GTA IV and the Exclusive Review
Here’s Variety on the problems associated with exclusive reviews, in the context of the IGN GTA IV that went up a few days ago and gave the game a 10 out of 10. Ben Fritz brings up the Game Informer Mass Effect 9.75 review that was also an exclusive (and mentioned some massive flaws).
A comment on the piece has some details about how this sort of thing works:
With the release of GTA Vice City, the rules where simple: Take 2 permitted you to publish a review BEFORE the game was released if you gave it 95% or more. You sign that document, you got playable code. All the others got their first playable code in the form of a retail version, at the day of release. By then, the press already had tons of 95+ releases, and no-one dared to oppose these reviews, in fear of getting butchered by GTA fanboys.
Depressing, really. Me? I’m cynical like a truckload of dadaists, so 10/10 from IGN means very little. Any > 9 review of a triple-A game on a big site doesn’t mean too much. Not that I think GTA IV will suck; I’m preparing to devote many hours of my life to it. But still, 10/10 implies no past or future game can rival its greatness, which seems a little over the top.