Tipa responds today about the Darkfall community’s response to Eurogamer’s 2/10 review.
Now, my position is that the review sounds unfair, and the reviewer sounds like he’s engaging in some axe-grinding. It seems fairly clear that he didn’t like the game, which is fine, but equally clear that it wasn’t his kind of game. This is also fair, but maybe he wasn’t the right guy to hand the review off to.
Aside from that, Adventurine claims that the EuroGamer review accounts logged two hours or so of play time, total, and I’m frankly inclined to take Adventurine’s word for it. This makes the EuroGamer review more than disingenuous. They claim to have played for all of nine hours, which strikes me as a pretty hollow defense.
Tipa makes the point that nine hours, or even thirty, or maybe even a hundred, isn’t enough time to really evaluate any MMO, and she is, as usual, quite right. MMOs by definition require a substantial time commitment. You can call that good or bad, as you prefer, but it’s nevertheless a demonstrable fact for any serious MMO.
I tried Lineage II at one point and it took me less than twenty minutes to declare it a total piece of garbage. And I am right insofar as that is my opinion. My twenty minutes did not, however, qualify me to write a review of Lineage II declaring it to be a piece of garbage. I also decided that Dark Age of Camelot was cool but not worth playing. My opinion there was equally valid, but even the twenty or so hours I put into it didn’t qualify me to write a review of it.
Therefore, I don’t care if EuroGamer’s hack reviewer did put in the nine hours he claims – nine hours is not enough time to honestly evaluate Darkfall, whether it’s lousy or not. It’s a disingenuous and dishonest review, and therefore I add EuroGamer to a long list of gaming ‘journalists’ whose articles are not reputable. I understand, from a people point of view, why they want to back their guy, but doing so puts them in an untenable position of defending apallingly shoddy review criteria, and shows that the people in charge over there lack any semblance of journalistic integrity.
Tipa’s other point, that many of the same people ferociously defending Darkfall have dismissed other games they themselves didn’t put enough time into to fairly evaluate, is true, but I don’t think it’s really relevant, because those people (most of them anyway,) aren’t posing as reviewers or critics. They’re people posting opinions, and they’ve a right to those opinions, whether they’re fair or not. It’s a shallow way of looking at things, but only that. EuroGamer’s guy claims a soapbox of authority that he hasn’t earned. His review should be dismissed out of hand, but so should most MMO reviews.
This is why, even though I’ve posted strong opinions about any number of titles, I’ve always been very clear to distance my posts from being called ‘reviews’. I call a game rotten when I think it is, but it’s my opinion, and thereby defensible as such. If somebody else wants to have the opinion that I’m full of crap, that’s fair too. A reviewer, even though he or she is by definition writing down their opinion, does so with an implicit understanding that it’s being done with an open mind and with the goal of providing a balanced and fair evaluation. Darkfall didn’t get that from EuroGamer.
Or, as I shall call them henceforth, EuroCocksucker.