Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stop Bashing Famitsu

I'm not sure where Kotaku got the idea for their article about Famitsu's MGS:Peace Walker Review, and I don't know what would have prompted it.

It feels as though this is a moment of cynicism. Yes Famitsu is advertised in MGS:PW, and yes the former editor-in-chief of the publication is in a series of advertisements for the games and on the Konami website. But this is Famitsu. This is a magazine that very, very, very, very rarely gives a perfect score. When you compare the legacy of Famitsu to other magazines, what would be a 5/5 or 10/10 or 4 starred in one publication would only amount to a 6 or 7 in Famitsu.

It is really difficult to obtain a good score in Famitsu. Only 14 games have achieved the perfect score since the publication began in 1986. Time to count them out: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998), Soulcalibur (1999), Vagrant Story (2000), The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (2003), Nintendogs (2005), Final Fantasy XII (2006), Super Smash Bros. Brawl (2008), Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008), 428 (2008), Dragon Quest IX (2009), Monster Hunter Tri (2009), Bayonetta (2009), New Super Mario Bros. Wii (2009), and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (2010).

The common argument is that Famitsu has been handing out perfect scores like candy with publishers paying for the scores. It's been a longstanding debate, and knowing that a multitude of Western magazines partake, it's not difficult to imagine that Famitsu is holier and should be excluded. 4 games in 2008. 4 games in 2009. Honestly, I don't see what the big deal is. There have been a lot of great games released within the past 3 years. The ones listed by Famitsu are great titles that any gamer must play. It's not like Famitsu has always given the Final Fantasy series a perfect score (they had 13 games to go through, and only 1 met their standards), nor to Mario, or Zelda, or even Snake.

I think it's a case of too much good at one time. Because so many great games came out in a short time frame, that people jump on the wagon and cry foul play at Famitsu for awarding so many perfect scores. I have played all of the games listed above, except Peace Walker (unless the demo counts). And I do believe they are all worthy of the 40/40 score from Famitsu.

Of course I do agree that it is a little fishy to have Famitsu advertised in Peace Walker and to have the former editor-in-chief lighting up ads in Japan. So I propose this to the naysayers, where is the evidence? All that we have seen is circumstantial. Physical evidence has not been provided linking Konami to buying the score in Famitsu. If you can find the evidence, then I'll make an apology.

For a world full of crap, I have some shred of hope that Famitsu is one of the few gaming publications that isn't swayed. 14 perfect scores in 24 years is nothing when you look at Western publications that throw out 10/10 on 5-6 games every month. That alone allows me to believe that the score for MGS:PW is legit. So stop complaining until you can bring in the real facts.

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