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Discussion on game review sites and the case for Pokemon Scarlet/Violet


Well in this game's case the tech performance seems to be weighing a good deal into the reviews as a whole since the MC is "just" around 77 or so which, for a major release, isn't a great score to have on the aggregate.

I still think Halo Infinite and Elden Ring are the two biggest cases of egregiously generous review scores (in light of early technical performance issues of the latter, increasingly terrible technical & content consistency issues with the former (not to mention missing content)) in recent memory. Realistically, both games scored higher MC averages than they deserved, yet no scores have been updated for the former and for the latter, technical issues as a merit to factor in was severely minimized.

It sure would be wild if the next big major release with huge technical issues suddenly has none of those weighed against it in reviews because it falls into a certain favor of critics who think it can be used for building a narrative, now would it 🤔...
Jay Z Applause GIF

Well said.

hemo memo

I mean you have ridiculously go out of your way to not pay attention to performance issues. I mean why in a simple class room static cutscene with limited characters on screen background character run at like 10 fps? Why in every 3 or 4 Pokemon battles the camera glitch to the ground? Why are there slowdowns everywhere??
You can have a legendary game with technical issues. Now I’m not calling Scarlet/Violet that good, but I’m saying the overall experience matters. Sometimes a game can do something so well, it makes up for the flaws and that game can get a perfect 10.

There’s a big problem with the review industry itself, and also with how people interpret reviews. You can’t just look at the number, and the reviewer needs context. Is this being evaluated as a Pokémon fan? They may be more likely to give a lenient score ignoring things another reviewer might be more critical of. This needs to be included in the review, so people know what they are getting into. But that also requires some willingness to read the review itself and consider your own viewpoint and how that the reviewer’s thoughts may or may not resonate with you. That review might be a bad fit for you.

This has actually been something I've been wanting to see for a while. Aggregates like MC, game review sites, and even the game publishers need to set some definitions on the exact target audience of their games and the intent of the game in question. Is the game meant for hardcore RTS fans? Is it a sequel primarily meant to appease the core fanbase of the previous installments and not as concerned with appealing to people outside of that?

Because with those guidelines, you can get a better mix of reviewers who cover those targets more directly. Like for example if it's a hardcore sequel for hardcore fans, that doesn't mean you shut out every single reviewer who is green to that IP or even that genre. However, they should probably not constitute more than 10% of the total reviews counting towards the aggregate.

I think with that setup, you naturally end up with a better mixture of reviewers and more honest review scores & aggregate averages, and it also can help cut down on any excessive access media or bad-faith reviewers. Just make sure the reviewers in question are qualified for reviewing that game to the measures of general expectations and intent of the game while being true to their own goals and wants out of that game.

If a game is fun then a game is fun. You can't quantify that.

Actually, yes you can. I have a lot of favorite films, and can generally break down WHY I like those films in ways that are objectively measurable. It isn't as simple as "I like the movie because I think it's cool". A lot of people can describe the things they think make it cool, and in some cases that will include objective elements (related to shot composition, use of color, line delivery etc.) including even comparing things from one movie against similar things of other movies!

The same thing is possible with games, and people objectively measure aspects of a game internally all the time while playing. They may not have the knowledge and lingo to express those objective things in words or writing when describing it, but they are still internally processing them. That's why they either like or don't like aspects of the game they play in the first place.

No part of enjoying a game is purely based on subjectivity.

Technical problems, graphical problems should be mentioned and can factor into a score. However, they are one of the least important aspects of the game in my opinion.

Case in point: all I really remember people outside of the Bayonetta 3 OT talking about is the resolution / framerate. What seems to have been lost is that after about 20 minutes, you don't really focus on that at all and the game is jam packed with so much amazing content that you're just having a blast the entire time.

A review is going to just be someone's opinion. Read the text and see what they liked. If you just want to see technical aspects of the game then you don't even need a review. Just watch a gameplay video and see how it looks.

The problem with a lot of reviews these days is that they are poor in describing what they liked, or they have things they measure one game against but suddenly don't measure another similar game against for some reason. There are a lot of reviewers out here that lack internal consistency, and that can't be explained away by "it's just their opinion" or subjective preferences. Even in the case of having opinions or subjective leanings, there's a right and wrong way to do it, and that comes down to internal consistency.

To your own point about tech problems being the least important aspect of a game (in your opinion): I guess you can say that, but I personally don't agree. There's a limit to how bad technical performance can be before it just gets in the way of your fun and ruins immersion. A big reason people may end up enjoying games like Bayo 3 in spite of performance issues is partly because technical performance is "good enough" to allow whatever enjoyment they're otherwise getting. If the game ran even worst, or had even worst graphical problem, that many less people would be able to enjoy it.

There is always a floor threshold with performance relative to enjoyment of a game, never mind that a game has to technically function to even be playable to a point you can come to appreciate the subjective elements of the game that may help it transcend certain technical shortcomings (if they exist). So I don't agree that technical/graphical (I am relating this in terms of performance in particular, not that a game has to look super-pretty) issues are one of the least important aspects of a game, personally.

Although it highly depends on the game type, that much I can acknowledge. A fighting game that can't maintain stable 60 FPS, or a good online connection, is going to drop in enjoyment factor considerably more than certain other types of games that might have some technical hiccups, like a puzzle game for instance.

Hate to be the “looks like a PS2 game” guy but you can’t convince me that this game looks better than Dragon Quest XIII

Nah there are PS2 games that look & run significantly better than Pokemon Scarlet & Violet. This game would've been a mid-tier budget release on PS2 & Gamecube back in that generation, which is insane.

Suddenly technical issues not weighing down on a game's score are a problem? Curious how they're not when the game is the buzz of the town and a GOTY candidate.

Don't know if you're directing that towards GOW Ragnarok or Elden Ring. Because AFAIK, the former has generally very stable performance (although on base PS4 a few frame drops here or there should be expected; it's 2012 hardware being pushed to its limit).

Meanwhile the latter actually had a ton of technical issues at release that factored very little if at all in its reviews. Or maybe you mean HFW? Yes that had some technical issues at launch but the reviews dinged it pretty rough in spots because of them (perhaps overly aggressively so IMHO). But GG also were very dedicated to updating the game with patches and got it to incredibly good performance levels just 3 or so months after release, which is incredible turnaround for a AAA release WRT patch updates for performance reasons (also I personally never experienced most of the issues others complained about, but that could've just been me).

Or maybe you're referring to Halo Infinite? Not that it was nominated for any GOTY awards, outside of Player's Choice at the TGAs, and overwhelmingly won. I wonder how those players would've voted if they had a crystal ball back then to see where Infinite ended up at just three months post-release. Something tells me that award would have gone to one of the other candidates if so.

Pokémon is currently sub-80 Metascore, which would be an absolute disaster if this were a Sony or From Software game.
The game seems good, in spite of the unjustifiable technical issues that many reviewers are highlighting like they should.
What would you score this? A 6? A 5? A 4, even? Technical issues should not weigh that much on the score of a good, fun game, except if they're game-breaking. Otherwise, Souls games would never have become the success they are.

I think again, the issue becomes lack of internal consistency with certain reviewers. How do you define "fun"? Because yes, "fun" can be defined by objective measures; it's those objective things which help shape the subjective measures that mostly help shape the definition of what that "fun" is.

Which, for games, means that something like technical performance can control to some degree, how fun a game ends up being. A basic threshold in technical performance has to be met in order for the game to allow players to experience the subjective elements without much issue, otherwise the worst the technical performance, the less the subjective elements can be appreciated.

It's a two-way street though. The game has to meet a technical baseline that's acceptable, and the player has to have a baseline for technical performance that is reasonable. But I think specifically with the new Pokemon, the floor of player expectations for technical performance is at a point where Scarlet & Violet (and maybe the Switch as a whole) cannot reasonably meet. It's frankly amazing the Switch has held out as long as it has, but it's probably time for a serious hardware update from Nintendo. The latest games are proving that.

Why are people caring about scores for Pokémon, anyway? It's one of those games for which scores are absolutely irrelevant in your decision to buy.

I don't necessarily care about Pokemon's scores for myself. I care more about the things being used to measure the game against resulting in the scores, indicative of the review process (the mentality and the flaws therein), and what it may be exposing in terms of bad internal consistency.

It's really more about what it says of reviewers and the review process, for me, than it means anything for myself.


Gold Member
Yeah, when the engine that’s used doesn’t even work properly I don’t get how the game can receive 9/10’s from outlets. Noticed the same thing with Sonic Frontiers, which has some of the worst pop-in I’ve ever seen in any game ever.
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Nintendo games will always get a pass, because Nintendo. Seems like many of today's "reviewers" are terrified to critique anything Nintendo related. I don't care if the Switch isn't competing with the PS5/Series X, the game runs absolutely like shit and has GameCube-Wii graphics in 2022.

Even Mario Odyssey and BotW have their fair share of problems, but they're rated the best games ever created.

....Now imagine the same exact game without Mario/Zelda as the title and releasing on all platforms. The game would average around a 70-80 on metacritic.

I know it's a hard pill to swallow for some, but Nintendo does get a pass. Many fans just don't want to admit it.
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