I was looking at review scores before on Metacritic, as I sometimes do when I want to laugh at how pointless the site is, at least in its intended use. I often use it as a set of links to full reviews for games that I have already purchased, in order to find opinions that are well past my buying decision. Occasionally I do use the Metascore, when helping my non-gaming friends when it comes to their occasional games purchases, especially in the field of titles I don’t generally touch, like a sports or racing game. That’s really the only time such a blank score is useful, as these people would not be bothered to dig deeply anyway. They want an objective yes or no as to whether they’re going to buy something, the lack of nuance really doesn’t bother these folk.
That’s fine though. They have an Xbox to play Madden and watch Netflix. They may buy a shooter somewhere in there as well but that is really the extent of it. For these folks, Metacritic is a fine tool, because the flaws don’t present themselves in such an obvious fashion. By using an aggregate of scores from a variety of sites, Metacritic can claim the mantle of “objective” to those not looking too hard. In doing so, it uses the idea that the extremes of either side of a bell curve of scores can be discarded until you burn everything away to a middle point, and wherever that middle lies may be considered to be the “objective” correct score. It was under this flawed assumption, the one that Metacritic no doubt wants people to believe in order to remain relevant; that I came to a funny realization. Continue Reading