Monday, May 12, 2008

Grand Theft Auto IV: The Unscorable Game

I worked long and hard on getting everyone together and edit all the pieces that turned into the Evil Avatar: Liberty City Diaries piece that was put together for posting last Monday. Some of my co-writers on the piece asked about putting a score on the review and I noted that this type of game doesn't deserve a score and we should just hone in on our experiences with the game. There weren't any people that went against what I said, but once the piece went up there were many forum users that were asking where the score was. Personally, I feel the GTA series as a whole is unscoreable (I made up a new word..woo!). There are other games out there that share this power (another recent one is Super Smash Bros. Brawl on Wii), but GTA is easily the most visible one.

The fact that 29 sites gave its top score to the 360 version and 20 did the same for the PS3 version simply shows that these games just cannot be scored. All of these magazines and online sites of course have to give the game a score, but really is it going to make any difference to the consumer? They're going to go out and buy GTA IV, Super Smash Bros. Brawl and the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 4 no matter what it gets scored. These games just rise above the review process. What strikes me as odd with both GTA IV and Brawl is how much people just default give it the top score. I haven't played Brawl, never really liked the series, but I have played GTA IV and it certainly does not deserve the top score. If I was to do an actual review of it for Evil Avatar I would most likely give it a 4/5 or 4.5/5. It has a lot of wonderful things in it, but there is also a lot of missteps that keep it from being the "be all, end all" of videogames.

I hated the last GTA, San Andreas, yet 30 sites gave the PS2 version a perfect score. Although it was the largest of the GTA games, I just didn't like some of the directions Rockstar North went with it. I would have scored it a 3/5 or 3.5/5 at Evil Avatar. The whole keeping CJ healthy (or not healthy if you're into that), which was a core mechanic to the game, was a total turn off to me as was the story itself.

Bottom line is why even give scores to these games? Why not just talk about the experiences you had and whether you liked it or not. I like what we did with the Evil Avatar: Liberty City Diaries piece and am glad we attributed no score to it (honestly it would be hard to equate 12 scores into one final score and people not fly off the handle about it). Maybe more places should take note and not score these games that are guaranteed to be picked up by the public no matter the score given to it. Why make a fool of yourself giving it your top score when you could easily give your reviews on the game with no score?