The Assassin’s Creed Effect

As you may have noticed, reviews on Ready Up do not get given a numerical score. This isn’t us just jumping on the New Games Journalism bandwagon, it just didn’t seem to fit in with the point of the site. We just try to offer our individual opinions on our time spent gaming. Okay, that does sound quite a lot like the New Games Journalism bandwagon but it’s not, we have our own bandwagon, it’s called the Awesome Wagon if you must know! We keep it parked at our head offices (The Bunker of Awesome).

Sorry, I went off on a tangent there. Lets get down to it, I read reviews like everyone else and I guess I pay attention to the scores they get, usually via so I get a better idea of the reception a game is getting. Lately though I’m getting the uncomfortable feeling that the scores being given out for some of the big titles are being used to boost traffic rather than, well.. score a game. Assassins Creed, I was lucky enough to get a copy of Assassins Creed before any reviews were put up. I’d been looking forward to the game just like many people, then after I’d been playing for a few days the scores started to come in, and they were looking shite. 50’s and 60’s -the game I was playing wasn’t on a par with Fuzion Frenzy 2, Two Worlds and Eragon. But the reviews soon picked up and it averaged out at a healthy 82%. What was wrong with Assassins Creed? It got repetitive. That’s about all I can muster in criticism. It was hyped up like crazy, although I’m not really sure if this was all by Ubisoft. Was Assassins Creed scored lower for not living up to it’s hype? Was Fusion Frenzy 2 hyped? Did it get it’s score for being surprisingly not total shit?

Why am I bringing this up now? I hear you ask. Haze is why, the first scores are in and we’ve got a 4.5 from IGN. For context lets look at some other games from this generation that got around that score from IGN.

  • Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer – 5.4
  • Beowulf: The Game – 4.0
  • BlackSite Area 51 -5.4

I’ve had our review copy of Haze for a couple of days, I’ve probably played it for about 4 hours in total. Is it a revolutionary FPS from the masters of the art that gave us Timesplitters? Maybe not. Is it a worse game than that Fantastic 4 crock of shit, certainly not so far. But it was hyped, quite a bit, another victim of the Assassins Creed Effect? Could be. I wonder how many hits that IGN review has gotten. I’m guessing it’s more than my Time Crisis review.

Now I’ve not played very much of Haze at this point, certainly not enough to review it but unless the next few hours of gameplay involve it drinking all my beer and then killing my dog then I assure you, it’s not a 4.5, whatever the fuck that means.

I’d like to add that Haze does not use the awful L2 or R2 buttons as triggers, thank you Free Radical.







11 responses to “The Assassin’s Creed Effect”

  1. Laura avatar

    I try not to pay any attention to hype cause I’m quite cynical and just assume it’s all the game developers doing to ensure the game sells.

    We must fight undeserved hype. To the Awesome Wagon!!!


  2. City avatar

    Assassins Creed sucked for me based on how it sucked for me, unfortunately, I didnt bother reading the reviews for it, instead I got it based on how pretty the trailer was and the vain obsession that my pc can run everything on full graphics.

    Thats probably a really bad reason to get a game.

    Ages ago I brought The Longest Journey based on reviews and recommendations from people and gaming sites saying it was FANTASTIC..
    I actually found I hated it beyond all reasoning.. and after an hour of playing it I got very very VERY bored with all the conversations in it and tideous tasks..

    But these same people recommended Beyond Good & Evil to me.. and I LOVED IT.

    Recommdenations and ‘scores’ are very tricking things to go by, because everyone is so different.

    Another example – Supreme Commander, I loved it, and I was great at it, but my house mates couldnt get to grips with it and didnt like it.
    Spose its all really hit and miss in the end.

  3. Pete avatar

    Yes Assassins creed was very repetitive, down to the point that actually you did the same objectives over and over. The only other complaint I have about it was the fighting. 20 guards were easy to kill as you just hit counter every time and hold block.

    Personally I ignore hype completely and presume a is rubbish until it proves it self otherwise. Makes it easier when reviewing (for me) to have no expectations of a game. But I know what you mean.

    The problem with give a game an over all score is how is it based. Really if you are going to numerically rate a game then really it needs to be biased on multiple factors, scoring separate parts of the game. I’m all for giving a few words for each section, eg, Game Play: exciting and challenging. Rather than Game Play: 9/10

  4. Tony avatar

    The Assassins Creed effect appears to be the direct opposite of the GTA IV effect, where games reviewers were falling over themselves to give it ten out of ten and then later there’s a backlash of people saying ‘It’s ok but it’s not a ten!’

    But yes, AC was way better than a 4.5 even with its flaws, and I for one will buy a sequel.

  5. Dan avatar

    I was going to go into the GTA Effect, all these games getting perfect scores. I see MGS4 has just joined the 100% club. All this is proving to me is that numerical scores are no longer suitable as a method of rating games.

    Another point about the IGN Haze review, it doesn’t mention that the single player game streams as you play so there is no loading during the campaign. Hardly a new feature in a game but worth a mention I’d say.

  6. Tony avatar

    No loading? That’s actually quite cool. The demo for Haze seemed OK but not brilliant. I’ll probably get it at some point.

  7. City avatar

    I remember getting all excited about the no loading times with shadow of the colossus ahh it was beautiful =)

  8. Michael avatar

    I have never used Metacritic, gamerankings or any other site like that. Instead, in the past I’ve stuck mostly to using magazine reviews and word of mouth from fellow gamers. With this recent debacle involving Jeff Gerstmann, I’m a bit wary of using GameSpot at least

    I think, however, that a number should be taken as part of a review rather than the sole focus of it by a reader. I have seen many debates raging over a number attributed to a game which skip over the text preceding that number

    As for Assassin’s Creed, I played it, I liked it. Granted it was repetitive (show me a game that’s not) but, in that case, play it in short bursts to avoid boredom setting in. And as some of you know, I only started playing GTA4 after hearing feedback from gamers rather than the overwhelming number of high scores from review sites. Based on, um, numbers. So I’m an embarrassed cynic! 🙂

  9. Dave avatar

    This may be my memory playing tricks on me but didn’t a certain games magazine give Assassin’s Creed 4/10 upon release? (don’t want to name names but I assume someone here knows who I’m on about)

    One of their reasons for the low score was that Jade Raymond was’wheeled out’at every PR event to help the game shift copies.

    That isn’t even journalism to be honest. It’s a classic case of petty bias and the blurring of reviewing and opinion. I disgareed with a good majority of the issues raised in the piece as they equally followed suit.

    But then again, flipping this the other way, perhaps game magazines will be overly-sceptical of a hyped title in order to detach from popular opinion and stand out from the crowd?

    How many copies of an issue would that mag sell if it featured ‘controversial review of the month’ – loads..because a large chunk of game fans are a fickle bunch, easily swayed by the hype/rumour machine.

    Again this is pretty shocking behaviour but I’ll eat my hat if it doesn’t happen, just look at the Gamespot fiasco..

  10. Michael avatar

    Yes, they did give it 4/10 – it all kicked off over that, let me tell you!

  11. markouk avatar

    Some interesting points Dan. I get really turned off by hype on games. I will get excited about a game based on the material I see and what I read about the content of the game. I have to admit that GTA IV hype annoyed me so much that I was close to avoid buying it . I gave in this week and went out and bought it. I think there have been many great games that have graced our consoles that never got the hype they (in hindsight) deserved. Crackdown was a bit like that but it was an odd situation with it due to the H3 Beta inclusion. I have to say that Crackdown was probably my 3rd best game last year behind Bioshock and COD4. No-one seemed to pay attention to Crackdown but once the H3 Beta had finished people started to play it more and more…especially online. Co-op is and always will be the future and Crackdown done a top job with their use of it in the game.
    Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that hype can have a negative effect on ratings as you rightly said but I also believe some people are turned off by it. Clever marketing is the way forward but I suppose it’s all about how the journalists report their experiences with a game too. Do the media build their own hype too early on in the development process then smack the game down for not meeting some expectation that was never realised in the final release?

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