Friday, August 11, 2006

Today's Game Reviews are Out of Touch

When a reviewer says that a game is 'too hard', he's probably a wimp who's pissed that he can't meet his review deadline because the game won't let him. When a game reviewer says that a game is 'too easy', they probably didn't get beyond the second level of a title, because some other titles have their attention more (case in point, Ridge Racer 6 and Ninety Nine Nights. I bet a lot of reviewers only tried those games in five minutes and decided they were bad.). Reviewers don't really look at games the same way as gamers do, at least not today in 2006. Back in the 90s game reviews were essential, because the number of crappy games and quick-cash-in attempts were insane. While the same holds true today, to some extent a crappy score on a review isn't only because a game is bad; sometimes it's the gamer who reviewed the game that sucks.

As I said earlier, game reviewers today rush through a game to be the first site with the 'world exclusive review'. See 1up's horrid review of KAMEO, which was more a review of RARE than a review of the game itself. Another possibility is the reviewers don't really spend time with a game. Ridge Racer 6 is a victim of can only really enjoy the game online, and because the 360 was really new back then, no decent online play was to be had (because not enough gamers had the title). Reportedly Chrome Hounds is another victim of this.....a lot of online reports say that, online, the game is fantastic, and it lives up to the promise earlier made (and never delivered) by Mech Assault 2. Chrome Hounds received horrid reviews, because most game reviewers only considered the offline mode of the game. Online, the game offers a lot of options which really increase its longevity.

The last problem with game reviews, is simply that game reviewers do their thing because it's their job. They no longer play games to have fun. Sure a lot of them must have started out with all these ideals of changing the way the gaming industry works and having fun while doing it. But over time, I bet, these guys are so sick of the gaming hobby already, that they just do it to get by. They ask fellow game reviewers, what score are you going to give 'X' game, and more or less, by consensus, the scores end up nearly the same. So no one's jadedness is exposed (and no one gets fired).

So what is a gamer to do today, now that game reviews aren't really that reliable? I usually just depend on a few factors to decide whether or not a game is worth getting:

1. Developer reputation - the developer of a certain game has been very successful with past titles.

2. Game premise - the game is of a genre that I am interested in

3. Gamer feedback - Though this can be hit or miss, I find that reading feedback on game messageboards can be useful for more down-to-earth impressions of games.

4. Description/general idea of the gameplay - I usually get this from game previews (which, surprisingly, can be more objective than game reviews...)

So when you read the review for any game, remember that, there are always two sides to every story, inform yourself, get feedback from actual gamers and remember that games are supposed to be fun....

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