Posted by: seanmalstrom | February 5, 2014

Email: Game Reviews

I’ve been enjoying the game review site you recommended (not many RPGs unfortunately) and it’s been reminding me of frustrations I have with the mainstream gaming sites. Video game critic is to the point, isn’t afraid to point out potential deal-breaking flaws in even his favourite games, and the best bit, isn’t afraid to tell the us that he isn’t big into a genre or series but we can boost his score up if we are.

The thing I don’t like about the industry is that its selectively critical. Series with name value or games with hype don’t get put under a harsh microscope, the game journalists look more at what was promised and if those promises were followed up on. The harsh pile-ons only happen when a game REALLY screws up (like Resident Evil 6). I hate this, because when I read a review, I’m not looking to have a future game purchase justified, I want to know what’s wrong with a game I’m on the fence about. I usually wait for Gamefaqs user reviews, find the lowest scores, and read those, because if I can read a critical review by a hater without being turned off, then it’s worth playing. Oftentimes people who think a game is awesome believe it to be a gospel truth and that their taste is universal, and I’ve been burned more than once by this, I’d rather know what’s wrong with it and then find the awesome myself.

You’re like me in that you find the one star reviews more helpful than the five star ones. I do the same with Amazon.

One thing that differentiates the Critic from other game reviewers is that he actually programs for a living. There are times when he bashes a game because he knows the interface was coded incorrectly. He despairs at how modern games uses ‘kits’. Early video games each felt unique because there were no kits. It is why Rare’s NES games were flicker free due to very good programming skills.

If you look at game reviews of the past (meaning 80s and even 90s), the game reviewer would actually review the game’s programming. Today, most gamers and most game reviewers wouldn’t be able to understand the programming. In their defense, game programming has only become more and more complex. I don’t even understand all the stuff going on with the cloud programming. I don’t understand how Diablo 3’s cloud programming works (and at times, I suspect not even Blizzard understands it).

I do dislike how game reviewers today seem like a type of ‘frat boy’ group. What happened to the nerdy engineer-like game reviewers? Perhaps they all got high paying jobs in the 90s and that was the end of that.


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