When I ask the question "Will Episodic Games Change The Way We Review Games?", by "we" I mean sites like Destructoid or magazines like Game Informer.
Reviewing a game up to this point has been rather easy. Buy or receive the game, play the game, replay the game if there is any replay value to be had, and then write up your review for millions to shit on. Yay!
Now it seems the tides are changing. Games like Sonic 4 and Fable III are ditching the old model of selling the complete game on one disc in lieu of publishing their games in sections through DLC.
I see both positive and negative to this new direction of publishing video games, but alas that is not the focus of this article.
My question is, how do game reviewers like Destructoid change their model to review such titles released in increments rather than the full package?
What if Jim Sterling reviews episodes 1-3 of Fable III and gives it a "skip it" score, but then the following 3 episodes come out and totally melt his face? Now the game has become a "BUY IT!" score based on the newly released content. There is nothing wrong with retracting a review and changing one's opinion, but it's not something that should be expected or have the opportunity to happen with every DLC based game.
I don't want to have to consider whether or not a game critics review will change based up upcoming DLC.
Sure you could compare this new model to the already established bonus DLC put out for games now, but I don't think that is the same. There is a difference between adding a new mission with DLC, and leaving out a significant and important chunk of a game that can only be accessed by being downloaded.
I have played quite a few games that didn't shape up until the 2nd half or even later. Just like a movie, sometimes the end reward makes the mediocre gaming experience worth playing through.
So how can a game critic honestly analyze and review a game that they haven't even fully experienced yet? Waiting for all the DLC to come out doesn't seem to be a viable option because the review might come months after the initial 1st part of the game has been released.
Here is the dilemma for both game producer and game critic. Game production studios rely on game critics to talk about their game and hopefully give the thumbs up to their readership to buy said game. But how can game critics even review a game that hasn't even been released in it's fully entirety?
The circle of life here with game production and reviewing seems to be broken with this new model of game publishing. I am curious to see how it affects the industry. I am not saying this is something that will rock the very foundations of gaming, but I do think this will have an affect on game reviewing and marketing as a whole.