The biggest Japanese game magazine, Famitsu, has awarded its highest score to stealth game Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. In the process, the publication has shown why, as a source of objective game reviews, it cannot be trusted. Here’s why:
Some would say that Famitsu has sold its soul long, long ago. The publication always has exclusives and game announces before anyone else, raising the suspicions of some. Then again, it can be argued that since Famitsu is the most influential game publication in Japan, it would naturally have these exclusives as publishers would be keen to get their games to the largest audience possible!
There are even rumours that all the game announcements are written by game publishers themselves and not by Famitsu. These, however, are rumours and unconfirmed. Famitsu’s handling of MGS: Peace Walker bluntly and brazenly destroys any illusion of impartial reviews. Forever.
Regardless what you think of Famitsu or even numbered reviews, getting a perfect Famitsu score is a big deal. It can potentially transfer in to bigger sales. But what does it mean when the publication who is reviewing game is involved in the game itself?
Sure, Hamamura is a recognisable face for the industry in Japan, but his publication is reviewing this game — and giving the title its highest score! And if Famitsu is going to do stuff like this, surely it should offer a full disclosure. However, the game’s review makes no mention of the in-game ties and no mention of Hamamura’s prominence in the title’s ad campaign. Instead, there is a glowing review for Peace Walker, which is also the magazine’s pick-of-the-week. (Granted, there could very well be a disclosure of the still-unreleased-magazine, which goes on sale later this week; however, there is no mention in the review itself.)
Peace Walker is better than this. Hideo Kojima is better than this. Famitsu, it seems, is not.