Forum > Gaming Discussion > Reviews? What are they good for? Hint: Absolutely nothing!
Reviews? What are they good for? Hint: Absolutely nothing!
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Mon, 21 Dec 2009 14:04:02
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What's your take on reviews and the ever present review scores? What do reviews mean to you? Do they influence your gaming purchases? Do you apply the same criteria to other media, like books or movies? What do you think of the evident conflict of interest that arises when someone reviews a game on a site that's taking advertising money from the very same game's publisher?

I'm not big on reviews, that's no secret. I reject even more the preponderance that review scores and aggregates seem to have for a lot of people out there. I follow the games I'm interested into and try to research as much as I can about the games that I don't know enough, so by the time a game hits the store shelves, I pretty much know already if I will buy it or not. I don't need reviews or scores for that, or for anything, for that matter.

But I wanted to hear the other side of the argument. How relevant are reviews on your side of the fence? Do you consider reviews accurate only when they match your particular viewpoint on a game, and dismiss them with callous contempt if they don't?
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Mon, 21 Dec 2009 15:52:44
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SteelAttack said:
I follow the games I'm interested into and try to research as much as I can about the games that I don't know enough, so by the time a game hits the store shelves, I pretty much know already if I will buy it or not. I don't need reviews or scores for that, or for anything, for that matter.

I think we've had a similar discussion in a thread before.

I don't think its a coincidence that the games you end up buying based on your research end up as mostly well reviewed games.

Reviews are part of the research, at least to me. You will never know what a game is like until you play it, so you have to use other peoples impressions of games as a buying guide of sorts. This includes reviews.

They are important to me but as important are reccomendations from people I trust or from a large number of real gamers on forums.

I like taking a risk on experimental games, I sell the bad ones, champion the good. I do find review sources difficult to relate too as they are up and down, there doesn't seem to be a good consistent source anymore, so you get well written reviews you agree with and assy ones you don't.

At the end of the day you mostly have to say, well that's a bad review. But you can only do this when you've had hands on time, or when an opinion significantly diverges from most commonly occuring opinions.

I think we need reviews. But if you are a fan of a particular genre, you can more easily accept the flaws of a less than stellar game.

I value humour and games which present mechanics or situations which I have never encountered before, even if they aren't as polished or well made as a FPS, which is a genre that feels played to death to me.

I guess it depends what you are into. I see guys here really into either racing games or JRPGs. For me you can have a zillion 10 out of 10 realistic racing games but unless they do something new like Burnout crash time, or building your own tracks customisation type stuff, no amount of reviews will register on my radar.

I also know that I dont like overcomplicated games in regards to menus, stats, so I steer clear of most RPGs.

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Mon, 21 Dec 2009 22:49:27
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Whenever I read a review for a game that I'm interested in, I look for specific key facts that can tell me if I'll like a particular game or not. For instance, I look for the hours of gameplay, replay value, any notable bugs/glitches, overly long or frequent cutscenes, control issues, ect. I generally ignore the score and the reviewers overall vibe because that's personal opinion.

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Mon, 21 Dec 2009 23:40:46
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I've tried both approaches, and my intuition is far more trustworthy.  At this point, though, it's somewhat odd -- I'm not too concerned about quality for the most part.  The games that I really, genuinely want to play, those are the ones I know I'll really enjoy.  The others are for the sake of the experience, for better or worse.

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Tue, 22 Dec 2009 00:36:11
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Ravenprose said:

Whenever I read a review for a game that I'm interested in, I look for specific key facts that can tell me if I'll like a particular game or not. For instance, I look for the hours of gameplay, replay value, any notable bugs/glitches, overly long or frequent cutscenes, control issues, ect. I generally ignore the score and the reviewers overall vibe because that's personal opinion.

This but I still use review scores. I think that is the quickest way to get a feeling for what range of overall quality you will be getting with a game. I dont mean looking at one score, I mean getting the overall score picture. If you see a game is getting all 9's then you know its going to be of high quality, now whether or not you like that game is something you should know before hand through research and knowing ones taste.

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Tue, 22 Dec 2009 00:39:09
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Dvader said:
 If you see a game is getting all 9's then you know its going to be of high quality.....

 .....or it might be moneyhats

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Tue, 22 Dec 2009 01:02:42
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Iga_Bobovic said:

Dvader said:
If you see a game is getting all 9's then you know its going to be of high quality.....

.....or it might be moneyhats

You will be able to tell as not everyone will accept a moneyhat.

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Tue, 22 Dec 2009 01:06:26
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Dvader said:

Iga_Bobovic said:

Dvader said:
If you see a game is getting all 9's then you know its going to be of high quality.....

.....or it might be moneyhats

You will be able to tell as not everyone will accept a moneyhat.

That still leaves the incompetent ones.

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Tue, 22 Dec 2009 01:40:42
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UH! SAY IT AGAIN NOW!

After Hyper statred sucking reviews became meaningless to me because I'm yet to find another review source that I consistently agree with.

Technical quality/critical reception does not necessarily equal enjoyment.

    Children, our lives have been gongs striking; clamour and boasting; cries of despair; blows on the nape of the neck in gardens.

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Tue, 22 Dec 2009 04:04:21
Foolz said:
I'm yet to find another review source that I consistently agree with.

I think that's a key sentence, hinging on the interpretation of "agree with".  Whereby my issue that came up from trying to follow reviews is not agree or disagree in a connotation and score level for the most part, whereby they may love a game that I hate, but praising parts of a game that are genuinely -- and I'd say objectively -- a liability.  Or, in the other direction, criticizing an aspect of a game seemingly for the sake of it.  Or criticizing an aspect of a game, then criticizing the exact opposite in its sequel.

It does nobody any good when it's a score + drivel to fill a word count quota.

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Tue, 22 Dec 2009 04:34:51

Yodariquo said:
Foolz said:
I'm yet to find another review source that I consistently agree with.

I think that's a key sentence, hinging on the interpretation of "agree with".  Whereby my issue that came up from trying to follow reviews is not agree or disagree in a connotation and score level for the most part, whereby they may love a game that I hate, but praising parts of a game that are genuinely -- and I'd say objectively -- a liability.  Or, in the other direction, criticizing an aspect of a game seemingly for the sake of it.  Or criticizing an aspect of a game, then criticizing the exact opposite in its sequel.

It does nobody any good when it's a score + drivel to fill a word count quota.

I would say it's an ironic interpritation of agree with. Nyaa

    Children, our lives have been gongs striking; clamour and boasting; cries of despair; blows on the nape of the neck in gardens.

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Tue, 22 Dec 2009 04:49:08
Foolz said:

Yodariquo said:
Foolz said:
I'm yet to find another review source that I consistently agree with.

I think that's a key sentence, hinging on the interpretation of "agree with".  Whereby my issue that came up from trying to follow reviews is not agree or disagree in a connotation and score level for the most part, whereby they may love a game that I hate, but praising parts of a game that are genuinely -- and I'd say objectively -- a liability.  Or, in the other direction, criticizing an aspect of a game seemingly for the sake of it.  Or criticizing an aspect of a game, then criticizing the exact opposite in its sequel.

It does nobody any good when it's a score + drivel to fill a word count quota.

I would say it's an ironic interpritation of agree with. Nyaa

GRAMMAR NAZI CAT

Edited: Tue, 22 Dec 2009 04:49:49

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Tue, 22 Dec 2009 08:12:17

Yodariquo said:
Foolz said:

Yodariquo said:
Foolz said:
I'm yet to find another review source that I consistently agree with.

I think that's a key sentence, hinging on the interpretation of "agree with".  Whereby my issue that came up from trying to follow reviews is not agree or disagree in a connotation and score level for the most part, whereby they may love a game that I hate, but praising parts of a game that are genuinely -- and I'd say objectively -- a liability.  Or, in the other direction, criticizing an aspect of a game seemingly for the sake of it.  Or criticizing an aspect of a game, then criticizing the exact opposite in its sequel.

It does nobody any good when it's a score + drivel to fill a word count quota.

I would say it's an ironic interpritation of agree with. Nyaa

GRAMMAR NAZI CAT

Thread eh? So you're referring to your own post as well! GASP

Edited: Tue, 22 Dec 2009 08:12:36

    Children, our lives have been gongs striking; clamour and boasting; cries of despair; blows on the nape of the neck in gardens.

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Tue, 22 Dec 2009 08:38:19
Other than ranting on a highly hyped game that got flopped reviews on nerdy websites like this one? Nyaa

J/K

For the most part I don't listen to reviews either. I've enjoyed a lot of games that got less than stellar reviews. When it comes to games I already want or know about, like a New Super Mario game or Zelda, I don't care about the reviews I just buy it.

But then there are those games I know nothing about and that's where reviews come in handy. Did I get letdown by a review before? Yes! (TWEWY!) *Ahem* Did I enjoy a badly reviewed game? Yes, Haunting Ground, Bullet Witch, and Last Remnant, which I'm playing now.

Sometimes it helps, but most of the times, it's just for kicks to talk about on forums. Besides, a lot of the editors who review these games are IGNorant.

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Now Playing: Golden Sun Dark Dawn, God of War Ghost of Sparta, and DKC Returns

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Tue, 22 Dec 2009 10:43:57

Foolz said:
UH! SAY IT AGAIN NOW!

After Hyper statred sucking reviews became meaningless to me because I'm yet to find another review source that I consistently agree with.

Technical quality/critical reception does not necessarily equal enjoyment.

Yeah I feel this. I used to trust review sources, like gamespot, even IGN, some mags too. Then for some reason, maybe its because of the nature of games journalism and economics, interchanging staff and using freelancers to cut costs - review sources just became inconsistent and it came to a point where I cannot trust any one source. This is why I look at like 10+ reviews for a game I am interested in.

One thing that really bugs me about reviews is when the review hinges on certain flaws the reviewer sees which are easily remedied in the options menu. Why do some reviews whine about the wii remote speaker when they can turn it off and have the sound come out of the TV for instance.

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Wed, 23 Dec 2009 17:35:53


What I hate about reviews these days, especially online reviews, is they've become too fucking long. I don't need a goddamn 4 page encyclopedia telling me every fucking detail about a game before I've played it!

Go read some online reviews for games 10 years ago, and they were 1 page and right to the point. What's the game, why is it good, is it worth buying, done. Thank you.

When I click on a review for a major game nowadays and see its 4 pages long, all I can do is roll my eyes and say OH WHAT THE FUUUUCK.

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Wed, 23 Dec 2009 18:15:40

edgecrusher said:


What I hate about reviews these days, especially online reviews, is they've become too fucking long. I don't need a goddamn 4 page encyclopedia telling me every fucking detail about a game before I've played it!

Go read some online reviews for games 10 years ago, and they were 1 page and right to the point. What's the game, why is it good, is it worth buying, done. Thank you.

When I click on a review for a major game nowadays and see its 4 pages long, all I can do is roll my eyes and say OH WHAT THE FUUUUCK.

Yeah, a lot of the time I skip to the concluding paragraph.

Also what I dont like is reviews that try and describe each component of a game seperately like the audio etc. When its forced I mean.

A review, as I used to like them are like a story and should be just as long as they need to be and have a beggining, a middle and an end. And I want to hear emotion in reviews, tell me how the game makes you feel.

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Wed, 23 Dec 2009 21:27:34

Before I got into gaming I enjoyed reading music and movie reviews.  There is something provocative about the review writing process that has always interested me.  Here is one person, who has been tasked to sum up the works of a group of people who had nothing in mind but to succeed.  And the reviewer has to do this in a few hundred words, be knowledgeable about every aspect of their craft and present their work in a convincing and entertaining manner.  So I find well-written reviews to be greatly interesting.

Unfortunately, most (I'd say over 90%) of the game reviews are tainted by the relationship the writer or publisher has with the game publishing companies, either through payola (though free games and promos), relationships or advertising. The same can be said of any consumer-driven reviews (autos, cameras, cell phones etc...), not just gaming. 

So I enjoy reviews for their writing (sometimes), right now one of my favorite writers is Phil Theobald, not because I agree or disagree with his opinions, just because it is so clear that he enjoys the craftsmanship of writing.

Scores? I use them as a quick indicator if I am considering a purchase that I have no prior knowledge on.  I'll look at Metacritic and then the GS users score (which I've found to be accurate give or take a point almost 100% of the time).

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Wed, 23 Dec 2009 22:59:40

aspro said:

Scores? I use them as a quick indicator if I am considering a purchase that I have no prior knowledge on.  I'll look at Metacritic and then the GS users score (which I've found to be accurate give or take a point almost 100% of the time).

This is pretty much my feeling on scores.  They're great for directing my attention to games that slipped past my radar. Like Henry Hatsworth for instance.  I really had no knowledge of the game, but when I noticed it had a strong Metacritic score I went ahead and picked it up and didn't regret it at all.  

I do like that they can bring attention to a game's flaws.  Too many websites are guilty of writing the most glowing Previews they possibly can.  In fact, it's almost rare to find anything genuinally critical in a game preview.  The worst thing you'll ever see is something along the lines of "the controls need a little work, but I'm sure they're tweaking that for the retail version."  That doesn't help me.

Overall though, unless you know the tastes and preferences of a reviewer, it's tough to know what to agree with.  If you are lucky enough to actually find a reviewer who you understand and whose opinions match your own, then you've got yourself a goldmine.  Sadly, no one shares the elevated view of farming games that I do so I'm pretty much screwed.

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Thu, 24 Dec 2009 10:58:41

What I've found is that comparing my impressions to reviews I am easier on the games reviewers are harshest on.

And harder on the games reviewers gush over.

Many reviews like to savage games for the sake of it when the truth is that they aren't that bad, maybe 73-5% experiences.

Others like to gush over games with 10/10s when they fit between 8.5 and 9 to me.

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