It's a difficult thing when you realise that you've been played, but that's a feeling that critics and consumers alike have been dealing with this past week. We were led to believe certain things about Aliens: Colonial Marines, shown screenshots, watched video, played demos, and run previews of material that simply wasn't up to scratch in the final game, or worse still, didn't exist.
Jonathan issued an apology at the end of his review the other day that went as follows:
I can only apologise for how long it took to get this review on-site and how useless it will be to many of you who bought the game at launch. SEGA only sent us review materials several days after Colonial Marines released, which is rather suggestive in and of itself.
I also feel responsible for anyone who pre-ordered Colonial Marines on the strength of my hands-off preview, which as it turns out, was based on a made-to-order demo build that doesn't resemble the final product in any meaningful way. Many of my peers have already weighed in on this reprehensible bait & switch, but frankly, any of my feelings of betrayal will pale in comparison to paying customers and loyal fans.
I'd like to add my voice to that, along with a few words on how the 'system' operates currently, along with a few points on how we'll be dealing with previews going forward.
Everything these days is geared towards encouraging consumers to make a commitment before a game shows its face. Pre-orders have become everything - encouraging gamers to make a financial commitment ahead of release, and driving that decision with trinkets and treasures that would normally perhaps have been unlockable prizes just a few years previously, but now tend to exist as day one DLC for those who had the strength of mind to be rather more conscientious with their money. That'll teach 'em.
Only this week, pre-order listings emerged for the Bioshock Infinite Season Pass - essentially a pre-order for a pre-order for multiple blocks of downloadable content that are completely unseen and have yet to even be announced. We're pre-ordering pre-orders now. How did it come to this?Click here to read more...
There's only a week left to get your votes in for this year's Games Media Awards.
As per usual the nominations are all provided by YOU - gamers, consumers, readers, listeners, and beloved denizens of the internet. And as it appears to be de rigeur every year it, we figured we'd
pimp ourselves out let you know how you can get involved, and nominate your favourites sites, mags, video streams, and podcasts this year.
The review score itself is of debatable usefulness and importance. It is a divisive instrument: some people love the concise, instantaneous quantification of value, others detest it. I would like to approach that from a slightly different perspective, that is to say that for the reviewer it can be much the same. Assigning a numerical stamp of judgement often forces us to focus in more on a rather binary balancing of positives and negatives. The role of the consumer is such that it essentially embodies a very binary decision: Am I going to spend my time and money on this game or not? Using our own criteria to either warn or recommend can be further refined by consideration of a scalable value judgement.
The converse argument is that review scores can often promote lazy writing. An unfinished review can hide behind the significance of a numerical value and hope that in bringing the two together whatever substance that has been unable to convey through words is conveyed by this generally accepted form. Problems arise, however, when the two seem not to fit properly, often as a result of feeling on the reader's part that the reviewer has not quite justified their score in the main body text.
That happens in every medium, though, so why are games journalists seemingly more positive about their medium than others...Click here to read more...