Inside the Numbers: Mass Media Scores vs. User Perception

Two PS3 games that I have been watching closely are Red Dead Redemption and ModNation Racers. They both look like fun games for different reasons, however I know right now I just do not have time to get bang for my buck if I make a new game purchase.

Watching these two games on metacritic and reading their scores shows some interesting dynamics with what the mass media mega gaming sites consider exceptional gaming vs. what most users expect out of a game.

For the first example, take a look at Red Dead Redemption. The reviewers have given Red Dead Redemption “universal appeal” for a score of 95 based on 56 critic reviews. For the most part the users that have voted disagree, giving the game a much lower 7.8 based on 290 reviews. What gives? The users that bother to vote are clearly not happy with some aspect of the game.

Let’s look at the second example in reverse. The reviewers have given ModNation Racers an 82 (based on 67 reviews), while 66 users have given the game a 9.3 rating. The spread is much closer than a previous sample, however the user votes is considerably lower. This one almost has the look of a JRPG; the critics give them lukewarm scores while the fanboys rush to defend their favorite genera.

I don’t think I can draw any conclusions with these examples, however if I had to guess I would say that the reviewers love open environments, and are tired of Mario Kart style games, while the actual gamers would rather spend time with the create, share, play concept.

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