Archive for the ‘MetaCritic’ Category

Critics vs. Customers! Madden NFL 13 – PS3 & Xbox 360 Reviews Averages

September 24, 2012
Review score averages shown were captured around 5:00PM EST, on 9-24-12.

Coffee Beans
Did you know the Madden NFL video game series has been around for almost 25 years now, with a “new” Madden game being released basically every year since the series started?

Madden NFL 13 was released almost one month ago now, on August 28, 2012 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It released with a MSRP of $59.99 and received an ESRB rating of “Everyone” with no content listed for gamers or parents to be aware of. The game was developed by EA Tiburon, and published under Electronic Arts’ EA Sports label.

One big new feature in Madden NFL 13 is the new physics engine in the game, the Infinity Engine, which is designed to make tackles and hits more authentic, and it tries to make sure “no two plays ever look or feel the same” in the game.

We are now 3 weeks into the the official NFL season, and we have almost a full month of “professional” critic reviews and customer reviews for Madden NFL 13 to look at. Have PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 players of Madden NFL 13 agreed with critics on the game? Brew yourself some coffee, and let’s take a look!

The Brew
The first “professional” critic review scores for Madden NFL 13 started being published around August 24th, a few days before the game released.

First up, the reviews for Madden NFL 13 on the PlayStation 3. The PS3 version has a “professional” critic review score average of 84 out of 100 based on 17 reviews on MetaCritic.com, and it has a critic review score average of 84.14% based on 18 reviews on GameRankings.com.

What about the customers though, what has their reaction been to the game since it released? Well, Madden NFL 13 on the PS3 has a customer review score average of 37.35%, based on 318 customer reviews from Amazon.com.

The Xbox 360 version of Madden NFL 13 has a “professional” critic review score average of 82 out of 100 based on 32 reviews on MetaCritic.com, and it has a critic review score average of 83.37% based on 31 reviews on GameRankings.com.

Madden NFL 13 on the Xbox 360 has a customer review score average of 45.60%, based on 375 customer reviews from Amazon.com.

Broken back? Or, broken reviews?

Caffeinated Thoughts
I think the “professional” critic review score averages versus the customer review score average for Madden NFL 13 clearly show there is a disconnect somewhere. We’re not talking about a simple 10% review score average difference, we have about a 36-46% review score average difference between the “professional” critics for Madden NFL 13 and the customers for Madden NFL 13.

One of the first reviews published on August 24th, by the largest video game site on the web (see – IGN), gave the game a 9.0 out of 10. To me, the review seemed to be a well crafted PR statement almost, based on features in the game, but glazing over real issues with the game (or, simply not mentioning them). The reviewer said of one feature, “This kept me coming back to the Connected Careers week after week.” I was curious as to how many weeks he had the review copy, so I asked and according to the reviewer he had it maybe 2-3 weeks before his review was published; which was a full 2-3 weeks before the game released and was available to the general gaming public.

Why does this matter? Early in his review he states, “At a glance, Madden NFL 13 might just look like Madden, but in your hands, it feels polished.“, which I found odd based on my time with the demo.

I played the PlayStation 3 demo for Madden NFL 13, and completed several games in it. The demo didn’t sell me on the game though, because I thought it lacked polish. Sure, I could understand some issues from a new series, but seeing holograms on the sidelines (people that are *there* but you can run through), bad camera angles on replays, cars that look like cardboard boxes driving outside the stadiums, and things like hearing the same comments from announcers within a game, just seemed to me that EA hasn’t been pushing the series very much.

Also, when I see a glitch like in the following video that was posted up in Chalgyr’s Game Room review of the game, the word “polished” doesn’t enter my thoughts:

How is it possible for the critic and customer review score averages to be so far apart, on the same game? Well, from what I read of the critic reviews it seems many didn’t experience real-world online play in the game, and perhaps were in an *EA bubble* before the game released protecting them from bad experiences with it?

Also, many of the early critic reviews, like IGN’s, failed to mention features taken out of the game, one being the lack of offline cooperative play in Franchise Mode, which apparently from many user reviews is still a big selling point for the game/series. Perhaps, the more time you spend with the game, the better it becomes and a solid 2-3 weeks is what the customers need to be spending with the game before reviewing it (this wouldn’t change the lack of features though)?

Questions
If you purchased Madden NFL 13 for the PlayStation 3 or the Xbox 360, what do you think about the game? If you were to give the game an overall review score average, would it fall closer to the “professional” critic review score averages above, or to the customer review score averages shown? Is Madden NFL 13 a game you would recommend to other gamers, that perhaps have played a few Madden games over the years, but haven’t purchased one in a while?

Also, if you haven’t purchased Madden NFL 13 yet, will the customer review score averages reflected above for both the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, make you think twice before reading a “professional” critic review score average and basing your decision to purchase a game on it?

If you are interested in Madden NFL 13, or just want to read through the Amazon.com customer review score averages (which I highly suggest), you can see the games on Amazon.com below:

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Critics vs. Customers! Best & Worst 3DS Launch Titles

August 16, 2012

Coffee Beans
     The Nintendo 3DS was released on March 27, 2011 in North America at a retail price of $249.99. The system had 18 games available at launch, from my count, and most had MSRPs of $39.99.
     The Nintendo 3DS XL will be releasing in just a few days, August 19th, at a MSRP of $199.99. If you have not purchased a 3DS yet, but are planning to buy the 3DS XL this Sunday you might be wondering if there are any older 3DS games you should take a look at it when you pick up the new system.

     For this first “Critics vs. Customers”, we are taking a look at the best third party customer rated 3DS launch title, and comparing it to its critic review score averages. We will also take a look at the worst customer rated 3DS launch game, and show what the “professional” critic review score averages were for it as well.
     First, you may be wondering what third party games launched with the 3DS last year. From my count there were 13 third party games available to purchase when the 3DS launched last year. Those were: BUST-A-MOVE UNIVERSE, SAMURAI WARRIORS: Chronicles, Combat of Giants Dinosaurs 3D, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Shadow Wars, The Sims 3, SUPER STREET FIGHTER IV 3D EDITION, RAYMAN 3D, LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, Asphalt 3D, RIDGE RACER 3D, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D, and Super Monkey Ball 3D.
     Can you guess what third party 3DS launch title has the highest customer review score average, from the world’s largest online retail site? What about the lowest? Brew yourself some coffee, and let’s take a look!

The Brew
     If you are picking up a new 3DS system this coming weekend, let’s start with an older game you might want to avoid buying according to many customers.
     What third party 3DS launch game has the lowest customer review score average? The Sims 3.

     The Sims 3 has an Amazon.com customer review score average of 42.00%, based on 20 customer reviews. How does that compare to the “professional” critic review score averages?
     The game has a “professional” critic review score average of 52 out of 100 based on 29 reviews on MetaCritic.com, and it has a “professional” critic review score average of 53.71% based on 17 reviews on GameRankings.com.
     The customer review score average is lower than the critic averages, by basically 10%.

     What third party 3DS launch game has the highest customer review score average? Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D!
     Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D has an Amazon.com customer review score average of 91.00%, based on 20 reviews. How does the customer review score average compare to the critic review score averages?

     The game has a “professional” critic review score average of 73 out of 100 based on 43 reviews on MetaCritic.com, and it has a “professional” critic review score average of 73.87% based on 23 reviews on GameRankings.com.
     As you can see, the customer review score average for the game is nearly 20% points higher than the “professional” critic review score averages from MetaCritic.com and GameRankings.com.

Caffeinated Thoughts
     If you had told me that Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D was the highest customer rated third party Nintendo 3DS game from launch, at least according to customers, I would have found that odd. Why?
     Because I had looked at most of the 3DS release titles and read reviews on many of them, as I originally planned on buying the Nintendo 3DS day one. From the customer reviews, it really does seem that they enjoyed PES 2011 a great deal; but when reading some of the “professional” critic reviews for the game, it seems that the game had little things that held it back from being a great title. Evidently though, those little things didn’t seem to bother many of the customers.
     If you have not seen anything on Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D, here is the launch trailer for the game:
   
     Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D might be harder to find now, due to the newer Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 already being released earlier this year. If you are a current 3DS owner or getting the 3DS XL this weekend, PES 2011 might be a game to add to your list if you go bargain bin shopping, or if you find a “Buy Two, Get One Free” sale happening sometime.

Questions
     Did any of you correctly guess, without looking of course, the best and worst rated 3DS launch titles? Were any of you surprised to see what the best/worst customer reviewed 3DS launch games were?
     More importantly, if you are a 3DS owner and have played either of The Sims 3 or Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D, would you lean more toward the critic or customer review score averages for the games, and why?

If you are interested in either of the titles covered, you can see them on Amazon.com below: