If I Never Write Another Review As Long As I Live, I’ll Die A Happy Man

If I Never Write Another Review As Long As I Live, I’ll Die A Happy Man

Every now and then I’ll get an email, hidden in my inbox. Sometimes it’s just a comment, sitting amongst a horde of others in a story I’ve written. “Why doesn’t Kotaku Australia write its own reviews?” It’ll say.

Then sometimes I’ll get a different kind of email, saying roughly the same thing, only it doesn’t take the form of a question it’s more like a quasi statement. It’ll say something along the lines of, “oh, but you guys don’t really do reviews, do you?” Those ones are normally from the representatives of a games publisher.

Usually that statement will be a response to why Kotaku Australia didn’t get early access to a new game, or why we were last in the queue for a review copy. But that’s OK — I’m more than happy to wait until the game’s general release to play.

And if I never have to write another video game review as long as I live, I’ll die a happy man.

I’ve written hundreds of product reviews and the wide matrix of issues you have to navigate, particularly in video games, is nigh on unmanageable, to the point where you have to ask yourself: What is the purpose of this, and what do reviews even mean anymore? What are they for?

First you have the scale itself — do you risk going against the traditional video game scale in attempt to bring more legitimacy to your review, or focus attention on the content of the review itself? Do you succumb to pressure and the need to remain relevant by reviewing games like every other media outlet, or do you plough your own path? The idea of a 7 out of 10 or an 8 out of 10 is so engrained on our psyche after decades of reading reviews that stepping outside that lexicon is risky.

Then comes the process of writing your ‘opinion’ — a process fraught with more doubt, and more issues to tackle. Do you review your game like a product, is it a series of experiences that you should judge? Should you take into account your knowledge or lack of knowledge — do you review from a fan’s perspective? Should your review be objective or a written piece focusing on what is essentially a subjective experience?

And that’s just the beginning — do you consider your audience? You are writing for them after all. I have no personal interest in, say, Modern Warfare 3 — but thousands of Kotaku readers do. Is this review for them? Do I have to take my own dislike of war-based shooters into account?

Normally this sort of self-indulgent navel gazing should be of no consequence or interest to anyone, but in an environment where EA Norway sending a series of demanding questions to prospective reviewers of Battlefield 3 becomes the biggest games story of the day and inspires thousands of seething comments and retorts — it’s clear that people really do care.

And I care — I really do. Enough to honestly admit that my opinion of any game — shrink-wrapped and squeezed into a totemic number to be sacrificed at the altar of metacritic — is really of little value to anyone or anything. So why bother?

What do we do with these reviews? In an age where we can watch trailers the instant they’re released and drown in details of development from the minute a game is greenlit, what is the consequence of another review? Why does it need to exist; particularly in a place where reviews are so ubiquitous. Do I really want to add my voice to that mashed up chorus — simultaneously chaotic and synchronised — what would be the value of that? What would be the point? I’d like to trust that you’ve already made a relatively informed decision what games you want to buy — slapping a numerical score on a game and beating my chest like King Kong probably won’t change that.

Don’t get me wrong, I admire those who manage to navigate this whole minefield and come out intact, people like Adam Mathew over at Game Informer/OPS, or Junglist, or Joab Gilroy at Game Arena. I may not always agree with their opinions, but I want to read what they think, even if I disagree with them. In fact, that’s arguably what video game reviews need more of. Proper, well justified, dissenting voices where necessary.

I enjoy reading well-written reviews, particularly when I’ve already played a game and it feels like a chance to exchange notes. But I don’t want to participate in that dialogue anymore. Not if I don’t have to.

For me writing about video games is something different. It’s the chance to share experiences and make some sort of connection — it’s a chance to find common ground in a shared moment. It’s not about a product and whether or not you’ll buy it.

Not for me at least.

Comments

    • Seriously though, very interesting article. I’ve always wondered what would happen if a reviewer made their own scale, or rated a game on things that weren’t typical – so not gameplay or graphics, but how much fun they had or why. eg: A scale of “Had some fun”.

      • Hey look, it’s what I did with all 3 Transformer movies, I enjoyed watching them and would watch them all again for the 3rd and 4th times because they’re fucking fun to watch! I don’t care if they are technically bad or the characters suck. I had a bloody good time watching them so what’s there to hate?

      • Or have no scale at all. Just write your review and don’t give it a score. No numbers, stars, letters, grades or anything else. The best way to avoid people complaining about your score is to not give one. Then you don’t have to put up with angry publishers complaining you gave their game a 7 when it’s clearly an 8. Or readers too lazy to actually try and comprehend a review so they just jump to the score and then start ranting about how only an idiot could think game X is better than game Y (you must think that because you gave it a score one point higher!) when in fact you said nothing of the sort. All these problems disappear when the numbers disappear.

    • I was waiting for this!! lol

      “shrink-wrapped and squeezed into a totemic number to be sacrificed at the altar of metacritic”

      – Quote of the day!

  • If you pay me I’ll handle all of that for you. And I’ll write the reviews to boot. I love it! I can provide samples too!

    Unfortunately I can’t come into the Sydney office. Too far away. 🙁

    (PS. Up to you to decide if this comment is serious or not.)

    (PPS. Article was great Mark.)

  • With demos becoming less and less frequent I think reviews are pretty damn helpful. Plus, the less objective the review the easier it is, imo, to figure out whether or not I’ll like the game.

    • I’m a fan of “impressions” without scores myself.

      You get all the goodness of a game piece, without the obligatory “GOTY, 7/10” tacked on at the end.

    • Yea, but then you get 10/10 reviews for Batman: Arkham City eberywhere, then find out the game is only half finished with quite a few problems. Love the game, but perfect?

      Reviews are becoming more and more irrelevant and the only true way to know if a game is good is to play it and try. Your opinion will be different from mine and every review you read to some extent.

  • Today’s article by Mark Serrells was insightful and interesting. The prose was well done, with gems like “mashed up chorus” but he did miss an opportunity there to hyphenate his phrasal adjective. Overall, a decent piece that is worth reading. 8/10.

  • I think reviews still have a place – ie we as consumers need to know if a product is up to snuff. I prefer a system that dumps scoring and just lines up the pros and cons, and gives you the details about the game.

    • Yeah, but we don’t even get that most of the time. LA Noire was the last game where reviews and final critical opinion wildly differed, but it happens frequently.

    • Seriously though, I’m a fan of impressions.

      You guys need a big industry meet up, where you can all go into a room and say to each other:
      “The metric is broken, let’s agree on some standards and reset the scale and how it works”.

      I like reading Gilroy’s reviews even though I don’t always agree with them. It’s the same with Junglist, although I don’t believe he gives scores on his show anymore.

      Maybe a simple recommended / not recommended at the end of a review would suffice?

  • Great post Mark, I think the score system is silly, I’ve mentioned before its getting like the olympics, 9.992 for an ‘awful’ game, 9.998 for an ‘amazing’ game.

    I think the only real way to do a review, is to write it completely and honestly as your sole, subjective opinion. You cant actually write and think from another person’s perspective. Even if I totally disagree, I want to hear what YOU thought about this game from YOUR perspective and WHY you thought that.

  • I read HYPER.

    After many years, I’ve become accustomed to their review style and I know whether their description of the game will tell me if I’ll like it or not.

    I don’t even read the reviews here on Kotaku, I come here for news and gossip.

  • I honestly think Kotaku AU is much better without the reviews. I pass on the US ones.

    I’m definitely interested in your thoughts on a game, but more interested in your own personal take, not thinking about the community consensus. You’ve got your own tastes and since they differ from my own in parts, I like that perspective. I like that you don’t like things, and I like to hear to go on about the games that you love (Zelda is a perfect example of that).

  • Mark, I’d just like to say that I really do enjoy the articles that you write. They are interesting, informative and funny, and I’m positive others would say the same.
    The reason why you would receive requests from readers that you write a review on a particular game would come down to that fact that your opinion is trusted and valued.
    And that’s what counts, knowing that the writer is someone whose opinion matters. Anyone can write a review but credibility is the key issue.

  • I would love to see a _major_ focus article on games that get a score of 1-5 out of 10.

    Kotaku (AU at least) seems to be in a great position to look at (serious) some hidden gems that nobody wants anything to do with lest they get a 6 or under from Metacritic.

    Everybody has different ideas of fun.

  • I prefer the Community Reviews anyway. It’s kind of like… crowd-sourcing a review. It’s easier to hear the positives and negatives when it comes from a bunch of different people.

  • I would appreciate more of a focus on hindsight reviews. For example, a game that got brilliant reviews at launch but then went out of favour, or a game that got poor reviews but stood up well (especially with a bargain-bin price). 007 Bloodstone is a good example – received poorly but is a great little game for $20.

  • You know, I rarely care about reviews. I mainly just check them to find out of there are any game breaking issues with things, and if it checks out, I buy it.

    Case in point: Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon. Reviewers hated it, but me and Lord Crumplebottom play it co-op and it’s an absolute blast, beach ball ant corpses and all.

    I guess at the end of the day I know what type of game I’d like and just buy it.

    • Adding on this: Word of Mouth and user comments (Which are easy to filter out the uneducated teenage rich boy xXxsniperkillaxXx assknobs) tell me what type of games are pretty good.

    • I know what I like anyway. Occasionally I’ll jump in and give a new game / genre a try I wouldn’t usually care for, but I think most people in general have a firm grasp of what games they like. I’m pretty sure everyone who has picked up Arkham City have played the previous game and knew it would be good.

      Then again, I’ve taken leaps into other games and come out rather impressed. UFC Undisputed is good for some funny “30 minute burst” gameplay, and I’m not all that big on UFC / sports games. Nier was a pleasant surprise too.

      There have been crappy games as well, specifically Final Fantasy XIII, which killed my JRPG Teenage loving side for good. I also bought Gears of War 2, and just didn’t like it at all.

      Point to that story? Errr… Kittens! That, and people know what they like, and won’t go apeshit over the occasional bad gaming purchase.

  • This is part of why I keep coming back to Kotaku AU. While I don’t read every piece written, the wealth of information that comes through helps me frame all the other feeds I’m getting about games at the moment.

    I remember when I read a review once of the second Hitman game (cant remember the exact name). The review was good, and several other were quite positive too. But when I picked it up, I found the game quite underwhelming.

    Since becoming a regular reader of Kotaku AU, I’ve found that I’m better equiped to filter out biased reviews, or I’m presented a perspective on a potential purchase (Yay for alliteration there!) that I couldn’t find elsewhere, which often has saved me from making a purchase I would later regret.

    It’s not failsafe, but amongst my circle of friends, I’m considered the best informed in regard to upcoming titles.

    So even though Kotaku AU doesn’t do reviews, they still do a great job of keeping us all up to speed of what we (probably) need to know.

  • I think reviews still have their place. Like any form of critique it’s a personalized thing. I admit (and so will most reviewers) that the score system is broken (again, I personally use a 5 average score system) and it’s not for everyone, but I don’t think most reviewers aim it to be.

    People who love games and like reviews will probably find a reviewer whose style resonates with them and stick with that. Same with opinions actually, I can’t say I agree with every you and the Action Journalist – Trace Face say, but I come here because it makes me think about things I normally wouldn’t, or to get another perspective.

    Hell, perhaps I’ll discuss this article on my own site at a later point. Hell, if I don’t write another news article as long as I live, I’ll die a happy man. 😉

    • Side note; you’ll never get the gist of a game through trailers or previews anyway, most of those are so skewed it’s hard to tell what’s good and what’s crap. That’s the benefit of a review there.

      Still, I prefer Kotaku AU without reviews. Just ask Tracey about Hyperdimensions Neptunia, she has nothing but hate in her heart! 😉

  • Good article.
    I don’t care what reviewers score games, I know what I like by now.
    Many a 10/10 game hold no interest for me, and some of my all time favs got 8/10s

  • I agree for the most part also, with all of the different goals that games developers can have when creating a game, there is no way to accurately scale them. When you have games from Angry Birds all the way to Skyrim, how can we grade them? Is Skyrim automatically better than Angry Birds, or even vice versa. Of course not, but yet whenever a game is graded, people often get the mindframe thats the case.
    I ended up liking Alpha Protocol, but I recognise that it was extremely sloppy. Does that make it 5/10? But I enjoyed it more than that, I enjoyed it more than a lot of games that are scored 8/10, but just because I did, doesn’t mean everyone else will. So I have no idea what silly number I’d attach, and it’s a shame too, because many good games that get a 7 or under, are often thrown to the dumps by publishers, even though they couldn’t possibly match up to a major title’s budget.

  • I’d be happy if all reviews just cut to the quick and put it simply:

    It’s fun for these reasons.

    It’s crap for these reasons.

    For me, it was more fun/crap than crap/fun.

    Review complete, please insert 40 quarters.

  • Thanks for elaborating on this Tweet from yesterday, Mark. Reviews these days are all about hyperbole, scores included. I can’t get over the amounts of 8 and 9s out there: if a game only makes minor improvements to a well-stablished formula, how come we keep seeing such high scores on average. Many people would see 7.5 as a low score (particularly for a AAA title), but if that game was going to university, it would’ve earnt itself a distinction! Nothing to snort at.

    I abandoned scoring games that I reviewed on my blog/Bitmob after reading one of your pieces earlier this year. The result: fewer hits; but more comments through social media. Why? Because people were commenting on what I wrote as opposed to the score I gave.

    Hope you’re still happy for us readers to submit reviews?! *shuffles awkwardly*

    • 5 Should be good. Nothing terribly bad, nothing terribly good, but just “ok”.

      What scores should be:
      1 – Not worth your money, game is fundamentaly unplayable.
      2 – Really, really bad. Might get a laugh out of how bad it is.
      3 – Not good by any means.
      4 – Below average, but has it’s merits.
      5 – Average, reccomended to fans.
      6 – Fairly good, does new things, had fun with it.
      7 – Really good game for fans.
      8 – Really good game for both fans and not.
      9 – Amazing game, one of the standout titles you can buy.
      10 – One of the defining games that changes the landscape. Final Fantasy VII, GTA 3, Red Dead levels of brilliance.

      Reviewers Scores:
      1 – Laughable
      2 – OMG SO BAD
      3 – LOLSOBAD
      4 – So shit, crime against humanity!
      5 – NOT WORTH YOUR MONEY
      6 – Kinda shitty.
      7 – Average.
      8 – GREAT!
      9 – SUPER GREAT!
      10 – CALL OF DUTY AWESOME MONEY PLEASE!

  • Maaybe the problem with the review scale is that no-one reviews the bad games.

    If there was more reviews on the bottom of the scale, then the system may become more balanced… and you (read: journalists) could review games in the vein of better than: x, worse than y.

  • Kotaku AU should start doing reviews just to get some cash from Activision and EA for writing a glowing review of MW3/BF3.

    Yeah, reviews suck. Music reviews are the worst but games come a close second.

  • I like kotaku’s reader review format where it’s clearly an opinion that outlines what was liked and disliked, rather than arbitrary scores…

    It’s the best way to do it – but i can see what you mean 🙂

  • I would like to see a simple paragraph on a game, just showing the writers opinion. Scores aren’t necessary – we read Kotaku because we generally trust the writers.

  • Game reviews like movies are important, in a world where marketing is king, and the promo video be not be a faithful representation of a game, a truthful opinon matters.

    I’m sure dead island sold a lot of copies off of that falling girl video, but was it truely indicative of the experience you will recieve?

    I take game reviews like movie reviews you a bunch of different people’s reviews until you find a few who have similar tastes and opinions throughout as your own. I don’t think you need a -/10 scale.

    Often reviewers give away too much, I believe shorter more focused reviews would be a welcome addition. 2 paragraphs for an existing franchise, 3 for a new title. Finish with a qualifing statement.

  • screw reviews .. i hate how people complain about reviews being a deciding factor in the purchase of a game because they have limited funds.. dude come on just buy it from eb games and return in within 7 days.. cant beat playing a game like rage and finishing it at no cost to yourself

  • Mark Serrels writes an interesting, thought provoking essay on reviews that nonetheless fails to be about Batman: Arkham City in any way shape or form.

    5/5 stars
    kritz.net

  • It’s something that goes to the heart of the “games as art vs products” question. Art doesn’t need commercial reviews, after all.

    For what it’s worth, I like your approach.

    • Oh golly gee, the whole ‘games as art’ debate. Some games are art, some are not. The same as not all painting is art (painting a fence as opposed to expressing yourself via paint). The fact is, most games are a product – they are made by a team of people who are paid MONEY, with the goal of making MORE MONEY for their publisher etc etc. I think of these in the same way as I think of the majority of major label music – the product of comittee thinking and striving for a bullet point list of features for the back of the packaging. Don’t let my angst fool you, I would dearly love for games to be treated in the same way as any other creative medium, but I think we need to move on from the current ‘gold rush’ phase we are in now, and look to the indie scene for our ‘culture’ in the same way as there was an underground music scene in the 80’s and 90’s as an alternative to the sterile, mainstream fare.

  • well before release Publishers and Developers will only show the best bits, that 10 minutes or so good bits, put in the hands of VX people to make it look even better. Despite watching and reading about this game you would never tho that outside those 10 minutes of good bits is a crap game until the full review of the product. A few recent examples of this would be Medal of Honour a game that had really awesome looking trailers for what was going to be a pretty good single player game. It wasn’t until the reviews that news came out that the games single player was crap and the trailers gave false impressions.

    So reviews are needed, but overall reviews should tell only a few things: 1. Is this a type of game you like, 2. Is it worth your money, 3. All its problems. I dont care if the reviewer loved these games in this perfect childhood or even if he likes the game is general. I care about, will I like the game and is it worth the 99 in store, the 50 dollar import or nothing at all.

    Also scores are rather pointless, you shouldn’t base your purchases on a number. But we need numbers so a simple 3 point system should do, 1. for you should read as its a good game. 2. if you like the genre or previous entries read as its average game read, 3. its a broken mess, lacks value or simply Bad so you dont have to bother reading unless you like reading about bad games.

  • Here’s something:

    Everyone agrees the music now isn’t as good as it used to be. Everyone agrees games aren’t as good as they were. Everyone agrees movies aren’t as good either.

    Why could that possibly be??

    Reviewers were the arbiters of taste. You’d pick up your favourite magazine, read your favourite reviewer, getting their opinion about what would become your favourite game.

    They were like the witch doctors or priests of our post-modern era, telling you should like.

    Unfortunately, the internet has ruined this, allowing any idiot who thinks s/he can string a sentence together to jump online to vomit up his/her opinion online for the world to read.

    At the same time, the internet also allowed people to think anyone could make art, so everyone did.

    And what’s the result?! Shitty “art” made by any idiot who thinks s/he can make it – Rebecca Black’s Friday. Facebook games where all you do is click to spend money off your credit card. Piranhas 3D.

    So, all of this is YOUR fault!!!

    You need reviewers to tell you what you should like, otherwise it’s clear you’ll just like rubbish!

    • But… Rolling Stone is shite now.
      It’s no longer the relevent, insightful piece of journalism it used to be.

      • You SEE!

        Rollingstone stopped being reviewed by peers to be reviewed by ‘everyone’ online, and even that became shit!

        It’s a cycle, man!

        Reviewers need to unite and rise up against the internet, take back what was once solely our domain, and tell people what to like once again!

  • The problem from my point of view is publishers want the first review so badly that they’ll do anything to get it – even to the point of compromising the purpose of the review in the first place. That’s their job though – day one (or zero, or minus one) reviews are the ones that get the hits.
    If I’m looking for an objective view of a game, I’m not going to go to a site that has a review on day one purely because the review was more than likely paid for in blood. “Oh, remove that critical sentence and change that word here.” Suddenly a harsh review is as gutless as a Whitechapel prostitue.
    Likewise, trailers hold little interest to me. Of course the trailer will paint the game in such a light that is overwhelmingly positive. That’s not going to give me an informed opinion.
    And that, I guess, is the crux of it all. People want an informed opinion so that they know whether their $100 is worth laying down for Super Fight Monsters 7 or not. They don’t want to read a glowing review and then find out it’s a stinker, even if they do get it on day one.
    Reviewing games through rose-coloured glasses is a sure way to alienate the audience in the long run.

  • I used to really be a number viewer when it came to reviews. Now I have a few reviewers who seem to be similiar in there likes and approaches to games that I value. For example the last few years listening to the giantbombcast I have got a real understanding for the personalities that do reviews on that site. I identify with Jeff Gerstram and his approach to games and I often totally trust his feelings on a game. Someone like Brad Shoemaker who also reviews there has a great writing style but also has a different taste in games and also how he plays them. His reviews are usually not anywehre near as helpful in helping me determine what I should play.

  • Sadly in a media industry where Exclusives are everything means reviewers bend over backwards to keep big publishers happy. Just look at the EA fiasco yesterday. Seems a bit stupid because die hard fans are going to buy a game on release day regardless of review scores while people who read reviews and are on the fence are likely willing to rate.

    Then theres Yahtzee’s reviews. 😛

  • These days I read very few reviews. In fact I really only read the reviews at Destructoid. Come to think of it that is for the same reason I used to watch the 1up Show, that I’m interested in the personalities and their opinions.
    If you are interested in reading or fostering discussion then subjective opinion is surely not the worst way to do it.

  • Another nervous, unsure individual parading around as a confident member of their workplace team.

    Everything you typed pretty much wails “OMG, will people like what I write? Do I write what they want? Do I write like other reviewers? Does my butt look big in this?”

    “…I admire those who manage to navigate this whole minefield and come out intact…”

    WTF?!? They don’t do it by chance, or luck. It’s called skill and intelligence, so don’t get all admirable on them, just fucking admit you can’t do what they do, and you’re a lesser being.

    What’s going on with the downward spiral of online journalism?

    Seriously!!!

  • I find Metacritic useful, i look at the higest and lowest scores a game gets.

    Highest scores summary for what a game does well and the lowest scores summary for where it fails.

    Generally gives you a good picture of what your getting for your money.

    Gameplay videos and lets plays are better again.

    • I use it as well. But I use it as a handy way to see if sites I have grown to trust have reviewed a game yet.

  • You say you believe your opinion is of little value to anyone, but I doubt that’s true Marky. I imagine after your time here plenty of your readers would be more than happy to listen to your thoughts because of your exceedingly positive reputation and, crucially, you’ve been exposed to a lot of games. Whether you apply some sort of numeral or smattering of stars on the end is really neither here nor there. There’s a pretty big difference in believing you’re the barometer against which all opinion should be judged and simply sharing your experiences and explaining how and why you enjoyed or disliked something. I’d be pretty quick to headbutt anyone who accused you of being the former.

    It’s the same way a car review or, say, even a restaurant review might assist or inform me in some capacity, because motoring journalists drive a lot more cars than I do and pub bistros are about the extent of my dining out.

    I agree there’s a larger and ultimately more interesting discourse to be had around video games, but a new game can be critiqued in much the same way as a new film; I don’t feel they deserve special treatment. Realistically, the more credible reviews available the broader the picture is for consumers, particularly if there’s a mix of both praise and criticism.

  • “For me writing about video games is something different. It’s the chance to share experiences and make some sort of connection — it’s a chance to find common ground in a shared moment. It’s not about a product and whether or not you’ll buy it.”

    So you’re essentially being paid to do what you’d be doing in your free time anyway? Sounds like the best scam ever…

  • All pretty much true Mark. I think the Metacritic based ragegasm that people seem to have over video game review scores is simply insane. The reality is these days that the distribution of scores is so distorted at *most* mainstream outlets that there is almost no point adding a score. Then, if you don’t add a score, Metacritic will go and assign one as a guestimate based on the text of the article anyway… fracking crazy stuff.
    A good example IMO of at least having a sensible review scale is Destructoid, where 5/10 is an average, OK game. Unfortunately, the second someones favourite franchise or game gets a 7/10, people go nuts as though it’s the end of life as we know it. At least it is good for a laugh though.

  • Mark your stories are consistently great, is it possible to modify Kotaku AU so we ONLY see your stories?

    serrels.kotakua.com.au ? 🙂

  • How about instead of a score, you write your opinions, then list the type of person who would/wouldn’t probably like the game e.g.:

    You probably will enjoy this if:
    – You like giant set pieces and explosive action
    – Are a fan of the series

    You probably won’t enjoy this if:
    – You like deep characterisation and a story that differs from the norm.
    – You did not enjoy the previous games in the series.

  • Using a scaled ‘score’ to represent a game – or any other product for that matter – is a lazy, foolish and flawed endeavour. Ultimately any opinion peppered throughout a review is that of an individual – the reviewer – and not neccesarily a litmus test for all consumers. I shudder to think how many people will be swayed this holiday season by arbitrary and ultimately meaningless review scores… how many punters will choose between MW3 and BF3 based on metacritic?

  • I havent read the host of other comments, I don’t have time, but just a note that I think this is a great column/article whatever. As somebody involved in the same business I know the difficulties that come along with this, and the tedium that can be involved in reviewing a genre that you mostly don’t play.

    Based on the only other comment I saw regarding the “scale of fun” I think thats an excellent one, because that’s mostly all we’re looking for in the end – a fun, and if possible, somewhat satisfying and thought provoking experience.

    I’m probably not going to check back on these comments – too busy reviewing games 😉 (although I certainly will share the story on Facebook) but it’s my 2 cents 🙂

  • I really like Kotaku’s way of doing their reviews. The like and dislike mechanic. I find that you can get your impression from this and then you can make up your own mind without a number being shoved down your throat.

  • Good points. The main problem is that many reviews are caught up in the anticipation of future releases, which is too close to the marketing preogatives of publishers. Of course reviews are subjective, that’s what we expect, but they can be useful if you don’t take them as gospel. I like metacritic as a synthesising tool, but I can see how it grinds out individuality.

    I thoroughly agree with comments which suggest that reviews are less useful if they come out immediately or before release, and that discussions around games should be more substantial and a bit more thoughtful than we might be used to. Fo that I’m more interested in reviews and columns.

  • too many games get high scores these days… 10/10 for Fifa 2012 (not on kotaku) Even I love Fifa (not), but to give it 10/10 would suggest its absolutely perfect and nothing can be improved upon…. Fifa, perfect? Yeah right.

  • “Usually that statement will be a response to why Kotaku Australia didn’t get early access to a new game, or why we were last in the queue for a review copy. But that’s OK — I’m more than happy to wait until the game’s general release to play.”

    Why would you guys get the games at all if you don’t review them?

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