Does Bloodborne’s Warm Reception Prove a Critic Bias?

It's a wicked challenging game...has that been helping review scores?

It’s a wicked challenging game…has that been helping review scores?

Arguably the best game of the generation thus far, Bloodborne is earning widespread critical acclaim. It’s current Metascore of 93 is the highest we’ve seen yet (not counting remasters and other re-releases) and gamers everywhere are diving into the challenging experience.

However, we wonder if the game’s difficulty is actually having an overwhelmingly positive impact on these scores. Over the years, it seems to have become a trend: Reviewers rarely seem to dock games for being too tough; in fact, they tend to reward the hardest titles out there. On the flip side, if a game is deemed too easy, that’s very often reflected in a lower-than-deserved review score. It’s merely a theory but one that has substantial numerical evidence behind it; one only needs to examine scores for the likes of Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, for instance.

We also recall seeing several reviews that clearly indicated the relative ease of The Order: 1886 as a flaw. It’s our belief that difficulty and quality are mutually exclusive; one has absolutely nothing to do with the other. Still, it appears many critics don’t see it that way, as they really do seem to reward the most challenging games. Of course, you could make the argument that harder titles are more rewarding but that’s merely a subjective statement that holds no water in a proper review.

Hard games get better review scores...is that a standard truism?

Hard games get better review scores…is that a standard truism?

Critics that contribute to VGRHQ are split on the matter. One says simply-

Of course critics reward the tougher games. They’ve been doing that for decades. It’s a combination of an elitist/hardcore mentality and the belief that tougher games are just better somehow.

There’s something to be said for this, as the industry has roots in supremely difficult games dating back to the arcade and early console days. And it’s typically true that “hardcore” gamers tend to look down on easy interactive experiences.

Another critic disagrees, saying it’s just coincidence:

I don’t think there’s a bias; I just think many of the harder games just so happen to be better in terms of quality. Maybe developers put more effort into them, I don’t know. But that seems to be the way of things.

There’s no denying that Bloodborne is a great game; everyone seems to agree on that. The question remains, though: Would scores have been this high had the game been considered too easy as opposed to too hard…?

One wonders.

6 thoughts on “Does Bloodborne’s Warm Reception Prove a Critic Bias?”

I’m inclined to believe the second critic. I think it’s clear that many of the tougher games out there are just better. That’s all.

I think both are right to a certain extent. But there’s plenty of evidence to support the other theory you sniff at.

I actually think both critics here make a good point but I DO believe harder games get more leniency from reviewers.

In other words, I think a critic is more likely to overlook some flaws if the game is challenging. And I definitely believe critics dock games for being too easy. Just read some of the more idiotic reviews of The Order: 1886.

Yeah, I agree. The Order fiasco was just stupid, and it proves that easier games just aren’t viewed in as bright a light.

I don’t doubt that some critics are willing to reward tougher games. And I have no doubt that for other critics, it doesn’t matter in the slightest.

However, it IS interesting that a lot of the flaws in the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games seem to get glossed over…..

I really do think reviews are more lenient when scoring harder games. I read lots of reviews and I’m often tempted to try the games critics really like, but they DO seem to be much harder than games they tend to dislike.

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