That may not have been what you meant but it is what you said - "reviews do not prove which is the better game". That's a far cry from "reviews are useful but not the end all be all". What else am I to assume when you seemed to make a definitive statement? I'm not even trying to be combative, I was simply curious since you said reviews don't prove anything what you think would be a fair metric with which to make a comparison.
Obviously this is a thread asking people's opinions but since you can never prove an opinion then other metrics are usually brought in to strengthen a point. You're the one who brought up the comparisons of certain games. I just didn't think it was a good point because most people agree GTA IV scores are an anomaly and it doesn't prove that all scores are useless. The rest of your comparsions were for games that didn't seem to be directly relatable. I don't care how many people mention Heavy Rain and Alan Wake in the same post, they're vastly different styles of games.
As for GT5s score, I don't think expectations alone would lower the score. If GTA IV scores proves anything it's the opposite. Everyone was expecting something superb and since there were no glaring flaws people scored based on their own hype. I think after similarly huge expectations and the long development cycle people expected perfection from GT5 yet it had a lot of very obvious flaws, especially compared with parts of Forza 3, that the disappointed compared to expectations lowered the scores beyond where they likely should have been. I don't think it meant that without those expectations it would have scored higher than F3 simply because F3 seems to be consistently good to great across the board while GT5 goes from amazing to iffy.
I said from the beginning that Metacritic (as well as individual reviews) doesn't have the final say in determining what's "better" or not (even if they are a way of comparing titles). I didn't argue against using reviews as a means of comparing titles (which isn't the same as saying which is "better" or not). I said their take on what's "better" or not is subjective. Not sure how that was misconstrued as "shifting my argument".
What you say about HR & Alan Wake is, again, your take, but many compared them as they have enough similarities for their respective brands to be compared (games are compared like this all the time). Irrelevant if you or I disagree. but by your own views, HR is the better game.
Also, if an 84 Meta score is "iffy", then the industry is in trouble. Maybe in numbers the GT series has lowered a bit (as again, expectations change over time and competition gets tougher), but an 84 Meta is anything but bad. Yes, GT5's dev time as well as heavy expectations DID play a role in it's Meta score (a look at a few reviews would tell you that) and Forza doesn't have those type of expectations, so it won't be viewed as harshly.
How it's score stacks up against Forza 3's Meta score, however, is irrelevant to me, which is why I didn't compare them specifically on reviews, but on what they apparently got right, as well as what they got right in conjunction one another. Forza 3 seems to be the more polished game and better overall racing experience, while GT5 is the better driving simulator all around and more technically sound title (as in doing more than any other console racing sim out there). Since the debate started with your take on reviewers, don't take my word for it, see what they said about the two (including Digital Foundry).
To conclude; the points have been made, the argument is complete. It will only be monotonous and off-topic from here on out.