Why You Can’t Trust Some Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Reviews

It might be a fantastic new entry but can you rely on reviews for the verdict?

It might be a fantastic new entry but can you rely on reviews for the verdict?

We at VGRHQ believe in honoring one of the most under-appreciated and most-maligned trades in existence: Video game criticism. It’s sad that there’s such a disconnect between those who do the reviewing and the general consuming public; one side is woefully underpaid, often overworked, and constantly under fire, while the other side suspects nothing but corruption and laziness. We have talked about how getting involved in the gaming industry can restrict career options for journalists, addressed the terrible reputation of the game critic profession, and we have also called out critics for lowering review scores for attention purposes.

Like the previous piece, this is one of those times where we’re not about to defend the critics, because we’re finding some problems with the slew of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate reviews that have recently hit the Internet. Currently, the PlayStation 4 version holds a Metacritic average of only 76 but that’s not what interests us. What catches our attention is the wide gamut of scores; it’s not like the majority of reviewers are handing out mid-to-high 7s. Rather, there are scores as low as 4 and and as high as 9, and the intriguing part is that while there are more high-profile sources coming in at the top end, some major sources register at the low end as well.

In reading these reviews (we’re still trying to select our favorite to be listed among our Honored Reviews), we’re finding far too much in the way of subjective analysis and seemingly entrenched personal bias. This can happen often, especially with “annualized” franchises that have experienced problems in the past. It’s even more pronounced when the previous entry had significant and well-documented problems. Well, last year’s Assassin’s Creed Unity didn’t have the most stable of launches and furthermore, many have accused Ubisoft of not improving the franchise enough over the past four years or so. Many will claim it started to go downhill with Assassin’s Creed III.

Therefore, the result is a lot of reviews, even some from reputable sources, that reek of past problems with the franchise. There seems to be a distinct emphasis on that which has apparently remained the same, or is still problematic, while the improvements and additions are downplayed or even flat-out ignored. Then again, one could also claim that the positive reviews are doing precisely the opposite; i.e., downplaying the ongoing negatives and emphasizing the pluses. So, what exactly is going on? Why is this happening?

Frankly, we think it’s because AC has become one of those highly controversial franchises that results in fierce loyalty and abject hatred; there never appears to be a middle ground. Hence, the review score gamut. The bottom line is that if you enjoy this franchise, you’re going to give it a high score, regardless of any problems the new entry may have. And if you don’t like the franchise, or you’ve been disappointed by several entries in a row, you’re almost destined to dislike Syndicate and therefore, a low review score is imminent.

There are only a few reviews out there that seem to put aside any preexisting beliefs or concerns involving the franchise, which is why we’re advising caution. This is one of those times when objectivity takes too much of a back seat to subjectivity, which results in an abundance of opinion and a lack of expert, unbiased analysis.

4 thoughts on “Why You Can’t Trust Some Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Reviews”

I already knew this. It was so painfully obvious reading certain crap reviews (like The Telegraph) that the critic either didn’t bother to play the game or just went in hating it ahead of time. They don’t even read like an informed person played the product.

And you see a lot more of this in established franchises I think. Fanboys vs. Anti-Fanboys, it seems.

HA! Fanboys vs. Anti-Fanboys sounds just about right unfortunately.

Critics should be above that garbage.

I’ve been loving this game! It’s SO much better than Unity in just about every way…don’t understand the negative reviews at all.

I’ve never actually finished an AC game. I usually just get bored about halfway through and start playing something else.

Leave a Reply