Jim Sterling Under Fire Over Breath of the Wild Review

Jim Sterling Gave New Zelda Game a (gasp!) 7/10

Everybody loves The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Critics and fans have rocketed the game to the top of the charts. So when Jim Sterling published a somewhat unfavorable review, people were rather upset. Sterling gave the game 7/10. This isn’t a terrible score by any means, but it’s enough to throw off the game’s overall rankings. Breath of the Wild went from 98 to 97 on Metacritic. Zealous defenders of Nintendo and their work responded by hitting Sterling’s site with a DDoS attack.

Breath of the Wild Hero Image

Sterling by turns praised the game’s high points and lamented the “small but constant irritations” which colored his experience. Some of his detractors requested that he “drink bleach,” others were convinced a conspiracy was afoot. One particular comment referred to the “persuasion capital” at play here, suggesting that Sterling was conspiring to hurt game sales with his negative evaluation. The other possibility being that he… didn’t like the game?

While the (well-deserved) hype for Breath of the Wild is running pretty high at present, these things can change with the passage of time. Once the new release shine is off Nintendo’s red-hot hit, perhaps more criticism will come to light. One can’t be too careful these days. Even scores that are too high can attract backlash from players.


  • 100PercentCori

    From what I can gather from Jim’s review, the game is good but has several questionable (dated?) design choices that keeps it from being “perfect.” Perhaps 7/10 is too low but giving something a 10 when it’s flawed/broken but you “really really really like it” is also poor journalism.

    • COGconnected

      On a personal note I’ll admit to finding Jim to be a bit of a windbag every now and then but as the owner and Executive Editor here at COGconnected I’d say that it’s unfair to call anyone out over a review score if it’s backed up with fact and educated opinion. We’ve been on the receiving end of this sort of backlash ourselves.

      All the people losing their minds over this have a hard time accepting that someone might not like something that they do. It’s all rather ridiculous but something we see often in this industry.

      Our reviewer loved it and pointed out his reasons why. Jim liked it and pointed out his very reasonable issues to drop the score a bit. Acting like a 7 (used in a proper 10 point scale) makes for a bad game is ludicrous but the hardcore just don’t tend to see it that way. Good on Jim for scoring it the way he thought appropriate and not giving into pressure to score higher. ~ Shawn

      • Mason Rudder

        I really wish everyone would stop saying that 7 is a good score. If you have been in this industry for more a minute you know that a 7 of 10 for a flagship launch title is mediocre at best. A 7 can kill a bonus, it can give many on-the-fence buyers hesitation or pause, and can also lead to someone on a limited budget to spend their money elsewhere. Jim has the right to give any game any score he wants. That is his Constitutionally protected right, but let’s not pretend that 7 out of 10 is good.

        • Shawn Petraschuk

          We score our reviews using the following scale:

          100: An Unparalleled Experience
          90-99: Excellent
          80-89: Very/Pretty Good
          70-79: Good
          60-69: Above Average
          50-59: Average
          40-49: Below Average
          30-39: Passable
          20-29: Flawed
          10-19: Fundamentally Broken
          0-9: A complete waste of time

          That’s how a proper reviewer scores a game on the 100-point scale. It can’t be held over the reviewer’s head if the gaming public can’t figure out for themselves that the 7 range is a good score. Blame all the sites that perhaps never, ever use the bottom half of the scale for skewing their mindset but if that’s the case then that site is doing it wrong.