@Kevin-V - I think you misinterpreted my comment, perhaps because I was a bit vague. What I meant was that there are so many titles scoring around the same rank that it'd be nice if people were a little tougher on them so as to separate them a bit more. I didn't intend to imply that you're afraid to get your hands dirty. (Though I sometimes have questioned some of the scores some of the big blockbuster games have gotten - i'm looking at you Halo franchise!) Also, maybe there just needs to be more games worthy of 9 and 10s and that is what I'm looking for, rather than which 8-8.5 I should buy. It'd be so much easier to pick games if there were a few more games worthy of higher scores :)
@awyoung -- I gave a 3.5 to the last game I reviewed! And looking at the reviews list, we've got all sorts of scores filling the page; for my own reviews, my last 5 reviews had scores of 8.5, 3.5, 9.5, 4.5, and 7. We just happened to hit a good stretch where there weren't many games, but there were several great games that shone from that darkness. Xbox Live's Summer of Arcade was the main culprit. Hydro Thunder, Monday Night Combat, and Lara Croft: Guardian of light all ended up being quality games, giving a lot of positivity to a slow stretch. Remember, each score has a context--a full review--so it's always best to read it to understand why the game received the score it did.
Trust me, as someone unafraid to say what he thinks, I can reassure you that we hold games to high standards, and are being plenty hard on the games we review. But if a game is great, a game is great, and we're gonna say so!
So many games getting 8 - 8.5 scores. I don't think Gamespot reviewers are being hard enough on the games they review. I liked using the scores as a final deciding factor in which ones I purchase after I decided which I liked or disliked, but it's getting hard when all the games have the same score :)