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Responsible Reviews - The Uncharted 4 Fiasco

Uncharted 4, by most accounts, is a great video game and arguably the best new title of the current generation. But this is simply a general consensus that does not apply to everyone. This surely does not apply to Michael Thomsen, a video game reviewer for the Washington Post who scored the game at 40/100.

Everyone is of course entitled to their own opinion, but when writing a professional review isn't there a certain amount of responsibility you should uphold? The title of Thomsen's review is "Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End review: This four-part series should have ended after Part One". To anyone that has read the review it is blatantly clear that Thomsen is not a fan of the series. In fact he spends more time criticizing the series as a whole rather than discussing Uncharted 4, the game in which he's reviewing.

A review should be held to a higher standard than simply voicing an opinion. Of course a review is just that, an opinion, but it is one done in a professional manner to inform the reader of the quality of the game. In this setting a reviewer should act responsibly in even choosing the game he or she reviews. Why would someone who utterly hates the Uncharted series review the fourth iteration? Why would someone who's interested in the game want to hear the opinion of someone who has hated the entire series?

As a video game reviewer myself I would never want to take on reviewing a game in a genre I don't like. Simulation racing, for example, is a genre I've never cared for and doubt I ever will. So I don't think it fair to write a negative review for the latest Forza title just because of my distaste for the genre as a whole. The same applies to specific franchises in genres I do like. There are plenty of action games that I find to be fantastic, but the Ninja Gaiden titles are not among them. It simply isn't fair for the reviewer to critique a game when you already have a strong bias against it.

This particular review by the Washington Post incited fans to start a petition to remove the review from Metacritic. Amusingly enough, this is all over the fact that the Metacritic score went from a 94 to a 93 overall. Even popular voice actor Troy Baker signed the petition, although he later apologized stating it was a "mistake".

Most gamers initially thought the review was done in a comical way (similar to Game Informers "Game Infarcer") and accidentally put up on Metacritic. However that is simply not the case. What we have is an irresponsible reviewer that shouldn't have touched Uncharted 4. The blame either goes to Washington Post for assigning him the review, deciding to publish the review, or simply hounding for clicks; or Thomsen himself for going ahead with a review of a franchise he hates.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but reviewers need to hold themselves to a higher standard when writing a review. The review should never have happened but at the same time a low score shouldn't be redacted from the internet just because the general consensus disagrees.
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