Given today's abysmally slow outpouring of anything interesting happening in the gaming industry and a lot of painfully dull press releases saying “tell people to buy this crap” I figured today was as good a day as any to salute video game reviewers for doing something right for once: Having critically mixed reviews of Resident Evil 6.
I know, I know, it doesn't seem like much of an achievement to accomplish something in video game reviews that movie reviews accomplish on a regular basis for a wide assortment of films, but you have to admit that video game reviewers maintaining intestines of steel for one of the biggest AAA game releases of the year was a huge breath of fresh air.
Usually, game reviews center around always promoting the big titles and rarely ever telling people not to buy a game or more frequently, skipping over top issues that not only affect the gaming experience but prevent you from actually playing the game you paid for. Rarer yet is to see scores drop below a 5 out of 10, something that wasn't off limits for the Resident Evil 6 reviews.
For the reviews of the game, we, as gamers, weren't all being told that Resident Evil 6 was the ultimate hotness of horror-survival, or that it was the second coming of Capcom goodness, or that the disc-locked content is something we should all shut up about and embrace like a soldier stuck on an island full of zombies and a bad case of typhoid. Instead, reviewers gave us everything from as low as a 3.0 to as high as a 95. The scores varied wildly with consistent praise and criticism from multiple sites, all reporting different flavors of enjoyment, failure, excitement and disappointment in varying degrees.
I like the idea that popular gaming sites were willing to be so forthcoming about the game's flaws, even going as far as writing reviews from the perspective of long-time horror-survival fans who truly missed the old days of being spooked out about going into that dark room, or opening the door, or walking down that dark hallway. With Chris “I Haven't Given Up The 'Roids” Redfield and crew blasting through everything like CM Punk blasts through his fans, it actually gave skeptics a reason to be skeptical about the game. At the same time, there were also lots of adulation about Leon “The Runway Model Turned Badass” Kennedy having a campaign that played relatively safe to the older games.
Reviews for this week's top games, including XCOM and Dishonored were also all relatively positive, but they're games that are receiving praise across the board from critics and gamers alike as being polished outings for their respective platforms. So it's hard to tell if the trend of being honest about big budget releases will continue.
Still, I'm really looking forward to reviews of other hard-hitting games this holiday season that may or may not live up to the hype. It'll be interesting to note if reviewers will put aside the need to suckle the teet of publishers for that sweet, sweet milk known as video game swag by turning around and giving false-positive reviews for games that don't deserve it, or if the bar has been set and reviewers will set a new trend of actually telling consumers that the latest Hollywood blockbuster wannabe actually doesn't live up to the hype. We'll all be watching like a dad who lets his 14-year-old daughter take a limo ride with Colin Farrell; eyes like a freaking hawk.