Every consumer of popular culture must at one time or another define his or her relationship with the critics. Book critics, movie critics, television critics, game critics – if there’s an art form, there’s a group of people who are considered experts, either by others or just on their own account.
In an ideal world, the critics would be impartial experts with a deep knowledge of their subject matter – people who can be trusted to provide an informed opinion regarding the relative worth of various cultural offerings. Sadly, this isn’t always the case. Critics are people, and people aren’t perfect. There are favorites – critical darlings – and then there are…well…others: the lesser lights of the artistic cosmology. It’s a sad fact that well-known authors (or game designers, or comic book publishers) become better known over time, while equally deserving offerings remain obscure. Some things are just doomed from the start, and sometimes it’s not fair.
Then there are those things that might receive the incredible scorn of critics (or their love) yet receive an opposite reaction from the public. I can think of dozens of movies (and books and games and…) that might fit this category. It can be infuriating, especially if you’re on the opposite side of critical opinion.
I’ve been there before. As a matter of fact, I’m there right now. I recently bought the new video game Medal of Honor: Warfighter, and have been utterly flabbergasted by the poor critical reviews it has received. I’ve enjoyed the heck out of the game: the deep multiplayer experience and the utterly engrossing and emotionally affecting single player campaign has pulled me in like few games have. (I think the last title I felt so strongly about was Battlefield: Bad Company.) Yet here I am, investing hours into this awesome game while I watch its score on metacritic drop lower and lower. I don’t normally take things so personally, but it seemed to me that the critics were chomping at the bit to destroy Medal of Honor: Warfighter before it ever hit store shelves. Why? Who knows?
Normally I take the opinion of critics fairly seriously. When it comes to movies, I pretty much live and die by Rottentomatoes.com. Now I’m wondering whether that’s warranted. Has my faith been misplaced? What have I missed out on?
How do you relate to critics? Do you take critical consensus seriously? How often do you agree with the critics? Where do you fall on the scale?