Why I’m Not Into Review Scores

Agents of Mayhem has mediocre reviews and gets hardly any attention, but it is a blast to play.

I have a bone to pick with review scores. Yes, I get that it is a staple within video gaming media that is used universally to assign a numerical value to games as an evaluation of whether they are worth one’s attention or not. And the gimmick helps to get clicks on gaming websites and gaming magazine subscriptions. I understand what it is and why it is used. But what irks me is when so much emphasis is placed on a number to the point that gamers could be missing out on games that they would actually love to play.

The greatest advice that I can pass on to you as a gamer is to know yourself to the point where a numeric score that you see in a magazine or read on a website is not the deciding factor of what drives you to buy or decline purchasing a particular game. Through their platforms, gaming media has the influential power to hype up the gaming community or sour the gaming community by what they write and post about the different titles on the market. But it is up to each of us as individual gamers to know what we like and to be able to see if a game is worth playing on our own accord.

Capture Credit: IGN.com
If I fully embraced IGN’s 5 out of 10 score for Crackdown 3, I would have missed out on a gem of a game.

IGN did not think highly of Crackdown 3 and the game could be shrugged off as a botch if you look at the numbers from Metacritic. Based on what you would find from the two websites, it would seem like Crackdown 3 would be a total waste of time for every gamer. Couple that with the fact that the game did not sell well and you have a great case to make against it, right? But guess what? I loved the game when I finally played it last year. It was one of my favorite gaming experiences of 2020. It’s also one of the few games that I swiftly played through in the past year. Had I fallen in line with all the negative reviews, I would have never given it a try. Thank goodness I watched gameplay videos and listened to people who did like the game and why. I found that Crackdown 3 was what I was personally looking for.

Had I taken GameSpot’s 4 out of 10 “poor” review of Agents of Mayhem to heart, it would not be a part of my game collection today. One of the main infractions cited in the review was that the game was “repetitive.” The word “repetitive” in gaming is one I take exception to because it is a term based too many times on a double standard. Two games can both be repetitive, but the one the reviewer is more impartial will have its repetition dismissed while the other game will be condemned because of it. The truth is that most open-world games are repetitive by default. It’s what you decide to do with that open world that makes all the difference. I’ve always held the belief that enjoyment of such games is what you make of it, provided enough tools are provided to do so. Like Crackdown 3, there is so much to love in Agents of Mayhem. I love games that have that Grand Theft Auto, Saints Row open-world/cause lots of chaos feel.

Now let’s switch sides. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a game that has been universally praised as a hallmark of excellence in gaming. The Metascore for the game on PC is a 91. Many gamers view the game as Hideo Kojima’s crowning achievement. While I would agree that Metal Gear Solid V is a great title, unfortunately it could hardly hold my attention after the opening in the hospital. To go from something that has you on the edge of your seat to multiple missions in an open world that is way too open was a letdown for me. The stealth and tactical action were great but the game, at least in the beginning following the hospital mission, felt empty and boring at times. I have it on Steam and may eventually play it some more, but Crackdown 3 and Agents of Mayhem were much more engaging to play. That’s my perspective based on the type of gamer I am and what I enjoy.

Capture Credit: IGN.com
Although IGN.com gave The Last of Us: Remastered a perfect score, it failed to sustain my attention.

The Last of Us Remastered is another title hailed by both critics and users as a masterpiece of a game. I can not argue with it being in excellent title. Yet, just like Metal Gear Solid V, I’ve found it very tough to get through the game with sustained interest. It’s a terrific game and very worthy of the glowing reviews. But some of the segments of the game seemed to be unnecessarily long. In this type of game, I would have rather there been more cutscenes in place of some of those parts. I’m surprised I didn’t take to this game more because I felt the character development was well done and I really enjoyed Naughty Dog’s other efforts with the Uncharted series.

As always, all reviews that you read are written by reviewers who have their own personal preferences of what they are looking for in a game. A review is an opinion that can contain some facts, but it still is going to naturally lack some objectivity. Keep that in mind any time you’re reading or watching someone’s take on a particular game. I realize that this is even the case with this blog. Also, make sure to read and listen to the case that they make as to why they believe the game is great or a dud. Compare it with your own research and your own preferences of what you like to play. Stay true to yourself as a gamer.


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