I’d seen of the third title, and went from there. I actually thought Infinite would get somewhere in the neighborhood of 8.5 to 9.5- being anywhere from Bioshock 2 status to nearly as good as the first. Little did I know it was to get a perfect 10 like the first one did back in its day here a few years ago… I thought I would be a moderate reviewer and score my prospective score at a 9.25, but when I actually played the game, I enjoyed it enough to give it a 9.5. I can see why it received a 10, despite some convoluted story moments and repetitive action. It is a very ambitious game, and a well-received one at that.

The black sheep so to speak of my predictions is SimCity- which, due to unforeseen launch problems, is far from the constant in my predictive experiment here. As is often the case in actual science, at least one factor will and does go wrong in an experiment, so you should always note the outcome. Any of these games could’ve had issues such as SimCity, and thus affect their scores accordingly. As it is, I predicted SimCity at an 8.25, which it probably could’ve attained without it’s issues putting it down to a mediocre 6.5 only. It is good and works alright now, but the damage has been done.

The final three games that I predicted that have been released already were The Last of Us, Injustice, and Remember Me. These three were a little close to the money in some ways, yet still off a bit in others. I thought each was promising enough, but they each did their things a little differently and with differing degrees of success in GI’s and the world’s eyes. Remember Me fell down a little by the wayside and received a 7.75, which was a bit off from the 8.5 I predicted it at, and slightly less than the 8.0 I gave it in my personal review. This was mainly due to lack of story and repetitive gameplay. Injustice, like Mortal Kombat received mostly good marks and a 9.0 from GI, which was close to my predicted 9.25, and slightly less than my own personal 9.5 it was awarded. I figured the game, because it was developed by the same people, would be like Mortal Kombat 9 and it was sure enough. The Last of Us succeeded beyond my expectations. I thought it would be good but ultimately fall a little, but it did not do so much as stumble. I marked it at a 9.0 but GI ceded a 9.5 for it, and I myself later gave it a 9.75 in review form. It is ambitious and heartbreaking and gorgeous. I loved it.

3: Still to Come

The two releases that still have yet to come and I have yet to see reviewed by GI for reference here to my predictions are Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. I think these games should do decently, but only time will tell how far off or how close I am with my scores. As of now, I have Yaiba at a broad score of anywhere between 7.5 and 8.5, with a pinpointed score of 8.0. Respectively, I have Lightning Returns at a general range of 8.0 to 8.75, and a narrowed down score of 8.25. We shall see how things go for these two games, and then I will explain my thinking and why I gave them the scores I did later on in another blog, as well as in the updated form of my previous blog.

I look forward to people asking me questions about this process, and even to others attempting to do the same thing in their own ways. I think this is something that I may continue year to year, or maybe even on a  shorter time frame, given the opportunity. After all, a year is a long time to wait, and some of these games aren’t supposed to release until later on anyway. I will see you all next time here on GIO. Until then, be careful.

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