I’m sure this will shock you all, but the guy who likes incredibly obscure, exotic and bizarre experiences from a culture halfway across the world has long ago thrown up his hands at the current review systems of games… Things like Ar Tonelico skates the metacritic from 61-71, and that’s a series I love deeply. Catherine’s score on Giant Bomb was a 2 of 5 stars, which translates to a 40 on metacritic. Beige probably knows plenty about this if he took a look at the range of Deadly Premonition scores. So yeah, no matter the methodology, as long as people have different tastes scores are going to be a tentitive stab in the dark at best. I think the best way it’s going to be done (since it’s not going away, that’s for sure) is to have a fairly wide scale in a smaller set of things (5 stars with half stars are basically a 100 point scale, but it isn’t as ‘jarring’ to the fans to see 2 1/2 stars out of 5 compared to 50%.) With, and this is important, specialized reviewers who you are VERY familiar with their tastes.

For me of course what this usually means is that the things the Gerstman’s of the world find ‘Insufferable Japanese bullshit’ are my hysterical “best moment of the game” laughter moments. Still, anime and JRPG fans are a fairly tight knit group so I can tend to get fairly accurate recommendations anyway. I mean, this IS the internet after all, not toooo hard to educate yourself with a bit of time and effort.

The greatest part of reviews honestly is going back after you’ve played the game and getting a different perspective from it. I may think the Giant Bomb review of Catherine is a crime against that game’s uniqueness, but I do think many of the issues raised are legitimate, the trouble is when people try to ‘score’ how important a game’s issues are that things get messy (see: Deadly Premonition again) The Squadcast of Persona 3 is an excellent example of the best review being after you’ve finished the game, that particular podcast listens a dozen times better if you’ve played the game and the discussion is a hundred times more interesting when you can talk about all of it (Belated Props: Total Credit on the Tarot explanations, I didn’t have a lot of confidence you were going to get that right, but it came out wonderfully =D) Reviews are the best for me when they talk about themes and perspectives, about how this or that struck them how they felt when it was all over. This is why the squad is the best place for things because we’re not worried so much with score as themes and feelings, and we know each other’s tastes fairly well. Best of both worlds!