Having taken a look at opencritic, I can easily say that I already prefer metacritic.
Metacritic is only awful if you can't see past the scores and read the obvious beefs people have with games.
Let's take Stardew Valley as an example, with OpenCritic as the first one:
(Our own) Steven Bogos - Stardew Valley is an absolutely charming little gem about forgetting all your worries and relaxing on a farm.
Let's take the lowest rated user review from metacritic:
Game is a poor rip-off of Harvest Moon. Played 5 minutes and refunded. The whole 'pixel' fad is over as far as I am concerned. Just because the original was low res, does not mean the dev's had to use pixel art to animate this game. Would have been infinitely better using cell shading or similar rendering.
Game feels clunky and people are simply jumping on the old 'pixel and nostalgia' train waving their 16x16 flags.
So between those two snippets, the second tells me a lot more than the first, namely that it's in some way similar to Harvest Moon and that it's a retro style game. It's indicated that the hype is related to the art style, because I personally know that retro pixel games are a popular fad. Browsing through other scores, I see much more reasonable opinions and some raise a few concerns such as grinding and a lack of content.
Now, I'm not going to compare the full review that Steven wrote (which was good by the way) to these comments, it's just an "at-a-glance" comparison of how useful OpenCritic is to me personally.
The bottom line is that I often get more out of the negative comments I read, than reviews. Diablo 3 is a good example of a "good" game that at launch was not something I should have bought, because of the complaints that people raised. Bioshock Infinite is another, which was overhyped to hell and (in my opinion) had lackluster gunplay - no amount of mindfucks, setting or great aesthetics can make up for the lack of fun I had playing it, so in that way the negative comments of metacritic helped me more than the glowing reviews it received almost across the board.
All that being said, I like how you can see what other kinds of reviews that particular people have given to games, but until there are dozens or a couple hundred available for each reviewer, it's not that useful yet, and even then it servers a different purpose.
I'll keep an eye on it and see how it develops.
I'm not fond of metacritic when it's used as a metric for bonus payments to companies, but as a tool for judging games I'm not sure about it can be somewhat useful.
If I'm unsure about a game, heading there, seeing the average scores, then scanning the user reviews is something I'd do.
Granted, I'll usually then head to forums discussing the game too, but for a glance it's useful enough to be worth checking.
It's possible that OpenCritic may be able to develop itself into a similar tool aswell.
There are two things I'd recommend the site to do. One is to remove number ratings entirely and replace it with a miniature version of the word cloud. Secondly, improve said word cloud by adjusting the colors to show how much that word is used in a positive, negative, or neutral light - While the words "loot" and "story" may tell me these are the most frequent words used in a review, a cloud where "story" is in a bright red and "loot" is green tells me more, in that the story is generally regarded as terrible but the loot drops are adequately rewarding.
"I skew high, since I tend to focus on reviewing games I hope to love." That's quite an admission. Do you also employ critics on your staff who are assigned to games they expect to hate? And others who figure that they'll be "meh" about games? How about this for an approach: go into a review assignment with an open mind and allow the game itself to dictate where you go with the review and how you'll score it.
As for this new site, I don't see how it's different than GameRankings and every other site of its ilk. They average together a bunch of review scores into a final score. And that score is rarely different than all the other averages floating around there. They use pretty much the exact same critics, so you wouldn't expect any different. Why this site is somehow more "gamer-centric" than Game Rankings is beyond me.
Meh, the only thing that matters to me is my own opinion (if informed). It is how it is.
I appreciate it and might check it, but ultimately, it holds little value to me. Same way Metacritic does. At most it annoys.
I don't understand... aren't we supposed to be trying to get away from these arbitrary numerical review systems? I know that it serves somewhat of a purpose, but I mean it does the same crap that MetaCritic does where it makes a 5 star review = 100/100. What's the point of uselessly aggregating multiple differing viewpoints when it has always been better to read people's full praise/complaints and look at actual gameplay yourself?