Forspoken and Metacritic – What the Score Doesn’t Tell You

    Is the new Square Enix adventure just a mediocre disappointment?

    Forspoken is out now, and you may notice that reviews seem to not be very great. The Metacritic score of Forspoken currently sits at 68 as of writing. Meanwhile, on OpenCritic, Forspoken currently has a rating of “fair”, with a nice 69 top critic average score. However, things get a bit more complicated when you look beyond these numbers. In fact, Forspoken reviews seem to be a bit more all over the place than you might expect.

    Positive and Not-So-Positive Forspoken Metacritic Reviews


    While it’s true that a majority of Forspoken reviews are “mixed”, a large percentage is quite positive as well. Out of 66 reviews on Metacritic, 39 are “mixed”, and 3 are “negative”, which would make for about 64 percent of the total reviews. On the other hand, there are 24 “positive” reviews, which makes for about 36 percent of Metacritic’s Forspoken reviews. Going by these numbers alone, it’s safe to say that there are several critics that very much enjoy Forspoken.

    However, things get a bit more complicated when you factor in what qualifies for a “positive” review on Metacritic. A game must get a score of 75 or above to obtain a “positive” review. However, many of you would likely agree that a review score of 70 usually indicates a decent game. At least, I would think so. The problem is that individuals don’t necessarily scale review scores in the same way.

    So, if you look at how Metacritic separates reviews into three categories, you may not necessarily agree with how they do that. If we assume that a score of 70 indicates a good game, then 17 of the “mixed” Metacritic reviews of Forspoken are actually positive. That is nearly half of the “mixed” reviews! If we change the qualifying score for a “positive” review, that makes 62 percent of Metacritic’s Forspoken reviews positive. 

    Numbers Can Be Deceptive


    If the consensus is that Forspoken is a mediocre game, then perhaps we’re doing something wrong with how we scale review scores. Maybe a 7/10 game indicates mediocrity to you. It doesn’t for me, but we all see review scores a bit differently. Some think that a perfect score requires a game to have little to no flaws. Others may think that a game deserves a perfect score if the positives far outweigh the negatives. All of this leads to a bigger discussion of review scores and how we perceive them. 

    Anyways, what about the Metacritic score of Forspoken itself? Well, it might be playing a little trick on your mind, and it’s a pretty simple one. If you go to a store and see an item selling for, let’s say, $9.99, you are likely to subconsciously interpret that as less than it actually is. This is done on purpose, as an item selling for $10.00 is going to look less appealing in general. So, while this applies to Forspoken‘s Metacritic score in a more negative way, it’s still basically the same psychological trick.

    A score of 68 or OpenCritic’s nice 69 top critic average might as well be a score of 70. Now, in scientific fields, this difference in values might matter, but we are talking about review scores here. The 68 Metascore might make you think that the game is getting worse reviews than it actually is. Don’t get me wrong, the game definitely is getting some harsh reviews, but hopefully, you can understand why the Metacritic score by itself doesn’t paint the full picture. Forspoken seems to click with some people, and for others, it just doesn’t. 

    Is Forspoken a Good Game?

    Forspoken Traversal

    Unfortunately, I can’t answer this question. I have yet to play the game and I don’t have any current plans to. Maybe I would think it’s a great game, or I could think it’s terrible. I won’t know unless I get my hands on it. However, the game’s demanding system requirements seem a little questionable to me (although it is a PS5 exclusive on consoles). So, I’m not trying to defend the game, but I have seen a trend of overreliance on Metacritic scores, including Forspoken. Hopefully, I’ve illustrated why this might be an issue, but you can read more about it here.

    When looking at Metascores, I always recommend reading some of the reviews to see how a game got the score it did. It might not always be the same story. Sometimes reviewers can be pretty unanimous about a game, and other times the results can be polarizing. Forspoken appears to be a case where opinions can vary greatly. The highest review score is 95 and the lowest one is 40, so there is quite a range. 

    If you think Forspoken is a game you will enjoy, I wouldn’t let the Metacritic score stop you from playing it. Otherwise, if you are on the fence about it, I would recommend watching and reading as many reviews as you can, so you can get a good picture of the game’s ups and downs. You may even want to wait for more people to play the game so you can get a more accurate consensus. Mostly, I hope I can spark a bigger discussion about review scores and aggregate scores. How we perceive them can be important, and a single number may not tell the whole story. 

    Itch has a strong passion for PC gaming and retro consoles (especially the Dreamcast). From Melty Blood: Actress Again to Forza Horizon, he will play just about anything that catches his eye. Ever since playing Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit as a young child, he has been in love with the medium of video games and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

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