Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
21 November 2005
Don't Put Perfect Dark Zero in Perspective
Ever seen a reviewer try to defuse criticism before it starts? Now you have:
It's tempting to try to put Perfect Dark Zero in perspective by spending a lot of time on topics other than what makes it such a terrific action game.
That's the opening line of GameSpot's review of Perfect Dark Zero for the Xbox 360, Score 9.0, a.k.a. Superb. Here's my translation:
Comparing to any other game just detracts from a deep discussion about how incredibly awesome Perfect Dark Zero actually is.
Comparison to other launch games? Pointless, because it misses how Perfect Dark Zero is terrific! Comparison to Halo or Halo 2? Don't even try, because that's just distracting perspective! Comparison to previous games by the same developer? Even if it's just Rare's GoldenEye 007 with better graphics, Perfect Dark Zero is still terrific! And surely don't try to compare to action games on other systems.

Using this new standard for reviews, I hereby declare Irritating Stick for the PSOne a terrific action game. Now, I can already hear you gasping in disbelief, but I assure you it's true. All I ask is that you not bring up the terrible graphics, the vapid gameplay, nor its limited Japanese niche-game appeal.

If you do, you've succumbed to the temptation to put the game in perspective by spending a lot of time on topics other than what makes Irritating Stick a terrific action game.

: The score is what it is. I am not in a position to debate that. I can point out that the reviewer is playing word games and failing to do precisely what he says he will do.

Here is my complaint, more succinctly:
The reviewer essentially limits debate to just what makes PDZ a terrific action game, by itself, without comparison.

By this standard, if he says it's a great action game, who can debate it?

The review says in the first paragraph:
But let's stick to the point: Perfect Dark Zero's [outstanding laundry list of features] combine to make it easily one of the best first-person shooters this year and one of your best options in the Xbox 360's starting lineup.
I bolded the important part. That thesis is never addressed. No other first-person shooter of this year, or any year, is used for comparison. Nor is any other Xbox 360 launch game used for comparison.

Why is that?

Labels: ,

--Matt Matthews at 22:44
Comment [ 6 ]

Comments on this post:

Poor jvm was so excited for PD0 to get a low score from gamespot.

Now he's just reaching... reaching...

By Anonymous jmro, at 22 November, 2005 05:45  

No way, a low score would merely reinforce the opinion.

But an obvious kickback-based Superb, now that's the tinkly sound of blogger joy.

By Blogger Michael, at 22 November, 2005 14:58  

The beauty of it is that a low score would reinforce the opinion, and a high score means a flawed review.

The system is wonderful.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 22 November, 2005 15:29  

You guys are missing the point: the reviewer wants to limit the terms on which you judge his judgment. By these rules, a criticism might be dismissed on the grounds that it doesn't address how PDZ is a terrific action game in isolation. Comparisons to other games, for example, are just "other topics".

By Blogger jvm, at 22 November, 2005 15:52  

Or might he just be trying to avoid the 'X vs. Y' fanboy/hater approach seen on forums the world over with competing games? That's certainly what I take away from the quote.

By Blogger Tom Edwards, at 22 November, 2005 16:03  

Talk about missing the point!

By Blogger Michael, at 22 November, 2005 21:34  

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