[Editor's note: Y0j1mb0 wrote up this timely piece about videogame reviews. -- CTZ]
There has been a whole lot of hoopla about game reviews lately. To the point that if you were to actually internalize how unbelievably obsessed some people are pertaining to reviews, you would think the topic would be just as an important factor in their lives as breathing air or the well being of a loved family member. People tend to forget what reviews really are half the time: the opinions of a set person who's job it is to play a game before you do, run it through it's course, and offer you a personal overview of their experiences through the pros and cons structure to better inform you whether it's worthy of your attention and money.
By the same token, the game reviewer in question must be as sincere as possible with his review. Notice that I didn't say he can't be biased because, as human beings, we are all biased about one thing over the other. All that should be required of a game reviewer is sincerity and to be consistent in his profession, regardless of who made the game. Be it a small indie developer/publisher or a giant in the field. Once that has been established and that unison or meeting of the minds has been met, which typically takes a few reviews under their belt, everything should be smooth sailing for all involved.
After all, game reviews should be about one thing and one thing only: The gamer. It should be about informing gamers of whatever new game that comes down the pike. There's the added benefit of a useful tool to the game developer as well, should he accept the critique of the reviewer to better his game by implementing changes or fixing things for future iterations of the game. So far so good. Unfortunately here's where the whole review thing breaks down for me and I get off the bus.
It's hard to find sincere, consistently honest reviewers. It's like finding a needle in a haystack because for the most part, almost everybody out there reviewing games forgets what the fuck they are supposed to be doing. It's about us gamers, remember? Instead, we are treated to these people who snag exclusive reviews with publishers/developers that I can never trust, hobnobbing with developers, receiving free game related swag, getting free copies of games for review (Personally, this practice of having a free review copy of the game makes me question their validity as I would put more stock in what they said if they had to purchase the game), and of course, their underlying requirement to procure more page views/hits on their sites, which in turn creates a race to see which reviewer can differentiate themselves more from the others through their spewing of hate mongering and attempts at humor to garner more attention from us gamers.
I'm all about being entertained in a blog or a post, but I want my reviews to be about the game in question. Not how witty, comical, or hard you can come across with the written word.
I'm a feature fanatic. I want to know everything about a game: single player, multiplayer modes, how is the actual online play, does it lag, does it feature remote play, custom soundtracks, achievements, trophies, you name it. I want to know about it. That sounds selfish, I know, but that's what I'm looking for.