Review aggregators like Metacritic and Game Rankings have become a popular resource for those in need of a quick and dirty score so they can determine if a game is worth their time or not. Games aren’t getting any cheaper, this everybody knows. In turn, sites like Metacritic thrive on all of those consumers who are sitting on the fence waiting for that review embargo date to drop so they determine if they are going to pick up a copy or not. Publishers too place a great deal of weight on the average scores displayed on those sites. To the point where if a gaming website isn’t included on Metacritic, a publisher may not provide your outlet with an advanced copy or with a copy at all. Right or wrong, it happens all the time!
At the end of the day, sales numbers trump a review score for publishers, but don’t kid yourself; a big budget game with a shabby review score is like a punch in the gut, potentially costing developers and publishers their jobs. The following are five games released this year that failed to meet expectations and in the end may have cost some people their jobs.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 (Metacritic Score: 39)
A Metacritic score below 60 is absolute death for publishers but a 39 will send a boat load of people cleaning out their lockers. That being said, a 39 looks pretty good compared to our Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5 review. The once mighty skateboarding franchise has been in a steady decline for years and this year’s game may be the final nail in the coffin for the series. Sloppy, rushed and poorly executed are just a few words used to describe Tony Hawk’s mess of a game. Pro Skater 5 is an absolutely embarrassing piece of work that never should have never been released and we are stunned Activision, with the year they had, put their name on this one. Taking a closer look, it is important to note that the licensing on the Tony Hawk franchise is nearly up so there’s a good chance this was a purposely rushed piece of garbage just to get one last squeeze out of the once fantastic series.
Mad Max (Metacritic Score: 69)
Okay I get it, a 69 isn’t that bad. In fact, according to our review grid 60-69 is an above average game. Unfortunately, publishers, developers and gamer’s in general do not consider 69 to be a very good score, at all. I quite enjoyed Mad Max and did not think it was worthy of some of the low scores it received. In fact, despite the low meta-average I’d still recommend taking a look at this game. I saw one score as low as a 40. A 40!? Really?! Yet when you consider how long the game was in development and the hype behind it, the overall review scores are disappointing. The timing of its release may have ultimately hurt the game. If Mad Max had been released 14-months earlier, we may be talking about this game in a different light. Mad Max could be a victim of getting lost in the shuffle with so many other fantastic open world adventure games on the market.
Need for Speed (Metacritic Score: 63)
Just like Warner Brothers’ Mad Max game, Need for Speed isn’t a bad game but it certainly isn’t the amazing ‘reboot’ we were all looking for. The Need to Speed franchise has been scuffling along for a few years now unable to deliver that definitive NFS racing experience we have been waiting for. Repetitive gameplay, lack of online modes and some technical issues ultimately dampened this year’s experience that could have been remarkable. It has some redeeming qualities no doubt and if you are looking for a mindless racer that isn’t a grind like say Forza is, Need for Speed isn’t a bad option. You just need to adjust your expectations. Guess we’ll need to wait just a little longer for that NFS Underground return.
Click on thru to page 2 for the rest of the list….