Likely, you are asking, “Who is Cevat Yerli?” You know him better as “the guy who founded Crytek,” famed Crysis developer. Why do more people need to think like him? Well, in an era of hype and metacritic scores being the end all be all, Cevat brings a new perspective – One I’ve personally had for quite some time while reviewing games, or any media really.
Courtesy of Crytek
In a recent GameSpot interview, Cevat says Crysis 3 is better than the previous two installments in “every way.” You know what? He’s right. The graphics, control, and story are all miles better than Crysis and Crysis 2. However, it is currently sitting at a respectable 81 on Metacritic, while Crysis is at 91 and Crysis 2 score at 86. Why is that? Well Cevat believes it is due to two factors: “Fatigue”, or basically a combination of higher expectations and a lot of the same from other games. This isn’t anything new, but the other part of his explanation is. He says because Crysis was so different from other console offerings, at the time, it received higher review scores. To be exact, he said:
“It was so different to others that the relative impact it created was so much more bigger than Crysis 2 or Crysis 3, so, for me, the relative impact that Crysis 3 has created is lower than what Crysis 1 did. But I would think at any level it’s better than Crysis 2, and it’s certainly still better than Crysis 1. People remember Crysis 1 much bigger than it was, because it had a high impact.”
The key phrase is “Relative Impact”. Basically, he is taking into account when and how the game was released and has no qualms about saying that I was not as good as the other 2 games, but it had a much greater impact. This recognition does not happen nearly often enough, either in the media, or in casual fan conversation.
A great example of this, is Final Fantasy 7. Many herald this as the “greatest” Final Fantasy game, others go so far as to hate it, crying “overrated.” However the reality is, we should look at it just like Cevat. Is it understandably better remembered because of when/how it was released? Absolutely. This is what put RPG’s, and Final Fantasy specifically, on the map for a much larger portion of this country. Final Fantasy gave people something new (3-D cut scenes) and was HUGELY influential in the continuation of the series. For that, it deserves a place in history. However, is it really “better” than 8/9/10 etc? No. Even ignoring graphics, which do not age well for any early 3-D psx game, it had a questionable story, (even by JRPG standards) same old battle system, even the materia system has been improved upon in later installments as well. By most measurable accounts, it was not as good as games that came later, but it did make a huge difference.
This also happens the other way around. Games are released with too much hype, or at a bad time, and get lost or receive less recognition, regardless of quality. An example of this is Fable. This game had so much hype and legitimately failed to live up to a lot of it. Looking at it now, the game stands up quite well – controls, battle system and story are all very good. To be fair, its not like it killed the series. Fable went on to have two successful sequels. I notice it often gets lost how good the original game was amid all the hype, and letdown because of it.
We all should be more careful in the future to make sure we take note of context when discussing quality of games. Don’t be afraid to separate the influential games from the good ones, they both deserve credit, just in the right context. Let’s not place games on pedestals for being “Great” when they are “Influential” and not let a “Great” game get trashed on because its not “Influential” enough.