The Long and Winding Road

[As Read on GIO.]

In Which I Try to Ascertain just Why Folks Give things 1-Star and a Perfect 10…

First, let’s all pause for a moment and give the Power Glove a salute. Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s actually talk about the point of this blog. I made a joke about the topic the other day, but that was before I’d decided to actually make a blog post pertaining to it as well. Upon trolling Metacritic and several other websites, and seeing this recurring matter, I decided it was time I took the war to the Interwebs as well. Jokes aside, it always amazes me that- for more than one hundred reasons, for every good game there will be ten one star ratings, and for every bad game or mediocre one, there will be fifteen perfect tens awarded to it with the explanation of, “This game is just so awesome and insert stuff that doesn’t really explain anything here.”

Now, I’ve seen this conundrum here on GIO as well, albeit rarely- but never have I truly begin to figure out or even grasp why people do such a thing as this heinous misuse of ranking and rating privileges. Sure, it’s your opinion, and if you really think something deserves a one or a ten, then by all means go for it- but could you at least back it up a bit with an explanation (nothing lengthy). And when I see multiple people doing this just to tank the game’s score it really irks me as well. Just take a gander at Metacritic’s scores for pretty much every mainstream shooter out there- Call of Duty and Battlefield especially. Battlefield 3 and 4 haven’t been affected as much, as their scores have only sunk to around a 5/10 or so, but man- it seems as if everyone just goes after Call of Duty (on both sides). I’ve seen the score for Ghosts as low as a 2.3 cumulative, which in terms of GPA and rating is equally poor and lacking.

However much I jest, it is undeniably atrocious to see a 2.3, and to see it on a decently polished game which, despite being a weak series entry, is still worthy of no less than a 6 or 7 is quite heinous and a tragedy indeed. Funny enough, the fifty perfect scores couldn’t even begin to bring up the two-hundred plus zeroes and ones that I counted. Amazing that people can agree to hate on something, but hardly ever to recognize the good merits for games, media, and other interesting items. No, apparently it’s human nature to shittily pan things just because we want to on occasion. I mean, I’m not saying sharing your opinion on something is bad in the least, or than things deserving of a pan or two shouldn’t receive them, but when you pan everything?- yeah, you’re just being a hardass for no real reason… And coming from me, at least in terms of ‘defending’ Call of Duty, it’s sort of sad when a gamer who isn’t even a true fan of a series takes up the banner in its justification and cause. But alas, nobody else is around to see the misfortune it has fallen upon and to help out in some way- not just for this game, but for many others as well.

Now, after that lighthearted and nostalgic picture, let’s get back down to the discussion at hand, and the values which I feel some people are heartily misrepresenting and thrashing to boot. As I see it today, there are pretty much four types of people who review things. You have your people who are unsure maybe because it’s their first time or just because they haven’t ever really been too good at writing or just writing reviews. You have your gun-shy cowboys who write the occasional review if and when they can be talked into it by someone else or they only feel pretty strongly about something in order to write, but otherwise steer clear of reviews of any sort and the writing therein.

You have your trolls who will review things at either the perfect score or the lowest, depending upon their mood towards the game in question, or even just for the hell of it with any game in order to either seek attention or just rain on everyone else’s otherwise perfectly happy parade. And last but not least, you have your steadfast defender of the meek and prosecutor of the unjustly righteous- your dark knight, the fair reviewer who gives his honest, true opinion about games while giving support with facts as well in their reviews.

Those are the major archetypes I’ve found in my time as a reviewer, and for the most part in many case they will stand quite true, though it is of course possible to witness hybrids of the types and people who go through periods of inexperience as we all must, before ascending to the level of almighty review overlord or descending into review hell and persecuting every poor game out there because they feel they can. Now, back to the main point at hand here- why do I truly believe certain people will either randomly choose a game to hate/love on, or why will they do it to ‘popular’ titles such as the Call of Duty games? Well, as I mentioned before, there could be any number of reasons for this, as they could be motivated by any number of personal reasons to do so. However, I think, at least for the purpose of this blog’s discussion, it is only fair that I come up with some reasons to show, and therefore I’ve picked three main ones here.

Okay, so as I see it, there are three major reasons why people will rate games terribly or perfectly (usually without good cause or justification aside from ‘I like it,” or “I hated it,”): they are immature and feel this is some way of “getting back at” the developers (if they rated poorly w/o justification); they really enjoyed the game but don’t really feel like crafting an actual review, but still want to support it (for rating a ten with no real ‘meat’); or they really hated the game and have no other way to put into words why they hated it so much, and therefore gave what was entirely mediocre to them the lowest possible score they could find (another reason for those giving poor scores).

Now, let’s talk about explanation number one a little bit, and then we will talk about the other two in their time as well. As many children and otherwise too-young adults as there are playing games they honestly shouldn’t be, but which people don’t care enough to regulate (which is fine if the kids are mature enough, by all means), it comes as no great shock that there are an equal or greater number of crappy reviews giving the games they play the lowest possible score from all sorts of reasons such as their bad kill to death ratio to it crashing on them. That having been said, I’m not too surprised that this is most likely the number one reason why people rate things terribly- and coupled with raging, it stands an even greater chance of being that reason the majority of the time, especially for games, as is the point to be made here. Unfair as it is to single out any one group, and true that no one group is solely responsible, the younger audience is inevitably going to mostly fall into this category sadly.

Explanation two is a lot more benign than its two partners in crime here, but no less annoying in its own right, as it causes the same problem essentially as inflation- inflating scores to such a level that you can’t get a true read on quality without playing the game yourself. Sure, seeing perfect scores is pretty common for world renowned games and ultra-highly rated titles, but not everyone gives even those perfect scores, so when I see some obviously or not so obviously mediocre title get a ten and then the explanation is a blurb saying “it was cool” or something along those lines, I usually think it’s crap and a waste of time to read. Anyone can do this, but honestly, could you not stop for five minutes to write a brief explanation of why you enjoyed it, and what its merits are- if you really enjoyed it, especially? I would, in your place.

And the final explanation here is in relation to those people who have such a deep hatred for a certain game for whatever reason- in most cases petty, and decided to stick it ‘to the man,” or in this case the rating it receives on public sites. As much as this really doesn’t matter, as it is generally the critic rating that counts, it’s still sad to see games that are otherwise fine getting that 2.0 score simply due to one bug that irks people but is later patched. Surprisingly, I’m shocked to see that with all of it’s bugs, Battlefield 4 still has a score 3 points above Call of Duty: Ghosts’ 2.3, resting at roughly a 5.5 or so. I guess I just underestimated how readily people will hate on that particular series now, though they’ll still buy the games for reasons unknown to me- a conundrum if there ever was any. Each game can pretty much outsell the last, and yet nobody likes them supposedly? Um, okay- whatever.

Now, with the appropriately bad joke accompaniment, I’m sure now is as good a time as any to end this somewhat short, thoughtful blog. I hope you guys have enjoyed it, and are willing to chime in with your own thoughts on whatever was here. Don’t take offense if you are younger and feel I was calling you guys out- I wasn’t, just stating something that is sadly pretty much fact in that many “2000’s” children are immature and love to play their quite mature games, and such an evil combination is often scary to us older folks. I jest, still. But really, don’t be offended- anyone that blogs here is obviously not one of the people in this post, except maybe the one who writes epic reviews. Good evening gents and ladies, and a fair weekend to all.

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