To say it bluntly.
Arguing on reviews and comparing games based on scores is pointless. Unfortunately this is what most people seem to do on the internet (or maybe it's just the most vocal ones).
At the end scores matter VERY LITTLE.
Arguments is what matters in a review. The quality of the argumentation is what determines the reputation of a reviewer and the credibility of a review.
Reviews ARE ultimately well argumented informed opinions so of course you are allowed to agree or disagree based on the arguments presented and how they are presented.
Reviews ARE NOT objective quality assessments. Objectivity, as the word it self suggest, presumes a relation or a comparison with an actual object (a metric). An objective metric to compare different creative operas (games, movies, paintings, music, etc.) simply does not exist. And no, an aggregator is not a surrogate for objectivity: the sum of objective measurements is an objective measurement but the sum different opinions is still an expression of opinions.
Real world example:
- Let's say I'll ask you to tell me how large is the screen of the device you're using. Your answer would be like 9 inches. That is would be objective, since you relate the size of the screen with an actual object (1 inch). Let's say I'll ask 100 people the same question. At the end I would be capable of measuring the average size of their screens objectively, since all the measurements are related to an object (1 inch).
- Now let's say I'll ask: how large is your screen from 1 to 10 ? The answer would be like 7/10. That would definitely not be objective, as much as you could argument your score you would be biased depending on what devices you were accustomed to use and to what meaning you would attribute to the score itself (ex. does 10/10 mean the screen is comfortably big or is it too big?). Let's say I'll ask 100 people the same question and calculate the average score. At the end what does the score tell me? Absolutely nothing, it's actually less meaningful the a single score since it would be detached to the argumentation that lead to the value.
At the end the only effective use of score aggregators is to give a quick glance to understand the most popular opinion about a game.
The fixation for review scores and supposed objectivity, that form what I see is peculiar to gaming (as compared to other media), imo is actually a great detriment to actual constructive criticism and one big detractor for me to consider gaming a mature art form as compared to other media.
Edit: And this is of course not to devalue the work of professional reviews, on the contrary I respect a lot their work (btw. even my own brother worked as a reviewer for some time). Their job is to be inquisitive, they have to be informed and they should present their opinion in an accessible and well argumented way. It's up to them to decide how much they want to try to be detached from personal biases (the important thing is to specify your reasoning).
Last edited by freebs2 - on 15 March 2022