If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll notice I don’t ‘score’ anything I review. The reason for that is because scoring is meaningless and often misleading. It’s the reviewer picking some arbitrary number out of their head from a scale of 1-5, 10 or 100, based on their own personal opinions and skewed to ensure everything either finishes in the top or bottom 25% of that scale.
But as much as scoring is meaningless, it’s also dangerous to you as the reader of the review. Why? Because if you are honest, if there’s a score in a review that’s pretty much the only thing you’re going to read and you’ll base your decision to buy/consume the product based on that.
I bring this up because if you google the ‘acclaimed’ PC and Console game, Gone Home – one of two free games available with your PS Plus subscription this month – then the first thing you’ll notice is that it gets 9.5/10 from the well-respected gaming site IGN.
9.5/10?! “Wow”, you might think ,“that must be a great game; one of the all time classics.”
People will buy that game blindly based upon that score alone. I know I’ve done similar in the past, and even though I got it as part of my subscription to PS Plus today, I’ll also hold my hand up to being interested in playing Gone Home without knowing what it was, because of it.
But then I played it.
And after playing it for half an hour I dug a little bit deeper and actually read the review on IGN and – more tellingly – the comments from the public underneath it.
There were a lot of angry people.
Because the score doesn’t tell the story of what Gone Home actually is.
What it involves is walking around a house, picking up items, looking at them and putting them down. Occasionally picking one of those items up will trigger some narration from the woman you are controlling as she reminisces about her childhood friend-turned girlfriend.
But that’s all there is to it.
You wander around the house, you pick up every item and once you’ve been into every room – finishing in the attic – it ends. There’s no objectives, no quest, no danger, no actual gaming involved.
Bell to bell, Gone Home lasts for about an hour.
Full price, it costs £14.99.
£14.99 for an hour’s worth of gameplay – such as it was – and no replay value.
And yet it was given a score of 9.5/10 on the same scale that IGN use for reviewing every game in the world.
I genuinely cannot understand it. Even if the guy reviewing it really liked it for what it was and even if it’s the best walking-around-and-picking-things-up simulator there’s ever been, he must also have to accept that the lack of any sort of challenge and the cost of game versus the length of it means that there’s no argument to support that score, arbitrary or otherwise.
But he didn’t and so his 9.5/10 is what Gone Home’s reputation will be enhanced by forever.
And I don’t think that’s right.
I’m just thankful I didn’t pay for it…