Reviews are serious business. A good review can turn a game that you were thinking about renting into a must have on day one purchase and likewise a bad review can turn you off a game that you were previously quite excited about. Unfortunately though it seems that reviews are becoming more like fanboy ammunition in the "console war." Comments in review threads can quickly devolve into mindless "haha take that *console of choice* owners, looks like you've got another shitty game to play on your shitty console!" comments or into equally bad "this review is bullshit, I would have given the game a higher/lower score. You guys have clearly been payed off by Micro$oft/$ony/Nintendo" comments. If the review falls in line with their opinion of a game whether they have played it or not then they rave about it and make sure everyone knows it. If it doesn't fall in line then they call out the writers and question their integrity.
I hate these people.
Why do I hate them so? Because they are missing the entire point of a review and twist them to fit their own view of a certain game.
These people believe that a review is the bottom line in how good or bad a game is. The truth is they are not. As people we are all different and we all have different tastes and so what we believe is good is completely subjective. There are plenty of games that I have played that got mediocre or poor reviews which I thoroughly enjoyed. Likewise there are plenty of games that got good reviews that I really don't like (Pixeljunk Eden and Mega Man 9 comes to mind.... please don't judge me). Those who read a review just to see whether a game is good or not is simply put, doing it wrong.
A review is a buyers guide.
Someone has taken the time to go through the game and tell you what it does well and what it doesn't. They are basically telling you what the game is like which does not necessarily mean they are telling you if the game is good or bad (or at least it shouldn't because you
are the one who should be deciding that). A review is there for you to use so you can decide for yourself whether you want to buy this game based on what you have been told about it.
It is not there for you to use to mock other console owners when a game doesn't sound particularly good. The reviewer is not saying "this game is amazing/shit and you should buy it now/avoid it like the plague," they are saying "this is what the game is like, do you think this is game that you would enjoy playing?" All the points mentioned in the review are there because the reviewer believes that these are what the average person will experience. If the reviewer found a certain aspect of the game particularly frustrating then they have said so because if you play the game you will probably (but not necessarily) feel the same way. To you, a good review does not equal a good game. The chances are much higher but you'll have to play it to find out for sure.
Of course I'm ignoring any behind the scenes action going on behind the reviews, such as threats from publishers to pull coverage if they don't get a good review, bribes or imps hacking into the computers but that shouldn't matter. When anybody does any kind of product research, only an idiot would listen to just one source no matter how trusted it may be because as mentioned before our tastes all differ slightly. Chances are if 3 reviews all say that this game has sloppy controls, then the game probably has sloppy controls.
It pisses me off that too many people these days forget what reviews are for and take them far too seriously. If anything it's infuriating to see people not thinking for themselves and letting reviews dictate how they perceive how good a game is. It's a shame that fewer people are forming their own educated opinions and trying things out for themselves.