Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 game director Enric Alvarez has accused certain reviewers of "a lack of honesty" and "professionalism", castigating our sister magazine Edge's review as "blind and stupid". Somebody fetch me a bucket of water, please.
As you can probably guess, all this follows very mixed reactions to the game, which saw release in the UK on Friday. Edge went with a 4/10 in the end, summarising Lords of Shadow 2 as "clunky, ugly and deeply misguided". At the other end of the scale there's our own review, which concludes that "while it does suffer a little from the stellar expectations, this huge finale is its own creature, and easily does MercurySteam's saga justice".
Speaking to Eurogamer Spain, Alvarez opined that "any game is a very complex work and I sometimes I find that [the] specialized gaming press [lacks] professionalism". He feels that reviewers sometimes judge games against what they want them to be, rather than for what they actually do.
"I agree that in the end it is an opinion, and [an] opinion is totally respectable, but do not confuse a review and analysis," Alvarez went on. As best I can make out from the Google Translated text, the difference between a review and an analysis is that an analysis is borne of an empirical understanding of the game's creation and structure, whereas a review is more "subjective". Do you speak Spanish? Feel free to chime in.
"[You can say] 'I do really like the rock but I hate the opera', [but] this is an opinion, not an analysis," said Alvarez. "If I had to do an analysis of "Don Giovanni", [I] would not even know where to start." There's a "lack of honesty in the gaming press" on this count, apparently.
Not all game reviewers are guilty of this. "Do not misunderstand me, there are very good people writing about video games," the MercurySteam exec conceded later in the chat, commenting that some of the people who criticised the first Lord of Shadows are "very good" writers.
He also took a moment to decry "the simplification of information" brought about by score aggregators like Metacritic, and the impact this has on the opportunities available to developers. Seemingly, Edge's score was a particularly tough swallow because it hit the internet days ahead of those of other publications, and thus may have guided their reactions.
"There are a few publications that set trends and from here there are other publications that follow and dare not deviate much," said Alvarez. "The first LOS, which has a 85 on Metacritic, also got bad marks [from] major sites, yet the game was [well-received]."
The mag's score is "totally unfair", he added. "One must be blind or stupid to give it a 4/10 for a game of this quality. With a 4/10, people interpret it is a crappy game, badly done, it breaks, with mechanics that do not work, with some awful graphics." Needless to say, Alvarez doesn't think Lords of Shadow 2 is a "crappy game".
What do you think? I think opinions are very much like an item of human anatomy that is commonly associated with the toilet. I'm also reminded of Microsoft studio head Mike Ybarra's recent thoughts about middling Ryse: Son of Rome reviews.