Penny Arcade proves that reviews don’t need scores

tycho.jpgA lot has been said about video game reviews and how they should be scored. Scale of 100? Scale of 10? Four stars? Five stars? I’m not saying I don’t look at Metacritic’s aggregations, but scores are pretty arbitrary. Until you find a specific reviewer who can consistently replicate your tastes, it’s hard to trust random gaming journalists and the number they assign to a game.

Tycho over at Penny Arcade informally reviews the latest Zelda adventure for the DS, Phantom Hourglass:

I picked up my copy of Phantom Hourglass yesterday, along with a Cinnabon, returning later to buy another Cinnabon for a “friend who really likes cinammon,” proceeding to eat both in the front seat of my car, sometimes honking inadvertently.

I had time to play it a little when we got back, but we’ve had an enigmatic Japanese copy in the office for a while. That is to say, we already knew of its incredible polish – the exotic, aromatic oils, waxed deep into the dark wood. My favorite review is actually in a 1up writer’s personal blog, and I’m not in a position to speak to much of it yet, but if you’re hesitant about what stylus exclusive controls would do to Zelda, a half hour with the game will dispel it. At forty five minutes you will be absolutely transported. After an hour, in the margin of your thoughts, you’ll begin to fantasize about what they’ll do in the Wii.

It’s not technically a review, but it does give his opinion about the game and lets most anyone know the single most important factor: it’s fun and it’s worth it. There’s no score attached, but you have no question as to whether he thinks it’s a good game or not. Also, that line about honking the car horn is comedy gold.

For me, it was a lot of fun to read about someone’s experience playing a game, rather than a list of pluses and minuses. Do you think there’s a place for game reviews similar to what Tycho posted?