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    Monday, November 24, 2008

    Eidos: Paying For Review Scores

    You wouldn’t believe the shit publishers pull in their quest to salvage good review scores out of games that are clearly underperforming. Publishers such as Eidos, with workmanlike shit that’s not worth your money like Tomb Raider: Underworld.

    The fun started when Eidos began laying down arbitrary conditions on reviewers before they could be assigned review code.

    “They insisted that whoever was reviewing Tomb Raider for each of the Future Bath mags attend a one hour demo in Wimbledon before they were allowed to take away review code. I make that over £600 in train fares and nearly 30 hours of work time wasted to be told how to play a fucking game that’s been around since the dawn of time, or to show off some new sodding mo-cap gymnastics. Ramsay’s stench is all over this.”

    Reviewing is politically hard enough when you’ve got the twin spectres of PR and publishers dropping turds on your head, but it becomes even more so when Future Publishing itself joins in. So-called site takeovers are the latest in the marketing man’s armoury in his quest to make editorial sites appear more like a shop front for whatever piece of low grade shit they’re trying to hawk on that particular week.

    So the world shouldn’t have really been surprised when Future’s Games Radar changed its name for the day to Tomb Radar, as the risk of shattering the impartial veneer they try to con their readers into thinking exists is easily worth weathering in return for the substantial cash amount deposited into their coffers.

    Here’s what James Binns, senior money launderer at Future, had to say in the press release issued by Future as part of the bargain:

    “Tomb Raider: Underworld is a great game, well worth the 9/10 scores it is picking up across gaming websites and magazines. Getting the message out there on launch day is essential in the games market and this takeover gives Eidos unprecedented cut through.”

    It’s always nice to have Future’s publishing goals confirmed as putting advertising over the truth. But eagle-eyed Pat Garratt of the excellent news site Videogaming247 spotted a slight miscalculation on the part of Binns – the “9/10 scores it is picking up across websites and magazines” don’t exist.

    MetaCritic, which has the game down as a painfully average 76% at the time of writing, reveals that the only editorial outlet to have given the game 9/10 is Console Monster (anyone?). Interestingly enough, the 9/10 stuck onto the end of Games Radar’s (sorry - Tomb Radar’s) review is actually in place of the less PR-friendly 86% score it was given in the mag that was the source of the review, PC Gamer.

    You might think a disinformation campaign would be more than enough to save an ailing franchise that dreams of being half as good as (ironically) Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, but you’d be wrong. As again noticed by VG247, it was revealed by Gamespot journo Guy Cocker on his Twitter page that Eidos were asking review outlets to hold back any reviews that scored the recycled crappy-camera-angled shit-fest at less than 80% until Monday. That way, all of those saps who pay their wages have several days to go out and buy it before being warned by reviewers that it’s not worth the money.

    “Call from Eidos – if you’re planning on reviewing Tomb Raider Underworld at less than an 8.0, we need you to hold your review till Monday.”

    Then, a miracle occurred. The PR firm representing Eidos broke with an ancient tradition held since time immemorial – they told the truth.

    “We’re trying to get the Metacritic rating to be high, and the brand manager in the US that’s handling all of Tomb Raider has asked that we just manage the scores before the game is out, really, just to ensure that we don’t put people off buying the game, basically.”

    After realising the earth-shattering blow they’d dealt to the turgid name of PR by telling the truth, BHPR quickly retracted the statement and tried to pretend that all of the above was nothing more than a vivid hallucination.

    So what’s the moral of all this? Don’t be silly – publishers, marketers, PR husks and editorial shills don’t have any.


    1. Anonymous12:25 am

      Thanks for this stunning exposé of "site takeovers", a service all the major games sites have routinely been offering for the past five or six years.

      I look forward to you feigning shock at the brand new, top secret industry practices of press embargoes and non-judgmental previews.

      Maybe it'll be enough to distract attention from the catastrophically misjudged personal attacks of your last post, eh?

    2. The "catasrophicly misjudged personal attacks" that were almost exclusively from the readers? The people who pay increasingly large sums for advertising riddled pamphlets with pre-decided review scores? Those misjudged attacks?

      Because you know, heaven forbid the readers get an opinion on those they ('re supposed to) trust to tell them how to spend £50 or anything...

    3. Anonymous9:53 pm

      It'd be a shocking miracle if Tomb Raider Underworld actually deserved a 8/10 or better. How can they expect such a uninspired design to somehow become a remarkable game?

    4. Anonymous1:41 pm

      Jesus Christ, what's wrong with you people. HER TITS GET MUDDY

    5. Jonny2:14 pm

      If they ain't covered in jism, I ain't interested.

    6. Anonymous2:38 pm

      I think if you jizz on her tits it knocks the mud off, actually. Or turns it into a wet biege paste.

    7. Jonny3:24 pm

      Interesting. What happens when you make her jump in the water after you've jizzed on her muddy tits?

      To be honest, I don't even know what I'm talking about. Just bored.

    8. Hah! 'Tomb Radar'!? Priceless!

    9. Anonymous12:43 pm

      How about Womb Radar? A new site for Ultrasound technicians?