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CRAP games that scraped a seven out of ten

Contributions by: Tyler Nagata and Shane Patterson

Let’s be honest. You don’t need a certified games “journalist” to explain why Grand Theft Auto IV is awesome or that the Dirty Dancing videogame is shit. You’re intelligent. You know what kinds of games you love and which ones you despise.

But once in a while, there’s that rare occasion where you’ve got a few extra dollars burning a hole in your pocket and have enough leftover to splurge on a game that you’re on the fence about. And when it comes to these situations, it’s frustrating when the professional critics seem to be sitting on the same fence as you.

The average score on an aggregator site like Metacritic may seem like it’s giving you an accurate idea of how good or bad a game is. But dig a little deeper and you’ll often find that one overly enthusiastic review is responsible for letting an obviously awful title scrape by with a so-so seven out of ten score. All it takes is one or two rogue reviews with hyperbolic clichés and an inflated score to make these crap titles seem like fairly decent buys. In celebration of our seven out of ten week, we’ve listed what we feel are the worst offenders that managed to scrape by with an undeserved seven.

And because we hate how aggregators mush together reviewers’ scores into one meaningless number, we’ve also combed through the archives of our competitors – IGN, 1UP and GameSpot – to find the most average reviewers on each site. We’ve aggregated the last ten of these reviewers’ scores - just like how the industry would - to see who came closest to a safe seven. If we all turned to aggregators for reviewers instead of reviews, these would be the journalists we’d think were pretty good, but not great. Yeah we’re dicks, but just to prove we’re fair, we found our own ultimate mediocre reviewer on our staff too.

Rez
Platform: PS2
Metacritic Score: 7.8/10
Who’s to Blame: G4 TV for giving Rez a perfect score it didn’t deserve

We’ll let you in on a secret about games “journalists.” They love it when they have an excuse to talk about games as art. It gives them a chance to bust out the lame terms they learned from their art history and literature courses in college, and makes them feel like they’re writing about something that matters more than a videogame that’ll be on sale in a few weeks.

Is a rail shooter with a wireframe stickman and auto-targeting - that plays like something stuck in the 70s - worth having an orgasm over? No. But add some electronic music and a few bright lights and you’ll have those “journalists” blowing smoke up the game’s ass, calling it a “visual and aural masterpiece.”


Above: We don’t care if you got a minor in art history. Just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s a “visual and aural masterpiece”

Carol Vorderman’s Sudoku
Platform:
PSP
Metacritic Score: 7.2/10
Who’s to Blame: Worth Playing for handing this pseudo-game a shocking 9.3/10. That’s over a point higher than what they gave Metal Gear Solid 4, which received a measly 8.1/10.

Want to hear another secret? Carol Vorderman’s Sudoku is a waste of money. If you like Sudoku, you can find fresh puzzles for free every day in this thing that old people read. It’s called a newspaper! Boy, do those things rock! Filled with extreme headlines about the latest in world news and tons of totally rad coupons for necessities like cat litter and eggs, these things are a godsend. On the other hand, if you’re afraid that reading something in print will make a luddite out of you, you can always find free sudoku puzzles here.


Above: Worth Playing’s 9.3/10 just goes to show how a few rogue reviews can help awful games score an undeserved seven out of ten

Nancy Drew: The White Wolf of Icicle Creek
Platform: PC
Metacritic Score: 7.3/10
Who’s to Blame: Just Adventure for giving a game marketed toward young girls a passing grade

Why do game reviewers continue to let themselves off the hook by tossing softball scores to niche titles that never graduated past the 1990s? Maybe they’re lazy and lack a pair. Maybe they’re worried that they’ve become jaded reviewers who only care about popular games like StarCraft II or Diablo III.

Or maybe they’re just like this guy and are overrepresented on aggregator sites like Metacritic. Just Adventure writer Ray Ivey gave Nancy Drew: The Haunted Carousel a flawless score and is “looking forward to the next troublesome situation Nancy gets herself into.” We can’t say that we agree with him or the reviewer who gave The White Wolf of Icicle Creek a similarly high grade.


Above: Niche games like these enjoy inflated scores from niche game review sites like Just Adventure

23 comments

  • ihopethisisnotantistasblood - September 24, 2011 1:20 p.m.

    wtf????
  • rockbottom - July 16, 2011 12:47 p.m.

    codzprc Hello, my friend. Did I wait long enough before replying? How are you these days. I am not grammatroll, unfortunately, nor was I trying to defend this person from you and your comments. The actual points raised in their initial post are as unimportant and irrelevant to me as the finer points of your own, over-wrought response. I merely found it funny that you would write such a long comment in the first place. You are clearly a frustrated individual with a deep seated longing to be a writer and an in-built need for attention and appreciation. The fact that nobody actually cares what you have to say is unfortunate for you, but probably well deserved, given that your talent as a writer is limited to say the least. "I'd venture that I'm more well read then you," Priceless. People in the UK have never said "Aces". The term Ace is used to describe very exceptional things and occurrences. Aces can be your very own unique catchphrase, I wish you well with it. Also, your virginity can not be questioned, you either have it or you don't. It was merely a humorous assumption on my part that you did because, when you become part of a couple with someone you love, as I am with my beautiful wife of fifteen years, your partner acts as a kind of elaborate quality control system for your interactions with the world. In short, they stop you being such an uptight, pompous prick who constantly feels the need to inflict your pointless "wisdom" onto people online. You really do grow out of it, honestly. Opinions are like arses, my friend evrybody has one but nobody wants to hear yours. Goodbye to you Sir. I hope you are well.
  • mrmorozov987 - April 9, 2011 1:28 a.m.

    Normally, I completely respect Gamesradar editors. However, while almost all of these definitely deserve to be here, but you should be embarrassed about putting a NASCAR game here, simply because it's NASCAR. I myself don't watch the sport, but in YOUR own review of NASCAR 11, I can quote: "The differences between a real NASCAR race and what people think it is are huge. NASCAR races are battles of attrition and patience, cars are tuned to be technically identical, so winning requires the drivers to remain consistent and wait for their opening. It’s a far cry from the stereotypical “bumper cars and fiery explosions” reputation it has." The final straw was when you admitted you haven't even played it. You know what you call someone who does that on the internet? A troll. (and, yes, I do realize that this article and the NASCAR 2011 review were written by two different people. Still, some consistency would be nice.)
  • codzprc - February 7, 2011 10:39 a.m.

    ^sorry, bit tipped. "...basically the same person. Rockbottom only has one comment, on this article - the one blasting my take on grammartroll's review of Nancy Drew. " Also, notice how I didn't comment on his "Shush now and let the grown-ups talk" statement? I thought it ironic enough in itself, having childishly questioned my virginity...
  • codzprc - February 7, 2011 10:30 a.m.

    @rockbottom I was reviewing my comments for anything witty I may have said in my past, unfortunately nothing really held merit... then I came across your exemplary retort. I only wish GR featured @reply notifications - wait do they? I don't know. Regardless, I don't want to fill your head with the ideals and wonders of what sleeping with girls is like - you'll have to wait and find out for yourself, just let it come natural and make sure it's a girl you like. It'll happen for you, fingers crossed. As for the negative attention, I've seen no ill-effects, reading through the comments, most people tend to agree with me - and that extends to nearly all my comments. I'm either ignored, or agreed with - all critics should be so lucky. I wasn't a student when I wrote ANY of my comments, GR came after I graduated - however, I was and continue to be quite drunk, therefore my grammar may have suffered, whereas my judgement stays aces... (do people in the UK still say 'aces'?, I have no idea, but I've always liked it, it stays) Ah, the english degree. I'd venture that I'm more well read then you, but that really doesn't matter if we're strictly talking comprehension. You understand me, I disagree with your phrasing, but get your gist, and other readers generally won't care about out years old 'conversation' - though they hopefully find it amusing. But why? Well, rockbottom is grammartroll. That's right. Maybe not the exact same person, maybe an associate, co-worker, fellow-reviewer of games - but basically the same person. Rockbottom only has one comment, on this article - the one blasting grammartroll's review of Nancy Drew. Furthermore, instead of offering debatable objectivity, he attacks me. Very defensive for a person who has had no prior engagements. Silly grammartroll, we know it's you. (if you respond to this, please allow 2 full years for a response, I'm very busy and don't often check my comments for past witticisms.)
  • kkokko - April 6, 2010 8:14 a.m.

    Wow. I didn't know an article like this would hurt somebody's feelings (yes grammartroll i'm talking about you) and make them post stupid comments like that. I mean have you even played nancy drew? IT SUCKS MAN. Get a life man. Other than your nancy drew.
  • damunsta - January 31, 2010 5:02 p.m.

    Okay gramma troll. Really first of all the article is a joke article. It is there to make you laugh but I find it kind of pathetic that you need someone else's opinion such as the good people at games radar to enjoy a game. Also that list of stuff that wasn't adventure... it was adventure; and I find it hilariously hyppocritical that you would throw a fit over someone else disliking your favorite genre and then bash other genres to prove to yourself that your argument is right. When I read your post I immagined a say lonely hairy forty-something year old playing a Nancy Drew game and I laughed at your pathetic life. I give your post a 7/10
  • TheHalfanese - January 31, 2010 1:10 a.m.

    @grammartroll Actually, the only way to "correctly" review a product is to introduce a completely unbiased person or persons to the product and formulate an opinion based on the given feedback. Reviewing with the "niche-markets" in mind is an entirely different mindset, and let's face it; reviewing that way does not truly offer anyone any help. What good does a biased review offer the consumer? None. Ultimately, a biased review is nothing more than a lie to those who are not biased; a cheap marketing ploy, if you will. That's one of the main points of this article; people who automatically praise something are not truly offering a valuable or honest opinion.
  • jmcgrotty - January 30, 2010 8:10 a.m.

    The article is pointless to begin with. Who would buy a game below an 8 in the first place. A game scores as low as 7.anything, that is your warning to avoid from the start.
  • crumbdunky - January 28, 2010 5:34 p.m.

    Revisited ths article today after rememberng what it made me think in the first place:it really IS time to drop the scores at the end of reviews. Seriouly, I LOVED U2 and, no doubt, will LOVE ME2 when I play it bu are either of those games perfect? According to most sites that reviewed them they are but I'm damn sure I have a few issues wih U2 and know I'll have some with Mr Sheperd's next game as well.You would imagine a 5/6 would be "average" but it's seen as something noone would ever consider playing as a rental let alone buying it with real money. Also people mark differently along that scale with Edge(supposedly-though I think it's mainly so they can be controversial and garner hits to prompt advertisers)being harsher in the main and other sites blatantrly using 7's as average!Even within a mag/site you can have reviewers using a scale differently and it makes a mockery of Metacritic and the whole shebang in my eyes. How often, also, do we read a review and the score at the end bears no relation to the words? Happens constantly to me anfd I'm at the point now whre I trust a few reviewers who seem, from bitter experience, to have similar tastes to my own. Seriously, those numbers serve no good purpose and actually have become more important than the actual pros and cons of the reviews! End this numerical tyranny!
  • rockbottom - January 28, 2010 12:45 p.m.

    Hey codzprc, What do you think it will be like to sleep with a girl? Talk about drawing negative attention to yourself. Let me guess, you're a student, right? Just not of English, obviously. Shush now and let the grown-ups talk.
  • TheKitchenSink - October 29, 2008 9:29 p.m.

    What the hell? Rez was NOT a "crap game." Sure, it wasn't GOTY or anything, but it certainly deserved its rating.
  • codzprc - October 4, 2008 8:11 a.m.

    My quotes got weird... stupid quotes... [Cartman voice, like he's talking to his mom] "Hey, um.. gamesradar moderator guy. Could, could you please fix my quotes for me, pleeeease?" GR Mod: [Stabbing to fingers into my neck] "TSST!" .... what you guys didn't see that episode?
  • codzprc - October 4, 2008 8:01 a.m.

    Grammartroll, first off - great name. Conjures up visions of catholic school marms toting wide rulers (and I went to public school). Secondly, I can only venture a guess to your true identity (Mr. Ivey, perhaps?), regardless, "Bite me." is quite possibly the greatest opening line ever used to began a less than average "out-raged reader" comment. In your post, you make mention or at least allude to the fact that you are associated with JustAdventure+, which I'm sure is a fine gaming site in it's own right... though the site itself looks as if I and a few college buddies got drunk one weekend and decided to put together a Html abomination, and upon waking Monday had forgotten all about it.... What was I talking about?? Oh yes, the fact that you reacted so negatively to a joke of an article such as this one. If anything the objective of the article, though it is not directly stated, is to point out that getting your information(reviews in this case) from just one source and relying on that source is asinine. Gamers should make informed decisions, most don't - and rely solely one source, which in the case of the Nancy Drew games would be bad, say if the gamer went to gamespot.com. Actually, even gamespot has decent reviews of the series, however they are user reviews (probably better that way). I do agree with you on the matter that maybe young girls would enjoy the ND titles, and possibly even give them an "A". Having read your review of ND: The Haunted Carousel - The game actually sounds like some thing I would get for my 6 year old niece. On that note, what is the ESRB rating and why is it not on your site? Next point (my fouth maybe?), I'm sure the crew at gamesradar knows what the "Adventure" category is, or at least what is used to be. Though your site still uses the term "Adventure" as it was used in the 70's - late 90's, whenever Colossal Cave Adventure came out. (No, I wasn't alive at the time - but my brother played it) The term now gets plopped behind the term "Action". As you pointed out, Action Adventure games are not Adventure games. Most mainstream sites don't use the "Adventure" as a sort category, gamespot for instance, lists ND under "compilation" - though in a general search for compilation games, only a Simcity title pops up. Gamespot does offer an "Adventure games" search option -- but again doing a general search returns only a few titles, none of which are Nancy Drew games. What does it all mean? The general gamer population doesn't care about Adventure games enough for sites to cater to the few (thousand?) gamers who do. However, they do list the games and the user who have played such titles are more than welcome to post their own reviews. If the sites themselves went through and reviewed all the adventure games - whiny developers would, well whine, about the poor review. So the sites list the adventure games, yet give no review - users are still able to find info on the title and the reviewers can go back to reviewing crappy movie-based titles(HA!)... Point... um, Fifty. Orson Welles?? Are you serious? I'm not saying it was a bad choice, but really?? Orson Welles? On a gaming site? While it did have the word game in it, I can think of a few better - and more humorous quotes... “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” -Albert Einstein, works well with FPS Multiplayer games This one is just funny because we're talking about a Nancy Drew game - the quote by itself I interrupt as "because women are passionate(love, hate), their lives are better. Without passion, a womans' life is boring"... anyway - “Where neither love nor hatred is in the game, a woman's game is mediocre” -Friedrich Nietzsche Final Point(I hope), I'm glad JustAdventure exists... you obviously love your adventure games, and I'm sure the handful of gamers that actually visit your site appreciate it as well. However, like I said - the layout, browse feature and well... all the functional aspects of the site are crap. Developers fresh out of college would gladly fix all that for around $50-65/hr. and maybe a few games under the table. Otherwise, a nice site. By the way, for readers curious - I am not affiliated with gamesradar.com or gamespot.com in anyway - except I obviously have accounts with them, and visit the sites often. I'm just a writer who had a lot to drink, and was enjoying this article till I read grammartroll's comment... Why get so riled up over a dumb re-review(of sorts), since gamesradar didn't respond - I decided to have fun. The next time you attack a "just for S's and G's" article, try to be a bit less of a whiner before you shoot you mouth off. (See what I did there??) Hmm, yet another point. No really, you just drew some attention to yourself - and most of it will probably be negative... Though I'm sure it will be forgotten shortly - if it hasn't already. Wow, nearly used all 5000 characters on this bad boy. Only 3 left..0
  • grammartroll - September 25, 2008 11:09 p.m.

    Bite me. First of all, all it takes is a search of "Adventure" games on your site to see that you have no clue what an adventrue game is (hints: platformers are not adventure games; action-adventures are not adventure games; side-scrollers are not adventure games). Second, so WHAT if a game is targeted to a niche market? If it is, it's appropriate to review it with that in mind, which is exactly how we review the excellent HerInteractive Nancy Drew titles at JustAdventure+. I can't believe you actually say, as a criticism, that we "gave a game targeted to young girls a passing grade" as if the very act of that is immoral. Just because YOU are not a young girl (or ARE you?) doesn't mean young girls don't want good adventure games to play. There are good games besides just the ones that you play and like, as hard as that may be to get your head around. To paraphrase Orson Welles, I encourage you to celebrate diversity in gaming: "To games! To good games! To every possible kind!" The next time you attack a site that specializes in a genre, try to be a bit more informed on that genre before you shoot off your mouth.
  • lordofultima - January 21, 2009 2:18 a.m.

    My Mom is 56 and she loves those adventure games, she happens to have most by the Adventure Game company, and all of the Nancy Drew games. It must have something compelling to her, so maybe you're just not cut out for those type of reviews.
  • crossed23 - January 21, 2009 2:08 a.m.

    lol You guys rock here at gamesradar and its really expensive to sue nowadays, but just for the info you did kinda give Tomb Raider Underworld a 9, ummmmmmm shouldnt that be a 7 too.
  • misfit119 - January 20, 2009 6:05 p.m.

    Also, as a long belated thought, if a site chooses to focus on just one genre, that's fine. But that doesn't mean that every single game that comes out in that woefully limited genre deserves high grades. The Nancy Drew games are HORRIBLE. My teen cousin bought one and asked me to help and it was TERRIBLE. This from a fan of adventure games and point-and-click types. Also acting giddy as a schoolgirl over a game designed for young girls comes off as disingenuous anyways.
  • infected123 - September 17, 2009 8:46 p.m.

    i think that reviewers should give multiple scores based for niche games. an overall score for normal gamers and a specialist score for how well it performs in that niche.
  • MeesesGlokmah - January 20, 2009 6:13 p.m.

    Hey, not all of the DBZ games are crap. Most of them are, but not all. Budokai 3 and Tenkaichi 3 were pretty good. Third times the charm! It just takes them a couple games to work out the problems, which results in many mediocre games..

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