Polygon gives high scores to games despite their anti-consumer aspects / DRM strategy

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DancingJesus
Aug 16, 2009
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While I enjoy Polygon for their awesome features and behind the scenes coverage, their reviews leave something to be desired...

It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that the games they are awarding these scores to where games that support anti-consumer practices.

It's time that the standards are raised, and we as gamers need to say something about it.

It is the presses responsibility to hold publishers accountable for their less than questionable business decisions being forced into our favorite games. It starts with you Polygon.

This thread is not about giving games that I don't like high scores.

It's about not acknowledging the anti-consumer stances that these games take in their review scores.


UPDATE #1:
To Polygon's "credit" they have since changed the score of Sim City to an 8 due to problems experienced at launch with online DRM. MetaCritic Score will not be reflected.

UPDATE #2: War between Polygon and Ian Bogost (Game Designer/Professor) begins! [URL="http://i.imgur.com/WbPdJ5F.png"]Here's More [/URL]

UPDATE #3: A personal response to Ian Bogost from a Polygon Writer

UPDATE #4: Polygon lowers score to 4.0



Polygon said:
As expected, the question of whether or not EA would be able to support a large, enthusiastic audience for SimCity with a robust server system has been answered with a resounding "no," at least for the time being.

Since the official release of SimCity I have repeatedly tried to replicate the experiences I had reviewing the game with pre-release code on EA's development servers, and repeatedly I have not been able to — not entirely.

The server issues have been more troublesome, and have prevented me (and many players, we learned anecdotally) from connecting to the game at all. On launch day, during a period of roughly five hours, I experienced the same number of server-related game failures as in my entire 50 hours of review the game pre-release. That the experience of connecting to the game was, effectively, 10 times worse contributed to Polygon's decision to lower the score for SimCity (from 9.5 to 8).

In all other respects, however, when I have been able to access the servers to play SimCity, the experience I have had with it post-launch has been the same as it was pre-launch.

Until today.

EA's decision to remove certain features of the game in order to attempt to stabilize server performance has resulted in a dramatic change to the way SimCity is played and, in my experience, has not stabilized the server situation.

In attempting to play SimCity today, it took me over half an hour to load a game, during which time my connection to the servers dropped repeatedly, multiple attempts to load the city were aborted, and I finally had to "trick" the game into showing me (and then, finally, loading) my city by accessing the list of games present in the drop-down Origin profile menu. The main "Resume Game" button and the list of games in progress both would not show or load a city.

Even then, immediately after finally managing to load my city (New Pittssex), I received a notice that connection to the servers had dropped, suggesting my ability to actually load a game had been blind luck. Had the process taken a second or two longer, it would most likely not have loaded at all, as happened in approximately ten tries previously.

That said, the experience of connecting to a game and loading a city can not be said to be measurably worse (or better) than it has been since launch. Merely bad in a slightly different way. These same issues (and more) have been present since the game was released. What has changed is the experience of playing.

One of EA's major changes to the game has been the removal of "Cheetah" mode. SimCity allows you to alter the sped at which time passes so that you can make changes to your city and then see the results more quickly, or slow things down to address problems in "slower than normal" time. There are three speed settings, and they are "Turtle," "Llama" and "Cheetah." Corresponding roughly to slow, normal and fast.

With the removal of Cheetah mode, SimCity is now stuck with merely slow and normal, which would at first not seem to be too great an imposition, but in reality has drastically changed the manner in which the game can be played. The short version of which is: It's less fun.

EA has also (temporarily, they say) disabled SimCity's leaderboards, which allow players to see how well they are doing against other players worldwide, and the achievements system. I was able to access the achievements I had unlocked previously, but I will not accrue any new ones with this feature turned off. That's not a huge issue for me overall, but as a feature that was once present, but now is not, it's a big deal.

More problematic are the leaderboards. For a game advertised to be connected and social experience, the loss of the ability to see how you rank against other players is devastating. And, more troubling, accessing neighboring cities and finding the cities of my friends, using the Origin Friends service, has taken a dramatic stability hit. Even attempting to load a neighboring city causes my game to crash.

Given this currently horrendous state of both accessibility and playability, and acknowledging the fact that even the drastic changes EA has made to the game in its attempts to address them haven't worked, it is hard to continue to recommend SimCity. The experience currently on offer is now significantly altered from what was reviewed, and there is simply no guarantee that the existing server issues will go away, nor what further changes may be made to the game in order to address them. - Russ Pitts, Polygon Features Editor and SimCity reviewer.


Here is a sampling of Polygon's reviews over the past year or so:

Diablo 3 - 10






Mass Effect 3 - 10





Sim City - 9.5






Dead Space 3 - 9.5





Here's my review of these fine fine games:

Microtransactions? You bet!

Real Money Auction House? No problem!

Transition from survival horror game to third person shooter to sell more copies? Yep!

Pay to win multiplayer mode? Sure thing

Always Online DRM? Sharing is caring.

Day One DLC? Wooo!

Pre-Order Bonuses? My favorite.

Server's Busy? Well, you didn't want to play this game anyway

This thread was made to discuss the current state of reviews in the games industry and how Polygon is failing the average gamer by not acknowledging / taking into account the anti-consumer stances that these games take.
 

Goon Boon

Banned
Sep 17, 2008
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Entitled game reviewers need to stop pandering to the publishers and start offering fair looks at games.
 

Wario64

works for Gamestop (lol)
Jun 6, 2004
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So don't read Polygon's reviews?

I mean surely there are other outlets with reviews you can trust
 

Derrick01

Banned
May 9, 2011
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They do seem to be giving Game Informer a run for their money lately on the 8-10 scale for AAA games. Not only that but finding extremely hyperbolic positive phrases for those games too.
 

Shinta

Banned
May 14, 2012
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They have great features. The worst part of the site is the reviews, by far. I don't agree with the vast majority of them.
 

Yoshichan

And they made him a Lord of Cinder. Not for virtue, but for might. Such is a lord, I suppose. But here I ask. Do we have a sodding chance?
Sep 1, 2006
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Yeah, they're wrong about the D3-score. Should've been 11/10.
 

EmCeeGramr

Member
Jun 25, 2005
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"Diablo III is perfectly and carefully balanced and makes all other loot games including Diablo II completely obsolete"
-Polygon.com
 

Pudge

Member
Jan 28, 2012
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I'm of the opinion that no game should ever be a 10 (I'm fine with 5 Stars strangely, it seems less like a perfect score and more like a good rating.), but even putting aside that it is insanity that Diablo 3 and Mass Effect 3 both get 10s. Whoever reviewed those games are naive at best.
 

Perkel

Banned
Oct 2, 2010
9,673
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I think any site that uses point system, stars or whatever contradicts itself because review matter more than score and yet they put a score which can be viewed without reading actual review.

RPS is leaps and beyond in that aspect than any site.
 

BibiMaghoo

Member
Jan 20, 2012
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Microtransactions and auction houses should not matter in a review.

A review is to tell people about the game and how good it is, not to complain about anti consumer practices.

I am amazed anyone would think otherwise.

Lol @ title change.
 

Lime

Member
Apr 27, 2008
26,894
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You forgot the quotations. They are pure hyperbole straight out of a PR release. I cannot fathom how the EiC even allowed this fanboy-drivel to be publicized:









Put them in OP.
 

kpjolee

Member
Oct 6, 2012
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Personally, I dont like games like Diablo 3 and Simcity getting reviews early. They need to be at least played for couple of months to find out if they are actually good or not.
 
Apr 11, 2011
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That Dead Space 3 review was especially terrible, but then again, I can't remember ever agreeing with anything Arthur Gies has written.
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
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I was kind of hoping this would have been actual criticism of the content of the reviews rather than "they score stuff too high", which is really unfortunate. I don't think we should be responding to scores, I think we should be responding to the content of reviews.

I mean, if the critique was that Polygon's editorial staff favours highly polished by shallow pablum over interesting stuff, that'd be a critique worth exploring. If the critique is that the reviews are bought and paid for, publisher events, yadda yadda ethics, I think that's worth exploring. If their reviews were notably and consistently out of step with the general consensus without providing interesting or novel takes on the games themselves, that would be worth exploring. I think the "hyperbolic and prone to exaggeration" critique being brought up in subsequent replies in this thread is a pretty good thing to investigate.

... but what I'm seeing here is basically a series of high scores given to games that pretty much got high scores across the board, but that you disagree with.


Edit: I see another mod agreed with me but decided to be saucier about it ;)
 

Dance Inferno

Unconfirmed Member
Dec 30, 2008
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www.neogaf.com
I find their reviews don't really explain why the reviewer liked or hated the game. They'll talk about the graphics and the presentation for days, then they'll throw in a little snippet about the gameplay being good or bad, and move right onto something else.

Their features are great, but you're right, their reviews are pretty sucky.
 

KefkaTaran

Member
Mar 17, 2008
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No, seriously, though: We're going to (and do!) get screamed at whether we review stuff high or low or anywhere in-between. But I believe our text backs up the scores we decide on. Obviously some people are going to disagree on some opinions.

All I have to add to this conversation, I'm outtttttttttttttttttttttt

EDIT: Dat title change
 

kadotsu

Banned
Dec 5, 2008
8,580
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Does their review text (the thing with actual effort in it) mention all significant pros and cons and give a good overview on what the game actually is to let you extrapolate your own preference, or is this just some score wanking?
 

benny_a

extra source of jiggaflops
Apr 25, 2009
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Didn't someone check Polygon's review criteria and found out that a game with intrusive online-drm can't get more than a 7?

But I believe our text backs up the scores we decide on.
Oh that is your text in the SimCity review? I thought that was straight from EA.
 

Polk

Member
Feb 28, 2008
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Not sure what you're implying, are they joke because games with microtransactions shouldn't be rated so high?
 

Fugu

Member
Jan 25, 2009
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Website with rock bottom credibility validates the opinion of those who believe they have rock bottom credibility.

Seriously, I can't think of an institution which has had so much trouble with trying to prove to their audience that they're not just an extension of marketing. And the reason they're having so much trouble is because they simply and blatantly are.
 

Vire

DancingJesus
Aug 16, 2009
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This thread is not about giving games that I don't like high scores.

IT'S ABOUT NOT ACKNOWLEDGING THE ANTI-CONSUMER STANCES THAT THESE GAMES TAKE IN THEIR REVIEW SCORES.