1, 2, 3, 4, Review Scores Are Out The Door

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Today, on my commute to work, I was listening to The Reformed Gamers Podcast – Episode 197. The host of the podcast, Logan, had on Colin Moriarty. Now you may now Colin from his work at IGN or from his podcast Sacred Symbols: A PlayStation Podcast. Anywho, Colin was talking about how for years he had passionately argued against review scores. How ultimately a review score of 8.5 or even a 9.0 doesn’t tell you a lot about the game in question. This got me thinking about review scores in general.

Here at JohnnyBGamer, I used to score games on a 1-5 system (1 being awful; 5 being the absolute best thing ever). For example, Josh and I rated Firewatch a 4/5:

4/5 – Plot holes mare what could have been a revelatory narrative experience.

We talk, in the review, about the game. What we liked, disliked, and what resonated with us. It is a fine review (wow, wrote that in 2016!). I even stand by the review score. But, sometime within the last year, I have decided to let the review scores go. I want to present what we like, dislike, and what resonates or doesn’t resonate. I ultimately want to be able to review a game without attaching a review score to it (see Biomutant review).

I realize, by listening the Colin today, that I do not have any sort of weight on Metacritic (nor do I want to). I want to:

  • Experience the games I play
  • Write about them
  • Post pictures
  • Share how they feel / play

I won’t be attaching a review score any longer. I realized that this is a decision I had already made but felt it was important to share.

Happy gaming.

Review – Biomutant

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I have tried to put my finger on the reason developer Experiment 101‘s Biomutant does not gel with me. I know that it has nothing to do with Biomutant feeling like a AAA game made by a small design team on a limited budget. If anything, Returnal, developed by Housemarque, shares this indie game turned AAA game feel. Indie game developers being given a AAA game budget is a fantastic development. The size of the studio does not limit perfect execution on a core gameplay concept. The problem is when the story, which ties everything together, needs more time in the editing oven.

Into the Fire

Anytime Biomutant pauses the gameplay to further the story, told through static cutscene, I found myself wanting to skip it. Sure, there is the Narrator, who does a good job reading what text he is given. But even he cannot save what amounts to two 3D models standing next to each other, doing nothing, while he narrates. I cannot think of another game I’ve played, in many years, that has chosen to convey story in this manner. While I commend developer Experiment 101 for their cleverness in using a narrator, I wish they had chosen a different way to share their story with us.

On that note, I find the humor to be off… way off. At first I thought that it was a dark humor sort of thing. The more I played Biomutant though, the more I realized that the humor needed more time to bake. With a bit more time in the editing oven, I think Experiment 101 could have had a solid winner here. Alas, the way the story is presented with its humor, I 100% don’t get it. It’s not only odd but off-putting.

What I Loved

  • The handcrafted feel of Biomutant‘s open-world.
  • The way Björn Palmberg’s score blends so seamlessly with this post-apocalyptic Kung-Fu RPG.
  • The responsiveness/quickness of the characters movements.
  • The way the character runs.

What I Disliked

  • The way that combat is executed. I hate having to memorize combos. Square + Circle + Circle + L2.
  • Anytime there is a cutscene. Ugh.

In the End

There is a market for Biomutant. You might be the perfect candidate for it! I’m just not it. I need a compelling story to go with my Kung Fu. I need a reason to play.

Title: Biomutant
Developer: Experiment 101
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows
Reviewed On: PlayStation 4
MSRP: $59.99

Review by Bryan Hall

*Biomutant was reviewed using a code provided by EvolvePR.

The Surf Report – Missionaries, Legalism, and Biomutant

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Welcome to the Surf Report for June 9, 2021!

.: God :

My wife’s cousin Elizabeth and her husband William came to stay with us a few weeks ago. We had a good visit with them. Getting to learn about Brazil (where they have served as missionaries) and learning about Southern Brazil (where they are going to be missionaries next). I, personally, learned a bit about pride while they were visiting. I learned that when William asks if he can do something, he is more than willing to do it (no strings attached).

God also reminded me, gently, not only about praying/asking Him to show me my gifts (in this case, mine is listening to people). But further more, then asking God where I can serve with my gifts. Who might need an ear to listen?

Liz and William were so giving of their time and themselves. A good reminder of how I need to be as a Christian.

.: Life :

Have you heard this:

“I don’​t drink, smoke, or chew, or go with girls who do.”

Wyatt came back from the first day of missions week (put on by a group of local churches) and mentioned that someone had repeated this statement. Got me thinking about Christian legalism. Drinking, smoking, and chewing tobacco are not inherently wrong.

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. – 1 Corinthians 10:23 (NLT)

In excess, without moderation, any one of those things mentioned above can be harmful to your health; Food and even video games can be harmful to your health. I think that it is funny that we, as Christians, can hyper focus on some things are not on others. Declaring things sinful simply because our parents didn’t do such things. As William reminded me, some things are not in the Bible.

.: Gaming :

Sunday, I played video games for a couple of hours. First, I played Biomutant. After spending more time with the game, I’m finding that the story bits just aren’t working for me. More thoughts to come on Biomutant.

I did happen to buy/play FAR: Lone Sails. From the little I played, I kind of love it. 🙂