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Metacritic LogoDon’t know what Metacritic is? Here, I’ll show you.

Metacritic is a website that collates reviews of music albums, games, movies, TV shows and DVDs. For each product, a numerical score from each review is obtained and the total is averaged. An excerpt of each review is provided along with a hyperlink to the source. Three colour codes of Green, Yellow and Red summarize the critic’s recommendation. This gives an idea of the general appeal of the product among reviewers and, to a lesser extent, the public.

Metacritic is not a site I usually visit, for one reason or another. But I do think it is a tool that can be incredibly useful. That is, if it’s used right. Now, far be it from me to sit here and write that you should read and only listen to our reviews, on the contrary, I believe you should shop around (in a manner of speaking). We as Gamers need to be able to associate with our Gamers out there. To find those who have similar likes and experiences with games as we do, because that way, we can trust them when they say a game is good or bad, right?

I would also personally encourage diversity in your intake of reviews. Think of it like visiting a doctor, the first reviewer’s work you might read could well be correct but a second opinion is always welcome. At the very least, that’s how I have done it in the past, as I’m usually very shrewd with my purchases (or am I? I can never tell.) But what does that have to do with Metacritic? Let’s see.

The way I see it, is Metacritic is like those two points on crack. They take on board reviews from all the publications they think are important, as well as user reviews. The latter being restricted in size somewhat. So we have these critic and user reviews coming together to provide an average rating for game as determined by the gaming (read; Metacritic) population. So it’s very easy for you to get that second opinion. After all, a whole host of people have given their thoughts on the game and it is all right at your finger tips. Great, that’s the good.

But then there’s the bad. And it can go both ways as your about to find out.

I highly doubt it’s the first case ever, but it’s definitely the first in recent memory when a Bioware employee was found out to be voting on Dragon Age 2, by giving it a perfect score. Whether or not that accurately reflects what he thinks of the game or not we’ll never know I suppose, but as you can imagine it potentially sets a dangerous precedence. How long to Developers/Publishers start pressuring or implementing policies that require their employees to give perfect scores on places like Metacritic? Maybe never, but that’s largely going to depend on the kind of influence sites like this have over sales. But that’s for another discussion.

So that’s one side to the problem. People up voting to get their game to sell more units. As I said, it goes both ways. Once the above was uncovered, a movement of angry gamers quickly formed, dedicating themselves to ‘bombing’ the score of Dragon Age 2. And so it has happened. My personal opinion is that both acts are equally as bad as each other (up or down voting that is) and makes me wary to use sites like Metacritic when this occurs.

What are your thoughts and opinions on the matter? Drop us a comment below and let us know.