Mushroom Soup For The Pixelated Soul
As a reviewer, I don’t take perfect scores lightly.
It’s always a big debate when other publications give upcoming, overhyped games a perfect score. People have always criticized such decisions, saying that the magazines were paid off by the developers, as a means of giving their games the best kind of advertising it could receive. Or maybe the guys reviewing the game are just like the majority of gamers who have been suckered into the hype for a massively anticipated title, and feel that it’s a life privilege to finally get a chance to play the game.
As a freelancer, one of my earliest, personal vows was to not conform to such practices. When I review a game, I deliver the most honest opinions and criticisms I’m capable of mustering, even if it’s a game I was personally looking forward to. I also consider myself hard to please, which only strengthens my resolve to not toss out perfect scores like they were free candy.
I’m not shy about giving a game its due merits, however. By my count I’ve given at least three games the perfect pass, with this year’s Shadow Complex just one percent shy of missing the mark (a decision I still get some scrutiny over). I wanted to state though that just because I do give a game the highest score it can achieve (whether it’s a 5 out of 5, 10 out of 10, or 100% of 100%, depending on the site that assigned me the title), that does not make the game itself flawless.
Only a handful of titles remain truly “perfect” in my personal list (which incidentally features a Zelda title, but not a Mario one, and absolutely no RPGs), but besides those holy grails, every game has, in my opinion, room for improvement. That’s why technology improves and sequels are made. Unlike with movies, I never believe in “no more games from this series or genre”, because there’s always potential to take a great thing and make it even better.
So despite my iron will to judge it as harshly as I always judge my games, I gave a major, highly anticipated title like Uncharted 2 the perfect pass, even though I can point out a few critiques that make the game anything but “flawless”. But despite that, I don’t regret my decision one bit; the truly great games are the ones that play out its strengths in order to mask its minuscule weaknesses, and Uncharted 2 is indeed great. I don’t regret my score, and I don’t regret calling it the best game of the year, and an inspired look into the kind of games the PS3 can pump out when running on its maximum potential.
Well then again, Modern Warfare 2 is out next week, so maybe I’m speaking too soon about GOTY.