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Games Entertainment

Do Reviews Still Serve a Purpose? 93

Posted by Zonk
from the no-porpoise-jokes dept.
Via Voodoo Extreme, a post on the Sony-sponsored ThreeSpeech blog asking if game reviews are a thing of the past. Post author 'Azz Hassan' opines that the proliferation of blogs and easy access to game trailers has made the 'biased views' of reviewers a thing of the past. Responding via the Ars Technica Opposable Thumbs blog, Frank Caron offers a rebuttal to the piece. 'The argument presented in the article seems to come with the very slant that it so viciously protests: one of a negative view towards a medium that the writer feels is inadequate. Yes, there is a ton of available media on the net that can help you get a look at a game as it develops, but the problem with videos and pictures is that often the intangible elements are impossible to understand simply from seeing the game in motion--only the written or verbal communication of a person can adequately capture these details.'
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Do Reviews Still Serve a Purpose?

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  • um (Score:5, Funny)

    by mastershake_phd (1050150) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @07:27AM (#18248240) Homepage
    Yes, yes they do. If they didnt people wouldnt read them.
    • by smileham (1006011)
      Yes, reviews are still relevant. I don't actually read reviews online though, I still go to my prefered PC Mag, which has reviewers that I trust, who get paid for reviewing games, not some guy blogging about it.
    • Re:um (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Bios_Hakr (68586) <xptical@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @09:26AM (#18248758) Homepage
      Well, it depends. I really started noticing crap when I saw an IT something magazine on my boss' desk. I picked it up and looked at it. There was a "review" of some kit we had worked with in the past. The kit was crap but the review was glowing. I stopped reading IT mags after that.

      Later, I was reading a RC modeling magazine. I love RC helis. They had a "review" of a a heli that I knew was okay, but not great. They were comparing it to helis that were capable of doing any maneuver that the pilot could throw at it. I stopped reading RC mags after that.

      Video game mags are probably the worst. I read PC Gamer for the commentary and previews, but I only read the negative parts of the reviews.

      When it comes to specialized gear like an RC heli or a new router, I rely on comments in online forums. I'll jump into IRC and ask people about the bad points of the gear. I'll call the company and speak with engineers or tech support; speaking with sales is a waste. If I have to deal with sales, I ask for written documentation of tests displaying any functionality he claims. If they can't produce a document showing increased throughput, I ignore that point.

      When it comes to daily items, I check boards and really read the negative Amazon reviews. I'll google $item + shit or $item + "head to head". I'll check Consumer Reports or check BBB for the company name.

      If I don't find a negative opinion about an item, then I can be pretty sure it's untested or the company censors opinions. Either way, it's not worth my money. I read the negative reviews carefully. If the negative is whining, I ignore it. If the negative is a valid complaint, then I call tech support and pretend I have the item and have that same problem. How they answer my questions will determine my purchase.

      Finally, just asking questions of my peers can give a lot of insight. I have *very* close contact with peers that work for competitors. It's a fairly small community and we tend to stick together. We usually share knowledge about our mistakes. If someone mentions over a beer that they are thinking about buying Wizbang 2008, then the rest of the group spills every bad thing they have ever heard about it. If the guy comes out of the discussion by answering our points, then we all think about giving it a closer look.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Das Modell (969371)
        I know one instance were user reviews turned out to be spot on while professional reviewers were, frankly, full of shit and probably on the publisher's payroll. I am referring, of course, to Neverwinter Nights 2. It has a Metacritic rating of 82, while the user reviews were almost entirely negative. The official forums had two sticky threads, one for negative reviews and one for positive reviews. The negative thread was restarted about four times before the first positive one was even full (the threads were
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by apoc06 (853263)
          you point out the key issue with reviews. usually they revolve around a single users' experience. if the reviewer that plays the game has a penchant for say... FPS games, if he has to sit down and play a roleplaying game that is generally overlooked in light of its mod community, he is going to score the game lower. a reviewer that prefers tekken will be harder on a title like DoA [IMHO he should be]. whatever that users preferences are come into play.

          what i think game magazines/ sites need to do is outline
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Hoi Polloi (522990)
          One thing I have noticed is the very nature of reviewing vs daily use. Reviewers are in and out. They won't go indepth into a game or hardware and won't cover long term playing or use of an item. Very few revisit, say, hardware like tomshardware will do sometimes. I've seen hardware with good reviews come back with user reviews a few months later saying "such and such died after a few weeks" or something similar. Games also usually get a review based on graphics but not on deeper gameplay since they do
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Das Modell (969371)

            What pushed you to buy it against your judgement?

            Well, when the game was in development it looked really promising. I wasn't into NWN1 because its singleplayer was so lacking, but NWN2 seemed like it was putting more emphasis on the singleplayer campaign. I was also in desperate need of a good RPG. I guess I just wanted to really believe that the game wasn't as bad as the user reviews claimed.

            The more hyped a game is, the more disappointed I am in it.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Dutch Gun (899105)
            I'm convinced the in-and-out quick process of professional reviewers is why Oblivion scored so high. After my first 10-15 hours of gameplay, my reactions were the same - almost all positive. Unfortunately, after that, the serious game-balance issues caused by the auto-scaling made me lose interest. It's particularly tragic becase, other than that game-breaker, Oblivion is nearly everything I'd want to see in a computer RPG.

            I've always thought that the logical way to use reviews is to find a reviewer that
        • Eh, I would've given NWN2 a positive score and I'm certainly not a shill. Negative complaints filling up four times faster than positive comments? Welcome to the internets.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      3.5 Clippys out of 5.
  • Not to me (Score:4, Funny)

    by Xest (935314) * on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @07:29AM (#18248242)
    Because I grew up, got a job and am now gullable enough to buy any crap the games industry throws out. I suffer from obsessive compulsive computer game purchase.

    Oh how I miss the days of being dependant on pocket money where every penny had to be spent so wisely.
  • Depends (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El_Muerte_TDS (592157) <elmuerte.drunksnipers@com> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @07:41AM (#18248284) Homepage
    On who (the actual person) wrote it, and how well you know the reviewer. Personal preference is always a big factor in game/movie/music reviews. It could very well be that I like a game what a reviewer gave a bad review, but I would only know that if I knew the reviewer's preference.
    Ofcourse demo'ing the game is always better than reading a review.
    The most useless part of a review is the grade, it says absolutely nothing, except what number the reviewer assigned. They might as well use colors for grading instead of numbers or stars. So... I rate the linked article: purple.
    • Re:Depends (Score:4, Insightful)

      by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @09:06AM (#18248632) Homepage
      ### The most useless part of a review is the grade, it says absolutely nothing,

      I disagree, ratings give you a simple value to compare different games of similar genres. Sure, it doesn't make sense to compare a The Sims rating with a GTA one, since the games are just vastly different, but comparing GTA vs Crackdown is perfectly doable. Ratings also give you a very direct way to see what the reviewer thought of a game, when the review text just mentioned that the graphics are "good", how good is that "good", is that a RE4 "good" or just an average "good"? A 10/10 in graphics on the other side easily tells me that its among the best to expect on a console.

      Beside pages from this, ratings are important for sites like Metacritic which would be rather hard to use without a final rating. When I want to get an impression from a game I search for the reviews that gave it the highest score and those reviews that gave it the lowest, thus I get a good overview of how somebody who likes the game views it vs somebody who doesn't like it. If there would just be text things would get rather hard to find the right reviews.

      All that said, rating numbers are of course heavily flawed, many reviewers rate almost every game in a 70-90/100 area and don't make much use of the rest of the scale, another issues is that ratings are often tinted by non-game related issues, like price, if it is a port of an old game and such, which however might not matter at all for having fun with the game, especially since price can lower over time and as long as I don't already know the game it is still 'new' for me. Ratings are also a one dimensional scale, while you really might one a multidimensional, i.e. there are many games out there that are great by concept, but also heavily flawed in implementation, those however just end up in the 70-80% region, which tells little about there flaws or great concept, but just tosses them together with all those games that have an uninteresting concept but flawlessly implemented.

      With all the flaws I however still consider ratings far more useful then harmful.

    • by Aladrin (926209)
      "Ofcourse demo'ing the game is always better than reading a review."

      That's not true at all. There's been plenty of games that I've played the demo and it did not interest me. Then I read a review, or talked to a friend about it (another form of review) and found out there was more to the game than what I saw in the demo. Quite a few games did hold my interest after all.

      "The most useless part of a review is the grade, it says absolutely nothing, except what number the reviewer assigned."

      While I agree with
  • They do (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ShakaUVM (157947) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @07:43AM (#18248292) Homepage Journal
    Reviews let me know if a game totally sucks. Then I avoid it.

    But positive reviews are no guarantee of a good game, as the glowing ratings for such moribund stinkers as FFVII and FFX can attest to.
    • by Jaysyn (203771)
      FFVII? 7? That was an awesome game & pretty damn revolutionary for it's time. FFVIII is where they lost me...

      • by steveo777 (183629)
        Don't worry. IX wasn't anything special, and X sucked. I haven't played X-2, but the bad taste that X left me with prevents me from being remotely interested. XI? Well, I'm not a big MMOer, though I have a WoW account. XII? Haven't played it. I don't have a PS2.
        • by Hadlock (143607)
          Really? I thought the story in IX was fantastic, paritcularly the plight of the Black Mages and their fight for humanity and discovering just what it is. I would rate it at number 2, just after VI's story. FFXII can be interesting at points, but the game mechanics after about hour 6 after leaving the castle with Han and Chewie (can't remember their real names) the mechanics are pretty obvious to the point that the script writers make fun of it durring a sun crystal quest out in the desert "oh, well you have
          • by steveo777 (183629)
            Somehow, to me, IX felt like a weak remake of VII with a less complicated love story (they must have learned their lesson with VIII, not sure if I said it, but I couldn't finish it because I hated it). The main character was basically a clone, like Cloud. He had to come to terms with it and overcome it, like Cloud. It just wasn't as severe. Vivi's plot line was interesting, but I felt like he was whining more than anything. I liked Steiner's plot the most, really. The guy wanted nothing more that to s
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Tickenest (544722)
      I bet your TF mod got poor reviews. :P
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jim Hall (2985)

      Reviews let me know if a game totally sucks. Then I avoid it.

      Except in the case of Jaws Unleashed [gamespot.com] for PS2. In that case, I read the reviews, then immediately ran out to buy a copy. Sometimes, you just have to re-set the metric on "bad". I mean, when someone says "this game sucks" you need to have a metric of how badly the game sucked. Did it suck "Jaws" bad, or "Mark Eko's Getting Up" bad?

      And yes, "Jaws" was probably the worst game I've ever played. SPOILER: The best part in the game happens very

    • by Fozzyuw (950608)

      Reviews let me know if a game totally sucks. Then I avoid it.

      Reviews are somewhat biased and participially obfuscated. When's the last time a game got a 0, 1, or 2? I've played games that might have gotten a 6 or 7 that I think deserved a 2 or 3.

      However, I do use one metric for game purchasing. If there are no games I'm excited to buy, I check some game review sites, like IGN, and do a simple search for 9/10 or better. I find that a pretty safe bet to enjoy a particular game. Games that score an 8+

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by heinousjay (683506)
        When's the last time a game got a 0, 1, or 2? I've played games that might have gotten a 6 or 7 that I think deserved a 2 or 3. ...I check some game review sites, like IGN...

        I think we've found your problem.
  • by Don_dumb (927108) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @07:49AM (#18248316)
    These days I buy only a few games and to try and spend my money on something I will enjoy, what choice do I have? I can either look at all the pictures or I can read what someone says when they have actually played through the game. It isn't just the final score that I look for, there are certain things I dont want in a game (such as loads and loads of unforgiving stealth in an FPS) and I use reviews to try and see if those elements are present, if they are I wont bother wasting my money. Most reviews I have seen will also talk about the hardware requirements. A game that requires massive power (while the official claims are for a mediocre system) is also out.
    Yes, just like movie reviews they are someone elses subjective view, but to get your own view you would have to watch every movie made or judge them by the trailer. Both of which are far worse (in my eyes) than seeing the opinion of a reviewer that generally agrees with you and has themselves seen almost every movie ever made.

    Having said that, reviews are less useful than demonstration versions, which I wish game makers would use more.
    • by BarneyL (578636)

      Having said that, reviews are less useful than demonstration versions, which I wish game makers would use more.
      The fact that a demo of a game gives you a good idea of what it plays like is of course exactly why many games don't have demos.
  • by symes (835608)
    It depends - as with reviews for most things, over time you learn whether the reviewer is spouting nonsense of providing a decent insightful review. Some reviewers are humorous, others more technical, some are undoubtedly biased, and so on. For example, I read one restaurant critic because what he writes is fun - the likelihood of me actually eating in one of the recommended restaurants is slim.
  • I can't say I've ever used a review in purchasing a video game. Ign is famous for giving low scores to great games, and it gives the impression that reviews are worthless on other sites too. Gamespot is a bit better at understanding that games are meant to appeal to a certain audience, and thus need to be judged on that standard, but Gamespot gets it wrong occasionally as well.

    These "review" sites are actually nothing more than a marketing tool of the video game industry. It's a form of viral advertis
    • by dintech (998802)
      These "review" sites are actually nothing more than a marketing tool of the video game industry. It's a form of viral advertising, really.

      Absolutely. Reviewers are more or less paid off by companies with free trips, stuff and 'exclusives'. I don't really read any particular review any more and instead opt for using something like metacritic [metacritic.com].
  • Absolutely they do (Score:5, Informative)

    by tttonyyy (726776) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @08:01AM (#18248352) Homepage Journal
    ...but maybe not as individual reviews.

    http://www.metacritic.com/ [metacritic.com] is a fantastic site which does weighted averaging of scores from many reviews. I use it for games in particular - it's useful to check the reviews that give a high score against the reviews that give a low score to see what is good and what is not about a game before buying. The "averaged" score almost always corresponds with my experience of the games too, so the system seems to work.

    So reviews do serve a purpose, but, as with many things in life, to get a balanced opinion you need to sample from a set great than 1.
    • by praxis22 (681878)
      Metacritic is fabulous, I bought ICO because of a "review" I read on metacritic. I say "review" as it was an odd one, more about what it felt like to play, the graphis/sound approach. I also tend to rate highly those reviews that clearly love the game. Reviews for Gal Civ 2, were a lot like that. Same thing with Freefall, even given it's obvious flaws.

      But as a way to check out the general feel of a game, metacritic is great. The only print reviews I take seriously these days are in Edge and Games(tm) The re
  • I want any review to at least start with well formatted and Objective info concerning whatever it is they are reviewing. Then I can just ignore the rest if I wish.

    I swear, it should be pretty obvious what info we want from these reviews by now! It shouldn't be too hard to come up with a standard INTRO for any review that will tell us 90% of what we need to know about any new title, even if we've never heard of it before. Anything after that clearly marked section would be an opinion piece, easy to ignore if
  • by Protonk (599901) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @08:18AM (#18248418) Homepage
    Reviewers are just like political parties, insofar as they help distill a vast amount of information in order to allow us to actually make some decisions. The point of political parties isn't to provide perfect information to the voter, the point is to allow the voter to reduce the complexities of the ballot when necessary.

    Before you guys get out of hand in the comments, by that I mean that it is functionally impossible for us as voters (in any country) to vet EVERYONE, from the county clerk to the State Senator (Okay, sorry, I don't have a region agnostic example, deal). We may decide on the president based on our input from non-party sources, but the other 18 names on the ballot don't rise to the same threshold. Parties allow us to make an assumption that a representative will align to the basic ideas that we are interested in.

    Reviewers serve the same function. I may decide that I 'trust' a particular game or movie reviewer. As a result, I can presume that his/her views on a game are a good proxy for my own. This allows me to narrow the field of games I might be interested in without covering every demo, every press release, and every industry whisper--not to mention playing the game. In this sense, reviewers are even more necessary, because in order for me to make an adequate decision about a game in the absence of press, I would have to play it (or a demo, but even that isn't perfectly enlightening, see Lost Planet). That, of course, would obviate the need for the review.

    In this case, just like political parties, we learn to accept bias in our reviewers. In most cases, the biases are benign--we share them. We like that Rogert Ebert doesn't like M. Night Shyamalan, because we don't (obviously only speaking for some of us). We like that the Onion (and pretty much everyone else) hates Uwe Boll, because we hate him. The same thing with the Democratic and Republican (insert Labour/conservative, etc) parties. We accept their biases (when we do) because we share them to some extent.

    The case of bias in favor of a game publisher is a little more insidious, and is something that the game press will have to work out, and I suspect that it won't work itself out by eliminating the review. I suspect that certain reviewers (Ars, to name one) will gain greater acceptance as the rest of them keep shilling for bullshit. The same thing happened to the Democrats in the South. The south changed (beyond racism/segreation, which really only explain the first 10-15 years of that seismic shift), becoming more religious, individualistic and pro-business and the Democrats didn't adapt, so the south moved on to the republicans.

  • Reviews are meaningless. You can never rely on one man to be unbiased about a game, and one person's opinion doesn't give you anyinformation about your opinion.

    Wait, Gamespot gave Twilight Princess less than 10?

    KILL GERSTMANN!
  • excellent (Score:5, Funny)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @08:25AM (#18248452)
    Excellent commentary. 8/10
    • What are you talking about? The graphics were poor (4/10); the story was lame (4/10); the audio just wasn't there (0/10); and the gameplay while OK (8/10) had very little replay value (4/10). I'm sorry, but I have to give this commentary the lowest score there is:

      7/10.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Previews are not. They are almost universally useless, because usually they offer a lot more praise than the game deserves, so the review site can stay on the developer's or publisher's good side. Honestly, when I read reviews, I don't care too much about the good parts, I pay attention and seek out the things that make the game something I should avoid. If a demo is available, I will ignore all previews and reviews and play it myself. Its what I did with Indigo Prophecy (and I bought it too!) and the Ki
    • by Deag (250823)
      Ah I remember the Indigo Prophecy (or Fahrenheit as it is called here) demo, I liked the look and feel of it so it fooled me into buying the game, then I discover that half way through the game turns into a button mashing event which I don't enjoy at all, so demos are not always the best indicator. Enjoying a demo does not mean the game is worth buying. Sometimes games lack any depth so you have the game when you have the demo, so reviews do serve a purpose from the point of view.
  • So reading the conclusion of a review might indicate a game is worth trying out. BTW, can someone read the article for me and give a summary.

    Thanks.
    • by Runefox (905204)
      Most game demos today are the size of a CD image, which is not cool. I'm not wasting that time and disk space to play 10 minutes or one level of a game, whichever comes first.
      • by Runefox (905204)
        Not to mention that most of the time, you need to either wait in line for an hour, pay for a subscription, put up with low bandwidth, or any combination thereof.
  • And i'm still waiting for dukenukem forever.
  • useful (Score:3, Interesting)

    by minus_273 (174041) <(moc.oohay.MAPS) (ta) (aaaaa)> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @08:48AM (#18248560) Journal
    Reviews for games are like movie reviews. If you can find a reviewer(s) who have generally similar tastes, you will be able to judge a game with a fair degree of accuracy before you buy it. In addition without those rewiews, mega hit new games like God of War probably wouldnt be so big. I suspect a significant degree of its popularity came from people going to review sites and seeing the good reviews.

    On the other end of the spectrum, how many more Final Fantasy fans would have bought Dirge of Cerebus had the reiwes not told us it was junk?
  • and I usually read multiple reviews of the same game to insure I get a better understanding of what its about, how it works, and how it doesn't work as it should.

    So for me reviews are still warranted. If I cannot find a review I will rely on friends and if they don't have it I then wait for a demo. Reading usenet can help as well. Still its great to see pictures and read the reviewers take on gameplay. Sometimes even games I wanted that got decent reviews I ended up not purchasing because the game play
  • by Pluvius (734915) <[pluvius3] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @09:21AM (#18248730) Journal
    But it's not the one that's presented. Thinking that reviews can be replaced by trailers is just silly. Trailers are nothing more than ads, and don't really tell you much about what's going on. Neither do demos; even if we assumed that every game has one, oftentimes a demo is much worse or much better than the game that it represents. As for blog opinions, those in themselves are basically reviews, though usually not very good ones unless you have a good idea of the taste of whoever's writing them.

    What goes a long way towards making reviews pointless is GameFAQs. No, not the reviews on there; they often suck. I mean the FAQs themselves. A good FAQ will tell you most of what you want to know about the game in great detail in the first few sections, often without spoiling the plot in the process. The only problem is that FAQs require time to be written, time that simple reviews don't need.

    Rob
  • Review == Opinion. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ThePhilips (752041) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @09:23AM (#18248746) Homepage Journal

    I use review quite simply: I'm looking for reviews of games I know and like - and choose people/sites who have rated games I like highly. And then check what else they have rated highly. That way I have found PC's "Rise of Nation", "Heroes of Annihilated Empires" and "City Life World Edition" - IMHO great games I enjoy and play, but most of high profile review sites have given them crappy/misplaced ratings.

    E.g. http://wii.ign.com/ [ign.com] fits me perfectly. But on other side http://ds.ign.com/ [ign.com] - is U-turn in the respect: they gave lots of near-perferct marks to IMHO shit games (e.g. Mario, Partners in time) and underrated lots of games I have liked (e.g. Lost Magic). Reviews on ds.ign.com marked as "UK" are pretty O.K. and mostly fit me.

  • Awesome, glad to see that Sony's PR department has at least changed tactics from "blatantly lieing in press releases to counteract bad reviews" to "trying to convince people that all those bad reviews don't matter."

    Hopefully one day, they'll change tactics again to "making a reasonably priced product that people actually want to buy" to avoid all the bad press to begin with. Dodging bullets is a lot easier when there aren't any heading towards you.
    • I guess after that whole punishing a journalist for doing his job [slashdot.org] thing didn't work out, Sony needed to find another way to crap up their PR. How long until we get a Youtube clip of Sony's board of directors invading a playground in order to hog the swings and kick sandbox sand into childrens' faces?
    • by DarkJC (810888)
      Only on Slashdot does this get modded Insightful instead of Offtopic (regardless of what blog this originated from, we're talking about reviews, not Yet Another "Let's Bash Sony" Article).
      • by Pluvius (734915)
        To be fair, it is a relevant theory as to any ulterior motives that the blog in question might have for criticizing mainstream reviews. The writer even specifically points out Motorstorm, a much-hyped PS3 game that thus far has been getting "fun, but not classic" reviews. It is a bit hard not to believe that the article was written implicitly to defend Sony.

        That said, the idea that the article was posted as part of some conspiracy by the Sony PR department is rather silly. It's one thing to say that a bl
  • They have value (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dreemernj (859414) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @11:04AM (#18249596) Homepage Journal
    But they are less or more valuable depending on the person or on what they are about.

    I find reviews of RPGs and action games helpful, especially when the reviewer knows their stuff pretty well and starts drawing comparisons with other games, because chances are I'll know at least a few of the other games the reviewer refers to.

    But then for something like a fighting game, unless the reviewer is a dedicated fighting game player, I don't find the reviews useful because I know fighting games well and I know specifically what I like about fighting games. The review still has value to the person that just casually plays fighters just like RPG reviews have value for me as a casual RPG player.
  • by Verunks (1000826)
    trailers and screenshot can't tell you everything about a game, you can see the graphics, hear the music but you'll never know if the gameplay or the story are crappy and if you are concerned about the subjective view of the authors just go to gamestats [gamestats.com] to find all the review and score of a game.
    Anyway what we need now are more videoreviews so you can really understand what they are speaking about
  • Hmm... (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Wait are we by chance individually reviewing an article reviewing reviews?

    Hmm... yes, I think so, my Ironoscope just exploded.
  • by Tom (822)
    A well-written article always has a place. Most Bloggers are not journalists nor can they write. Anything beyond a two-paragraph "I stumbled on this thing and it's cool" reads like a secondary school writing assignement. There are examples, yes. But they don't replace actual journalism and articles written by people who know how to write.
  • In my experience the quality of reviews is inversely proportional to the number of advertisements in the magazine or on the website. I use reviews as a reference. I think it's a problem that reviewers are sometimes blatantly biased with overly positive reviews because they're so desperate for insider information. It's even worse when some like IGN, like to gloat about having gotten their hands on something weeks before any consumer.

    Another problem is that these reviewers are rarely paying themselves for the
  • These days I tend to assume that any professionally done game review that appears in a magazine, is just marketing. The reviewers seem preconditioned to write mostly positive reviews about every game they review (with perhaps a negative review of some utterly unimportant and uninteresting title thrown in to make them look like responsible reviewers). Its often hard to find a review that seems to report the facts as they are, rather than as the Sales Dept of the developer would like them to read.

    Now, online
  • You mean they are still making games post-World of Warcraft??? I'm going have to check this out! Oh wait...need to grind out 1000 more gold for my elite mount.

    I think game reviews are useful...I just go to multiple sources. I like Game Informer just because I like to know what games are coming out and what they look like. I generally agree with their reviews as well...but it never hurts to look at what other people think.
  • Reviews are still a useful tool in considering a purchase, but they should not be the end all decision maker. But what one has to remember is that these guys are reviewing what can be compared to art in some ways. Everybody has different taste, gets different levels of enjoyment from different games. Flame wars often occur over a preference of games, and this often demonstrates the difference of tastes (and lack of spelling) that exists in the gaming realm.

    Reviews are very useful for determining frustrati
  • Here's my take on the subject.

    Reviews are useful, if they are done properly. The problem today is that they aren't. The second opinion piece made a very insightful point I feel must be quoted.

    Such a piece would wind up being nothing more than an unimpressionable summary: a book report, rather than a book review.

    Today's reviews, or the majority thereof, are not reviews. They are reports, telling us with slightly greater detail and pretty screenshots what the game is. We do not get thorough evaluations, deep

    • In short, the inherent problem is that we are being presented the opinion of someone we don't know without the details required to properly apply it to our own tastes. We get very vague understandings of the fun the reviewer did or did not have, with statements such as "the controls felt sloppy" or "the art style didn't stick with me" our only morsels of information. These tibdits are open doors ignored by reviewers. How were the controls sticky? Why didn't the art style have enduring value?

      I agree that "re

      • The only problem as I see it is that many websites and magazines have many reviewers, many of whom are not confined to any particular genre. What if I spend my time learning the habits of reviewer X, and then reviewer Y reviews that game I'm interested in? Now I'm up the creek.

        More importantly, what good is a review if I have to invest a significant portion of my potentially valuable time just learning to understand one reviewer out of many? Why is it imperative that the person hoping to attain useful infor
  • A review, when done properly, is always useful. While most reviews you find in an average magazine are generally either advertising, or inflated, the best reviews are from those who do an in-depth analysis of multiple games (i.e. at least play it to completion, and making notes at the same time.)

    Also, an ideal review minimizes the amount of emotion within the review. If you don't like the game, just say you don't like it - otherwise you've just made two pages of filler.

    If you have to, try building up a li
  • The public that I speak is the people who won't read a review, but just look at a score. These are the reason reviews can even be considered "obsolete". The fact that when people say "how is XXX" and you tell them, they are getting a review is lost on them. Instead from a review most times they look for a number and so on.

    Personally I choose to read IGN's reviews because they not only have numbers but they're willing to show you where their 9.1 came from, then you can decide if those are factors you care
  • by Vacardo (1048640)
    I find reviews tend to reflect the bias of the reviewer more than the aspects of the game itself. I believe an aggregate site (e.g. Metacritic) that collates a number of scores and provides an average is much more accurate.

    You also have the option of reading each closing comment of each site to see if there are consistencies in what each review reports, such as if there are flaws in camera or if they mostly praise a great control setup.
  • .. is the way the Retro Gamer magazine articles on "Why you must play ..........."

    What they do is gve a detailed break down of the what gameplay elements are used in the game, and how those work to enhance the gaming experience and make it an enjoyable experience. Also they give some history of how they game came to be and the situation of the gaming market it was released into.

    As the games mentioned are not being sold in retail stores, there is no $$$ coercion factor that you get with current games.

    I've t
  • As a future (read: aspiring) videogame reviewer myself, I wanted to thank all current and future comment contributors to this thread. It is the duty of every publication to serve its audience. It's good journalism, and good business sense as well. Every person commenting here who cites a problem with current videogame reviews shows that there is a disconnect between that audience (you) and those publications, and I for one will not let that disconnect go unnoticed. I plan to improve the state of reviews, s

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