To The Editor: After six years I have finally been able to play through the mess that is Metal Gear Solid 2. How I wondered, could a game that sold 7 million copies and achieved a metacritic score of 96% be so bad? I thus took it upon myself to read the reviews of 2001 to see where the discrepancy lied.
Of all the critic reviews regarding MGS2, only two mentioned the fact that Snake is only playable in the Prologue (In the interests of fairness, there were quite a few review sites where the link was not valid). Most reviews only vaguely mentioned the plot referring to it as full of twists (mentioning the main character Raiden is not a “plot twist,” and simply filling plot holes with more plot holes is also not a twist)
In the wake of the Jeff Gerstmann/gamespot controversy, I find this startling neglect of critical integrity appropriate to mention. (Credit is due to gaming-age.com for giving the most accurate review of the game: A- gameplay, C+ story). There is currently a wave of moral outrage that a critic was fired for giving a scathing review because of sponsor pressure. But how many times have mediocre to bad games been lifted up for the same reason?
As consumers, the latter is much more damaging. While a poorly reviewed good game has the ability to rise above the critics, a well reviewed bad game gives it a free pass to the head of the shopping list. We put our trust in critics to sift through the glut of games and find the gems because we neither have the time nor the patience to search for them ourselves.
With MGS4 set to ship next year and both Konami and Sony relying on this to be the PS3’s “killer app,” what will occur if the game turns out to be a dud? Will any critic be able to stand up and shout that “the King has no clothes?!” Or in the interest of all those involved, quietly praise it letting the gaming public find out for themselves how the game is.
In response to ‘Kane & Lynch & enough of the Bullshit” from The Escapist Forum: The problem with your argument is that you assume he was fired for giving a negative review to a sponsoring company. It’s true he did this, but it isn’t necessarily the reason he was fired. So then the reason he was fired could be something entirely unrelated, which brings light to why neither party has divulged any information. What if he were fired for something embarrassing like downloading porn on the company computer? He wouldn’t likely be speaking up about it, and for that matter Gamespot would be doing him a favor to not divulge that information. The game may be sub-par, but don’t lynch Eidos and Gamespot before you KNOW this is the reason he was fired.
I agree with everyone else. He’s not talking to either avoid getting sued or for money. We will only hear the truth when the companies involved spill the beans, which might be a while. This is bad news for Gamespot and CNET though. I think Russ hit it dead on. This merely serves to confirm what we all cynically believe deep down anyway, that the whole game review process is corrupt and shambolic. Ad content already vastly outnumbers the actual “journalism” on Gamespot, if they took out the reviews entirely would you even notice the change?
In response to “We Always Play Videogames” from The Escapist Forum: I really enjoyed this article.
I have a brother who’s ten years older than I am, and gaming was mostly how we connected when I was younger. I have many great memories of the three of us and our Uncle Bill hiding out in the basement of my Grandma’s house, playing our new video games on Christmas morning, and this brought them all back.
Since then, gaming has become a hobby for almost everyone in my family except my mother (I try desperately, but to no avail). But although we all game individually, I miss being the sort of cabal-feeling troup of gamers in grandma’s basement.
Now I feel like travelling across the country to play Streets of Rage with a friend I had back in the day. There’s definately no gaming feeling in my family, not like that, I’m part of the first generation of gamers there and me and my brother never really enjoyed the exact same type of games. Though whenever I run out of subjects when talking to my cousins I can always bring up gaming and have some decent discussions.
This also made me wonder about the future, when I have kids, will I be playing games on the console with them in ten years time? I’d really love to see gaming bridge the age old gap between generations like that. Also: how will the balance between video and board games settle in the struggle to gather the family?
A week ago in CoD4, everyone on the server sounded like 18+ and then a voice cuts through that felt like a 6 year old. Checking the stats revealed he was the 2nd highest scoring player in the match at the end of the round… That made me feel really really old somehow.
In response to “Package Tactics” from The Escapist Forum: Wait.. you’re giving your kid empty boxes? What kind of sick, sad bastard are you?
If you’re going to play decoy, at least do it with real gifts.. Amazon has a whole series of mini pocketbooks of great classic or philosophical authors that you can get for under three bucks. Many of them are even slim enough fit inside a DVD case. So get your kid reading things like Swift, Thoreau, Emerson, and Kafka, or go for the movie Tie in with the pocket-sized Beowulf book, at least.
There’s also a number of other options these days, for instance, you can purchase a game on your kid’s Steam account and then all you need is a note letting him/her know — which can be packaged in anything. Alternatively, Wii points can be purchased in card format for a slight premium over the on-site price. I assume that other consoles have the same ability. And even if they don’t, with the advent of downloadable content, you can always download stuff to your kids console of choice and then it’s just in there waiting.
If you’re the sort that wants to support independant games — or your kid is the type of kid who likes them — most of them have a “try first” style and require the entry of a registration key-code to get the full game. Pick up a USB memory key and drop the registration key-codes on there. (Personally, I’m waiting for some enterprising console-game companies to start putting their games on memroy cards instead of CDs, just for the size factor)
But man.. empty DVD packages? That’s just cruel. (And also a dead giveaway that there’s a game in there.. somewhere..)