The Most WTF Review Scores Of The Year

Some games are great. Some games stink. Some game reviews are great. Some of those stink too. As 2012 draws to a close, let's take a pause from all the holiday cheer to officially gnash our teeth over the worst reviews -- no, the worst review scores -- of the year.

These aren't the games that scored the worst on the merit of them sucking. These are the game review scores that seemed so out of what that they made you wonder if we'd moved off the base-10 counting system.

I'll go first.

I've got my incredulity-sense targeted at the gents at IGN and GameSpot, who scored the innovative, fun, super-hard, and smartly quasi-online Wii U launch game ZombiU with scores of 6.3 and 4.5, respectively. Say what?

IGN's what-numbers-actually-mean guidelines state that games that are 6.0-6.9 are OK: "No one should settle for "just OK." When games cost as much as they do, then it's up to publishers to deliver some bang for our buck. And while this game is passable, it's probably only worth a rental. Example: Tom Clancy's HAWX 2."

Hey, I'm not disputing that HAWX 2 score!

GameSpot's review guidelines state that games that get 4.0-4.5 are "games that just don't work right and maybe didn't spend enough time in production tend to fall in to this category. They simply lack the cohesion and quality that make other games fun."

Surely those aren't the only crazy scores of the year...

I was ready to rip Tom Chick's 1-out-of-5 stars review for Halo 4, since I liked that game in the way I liked New Super Mario Bros.' the-classics-with-better-graphics-and-one-or-two-new-things approach. Then I read the review and agreed with a lot of it.

And surely we can take a beating ourselves. We don't score games numericaly, but I'm sure some will say that my Yes for Assassin's Creed III was equalled in lunacy only by Owen's No for Sonic Racing All-Stars Transformed.

And then there were all those perfect scores for Diablo III. Really?

But enough from me...

If you're a gamer who wants to complain about one of 2012's worst review scores... if you're a game developer who wants to rant about a score your game didn't deserve or wants to unburden the guilt of getting a score that was just too damn high... chime in below.


    Because god forbid someone else's interpretation of their experience of a game differs from your own that you have to complain about it on the internet.

      Just being snarky, by the way. Not having a dig at anything or anyone.
      Though there is a delicious irony about complaining on the internet about people complaining on the internet.

      I think the key thing to remember here is this isn't so much about differences of opinion, it's where you have a disconnect between a review and the score. If a reviewer gives a popular game a low score but can explain and argue their thought process, even if I disagree with them, then more power to them. If they criticise a game as lacking originality and being too short, and give it a perfect score, then... WTF?


        This above me is the difference between a blog/opinion piece and what is supposed to be a "proper" review. If your going to score something/high or low then be prepared to back it up. And back it up *properly*

    Geez, even on this website people don't understand scoring?

    A 5/10 means average. It means that there's really nothing in the game that's really new or redone in a better way. It's basically just saying, "There are plenty of other games out there that do the same exact thing on the same level, or even better, as this game.". Or anything new that they added doesn't achieve as much of an impact that they hoped it would and it's at best rarely used.

    That's not saying that the game is bad, in fact you could say what it's doing is good. It's just that there are better examples out there that do a better job at what it's trying to do.

      Yeah but you find a lot of sites these days give just about everything over 7.5. There is no way in hell for example that IGN gives out as many sub 5 scores as it does above.

      I just opened their recent reviews page, of the 21 games on there only 1 has been given a sub par score. There is 4 scores over 9 and 8 scores over 8, thats FUCKING RIDICULOUS.

      At the end of the day the increasing development costs of games, combined with a lot of stupid reviewers being nutty for indie games, has meant that average scores have been increasing gradually over the past years.

      5/10 is the middle, it's not average though. a 5/10 or 50% is a barely passed. anything less and you really got to consider if it's accurate to call it a game.

      Think of the game rating scale as more like an exponential curve, with score on the X axis and quality on the Y axis and 100% is your assymtope...

      Here's the thing though. Most people see scoring the same as they see grades in (some American) schools. Anything below 7 (70%) is failing. In their eyes 7 is average to OK, 8+ is decent, 9+ is great, and 10 is strictly in the realm of fanboys.

      I agree with what you're saying, and I do think you are right, but I'm still likely to avoid a game that's getting 5/10 review scores.

      Even if that's correct "It means that there's really nothing in the game that's really new or redone in a better way" can not possibly apply to Zombi U in any way possible.

    Hitman Absolution from Gamespot was quite silly. I've not played the game, nearly bought it but decided to wait for a price fall.

    The review was fundamentally positive then the score didn't match the reviews positivity - and indeed my anticipation for the game having read the review and watched others. I think the score was 7.6 which isn't bad, but certainly isn't great.

    I think if the review was generally ho-hum then the score wouldn't disappoint - but the mis-match of review and review score struck me, and others, as absurd.

    IGN's '5' for El Shaddai... Wait.. That was 2011? Where am I? Where did 2012 go?

    The ZombiU review on gamespot was well backed up with evidence though. That video review showed how it had a tonne of issues, and the warm at best receptions seems to indicate they weren't trolling.

    There are so many review sites on the net, there's no need to rely on just one. A review is someone's opinion, not what the reviewer thinks others will give it.

    Rather than look at the score and scoff, read the review and find out why, then check other reviews and figure out if the negatives are something that you can't live with. ie, something gets a low score for lack of multiplayer. Meh, I want a good single player experience, so that doesn't really bother me.

    Edge's 9/10 for Need For Speed Most Wanted. 9 is a huge score on their scale. The game was okay, but nowhere near that good.

      maybe they were reviewing the original NFS:MW :P

    Every review that dismissed Spec Ops: The Line because of its lack of gameplay innovation, and generally ignored its character development and amazingly thematic story.

    As someone who is entirely open to various opinions, there are certain reviews that I just cannot understand. For instance, Quarter to Three's Halo 4 review, from my perspective showed no coherent connection between the final score (2/10) and the review's contents, and to me it came across as completely unjustified & unprofessional. If a score is determined by a reviewer, the review should completely justify this in writing. Then my acceptance is granted. Simple.

    In my personal opinion, Assassin's Creed 3 scored too highly across the board - a Metacritic rating of 85 seems too generous. It's still a good game... just not quite THAT good.

    The quartertothree and EGM reviews of Halo 4 were so laughable they had to be looking for nothing more than clicks.

    EGM on Halo 4: "Not linear enough, no iron sites, it's not CoD" 7/10
    EGM on Far Cry 3: "It's so open and non-linear, I love it" 10/10


    Q23: "Halo 4 is actually great, but I'm going to say I hate it for no real legitimate reason other than to attract more peopel to my page no one has heard of" 1/5

    Last edited 13/12/12 4:05 pm

    TomChick/Q23 are the worst reviewers on the internet. Hands down.

    I really like Halo 4, in fact I'm still playing it. But the game has issues, no Region setting or good connection only filter which are kind of important for multiplayer games. No manual in normal version, nothing built into the game either which would have counted. And some minor gripes about co-op and dumb AI (I hate being shot at while my AI gunner keeps shooting a corpse).

    Single Player rating, If you like Halo you must play this game. I feel it has more variety and a better story than previous titles. Although to get the most out of the story you need to access terminals in the game and go to a website or the Halo Waypoint App to view them 8/10 Solid performance. High Quality FPS, with a few issues.

    Co-Op rating, As above but know that some sections where designed as single player only and are near impossible if you play with the Iron Skull (When one player dies reload the checkpoint) on, 7/10 Slight hickups.

    Multiplayer rating, Great and varied maps and game types, crappy connections due to lack of region select. Locking out almost everything from the start can be frustrating. 5/10 Awesome when you get a good connection, Just Awful when your lag makes it look like your being shot through wall or the guy you where about to kill suddenly reappears behind you and assassinates you.

    Honestly i'm over game "reviews" as published by most sites these days, there was a time when 7 was a good review to get, 5 was alright but nothing special and sub 5 usually meant the game had "issues". It used to be rare to see a game score 9 let alone 10 what faith i had in reviews disappeared several years ago, replaced by watching the online response to a game over the days after release.

    Last edited 13/12/12 6:19 pm

    This is why the best scoring system is:

    Thumbs-up buy
    Thumbs-up rental

    PS: Noobtoob ftw

    Yeah, I totally don't get the ZombiU panning. I've been playing that game since I got it, and it's been friggen amazing. Top scores all around, the only thing I have to complain about it is that it's too god damn scary.

    Diablo 3. Now there's a fucking PHD thesis of an argument..

    Diablo 3 was an incredibly polished game, that didn't go anywhere, and simply became more and more boring the longer you played. All it was designed to do was keep you playing, which doesn't really work because everyone will give up in disgust eventually when nothing interesting really happens and then leave with a bad taste in their mouth. Which I'm pretty sure is what happened with most people.

    I can understand all of the 9/10 and better reviews, because judged on the basis of a standard 20-hour-play-and-then-review approach it works pretty well. But this is a *Diablo* game, and on that basis it was an utter failure that for me personally has been the last nail in the coffin following Blizzard North's dismemberment.

    I've never really thought of reviews as being objective. I just look for reviewers/websites whose tastes seem to align with my own and go with that. If you think of a score as being "how much I liked this game" rather than an objective analysis then the whole process is usually less aggravating.

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