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Default RPGWatch Feature: Dark Messiah Review

August 20th, 2007, 10:44
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
Sorry if we make you think here!! It's only confusing to people who dislike putting their brains into gear. The REVIEW is what's important, NOT the score!!
Hey Corwin - look at some of the posts … people are definitely thinking here, and I love reading it!

— Mike
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August 20th, 2007, 10:44
Sorry for my last comment; I was dead tired at the point of writing it. For me, the level of fun I have in a game and its ability to keep me playing determine how well I think of it. If there were any educational games for adults, I would probably add a bonus on how well you can learn something from it, but there are none that I am aware of. This is subjective, of course, and the reviewers job is to explain in detail why the game is fun or not, to point out strengths and weaknesses so people can decide based on how important these details are for them. In this regard, I believe it is a fine article.

However, people will look at the score as a guideline which determines whether they buy a game or not. And even if they know your rating system, a score of 2 tells them not to buy it unless they are a fan of the subject or genre. Personally, although I am not a FPS aficionado, and prefer a good RPG or strategy game, I would regret my decision in hindsight, had I not bought the game because of this article.

Edit: regarding the storyline: it was definitely clichéd and had one-dimensional characters, but Heroes of Might and Magic IV was even worse in this regard. It seems to be a feature for current games to have obvious storylines, unfortunately, but the story of Dark Messiah at least was somewhat darker, with levels supporting its oppressive atmosphere, and it kept me playing.
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August 20th, 2007, 14:21
The review pretty well summed up my opinion of rape of Might & Magic that is Dark Messiah, although I would've given it a 1/5. It's not a very good first person melee, and even worse, it's just not good at anything.

I'm just glad that I got my opy at a clearance price of $8.

EDIT:
In my case, it also lost massive amounts of points for it's entirely crappy MP, which IMO must be at LEAST decent for this type of game to get an average - great score. Also, I felt that they made very poor use of the source engine, and had some pretty poor art direction.
Last edited by cutterjohn; August 20th, 2007 at 14:31.
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August 20th, 2007, 14:32
It's a bad RPG… so why whine about a bad score ? I would have rated it 1/5 and don't whine about the second Star

The Germans are a cruel race. Their operas last for six hours and they have no word for "fluffy".

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August 20th, 2007, 22:04
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
Sorry if we make you think here!! It's only confusing to people who dislike putting their brains into gear.
Ahhh OK. I get it now. So the point of the scoring system is not to rate a game fairly and in a way that the score reflects the quality of the game but the scoring system's sole purpose is to display the extremely high level of intelligence that went into designing it, right? Ohhhhkay. Silly me. And I thought that the game should be the central point of focus instead of admiring the mad leet brainz that came up with the rating system. Thanks for the clarification, I guess .
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August 20th, 2007, 22:23
Originally Posted by Moriendor View Post
Ahhh OK. I get it now. So the point of the scoring system is not to rate a game fairly
Are you saying that my review text and the score given are not at least more or less in line? I think you could argue that my text could be interpreted as a 3-star review rather that a 2-star. But regardless, the text reflects a flawed game that has some fun elements.

— Mike
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August 20th, 2007, 22:39
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
Are you saying that my review text and the score given are not at least more or less in line? I think you could argue that my text could be interpreted as a 3-star review rather that a 2-star. But regardless, the text reflects a flawed game that has some fun elements.
No. Not at all. What I was trying to say is that I find it highly silly of Corwin to insult the readership (including myself) of this site when people are making valid remarks about the scoring system. I doubt that most people will do the exact math and realize instantly that 2/5 = 40% but any random reader will instinctively realize that 2/5 is less than half of 5/5 and that it is a low score that translates to "this game sucks".
To basically call someone an idiot (as Corwin essentially did) who does not bother to do a background check on the rating standards of this site and who does not realize that 2/5 does in reality not mean 2/5 and that it does not translate to a 40% score is pretty ridiculuos in my opinion.
It should not be the purpose of the scoring system to make a reader "think" or "use their brains" but the purpose of the scoring system should be to give a quick, at-a-glance reference. Checking out what the scoring system is about and how the score comes together should be a "voluntary" sort of thing that should not be required to understand the site's scoring system. Instead, it should only be offering background info if a reader really wants to dig deeper to find out about the site's review standards or scoring rules.
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August 20th, 2007, 22:50
Originally Posted by Moriendor View Post
No. Not at all. What I was trying to say is that I find it highly silly of Corwin to insult the readership (including myself) of this site when people are making valid remarks about the scoring system.
Ah - I see. I'll let Corwin speak for himself on that one …

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August 21st, 2007, 04:52
Why should I dignify Mo's tirade with a comment. I was responding to a particular comment by someone who found our rating system confusing. This system was the result of much internal debate and is not simply a 2/5 means the game sucks!! The important point I was trying to make, was that the REVIEW itself, not the score was the important consideration!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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August 21st, 2007, 10:10
Hey, I understand how you feel. You worked hard to get this site running for free, realise your ideas, improve upon the mostly shitty review systems out there and Mike even replays the game for the review. Like casting pearls before swine, people look at this, and instead of reading they whine about a number, because it does not follow the broken system others use.

Some people just do not get it. I guess you are right, you should tell them to put their brains into gear and complain elsewhere. Why would you need readers, anyway?
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August 21st, 2007, 13:18
Have you guys reviewed Oblivion yet? I just want to see the comments after that one. Imagine if this is what you can achieve from DM what can really be achived with TES:4.

Bring on Fallout 3!

Quick quote "2/5 means the game sucks!!" - Corwin.
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August 21st, 2007, 13:23
Originally Posted by woges View Post
Quick quote "2/5 means the game sucks!!" - Corwin.
You have a future culling quotes from reviews for movie commercials and boxes!

— Mike
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August 21st, 2007, 13:31
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
You have a future culling quotes from reviews for movie commercials and boxes!
Couldn't resist that one, sorry.
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August 21st, 2007, 15:37
Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
It's a bad RPG… so why whine about a bad score ? I would have rated it 1/5 and don't whine about the second Star
Of course it's a bad RPG, just like Half-Life is a bad RPG.. and Starcraft.. and all those other games that are no RPGs..
I don't really have a connection to the M&M universe, the only games I enjoyed in the series were Heroes II+III, and I never expected this to be a RPG of any kind, so I appreciate it for what it is, a nice action title.

Don't really care about the scoring, I might give it 3/5 *now* but I'm not very far into the game and can't really judge it yet.

The REVIEW is what's important, NOT the score!!
So if you say the score is not important why do you even bother with it, why not get rid of a scoring system, try something different.. don't know, be creative!
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August 21st, 2007, 20:08
Some people may have thought that it was an RPG somehow, but I was quickly disabused of any notion that it might even be dimly related to RPGs by the very first info releases. It was pretty obvious from the beginning that it was not an RPG at all.
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August 22nd, 2007, 02:06
We debated getting rid of any score, but too many people complain when you do that, so we settled on the 'star' method!! I'd have no issue with dropping scoring, but I'm sure we'd get plenty of complaints.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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August 22nd, 2007, 02:33
What is the problem with using an intuitively understandable score?

Mind you, my original problem was the low score for Dark Messiah, which I believe is not justified, but having "half stars" and a scale e.g. as used by Amazon might improve readability.

No scores at all is probably not bad, either, since this one number is usually some kind of weighted average for several factors (gameplay, story, stability etc.) anyway, and how you weight each of them is subjective. And of course you could always display multiple scores…
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August 22nd, 2007, 04:46
Originally Posted by coyote View Post
my original problem was the low score for Dark Messiah, which I believe is not justified,
This is the inherent flaw with scoring systems - they aren't about consumer advisories most of the time, they are about reading and checking the score and seeing if it lines up with your own personal judgement. Not meaning to single you out, but that has been the crux of every discussion of scoring I've ever had … but nobody can kick the habit …

— Mike
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August 22nd, 2007, 06:14
First, thanks all for the comments - good, bad or indifferent. Leaving aside this particular review, I don't agree our system is unintuitive. 5-star systems have never mapped directly to a percentage, in my experience. We all know 5-star systems quite well from movie reviews, where it is the prevailing system.

Compare GameSpy's system to ours:

2 to 3 Stars: Fair. There are things to like about this game, and it's definitely playable, but it's lacking in key areas and/or has some near-fatal flaws that will ruin the experience for most gamers. Fans of the license or the series might still get some entertainment out of this, but there's not much to recommend.
So, fair - some things even likeable - but lacking. Fans might enjoy it.

Our system:

2 – A game that has significant flaws or stale gameplay but may still offer some enjoyment to fans of the genre or subject.
Significant flaws. Fans may still enjoy it.

Seems substantially similar to me. That someone might disagree with the score is a different matter. I'm not sure I agree myself - but I didn't write it. I could have rejected the review or changed the score (I remember GameSpy coping a huge amount of flack over this) but I thought the text was great and don't substantially disagree with Mike that the game has significant flaws.

I argued for (and got) a simple scoring system - 1-5, no half scores. I think it makes our reviewers have to think if a game is really a 3 or a 4 - instead of just safely straddling the fence with 3.5 much of the time.

An option would be no score but I feel that would be intellectually dishonest for myself at least. I'm not a big fan of aggregate sites but I do occasionally check Gamerankings when considering a purchase and I often say to my friends or family, "So, what would you give that movie? 7/10"? So, I like scores. I often see someone arguing scores are useless but then recommending Gamerankings or Metacritic - and that's just absurd.

-= RPGWatch =-
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August 22nd, 2007, 11:28
I understand your point, Mike. When people judge a game, it is practically always a more or less wide distributions around an average value, and there are bound to be people who are disappointed with any score you give. That is why me and others pointed out where we think the score was biased (changed perception of the story and level layout when replaying, arguments possibly more valid for RPGs than for action games, etc.). I did not write these comments as much because I care about Dark Messiah than because I care about your site - but I already got the impression that you generally welcome some discussion.

Regarding the scoring system, you make some good points, Dhruin, and in truth, most people here probably were not really confused about the number, as implicated by Corwin, but just unhappy with it.
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