originals\ Oct 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Inflated Batman: Arkham: City Scores Prove We Need a New Rating Method


There's no doubt Batman: Arkham City is a good game.  Great even.  But is it 6 out of 5 worthy?

Apparently, Yahoo Games rating scale of 1 to 5 couldn't contain the epicness that is Arkham City.  It's better than perfect.  There is nothing wrong with it.  No glitches. Nothing can be improved in future Batman games.  Rocksteady should just close shop because there is no way they can improve this game.

Here in lies the problem with today's game rating scale.  Aside from it being so f**ked, it's inflated beyond belief.  As of right now, Batman: Arkham City has a Metacritic score of 95 out of 100.  Nine review sites have given it a perfect score of 100, including GamePro, Strategy Informer, Game Revolution, 1 UP, and Game Informer.  So, these sites are telling me that Rocksteady created the perfect game.  I mean, it's not like the game had any bugs.

Like this.

Or this..

What about this...

Perfect right? 100 worthy, I say!

You get my point.  Look, no game is perfect, therefore no game should be getting a 100.  Even the 9.5 we scored it might be a little too generous.

If you ask me, the number rating scale is out of date.  It was good while it lasted, but I think it's time to move on.  The problem with it is once you give a game a perfect score, there is no room for improvements in the future.  Batman: Arkham City got a 100.  So what do you score the next Batman game if it's better?  Another 100?  What if it's improved on something, do you bump it past the limit like Yahoo Games did?  Granted, there's always the case that the sequel could completely bomb and suck a**, in which case you go right back down the number chart (See Duke Nukem Forever).  What Yahoo essentially did was Spinal Tap Arkham City.

So, you have every other good game at 10. 10. 10. 10. Then Batman: Arkham City comes out. If it needs a little extra...11.

Secondly, opinions for games vary from reviewer to reviewer.  What I may consider an 8, another reviewer might consider a 6.  We might feel the same way about the game, but we may value our numbers differently.  The weights of each number vary from site to site and reviewer to reviewer (partially why Metacritic is broken, but don't tell them that. They are a bit sensitive).

Lastly, like the rent, the numbers are too damn high!  All of the hype that comes from the marketing of a "big-named" title has given reviewers a pre-conceived notion that the supposed game is going to be back and better than ever!  Reviewers feel pressured to rate games high for fear of backlash from advertisers, readers, or even developers.  That's right, I'm calling you out Cliffy B.  An 8 out of 10 is good I tell you!  Not even your precious Gears of War 3 game was perfect.  The backlash of a low score has led to inflated scores on games like the ones we are seeing on Batman: Arkham City.

It's beginning to seem like reviewers aren't even playing the games and just giving a score based on hype and game title alone.  I can just picture what some of these reviewers are thinking, "Well, it's Call of Duty 11.  The previous 10 were good and this one is obviously a better version of them.  Let's score it a 15 out of 10!" 

You begin to wonder if the fans who play the game aren't becoming a more trusted source for reviews.  They write reviews based on their feelings and what they actually encounter in the game--not for advertising dollars, not under pressure, and not for a job.  They either love or hate the game.  They are the ones who spent money on it, so you can bet they are going to be brutally honest.  Case in point, fans on Metacritic have rated Batman: Arkham City a respectable and more realistic 8.3/10.  Fun, but not perfect.  Then again, one can look at those numbers and retaliate, "What makes those numbers better than a 10/10". This debate can go on for ages, going full circle, and still not arriving at an answer, because as of right now, there is no answer.

So how do we fix this?  Maybe we just abandon the whole number scoring system and just leave the reviews without assigning numbers.  Tell the fans what's good and what's bad.  This might actually encourage users to read the opinions of reviewers and not just look at a number.  "No!  We are gamers, dammit!  We love our numbers!  Why else would games flash numbers over our characters to let us know how much damage we're doing?  Because we love it!  Just like we love our meaningless scores on games!"


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