Contributions by: Tyler Nagata and Shane Patterson
Let%26rsquo;s be honest. You don%26rsquo;t need a certified games %26ldquo;journalist%26rdquo; to explain why Grand Theft Auto IV is awesome or that the Dirty Dancing videogame is shit. You%26rsquo;re intelligent. You know what kinds of games you love and which ones you despise.
But once in a while, there%26rsquo;s that rare occasion where you%26rsquo;ve got a few extra dollars burning a hole in your pocket and have enough leftover to splurge on a game that you%26rsquo;re on the fence about. And when it comes to these situations, it%26rsquo;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%26rsquo;s giving you an accurate idea of how good or bad a game is. But dig a little deeper and you%26rsquo;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 clich%26eacute;s and an inflated score to make these crap titles seem like fairly decent buys. In celebration of our seven out of ten week, we%26rsquo;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%26rsquo; scores into one meaningless number, we%26rsquo;ve also combed through the archives of our competitors %26ndash; IGN, 1UP and GameSpot %26ndash; to find the most average reviewers on each site. We%26rsquo;ve aggregated the last ten of these reviewers%26rsquo; 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%26rsquo;d think were pretty good, but not great. Yeah we%26rsquo;re dicks, but just to prove we%26rsquo;re fair, we found our own ultimate mediocre reviewer on our staff too.
Metacritic Score: 7.8/10
Who%26rsquo;s to Blame: G4 TV for giving Rez a perfect score it didn%26rsquo;t deserve
We%26rsquo;ll let you in on a secret about games %26ldquo;journalists.%26rdquo; 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%26rsquo;re writing about something that matters more than a videogame that%26rsquo;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%26rsquo;ll have those %26ldquo;journalists%26rdquo; blowing smoke up the game%26rsquo;s ass, calling it a %26ldquo;visual and aural masterpiece.%26rdquo;
Above: We don%26rsquo;t care if you got a minor in art history. Just because it%26rsquo;s different doesn%26rsquo;t mean it%26rsquo;s a %26ldquo;visual and aural masterpiece%26rdquo;
Carol Vorderman%26rsquo;s Sudoku
Metacritic Score: 7.2/10
Who%26rsquo;s to Blame: Worth Playing for handing this pseudo-game a shocking 9.3/10. That%26rsquo;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%26rsquo;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%26rsquo;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%26rsquo;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%26rsquo;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
Metacritic Score: 7.3/10
Who%26rsquo;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%26rsquo;re lazy and lack a pair. Maybe they%26rsquo;re worried that they%26rsquo;ve become jaded reviewers who only care about popular games like StarCraft II or Diablo III.
Or maybe they%26rsquo;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 %26ldquo;looking forward to the next troublesome situation Nancy gets herself into.%26rdquo; We can%26rsquo;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