What’s more important? Reviews, hype or gameplay?

So after all of the controversy regarding Medal of Honor’s inclusion of the Taliban, and then not including the Taliban and all the hype surrounding the authenticity of the game, it turns out the game wasn’t that good

And yet it sells like hot cakes. EA announced that since it’s early October release, Medal of Honor has sold more than 2 million copies.

Now, that was a month ago, so it’s not like a movie where it can make most of it’s money in the first weekend and survive, this game sold two million copies even after mediocre reviews, with the main complaint that the single-player was boring and unpolished.

But as the press over there at EA says, it seems like gamers have really enjoyed the game while the reviewers, people who live and breathe FPS’ had more gripes about it than the average consumer. Which brings up the age old debate about weather game reviews really count. I mean if most reviewers didn’t like the game, and assuming the game play was as lack luster as they say, was it just all the hype that made it fly off the shelves? or do gamers just not care about reviews?

I doubt I can answer that, but game reviews are an interesting part to the game industry. When you look at it, there is not Roger Ebert, or Oprah book club for video games, and now that the NDP group doesn’t announce monthly sales data, it doesn’t have a Billboard top 200, or best sellers list. So game reviews, especially a consensus of game reviews like the ones found on metacritic should be kind of important right? It’s the only place for gamers to see how the community has judged the game.

Is it a good thing that gamers seemingly don’t care about reviews? I mean, with all those sales, a sequel to Medal of Honor is all but assured, which would give the newly founded Danger Close studios (who’s future, I would guess, depended greatly on the success of this game) a chance to address the issues people had with the first game.

But it can work both ways, gamer fanfare and hype can also lead to lazy game design and little innovation. Up until a few years ago sports games, especially EA Sports titles were very guilty of this. More recently the Call of Duty franchise has blown away the competition and obliterated sales records left and right. Yet, other than a new coat of paint, the basic gameplay and settings hasn’t changed over the last couple of titles.

It’s a funny catch 22, game reviewers get an audience by writing previews and news updates about upcoming games which just feeds the hype. And when a game doesn’t live up to that hype in the opinion of the reviewer, it can still sell like crazy becuase of the hype he or she helped create. It would be nice to have a definitive voice for gamers, but I fell like having a more democratic, if anonymous, internet consensus fits the culture of gaming much better than any one person’s opinion ever could.

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About pressstarttojoin

A 20-something living and working in Toronto with a life long passion for gaming
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