Bias and reviews

So the FTC is acting on stuff like the Sony PSP xmas thing we heard of.

I guess this also means that companies that are caught setting up “plants” in forums and other places will also get in trouble. Let’s hope.

On the flip side, I find more and more that the internet is unreliable to review games. I look at the few sites I look at and often the sites at most give only the good stuff about a game and that’s when they don’t make the bad stuff sound like it is actually good. Not enough people are willing to give a game a bad grade and I think that provides a disservice to everyone. Examples that come to mind are FF III DS and XSIII. These weren’t ALL bad, but the grades they received were inflated and in general, the review wasn’t critical enough of the games.


PSP thing? elaborate.

Hey they took down the site!

Essentially, Sony hired this company to make a fake blog about a guy advocating the wonders of the PSP. It was_awful_. Companies have been doing stuff like this for years. They also use plants on forums and on sites that sell products to inflate ratings.

Sin, are you talking about official reviews from websites, or reviews that some guy uploaded to GameFAQs?

By the way, I just double-checked my own review for XS3 and yeah, it was pretty enthused. Frankly, in my opinion there wasn’t much bad about the game to mention. Don’t forget that people do have opinions that can differ from yours, and the fact that you felt there were bad points about the game doesn’t mean that others share those views. The reviews I’ve seen about FF3 DS actually do mention the difficulty and old-school gameplay as important factors.

If Sin is talking about the mainstream videogame “press,” then I agree: it’s total shit.

Videogame reviewers won’t give any exclusively reviewed game less than a 9/10, use developer diaries (aka devs shamelessly plugging their projects) to fill webspace, make every previewed game sound like The Next Big Thing, frequently make grammatical errors on their front pages (it’s and its are different, IGN), write like they’re still in high school, and generally suck at everything they do.

Sorry for sounding so cynical, but I’ve been reading gaming mags and websites for years and the quality is steadily decreasing. Gaming journalism is about not pissing off the big guys (like EA) so you keep your ad revenue coming, effectively destroying any integrity in the game review process. Not every website is this bad, I know, but the big ones are pretty shameless. Go to and click every review for Battlefield 2142. Funny how only one or two mention how the game has in-game advertisements…

I use a combination of Metacritic, user reviews (sadly these are either “OMG THIS GAME R TEH RULEZ” or “This game sucks gigantic elephant balls”), forums (Agora) and friend’s advice before buying a game. But I don’t trust a single source like IGN or Gamestop because they lack integrity and professionalism.

Perhaps it’s just me, but I find that it’s very hard to give reviews about games where you mention the negative aspects of a game without making it sound like you’re tearing a game to shreds. Now, granted, most of the games I review for RPGC ARE bad games, but not all of them. Some of the games I’ve reviews, like Shadow Hearts 3 and Contact, have reviews that sound so negative, but I actually didn’t think the game was that bad. I’m not sure if this is a universal problem for reviewing games, but I find that objective reviews seem to lean towards having negative tones.

Official ones. And as I said, I’m not saying the games are ALL bad, I’m saying the bad parts are overlooked or undercriticized or sugar coated. Saying “oh, FF3 DS is old school” is not an accurate description of the gameplay. XS3 compensated for a lot of the ways that the old games lacked and credit is due in some areas. However, people weren’t very thorough with the story as they should have been.

I’ve found Game Revolution to be pretty good and fair. They have no qualms about tearing a game a apart. Hell, their reviews for bad games are often the best ones since they are funny.

At some point in every gamer’s life, h/she begins to doubt official magazine reviews. For me it was when Star Wars Galaxies was named A+ Editor’s Choice for some magazine, I think it was GameNow. Welcome to the ranks, Sin. It’s like discovering that there’s no Santa Claus. :stuck_out_tongue:

When PC Games magazine died, I gave up on the Video Game press. They’re essentially the opposite of film critits; the pretentious, elitist cuntswamps of the earth would not review something so base as Video games, so they just got people who were easy to please, rather than randomly spiteful enough to lead one to believe they have some obscure form of tourettes leading to Tirades of Hate. Instead, people tend to review games in the genre they like, and the games they like the look of the most, leading the already easy-to-please, industry dependant reviewers with financial coercion food good reviews and a heavy bias towards the game from the get-go.
Game reviewers have another sense of opposition to other critics I’ve noticed in that, rather than lambasting anything that has vague similarity to an existing concept (such as using a real language that people can read) as Cliche’, they dismiss new, innovative ideas as Weird and other, stronger missives for “unsual” more often than not. I thought Metal Gear Acid was great, but most reviewers derided it unfairly for its card-based, unusual/innovative gameplay, because that’s not how Metal Gear works and God fucking Forbid something changes or evolves in any way.

The Sony PSP campaigns were pretty inane, especially considering it’s a good product with a lot of good games that should sell itself. It’s like cheating at something you could easily win anyway. Sony ended up getting caught. I just don’t get it.

Plus if you’ve got any degree of writing talent, why would you waste it working for a videogame mag? Other critics piss on you for reviewing something so “lowbrow” and you get paid jack shit. You’ve really, really got to love videogames to do that job and even then, you’re still getting screwed. And I’d imagine the passionate videogamers would get fed up with the politics (“you can’t give this half-baked EA shit game less than an 8 or they might stop sending us swag”).

I can’t imagine playing games - shitty games - all day for a living.

PS: What often bothers me more than a reviewer’s lack of integrity is his shitty writing style. High school essays are better composed than half the articles that reach Gamespot or IGN’s front page. And don’t get me started about the softball interview question the pussies lob to videogame devs. The best videogame reviews often come from publications totally unrelated to gaming. The Onion’s AV club has fantastic, concise reviews…too bad they only number one or two a week.

In non English speaking press, sometimes the local mags are better. Usually because if they aren’t, someone can easily import a major magazine and translate it

The reviewing net sites either get too “professional” (as in sell outs and not as in self-respectful) or as they are hobby efforts tend to close. It’s a race around the clock to find small websites that deliver before they call it a day and it gets boring fast.

Not enough people are willing to give a game a bad grade and I think that provides a disservice to everyone.
You’re welcome. Though many of the “bad grades” I’ve given were previews, not reviews, and some were aimed at games you like (FFT, XII) :stuck_out_tongue:

Get GoW. >_>;

That’s because you’re not objective and methodical in what you have to say :P.

How many of you believe that a game should be somewhat finished up before making a half-assed p/review about the first five minutes of a game?

The way I think about it, a preview lies firmly in the realm of fantasy. Now a review had better be informative and let me know in what degree the game delivers. i.e. I agree about the reviewing part