Dragon Age 2 has not had the smoothest of launches, and a lot of it seems centered around Metacritic. Last week they were bombarded by negative user reviews, that were coming in on all platforms. This week, a user on Reddit posted this image (warning, very large, which is why I'm not posting it here), which tracks a glowingly perfect review of the game from an employee of BioWare. Going by the name Avanost, he was tracked down to be Chris Hoban, an applications engineer at BioWare. As NaviFairy pointed out to me on Twitter yesterday, that review is gone, but a very similar one by user Anastasia showed up.
Some will be outraged. Some will not be shocked and have expected this. Some will not even care and wish another big game would come out to distract us from Dragon Age 2.
Personally, having finished the game, I am not sure what score I would give it--I liked it, but it has issues. I also find that the issue of the review score is what drives my reluctance to give a score (and makes me glad we here at GayGamer gave up the score--we're not featured on Metacritic, so we have no pressure). Largely because the inflation of review scores is part of what drives these efforts, as is the desire to create a mob of user reviews decrying how awful a game is.
Kotaku reached out to EA, and received this quotation from their senior PR manager:
Of course the people who make the game vote for their own game. That's how it works in the Oscars, that's how it works in the Grammy's and why I'm betting that Barack Obama voted for himself in the last election.
I'm sure Barack Obama voted for himself as well, but there's something different about voting for one's self and writing a glowing review that reads as a PR statement in a forum that is supposed to give voice to user reviews--Barack Obama voting for himself is not stored on the internet with a PR statement of why he did so. That's what his campaign was about--that's what marketing is for.
The issue seems murky to me, but only because I look at Metacritic, and consider how its reporting of the score inflation (they're not the ones giving the reviews after all) is harming the industry as regards the bigger companies in the games industry, by creating this drive to get a good score, rather than deliver a game about which I care (the two should equate, but I don't necessarily see it as such right now).
What are your own thoughts?