JeI just bumped into a review of a review that Mike Cosimano wrote Destructoid.com about the PS4 game called Lethal League. I am going to try to review their review of his review, because I said that I would.
The bad news is, I only have like five minutes before I have to put the baby to bed, so I have to act fast.
The first thing I noticed about the review is, the full name of the reviewer is nowhere to be found on the review! It just says something like "by The Okay Quest" on there. What does that mean? I enjoy a good mystery as much as the next guy, but jeez, at least put your actual name down on your writing if you're going to stick it to a writer who is willing to do the same.
The general jist of the review of the review is that it's a bad review, because Mike said that he didn't have fun with the game for reasons that you're not supposed to use as reasons for why you didn't have fun with a game. Specifically, Mike said he didn't enjoy the game because it doesn't have much of a single player component, and the online multi-player didn't work for him. Therefore, he didn't have fun. The Okay Quest also said that Mike was kinda mean about expressing how little fun he had. That was also a bad thing to do, in the opinion of The Okay Quest.
These are all fair reasons to not like a review. Where things get unfair is when the reviewer of the review starts getting overly personal and mean, which ironically, is exactly what they said they didn't like about Mike's review. They also said that Mike's review is invalid because he is bringing his personal bagage into the review. Again, that's ironic, as The Okay Quest also says in their review of Mike's review that Mike is "destroying game journalism", or something to that effect. Sounds to me like The Okay Quest has their own fair share of bagage about game journalism to work out!
In my opinion, all a reviewer can do is tell you what they think and feel about a thing, and why they feel that way. Similarly, all a game developer can do is make the game that their internal compass points them towards making, and just hope from there that other people get something out of made. There is no "how to write videogame reviews" or "how to make videogames" books of rules that one should follow. As long as you are authentic, and give people enough to work with so that they can form their own opinions about what you did, then you know you did a good job.
As for me, I read Mike's review and thought "Huh, that game sounds awesome. He gave it a 4 or something, but that's only because he was trying to play online. I don't want play to play online, so I'll buy it." I think I thought similar stuff when I first read Jim Sterling's review of Shovel Knight, one of my favorite games ever. He said it stunk that the game had Medusa Head style enemies in it. I love Medusa Head style enemies! They are such an interesting problem to solve. So after I read Jim's review, I knew that I would love Shovel Knight more than Jim did.
And I was right!
Anyway, I liked The Okay Quest's review of Mike's review. I was just being a dink when I was criticising him for not using his real name on the post. That doesn't actually matter to me. I do think his review of Mike's review is a bit hypocritical though, as he does a lot of the stuff in his review of Mike's review that he criticises Mike for doing. But hey, being human means being a hypocrite sometimes. I both love and hate Chewy Lemonhead Assorted Mixed Candies AT THE SAME TIME! We can feel more than one feeling at once, and we can both like and not like videogames, videogame reviews, and just about everything else, all simultaniously.
That said, I do think review scores can be more trouble than they are worth, which is part of why I devised a method to let readers score a game's review themselves. Watch for it tomorrow morning.
Jeez, Dtoid's Cblog editor doesn't allow Google Chrome spell check to work? What kind of dog and pony show are you running here, Niero?!?!?!?