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(10-29-2012, 03:11 AM)
SolidSnakex's Avatar

Originally Posted by NervousXtian

I look through metacritic and fail to see where things are so far off on a game to prove anything. Skyrim PS3? Maybe? I don't see much else.

Here's a story that isn't even about extra goodies, it's just about how a company can influence reviews through other tactics

In the weeks prior to GTA IV’s release, Rockstar made promises that print and online publications would receive early review code so that they might fully ingest and digest Liberty City in order to deliver mature and balanced opinions on its day of launch.

In reality, this was not the case, with precious few publications getting to spend prolonged time with the game ahead of release. The first review of the game came from the UK’s Official Xbox magazine bearing the worrying caveat “based on unfinished code”.

Eurogamer, wise to the fact promises of AAA title retail code ‘a week before release’ are rarely upheld, arranged to play through the game over a period of days in Rockstar’s offices instead (along with a couple of other UK publications). From speaking to other editors (some of high profile titles) this was not an opportunity offered to all and, when review code failed to turn up the week before release, many were left panicking about how they were going to serve their readers in a timely manner with any integrity.

The reason for the withholding of review code was, according to Rockstar, a result to the game’s leaking onto the internet seven days before its release. Speaking to the company at the time it was claimed that this leak came from an unscrupulous journalist.

As a result, there was a lock down on all review code: everybody would get their copy just one day before the game’s release, and, despite the wonky logic (after all the game had already leaked to those with the capability to play it so why punish the many for the indiscretion of the few) there were to be “no exceptions, no arguments”.

At best then, by the time the game had been played, copy written and subbed ready for the Tuesday morning, most journalists (both in the UK and the US) had played for only a few hours, experiencing just a fraction of the game’s content, a situation testified to by various admissions in professional reviews.

Time Magazine dubbed their piece Grand Theft Auto IV: The 6.24% Review while the Associated Press reviewer, Lou Kesten, admitted to having spent only spent eight hours with the game.

Slate Magazine’s excellent Chris Baker admitted he only had chance to ‘scratch the surface of the game’ going on to say in a comment on N'Gai Croal’s Level Up blog: "I couldn't even attempt to be definitive…it was kinda liberating”.

The BBC noted the phenomenon saying: "Most reviewers were not sent advance copies of the game, and instead had to attend Rockstar offices or sit in booked hotel rooms to play the game,” where Rockstar could keep an eye and some pressure on them. While these few admitted the partial and necessarily subjective nature of their reviews, how many passed off their impressions as being definitive of the whole?