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Posted by DrRandle
@JJWeatherman: I again disagree with you. I honestly and truly believe that it was not in Nintendo's power/time/budget to make an online experience that was as well crafted of a gem as their standards dictate, and thus they cut it. The omission of the feature was because it was not up to standard.
 
If you made a steak dinner with potatoes and broccoli, but the broccoli kind of sucked, would you still serve the broccoli and say "Well if you can stomach the crap, whatever it's all yours, but nobody is going to really be happy with it." Or would you just dump it and go "sorry, that sucked." Likewise, if you were being served the meal, wouldn't the broccoli just make you think "man, that sucked" and bring down the meal in general, or was the meal better because it wasn't there? 
 
I know, not a great metaphor, but I'm trying to be clear.
Posted by Claude

I usually look at and read reviews according to the individual sites' philosophy or tribute to video game reviewing. I then go from there... haven't gone far, still reading.

Posted by JJWeatherman

I somewhat agree. You can't always just forgive games for not including new features though. Games like everything else are expected to evolve. When they don't I think it's OK to call them out on it if it's a big enough deal.

Posted by Icemael
@DrRandle: You should write that it's busted and that you enjoyed it. If you just write that it's busted, you're basically telling everyone not to buy it. That means those who would have(like you) enjoyed the game despite its issues will miss out. 
 
See, only when you write about both the technical parts and your personal experience(e.g. "The game has some framerate hiccups but I was enjoying myself so much, I barely even noticed") can you truly give the readers an idea of whether or not the game is for them.
Posted by DrRandle
@Icemael: I disagree. Fun is subjective and if shooting dudes in the face is fun for you, that doesn't make it fun for everyone. So if I don't like shooting dudes in the face, how does that review do me any good? Or, if you would have kept reading, you would note that I thought Alone in the Dark was a very fun game, but I would never go so far as to say it is a good game. Oh sure it's got great ideas, some better executed than others, but they're all brought down by some serious technical issues. But I personally saw through those issues and had a great time with the game. So what should I do then? Where do my allegiances to a score lie? With my fun or with the fact that the game be mad busted? 

 @Rowr: I honestly believe that the multiplayer in Mario Bros Wii wouldn't have worked the way Nintendo, or we, would have wanted it so I feel they cut it because it was not up to standards. Ergo, they  removed something that didn't work. That is better, to me, than leaving a busted ass feature in there. So why would you lower the score because they improved on their package? That's completely counter-intuitive.
Posted by Video_Game_King

But don't you also lose some of your fanbase by refusing to change your games over time? Again, Capcom.

Edited by Evilsbane
@Video_Game_King: Agreed but the only way for a game company to get the hint is through the gamers wallets and as long as people still buy they are not going to change it, because yes you may make something new and amazing but if the old players don't like the new stuff you lose your underlying fanbase.
 
Think about it if everyone rated MW2 a 1 out of 5 but it still sold 10 bazillion units you really think they are going to change what do?
 
Also look at Dynasty Warriors games they are fucking Awful awful games but people still buy them so they keep making them that way.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@Evilsbane: 
 
Things can become broken if you use them too much.
Posted by Rowr

Nice writeup. I agree with most of what you have to say with the exception of a situation where super mario bros score is dragged down for not including multiplayer. When things become expected from the standpoint of the audience at large, i think its fair to detract when games dont deliver in those fronts. Games have to be rated according to what the precedent is, what the competition offers.

Posted by Ping5000

Sounds like a minor issue of semantics.

Edited by Evilsbane
@Video_Game_King: Mega Man street fighter and Resident evil have been made so many times that most fixed the major issues (RE5 Choose not to) in the 2nd or third iteration and as long as people buy them why fix what isn't broken?
 
And yea I think Fun factor is a huge part of a review it could be the best made game in the world but if it isn't fun it still sucks.
Posted by Video_Game_King

Huh? Am I the only person who has a problem with companies releasing games that change nothing? Mega Man, Street Fighter, Resident Evil, all these band games, anything? Aren't sequels supposed to be a chance for developers to fix any major fuck-ups they made in the first game?

Posted by Moeez

I don't think you can have your cake (objective reviews) and eat it too (critique).  
 
I think the idea of reviewing a product to see if it works is gone, since most games have quite a high level of production and polish.  
 
You do raise an important point about omitted checklist-like features not being in a game. I might want co-op in a certain shooter, but doesn't mean I'll rate it lower because of my wishes.  
 
Another excellent point you raise is about games being more of the same can be completely new to someone else. I disagree in that, the reviewer can dock the sequel if there aren't enough new changes, so they can just recommend to play the earlier iterations of the franchise if the animations/graphics are the same. When Starcraft 2 comes out, and critics berate it for being more of the same, that won't matter to me who has not played much of Starcraft 1. What's not broken, no need to fix it. A really popular franchise though, that is STILL broken and not fixed is Call of Duty's singleplayer. They haven't changed much, aside from finally now (after 6 games) infinite respawning enemies have slightly been toned down (but other frustrations remain).
Posted by Icemael
@DrRandle said:
" A review should not be whether or not the game had fun."
I stopped reading here. You're basically saying that the reviewer shouldn't take fun, the whole point of video games, into consideration? If that was the case, reviews would be pointless. I mean, if they don't tell me whether or not the games are enjoyable, why should I read them?
Posted by MrSnow
@DrRandle: Long post. I agree with no score/ rating because you should make up the score yourself on the information given. 
 
For example many reviewers docked marks for COD:War at War because it had simular guns as other WWII shooters. I dont care about that and i would of judged the game as it stood and not of docked it marks. 
 
Therefore proving that you should rate games by the information given and not the reviewers. Of coarse it is good for a genaral overview.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@DrRandle: 
 
Wait, that phrase sounds like an excellent way to start a review. *uses it as the basis for an entire review*
Posted by DrRandle
@Bigandtasty: I agree with you there. That's looking at how the music fits in the game, not whether or not it's good music. In a way, it would be like putting Mario in a Sonic game: it's just not designed properly, and that's more objective. I think Ryan did a great job in this regard in his review of Band Hero, better than most reviews anyway.
Posted by Bigandtasty
@DrRandle said:
"Rhythm games have been suffering their own recurring problems in reviews: the music is being judged subjectively. Many DJ Hero reviews are being praised for their awesome mash-ups and many Band Hero reviews are showing ill-favor due to the game's pop-heavy music. That shouldn't matter in a review. Oh sure if the audio quality is bad or if on a technical level the mash-ups just didn't work, that's fair game. Saying that Band Hero is terrible because you're hung up on Taylor Swift and The Spice Girls is just plain lazy. What kind of music is in a rhythm game should be mentioned, but telling people that how that game is based on the soundtrack is terrible for a reader. Reviews of Guitar Hero 3 said it had a great soundtrack, but personally I found it to be boring schlock. Who's right? Nobody, because it's purely subjective."
Of course music is subjective but for people who are buying the game, the music on the setlist is one of the most important things to consider. For GH5, the setlist was a weakness, because it had a lot of songs that were just there to include a popular band without thinking of how well it would fit within a rhythm game or how well it would mesh with the 84 other songs. Of course, you're right about not letting it seep into the review too much; the review should recommend that consumers look at the setlist themselves.
Posted by DrRandle
@Video_Game_King: Not if it applies. Now if I said "Tastes great, less filling" while describing a game, that might be a little odd.
Posted by Video_Game_King

Wait, don't most people use "critic" and "reviewer" almost interchangeably, somewhat justifying that reviewing style? And isn't there something a bit weird in using a TV catchphrase to justify certain video game design?

Posted by DrRandle

There needs to be a difference between reviews and critiques in the video games industry. Reviews need to be about whether or not a game works properly. What factors are in this game and how do they come together? A review should not be whether or not the game had fun. Critiques are about what designs could have, in a perfect world, enhanced the gameplay and are more about learning new philosophies to improve on your design for the future. They should not be given a number score.

Clearly new ideas should be applauded, but games should never be marked as being "the same as the last" in a review. The simple answer for that is because, to quote an old TV slogan, if you haven't seen it it's new to you. Many reviewers take it upon them to decide when a game has become grating, which is entirely subjective. There could be new mechanics that they are blind too, due to the tight schedules they keep while trying to blast through as many games as possible. I've seen many reviews make clearly incorrect statements in regards to a game's mechanics being business as usual, Pokemon being a recent example, and at that point your review is doing nobody any good. DDR games still get hit because in the end each game is essentially the same but with a new soundtrack,. If all someone want is more songs for DDR than it sounds like a great game, and placing reviews that show the opposite is confusing and misleading. A lower score indicates that the game is of lower quality, and if it's the same game... well that graph doesn't quite add up. If it's the same game with new music, and the music is the draw of the game, what's the problem?

If a mechanic is technically frustrating, say a lack of a trading system in a game where there clearly should be one *cough*Borderlands*cough*, it is entirely different from a game that is missing a feature you think would be totally awesome in it. Reviews of New Super Mario Bros. Wii have begun spilling out over the net and it's frustrating to see many of them present the lack of online multiplayer as an excuse to drag the score down. Since when is the omission of features critical to how well the new game plays? How does a lack of online playability make playing the local single and multiplayer any worst? It doesn't. It's simply a feature that isn't there.

There are always features that aren't there. Those should be saved for a proper critique, or at least in a  review under a specific "wishes and wants" segment, but never let that detract from the quality of the product in your hand. If we go down this route then there needs to be points taken off for a lack of Screen Capture and Recording functions. Smash Bros. Brawl had both of them, and there's little reason why any other game can't have them. Now, if New Super Mario Bros Wii. did have online, and it was terrible, then the score should be brought down. We should only review what's there, not what isn't.

Rhythm games have been suffering their own recurring problems in reviews: the music is being judged subjectively. Many DJ Hero reviews are being praised for their awesome mash-ups and many Band Hero reviews are showing ill-favor due to the game's pop-heavy music. That shouldn't matter in a review. Oh sure if the audio quality is bad or if on a technical level the mash-ups just didn't work, that's fair game. Saying that Band Hero is terrible because you're hung up on Taylor Swift and The Spice Girls is just plain lazy. What kind of music is in a rhythm game should be mentioned, but telling people that how that game is based on the soundtrack is terrible for a reader. Reviews of Guitar Hero 3 said it had a great soundtrack, but personally I found it to be boring schlock. Who's right? Nobody, because it's purely subjective.

Overall that brings the question of fun into the mix. Some people argue that reviews boil down to "is the game fun?" and that shouldn't be further from the truth. I loved Alone in the Dark because it managed to tickle me in just the right way. Oh sure the game wasn't perfect by a long shot, but I clearly enjoyed it more than most reviewers and on top of that think that it did a lot of things right that just didn't quite tie together as well as they should have. Visuals have this problem, too. Some people hailed Wind Waker for it's impressive art style while others detracted it for it's childish look. The fact is, if you don't like the cartoon look and you can't get passed it, no amount of 10's in the "graphics" department are going to be of any use to you.

Maybe I'm being to picky. Maybe reviews should just be whether or not we all enjoyed ourselves and then should clearly be ignored by everyone else because it does no service to them. We all have different tastes. Somebody could me that last night's football game was breathtaking. but I'll never care because football doesn't interest me. Should video game reviews be brought down to swapping stories? I think there's a place for that, but I don't think it's in the official review.

What do you think? Should reviews be a mixture? Is that human aspect doing anybody a favor, or is it possibly causing people to shy away from games they might otherwise like?  Love to hear your feedback.

As always my inane ramblings can be found on Facebook.