It has recently been revealed that Criminal Girls 2 will be coming to the western market in a censored form. And censorship is a hot topic that has people split on the idea. Censorship has also raised an important question. And that would be if it´s better to get the game in question but in a cut-up form, or not get the game at all if it is not 100% of the original? I´ll leave you with that question for now (I will return to that subject later on), because I want to discuss the idea of reviewing censored games. I mean, should these games even get a score, and if so how?
Well, please allow me to give you an example. I reviewed Criminal Girls 1 last year, and funny enough the censorship made the game worse in terms of what it was trying to block. I gave the game a score. Should I have? As censorship, by definition, cuts out content. We are not talking about an update to fix something like spelling or a bug preventing a person from opening a door. Censorship removes the door. No one can experience what is behind the door.
I would also like to point out that game reviews are a controversial issue on its own, because a lot of the time the issues have everything to do with the review score itself. And that´s due to the fact that games which the masses think are 10s get a lot of press, when one random outlet gives it a 7 (see “Uncharted”). Hell, some sites have done away with scores altogether, but those are few and far between because they are already major sites that are established on the Gaming market. And since a lot of smaller sites need scores to survive because being on an aggregate like Metacritic gets them traffic. Well, simply put, no score, no Metacritic and no more boost in hits.
However, as the awareness of censorship in games is becoming more available, my thoughts on review scores are in flux. Because I think that if the game in question is incomplete, then it shouldn’t get a full score. Because censorship makes a complete game unfinished, as censorship = Removing content from a complete product. So, are the companies giving us a discount for the missing content that another country is getting automatically? No, because we have to pay for DLC a lot of the time for additional content, and that makes me wonder why there is no discount on content taken away? (corporate greed, I guess).
Speaking of censorship, Fire Emblem: Fates will go down in history as a tainted title because of censorship. Just the petting mini-game alone made a lot of Gamers angry, as the petting mini-game was ripped out entirely from the Western release. And that part is a major piece of content which gamers are prevented from enjoying. However, the petting mini-game is to be found in the Japanese version of “Fire Emblem: Fates”, so why shouldn’t there be a penalty associated with the missing content in the Western version? Allow me to give you another example.
When I give my students a test, and they don’t answer a question, I don’t reduce the max score from a 10 to a 9, so they can still get a perfect score. No, my students get a 9/10 score if everything else is correct. At the same time, I still believe that not giving a censored game a score entirely is too extreme, because hack jobs like “Fire Emblem: Fates” is the extreme and not the norm. Nevertheless, reviewers performing the above example, knocking off points for censorship, are what should be done. So, will that happen? Probably not, because review scores are down to the individual reviewing the game.
Even so, the masses still like to put all the credit and blame of a review score on a website, but in reality, it is the individual reviewer who should be getting all the credit and blame. Unless a mass of reviewers band together and make up a universal scoring rubric that will be adhered to by their websites, then don’t expect anything to change in the near future.
And with that said, what´s your take on this matter? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section down below!
Robin Ek – Editor
This is a personal opinion of the writer, and it doesn’t necessarily represent the other writers (nor The Gaming Ground´s) opinions.
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