We tried not to speculate too much on video, but this is the ideal place to speculate on what happened, what facts will eventually come out and what the overall fallout for the industry as whole will be.
I think the whole thing has gotten blown out of proportion. I can't imagine they fired the guy over one review. There must be much more to it than that and we will probably never know the whole truth.
The fact is that you can not base the purchase of a game on one review. You need to do some research and read more than one review. If you can try the demo, do it. I do think a lot of game companies try to hype up a game and make it into some thing it is not.
I think a lot of these games are over rated. Most of them should probably get a score of 60-70. To me a good game is one that I play and enjoy playing over and over again and not just one time.
Of course this is just my humble opinion....
I imagine many of the younger gamers out there enjoy these games despite their flaws. I think back to the first person shooter I ever played (Castle Wolfenstein 3D) now that was a classic. Then came Doom. So to me it has all been done before.
Be an informed consumer......"a fool and his money are soon parted"
People shouldn't get so worked up over a rumor. I never thought Jeff Gerstmann of all people would become a martyr. I think some people just need something to complain about. I've seen it with game systems, the hi-def media wars, game companies, hardware, games, etc. I think the whole Eidos got him fired scenario is very unlikely. I never liked Jeff though. He's the only reviewer I can think of who got on my nerves.
They were my no1 source of information for games I buy or rent and the most trusted game review site for me. But now, I haven't even opened they website since the incident and I won't do it in the future either. They simply lost their credibility wich means they are wortless to me.
I think it's pretty obvious he was fired over it, although it may have just been the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. I wonder if he's cost them advertising revenue in the past.
I somewhat agree with you about Episode 2, though, although I did find it much more enjoyable than Episode 1. I'd probably give it a 7.5 or so. I do like the objectives system giving it a little replayability, and apart from the insanely long cavern sequence, it was a pretty fun game. Still, Portal is the gem of the Orange Box, and TF2 is pretty cool, too.
It seems like there is so much that affects game ratings/reviews other than the games themselves that it has become impossible to place much stock in them anymore:
1. Advertising money. It is impossible for me to believe that a reviewer, writing for a web publication that relies heavily on ad funding, does not think about the financial consequences of a bad review. The reality is that if you slam somebody's product, they will be less likely to a) give you money and b) give you access to developers, etc. for all of those "preview" articles. There are many review sites out there and if the ad money follows good reviews, a race to the bottom is inevitable.
2. Fanboys. Drink the Kool-aid and give good reviews, no matter how the game plays.
3. Ratings inflation. This is a tricky one for me. We're now in an environment where the younger gamers expect that a game worth playing should have a 10/10 score - and fanboys expect no less or they raise hell. It seems like it is impossible to use the full range of a 0-10 scale these days - the expectations of the community are so high. Shoudn't the worst game of the year get a 0? Shouldn't there only be maybe one game a year to get a 10? I dunno.
It gets more complicated for me though. Back in the day, the print edition of PC Gamer used to dole out some savage reviews to PC games. Many of those ratings were appropriate, but the magazine's standards were demanding and some good, fun games were given surprisingly low scores. In the late 90's this mag had some clout and a poor (or late... but that's another story) review could definitely affect sales. At around the same time, the console mags were just industry fluffers - published by Sony or Nintendo and they raved about everything (natch). A real console stinker might garner a 7.5/10. So, on one hand, the console "review" mags were obviously non-objective but they were successful in generating considerable excitement for their platforms. On the other hand, I felt that PC Gamer, while more objective and demanding of innovation, kinda hurt the PC platform. Do I think that they should have tuned their ratings to meet with the rapid ratings-inflation that was occurring? No. Yes. I dunno.
I have to say that I never really trusted Jeff's reviews - to me, he came across as an undereducated, unprofessional dweeb. I will say this - I have been coming to Tom's Games more and more often to check out what a game is REALLY worth. Rob's reviews are hard and honest. I figure that if he says it's good, it probably is. Keep writing the reviews.
This just proves that reviews are just ads now-a-days. There all bought and paid for and that why i never bother to base any decison on them. If a review goes all out and claims the game is the best ever then i know that its probably just a fluffy BS piece that is there to smooth over the crappy game. Sometimes a review can be great and be for real, but now-a-days i can never base a purchess on a review that is written next to ads for that same product. If i can't play a demo for myself then its not going to be bought by me.
I feel compelled to disagree with you and say so. I think scrutiny is warranted. You speak often of the industry. This is why journalism is suffering in America. Too many people now argue for journalist integrity as if the integrity of journalism rather than the journalist. Too often publishers are influenced now by the sponsors rather than their readers. MBAs degreed in driving businesses into the ground fire writers for short term appeasement apparently without realizing that they are completely undermining the value of their review to sponsors by diminishing their readership and credibility. I further posit that a journalist's integrity may be beyond reproach, but a journalist's integrity should never ever be beyond scrutiny. The same should apply for presidents, but one problem at a time.
If you really didn't like the game, why did you still give it a 6? I want to see some 2s and 3s. Create a new point scale that is appropriate with an average score of 5, and scale your old reviews accordingly. Ten should be exceptional. Instead you just have figure skating scoring, which everyone knew was corrupt before France and Canada's cheating came out.