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henrymidfields

Are critical reviews important for your game decisions? Are/were they good? Your favorite reviewers?

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As the title says above, who here reads/trust reviews from critics/reviewers before deciding to purchase a game? It can be anyone - professionals from say IGN or Kotaku, to reviewers from their Youtube channels, or even from forum members' reviews. And what were the ones that were good or otherwise?

While I am not going to elaborate too much (as it is 3am local time), SuperButterBuns from Youtube was definitely one factor that prompted me to make the purchases for Persona 3 (Portable) and 4 (the other factor being playing a bit of Tokyo Mirage Sessions and loving that, no less) and her review of Catherine also solidified my decision to get Catherine: Full Body next year, and maybe FF12 some time after. While I generally get opinions from others as well, I say she's very entertaining, and goes in-depth in the reasons for recommendations. 

Edited by henrymidfields

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Nope, I do not take account of reviews or critics to purchase a game.

I do inform myself on how the press perceive the game though but it never had an impact on me.

My favorite reviewer is a French journalist called MrDeriv. 

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Normally I just prefer to go off past experiences with the series or company, or the clout that said game has with the world around it. If a game is known for being bad, and was reviewed as such, then I won't buy it.

Not quite sure who my favorite reviewer would be, I suppose Projared, but he rarely reviews modern games, so it never really impacts my current buying decisions.

 

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Classic Game Room is a good resource for reviews for older, more obscure titles I've never heard of whenever I'm on the game hunt. Unfortunately they don't make new content anymore as far as I'm aware, and I'm rarely on the hunt as well these days. Gametrailers is another great resource, and they do live on in the form of Easy Allies. Great group and the only modern reviews I keep up with, but they typically confirm things I could already decide from following a game's trailers and press releases. 

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It's hard to take reviews from websites like IGN now because it's made up of multiple people with different standards and expectations. There's so many people employed there that it's difficult to find a consistent viewpoint. At least with solo or small groups on youtube channels or smaller publications, you at least know their preferences.

I'll check out and value the latter but usually not the former.

Edited by Edgelord

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Usually, i trust GameXplain's reviews since it's mostly the same three people and they've pretty much stick to what they know best as opposed to playing games in genres they know they wouldn't like.

As for whether or not reviews influence my decisions? Depends. Aside from GameXplain, i rarely loom at critical reviews but if the general agreement on a game is that it sucks (like Mighty No.9), then yeah, i'm not buying it.

If it's a game i know i would like, the reviews mean nothing.

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For a game I really know I'll want and like, I skip reviews. For games I am less certain about and would like to know more, I do consider them, from "professional" reviewers more than fans. Nothing too much, but enough to get an idea of the game's strengths and flaws.

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I think the only game I seriously looked at reviews for before buying it was Tokyo Mirage Sessions - I was on the fence with the whole idol thing, but then I saw that most reviews were positive, so I decided to buy it. And my god, I'm so glad I did.

But as for other games...I normally stick with my gut instinct. If I like what I see and can justify paying the money, chances are, I'll buy it. Though, it's not saying much when I usually stick to FE, Pokemon, Smash and Splatoon. It's why I like the Switch so much, it made me branch out and actually complete a Mario and Zelda game due to the whole hybrid thing.

As for reviewers I trust...definitely not IGN, not after what they said about PMD:Explorers of Sky. I normally go to GameXplain or Youtubers who focus on specific franchises, like, for Pokemon, I'll tune into CandyEvie or BirdKeeperToby or JWitzz. Hopefully one of them can change my mind about LGPE, hahah.

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Reviews are a critical form of consumer protection. 

 

I usually try to take a few critics into account, though my favorite is Angry Joe, since his taste in games is similar to my own.

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Depends on where I'm getting the game. For instance, if I'm looking at a game on GOG, I usually just scroll down and look at the comments, as the most helpful ones tend to be the first ones you see, and chances are they're the reviews that go into great detail about the good and bad about the game, and why you should or shouldn't but it. In other scenarios, I just look the game up on Wikipedia, as it will has most of "official" reviews in a single place. Other times, I either look up what youtube reviewers have to say about the game, or I go off of word of mouth.

Sometimes, though, I look up game reviews less to learn more about the gameplay, and more to get a warning ahead of time about its content. Seriously, I hate learning the hard way that a game, movie, book, etc. contains more swearing, violence, suggestive content, etc. than I was expecting. Granted, this rarely happens to me as I've made it a habit to look this stuff up beforehand, but when it does, it annoys me to no end.

As for my favorite YouTube reviewers, I'd have to say CJSZero01, Wiidude83, SomecallmeJohnny, and Projared for their combination of being funny, informative, and balanced in their reviews.

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Aggregate scores a big no-no for me.  You can't really quantify a game's level of entertainment; at best, you can only determine if it's worth sixty bucks (or the equivalent of such).

I'll read reviews to see if it has what I like.  Though I'll also see what normal people are saying about it if I'm on the fence, and I'll try to do some looking into the reviewers themselves to see if they'd even like those types of games.  A lot of big journalist companies like IGN have journalists who, at best, only have surface-level experience with relatively niche titles like Fire Emblem.  So you'll get an opinion from someone who is sort of a newbie and might not even be all that into those types of games, but IGN won't give you that veteran Fire Emblem player who has been into the series since the Kaga days.  And yeah, it is a good gauge in terms of general newbie appeal, but you can't know that it'll be good for those that have history with the series and know all the ins and outs.

In terms of favorite reviewers...

I used to watch Angry Joe all the time.  And I also watched a good chunk of Total Biscuit's stuff before he passed away.  But now I have to say that unless you share a very similar taste in games with the reviewer, it's a pretty bad idea to get attached to them if you can't first recognize that you might be susceptible to bias.  I remember AJ would always rip into Risen, and every time after the first game, he'd rip into its fans as well, saying they're fools for thinking it was good.  At first I was on board with that, but then I eventually realized that he was actually being a mega douchebag about it, and I was just eating it up simply because I liked his personality.  It was somewhere along that point that I developed an open-mindedness towards other people's tastes, as I realize now that other people can like stuff that I absolutely hate.

If there's one reviewer I like anymore, it's Dunkey or the more casual YouTubers who are more streamers and LPers than proper reviewers.  And even then, a lot of the time I just like hearing it for a different perspective or entertainment, rather than to actually get informed.  Again, I'd rather not let my personal bias towards the reviewer get in the way of my considering a game I might like.  That being said, Dunkey saved me from buying the pile of steaming dog doodoo known as Metal Gear Survive.

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9 hours ago, Lau said:

I think the only game I seriously looked at reviews for before buying it was Tokyo Mirage Sessions - I was on the fence with the whole idol thing, but then I saw that most reviews were positive, so I decided to buy it. And my god, I'm so glad I did.

It's a shame that the numerous positive reviews didn't translate to sales, not to mention the game being on the console with the worst library of games. I for one really do not like J-Pop at all, and yet I actually love the songs in TMS#FE (I don't think the majority of the soundtrack from Persona proper really counts to be honest; they sound more like American music.) - to the point that I actually ordered a new copy of the CD soundtrack straight from my hometown. I also got into Persona 4 Golden, currently playing Persona 3 Portable, and have a raised interest with Atlus games in general because of this particular game. It's one thing to try and not like it; it's another to not even bother; if people actually give that a try, they might be surprised.

Edited by henrymidfields

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If I listened to reviews, I probably would have never played Nights of Azure, Nights of Azure 2 or Warriors All-Stars, all three of which are games that I really enjoy and hold dear, so... yeah. I usually go with my gut instinct, as well. It has only wronged me a few times before.
The only time I do look at reviews is if I am on the fence about something and don't know if I would like it or not or if I've already played the game and want to know how others feel about it. And even then, the gist of the review doesn't usually match up with my feelings about a game, like with Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate.

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I never really have read / listened to any game reviews in my life.

If I'm not 100% sure about buying a game, I might watch 1-2 episodes of a LP to get a first impression.

Most of my buys are either intuitive, or recommendations by (online) friends of mine.

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One other reason I don't typically listen to reviewers...

This one guy on Rock, Paper, Shotgun was complaining about the fact that games like Soulcalibur and Call of Duty were in the top charts for Steam, but the big name games that have been out for years now like Counter Strike and GTA V weren't in the top charts for the week.  It was either really unfunny satire or a shitty opinion.  Either way, it was a stupid article.

Point is, there are a lot of journalists out there that rely on click-bait and contrarianism to earn their money.  And to that end, some will say the most asinine, idiotic things just to get people to click on their articles.  I only looked at that article I mentioned to see how SC VI was doing, since there was this big scare about it having horrible physical sales in the UK or whatever, but even then I should've known the click-bait when I saw it (the title practically screamed "bad opinions lie here").

Many will also try way too hard to act like they understand every gamer in the entire world by interjecting random, irrelevant references to popular games.  Like no, I don't give a right damn that you've played Battlefield or Minecraft when you're reviewing Fire Emblem 69, I care about whether or not you've played a single goddamn strategy game; you could at least make that generic "it's like chess" comparison that everyone and their grandma does.  Pulling that "I'm a real gamer, bro" BS for a niche/somewhat niche title does not instill confidence that you're anything but a newbie when it comes to the genre.  The most notorious example of this - though it wasn't with a niche title - is that classic IGN tagline "It's like Skyrim with guns!" that they gave Far Cry 3.  They went so far off the deep end with that, I almost think they knew exactly what they were doing when they made such a stupid tagline.

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If there's something about western game journalists i've noticed is that there's always a cycle.

  1. New triple AAA game comes out with really realistic graphics
  2. Western game journalists jack off to it, saying it's "one of the best games ever made" and how it "sets a new standard for gaming" and their concept of good writing is so bad that they'll say Detroit: Become Human has good writing.
  3. Game gets 9 and 10/10 scores everywhere.
  4. Journalists forget about the game after 2 weeks
  5. Repeat steps 1-4.

Right now, it's with Red Dead Redemption 2, like look at this

Like sure, the game looks really good visually  but right now game journalists are acting like this game is more important than your life. This is why i can't take most professional game journalism seriously.

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5 minutes ago, Armagon said:

If there's something about western game journalists i've noticed is that there's always a cycle.

  1. New triple AAA game comes out with really realistic graphics
  2. Western game journalists jack off to it, saying it's "one of the best games ever made" and how it "sets a new standard for gaming" and their concept of good writing is so bad that they'll say Detroit: Become Human has good writing.
  3. Game gets 9 and 10/10 scores everywhere.
  4. Journalists forget about the game after 2 weeks
  5. Repeat steps 1-4.

Like sure, the game looks really good visually  but right now game journalists are acting like this game is more important than your life. This is why i can't take most professional game journalism seriously.

To me, it feels like the reason they get into this cycle - and the reason they seem to always have a review for every game, no matter how niche it is - is simply because it's their job.

If they aren't writing articles, they aren't earning money.  It's the same reason you get all of those "slow news day" segments out of new channels and whatnot; they have to put something out, even if it's useless trite.  And to that end, they find themselves writing so often that they can only afford to offer canned lines like "it's the best ever" or "it's good, but has flaws".  It's also "safe" to give popular franchises with high production values high scores if they don't have glaring flaws within the first couple of hours, while it's "safer" to go for middle-of-the-road scores when reviewing more niche titles so that you don't seem biased one way or another.

If this sounds like a cynical view on gaming journalism, that's because it most certainly is.  It feels punctilious and deliberately iterative, as if they're just punching in their cards and grinding the numbers instead of thinking about what they're doing or saying.  Though this also comes from what I know about putting out viewable content and how you're basically dead in the water if you don't keep chugging out content.  At some point, it drains on you and you start feeling and acting like a drone.

 

These are the opinions of a man who has never been a part of any publication or learned much about journalism, mind you.  However, I also know that there are a lot of journalists, TV hosts, and other such media personalities who don't fall into this trap.  It takes a certain kind of character and training to keep that from happening.  Character and training that I don't believe most gaming journalists have.  Small time publications and independent personalities are exceptions because they can afford to take breaks and choose what they review.

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For what it's worth, Red Dead Redemption 2 is excellent from what I've played so far. IGN are certainly exaggerating with that quote for little reason, but it does deserve the praise it gets. For what it's worth

DqX8fzAX4AAlLCG.jpg

Now, if almost everything else deserves the same amount of praise is a different matter..

Edited by Edgelord

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3 hours ago, Armagon said:

If there's something about western game journalists i've noticed is that there's always a cycle.

  1. New triple AAA game comes out with really realistic graphics
  2. Western game journalists jack off to it, saying it's "one of the best games ever made" and how it "sets a new standard for gaming" and their concept of good writing is so bad that they'll say Detroit: Become Human has good writing.
  3. Game gets 9 and 10/10 scores everywhere.
  4. Journalists forget about the game after 2 weeks
  5. Repeat steps 1-4.

None of this is worse than folks shitting on a game they haven't played in order look like some edgy outlaw. Wouldn't you agree?

RDR2 is great. I dunno if it's a ten yet after my four hours with the game, but let me enjoy a game I had been anticipating for eight years. I saw these same comments on this sub forum after God of War and it was the same scenario. Let people say a game you have no interest in is good. It won't make the games you DO play any worse.

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5 minutes ago, Glennstavos said:

None of this is worse than folks shitting on a game they haven't played in order look like some edgy outlaw. Wouldn't you agree?

funny, because edgy outlaw is an apt description for arthur

the problem isn't that the game isn't a nine or ten, it's that that rating should be rare and renowned, and it really isn't and never has been

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24 minutes ago, Edgelord said:

funny, because edgy outlaw is an apt description for arthur

Depends on the player. Mine's a gentleman, s'long's the bullets aint flyin'

Quote

the problem isn't that the game isn't a nine or ten, it's that that rating should be rare and renowned, and it really isn't and never has been

You won't find me disagreeing with the idea that a 5 ought to be "average" so that reviewers are allowed more particularities in describing how good a game is. But just focusing on the review's numerical score? It's that mindset that creates the issue in the first place. You know a lot of these reviews include write ups to go with the video, at least from older outlets. That's where you get the reviewer's thought process. An archaic practice from an era where recording and editing a six minute video to go along with a hasty abstract of the written review was something you really had to pay people for. I also take issue with @Armagon's insistence this is a uniquely Western problem. You telling me there's something special about the Famitsu Fastrack 36/40? Must be easy judging people who speak the same language, eh?

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1 hour ago, Glennstavos said:

None of this is worse than folks shitting on a game they haven't played in order look like some edgy outlaw. Wouldn't you agree?

RDR2 is great. I dunno if it's a ten yet after my four hours with the game, but let me enjoy a game I had been anticipating for eight years. I saw these same comments on this sub forum after God of War and it was the same scenario. Let people say a game you have no interest in is good. It won't make the games you DO play any worse.

Nowhere in my post did i shit on the game. I waa making an observation on how journalists like to jack off to every triple AAA game that comes out and how it's hard to take them seriously when they repeat themselves on everything.

55 minutes ago, Glennstavos said:

I also take issue with @Armagon's insistence this is a uniquely Western problem. You telling me there's something special about the Famitsu Fastrack 36/40? Must be easy judging people who speak the same language, eh?

I'm sure Japanese game journalists have their own issues but turns out, i don't live there. I don't know how the average game journalist over there works. I don't even know that many publications outside of Famitsu. I think Degenki is another one but that's it.

Meanwhile, i live in America. It's way easier for me to judge game journalists over here because i actually live in the same country. And quite honestly, most of them are pretty pathetic. Polygon's a fucking joke, Kotaku is the king of bad takes, IGN and GameSpot are actually just the same fucking thing because of how average they are and Destrctoid....is maybe good? Idk, i rarely hear bad things about them.

Past that, you have your smaller sites and those tend to be better. I've said it before but i actually take GameXplain's reviews into consideration because of their small team allowing each member to have established their own opinions.

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I usually prefer reading user reviews, because they're more likely to be unbiased and truthful than critics are (as well as more competent).

Edited by NinjaMonkey

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Yeah, my issue with them handing games like RDR2 or Zelda: BotW high scores isn't so much that I dislike those games (in fact, nothing is farther from the truth for the latter, and I'm sure I'd love the former) as it is the fact that A) they hand out those high scores like candy to a lot of AAA titles and B) there are plenty of smaller scale games that are equally as fun and well designed.  They just give favoritism to the biggest games, never once talking about their flaws even though they certainly have some (no game is perfect, ever), but then any game that doesn't get, like, 2 million sales has them going "well, it's nice and all, but it obviously has its flaws" as if it's just a mediocre game.

I mean, I understand I'm not into the most mainstream stuff.  A lot of my favorite music is angry punk rock from the 1970's and the only show I watch anymore is essentially the bar version of Kitchen Nightmares, but an entertainment publication should understand that these smaller games could be of equal worth and - if they have even a shred of integrity - they should do their best to pair those games with the right reviewers.  All their lame reviews do for me is they make me want to tune them out and listen to someone else's thoughts.

1 hour ago, Glennstavos said:

You won't find me disagreeing with the idea that a 5 ought to be "average" so that reviewers are allowed more particularities in describing how good a game is. But just focusing on the review's numerical score? It's that mindset that creates the issue in the first place. You know a lot of these reviews include write ups to go with the video, at least from older outlets. That's where you get the reviewer's thought process. An archaic practice from an era where recording and editing a six minute video to go along with a hasty abstract of the written review was something you really had to pay people for.

The problem is that they have the scoring system in the first place.  At the very least, they ought to have it be more verbal; like, have a scale that goes from "utterly terrible" to "exceptionally good".  Don't have it be this stupid goddamn number that could mean practically anything.

The fact of the matter is we all may be giving our meditated thoughts about these reviewers and mentioning their written reviews (which, btw, sometimes completely conflict with their scoring, particularly in Polygon's case), but the average reader is only going to look at the numbers.  And there are also a lot of fools out there who won't buy games that get scores that are lower than an eight out of ten; no reading reviews, just "I won't buy a 7/10 game because I don't want to play average games", as if the word of IGN and Metacritic is the word of God and a 7/10 is the worst thing in the world.

That, and again some of the content they write is trite.  You might get canned statements (e.g. "the controls feel clunky and unresponsive", "the story is riveting and captivating") without so much as an example to demonstrate those opinions, and you might get random rants that have nothing to do with the game if the publication is one of those "wear your heart on your sleeve" organizations like Polygon.  You may sometimes leave a review confused rather than informed, and that's seriously problematic.  It's part of what keeps bringing the gaming industry into dire straits; consumers simply aren't getting the best out of either the companies or their publications, and as a result they're left distrustful and cynical towards both.

1 hour ago, Glennstavos said:

I also take issue with @Armagon's insistence this is a uniquely Western problem. You telling me there's something special about the Famitsu Fastrack 36/40? Must be easy judging people who speak the same language, eh?

It's better than having one guy review the game like they seem to do at IGN.

Seriously, I think every publication should follow Famitsu's model of having multiple reviewers look at a game.

Sure, I think Famitsu may have issues - the fact that they have a numbered score proves that I at least take issue with something they do - but...  Well, it's like the lesser of several evils.  As Armagon said, a lot of the big name publications are supremely bad in their own rights.  Polygon and Kotaku have probably the worst writing for their reviews and generally bad integrity.  IGN and GameSpot have the problems I listed before about doing the corporate journalism shindig.

47 minutes ago, Armagon said:

Meanwhile, i live in America. It's way easier for me to judge game journalists over here because i actually live in the same country. And quite honestly, most of them are pretty pathetic. Polygon's a fucking joke, Kotaku is the king of bad takes, IGN and GameSpot are actually just the same fucking thing because of how average they are and Destrctoid....is maybe good? Idk, i rarely hear bad things about them.

I don't know if they do reviews, but I'm pretty sure GameXplain counts, and they're generally well informative.

And a lot of the smaller publications that don't push out idiotic click-bait are good, as well.

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