Archive for the ‘review scores’ Category

Critics vs. Customers! ZombiU reviews, or zombie reviewers?

December 18, 2012

Coffee Beans
Do you like zombies? Do you not like zombies? Do you feel like a zombie when you wake up, and generally throughout the day?

ZombiU released for (and with) the Wii U on November 18, 2012, basically as a brand new IP. The game was developed and published by Ubisoft, and received an ESRB rating of “MATURE” with “Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language” listed as content for gamers and parents to be aware of. It released with a MSRP of $59.99 in the United States, and can be purchased either via a physical retail copy from stores, or a digital “copy” through the Wii U’s eShop.

With a full month of “professional” critic reviews and customer reviews for ZombiU to look at now, and having completed the game myself, is ZombiU a Wii U title you should play (if, you are of age)? Have Wii U owners agreed with the “professional” reviewers on ZombiU? Brew yourself some coffee, and let’s take a look!

How a zombie smiles, before reading reviews of ZombiU?

The Brew
While reviews for the game were under an embargo, GameSpot “leaked” their ZombiU review in a professional fashion (see: sarcasm) a few days early by publishing it on their site, then removing it. The damage was already done though, and their review score quickly spread around different message boards and video game websites.

The first “professional” review scores for ZombiU started being published on November 18th, the day the Wii U launched and the day the ZombiU review embargo was lifted. ZombiU currently has a “professional” review score average of 77.09%, based on 43 reviews on GameRankings.com. Its MetaCritic.com Metascore is currently 77 out of 100, based on 61 critic reviews.

What about customers though? What have gamers, perhaps like myself that ignored the early reviews, who have played the game thought about it? ZombiU currently has a review score average of 92.77%, based on 36 customer reviews from Amazon.com. The game had a review score average of 88.43%, based on 2,149 gamer reviews directly from the Wii U’s eShop rating.

ZombiU’s eShop ratings.

Note: All of the review scores for ZombiU were captured around 4:00PM EST on December 18, 2012.

Caffeinated Thoughts
I chose to not read most ZombiU reviews, until I finished the game. I didn’t want to see “problems” with the game before playing it for myself, and I was also afraid some of the reviews might have contained spoilers, so I didn’t want to read or see anything that might have given something away in the game.

One average is a C, one an A, depending on the grading scale.

After I completed the game, I decided to read the “reviews” of the game and see what some of the problems were, and what did I discover? Apparently, the problem many early “reviewers” of ZombiU had is they were too busy to finish the game (see: complete it), before slapping a score on it. Apparently, the proper way to “review” games these days is to watch a few trailers, read a few impressions of it, play it for maybe an hour; then decide if you want to go positive or negative in the “review” and stick with it.

What “reviews” of ZombiU contain either outright incorrect information, or show the “reviewers” apparently didn’t finish the game? Here’s my short list, for now. IGN. Nintendo Life. Game Informer. Then there is Game Spot’s reviewer, who went into the game knowing (I guess) it is a survival horror title, but thinks it should have been an action game instead? GameSpot’s reviewer though, and many others, did seem to like ZombiU’s multiplayer options, which Mrs. Coffee and I did try out one evening together.

Here’s a video of Mrs. Coffee and I playing ZombiU’s local multiplayer. Mrs. Coffee was using the Wii U GamePad to place zombies around the map, and I was the survivor running around with the weapons, trying to survive for as long as possible:

Is the audio synced up correctly? It seems off on YouTube, but right in my player. Feedback?

I just don’t understand reviews having incorrect information, as two of them above do, and leaving that incorrect information published. Perhaps the sites were taken over by zombies? I contacted both sites with reviews containing incorrect information. One site didn’t want to address a larger problem with their “review”, and chose to leave incorrect information published; the other site apparently didn’t care their “review” contained bad information and has left it published as well. Then, one of the reviewers hasn’t answered a simple question about the game that he was asked, “How long did it take you to complete it so I have an idea?

ZombiU gives you that information. The game tells you how many hours (and minutes and seconds) it takes you to finish the game, and how many survivors it takes you to finish the game as well. Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo is the only reviewer of ZombiU I am currently aware of that provided the number of hours it took him to complete the game, and the number of survivors it took him to get through it. His review of ZombiU is HERE.

My “Playtime” and survivor count.

As for myself, I completed ZombiU in 24 hours, 40 minutes, and 10 seconds according to my game’s “Playtime”, and it took me 34 survivors to complete the game. I have many ex-survivors wandering the streets, sewers, and general areas of London still, so please add my Nintendo Network ID of Coffees to your Wii U friend list if you want more zombies wandering around your ZombiU game.

Should you play ZombiU, if you are above the recommended age? I recommend giving the game a try. Whether that is buying it, renting it, or borrowing it from a friend (my copy is currently loaned out right now actually). I think you will enjoy the game if you don’t go in expecting a FPS game, or an action game, and understand that the melee combat is designed, I believe, to keep you on your toes. You shouldn’t expect to get 100 hit zombie combos in the game, and understand that ammunition for guns is scarce. Many of my hours playing were spent exploring different areas in the game. There are small alternate paths in a few areas that you may miss if you are just running through the game, and sometimes those areas contain weapons and ammunition, and even story pieces. I believe exploration is encouraged in the game.

So, based on the review averages for the game so far, I side more with the “customer reviews” averages than the “critic reviews”. I think ZombiU is another perfect example of why there should be basic video game review standards on sites, as I have written about in the past.

Questions
Did any of you perhaps not purchase ZombiU, because of the early reviews on the game? If you have played ZombiU, what do you think about the game?

If you have played and beaten ZombiU, how many hours and survivors did it take you? Also, have any of you attempted to beat Survival Mode yet, and possibly completed it?

You can purchase ZombiU below from Amazon.com, and find out how long you will survive!

Read other Critics vs. Customers pieces here and here.

Throw a Mario Party! Nine Times! Hours Spent Partying in Mario Party 9.

June 19, 2012

Coffee Beans
     Mario Party 9 released on the Wii in North America on March 11, 2012 with a MSRP of $49.99 in the U.S.
     Mario Party 9, I believe, was the first game from the series to be developed by Nd Cube, instead of Hudson, and it was published by Nintendo. The game received an ESRB rating of “Everyone” with “Mild Cartoon Violence” listed as content for gamers and parents to be aware of.

     How many hours have Wii owners reported partying with Mario Party 9 since it released just over 3 months ago? Brew some coffee, and let’s take a look!

U.S. reported game-play data.

The Brew
     Mario Party 9 has approximately 27,889 U.S. Wii owners that have reported attending the “party” in the last 3 months since it started, and the game has an average play-time per day/session of 2 Hours 24 Minutes. So, the average Mario Party 9, “party”, is lasting about 2.5 hours.

     What about reviews though? Is Mario known for throwing awesome parties? Well, many of the Mario Party games land in the 70% score range for review scores, except two: Mario Party 7 and Mario Party 8Mario Party 9’s “professional” review score average is 75.23% though, based on 28 reviews from GameRankings.com.
     What about your average Wii owners that have been partying with Mario Party 9, what do they think of the game? Mario Party 9 has a customer review score average of 76.41%, based on 78 customer reviews on Amazon.com.


     Out of the two Mario Party Wii games though, 8 and 9, Mario Party 8 has a slightly higher customer review score average, sitting at 78.53% based on 259 customer reviews from Amazon.com.

Caffeinated Thoughts
     I have never played a Mario Party game, but I have been to the most awesome Mario related birthday party ever. Our oldest Bean’s first birthday party. If you are not familiar with the Mario Party series (raises hand), the trailer below might give you an idea of what to expect from Mario Party 9:

     Seeing the game already has more than half a million hours of game-play reported, in just over 3 months, I think shows Mario Party 9 is really being enjoyed by Wii owners.
     To back that up, the average hours reported “Per person” being close to 20 hours shows Wii owners are playing the game pretty often.

Questions
     Are any of you fans of the Mario Party series in general, perhaps even playing/owning every game in the series? If so, which Mario Party game do you think is the best? Mario Party 9 is the “best” of the series on the Wii according to the “professional” review scores, but not the customer review scores.
     If you have Mario Party 9, does each party/game session last about 2.5 hours? Or, can you play a “party” a lot faster than that?

If you are interested in Mario Party 9 for the Wii, it is linked on GameStop.com and Amazon.com below:
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