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How do you feel about reviews and review sites?

Discussion in 'General Off-Topic Chat' started by SonowRaevius, May 17, 2019.

  1. SonowRaevius
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    SonowRaevius GBAtemp Regular

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    Personally, I am finding myself relying less and less on them as time goes by.

    It's not for. a lack of accepting differences in opinion or anything like that honestly, but it is more of the fact that the practices that are going on with reviews have started getting worse as time has gone by.

    From 2011 to about 2014, I use to rely on Metacritic to see what games were worthwhile and which ones weren't. For that time the reviews seem well worded and fair for the most part, with a few people that were blatantly giving it 0's or 10's for no other reason other they their like or hatred for it.

    However, this started to change rapidly and is now at it's worse point ever.

    Reviewers can't be trusted because payed reviews have been a thing even in the specified times.

    Youtubers/Streamers often spout regurgitated opinions of others without ever playing a game or playing it very little, with the only exception to their own rules being when it will stir up a controversy and get them more click/view. Their followers posting their videos everwhere and acting as if their word is Gospel.

    Even players themselves have made it nearly impossible to tell what is a good game and what isn't. Review bombs (both positive ones and negative ones) have skewed scores to extreme levels, and what is worse is there are groups that plan these sorts of things in advance ( a good example currently, there are some that are going to review bomb Borderlands 3 on all platforms the first chance they get).

    Now I am to the point where if a new game comes out, instead of looking at reviews, I just rent it to see how things are for myself and have started encouraging others to do the same.
     
  2. Scarlet

    Scarlet A Convenient Oddity

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    Well for what it's worth, we aren't paid off here for our reviews (or at least I'm not lol). Funnily enough though, I rarely read reviews for games. Might be bad to say as somebody who writes them but most of the time I already know whether I will or won't like the game I'm buying, having a reviewer confirm it doesn't really do me any good. If it's absolutely below what I was expecting, I can still enjoy it as the disappointment it is.
     
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  3. osaka35

    osaka35 Instructional Designer

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    The trick is to find reviewers that have reviewed quite a few games you have strong opinions about. Throw away reviewers that don't value the same things as you do in those games, and keep those who focus on the same things you do. You don't necessarily have to agree with their opinion, but notice what you value in a game and what they value in a game.

    For instance, I love super metroid. Most everyone does. But there are certain aspects that make me love super metroid. I'd look for a reviewer that talks about those aspects, even if they have a slightly different take on it than I do. Sometimes I quite like the different perspective. If a reviewer talks about atmosphere, player agency, level design, then I put that in the "yup" column. If the reviewer talks about cool upgrades, amazing graphics, etc. as to why they love super metroid, then it's the "nope" column for me. They might still be an amazing reviewer, I just won't get much out of it.

    That's my take anyway.
     
    Last edited by osaka35, May 17, 2019
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  4. Chary

    Chary Never sleeps.

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    Using ONLY reviews to make a purchase is a terrible method.

    The best way is to just do research on a variety of fronts. Who is the developer? Have they created a game in the past that you've enjoyed? Do they have a shoddy track record?

    When it does come to reviews, you have to find some writers that tend to like what you do. If you like visual novels, and the writer for a given website reviews a visual novel when they're unfamiliar with the genre, then you are almost certain to disagree. And as someone who helps manage the writing team for this site, I try to make sure that when a review code is given out, it's going to the most suitable person. While that can't always be done, you can find a certain trend in a reviewers' preferences. It's all a matter of finding someone who tends to like the games that you do.

    On the topic of "paid off" writers, lol, those are so few and far between, with most accusations seen as conspiracy or angry fanboy reactions. WB did pay off some of the reviewers of major sites for Shadow of Mordor, but that was a mere handful of sites, and only the largest of the influencers, at that. And most of them didn't even take the bait, anyway. (which is why that report broke in the first place; disgust with such a policy)

    I've been writing for GBAtemp since probably around 2014 or so, who knows, but far prior to that, I'd always kept track of review scores and watched trends. "review bombing" is a bit of a new trend, sure, but people have always been rabid about series they love.

    I will agree to an extent with the "influencer" youtubers and twitch streamers, who are given a review code to stream the game once, and then never again. It's hard to base an opinion on such a low amount of playtime. It's all hype and very little intricate analysis.

    Of course, playing it is the best method, but balancing all of the above, with gameplay videos, critic opinions, player scores, etc, can come together to build a fairly good idea of what a game will be like.
     
  5. Shadow#1

    Shadow#1 Wii & 3DS Softmod Expert

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    Gbatemp is a review site
     
  6. the_randomizer

    the_randomizer The Temp's official fox whisperer

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    I like to watch reviews to get a general idea and feel for a game, but it's not the whole deciding factor for me.
     
  7. SonowRaevius
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    SonowRaevius GBAtemp Regular

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    I kinda learned that I have a bad way of not saying what I mean at times as I didn't mean that it was my only way of determining what to purchase. Sorry for that misunderstanding.

    True enough, but to me, and again this is just me, it has been a "Some bad apples spoil the bunch". It's harder for me to look at "professional reviews" and take them completely seriously without wondering if they were paid or not.

    This is a fair enough point. Being a bit too cynical of reviews has led to me spending more than I somewhat want on game rentals. Though it somewhat makes me wish Demos or game trials were a thing again. A bit more balance in my views might be a tad more helpful in the long run.

    ((On another note I do tend to look at gameplay as well at least to see if actually tickles my fancy)).
     
  8. Chary

    Chary Never sleeps.

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    Thank you, I hadn’t noticed. :P

    What I said above still applies. If you see prior reviews on this site, it’s easy to pick details out for our writers. Scarlet is familiar with visual novels. I have a tendency towards scoring niche JRPGs higher than other sites. Tom scores lower than most critics on average. Meteor’s reviews lean on the more technical spectrum of details. As writers, we try our best to be unbiased and give each game the fairest score possible, but each of us do have preferences that the readers here can notice, and use to gauge their own opinion.
     
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  9. SonowRaevius
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    SonowRaevius GBAtemp Regular

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    Ok that's a bit fair, but it is for more than just reviews though TBH.

    Bonus points for making me chuckle.
     
  10. SomeKindOfUsername

    SomeKindOfUsername GBAtemp Regular

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    Some of my favorite games have gotten average reviews, some of my most meh experiences have gotten heaps of praise.

    So lately, I only look at reviews to find out if a game is total broken trash.
     
  11. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I don't know if I have observed greater or lesser trends this last few years. Before youtube reviews were a thing they were called forum reviews, and suffered many of the same pitfalls. People of dubious impartiality and people of dubious technical ability have long existed, and joined those with just plain different opinions to me in making it such that I have to find reviewers that align in interest, learned to review the reviews (you probably do something a bit more basic with the likes of Amazon reviews where a person might use all caps, have no punctuation and lots of poor spelling before promptly scrolling on by), and find other means of seeing signs of things that fall short -- in addition to the videos to try to determine poor input*, graphics and such I have long tried to find long form video, for how a game handles its downtime is often just as interesting to me.

    *if I know a person is of reasonable competence in games (actually if I have noticed any trend it is some people who are really bad at games make it to what are theoretically rather esteemed positions and then get extremely defensive about it, though there is also a reason companies with such positions are an even worse investment than ambitious independent developers that EA or Ubisoft is looking to purchase) then there are certain mistakes they will make in their footage that showcase poor or laggy input response.

    Of passing relevance at this point
    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/122056-Game-Dev-Claims-Demos-Hurt-Game-Sales
     
  12. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Gaming wise I don't think i've actually read game reviews since I used to buy magazines like PC Zone in the late 90's / early 2000's.

    I can usually tell from a bit of gameplay footage / screenshots if that will be a game I have any interest in playing.

    For example a game like Zelda Breath of the Wild is always going to get good reviews, however i've played enough games to know its never a game that's going to interest me regardless.

    I'm quite fussy with games and usually have a pretty good idea if i'm going to like the game or not just from knowing who is the developer / publisher is. Obviously some exceptions to this exist.

    However if i'm buying some new hardware like a 4K Monitor for example, then i'm very interested in lots of peoples different viewpoints, how does this monitor compare to another that is a similar price, is it worth spending a bit more money to get a better product. I will research a purchase like that a lot before deciding.
     
  13. Taleweaver

    Taleweaver Storywriter

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    Here's the thing: ANYONE CAN WRITE A REVIEW!

    I've written dozens if not hundreds of reviews on games I've played on steam (and a handful of others, such as here on gbatemp). I read a lot of those as well. And to me, those often short descriptions usually tell me as much about the game as a paid review. Which, indeed, I found to be no more reliable than amateurs.

    Review bombs, strangely enough, do not affect me much. I've played and thoroughly enjoyed anno 2070. Why? Because I READ the reviews. There were a lot of "uplay is HORRIBLE! 0/10!!!!" reviews where the reviewer had spend 20+ hours on the record. The more honest ones just say something in the lines of "the game is great, but I'm tumbing it down because <insert reason>".

    Heck...when I bought GTA V, everyone voted it down because the online version had something wrong with it. I mostly disliked it, but for different reasons that had nothing to do with the game (I gotta face it: my preferences have shifted).

    Also mentioned: keep an eye out for reviewers with similar tastes. What does the person say or write about games you've already played? If you completely disagree...why bother reading/seeing more?

    The studio is also a large indicator, though it's only really feasible with indie developers. I recently bought the app shards of infinity from the same makers as race for the galaxy almost solely because of the makers (there weren't enough reviews to properly establish more). It takes some gambling from time, obviously, but hey...no method is perfect. :)
     
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  14. DANTENDO

    DANTENDO I Won year sub Edge mag 1996 hot topic digitiser

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    Though you don't need to work for nasa to kno borderlands 3 will be a contender for game of the year and another way is when purchase a game don't read any reviews just take a chance with it and when finished you can giv Yr score then compare with the sites can be fun playing a game you hav no idea what it be like
     
  15. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I loved Borderlands 1, especially with the DLC, and 2 was more than playable but was going downhill fast. After Pre Sequel was allowed to bear the Borderlands name... yeah.

    Borderlands 3 could still surprise but to assume it will be a GOTY contender sight unseen... that is more optimism than I care for.
     
  16. zomborg

    zomborg Makin Temp great again

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    Reviews and review sites make me sad :(
    Cept temp
     
  17. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Learn to laugh the failures of others. Makes life quite amusing.
     
  18. Logan97

    Logan97 G.B.A.T.e.m.p T.e.m.p.l.a.r K.n.i.g.h.t

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    Where all things matter
    As much as reviewers give their input on upcoming games, some of them be accurate (may have similar point of views about a game) but If something is obvious, that doesn't make it a bad game just don't pinpoint specifically the minor errors because people will take notice of that and judge because of it. Reviewers really downplay simply because of that and it pisses me off a bit.
     
  19. Scarlet

    Scarlet A Convenient Oddity

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    For what it's worth, criticism of the review section here is welcomed if you feel you have useful input. We're always looking to improve what we do.
     
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  20. DANTENDO

    DANTENDO I Won year sub Edge mag 1996 hot topic digitiser

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    I'm old school I'd like to see reviews rated out of 100:D
     
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