Mercury Steam's co-founder, Enric Alvarez, has poured scorn on games reviewers over their reaction to Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 and what he refers to as a "lack of honesty" and professionalism.
Speaking to Eurogamer Spain (as translated by OXM), Alvarez said that, "any game is a very complex work and I sometimes I find that [the] specialized gaming press [lacks] professionalism". He apparently thinks that reviewers sometimes judge games against their own expectations, rather than how the title stand on their own two feet.
"[You can say] 'I do really like the rock but I hate the opera', [but] this is an opinion, not an analysis," said Alvarez. "If I had to do an analysis of Don Giovanni
, [I] would not even know where to start." Alvarez said that, "There's a "lack of honesty in the gaming press".
Alvarez did say, however, that, "I agree that in the end it is an opinion, and [an] opinion is totally respectable, but do not confuse a review and analysis." It seems that in his view, 'analysis' is the result of an empirical understanding of a game's creation and structure, where a review is 'subjective'.
And... yes, they are. That's the evaluative part of the review. There's no objective set of absolute standards against which to judge a game. Reviews should also contain analysis of what works and doesn't work in a game to help the reader understand how the reviewer formed that opinion. That way the reader doesn't have to blindly accept what the reviewer has said. In a good review, the evaluation gives weight to the various points raised in the analysis and that's how we get to a 'subjective' opinion.
While games are
big, complex beasts, from a reviewer's point of view what's under the hood isn't as important so much as whether the sum total of it is worth a player's time and money. If Alvarez wants an in-depth critique that pours over the minutiae of absolutely everything going on in a game, he needs to look somewhere other than reviews.
Hitting out at the Edge
review in particular, Alvarez said, "One must be blind or stupid to give it a 4/10 for a game of this quality. With a 4/10, people interpret it is a crappy game, badly done, it breaks, with mechanics that do not work, with some awful graphics."
Alvarez does hit a tricky spot there. Once upon a time, when big releases could still be made by small teams for (relatively) little money, a 4/10 game would be approaching the realms of 'barely functions'. Now, with the modern industry's stellar budgets, full price console games don't really make it out of the studio without being at least functional. Exactly what constitutes a 4/10 game is tricky when you're in blockbuster territory.
Anyway, I gave Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 a 3/5
for SPOnG. It currently has a Metacritic score of 62.
Source: Eurogamer Spain