Settling scores

Edge have just published their Grand Theft Auto V review. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m looking forward to doing so just as soon as I’ve posted this. What I did do was scroll through the text to find out the score. I’m sure a good proportion of their readers do the same. In my case it’s more than impatience and curiosity: I actually rather like scores.

That number at the end of a review may be arbitrary to some people, but I can think of no better climax to a review than a couple of bold digits. It’s a statement, made all the more powerful when the publication has worked hard to protect the significance and integrity of its review policy, by which I mean giving average games a median score and only the greatest games the highest. In Edge’s case there are famously only 16 games that over the last 20 years have scored a perfect 10 – GTA IV  and V are the ninth and sixteenth respectively.

I’m not ashamed to admit that for me the score has often been the most difficult part of submitting a game review. It doesn’t just summarise an opinion down to its briefest possible form, it places the game against its peers and predecessors, siblings and successors. It’s the only part of the review that helps form part of a larger picture – a mosaic of opinions, if you will. Just because it’s the most reductive part of the review,  it shouldn’t be dismissed as the most subjective or meaningless.

As to whether GTA V is any good or not, I shall endevour to find out for myself when the next-gen properly arrives.