Prey released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC just a few days ago. It is a perfectly fine game with some issues here and there. It is a new beginning for the franchise that currently stands at 79% (PC) on Metacritic. While most reviewers, including me, think it is a decent enough game, one of the biggest publications, IGN, hammered the title with a 4/10 score.
While we don’t usually discuss review scores from other publications but this is a unique case. IGN’s score shows exactly what’s wrong with reviewing in general as well as Bethesda’s own review policy. First, lets talk about IGN and the reviewer (who he is also the head of reviews), Dan Stapleton.
The man gave Prey a 4/10 only because of a seemingly rare bug, that was fixed even before his review came out, mainly because his save files were corrupted. Although he enjoyed the game, this one bug resulted in one of the lowest scores for an AAA game in IGN’s history. He wasn’t able to finish the game after playing it for 34 hours. Dan writes:
He wasn’t able to finish the game after playing it for 34 hours. Dan writes:
Everything came to a screeching halt when, after 34 hours played, all my recent saves suddenly became corrupted, destroying five hours of progress. I grudgingly went back to the most recent working save, but soon ran into a different but equally awful problem: every time I tried to leave the cargo bay and load a new zone, Prey crashed to desktop. I contacted the developers for help, and Arkane provided me with a completely new save file around the same spot. But, after a few more hours of play, that save also became corrupted and crash-prone. That game-ending tragedy means I have to advise strongly against playing Prey on PC. Bethesda says they’re hoping for a fix by the end of the week, but there are no guarantees.
While reviewing the game myself I never encountered such an issue nor did pretty much every publication I went to check their review. It is a rare issue so one had to wonder if 4/10 was justified? Well, from Dan’s perspective it was. I personally believe the reviews are just one person’s opinion based on his own experience with the game. Any gamer should never judge a game based on just one review and certainly not judge based on review scores.
90% of gamers scroll down to see the score and leave, while some may read the conclusion. The text of the review is what matters not the score. In this case, Dan’s review doesn’t say Prey is a bad game even after the issues he faced. However, his review score puts it beside some of the worst games ever.
I can’t help but wonder if IGN was trying to get back at Bethesda due to the company’s review policy. Bethesda’s policy is very anti-press and it is evident that they don’t trust us. Bethesda only hands out review copies to select few and only gives a 24 hours head start. This was, of course, the case with Prey. Bethesda’s frustrating review policy often ends up hurting the game, which is what possibly happened in this case. IGN’s review score could be purposely placed to protest against Bethesda’s review policy. In particular case, the review text doesn’t perfectly line up with the review score.
Moreover, if review copies are handed out two weeks prior to the game’s release, reviewers can contact developers and tell them about possible issues and problems they are facing. An early save file corruption bug fix could have resulted in a better score.
If 4/10 is a protest and IGN is trying to get back at Bethesda for their review policy by giving an otherwise good game a 4? It is the most juvenile move from a renowned publication. IGN’s review score could be the result of an ongoing feud between the publication and Bethesda.
Whatever the case may be, gamers need to understand that every review is based on person’s opinion and his own experiences. When it comes to Prey, the general consensus among the reviewers is that it is a good game, it may not a mindblowing experience, but it is something Bethesda fans would enjoy.
What do you think of this publication’s Prey review? Was the score justified? Take to the comments and let us know.