This is not a slight at Gamespot in specific, but rather at reviewers in general.
Its no secret that in terms of the shear amount of RPG's released this has been one of the worst gaming generations for the North America marketplace.
Sure we get a few here and there, but overall its nothing like last generation, or the one prior where the stack on my coffee table was taller then the lamp it sat beside.
It's also not really a surprise, as it seems that reviewers of all stripes are particularly hard on the genre in general.
With developers tying bonuses to metacritic scores its no wonder that RPG's are few and far in between as they seem to get hammered for the same reasons other genres receive praise.
I look at a title like GTA4, solid title, updated graphics (as it was next gen it should have been anyway), same sandbox style freedom, deeper story, however nothing that we have not seen in the sandbox genre before.
It's deemed a 10.
Then I look at something like Lost Odyssey.
Perhaps one of the best story telling games within a genre that is ripe with games that rely heavily on storytelling, updated graphics, similar interface to the more classic turn based RPG's and a new spin on character development
It's deemed a 7.5
Mass Effect 2 & Fallout 3 are two other titles that even though they have received praise, and even though they have taken the classic RPG genre and taken it in a very new and cool direction
At Gamespot there are 9's.
It seems that the secret to scoring a 9.5 or a 10 is pretty simple:
1) Be a First Person Shooter
2) Be a Racing Sim
3) Be a Sandbox Title with updated Graphics
And if you are a Turn Based Strategy Game…
Don't expect to score much better something recycled and redone as Zombie Apocalypse.
The trick seems to be pretty simple, if you are an RPG and you are not Final Fantasy or Part of the Elder Scrolls Saga you just need to improvise.
The second Lost Odyssey shouldn't be called Lost Odyssey 2, no no my friends.
It should be called: Grand Theft Elder Fantasy of War Turismo 2: Guns of the ODST.
And if you can cram the word "Halo" in there you may score the first ever 11.
Am I asking too much to ask for fans of the genre to review games within the genre? Even if it's solely as a second opinion?
Game Informer offers me the Second Opinion on larger scale game, would it be that unreasonable to have a guy on staff who actually plays and enjoys the genres being reviewed?
In a generation ripe with the shooter genre, and millions of people playing them its not unrealistic to have a majority of gamers being shooter fans, and as such the majority of reviewers being the game, but throw me a bone here.
I am 85% of the way through Mass Effect 2, I am not the sort that gushes over titles and I can say that unless the game ends in the same craptastic manner that Infamous did, it may very well be the most rewarding and enjoyable gaming experience of my life, and at a minimum of this generation.
They created a whole new universe with races and places for us to play in, and that's a nine, copy a major US city and let me drive around it in a police car running down hookers and that's a ten?
At first I thought that Lost Odyssey was a blip, or that maybe I just enjoyed it in a level that most others did not, but the more I play games the more I realizes that the better experiences seem to be coming from games the experts feel are 7's or 8's and the odd barely a 9.