Over the years, Metacritic has proven to be a fantastic resource for gamers to take a sneak peak at the value of their potential video game ventures. The idea of combining dozens of critic reviews of one game into a single score for the public is something special that deserves acclaim.
However, with so many games and even more opinions to look at, there are bound to be some questionable scores. You can’t get them all right…but that’s not going to stop us from complaining about it.
Notes: I’ve decided to order the list from bad to worse. Enjoy!
Super Mario Odyssey Metacritic Score: 97
I put this at the top because it’s definitely forgivable, but this score is simply too high for what Super Mario Odyssey is. While I can see the appeal of it and understand the value it brings, there are definitely a lot more misfires in the game than critics are willing to admit.
For one, where’s the story? I am well aware that Mario has never been known to go on fantastic, character-driven, enlightening adventures. Nintendo has always taken the approach of focusing on how you get there and not the destination, but shouldn’t there be some destination? With gameplay that is original and exciting, the same old “captured princess being saved by her knight in shining armor” story falls totally flat. In this day and age, there should be no excuse for totally ignoring a character’s motivation outside of your typical casual games you play on your phone. A 3D, open-world adventure has no business being all gameplay and no end goal. Nintendo could have named the game “Mario Moon Collector” and called it a day, because that’s basically what this game is all about. The title would have still rung true to how shallow the game is.
Super Mario Odyssey then goes from the shallow end of the pool to a kiddy pool in your backyard with its monotony. The game tries to pass off different colors as diversity. As you move from world to world, the way you get each moon and the variables around you continue to change drastically. However, in the grand scheme of things, the game insists that a good excuse for spending dozens of hours finding moons in one world is just to be able to find even more moons in the next world.
These are a lot of the negatives here, but I don’t want anyone thinking that I despise this game. As far as creativity, I think this is the best we’ve gotten from a Mario game in a very long time. The combat is satisfying, the worlds are detailed and unique from each other, and the challenges can be very engaging. However I find it hard to put this game anywhere within 10 points of being a perfect game. I find that I agree a lot more with review scores between an eight and a nine out of ten.
Call of Duty: Ghosts Metacritic Score: 68
This is widely considered to be one of the worst games in the Call of Duty franchise to this day, despite a slew of underwhelming releases in recent years. This score represents a big issue with Metacritic: each platform gets its own score. This is the score for the PC version, but it’s hard to actually know if the score is valid considering that almost no critic is going to play it on every console just to compare them to each other. From what it looks like, Call of Duty: Ghosts on PC happened to be reviewed by people who just happened to dislike the game.
Is it possible that this is the case simply because the PC version is worse than on the consoles? I highly doubt it. Most of the reviews, it seems, have nothing to do with the platform it was played on; they all discuss core aspects, regardless of the platform it was played on. Almost all of these reviews probably could have been just as valid on any other platform. This is actually a good thing, but it puts the game in a very bad light that it doesn’t deserve to be in.
While this certainly was a subpar online experience, I think the campaign makes it worth a buy. It’s one of my favorite campaigns in a shooter to date because of its chaotic nature and satisfying story progression. This game doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near a 90, of course, but sticking it in the yellow is an injustice. I think a 75 is a good place for Ghosts to be in.
Borderlands 2 Metacritic Score: 89
Really? You’re going to stop there? Is this some kind of game to you? Okay, bad question, but this is an atrocity. There’s not much to say about this score, except that it should be a 90. I think Borderlands 2 was judged fairly and pretty accurately, but the thought that it will be stuck in the eighties for all of time is disheartening. Featuring hilarious characters, an intriguing story, exciting gameplay, unique enemies and weapons, and hundreds of hours of Claptrap fun, there is no reason that this game should suffer anything less than a 9/10. If Metacritic employees are reading this, please fix this obvious oversight and email me. Thank you!
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege Metacritic Score: 79
Just about any multiplayer game is going to fall victim to sinful repetition, but Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege is the king of boredom. Even in games like Counter Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends, there are hundreds of ways to play the game.
In Counter Strike you are faced with the complexity of your teammates. Who is capable of doing what and what resources are available are just two examples of variables constantly changing. These factors alone spawn dozens of ways to play the game and accomplish the mission.
League of Legends has over 140 different champions as of the writing of this article, and each one is drastically different than the last. Even when only one person in the lobby can play a single champion, there are 2.24 sextillion (that’s 2.24×1021) possible combinations of champions for any given game. This number goes up drastically when one person from each team can play a champion. Enough said.
Rainbow Six: Siege, even across multiple game modes, really only has one prevailing concept: one team huddles in one room to protect an objective, and the other team spends 10 minutes figuring out how to get in. In the end, practically nobody cares about the objective. The winning team is whichever one manages to kill the other, and that’s always going to be the team with the most experience. This mind-numbing repetition makes Super Mario Odyssey look like it actually deserves a 120.
The only saving graces are that the controls are pretty sharp and allow for a great experience in terms of combat, and there is a plethora of different tactical weapons that can be used to infiltrate or defend. Unfortunately, this does not make of for the death of a brain cell every minute more than an hour that you play this game. This game gets a 40. Next.
Detroit: Become Human Metacritic Score: 78
There seem to be an awful lot of complaints about the story, here. It’s been called “disappointing,” “cliché,” and many other unflattering terms, but am I supposed to assume that The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series, which received an 89 on Metacritic, has a far superior story? Don’t get me wrong, I actually love every Telltale game I’ve ever played, including The Walking Dead, but I have a huge problem with Detroit: Become Human being placed any lower than five points above The Walking Dead. As it is, TWD is already too high, but that’s a different matter entirely.
While I understand that Quantic Dream has a tendency to write clunky dialogue and awkward characters, I don’t think that’s an issue here. I believe it’s present, but I also believe that it’s important to compare the dialogue between androids and humans in the game. Almost all of the human dialogue is seamless and well voiced, but some of the androids, some of the main characters even, can be a little unbelievable and strange. Whether this was intentional or not, I think it provides great contrast between the two beings and helps to show just how much work was put into making androids human.
It’s clear that this is a huge theme in the story. Through intense and enthralling gameplay moments, we see how different an android is from a human. The game creates stark contrasts between a human’s tendency to use force and an android’s tendency to use strategy. This creates interesting combat and a more fascinating story.
While Quantic dream doesn’t specialize in complex mechanics, it’s undeniable how they use characters, plot, and detail to communicate an important message. Not enough games do this, and the ones that do it as well as Detroit: Become Human deserve a solid 85 at least.
Life Is Strange: Before the Storm Metacritic Score: 77
I won’t spend too much time on this one, since it is quite similar to Detroit: Become Human in a lot of ways. The biggest contributing factor to this score is its predecessor. There were high expectations for the prequel to one of the greatest stories in video games, but Deck Nine just couldn’t cash the check. Visually, the game did not receive an upgrade. The voice acting was a huge step down from what we came to love in the original. The writing wasn’t nearly as amusing or smart.
Terrible game, right? Wrong! No game should be compared to its counterpart in the same series. Against Life Is Strange, of course Before the Storm will look unimpressive. Despite this, the game still delivers on an emotional experience that doesn’t stray from controversy or harsh topics. The decisions are tough, the challenges are engaging, and, despite some poor dialogue, the characters are deep and detailed.
I understand that 77 is not a bad score. In fact, this score is impressive in a lot of ways. Yet, I still feel it is an injustice to stoop this game below 80.
Brawlout Metacritic Score: 60
We’ve started getting into the “worse” that I mentioned earlier. This is one of the worst things that can happen in video game journalism, and I touched on it in the last entry: comparison. I understand that Brawlout is not Smash Brothers, but this game successfully satisfies the requirements of great fighting games. Its original launch was plagued with inconsistencies and bugs, but it has since been updated and improved. It certainly isn’t perfect by any means, but it deserves a 70 just like any Smash Brothers game does. Am I comparing them? A little bit, but not for the purposes of my critique. This is about consistency and giving credit where credit is due. The sooner critics figure this out, the sooner the public will get true impressions of games.
Terraria Metacritic Score: 83
Again, consistency. Minecraft, an inferior game, has a 93. While Minecraft offers more in the way of multiplayer, Terraria kills it when it comes to the main point of both of these games, which is exploration. There is so much more to discover in Terraria. While Minecraft has a couple dozen different enemies to fight, Terraria has in the vicinity of 600. The games share a similar number of biomes and worlds, but Terraria has a much better sense of atmosphere and design that is missing from Minecraft.
Once again, comparison for the sake of fairness. Straying away from comparison, now, Terraria is a wonderful game to play with friends. The sprite work is impressively fluid and detailed. There are some enemies that are quite similar to each other, but you can pretty easily identify all 600 of them because of the fine pixel art that must have taken more hours than I want to know about. Building is easy and enjoyable, LAN is flawless and fun, the world is vast and deep, and the game is a 9/10.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition Metacritic Score: 74
This… I… huh? What? Have you not read this article? By now you should know that a 74 for the special edition is just untrue when the original is a 94. Of course the remastered version doesn’t look like the latest Naughty Dog release. Is it suddenly a bad game? Try again, critics. Special Editions don’t decrease the value of a game.
BEYOND: Two Souls Metacritic Score: 72
If it’s not obvious by now, I adore Quantic Dream. Although I believe there are better developers out there, Quantic Dream delivers a unique story unlike any other. DONTNOD’s characters are better, BioWare’s gameplay is on a different plane all together, and nobody can beat Naughty Dog in the graphics department right now, but when I want a complex and meaningful experience that can change the way I look at life, Quantic Dream is the place to go.
With that being said, BEYOND: Two Souls was by far their best game yet. Although the decisions are quite as plentiful as some other titles, no choice is wasted on simple dialogue options. Every choice is important to the story and, more importantly, the characters. The voice acting here is top notch. The highlight is definitely Willem Dafoe’s portrayal of Nathan Dawkins. Everything the cast does lends a variety of emotions to the scene. It’s a unique experience to find in a video game. It joins the likes of Uncharted in this case.
However, something that is unique about BEYOND: Two Souls where the Uncharted series falls short is the unique character of Aiden. Being attached to another character on a spiritual level is fascinating as a concept in and of itself, but Quantic Dream goes a step further and makes him not only playable, but experienceable. The smart use of Aiden as a way to progress the story when it seems to have come to a standstill is impressive to say the least.
Overall, how could this game settle for a 72? The biggest issue comes with a connection to Jodie, the main protagonist, according to many critics. However, I think it is here that they fail to see the importance of Aiden as a way to connect more with Jodie. Seeing Jodie from Aiden’s perspective deepens her character and shows that there is a huge theme surrounding self-identity. Jodie gets offered so many amazing opportunities, she has an ability that would be envied by most, and she has to practically turn into a super hero for a decent chunk of the game. However, she always feels something missing because of her disconnect with Aiden. This also shows a disconnect with herself, and this is confirmed in the final scenes of the game.
It’s here that BEYOND: Two Souls is a crowning achievement and deserves an 85 or higher.
Despite some of my harsh opinions, I think it’s necessary to restate the importance that Metacritic plays in this industry. Even some of the most revolutionary or helpful ideas have some flaws in them.
Brandon is a young writer who loves going deep into games to explore meaning, purpose, and life. He believes that there’s nothing better than getting lost in a world full of characters to love and lessons to learn. He has a special place in his heart for single player games such as Mass Effect and Life Is Strange, but he also blows off some steam playing some of his favorite multiplayer games, like Paladins.