Good 2nd part Patrick, I'm looking forward to more.
Reviews are a tricky, I use them to steer away from the worst games, but if the game gets a lukewarm review but I'm still interested I might wait for the price of the game to go down. For me a review is the perfect place to criticize a game or a franchise. This also means that readers have to discern whether they think those criticisms are a big enough problem for themselves. The score the reviewer gives can help the consumer figure out how much the problems a game has will likely affect their own enjoyment of the game.
Forums are another area where game criticisms abounds and it is another place where you can look to judge a game. Game critiques can be found in pretty much any video game oriented forum, unfortunately these are less trustworthy because in many cases the purposes of the author behind the critiques are unknown, and easily break down into mindless fights.
What has been far more useful to me are the Quick Looks from this site, let's plays, and even podcasts to an extent. These offer great previews of games while also providing a venue for people to critique and discuss games as well. However these formats are some of the most time consuming and the depth of discussions vary wildly.