Game review tendencies af of late

After reading that Blizzard admitted that the Auction House function of the game was a bad idea, I remembered its Metacritic score, which is still at 3.8 out of 10 for users and a whopping 88 out of 100 from "professional reviewers".

Which brought me to make this topic, because with the latest game, Bioshock: Infinite, I was dissapointed by reviews yet again.
(I'm not saying the game is horrible, I'd say it's an above average game that does some stuff right and keeps the bad stuff fairly low, making it a mostly forgettable experience that I doubt I want to replay anytime soon, if ever.)

The reviews I've seen have mostly been about Elisabeth, the narrative and the setting, all praising it for a fresh breeze of a story done right in a time where we're suffering from mediocre experiences an masse.
Now, I'm sure you all have your favourite reviewer who is mostly spot on, on his or her review of the games you're interested in, but this is mostly the overall reviews, the general concensus and feel of things I'm talking about.

I'll give another example. Susan Arendt video reviewed Mass Effect 3 and did a nice job explaining the general fun of the game, what she got out of it. She didn't really say anything wrong, but with what I'm seeing with the Bioshock review now, the bad stuff was left out.
While I'll admit that a lot of the ME3 complaints, the ending aside, were nitpicking, there was a lot of stuff done wrong, crucial to the overall experience that any and all reviewers should've picked up on, at least some of it. For example the fact that Origin was required, when many were adamant about boycotting it. The only place this is mentioned on the physical copy is in small letters on the back.

I know I'm getting picky with my games and especially where my money goes. It's naive to think that reviewers tell a perfect objective account or that they consider all aspects when reviewing it. But I'm getting concerned about the lack of objectivity and lack of general information about major games.

Bioshock: Infinite has a very mediocre combat system in regards to weapons, they have little impact and are very generic.
You'll often get stuck on the terrain.
The narrative has a few, but large plotholes.
The save state/revive system is very specific and might not be to everyones liking.
It's obviously designed for consoles, has clunky menues and GUI.
The game is fairly easy, especially considering the save mechanics(10 hours on hard for me, and I'm *not* a good shot).

I have a few other complaints, like enemy imbalances, but these are the major ones for me. Apart from the difficulty, I have not seen any of the other points explored, because everyone is busy explaining how fantastic a character Elisabeth is and how well the narrative is done.

Bioshock: Infinite is my beef, I see people are overall happy with the experience and that's fine, but I've missed a lot of crucial information about the game before purchasing it and left the rest to blind faith in the fact that I was very pleased with Bioshock 1 and 2.
When you see a massive difference in reviews of major games between users and reviewers, in Diablo 3 and Mass Effect 3, there seems to be something very, very wrong with the state of things.

I'm asking if I'm just looking at all the wrong places or if there's something to this, that the way reviews are handled today in general is completely wrong, especially on this site when it comes to major games?

What do you guys think.

I am rather cynical about major reviewers because of the chance of money under the table for good reviews.

Personally I really enjoyed Bioshock Infinite and can argue the legitimacy of a 95/100. I don't understand why people complain about the shooting mechanics. As for the story, better than a lot of movies I have seen lately but I wasn't 100% satisfied with the ending and there lies my only gripe.

Smilomaniac:

When you see a massive difference in reviews of major games between users and reviewers, in Diablo 3 and Mass Effect 3, there seems to be something very, very wrong with the state of things.

Yeah, no.

When a game like Mass Effect 3 is at the same user review level as Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing, which I'd like to point out barely even actually functions, the problem isn't with "professional" reviews. Because on Metacritic, users will review-bomb over the stupidest, pettiest things, like for instance a completely optional Real-Money Auction House, or completely optional microtransactions that you don't even have to pay for because you get the same currency, albeit at a slower rate, just by playing the game.

Glaice:
I am rather cynical about major reviewers because of the chance of money under the table for good reviews.

And this? Doesn't happen. Or at least, not nearly as often as internet pundits would like to believe. Big publishers don't care. You don't hear about Epic Games complaining that Gears of War only got an 8 out of 10, you hear Cliffy B. complaining about it. EA, Activision, Ubisoft, Square Enix, Konami, Capcom, they don't care about the review scores as long as they make their sales.

Smilomaniac:

When you see a massive difference in reviews of major games between users and reviewers, in Diablo 3 and Mass Effect 3, there seems to be something very, very wrong with the state of things.

You're right about that - just wrong in the direction that you're looking.

I'd take a bribed Greg Miller, on a PS3 exclusive over user reviews. User Reviews are just completely off point. The user generally gives strange scores over nitpicks, or just one part of the experience.
''Bad ending! 1/10''
''There is completely optional stuff in this game that I can avoid, but still, 0/10!''
''X character I love dies! 2/10''
That's pretty much user reviews. And i'm not counting trolls and people who make multiple accounts just to hate on a game, professional reviewers take in way more of the experience in than 90% of Metacritic User Reviews.

1) Well, in fairness, the big reviewers probably got the game and reviewed it in advance of the big day 1 horde. There's a lot of bugs that don't show up until the servers are under a massive load of people.

2) Also, the big reviewers don't exactly have 100+ testers working on every single game to make sure they encounter every bug. Looking at say Gamestop I can see "Connection Errors" as a con for Diablo 3, and "Many bugs and glitches" as a con for Skyrim*. So there is some awareness, but I doubt they're omniscient.

3) To go along with point 1, if the game has unforseen problems, should reviewers keep the review as is, or change it? There's plenty of people who would be upset if a big reviewer majorly changed their review. People would talk about flip-flopping and lack of integrity. I think some sites may re-review their stuff? I'm not sure exactly who does or doesn't though.

Aside from bugs, a lot of the rest can be subjective. So you have to understand that pretty much every review is biased, and take every every review with a heavy grain of salt.

* which is a lot honest then 90% of the average "user reviews" I saw of Skyrim. People were glowing in praise and only a handful were mentioning the massive amount of bugs

I wouldn't say just game reviews in general, movies lately have been getting harshly judged.

Like the new Die Hard for example, it's constantly being compared back to the original and being reviewed poorly because it isn't the same movie. While on it's own it's a pretty sweet action flick.

I never did trust "professional" game reviews in the first place, but lately it's just been getting ridiculous.

Honestly, I just don't rely on reviews anymore.

My taste in games differs from that of most game reviewers, so things that they absolutely hate, I often end up becoming very endeared by and to.

Everyone's different, and everyone's taste in games are different. I'd rather try it for myself.

That being said, I do find myself intrigued enough to go back and watch review videos after playing the game myself, just to see if my opinions match up with the reviewer's.

Ahri:

That being said, I do find myself intrigued enough to go back and watch review videos after playing the game myself, just to see if my opinions match up with the reviewer's.

Yah, I do that too.

But, as far as reviews go, the "end score" is pretty much a foregone conclusion. Any game that's hyped or assumed to be the bloody second coming is going to be reviewed with that in mind, and the final judgement is pretty much irrelevant.

I'm not saying there's necessarily money under the table, it's more like, a near-perfect score is simply an implied expectation these days, and many reviewers might be thinking that they're not doing their job well if they don't sing praises.

shrekfan246:

When a game like Mass Effect 3 is at the same user review level as Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing, which I'd like to point out barely even actually functions, the problem isn't with "professional" reviews. Because on Metacritic, users will review-bomb over the stupidest, pettiest things, like for instance a completely optional Real-Money Auction House, or completely optional microtransactions that you don't even have to pay for because you get the same currency, albeit at a slower rate, just by playing the game.

That's a really good point, you're right of course. In the case of ME3, the game as a whole is still a great experience, you get to delve some places that you were really hoping to. But, my point is that there were some very obvious flaws that were not explored, and it took a storm of users to tell about them, because you didn't really hear any of the bad parts from the reviewers. The score just reflects that there's a general dislike or anger at the game, which is worth exploring. This should've been obvious from objective reviews, but it's not.

D3 has a lot more issues, such as lag, which is still a problem today due to it's always online "feature".

imahobbit4062:
I wouldn't say just game reviews in general, movies lately have been getting harshly judged.

Like the new Die Hard for example, it's constantly being compared back to the original and being reviewed poorly because it isn't the same movie. While on it's own it's a pretty sweet action flick.

I never did trust "professional" game reviews in the first place, but lately it's just been getting ridiculous.

In movies like this you know what you're getting, especially if you've seen the predecessors. Reviews are just there to remind you that beyond basic entertainment, it's still not gotten better, which is true.

Okay, so basically what I'm seeing is that no one really trusts them and already knows that it's pointless to see them or at least know that there's likely a lot they're not telling.
So My solution would be to always have two reviewers do it, one focusing on the pros, the other on the cons.
This way, you're likely to see a lot of the good and bad from either side, especially if the con-reviewer is having a hard time finding issues.
Wouldn't that be a better solution? Or is the issue not that reviewers at the time is incapable of sympathizing with us who actually spends precious time on games? Or is there another issue all together?

User reviews of metacritic is not the best place to get a honest opinion about the game. Most people who post there have probably never played the game, but have already decided if they hate or love the game.

And sure, reviewers can say a game is great, but you won't like it. That can happen when opinions are involved. Some people love games I hate, but that doesn't make either of us wrong. You just have to find a certain reviewer who has already show they think similar to you concerning games.

Smilomaniac:
This should've been obvious from objective reviews, but it's not.

The thing is, reviews aren't objective. They can't be objective, because people are always going to use their experience and their knowledge as a base for comparison. Even saying something as simple as "It looks good" can not quantifiably be objective, because there will be someone out there who thinks otherwise, and it is the reviewer's opinion that said item looks good.

I wouldn't have brought up the ending to Mass Effect 3 had I written a review on it either. Because, especially after the storm that hit the internet following it, when I actually saw the ending for myself all I could think was "This is it? This is what everyone is throwing tantrums about?" It was a non-issue for me, so I wouldn't have thought it worthy of mentioning. It wasn't even the worst video-game ending I saw last year.

Think of it like the flip of something Yahtzee once said (paraphrased, of course): "If I don't bring something up, it's because I thought it was good enough to not warrant mentioning." If the reviewer only gives a passing mention to something as a negative, or decides to skip over it entirely, then they probably deemed it as being too trivial to affect their overall enjoyment. This is also why a lot of people usually say that you should find a reviewer who shares similar interests as yourself, and follow what they post.

But then, the only reviewer I regularly read for criticism or praise is Jim Sterling.

shrekfan246:

The thing is, reviews aren't objective. They can't be objective, because people are always going to use their experience and their knowledge as a base for comparison. Even saying something as simple as "It looks good" can not quantifiably be objective, because there will be someone out there who thinks otherwise, and it is the reviewer's opinion that said item looks good.

I wouldn't have brought up the ending to Mass Effect 3 had I written a review on it either. Because, especially after the storm that hit the internet following it, when I actually saw the ending for myself all I could think was "This is it? This is what everyone is throwing tantrums about?" It was a non-issue for me, so I wouldn't have thought it worthy of mentioning. It wasn't even the worst video-game ending I saw last year.

Think of it like the flip of something Yahtzee once said (paraphrased, of course): "If I don't bring something up, it's because I thought it was good enough to not warrant mentioning." If the reviewer only gives a passing mention to something as a negative, or decides to skip over it entirely, then they probably deemed it as being too trivial to affect their overall enjoyment. This is also why a lot of people usually say that you should find a reviewer who shares similar interests as yourself, and follow what they post.

But then, the only reviewer I regularly read for criticism or praise is Jim Sterling.

Please note that I specifically said issues other than the ending. Such as the last game skipping over a lot of the things you did in previous games, which should've had an impact, as well as a few gameplay issues, which I conveniently don't remember at present :)
I'm purposefully not going to debate the ending. Suffice it to say that it's been debated to death and there are points for and against why it matters or doesn't.

So on that point, a reviewer can absolutely be objective. Just look at the points I brought up with Bioshock Infinite, that should give you an idea of what I meant specifically.

As the very existence of game sites depends on the good will, access, and advertising money of the publishers of whose games they review, is it any surprise that this cosy little incestuous relationship produces anything other than constant sycophancy?

These days I tend to rely more on first impressions than reviews, such as TotalBiscuits WTF is and Giant Bombs quick looks or perhaps the first part of someones let's play. If I do watch/read a review of something it tends to be for reasons of entertainment rather than information (although some can do both).

I just find it hard to spot when someone has an axe to grind or if they have genuine issues with the game. Also when someone is just being diplomatic, giving something a slightly better review than it perhaps deserves.

Smilomaniac:

Please note that I specifically said issues other than the ending. Such as the last game skipping over a lot of the things you did in previous games, which should've had an impact, as well as a few gameplay issues, which I conveniently don't remember at present :)

So on that point, a reviewer can absolutely be objective. Just look at the points I brought up with Bioshock Infinite, that should give you an idea of what I meant specifically.

You're misconstruing what "objective" means.

Bioshock: Infinite has a very mediocre combat system in regards to weapons, they have little impact and are very generic.

I don't know what system you're playing on or what sound system you're using, but on the PC, the guns have some of the best sound assets I've ever heard in a game, which makes them feel really fun to use.

You'll often get stuck on the terrain.

I haven't gotten stuck on anything at all.

The narrative has a few, but large plotholes.

Some people don't care, don't notice, or appreciate the malleability of what armchair critics would call "plot holes". - EDIT: That's not a dig at you, by the way. I just see a lot of people bring up what they think are "plot holes" around here and they almost always turn out to be something like "Why didn't [person] do [thing] instead?" which is not a plot hole.

The save state/revive system is very specific and might not be to everyones liking.

Checkpoint systems have been in use for a few years now, and while I agree they might not be to everyone's liking and are a poor man's substitute for the manual saving included in the previous two games, it's nothing that reduces the quality of the game in my eyes.

It's obviously designed for consoles, has clunky menues and GUI.

I haven't had any issue with the menus or GUI, and it's all seemed quite well designed for the mouse. Well, except for switching Gear around, on that I'll grant you.

The game is fairly easy, especially considering the save mechanics(10 hours on hard for me, and I'm *not* a good shot).

Quantify "easy". Being able to blast through a game without dying isn't indicative of its difficulty. It's indicative of your relative experience with the game. To you, it was "easy". To somebody else, it might not be. It's the same problem when we get threads about Dark Souls, because you have people going up and down and around in circles about how "easy" or "hard" the game is, and that's not what it's about.

These are not objective points, they are not taken from an objective view, and they could not be used in an objective review.

Further reading on the subject of what an "objective" review entails.

Smilomaniac:

So on that point, a reviewer can absolutely be objective. Just look at the points I brought up with Bioshock Infinite, that should give you an idea of what I meant specifically.

Yes, they can, by not reviewing. A review cannot be objective, because to review something and determine a score, you need to bring personal experience, which makes it subjective. And no, the points you made for Bio-I are not objective, allow me to show you.

1. Weapons having little impact, I, and from what I've seen a good deal of others, have been praising the weapons having impact, and feeling really powerful. Our personal opinion decides this, so it cannot be objective.

2. This would be objective, a calling out on a glitch, except you included often. Which brings in personal experience. Happened to me once. Subjective.

3. On difficulty, that will never be objective. People have varying levels of skill.

Well I tend to look at a mix of user and professional reviews if one is high and the other is low you know that there are some problems which may or may not effect your enjoyment of the product.

Most games I get long after they are released so I have plenty of time to watch peoples impressions later of the game once all the hype and/or dissatisfaction has died down.

In the end I just make my own decision based on what I have gleaned and preferably experienced and then to hell with what everyone else thinks if they dont like it but I do great if I hate it but everyone else thinks its awesome well that just sucks for me. Opinions are like arseholes everyones got one as the saying goes best not to dig to deep into them.

I don't really understand the 'of late' connotations here.

Surely now that there are widespread independent reviewers on the internet, we're only now starting to notice the difference?

I 'unno, taste is a very difficult thing to quantify; I think quite a few independent (and mainsteam) reviews can be summed up in 'this wasn't to my tastes, therefore it's shit'. Much as I like Yahtzee he's a prime example of that.

Here is a truth that is hard to handle. Our opinions of stuff are affected by other people's opinions of stuff. It's probably an evolutionary thing, you need to have mechanisms where people agree on things without feeling in debt or press ganged.

So when you get stuff like Diablo 3 or Mass Effect 3, our opinion is made up of our preconceptions, the game itself and what other people have been saying. I'm not saying the ending isn't bad, I'm saying the reason why it feels like there's a universal acceptance of said suckage and nowhere near a universal acceptance of the fact that the beginning sucks too is part of self-strengthening cycle of people having opinions about stuff.

We see the course of opinions change all the time, sales numbers and reviews scores would probably show that people's opinions of Batman Begins improved after the Dark Knight had come out and gotten popular. I used to really enjoy Transformers 1 and 2, but after years of being reminded just how bad my taste was, I found I'd shifted over into the 'transformers=worse thing ever' camp without even noticing.

Professional reviewers write their reviews before the process starts. And a lot of them are probably trying to be fair-minded and help people with opinions unlike them in purchasing decisions. So writing in their vacuum its probably very natural to be more conservative and gentle (but overly punishing stuff like bugs and lack of polish, because those are 'objective' flaws that they feel bad about for ignoring in favour of how awesome the game was)

And user reviews are the opposite, they get caught up in the social hype and review bomb games or wildly praise them and so their scores are often a lot more extreme. (But they also have the benefit of not feeling pressured into making their opinion on behalf of other people and can ignore flaws in a game for something they really love, or go against the current of opinion in small numbers)

Both are imperfect systems with understandable discrepancies. But neither are wrong as such. Humans are irrational thinkers, not computers, and when we're thinking about subjective entertainment there are going to be things that don#t make 'sense'

What I think about this issue, if really anything, is that we're still trying to figure out how to review games. We haven't really developed an effective way of discussion in order to talk about games other than the part where we pretty much just describe the game. I have to do a lot of skimming on reviews because most of it is just describing the game and there is very little commentary, so, the most I get out of a review is from its intro and its conclusion.

Also, nobody is really allowed to dislike a game unless everybody dislikes it, such as if the game were "broken." Most reviewers always seem to be on the same page on each other out of fear of back lash or dealings with the publishers.

But, as far as Bioshock Infinite goes, I think a lot of the games strengths such as narrative and some crazy as hell, over the top, bloody gun battles make up for any short comings the game had, if the game really had any, and really, the only criticisms I can muster up will just come down to nitpicking. I didn't really notice any of the major shortcomings or plot holes the game may have had while playing it. That's actually a good thing, and I think most reviewers would probably feel the same way.

Also...

Smilomaniac:
It's naive to think that reviewers tell a perfect objective account or that they consider all aspects when reviewing it. But I'm getting concerned about the lack of objectivity and lack of general information about major games.

I'm getting tired of that word getting tossed around as it is somehow required to review a game. When it comes to games and how they engage players, it's not going to be an objective analysis.

With that said, I think the main problem isn't that people aren't being objective in their analysis, but that there really isn't enough of a variety on what's being said on games. Like I said, reviewers generally tend to be on the same page when it comes to reviewing games and the scores are incredibly similar, which doesn't make any sense, because...well, there's got to be some people out there who don't like the game with valid criticisms. The criticisms you brought up with the game(except for maybe the plot hole ones, but it depends on if it took you out of the story while you were playing the game) are definitely valid criticisms that maybe some people would have brought up. But, maybe the reviewers aren't allowed to make such criticisms and to give it a slightly lower score because because of backlash from people.

So, I think the deal is that we aren't getting enough people who dislike the game or even the middle ground of people who are just merely "okay" with it as that is against the popular attitude.

shrekfan246:

Quantify "easy". Being able to blast through a game without dying isn't indicative of its difficulty. It's indicative of your relative experience with the game. To you, it was "easy". To somebody else, it might not be. It's the same problem when we get threads about Dark Souls, because you have people going up and down and around in circles about how "easy" or "hard" the game is, and that's not what it's about.

And even then, a game with relatively easy combat can be insanely fun. I didn't die overly much when playing the game on Normal, but I had quite a bit of fun flying around on rails and hopping down on people and hitting them different powers.

I'm having much the same experience with the new Tomb Raider game, where (a few quick-time events aside), I'm not dying terribly often and usually only because I'm trying to play too aggressively because I want to play with the hand-to-hand combat features against people with machine guns.

I personally got past my "games must be hard" thing several years back. These days I rather an engaging story and some fun combat mechanics. If I complain about a game being too easy, it's going to be because the combat isn't fun and the story isn't engaging either.

Netrigan:

And even then, a game with relatively easy combat can be insanely fun. I didn't die overly much when playing the game on Normal, but I had quite a bit of fun flying around on rails and hopping down on people and hitting them different powers.

I'm having much the same experience with the new Tomb Raider game, where (a few quick-time events aside), I'm not dying terribly often and usually only because I'm trying to play too aggressively because I want to play with the hand-to-hand combat features against people with machine guns.

I personally got past my "games must be hard" thing several years back. These days I rather an engaging story and some fun combat mechanics. If I complain about a game being too easy, it's going to be because the combat isn't fun and the story isn't engaging either.

Oh yeah, even if it isn't particularly "difficult", the firefights in larger areas of Bioshock Infinite get really hectic when you can go swinging around the rails to move around the field, and it's a blast. Huge step up from the claustrophobic corridors of Rapture, in my opinion, because it's not all that often these days where you see a shooter that openly encourages mobility during combat, especially in a way that is more than just running to another piece of cover.

shrekfan246:
And this? Doesn't happen. Or at least, not nearly as often as internet pundits would like to believe. Big publishers don't care. You don't hear about Epic Games complaining that Gears of War only got an 8 out of 10, you hear Cliffy B. complaining about it. EA, Activision, Ubisoft, Square Enix, Konami, Capcom, they don't care about the review scores as long as they make their sales.

You have no evidence to support this, whereas somebody like TotalBiscuit has talked about this stuff and has stated that there is such things as review embargoes "if you don't give this game a good review, we wont send you a review copy of a future game we release".

So, while it not be "here is $100 for a good review", it is "you don't give it a good score and we take away a portion of your income". If you can't review any game by activision, who make a lot of mainstream games, then you lose a portion of traffic to your reviews.

Imagine if 3 or 4 companies did it to 1 reviewer, that guy now only has a few AAA games and indies.

You would have to look through all of TB's "mailbox" videos to find out where he says it but it is there.

omega 616:

shrekfan246:
And this? Doesn't happen. Or at least, not nearly as often as internet pundits would like to believe. Big publishers don't care. You don't hear about Epic Games complaining that Gears of War only got an 8 out of 10, you hear Cliffy B. complaining about it. EA, Activision, Ubisoft, Square Enix, Konami, Capcom, they don't care about the review scores as long as they make their sales.

You have no evidence to support this, whereas somebody like TotalBiscuit has talked about this stuff and has stated that there is such things as review embargoes "if you don't give this game a good review, we wont send you a review copy of a future game we release".

So, while it not be "here is $100 for a good review", it is "you don't give it a good score and we take away a portion of your income". If you can't review any game by activision, who make a lot of mainstream games, then you lose a portion of traffic to your reviews.

Imagine if 3 or 4 companies did it to 1 reviewer, that guy now only has a few AAA games and indies.

You would have to look through all of TB's "mailbox" videos to find out where he says it but it is there.

Give me a concrete example of the last time a publisher did something like that. As in, it was revealed for public knowledge that they were trying to blackmail a reviewing outlet.

Because the last one I can think of that's even remotely related would be Konami blacklisting Jim Sterling because of how he tore apart the Silent Hill HD Collection, and even that isn't exactly the same thing.

I'm not going to say it doesn't happen, but it's not every publisher, with every game, to every reviewing outlet, like all of the conspiracy theorists on the internet like to believe. Which is why I didn't end the statement at "Doesn't happen."

Oh look, it's this thread again.

Smilomaniac:
When you see a massive difference in reviews of major games between users and reviewers, in Diablo 3 and Mass Effect 3, there seems to be something very, very wrong with the state of things.

Absolutely.

What's wrong is that most regular people don't know how to be objective and keep their biases in check. They can't make the distinction between "this game is bad" and "I don't like this game".

And don't fool yourself into thinking that professional reviewers are oblivious. Ask Susan about her Tomb Raider review.

Glaice:
I am rather cynical about major reviewers because of the chance of money under the table for good reviews.

And noooooooooooo. That's not a thing that happens. It's just not. Not with classic bribery, not with advertisements, not with review copies or exclusive previews or any of that shit. The only reason it seems like such a big issue is because people keep acting like it is. You overestimate how much publishers care. And you underestimate the reviewers themselves. They're not machines that spit out 10/10s when you feed them a few bucks, they're regular, functioning, reasonably intelligent people with ethics. With a few exceptions, naturally.

shrekfan246:

omega 616:

shrekfan246:
And this? Doesn't happen. Or at least, not nearly as often as internet pundits would like to believe. Big publishers don't care. You don't hear about Epic Games complaining that Gears of War only got an 8 out of 10, you hear Cliffy B. complaining about it. EA, Activision, Ubisoft, Square Enix, Konami, Capcom, they don't care about the review scores as long as they make their sales.

You have no evidence to support this, whereas somebody like TotalBiscuit has talked about this stuff and has stated that there is such things as review embargoes "if you don't give this game a good review, we wont send you a review copy of a future game we release".

So, while it not be "here is $100 for a good review", it is "you don't give it a good score and we take away a portion of your income". If you can't review any game by activision, who make a lot of mainstream games, then you lose a portion of traffic to your reviews.

Imagine if 3 or 4 companies did it to 1 reviewer, that guy now only has a few AAA games and indies.

You would have to look through all of TB's "mailbox" videos to find out where he says it but it is there.

Give me a concrete example of the last time a publisher did something like that. As in, it was revealed for public knowledge that they were trying to blackmail a reviewing outlet.

Because the last one I can think of that's even remotely related would be Konami blacklisting Jim Sterling because of how he tore apart the Silent Hill HD Collection, and even that isn't exactly the same thing.

I'm not going to say it doesn't happen, but it's not every publisher, with every game, to every reviewing outlet, like all of the conspiracy theorists on the internet like to believe. Which is why I didn't end the statement at "Doesn't happen."

Can't imagine many publishers racing to broadcast the news "lolz we banned another reviewer", I also can't imagine many reviewers wanting to state "hey, no more Ubisoft reviews from this guy".

I didn't say it was a wide spread thing or it even happens a lot, your post just made it sound like the chances of it happening to be on par with a big ass meteor hitting Russia ... sure it happens but only once in a generation, I'm saying it happens far more than that or it would if reviewers didn't back down and give just about every game a 6 or 7.

It seems the conversation is straying from what game reviewers are doing wrong, to my definition or misuse of the word "Objective". That wasn't the point people :)

shrekfan246:
*snip*

You're right, the technical definition of objectivity is very black and white and applies to technical non subjective parts of the game. I admit it, I'm not using it in proper context, but what I've written so far is indicative of what I mean.
You should've realized by now what I mean. I looked it up and I guess you call it "fair and accuracy journalism", so that should put a stop to the objectivity nitpicking ;)

I'm surprised you weren't stuck on anything. I was very often stuck or snagged on stairs, invisible holes and invisible ledges. I couldn't walk down a flight of stairs in a firefight without getting snagged on the corner, and often while I explored I got stuck in weird "holes", unable to move, crouch or jump out of them. For a game that prides itself on so much mobility, it was frustrating on the point of infuriating.

In regards to plotholes.

Quantify easy. I can't, obviously, but I can compare it to general consensus or the previous games in the series, as well as other games of the same nature. When a game like Infinite doesn't allow you to die, it's certainly easier than what you'd expect from a game that relies on your ability to aim and use the tools given to handle a situation.
It's not objective, but it's closer to it than what I've been given from reading reviews.

The menus, for example, when looting didn't really let you pick what you wanted to pick up. It's as easily fixed as giving you a cursor when looting to cherrypick, while keeping the option to just instant loot. Enabling or disabling it should be an option. I'm sure a bit of playtesting would refine it to the point where it's not disruptive for the gameplay. Another thing is picking gear, which leaves you with a lot of clicking back and forth.
Point is, it's a direct consequence of console design and it leaves me with a bitter taste whenever I see something become more primitive when we have a million options to make it as GUI friendly as possible.

The save state, and this is the major one for me. You're not punished very much for dying. It also removes the ability for you to assess a situation, reload and use gained knowledge to get out of the fight in the best way possible.
Instead you're sort of muddling through the fights when you die, scavenging for ammo or other weapons(which was my primary reason for dying).
Personal prefference, sure, but mentioning how this works would only be fair to consumers, considering you had quicksave/load in the previous installments.

Netrigan:

I personally got past my "games must be hard" thing several years back. These days I rather an engaging story and some fun combat mechanics. If I complain about a game being too easy, it's going to be because the combat isn't fun and the story isn't engaging either.

It's going the other way for me. I used to cheat my way through must games, just to play more with it, I still do occasionally.
Now I'm mostly looking for a challenge or a way for me to utilize my skills at using all I have to get the best out of a situation.

Pink Gregory:
I don't really understand the 'of late' connotations here.

Surely now that there are widespread independent reviewers on the internet, we're only now starting to notice the difference?

I'm only now beginning to see how major a difference there is from what reviewers base their whole piece on and what I get out of a game, as well as how much bigger the difference has gotten with the last triple A games.

Phlakes:
Oh look, it's this thread again.

Feel free to ignore it ;) If you have nothing better to do I can recommend getting a Kindle to pick up some books that might have otherwise been too expensive to bother picking up. It's certainly better litterature and entertainment than watching me rant.

Phlakes:

Absolutely.

What's wrong is that most regular people don't know how to be objective and keep their biases in check. They can't make the distinction between "this game is bad" and "I don't like this game".

And don't fool yourself into thinking that professional reviewers are oblivious. Ask Susan about her Tomb Raider review.

I don't think they're oblivious, I think that they play a game and go "well, this was expected, no reason to mention that. Better to just write what stands out about this game and let the rest be unsaid."
I like what Susan does, mostly, but there are certainly some things that aren't mentioned that should've been.

This is why I love Yahtzee, he may not be the most professional or even unbiased reviewer, but you can guarantee whatever he says is 100% his own damn opinion for better or worse. He's like the Hunter S. Thompson of reviewing, the least factual perhaps, but the most accurate.

Plus I mostly watch reviews for entertainment, and maybe to learn a little more about a game. Not because I want to find out how good it is. I'll let myself be the judge of that.

I have no doubt professional reviewers are influenced by publishers in their reviews. It doesn't have to be money slipped under the table. Maybe they want to be in good favour with publishers so that they'll be more willing to advertise on their site. Maybe they want to stay on a publisher's good site so they'll be more likely to get interviews/exclusive's about future games. Who knows what all the perks to being a publisher's pet are.

At this point I don't even listen to review scores. When most AAA games are 9's and 10's I kind of brush it off. I absolutely hate when games get a 10/10, probably stemming from school, when I was told you can always do something better. That's the main problem with reviews as of late for me. When did an 8/10 become a bad score for a game? I'm pretty sure this was all neatly summed up in a Jimquisition episode. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/6582-Review-Scores-Are-Not-Evil

But onto the user reviews... I hate them. People will give a low score for the silliest of things. Usually people either hate something and give it a horrendous score or love it and give it a perfect one. Give me a professional game reviewer everytime, who's tastes and preferences I know and understand. Let them talk about the game and conclude with either a recommendation or a meh. Much simpler.

This is how professional reviews work

10 = Reviewer has a brand new Yacht
9.9-9.5 = Reviewer genuinely likes game
Or reviewer figured out that 10's are suspicious and wants to hide the fact that they're on the take
9.4-9.0 = Decent game, reviewer couldn't find anything wrong with it, probably didn't look very hard.
8.9-8.0 = Meh.
7.9 and down = Shit

Or out of a five point scale.

5 = skeptical fry is skeptical
4 = completely meaningless score
3 = equally as meaningless as 4
2 = Shit
1 = Oh my God how did it make it out of alpha

This is how user reviews work.

They fucking don't.

Frankly I think reviews should be reduced to a binary system. STREAMLINING!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Worth playing
Not worth playing.

There's no ambiguity there
Eventually you'll find a reviewer you agree with and you'll be better off for it.

The way things are handled now with bland inoffensive reviews with meaningless numbers at the end is bullshit.
(And it's giving Yahtzee way to much control over my video game buying habits.)

 

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