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GameSpot to lose more credibility?

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If anything, they've made that more critical (the second one is the new version). All they seem to have done is made it more colloquial and added obligatory review fluff.

Oh, I thought that edit was the other way around... either way I guess they've not really changed the message of the review.

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Let's take this apart. They changed the opening paragraph from a summary of the review's contents, to a bunch of press-release-esque fluff summarising the game:

**** & *****: Dead Men is an ugly game, and we're not necessarily talking about the graphics. This criminal tale is packed with a collection of completely unlikable characters with no redeeming value whatsoever. It's impossible to even root for them as antiheroes. Once you get past the messy, meaningless story, things don't get too much better because you're saddled with clunky artificial intelligence on the part of your allies and your enemies, as well as a core shooting mechanic that simply doesn't satisfy. The unfortunate part is that the game does have a few bright points and feels like it had a lot of potential that just didn't come together as well as anyone must have hoped.


Io Interactive is best known for its stealth-focused ****** series, but there's nothing quiet and sneaky about its latest release, **** & *****: Dead Men. This time around, the developer put together a crime-themed shooter that starts out with a couple of simple, heist-like objectives and then rapidly spins out of control until, without much warning, you're gunning down soldiers in the middle of a foreign revolution. While the journey sounds interesting at first, and has a few bright points, it's weighed down by bad storytelling, a real lack of character development, and a host of gameplay-related issues. The end result is a game that squanders much of its potential and just doesn't come together as well as it probably should have.

Edit- Hmm, actually reading more closely, all they've really done is added a bit more info on the game's story and given it parity with the ending paragraph.

it's extremely difficult to care about anything that's happening to them.


it'll probably be tough for you to find anyone to latch onto and care about, even if you typically go for this sort of crime drama on TV or in movies.

They've just made it more vague.

"The game is a real..."



disappointment, especially when you consider how well this same sort of stuff worked in the developer's previous squad-based game, Freedom Fighters.

Okay, that's a good edit. That adds something.

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Added: There's only one multiplayer mode in **** & *****, and it's a great idea...

Unfortunately, the idea doesn't translate into a great or long-lasting experience.

Alright, that's them getting to the point, albeit a paragraph early. This paragraph isn't about the bad parts of the multiplayer, the next one is:

It's a great idea that's


It's a bummer that the multiplayer is

"...mucked up by a few different things."

Okay, the language is made more sloppy and colloquial between the two versions of this pair of paragraphs, and that's about it.



While it might seem like a basic heist game, **** & ***** does a good job of moving the action around, and you'll see a variety of different environments and situations, ranging from banks, to prison breaks, to full-scale conflicts in the middle of illicit poppy fields. It also has some

"...good-looking player models, with **** and ***** both looking appropriate as over-the-hill criminals."

Well, all they've done there is added more press release fluff about the game's varied settings, as the topic sentence of a paragraph about technical quality. That's just bad.

This is dropped in as a whole paragraph now:

The multiplayer mode is a really cool idea that leaves you wondering who's going to turn traitor on you, but it isn't strong enough to make you forget the game's other problems.

I'm not sure why they did that, really, the section on multiplayer ended a paragraph ago and now we're onto the audio. "Lazy" becomes "graduitous" regarding the swearing, which is good, and this bit is tightened up:

That's just lame.


Things like that just make the game feel purposely abrasive, and not in a "gritty" or "cool" sort of way.

Now there's a paragraph on differences between the versions, and we get onto the summary.

**** & *****: Dead Men is a premise with promise, but the gameplay isn't sound while the story and characters go nowhere. And it's got enough random AI-based glitches to make you want to scream. Considering the nearly ridiculous number of extremely high-quality shooters available recently, there's not much room for something like **** & *****, but the multiplayer is a smart idea that's worth seeing, even if playing it makes you wish that it was used in another, better game.


**** & *****: Dead Men is a premise with promise and if you've been waiting patiently for a game to really dive into the whole "crew-based heist tale" concept, you might be able to look past some of the story flaws. But when you consider the nearly ridiculous number of extremely high-quality shooters available recently, there's not much room for something like **** & *****, even taking into account the somewhat unique nature of its story. That said, the multiplayer is a smart idea that's worth seeing, even if playing it makes you wish that it was used in another, better game.

So, hold on, we've gone from "bad story, bad gameplay, bad AI, there's far better out there, but the multiplayer is good" to "flawed gameplay, flawed story, not as good as what's out there lately, good story, but the multiplayer is good"? So they've toned down the story criticisms without changing the main review's take on the story and quietely dropped how bad the AI is. I suspect this is what they meant by making it more like a 6/10 review.

So, on aggregate, they just make it a bit more poorly written and tone down the intro and summary paragraph.

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Very good gamesutra article on all this

Written by Shawn Elliot and Robert Ashley.

“If you disagree with me, you do so at your own peril,” wrote Trip Hawkins, president of the now defunct game publisher 3DO, in an irate e-mail to the editors of GamePro magazine in 2001. “....And do not patronize me by telling me the reader is the customer—your real customer is the one that pays you your revenue. And it is game industry advertisers.”
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Yeah, I agree it all went tits up. This time. Like I said earlier, this is the one you found out about, what about the others that have gone under the radar?

Anyway, not sure what to make of this anymore. I originally thought that it was a fact that he was fired because of the review, you know, that is was official. Whilst it's still possible, and maybe likely, I can see now that's not the case (Not because of the Q&A, just because I originaly did think it was an official thing) so I'll have to see where it goes. I still think the relation between publishers and the press is not in the best interests of the readers, to put it lightly.

I remember the review of Operation Thunderbolt on the C64 by Zzap really undermined my faith in them. If I had figured out the relationship between them and Thalamus I would have completely lost it.

And there were a couple of times where Amiga Power risked it all for teh exclusive.

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  • 1 month later...
A rather neat wrap up of the whole stinking affair with some new info over at 1up. Quite a good, if lengthy read.

So, to summarise:

All signs point to Gamespot having sold out, it isn't really sudden but this made everyone realise it, several of their key faces have left, and everyone is still gasping in disbelief that it has wrapped up so neatly with Gamespot making no real excuse for it. Gamespot, it would seem, are now just an advertising tool, and Gerstman/Broady are now going to set up their own site to usurp GS.

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A rather neat wrap up of the whole stinking affair with some new info over at 1up. Quite a good, if lengthy read.

Cheers for that. It seems that all the veteran staff have left now, and this Josh Larson character is part of the problem. I look forward to seeing this rumoured new site from Jeff and Vince.


"You see, at least until recently, GameSpot's policies for reviews were some of the strictest in the business -- going further than even ours at the 1UP Network in some ways."


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This got me thinking about old Kane And Lynch

So I dropped onto Gamespot to find that the User Reviews have jumped to 3.3/10


Including that one...um a 10/10!?!?!


Most of the reviews are all 9/10 10/10 - You think Eidos are planting them?

On the other side though, I expect a lot of the low scores are simply from angry gamers over the whole debacle, not just the quality of the game itself.

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A rather neat wrap up of the whole stinking affair with some new info over at 1up. Quite a good, if lengthy read.

Interestingly, Frank Provo's goodbye note is no longer on Gamespot. Could be something to do with the fact that it included the following:

I won't lie to people and tell them a game is good when it isn't.

Will Gamespot ever recover their credibility? It's going to be a long way back, and they're not exactly helping themselves.

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