The Review Blitz

Ah, this is a subject I could rant on for hours on end. Kotaku’s magician-writer Brian Crecente has written an editorial piece about “The Rush To Review”, asking why people get reviews for games out so fast. His main case concerns Little Big Planet, whose reviews came out two weeks ago, even though the game wasn’t fully playable (the servers STILL aren’t running).

I felt this way about GTA IV and I totally agree that this question needs to be asked more often. To me, a game that relies on user content needs to be reviewed a few weeks after the game ships, to see how the game holds up. Sure, you can review the solo stuff, and it sounds like LBP’s is still great, but don’t tell us the whole game is perfect if you don’t know.

In addition, he brings up MMO’s, saying it shouldn’t be ok to review an MMO until perhaps a month or more after launch, for similar reasons as stated above.

The whole thing is definitely worth a read, and the issue’s been on my mind a lot lately, mainly because I’m playing Saint’s Row 2 and enjoying it so much more than the heralded “greatest game of all time” Grand Theft Auto IV, which early reviews raved over. The thing is, I think more and more reviewers are reviewing games before they’ve even finished them these days, and if you played the first 5-10 hours of GTA IV, I can see how you’d call it a gaming masterpiece. The next 20, however… not so much.

Hell, I saw a Dead Space review the other day where the guy didn’t even know how to heal himself (calling it clunky), when it only requires the push of a button. Made me wonder if he’d made it very far into the game at all.

Personally, this is why we haven’t reviewed a game yet at GamerSushi. We’re trying to decide on the best process still, because we want to lead people the right way, and only once we’ve finished the game. Hopefully we can have some good ones for you guys over the next few weeks.

What do you guys think? Are you ok with the rush to review?

Source- Kotaku

Written by

I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

12 thoughts on “The Review Blitz”

  1. Unfortunately, this happens a lot to games with a real community or mulitplayer focus.

    What’s the rush to review a game like LittleBigPlanet right away? If the beta was any indication, the review sites could have waited two days and then started their review; they would have had a massive amount of awesome user-generated content to sift through.(If the servers were working, that is)

    It’s the same thing with MMOs and similar games. If you’re going to review it, wait until the servers are populated with random people. MMOs are a community based genre, it doesn’t make sense to charge in to an empty world and base your review on that. Questing by yourself is never fun.

  2. Sorry for the double post here; I’m writing these replies at work, so I rarely get to fully flesh out my ideas before my boss comes back.

    Reviewing games is always a tricky business. If you base your living on it, you’re going to want to get your review out before the competition. Why? More often than not, it’s so you can get the traffic or the magazine sales before the other guys do. Sometimes you do end up with ridiculous reviews that rarely make sense, like that Dead Space review you mentioned.

    I’ll admit that I haven’t played Dead Space, but when I was watching a friend play it he never had a problem with healing or anything. The only control he couldn’t figure out was the Breadcrumbs button, and after a quick trip to the menu he was using the command no problem.

    That’s why I like Kotaku’s reviews. Putting out a review the week of a game’s release is fine with me. That usually means that the reviewer has had time to get himself fully acquainted with the nuances of a game, instead of hurriedly rushing through to meet a deadline.

    Speeding through reviews(especially reviews that rely on scores) often leads to wonky scores that don’t match the text of the review.

    Good on you guys for waiting to figure out a proper formula for reviews. As just a few guys running this website as a hobby, you certainly don’t have early access to games or the review codes. I’d rather wait a few days and get an honest opinion then reading an awesome review, grabbing a game, and feel mislead when it turns out to be less of a game than I was lead to believe. *cough*GTA IV*cough*

  3. Most reviews I read of GTA were from people who finished them, but they also were brought to a hotel by Rockstar and given free rein with the game under their conditions. Thats no way to review a game.

  4. Early reviews are kind of bullshit, but it’s just a way to advertise the game once it comes out. Still, you’re right. The review shouldn’t be a friggin month before the game launches – it should be a few days or something after it launches.

  5. You have to consider that some people do this for a living…. and have to earn money. All the same, I agree that some reviews are bs.

  6. I think early reviews are useful for exactly what they are – the base-level for the mechanics, graphics, and overall feel of the game that you can get from the first 3-5 hours of gameplay. That’s usually enough to cut through the hype and determine if the game is utter crap, worth considering if you’re a fan of the franchise/genre, or has definitely potential for greatness. Be nice if they could offer this sort of initial mini-review take (and acknowledge it a such!), with a full assessment coming once they’ve had the opportunity to look at the game as a whole. Or at least at a considerably deeper level, for MMOs and other long-to-infinite format games.

  7. I think reviews are a waste of time. Period. I mean..they’re good for one thing and one thing only, which is to get people out there to buy the game or not buy the game. I’ve played a lot of games that have been given bad reviews or not been reviewed at all and they have been EPIC games that I have come back to over and over. Then again, I have played some games that have been reviewed as epic and they have failed in my eyes. And a lot of the games these days that are getting great reviews are turning out crappy and glitchy or good for about three hours then boring as hell, and companies don’t care because once they sell the game they’re getting money? That stupid notion doesn’t get anyone anywhere.
    I think the only way to judge a game is to watch actual gameplay, not clips formatted to look good, or play the game yourself, like a demo or something. Leaving someone else to judge your games is like leaving someone else to judge your books and your movies (etc.). I mean seriously, I bet when youtube first came out not everybody was like WOAH OMG I CAN POST RANDOM VIDEOS NO ONE WILL EVER WATCH BECAUSE THIS IS A NEW SITE. But it ended out mostly great didn’t it? You just can’t leave someone to judge for you.

  8. Ergo, you make some good points, but I would like to point something out:

    I have been playing games since I was 4, which dates me back to the Atari.

    During the days of the NES and even the SNES, reviews were sparse. That means you sometimes bought a crappy game. Reviews would have helped a lot.

    Reviews are not meant to get you to buy a game or not buy it. They give you ONE person’s opinion. Read a variety of reviews on a game and you can easily tell whether or not you would like it.

    Not all games have demos and gameplay footage can be deceiving.

    go to metacritic or and read a bunch of reviews and base your judgment off that.

    Example: Splinter Cell is a fantastically reviewed game. I did not buy it b/c every review said that the gameplay is trial and error. Basically, you learn where an enemy is, you die and next time you don’t die b/c you know where that enemy is.

    That doesn’t interest me. I don’t want to memorize levels anymore.

    So those reviews helped me because I know what kinds of games I like.

    You are the final judge, but reviews help you to decide whether to waste 60 bucks on a game you might not like.

  9. True true. I just feel like I’ve slightly lost my faith in some reviews from recent games. And that reviews were ever so slightly edging toward the kind of movie/book review of RIVETING! FOUR STARS! and all that. While the book/movie may or may not have been crappy. Reviews definitely do help, but I have had a lot of fun with games that have been reviewed as crappy. Would I have had more fun had the game been perfect? Maybe. But I had fun anyway. On the other hand, I have had little to no fun with games that have been reviewed as THE BEST GAME I’VE PLAYED SINCE [Insert great game here.] so I dunno. Definitely, if a review gives you info on the game that’s fine. That’s great actually. As long as it’s fleshed out. Reviews should not tell you whether a game is good or not though. That should be left up to people to judge. And it irritates the heck out of me when some review sites decide to point out only the good points of a game and leave out the flaws/vice-versa, just to make the game look good/do a rush job on reviews.

  10. And all games should have some type of demo. I mean, the days when a demo disk would come in the mail are gone, but they did help me judge a few games. Rightly so too. And yeah about the gameplay footage, thats why I say the footage should actually be people sitting there playing, or at least the screen, and not being forced to do anything. Like videos of the game testers or whatever.

  11. Oh yeah, some games get panned, but I know I will like them anyway, like Dark Alliance II for the PS2.

    Reviews said it was “more of the same”

    FINE BY ME! I loved the first one,lol.

Comments are closed.