Over the past couple of days, Ben's editorial has made the rounds with the
online gaming community. It's hit various feeds on Twitter, a few other gaming
sites, and even a podcast. Generally, the response to Ben's Killzone 2 Edge
piece has been met with heavy criticism. As such, as the Co-founder and
Executive Editor of the site, I've found myself in a weird position. For the 10
years I've been at the helm of PSXE, I don't believe we've ever once been called
a fanboy site. Yes, it is a Sony centric site, but every editor here has always
been hired on the basis of being open minded about their gaming views; it's been
that way for a while now.
Granted, when the site was just launched I was much younger, so the quality of
work you'll find if you start digging around to prove me wrong is separated by a
timespan of 10 years. In any case, I'd just like to point some things out about
Ben Dutka, while at the same time clarifying some others. It's important to know
that despite Ben's passionate editorials, he was hired to write for PSX Extreme
as an owner of an Xbox 360 and a PlayStation 2, the latter of which had been
largely sidelined by him after his HD acquisition.
Ben has sung nothing but high praises for the Xbox 360, and has tried to
convince me numerous times to buy one. Ben's logged as many hours on his Xbox
360 last year as he has his PlayStation 3. With games like Lost Odyssey, Left 4
Dead, and especially Gears of War 2, I still have to decline Ben's persuasion
largely because I feel like I won't play the machine that much. Gaming has
become more of my job than it has my hobby, and if I need to experience and
compare a multiplatform game I have Xbox 360 access at my best-friend's house.
Nobody who's deemed a fanboy would continuously try to convince me to buy the
PlayStation 3's biggest rival; it is simply not the way of the fanboy. Ben has
repeatedly mentioned that Gears of War 2 is his second game of the year title
for 2008, yes, putting it above his love for Resistance 2. And even then, Ben
has a reservation or two, feeling that in some cases maybe Gears of War 2 is his
GOTY? And that would mean, *gasp*, putting it above Metal Gear Solid 4. So let's
just say that Ben's GOTY is a tie between the biggest Xbox 360 game of 2008, and
the biggest PlayStation 3 game of 2008.
I've been around plenty of fanboys in the past, and I can attest that Ben is not
one of them. That is simply not how we hire people around here. His passionate
stand against Edge was misinterpreted by many as lacking integrity and the wrong
way for gaming journalism. And I believe that a lot of the negativity comes from
people who simply don't know enough about Ben's gaming habits. His response to
Edge's review may not have dissected their Killzone 2 piece by pointing out its
faults, but that's largely because it was a quick article where Ben just wanted
to get a message across…looks like it worked. I've read the Killzone 2 review
myself, and believe me, it'd be easy for anyone to point out the obvious flaws
in it – the most obvious being that they complain about things in KZ2 that other
games like COD4, Gears of War 2, and Halo 3 got passes for. The other major
complaint being that they spent, essentially, one tiny, closing paragraph
remarking how nice the multiplayer was.
Don't get what I'm saying wrong. I honestly couldn't care less if Edge gave
Killzone 2 a 3, I'd just prefer that they wrote a review that matched the score.
Instead, the context of the review seemed to dance around with cleverly
constructed quips and such, with an entire page dedicated solely to the opening
bit of the game. Give us legitimate reasons why you didn't enjoy Killzone 2 as
much as others did, Edge. Don't list reasons that you've given other games
passes for. And I know that I shouldn't bring up other reviews because different
people review different games. But collectively, they are reviewing these games
representing one sole publication, so the review process should have some sort
of consistency that reflects how they've judged games in the past. That's just
me, though, and I don't expect everyone to agree – just ask that you see where
I'm coming from with this.
Killzone 2 isn't the be-all-and-end-all of first person shooters. It's an
amazing game, but it will surely be replaced with something even more amazing in
the coming days. We just believe that it was reviewed poorly, and ask Edge to
have their writing reflect their scores more clearly, even if it means being
harsher with their grading scale, on top of being even more brutal, although
more concise and detailed with the context of their reviews.
I also wanted to add that the comical remarks about Ben being some kid in
someone's basement couldn't be further from the truth. Ben Dutka is neither a
kid (he's 31), nor a scrawny, whiny kid, as I have seen implied by some, nor is
he living in anyone's basement. Truth is, Ben Dutka is the Hulk. So let's not
get into the personal stuff, because no one reading knows what Ben actually
looks like. Some say, he's got Dual Shock analog sticks for thumbs, and Xbox
analog sticks for his big toes. All I know is that he's Ben Dutka. And me having
to point out that he's not a scrawny, pent up kid seems childish in a way, I'm
well aware, but it seems relevant in another.
I don't know how much of this cleared anything up. Maybe I've just lit up a new
fire, which isn't my intention. I wrote this with the sole purpose of dousing
the flames, and have people understand that PSX Extreme is not a site for
fanboys. You want some proof? Go look at my review of Grand Theft Auto: San
Andreas – one of the biggest PlayStation 2 timed-exclusives – or read my review
of MotorStorm 1 and MotorStorm 2, and then look at the review of Pure, which I
scored quite a bit higher than MS2. Just because something is a first-party
title, or exclusive, doesn't automatically make us defend it more than something
else, and that should be made clear. We'd have made a stink about a review if
the game in question was some mega third-party title and not necessarily an
exclusive. While I'm in no position to make demands to Edge, I kindly ask that
they treat their reviews with a bit more detail on the game, even if that means
harsher content and lower scores.
P.S. Caught up with the hunger of me running on nothing but coffee…I completely forgot to mention, but intended mentioning, one important aspect to PSX Extreme. Those who have been with us know that for about three years, we also operated a sister site called Xbox Nerds. Granted, while the site wasn't anywhere near as successful as PSXE, we still tried to keep it going for as long as we could, because we genuinely like the Xbox platform as a whole and wanted to cover it, as well. We folded XBNerds last year, as with a staff of only two, focusing on a whole other manufacturer was very difficult. So again, before the fanboy comments begin to pass around, keep that in mind.