Posted by GetEveryone (4531 posts) -

Given Jeff's recent assertions, and this community's piggy-backing on them, I thought I'd give the thought more than a cursory musing. Forewarning, I am tired and this will likely meander absolutely everywhere. Apologies in advance.

Now, I don't know how the rest of you use Twitter, but I follow a lot of those involved in the games industry. With the embargo on Assassin's Creed 3 being lifted (itself a totally revolting concept that requires a write-up of its own) this morning, my feed lit up with maybe a dozen different writers all linking to their own reviews.

Amused, I read the first two or three and leafed (well...) through the others. All followed a pretty standard format: put the game into context in the series, describe the setting/plot in brief, mission structure, aesthetics, technical issues, multiplayer component and conclude. An utterly arbitrary quantification of their estimation of the game's merits is then slapped at the bottom, with a single sentence summarily completing the experience. Besides, is ever ever necessary to have a four page review that I'm required to click through?

No, it is fucking not.

The thing is, there isn't just a standard format; given a game is a somewhat mechanical thing, a measure of common ground is more easily found than when compared to other entertainment mediums. Virtually every review picked up on the same technical issues, though some were more perturbed by them than others. Of course, it isn't certain that two reviewers will necessarily both enjoy the game regardless of it flaws, but I'd wager that most sites wouldn't assign a writer who dislikes a certain franchise/genre to a new entry in that arena. They all end up reading exactly the same way.

They go no way to actually providing the tactile sensation of playing a game. I'm sure we've all had an experience where a game has received raved reviews, we've been incredibly excited for it and when the time plays to get your hands round the controller... it just doesn't click.

Dismal.

Given that, we end up with a fairly homogeneous 'critiques' which the industry loves, and lots of them. Publishers can quite easily lift phrases and buzzwords from reviews verbatim and slap that shiny number on the box - and consumers fucking love numbers, man. Indeed, these numbers are so important that Metacritic averages have long been known to heavily weigh on developer's minds when it comes to possibly bonuses and determining who will develop possible sequels (assuming the title perfoms well commercially). A poor reception can also drastically effect the franchise potential of a title. ~Thanks to Brodehouse for clarification on this point. See here,here and here.

Now, there is a strong argument that we are to blame for the state of the industry at the moment. The truth is, the vast majority of us knew whether we were getting this game long before reading through one of these quite rote pieces, and arguing over scores given is merely a qualification of our own tastes. There are other factors, no doubt, but this must be the most prevalent one, as we are the factor that determines a products eventual success or failure. That is, the relationship with between publishers and the outlets through which we consume information about their products has come about as a result of behaviour. Indeed, the vast majority of games sites are marketing resources. This is not to condemn these sites, it is intrinsically what they are. A new game is on the horizon and they publish each and every tidbit the publisher throws their way. I don't want to delve too deeply into this now, considering there's been a lot of talk on this subject in the last week, but it's a salient point, regardless.

What is the alternative, then? I'm unconvinced quick-looks are the future. The issue is that there are two ends of the video content spectrum: on one hand, we have a 30-minute video where the narrator chatters away, totally failing to describe anything that could not be put into written-word, while idly browsing through menus and intermittently playing the fucking thing (and often poorly at that). On the other, we have riotous, hour-long videos that successfully show the wealth of multiplayer options, fluidity of combat, etc that we want to see and provide a satisfactory alternative to actually playing. This analogue more closely resembles actually playing, and is far more likely to sway opinion than an interchangeable 'opinion' piece. I'd argue, though, that often these are the (somewhat) structured EX videos, but these of course come with their own issues. The gang is far less inclined to savage something, or indeed be anything other than totally demure, given that they are sitting on the same couch as the developers. So yes, we're given a better understanding of the game, but any fundamental issues we can't couldn't possibly appreciate without playing are unlikely to be relayed.

In an attempt to try and tie this up quickly (typing this at an awkward angle on a very small laptop has caused me to become fidgety), I'll sum up. As far as I'm concerned, the future lies somewhere in the middle. No one wants to watch someone monotonously read their review script for five minutes in front of camera, but there needs to be some sort of structure in place in order that they accurately reflect what the game is like to play. Though reviews themselves are quickly becoming outpaced by the technology the internet has provided us, they most definitely serve a purpose. A meeting in the middle is the best option - one qhich Giantbomb has pioneered, but not mastered.

The written word is important, and if we see movement away from the classical review style, I would hope it would cause a surge in actual criticism, real opinion pieces and editorials. In this way, Giantbomb (along with Eurogamer, and likely a small handful of other sites) has really begun to push what games journalism can be.

#1 Edited by GetEveryone (4531 posts) -

Given Jeff's recent assertions, and this community's piggy-backing on them, I thought I'd give the thought more than a cursory musing. Forewarning, I am tired and this will likely meander absolutely everywhere. Apologies in advance.

Now, I don't know how the rest of you use Twitter, but I follow a lot of those involved in the games industry. With the embargo on Assassin's Creed 3 being lifted (itself a totally revolting concept that requires a write-up of its own) this morning, my feed lit up with maybe a dozen different writers all linking to their own reviews.

Amused, I read the first two or three and leafed (well...) through the others. All followed a pretty standard format: put the game into context in the series, describe the setting/plot in brief, mission structure, aesthetics, technical issues, multiplayer component and conclude. An utterly arbitrary quantification of their estimation of the game's merits is then slapped at the bottom, with a single sentence summarily completing the experience. Besides, is ever ever necessary to have a four page review that I'm required to click through?

No, it is fucking not.

The thing is, there isn't just a standard format; given a game is a somewhat mechanical thing, a measure of common ground is more easily found than when compared to other entertainment mediums. Virtually every review picked up on the same technical issues, though some were more perturbed by them than others. Of course, it isn't certain that two reviewers will necessarily both enjoy the game regardless of it flaws, but I'd wager that most sites wouldn't assign a writer who dislikes a certain franchise/genre to a new entry in that arena. They all end up reading exactly the same way.

They go no way to actually providing the tactile sensation of playing a game. I'm sure we've all had an experience where a game has received raved reviews, we've been incredibly excited for it and when the time plays to get your hands round the controller... it just doesn't click.

Dismal.

Given that, we end up with a fairly homogeneous 'critiques' which the industry loves, and lots of them. Publishers can quite easily lift phrases and buzzwords from reviews verbatim and slap that shiny number on the box - and consumers fucking love numbers, man. Indeed, these numbers are so important that Metacritic averages have long been known to heavily weigh on developer's minds when it comes to possibly bonuses and determining who will develop possible sequels (assuming the title perfoms well commercially). A poor reception can also drastically effect the franchise potential of a title. ~Thanks to Brodehouse for clarification on this point. See here,here and here.

Now, there is a strong argument that we are to blame for the state of the industry at the moment. The truth is, the vast majority of us knew whether we were getting this game long before reading through one of these quite rote pieces, and arguing over scores given is merely a qualification of our own tastes. There are other factors, no doubt, but this must be the most prevalent one, as we are the factor that determines a products eventual success or failure. That is, the relationship with between publishers and the outlets through which we consume information about their products has come about as a result of behaviour. Indeed, the vast majority of games sites are marketing resources. This is not to condemn these sites, it is intrinsically what they are. A new game is on the horizon and they publish each and every tidbit the publisher throws their way. I don't want to delve too deeply into this now, considering there's been a lot of talk on this subject in the last week, but it's a salient point, regardless.

What is the alternative, then? I'm unconvinced quick-looks are the future. The issue is that there are two ends of the video content spectrum: on one hand, we have a 30-minute video where the narrator chatters away, totally failing to describe anything that could not be put into written-word, while idly browsing through menus and intermittently playing the fucking thing (and often poorly at that). On the other, we have riotous, hour-long videos that successfully show the wealth of multiplayer options, fluidity of combat, etc that we want to see and provide a satisfactory alternative to actually playing. This analogue more closely resembles actually playing, and is far more likely to sway opinion than an interchangeable 'opinion' piece. I'd argue, though, that often these are the (somewhat) structured EX videos, but these of course come with their own issues. The gang is far less inclined to savage something, or indeed be anything other than totally demure, given that they are sitting on the same couch as the developers. So yes, we're given a better understanding of the game, but any fundamental issues we can't couldn't possibly appreciate without playing are unlikely to be relayed.

In an attempt to try and tie this up quickly (typing this at an awkward angle on a very small laptop has caused me to become fidgety), I'll sum up. As far as I'm concerned, the future lies somewhere in the middle. No one wants to watch someone monotonously read their review script for five minutes in front of camera, but there needs to be some sort of structure in place in order that they accurately reflect what the game is like to play. Though reviews themselves are quickly becoming outpaced by the technology the internet has provided us, they most definitely serve a purpose. A meeting in the middle is the best option - one qhich Giantbomb has pioneered, but not mastered.

The written word is important, and if we see movement away from the classical review style, I would hope it would cause a surge in actual criticism, real opinion pieces and editorials. In this way, Giantbomb (along with Eurogamer, and likely a small handful of other sites) has really begun to push what games journalism can be.

#2 Posted by TheHumanDove (2521 posts) -

I still like to see reviews. I don't always agree with them, but generally I do, so I take it into account before making purchases.

#3 Posted by Fredchuckdave (6971 posts) -

Reviews should probably be shorter in general, if you have a multi-page review then the vast majority of readers will just skip to the score. Generally the most interesting reviews are from people who just aren't good at the game they're playing and trying to justify this by blaming it on the game; endless entertainment. Reviews have an impact on small dev team or indy games and virtually no impact whatsoever on mainstream games.

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#4 Posted by believer258 (12713 posts) -

Yes, I agree that games journalism needs to contain more than just some reporting on what games are coming out and reviewing what just came out, but as long as people link the term "review" with "simple article telling you what a game is and whether it works", then game reviews won't get much farther.

Besides, game criticism is getting better. Articles where well-articulated people pick apart a game or games have sprouted up often, and while it's not yet anything close to "mature", it's certainly doing more than it once was.

#5 Posted by doobie (612 posts) -

no, but they are not as important as some people make out.

#6 Posted by GetEveryone (4531 posts) -

@believer258: No, I definitely agree. I was sort of pushing at your first point, but felt I wasn't articulating myself well enough to get it across.

I know he's been talked about a lot recently, but Rab Florence's Lost Humanity column on Eurogamer is pretty great. Articles like those, and what Giantbomb has been touching on recently (thanks to Patrick) are really what the industry should be striving towards.

#7 Posted by YI_Orange (1211 posts) -

@believer258: Like what?

#8 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4836 posts) -

The summaries are there for the people who want to know if the game is good or not as fast as they can read it. The scores help you figure out how the reviewer thinks the game is even faster than reading the summary, the rest of the text is there for people who want more to read and to see the reviewer's specific critique of the game. There are some games that I know I'll get day 1 but just as Jeff said, "preordering games is bad". There's always a chance you could be wrong and the end product turns out to be shit (cough Resident Evil 6 cough)

#9 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3053 posts) -

I think the review as a concept is as relevant as it ever was. The problem stems more from the reader and the relevantly recent rise of two things:

1) the ability for everyone to get their own opinions out there and have the potential for them to be taken seriously purely through popularity rather than quality ("hai guyz, subscribe to my YouTube channel"), which dilutes whatever respect there was for critical opinion from professionals.

2) the arrogance of the current generation that makes many people believe that the review can only be correct if it agrees with their own opinion. I have my own opinions on parenting and schooling practices that have led to people thinking they are infallible and that their own opinion is equal to everyone else's regardless of other factors, but I'll leave that for another day.

I freely admit that I almost never read reviews anymore, even here. This isn't due to a lack of quality in the writing (the writing here is very good) or because I have always made my mind up on a particular game (although QLs mean this is sometimes the case)

No, the reason is that I get sick to death of the furore that surrounds them because everyone knows better than the professional critics, in the same way that everyone knows better than the author, the director, the designer, the doctor, and the teacher.

#10 Posted by PerryVandell (2194 posts) -

I don't think reviews are "irrelevant" but they've certainly become less important with the presence of podcasts and quick looks. I still enjoy reading what people think about a game, but quick looks let me see what someone is talking about. The Medal of Honor quick look is a great example. Nothing turned me off to that game more than when Jeff showed off the game's egregious scripting (the invincible soldier around the campfire). But if I want a deeper understanding of someone's critiques, then reviews are there to fit the bill. Besides, if review scores didn't exist, what would we have to bicker about?

#11 Edited by Harkat (1158 posts) -

Bad, formulaic, inexpressive reviews that don't teach me anything are irrelevant. I read reviews to learn about how games work though, not as a buyer's guide.

#12 Edited by Encephalon (1391 posts) -

They're certainly less important than they once were, now that there are so many more ways to learn about a game pre- and post-release, but I imagine there's still an audience out there that traditional reviews serve. I can't remember the last time a game review has in any way influenced my purchasing decisions, though.

#13 Edited by CaLe (4225 posts) -

I literally can't remember the last time I read a review. I know which games I want before reviews come out, and if it's something that I haven't paid attention to, video of gameplay tells me much more than any review could. Reviews are not meant for people like me. I don't actually know who they are meant for... I've never met the person who needs the actual words of a review -- as opposed to seeing a high number.

I would imagine that the people most interested in the content of reviews are those who worked on the game.

#14 Posted by Kidavenger (3867 posts) -

Gameplay footage with commentary is worth more to me than any review.

I generally know which games I'm going to buy based on developer track record and forum hype, reviews have never had an effect on my purchase decisions but quicklooks have both convinced me to buy game I wouldn't have given a second look and stopped me from buying certain games.

#15 Edited by GetEveryone (4531 posts) -

@PerryVandell: @Kidavenger: How do you guys feel about the quick-looks like, for example, the Shadow of the Colossus, where Brad (...Patrick?) fundamentally failed to grasp how to play the game, with little-to-no preparation, and fumbled aimlessly for the entirety of the video? A 16- page exclusive spread by some publication ensconced within the PR-circle of various publishers might be compromised ethically, but it presumably has content of worth within those pages.

Edit: I know this is sort of besdies the point as far as reviews go (insofar as PR-relations isn't the reason that they are becoming irrelevant, if they are), but I thought I'd ask, anyway.

#16 Edited by Kidavenger (3867 posts) -

@GetEveryone: I like to think situations like that aren't the norm, they are professionals and sure the odd game will escape them but I'd imagine they do better than I would at the vast majority of games. I would be lying if I didn't say that them having a hard time going though the start of a game didn't make me think twice on a game I wasn't already sold on though.

The number of games I've bought specifically because of Giantbomb is fairly low (SR3, Catherine, Bastion) and with the exception of Torchlight , I haven't really played them very much.

#17 Posted by clstirens (854 posts) -

@Tim_the_Corsair said:

I think the review as a concept is as relevant as it ever was. The problem stems more from the reader and the relevantly recent rise of two things: 1) the ability for everyone to get their own opinions out there and have the potential for them to be taken seriously purely through popularity rather than quality ("hai guyz, subscribe to my YouTube channel"), which dilutes whatever respect there was for critical opinion from professionals. 2) the arrogance of the current generation that makes many people believe that the review can only be correct if it agrees with their own opinion. I have my own opinions on parenting and schooling practices that have led to people thinking they are infallible and that their own opinion is equal to everyone else's regardless of other factors, but I'll leave that for another day. I freely admit that I almost never read reviews anymore, even here. This isn't due to a lack of quality in the writing (the writing here is very good) or because I have always made my mind up on a particular game (although QLs mean this is sometimes the case) No, the reason is that I get sick to death of the furore that surrounds them because everyone knows better than the professional critics, in the same way that everyone knows better than the author, the director, the designer, the doctor, and the teacher.

Your number two point... Dude, ever since I've been on the internet (1999) it's been this way. We've been through technically more than one generation of kids and teens, it's always been this way with games.

#18 Posted by PerryVandell (2194 posts) -

@GetEveryone: I'll admit that watching Brad perpetually fall off the colossus was a bit...taxing, but that quick look was a rare exception for the most part. Usually someone in the quick look has the game for a few hours at least and understands most of the game's general mechanics. It was also a remastered port, so it makes sense why they went in "blind". It's not an excuse, but I can understand the thought process behind it.

#19 Posted by TheVideoHustler (412 posts) -

I like reviews

#20 Posted by Rumpleforeskin (45 posts) -

Reviews should stay, it's review scores that should be thrown out. The numbers do NOT fucking matter, at least to me.

Numbered review scales are so blatantly ignorant and skewed that it's become a fucking joke. There are very, very, very, very few games that deserve a 10 out 10 or 5 out of 5 stars or whatever. That is 100%.... as in one hundred god damn percent, meaning it could not possibly be improved in any way and it already stands in a state of perfection, which is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Video games are essentially software, and in the world of software there is no such thing as perfection. There will always be a way to optimize code, make it run better or faster, compile it with different options, or just make it in someway better. 100% does not exist.

These days video games have multi-million dollar budgets and companies have entire teams of people behind the strategic marketing of their product. With that amount of money behind them, they just blindly expect that every game they put out receives a review towards the higher end of the scale. Jim Sterling did a piece somewhat about this in which he said that a score of 8 out of 10 has become "hate" out of ten. This is true, and it is fucking insane. People like infamous douche-nozzle Cliff whatever-the-fuck-his-name-is bitch and moan when their games get an 8 out of 10. I think that bitch-made motherfucker actually referred to people who gave Gears of War 3 less than a 9 as "haters" in a Tweeter thing or wtf ever that's called. Stupid! 8/10 = 80% !! That's still pretty frickin' good! What the hell!? This is a shame to me, because I absolutely loved the days of shareware... the days of Jazz Jackrabbit, Apogee Software (!), dial-up BBS's with ANSI art and Usurper. God how I miss those days. It's also a shame to me because Sunny D err.. Cliffy B.. has made GOOD games, he has genuinely good ideas, but I guess Stephen Colbert spoke the truth when he said that as soon as you put a camera in front of somebody then they just start to lose common sense and act a fool.

Video games are also entertainment, and they are one form of entertainment that I love. They are interactive stories that you control and have somewhat of a say in how that story goes. Awesome... I love it. This means that the "fun factor" comes into play, and can influence the final score on a numbered scale. If a game is technically brilliant but just isn't very much fun to play, that can lower the score. If it's a sloppy, shoddy, hap-hazardly sewn together pile of dead babies in which you just have the greatest time ever playing, it will (and should) get a higher score.

Now the world of "games journalism" [ignorant term altogether] is ruled by PR and marketing, for better or for (much more likely) worse. You can't NOT see that unless you're a fucking mongoloid. Reviewers, magazines, websites, etc. get sent hardware and games free-of-charge. Why wouldn't the game companies do that?, it doesn't cost a lot to press copies onto a disc. It's cheap advertising for their product. But if said people continually shit on games, deserved or not, made by ABC Developer or put out by XYZ Publisher guess what's likely to happen? No more free shit from them. And it's not like they can afford to buy every $60 game that comes out, at least not the so-called "independent" ones. At the end of the day, like most things in this world, it all boils down to money.

I read game reviews to see what that person thinks about a game. I don't give a flying right-hand fuck if it got a 9 out of 10, 3 out of 18 stars, or a 5.724, hell most of the time I don't even look at the score. That is, unless I'm reading it on a website or publication that pulls that shit of plastering it in big bright numbers right at the fuckin top. I want to know WHY that person thought it deserved to be doc'd or to be given bonus points. Are there graphical glitches? Do the controls respond appropriately? Is the translation to English a bucket of balls? etc. You know... the shit that actually matters. These people have played a lot of video games, they do it for a living, and they, hopefully, do it professionally. I value their opinion because (most of the time) they know what they're talking about. Then there are places, like Giant Bomb, that I go to more for the personalities of the people involved. Not to say that these guys aren't good reviewers or anything, but I come for the videos of Ryan and Jeff fumbling through a Kinect game much more often than I do for their written critique.

Also, with the advent of Quick Looks, Let's Plays, and YouTube commentators on the rise, the more "traditional" form of video game reviews just may be on the way out. But that's a whole other thing and this is too long already and I probably already rambled enough so fuck it.

This is what I think.

#21 Posted by CL60 (17120 posts) -

I almost never listen to reviews. I've played many games that have gotten poor reviews that I've loved.

#22 Posted by Brodehouse (10490 posts) -

This just reads like you're mad that games you don't like get reviewed well and trying to blame the system for allowing 'homogenized product' to exist. Then there's some other stuff that isn't quite right.

"Indeed, these numbers are so important that Metacritic averages have long been known to heavily weigh on publisher's minds when it comes to greenlighting possible sequels to a title."

Metacritic averages don't mean a thing when it comes to greenlighting a sequel. The only thing that weighs on a publisher's mind when looking at a sequel is the sales of the previous game. It only matters when it comes to awarding bonuses and selecting who will actually develop the next sequel, not the sequel's existence. Medal of Honor (2010) reviewed terribly for a game of its stature, but it sold well. High Metacritic does correspond to good sales, but a publisher will take sales without critical acclaim over critical acclaim without sales.

#23 Edited by GetEveryone (4531 posts) -

@Brodehouse: You've misinterpreted quite drastically what I was getting at, so I've edited that portion. I was implying that the reviews themselves are homogeneous, and it is this industry standard review format that the publishers love - given that they can easily lift the score and accompanying quote ("a thrillride from start to finish") from them for marketing purposes.

I can guarantee you that I have had little to no issue with a piece of entertainment receiving a lower score (or vice-versa) than what I perceive it to be worthy of. I buy the games that I am excited about and form opinions thus. If someone disagrees, they are perfectly entitled to. I'm about discussion, not stepping onto a comments board and berating the publication/author for awarding one product X points more than another. I thought I'd made that fairly clear in what I'd written...

When you say "some other stuff", it's just the metacritic point, right? Thanks for clarification, regardless. I actually knew that from reading an article in the last few days and still managed to get it wrong. I'll edit and cite you.

#24 Posted by Brodehouse (10490 posts) -

@GetEveryone: Yeah I meant to add 'Sorry if that's not it' to the first sentence, because it felt like I was coming across a little too dickish. I don't think changing the format of reviews is really going to do too much to change how marketing works, at the end of the day those quotes are rather unimportant. The difference between A Thrillride From Start To Finish and "A thrillride from start to finish!" - Brad Shoemaker is surprisingly little when it comes to retention.

Metacritic matters to the publisher, but only in that it affects sales. Publishers also try to use Metacritic to 'protect' their IP from a lesser developer using high sales as a bonus metric; Fallout is considered a major franchise, and Obsidian's Fallout: New Vegas sold extremely well... but they were denied their bonus due to a low Metacritic; the philosophy being that the Fallout name sold the game rather than the quality of Obsidian's work.

#25 Posted by ShinjiEx (793 posts) -

I'm gonna buy and play the game I've been waiting to play and enjoy it!

It's nice and comical to see what critics think of the game in question and give it "score"

#26 Posted by Giantstalker (1875 posts) -

Reviews are more relevant and useful than, say, blog posts.

#27 Posted by Gaff (2086 posts) -
@GetEveryone I'm going to contest one basic point that lies at the heart of your argument: a game, being mechanical, will lead to similar observations from different reviewers leading to similar reviews, making the glut of reviews irrelevant.
Distilling games down to their mechanics will lead to similarities between them, but there's so much more than just mechanics to a game. Good writers know how to put that "feel" into words, making the distinction between FPS A and B apparent to the reader.
Secondly, it all comes down to the eye of the beholder. If someone with matching tastes to you recommends a game you never heard of, then that is going carry much more weight a random review. The internet not only provides a deluge of reviews, but it also allows for a much more "intimate" connection between writer and reader, allowing one to find an audience and the other to find a trustworthy and reliable source of information.

What it boils down to is that reviews shouldn't be taken out of context by focusing on just the review or elements thereof (score, box quotes, etc). The problem isn't with the reviews themselves, but supplying it with the necessary context. Ironically that would mean letting go of the pretext of objectivity and going headfirst into longform essay writing that many simply don't have the stomach to write down, let alone read.
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#28 Posted by Gaff (2086 posts) -

Oh, and speaking of dime a dozen reviews: remember the very early reviews on the internet? That broke down everything in sections like "Story", "Graphics", "Sound", and "Gameplay" to give it an air of objectivity and professionalism?

Those were absolute horrors to read!

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#29 Posted by Razorlution (201 posts) -

Although I enjoy reading them, they will never play a part on whether I want to purchase or try a game ever. That decision is left to me and only me.

#30 Posted by crusader8463 (14744 posts) -

Reviews have always, and will always, meant nothing to me. I do my own research by watching videos of the game and come to my own conclusion. Sadly most games are not all that different from others in their genre so for the most part if you see a video you can get a general idea of what you are in for and their hook to make their game different is. The only thing I want out of a review like thing is to know if the game is a bad port or has game breaking bugs in it. I want nothing else but the facts. Does the game run good/bad on the platform? Is it buggy? These are the only facts that you can state about a game. Everything else is down to personal opinion and I personally have never found a reviewer that has agreed with me on any game I have read a review for so anything but the above mentioned is irrelevant for me personally.