Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Reviewer Ownage - Eurogamer Embroiled In Controversy

Another example of how you can't always trust game review sites, even those who seem to already have a good reputation:

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=360734

The game? Darkfall Online.

Eurogamer posted their review of the long thought to be vapourware MMO this afternoon and it has received one of the lowest scores ever given to a game by Eurogamer.

Ive just come across this little gem on the Darkfall forum from one of the developers and he claims that the reviewer did not play more than 2 hours of the game...and most of those two hours were spent on character creation.

Now im normally one to defend Eurogamers usually excellent reviews, but even not having played the game, it reads like a poorly written fanboy rant. The review now has over 300 comments with many of them pointing out the factual errors they allege the review contains.

How many on GAF have actually played the game? Is the review accurate? Is it fair to review an MMO based on only 2 hours of play? Hell, should game sites bother to review them at all?

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Here's an excerpt from the forum thread being referenced: http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=185060

Just the facts:

Darkfall scores a 2 out of a possible 10. Reviewers hardly played the game based on the server logs.

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/darkfall-online-review

Eurogamer’s MMO Editor came to me over a month ago and asked for 2 accounts to review Darkfall which they promptly received. Today, more than a month later they came out with their long awaited review and we REALLY flunked it would seem. Darkfall got 2/10.

2/10 according to the Eurogamer scoring policy means: Avoid at all costs etc. You can find the scoring policy here:


http://www.eurogamer.net/scoring_policy.php

Scroll down to 2 and see how much this guy hated Darkfall and how strongly Eurogamer prompts everyone to avoid it at all costs.

The MMO editor warned me personally about the bad review on the way, and I asked him to give us some consideration and get another reviewer on the case since 2/10 is the lowest review they’ve ever given, and Darkfall’s reviews so far have been mostly good ones. It sounded very unfair to me and I appealed its publication. Not even the harshest critics of the game or the trolls on various forums would give it that low a score. This is a niche game we explained and perhaps the reviewer’s play-style was completely different and he was maybe the wrong kind of person to review the game. Darkfall isn’t for everyone after all, and having someone who can’t handle this kind of game write the review would be unfair both to the game and to Eurogamer readers. You can’t use the same tool for every job. Eurogamer’s MMO editor refused and basically said that he carefully selected a reviewer that would be fair to the game and that he would stand by the review. Then he posted the review.

When we read the hostile review by Ed Zitron, one thing became apparent: he had not played the game at all. Eurogamer readers and Darkfall players are posting bullet lists of factual errors in the story. The reviewer hadn't even figured out the very basics of the game before he wrote about it. We checked the logs for the 2 accounts we gave Eurogamer and we found that one of them had around 3 minutes playtime, and the other had less than 2 hours spread out in 13 sessions. Most of these 2 hours were spent in the character creator since during almost every one of the logins the reviewer spent the time creating a new character. The rest of the time was apparently spent taking the low-res screenshots that accompanied the article. At no point did this reviewer spend more than a few minutes online at a time.


For the entire thread, check this link: http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=185060

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Ouch!
So how do we gamers best know if a game is any good?

- Try it first if you're not sure (For Pinoy gamers there's always http://www.gamehopper.com.ph ; in other countries, some kind of game trial service should be available.)
- Download a demo of it
- Ask a friend who likes the type of genre that the game is in.

This is a lot more reliable than just trusting some online gaming site. I suggest reading several opinions and taking in second opinions before making any judgment on any game.

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