9GN: How IGN Went Overboard With Game Reviews

12 Feb 2013 | Posted by

9GN

IGN gave 84 games a 9 or higher in 2012, which is considered “Amazing” on their scale.

I shouldn’t have to say anymore than that to render you speechless, but let’s look at the full description for a 9 on the IGN rubric:

“One of the best games out there. When this generation of games ends, people will look back and say, “This was one of the best games made for the system.” It might have a few flaws, but this is a must-buy.”

Again, that should be all I need to say. IGN says there were 84 of those in 2012. Seems incredible, right? 2012 was a surprisingly good year for games, but 84? How many games did you play last year? 12? Maybe 15 on the high-end? And yet IGN is telling us that when this generation of games ends, we will look back at 84 different games in 2012 (this isn’t including each version of a multiplatform title) and say it was one of the best games made for its respective system? That’s insane and it is becoming an issue. What is the average gamer supposed to do with that?

Of late, there is this idea that if a game gets anything less than a 9 or higher, it is crap. A game gets an 8 and fanboys freak out. 8 is still a perfectly respectable score, but for some people, it is apparently a matter of life or death. And they are right. According to Ben Kuchera’s article about review scores and sales, a game that gets a 9 on Metacritic is likely to sell THREE TIMES as many copies as a game that receives an 8. That is mind-boggling. And it might literally be the difference between profitability and closure for some companies. As stated, most people don’t play 84 games in one year. They play far less, roughly about 1 a month, let’s say. So which games are they going to buy? The 84 “Amazing” games or the rest of the non-Amazing crap? Reviewers wield far more power than they realize and while IGN is only one of many, they are the most prominent. For better or worse, they are the leading website, other than Metacritic itself, that people look to when seeking reviews. But their review scale and grade inflation have become completely insane, so much so that their reviews are now meaningless to me. I honestly don’t care what IGN gives a game now because so many games have received a 9 that I expect it out of ANY Triple-A title. In fact, when a game doesn’t receive at least a 9 from IGN, it must be a broken, unplayable mess (i.e. Assassin’s Creed abysmal 8.5).

FTL Star Destroyer

Now, I don’t want to put undue pressure on them or tell them to give something a 9 so developers won’t lose their jobs. But it is clear that the review system in general, and the description in particular, is broken. There shouldn’t be 84 “best games made for the system” in one year. How on Earth could you even compile a top ten list? How did Hotline Miami, which garnered a just-short-of-Amazing score of 8.8, make it on their final Game of the Year list? Or FTL, which only got an 8? How are those games even on the list with Halo 4, which earned a stunning 9.8? With 84 “Amazing” games in 2012, how did two games which are only “Great” earn a spot on the GOTY nominees list? It makes zero sense.

And oh-by-the-way: last year there were 90 “Amazing” games and in 2010 there were a paltry 69. So this is nothing new. Don’t get me wrong; I am not suggesting that they are biased or that they are being paid off by publishers. I don’t truck with that nonsense. There are no conspiracy theories to be found here. But I do think they are quick to elevate a game to a stature that it doesn’t deserve. And by that, I don’t mean that the reviewer gave a dishonest review. I mean quite simply that their score system is flawed. And we have proof. Below is the list of all the games that have received a 9.0 or higher for the year 2012, which I have placed at the end of this article. At year’s end, it numbered 84.

Look, we know review inflation is something people have talked about for a while, but I don’t think we were aware the numbers are THIS staggeringly high. 84 games. I don’t know what percentage that is of games reviewed or released this year, but for the average gamer, who plays MAYBE a dozen a year, that’s insane. It’s gotten to the point where a game either “sucks” or is “Amazing”. I hate to break it to you, but there is a middle ground and many great games are found there. Other than changing their scoring system and what each score means, I honestly don’t know what can be done to alleviate this problem.

I played more games than most, roughly 15-20 games in 2012 and they weren’t all “Amazing”. Some were great, others not so much. And I played the things I thought I would like, that appealed to me, which usually pays off. So I just don’t think I can get behind the idea that there were 84 “Amazing” games last year.

Halo 4 Cortana

And you know what? Neither can most other game sites. IGN recently reported that only 18 games had a 9 or higher average score on Metacritic. 18. Compare that to IGN’s 84. And IGN gave a 9 to all but 1 of those 18, with XCOM being the only exception (which is a controversy of a different order, in my opinion). The highest rated game of the year at IGN was Halo 4 with a 9.8. Halo 4’s Metacritic score is an 87, which is a full point less. So I think it is safe to say that they are out of step with the rest of the review crowd. And maybe that’s okay and maybe they would wear that as a badge of honor. But I think it speaks to a larger problem, one which I hopefully have successfully addressed here.

Reviews matter. They are an immediate guide to help consumers, both casual and core, ascertain which games to best spend their hard-earned money on. With games coming in at $60, a purchase is no small matter. Some people say that reviews shouldn’t matter because they often don’t matter in movies and music. But as is so often said when extolling the benefits of video games as an art form, video games are different. Reviews can tell you if a game is broken, if there is a bug that might hinder your progress or if a game has a secret area that extends the life of the game in a dramatic fashion. We rely on reviews as a barometer for quality and that isn’t changing anytime soon. Perhaps one day reviews will be inconsequential, but we aren’t there yet and until then, we deserve a better review system than the one we currently have from the biggest video game site in the world.

You can ignore this, you can tell me it doesn’t matter and that I am wasting my time and you’re perfectly within your rights to do so. But 84 “Amazing” games in 2012 should tell you something is broken with the system. And the only “Amazing” thing is how many games are labeled as such.

The 84 “Amazing” Games and DLC as reviewed by IGN in 2012:

(This list includes PC versions of previously released console titles as they were given separate reviews by IGN. Also, with the case of Pokemon: Black/White, IGN listed the reviews as two different entries, changing only the words “Black” and “White”. Since IGN is counting it as two different games, so am I)

Twisted Metal
Lumines: Electric Symphony
Rayman: Origins
Super Stardust Delta
UFC Undisputed 3
Kingdoms of Amular: Reckoning
Jak and Daxter Collection
Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword
Kingdom Rush
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Trine 2
Alan Wake PC
Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack
Sneak Beat Bandit
SSX
Plants vs. Zombies
Journey
Street Fighter x Tekken
Mass Effect 3
Silent Hill HD
Sine Mora
Rayman Origins PC
Total War: Shogun 2
Xenoblade Chronicles
Colors 3D
Fez
Ketzal’s Corridors
Trials Evolution
Tribes: Ascend
Sword and Sworcery EP – PC version
Botanica
Starhawk
Max Payne
Diablo 3
Batman: Arkham City: Harley Quinn’s Revenge
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection: PS Vita
Pokemon Conquest
Sid Meier’s Civiliation IV: Gods and Kings
Spelunky
The Great Big War Game
Orcs Must Die 2
Persona 4 Arena
Horn
Iron Brigade
Hero Academy
Puzzle Craft
Madden 13
Bastion
Walking Dead Episode 3
The World Ends With You Solo Remix
Dark Souls Prepare to Die Edition
Mark of the Ninja
Guild Wars 2
LittleBigPlanet Vita
Borderlands 2
F1 2012
FIFA 13
Torchlight II
NBA 2K13
Bad Piggies
Pokemon: Black 2
Pokemon: White 2
Dishonored
Forza Horizon
The Unfinished Swan
Need for Speed: Most Wanted
Okami HD
Halo 4
Football Manager 2013
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
New Super Marios Bros U
Hitman: Absolution
Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition
Walking Dead Episode 5
NBA 2K13 Wii U
Borderlands 2: Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage
Far Cry 3
Persona 4: Golden
Trine 2: Director’s Cut
Planetside 2
Crashmo
Mass Effect – PS3
Walking Dead Complete Game
Minigore 2: Zombies

39 Comments »

  • Drell Assassin said:

    Really interesting article Anthony, I hadn’t realized that it’s gotten so out of hand that 84 games were given the amazing score, which is astonishing. I would suggest to them that they start using the full scale, however the problem is that if they started giving great games 7-8.9 scores, the internet would explode and start sending them death threats, while denouncing their credibility as reviewers. It’s tricky when it comes to gamers on the internet, since so many of them lack any form of rational behavior or thoughts. Best of luck to them.

  • Julez said:

    That’s insane.

    I think it’s incredibly difficult for a review to be unbiased, and so with that in mind, I want my reviewer to be completely biased. I want their experience with the game rather than them reading off the back of the box. Some people had a lot of technical problems with Fallout: New Vegas and hated the game for it. I had a game breaking glitch with Far Cry 3 for 2 or 3 days, which completely changed my enjoyment of the game. Is it great? Probably. But my experience with it hasn’t been perfect.

    I guess that all goes to show that maybe reviews should be done on consoles? That way you can blame the developers if there are glitches, rather than it possibly being your machine? I don’t know.

    Good article.

  • JordanRodkey said:

    A site must change their review scale because a lot of great games came out that year? That seems like you have problems, not them. Also IGN and most other sites average review score on metacritic are rising is because they no longer review every shovelware wii/ps2 game. It’s common sense.

  • JordanRodkey said:

    Also IGN doesn’t review the games, their writers do who are people with differing opinions and tastes.

  • Eddy said:

    I think a lot of us can agree that a lot of great games came out in 2012, but I think 84 is a pretty insane number, all things considered. I don’t think Anthony’s arguing for a change in the review scale just because lots of great games came out, but a call to adjust the review scale to alter what we consider “amazing” in a video game.

  • Anthony (author) said:

    Jordan, these arent “Great” games. A Great game is an 8 at IGN. These are AMAZING games. And that is a problem.

  • JordanRodkey said:

    What’s your definition between the words “great” and “amazing?” Would you say a paper you wrote and got a B on wouldn’t be worth reading? Mario Kart 64 has a 83% on metacritic but would you not agree that it was a staple of that console?

  • Petyr said:

    Wow. I assumed everyone did this, but seeing as how out of line they are with other reviewers out there it does seem significant to acknowledge. I would really like to know their thought process behind this. I assume it has to do with either the desire to entice developers to entrust them with game reviews thus receiving more hits for earlier reviews, or just a non-critical form of “journalism”, which I think is bad practice. Bad practice is the more likely cause I think.

  • Anthony (author) said:

    I am not sure you read the whole article. I do say that games below a 9 are worth playing. Which would be an 83% paper in your example. Mario Kart 64 is an iconic game on that console, yes. It isnt an Amazing game. Which proves my point that IGN’s rating system is flawed.

  • Eddy said:

    Well I don’t know if we can use Metacritic rankings as part of the discussion for anything that’s N64 old. I think that’s one generation too soon before more reviews were online than in print.

    Also, Anthony, I’d fight you about Mario Kart 64’s amazing-ness. For real.

    But really, talking about whether these games deserve to be called amazing or not is beside the point. I think the question is “are there 84 amazing games in a year?” If yes, then great, because that’s a good sign for all of us. If no, then why is it such common practice to label that many games as such.

  • JordanRodkey said:

    And Mario Kart 64 was 1 of maybe 5 games that released that month so of course that would be the stand out game. You’re thinking in the mentality of the 90s where there were only 1-5 games a month so there was a substantially less amount of quality ones. Now days the industry has grown substantially in releases and quality, thus way more games that are at the top of review scales and less at the bottom because economically it doesn’t do anything for IGN/Gamespot/Gamersushi to review Sesame Street: Elmo’s Number Journey which will sell 20 thousand copies. .

  • Drell Assassin said:

    @JordanRodkey There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with someone, but here at the Sushi when we do so we do so respectfully. Gamersushi is meant to be a site where people can discuss video games maturely and without the flame wars of the rest of the internet. So if you would, tone down the antagonistic nature a bit, we’re all friends here.

  • Eddy said:

    You must made the perfect argument for how we do our review scale the way we do it :)

    If it does no good to review those bottom scale games that gamers don’t play, then why not adjust the scale so it encompasses only those games that matter? If there’s a 1-10 variation between 8-10, why not just throw out 1-8 and grade accordingly?

  • JordanRodkey said:

    Yeah in text it does sound more antagonistic than I;d like Drell. Eddy I don’t mean to get rid of the lower scores, there’s just a magnitude of more releases good, middling, and bad now and all sites will decide whether to review it or not based on interest and there’s no interest for games that are obviously bad thus the higher average. We need the lower side of the review scale because of games like Assasin’s Creed 3 which got middling review scores. And on the other side about the amount of “amazing” games there are just a ton more games that are “amazing” on anyone’s scale. At the launch of the Ps1 the original Rayman was an amazing 5+ million selling game that many people judged the system on. Fast forward to now Rayman Origins is magnitudes better than the original Rayman but for some reason it doesn’t get to be in the same position as the original? The new Twisted Metal is in the same situation but these 2 games don’t get to have the lime light because 5 other games of quality came out that month. Sorry for turning the site which I do read, not just found through reddit (Woot Counter Terrorists!) into my personal blog.

  • Anthony (author) said:

    It’s all good. We welcome any friendly debate. I tbink the article speaks for itself so I am going to let it do just that. Thanks for reading!

  • Mike H. said:

    @Jordan

    “We need the lower side of the review scale because of games like Assasin’s Creed 3 which got middling review scores.”

    I think part of the article’s point is that some of those 84 games should’ve been scored closer to AC3. I’ve only played 10%, and I can pick out at least 7 that should only be 8/10 at the most (and with that list, I’m surprised AC3 wasn’t on it for getting a 10/10).

    It’s absurd to say all those games deserve 10/10. If every one of those games is amazing and gets a 10/10, then we might as well retire that word and the highest rating, because too many people are getting it. If everybody wins the gold, then it isn’t worth very much.

  • Shaan Joshi (@KneehighPark) said:

    There are a few games that you’re missing from the list. I know IGN gave “Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward” a 9.5. Granted, I think that game deserves such a high score.

    But great article overall.

  • Anthony (author) said:

    @Shaan,

    DOH! I compiled the list throughout the year, checking every single day. Obviously, I missed at least one, haha. Thanks!

  • joe said:

    Gamers just love to complain about everything. Who really cares what scores they give? Unless you’re implying that they are paid to give high scores which is doubtful. GamingTrend’s average score is 11% higher than IGN’s, why don’t you criticise them?

    This is the single most annoying topic that the game community talks about.

    1. The review scale length does not matter anywhere near as much as the depth. The larger depth of scale, the more insight it provides. A scale 90-100 is better than 1-5, provided you recognise the scale’s usage. People advocating the 5 star system are actually making the case for an even shorter, less informative scale.

    2. Games are more objectively critiquable than other mediums. Graphics, physics, animations, world design, gameplay depth, camera controls, glitches, bugs. Most features of a game that get judged are not subjective, unlike films where almost all films have the same graphics, length and storytelling concept. You don’t rate a film based on the graphics and physics and world design because these are already perfect on film. Because of this, most competent games deserve a minimum of 5-10, and 1-5 is reserved for games that are outright broken in some of these basic areas.

    3. It’s quite common for a game in development to be broken, but because games are less subjective than film, it’s easy to spot a broken game and publishers will just cancel it so the review average gets raised. Many of the terrible games are actually released but just don’t get reviewed as it does not generate much money to review the thousands of horrible games that have been released.

    4. Review scores are not an average. It is impossible for them to be an average without being unfair. If you want to have 5/10 your average for the year, what if all the best games are released in november when your average is already 5/10? Do you rate those games lower than they deserve to keep the average low? How do you maintain the average with increasing quality? Currently when an innovative new game comes out it sets a new standard. Call of duty 4 (before that halo and quake) set a new standard for multiplayer shooters and since their release, this genre of games are reviewed primarily based on how they compare to it. Hypothetically if the top 10 games of all time came out in the same week, should some of them receive 5/10 just to lower the average?

    5. Review scores for video games have creeped upwards because unlike film, games are slowly improving on most of these aforementioned judgeable objective features (graphics etc.). But they certainly have gotten more critical in some respects too. If you had bad camera controls 15 years ago it was expected, now you’d lose marks. A singleplayer shooter on the ps2 wouldn’t have lost marks for lacking multiplayer, now it would. Gaming is in it’s adolescence and not fully grown like film so there’s still significant improvements made every year.

    6. 10/10 does not mean perfect. If you rate games based on perfection then they would all get 0/10. You rate games based on how enjoyable their features are, which is affected by flaws but not irredeemably. It’s ok for a game to have a low quality textured rock if the graphics are otherwise good. It’s ok to have glitches if the game is so deep, complex and immersive that it would be improbable to remove all the potential bugs before release. This is the most frustrating argument to see because it’s so obviously ludicrous.

    7. The more precise you can be the better. It doesn’t make mathematical sense that a 93% game is better than a 92% one but it is intuitively understood. You can argue that it makes just as little sense for 9/10 and 10/10 and you end up arguing for a binary review score system which is not very informative.

    8. It’s human nature to be extreme. Look at the amount of user reviews that are either 1/10 or 10/10. You either love something or you don’t. Professional reviewers would lose credibility if they did that. So if you take the extreme 1/10s out of the user reviews average, you’d find it more closely matched the professionals. User reviews, though they have a lower average, are much much worse.

    9. On metacritic, IGN are the most popular game reviewer and Roger Ebert is the most popular film reviewer. Would it surprise you to find out IGN rate 2% lower than Ebert on average? So the problem with gaming is hugely exaggerated.

    10. The real problem with scores is that they are not informative of the type of game you will get. Shallow linear games like uncharted, gears, etc. can easily get much higher marks than a deep game like fallout new vegas which inevitably has more flaws because of it’s complexity. But linear games, or ones without stories can’t be punished for that either as it’s not always appropriate. Games should be given multiple scores. Multiplayer should be considered a separate game entirely in many cases and there’s little reason not to give a separate score. Then a separate score should be given for each of gameplay, setting and narrative. You can have a low score in any of them and still be a great piece of entertainment, but it’s important to inform the consumer where specifically a game excels. Portal can get 10/10 for gameplay, la noire can get 10/10 for setting and fallout new vegas can get 10/10 for narrative with the other layers given low marks in each case. These are very different gaming experiences and it’s not right to just say portal is perfect and the other 2 are highly flawed when the other 2 provide many times more entertainment and engagement despite their numerous flaws.

    I notice you don’t point out a single one of these games that you think is a bad game. You’re really grasping at straws for hits.

  • Anthony (author) said:

    @Joe,

    You make a lot of good points about how reviews are flawed, which is what this article is about. I think we agree more than disagree. People complain about review inflation all the time. I am just trying to show the scope on one site.

    I don’t want to get into a point by point debate, but I will say this:

    I have never heard of GamingTrend and as stated in the post, IGN is the top dog when it comes to reviews. Hence, why I chose them to study for a year.

    I don’t care what Roger Ebert scores movies because these are two different mediums and movie reviews are not as important as game reviews to consumer choices.

    Finally, it has nothing to do with whether I think any of these games are bad or undeserving of a high score. But to say there 84 “Amazing” games in 2012 seems a little nuts to me.

    But here are a few that I think are not “Amazing”:

    Twisted Metal
    Rayman Origins
    The Old Republic
    Starhawk (seriously? They gave this a 9?)
    Madden 13
    Hitman Absolution

    Thanks for your comments. I found to be highly engaging. I hope you stick around and comment some more. You did so in a (mostly) friendly and reasonable manner and that’s what we like here at the Sushi.

    :)

  • Eddy said:

    Nice post, Joe. I think the big thing I’d have to take exception with though is your number 2.

    A few of us here have a running joke that IGN basically gives a game an 8+ if it can boot correctly, and you seem to be saying that you find that to be OK. I strongly disagree that a game that simply works and is competently made deserves to be labeled as “great” (based on their scale). Again, a lot of this boils down to subjectivity, but if people have a big problem with how high games are being reviewed, that means that those people aren’t finding reviews to be productive. So if the reviews aren’t helping these consumers, who are they being written for?

    Hope all you new commenters stick around!

  • Drell Assassin said:

    @Anthony
    I would like to dispute your claim that The Old Republic is not amazing.

  • jordankid93 said:

    Hey guys. I really like this article but I feel like there are a few things I disagree with.

    I feel like we as an industry are trying to get concrete answers and definitive labels for things that are made to effect people differently. With games like heavy rain or fable, gta or far cry, fallout or mass effect, and many many more, its possible to have multiple people play the same game and have drastically different experiences. I think that because no one single person can review every game though, the personal scales of what qualifies something as “worth your time” (though that may be the defining line for a “great” game) can be different. One person may only play the occasional rpg while someone else is a dungeon crawling master. I feel like just because sites implement a “score system” that is objectives to the fames, you can never (nor should you try IMO) to implement a standard way of experiencing something. I think thats why so many people look to metacritic for scores sometimes. I mean how many times have you seem someone eat something that you yourself would never touch? How many times have you heard a song that your bestfriend mights jam to constantly. I feel like its those differences that make all forms of entertainment just that and I for one would much rather prefer people marching to the same beat of different drums.

    As far as what I think the article is trying to address directly, why does it matter that so many people thought those games were great? As someone said before, if it was along the lines that they are accused of being payed off thats a different story, but from what I’ve read and experienced myself, none of the games on that list look to be something so far from what I would give it that it raises suspicion. Of the ones I’ve played theres no game I would give less than an 8 and I feel that 1 point for personal experience with the game is more than justifiable.

    Again, this is just one person’s opinion but I did just want to put my two cents in.

  • Jay said:

    “The highest rated game of the year at IGN was Halo 4 with a 9.8. Halo 4′s Metacritic score is an 87, which is a full point less. So I think it is safe to say that they are out of step with the rest of the review crowd”

    Is this a joke? Metacritic is an average. Being one point above an average on a 10 point scale is nothing. IGN’s review wasn’t even the highest score it got. Its hard to take the rest of your article seriously when you don’t even understand basic averages, much less statistics.

  • Jay said:

    “IGN recently reported that only 18 games had a 9 or higher average score on Metacritic. 18. Compare that to IGN’s 84. And IGN gave a 9 to all but 1 of those 18″

    Why on Earth are you comparing one reviewer to an aggregator? The entire point of Metacritic is that it balances high AND low reviews. It is much easier to get one 9 from one reviewer than to get every critic in the industry to give you an average of a 9. That’s common sense, not an expose of IGN being “biased.” You can find reviews higher and lower than the Metacritic average for every game ever, because that is the entire point of an average.

    Sorry man, I like your writing style, but this whole article is just awful. Your “evidence” doesn’t make sense mathematically, and flies in the face of common sense as well.

  • Anthony (author) said:

    Jay,

    You make good points. I appreciate the feedback.

    However, at no point did I suggest IGN was “biased”. I even we t out of my way to say that I dont think they are. The whole point of the article is that IGN’s review system of declaring so many games as “Amazing” and “must buy” and “best of the system” is flawed.

  • Jay said:

    “declaring so many games as “Amazing” and “must buy” and “best of the system” is flawed.”

    But you don’t have any evidence to show that it’s “flawed.” If they truly think that those games are must-buy, amazing games, why should they not say that? There’s not a fixed cap on how many great could come out in a year. “Must buy” isn’t a command, it’s an enthusiastic recommendation. That’s what critics are paid to do.

  • Jay said:

    Not to mention that IGN isn’t a hivemind. Different reviewers with different opinions write every review.

    “According to Ben Kuchera’s article about review scores and sales, a game that gets a 9 on Metacritic is likely to sell THREE TIMES as many copies as a game that receives an 8. That is mind-boggling. And it might literally be the difference between profitability and closure for some companies. As stated, most people don’t play 84 games in one year. They play far less, roughly about 1 a month, let’s say. So which games are they going to buy? The 84 “Amazing” games or the rest of the non-Amazing crap? Reviewers wield far more power than they realize and while IGN is only one of many, they are the most prominent.”

    I mean, there’s two major problems here:

    1. If this is the case, then IGN giving MORE 9+ reviews would be a good, not a bad thing for the industry by your own argument, because those high reviews supposedly drive great sales.

    2. Those games that have very high reviews tend to be big budget, big marketing projects that come together because this is very much a skills-based industry. With music, people can get mad that there’s too many producers/too big a budget going into it, it becomes a “product” instead of art. With video games, we need it to be a product, and a product that works and sells. The studios with more money to invest in their product have a better chance of creating a quality product. You’re assuming correlation is causation.

    Sorry man, but I would seriously delete this article. It’s just not good on any level. I understand where you got the ideas you did, but at some point you should have realized it didn’t make any sense.

  • Eddy said:

    Jay, thanks for the comments. But let’s keep the tone a bit more friendly. Our working rule with commenting on GS is that we operate under the assumption that we’re all friends. I would also appreciate you keeping your thoughts together instead of multiple back-to-back posts.

    This is an opinion piece, and I think the article presents plenty of Anthony’s own thoughts on why the system is flawed. It sounds like you disagree. You’re OK with 84 games being labeled as amazing per year? I’d like to hear more about that, because that’s ultimately what the discussion is about here: has the definition of an amazing game gotten skewed for all review outlets, and not just IGN. IGN was just the albatross because they happen to be the biggest site.

  • Pete said:

    I understand that 84 is a lot. But there are a lot of doubles in the list. Walking dead episodes are all listed (should be bundled into one game really), console and PC versions of games are listed too. that can cut down the 84 to 70-ish. You can’t really argue the fact that these are all their own opinions. just because i don’t care for Civ V doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve a good rating. Looking at this list, if i had the money I would buy at least 80% of these games. that is a pretty good ratio IMO. Lastly, you should factor into the equation that IGN used a 20 point scale for most of the year. Meaning that if the reviewer would have given it an 8.8 or similar, that person would round up to 9.0 because the game deserved higher than an 8.5. Interesting read though. we should see what percentage of games made it in the 9.0-9.5 range. probably around 15-20%.

  • Anthony (author) said:

    Pete,

    Actually, only Walking Dead episodes 3, 5 and the complete game are listed because the others didnt receive a 9. 1, 2 and 4 received below a 9 and each episode was reviewed individually by IGN, which explains their inclusion on this list.

    The reason the PC versions were listed is bc IGN gave them a different entry on their review list. Maybe I should have treated them the same as multiplatform but the PC ports have potential to be better or worse and are sometimes rated differently. So I kept hem separate.

    Thanks for the comment! Hope to hear more from you.

  • Matt Clarmont said:

    Yep…pretty good list there. I’m thinking we should be celebrating gaming instead of blasting IGN. Their reviews are a pretty solid place to go if you’re looking to gauge a game’s value for purchase or play. Of their 9+ games that I’ve played, I can’t argue with a single one, though I do take personal exception to some they have rated 7 or 8 at times! It is all about personal preference and while the number 84 DOES seem like alot to have rated so highly, I tend to believe that is a result of the hard work being put into many of these games nowadays. I am one of those gamers who, after nearly 30 years of gaming, am actually quite impressed with what is being put out there these days and I think the high review scores in modern times reflect that. I mean seriously…compare the bad games of the SNES/Genesis era. There were some HORRIBLE games made back then! Even the worst of games today have more substance than the lower tier of games back then. Kudos to IGN…leave them dudes alone! They do fine work :)

  • wse11 said:

    You make a good point in that games that receive a 9 or less are perceived as bad and not worth the time or money. An example with one of my favorite games, Metro 2033, is how it can affect sales. I remember when it first came out i had no interest at all in it because the two reviews i read gave it below a 8.5. I continued not having interest until my friend recommended it to me when it was on sale and now i have played it more times than i care to count.

    Its not just a problem with IGN but the whole industry as you stated Anthony. I honestly feel it needs to change or it will just get worse and worse until it is 84 “10” games. There are only 2 review sites i trust now: PC Gamer and this one for the fact that gauge it on fun and not just how it revolutionized the industry.

    I also just realized that it has been a lifetime since I posted on this site. Don’t worry, i’ve been checking it everyday for the past year or two.

  • Anthony (author) said:

    @Eddy,

    “Also, Anthony, I’d fight you about Mario Kart 64′s amazing-ness. For real.”

    PART OF THE PROBLEM

  • Killklli said:

    @Anthony if you don’t think Mario Kart 64 is amazing. We may need to have you leave, please exit through the door to the right.

  • Gadfly Jim said:

    “One of the best games out there. When this generation of games ends, people will look back and say, “This was one of the best games made for the system.” It might have a few flaws, but this is a must-buy.”

    I have a hard time coming up with 20 games in the last 5 years that fit this description. You can say that games have gotten, which I agree there are far fewer shitty games coming out than there used to be. but if games have raised the bar than grade them accordingly. on the ign’s review scale it goes from Disaster, Unbearable, Painful, Awful, Bad, to Mediocre at 5. I feel like this is a wast of space because can you really tell me what the difference between a Disaster, Unbearable, Painful, Awful, and a Bad game is?

    this is really just personal preference but I think they would be better off adjusting the scale to read more like this: 0-1 Disaster, 2 Bad, 3 Mediocre, 4 okay, 5 marginal, 6 competent, 7 good, 8 great, 9 amazing, and 10 Masterpiece

    regardless of what you think about 84 games getting a 9 or higher, I think that the low end is almost more to blame than the high end. A 7 is considered good but when I look at a review that gives a game a 7 I almost immediately dismiss it as a bad game because I have been conditioned by reviewers to assume that for a game to just be good it should get an 8.

  • Gadfly Jim said:

    I should also note that I don’t take issue with the number of 8’s and 9’s given away as much as I take issue with the description of what a game has to be to earn said score. how many of the reviewers would score a game Good, or Great, vs Amazing/best game of this generation?

  • urrrborrr said:

    “Red Dead Redemption” got critically praised by absolutely everybody, but I couldn’t finish it. Felt like “Grand Theft Auto without cars, the living city, radio, satire, or modern guns,” a precise, unambiguous and fatal downgrade across the spectrum. I would have easily panned it, but nobody did. Seriously–check the scores.

    The new “Hitman” was awful–didn’t finish it–I’d have panned it. I’d pan anything with horrible writing, as that’s a deal-breaker for me–which includes almost every Resident Evil and Metal Gear Solid game, even the supposedly good ones. I couldn’t handle single-player “Halo 4,” just felt like the first Xbox game–I’d give it a low-ish score. Tried “Gears of War” years ago and it felt stupid and awful–pan. Pan the whole series.

    I love “Grand Theft Auto IV” and “Mass Effect 2,” but I just wouldn’t be the right gamer to review “Red Dead Redemption” and “Gears and War,” because I must just not like those types of games. “???”

    The hive mind of game reviewing is its creepiest, most problematic aspect, not even their use of the 8-10 spectrum, IMHO. You can find bad reviews of almost any movie, but certain games seem to be exempt, as long as they hit franchise checkboxes. There’s no allowance for just getting fatigued by a style of gameplay, or outright rejecting a game because it’s boring you, or the writing is offensively bad, even though gamers are more selective than ANYONE (I’m still re-playing Fallout: New Vegas and Mass Effect, years later, because no other games are very good.)

  • Zskrabs24 said:

    A lot of those games on that list deserve that 9+ score so I don’t see the issue here.