I have always been of the opinion that review scores of any sort are fairly useless, even outside of the gaming press. It’s nice to note that a film got three and a half stars out of a possible five, but the number is completely meaningless on its own.

The Metacritic score is an interesting thing to go and look at, but it’s completely meaningless in any real way. The only way it could really hope to be anything like an accurate gauge of “goodness” would be if every single person and publication that reviewed games used precisely the same criteria and ratings scale to evaluate them. Only then could you “average” them meaningfully. (And before that, you’d have to first find a way to operationalize what “goodness” means across the industry. Good luck with that.)

As it is, you have vaguely adjusted numbers attached to reviews – goodness knows what the methodology is; I’ve certainly looked at some reviews and found their content to be quite different than I’d expect from the number assigned to them – and then they present those to us as though that were any sort of guideline from which to make a meaningful and useful decision.

It isn’t. It is a tool for the individual who does not wish to put forth the effort and actually read the reviews, perhaps.

Full disclosure: I regularly write reviews – the old-fashioned kind, with very tight word limits and an editor and everything – for an industry publication dedicated to literature for young people.

The duty of a critic or reviewer is (IMO) to advise people as honestly as possible of what they will be in for when they pick up a particular book, go to see a particular show, whatever. The good critic or reviewer will manage to, on top of this, give a real sense of the material, as well, such that if you are the sort of person who would love it, you will be fired up to go and experience it. (And, by extension, such that if you are NOT the sort of person who would love it, you will be able to wisely stay away.)

Scores do not serve either purpose. At all. Away with them.