Thursday, December 18, 2014

DA:Inquisition "Review" Inaccuracies Worry Me With New Gamers

I don't know why I did, but I clicked on the Breitbart "review" of Dragon Age: Inquisition written by Milo Yiannopoulos. I'm using the term review lightly because of Yiannopoulos previous work. Breitbart News Network, for those who don't know, is a conservative news and opinion site that tends to lean very much towards the political right. If you weren't certain, scroll down their page and look at their "See Also" sections that link right back to Fox News. It initially was a wire go-to site for the Associated Press, Reuters, etc. and became a good source for quick picks. But it has evolved since then into a  Republican, politically minded opinion site.

Because of this, I haven't linked to Breitbart before. Particularly with the #GamerGate hashtag, as Yiannopoulos was one of the primary "reporters" on the stories and was, well, let's just say less then objective.

"The video game community is...a strange choice of target for feminist culture warriors, who heaved ominously into view a few years ago, like the genocidal, psychopathic aliens in Independence Day.

It was time to do away with all that “fun” people were having, said these grievance-mongering killjoy arrivistes, and start taking seriously the overwhelmingly clear moral obligation to include at least six minorities, four gay dudes and a paraplegic illegal immigrant lesbian in every major video game release.

I’m exaggerating, obviously. But not by much: these bizarre campaigners, deploying a series of disingenuous and morally questionable tactics, such as goading people into making unpleasant remarks and then using those statements to publicly beg for sympathy and cash, have made gamers’ lives a misery these last few years." From the article GamerGate: Angry Feminists, Unethical Journalists Are the Ones Not Welcome In the Gaming Community. (With the URL noting that GamerGate is making terrific progress, don't stop now!)

Yiannopoulos announced on December 15th that as a "social warrior of justice," and one of the first to break the news about the secretive mailing list (that publishers pay for reviews, sex favors, and the industry is trying to push a political agenda onto millions), is writing a book about #GamerGate.


This is why I don't take their opinions seriously enough to link them here. Their objectiveness scale is a bit off-kilter.

So I don't really have a good reason as to why I decided to read Yiannopoulos' Dragon Age review, knowing that it was going to be a mess in composition, thought, and would probably lack in factual information. Checking his history on Breitbart shows that he has yet to write a game review.

I think it was the Mass Effect image used as the screen cap for the article. Because Mass Effect is the same game as Dragon Age. Absolutely.

Sarcasm aside, the first 3 paragraphs would turn a Bioware fan, or any gamer in fact, away from reading onward. It starts out bashing Canadians followed up by labeling Bioware as a developer of “average games that perform well with customers." You can feel the hatred oozing. Let it flow through you.

As one who has not played Inquisition yet (no time!), I can see the mountain of inaccuracies that the review brings by how Yiannopoulos talks about the other games in the Bioware catalog. "Mass Effect 2 wasn’t a critical success with ordinary gamers either; they called it “filler” and said it was “uninspiring.” It, too, bored players with politics." I'm trying to figure out where he found the quotes as his sources are not mentioned. According to reviewers across the board it's lauded as one of the best in the Mass Effect franchise. While it simplified combat and equipment compared to the first game, it expanded a story that begged to be told. And it's one of the highest user score's you'll find on Metacritic, so I don't know where Yiannopoulous found his facts regarding gamers impressions. Three million in sales is nothing to balk at.

Reading the disgust (I can't think of a better word to describe his words) Yiannopoulos has for Bioware's past games, with information that is not accurate, it's easy to assume that what he writes about for Inquisition is probably untrue as well. Not just easy, but most likely a safe assumption. He also takes jabs at other game sites like Polygon but doesn't provide content to back up why he's making the insult. (I know, I know. I do this sometimes too with Fox News but at least I explain myself instead of blindly bashing them.) What kicked it over for me was his section about the "forced romances." Never played Inquisition, but knowing Bioware as well as I do with how they develop their content, having a romantic relationship with characters in the game is never forced. They are always optional. Always. They are extra components to the story to help develop your personal Inquisitor, but they are not required to proceed to the next plot point.

Yiannopoulos has completely missed the mark if he couldn't convey the basic romance premise to the readers. How are his readers to know fact from fiction if he can't provide accurate content?

And THAT is why I'm discussing this article today.

Since published, the article has received 240 comments and, after some searching, at least 12 thousand hits (roughly-since the stats on this will change from search engine to search engine). My biggest concern is that this quick to judge reaction over a video game and a gaming company is causing a rift between gamers and conservatives that follow the Breitbart website. The responses from gaming communities like Giant Bomb are, essentially, mocking the review. There are a few posts here and there mentioning that Yiannopoulos makes one or two valid points about Inquisition, but when it's seeped in the sea of discontent and hatred, it's very easy to blow off the review. And because the writer is coming from the position of social Conservative, he's isolating himself and others from gamers. They're becoming outcasts when the gaming community is (generally) a place of inclusion. Yiannopoulos has taken a mantle as the one to save the world from the corruption of games - in turn people are associating all Republicans as game haters. We know that's not the reality, but when you read articles like that, it's difficult to find a good side.

My other concern is that those who know nothing about video games, who have heard a lot about Inquisition and thought they might try it but decide to check reviews first, stumble upon this one - what is their reaction going to be? With the lack of facts, and a heavily swayed opinion about anything that isn't white-male-Republican, my worry is that new gamers are going to be turned off from gaming entirely because of this one man's interpretation. It is vitriol. While game reviews are known by the masses to be more laxed, humorous and witty with their honesty, they at least provide more objective commentary then what Yiannopoulos provided with his article. The piece is more of a gay-bashing, lesbian-hating, Canadian destroying, fear-monger writing style.

I have to wonder if he even played the game based on how fairly inaccurate his description of game content was. Looking over the entirety of the piece, the only section I could find as factual was the game's pricing at the very bottom of the review: "Dragon Age: Inquisition, $59.99 (PC); prices for console editions vary." Yep. Inquisition is on PC and on other platforms, priced at $59.99 on PC - console editions may vary.

While I know that the majority of the internet understands that this article should not be taken seriously, my concern lies to those few who do not - who are missing out on the experience of gaming in general because of writing such as Yiannopoulos'. It's not a review. It's a hate-filled speech against anything Yiannopoulos feels does not fit his point of view. That is my worry. I dislike it when people are afraid to try something because of the words of one individual are telling them "no."

Also, underwear as your rating system? Really? Is that really an appropriate way to gauge a product? I have to wonder if he even cares about media content if he is quick to relegate it to clothing that covers ones bum as a means of rating it. Stay classy Yiannopoulos.


  1. That guy has admitted he barely touches games if I recall correctly, and yet, and he's writing reviews? Ugh. It makes me, trying my hardest to make a name for myself with game criticism, so upset. This guy is just a mouthpiece for GG. And for him to try and insert those "values" (I use the term loosely) into a review... well, that's just kind of despicable.

    1. I feel you - without giving away names and details, I'm currently applying to a credible news source for a gaming critic/review/reporter position. It would be a dream job. For those of us that try so hard to keep gaming on the up and up, we have people like Yiannopoulos, (he never played a game until #GamerGate hit, after doing some research-he has a tweet linked to a Twitch stream of his first time playing a game), at the head of the table without the knowledge or know-how to back up their work. And they're the ones being followed and lauded for their words. Why? There is so much for video games and media to offer to the masses, and they're being stripped down by those type of websites to insert their "values." Just as you said.../sigh This world sometimes...


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