Thursday, 10 November 2011

The Loser Score.

Right, I'm meant to be doing college work right now so I'm going to make this damn quick.



Modern Warfare 3 came out the other day. I've yet to play it but I've watched and read some reviews and it's looking like a fine game. Infinity Ward (or whatever is left of it) and Sledgehammer didn't do much with the formula, rather sticking with the what's worked for them this far. I have no doubt that it's a decent game. No it doesn't innovate, no it doesn't change the rules, but it's still a decent game.



When Modern Warfare 2 released, expectations were high. Call of Duty 4 had made a big splash when it released in 2007, snuffing the trend of WWII shooters and instead setting the action in modern day (that's right, there was a time when that was new). Everyone adored CoD4. It was fun and original, it took risks and made no apologies. When Modern Warfare 2 came out . . . I don't know what people actually expected, but it apparently disappointed. I myself purchased the game on the morning of release and had a very good time with it. I even got the Platinum trophy. But wherever I looked online, people were bashing it, even people who were well known for playing it on YouTube. Perhaps it had something to do with dedicated servers, maybe it was the new multiplayer features. Either way, much of the gaming public felt somewhat wronged. Not in a way that a game developer had messed up on them, but instead as if Bobby Kotick walked into their house, poured sour milk on their bed and then punched their new kitten in the nose. So they bitched and moaned, they made little groups called "I'm never going to buy another Call of Duty game" and "Boycott Activision" and blah blah blah blah. But that wasn't all they did . . .


For those who don't know, Metacritic is a site that aggregates review scores for things such as games and films. If a new game comes out and IGN gives it a ten and Gamespot gives it a five (more possible than you think), Metacritic will give it an average score of seventy five. Simple. On the page there is a separate score for user ratings. People are welcome to sign on to the site and write their own review of the product with their own score out of ten. The user scores are then also aggregated into an easy-to-read score for people who don't fully trust the opinions of professional reviewers.

You may see where I'm about to go with this. When Modern Warfare 2 was unleashed onto the world, reviews were very positive. Sites and magazines applauded Infinity Ward for making yet another solid shooter with an exciting story and colourful characters. I really enjoyed the game, it had me riveted from start to finish. Was it perfect? Hell to the no. The story seemed to be dictated by the missions rather than the other way 'round and it didn't have a bunch of depth. It was an eight out of ten game and I've never regretted the purchase. When I went to take a look at how it was doing on Metacritic, I was both disappointed and irritated. Many, many supposed gamers had taken to the site to voice their opinions on the game. Some left long, almost reasonable posts about how the game doesn't do anything that impressed them while others were just being honest, saying "I'm just rating it low to drop the average". In the end the User Average sat at around three out of ten while the Review Average was in the nine area. I played that game, it wasn't a three. It may not have been a nine but it certainly wasn't a three. Now the same has happened with Modern Warfare 3. At the minute I think the User Score is in the two ballpark. I haven't played the game yet but I know it's better than that, which means someone is essentially trolling the ratings. It's gotten to the point at which developers are asking people on Twitter to go and give their honest opinions of the game. These of course being the people that worked incredibly hard to make this game, giving up time to see their family and friends, working seven days per week. We've all heard stories about how Activision operates, those studios work damn hard.



So, I think this is ridiculous. A grim illustration of just how childish gamers can be these days. When you give a dodgy score for anything it corrupts the whole average. It's a sad way to spend your time. If you want to be annoyed then vote with your wallets, or write directly to Activision or whatever, just do something a little more mature than throwing your toys out of your pram on the internet. Posting a deliberately inaccurate score on a very reputable website says way more about you than it ever will about a game. It's days like this that make me cringe when I tell people that I play video games.

Oh, and all those people who boycotted Modern Warfare 2 . . .


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