Debate: Are Critics Biased Toward a Certain Genre?

If you were going to critique the critics, would you say they have a particular bias?

If you were going to critique the critics, would you say they have a particular bias?


Over the years, gamers have accused critics of being biased toward…well, everything.

Some think critics are especially strict or lenient based on the publisher, developer, promotional material, platform, and genre. For the purposes of this particular editorial, we’ll focus on the last subject: Genre.

Do you believe there is evidence to suggest that critics are biased when it comes to certain game genres? For instance, could you argue that during the previous generation, game reviewers gave a lot of shooters a pass for being repetitive and generic? Or, could you argue that in fact, critics were actually harshest when analyzing FPSs?

Users hated Call of Duty (as unprofessional as those reviews were), but look at the critical reception.

Users hated Call of Duty (as unprofessional as those reviews were), but look at the critical reception.

For years, JRPG fanatics have been saying critics were biased against that particular sub-genre, and there may be evidence to support those claims. Last generation, there’s no doubt the JRPG slid in the eyes of critics, as you might be able to see in reviews for White Knight Chronicles. On the flip side, critics really seemed to love games like Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch and Tales of Xillia.

It could just be that JRPGs fell in terms of overall quality the last generation, a point with which our team at VGRHQ must sadly agree.

Then there’s the contingent that believes open-world sandbox games (even though that’s not technically a genre) get the benefit of the doubt from critics. Grand Theft AutoThe Elder ScrollsFallout and Assassin’s Creed are some of the highest-rated games of all time. Many will argue that critics let too many things slide when reviewing GTAIV, for instance.

GTAIV might be an example of critics favoring the open-world sandbox structure.

GTAIV might be an example of critics favoring the open-world sandbox structure.

So far this generation, it’s tough to say. We haven’t seen enough high-profile games to form an opinion. However, there have been game reviews for decades, and the concept of certain critics favoring certain genres isn’t anything new. The question is whether or not there’s evidence to support the theory, and it really depends on your interpretation of “bias.”

For our part, in general, it seems that good games are appropriately rewarded, regardless of genre. But as always, there are exceptions to any rule…

7 thoughts on “Debate: Are Critics Biased Toward a Certain Genre?”

I’ve always thought critics were biased toward anything Nintendo. If it’s Mario, Zelda, or Metroid, it’s an automatic 9, or even a 10. I know we’re talking about legends but come on…let’s be realistic.

Totally agree.

It’s easy to predict the score of any new Nintendo mascot game. Yes, I know they’re all typically very good, but there have been a few that have been WAY over-scored, and just because of the name on the box.

I agree too.

I think first-party Nintendo games have been getting a free pass for WAY too long. They’re fine games in and of themselves but when compared to the best of the best out there, they are NOT worthy of 10s.

I think it changes over time. For instance, in the 90s, I thought critics were biased towards fighters. Then I thought they were sort of biased towards platformers.

I really believe it just depends on the era.

I still remember the JRPG-hating craze by critics in the 90s.

Well, actually, that never really changed, did it? 😉

LOL

Nope. ‘see White Knight Chronicles’

Eh, not so much biased toward genres, but more biased toward certain franchises. I don’t think any of the Assassin’s Creeds have earned the acclaim they’ve received, for instance.

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