Firstly I apologise for the lateness of this blog entry and I will try not be so late again. Myself personally never read reviews because usually I have a completely different opinion. I do “lol” at the links you provide Mike sometimes. The amateur game review is as amateur as they get. I'm not saying my game review will be any better but the comments on the article we're correct. To be honest is a game ever 100%, well no but as Keiron Gillian said;
“A modern British videogames magazine is put together in 19 working days. In that time, they have to research and write at least sixty-thousand words of copy to fill just shy of 150 pages.”
Reviews will only review what they can in that period of time and usually they will only play part of the game. Obviously if the game is well known and marketed and they are going to write a 6 pages review then they are almost obliged to complete it, but even at this it's just the main story and as quick as possible. First impressions are a lot in reviewing games, there are certain things reviewers mark the game on i.e. gameplay elements, narrative, level design...etc. I know there are games out there that have got 10/10 and all that jazz but naw...just naw.
“We’re not perfect, because we haven’t time to be perfect. Just like developers.”
Every game has it's glitches may it be a minor texture flaw or getting stuck in a rock, all due to restrictions or just human error. Even with testing you can't test every possible outcome a player might do, it would takes years in itself. With reviewers bad press is still press, if you want your game to get out there to the masses chuck a few copies to the magazines or internet reviewers. If the game is a continuing franchise not much can make fans not buy the game.
Another reason I don't read reviews is because they are just so bloody boring. This is where new games journalism has come into fruition. Basically NGJ writes to teenagers like it was written by one (probably because they are). NGJ writes to and about the player not the game. The internet has provided tonnes of websites dedicated for gaming and why buy a magazine when you can all the reviews you need online?
“Mag’s offline abilities and toilet-based browsability are one thing, clearly. The second traditional reason is that they’re mostly – and there’s exceptions, clearly – hugely better written.”
Very good point, I also agree when doing a number two I could be reading MCV or develop to get the low down. But yes magazines are better written, not like my blogs with thousands of mistakes and only makes sense to people who have the same brain.
There are obviously more than just writing funny things these days, video reviews are getting ever more popular, everyone has heard of zero punctuation. This high speed reviewer uses the power of super speech and intelligence to entertain the audience and provide comical 2D stick men animation. This guy started off on youtube and now is paid to do these videos, but his reviewing is more about slagging the game rather than actually deconstructing it.
Some of the issues facing game reviews are as follows. I have mentioned one before in the amount of time it takes to complete a game, RPG's are a good example of long gameplay.
The Final Fantasy franchise is a good example, hours and hours of gameplay compared to other games like beyond good and evil which is about 7 hour for completion. I personally like a game that is 50 hours + because I feel I got my moneys worth, then again I don't want to be there for 2000 hours just trying to get past one boss or get the ultimate mega awesome weapon of death. There’s a balance in games, not just in the length of game but in everything from story and cutscenes and gameplay. Below is a link to some of the industries views towards the length of games.
The other issue facing reviewers is that with official magazines like Xbox magazine have a direct tie to the company and they can find themselves in the predicament of resources or money being withheld. Why do this? Simple to ensure positive reviews. Sucky right.
Okay to conclude gaming magazines sales are going down because the internet already is more than adequate and cheaper. NGJ is a good idea and they should run with it other wise I think they should all just swim to Canada, I'm sure their gaming magazines are selling by the ton.
P.S. Just a little quote I found about Sega's Sammy division but it pretty much sums up my gaming history.
“I find it hard to imagine Sammy providing any real guidance themselves since their video gaming track record pretty much sucks barring a couple of rare exceptions.”