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#1 Posted by joshwent (2351 posts) -

This news is a bit old so forgive me if this is an already known thing, but nonetheless, it seems pretty huge. From this point on, Rev3 will no longer assign a score to go along with their game reviews. As explained in the video below, they'll insead sum up their reviews with a single sentence at the end meant to give an all encompassing description of their impression.

Oh intern Nick, how far you come! Their first review in this new format has already come out. You can see Tara's numberless thoughts on Transistor right here:

Rev3 isn't the most influential source for games coverage, but with the addition of the (recently retired) Adam Sessler, they came to a position of some prominence, especially for a group of folks who's material exists almost solely as YouTube videos. As far as I know, their scores were never included in Metacritic's numbers, so this won't affect that at all, but it's possible that this trend might continue up to some sites that carry more weight.

The 5 star system (as opposed to _ out of 10, or even the completely pointless 100 point Gamespot system) is one of the things that initially drew me to GB's approach to reviews. I know that Jeff has long talked about how he constantly dwells on the structure, usefulness, and general point of reviews, so I hope this gets him thinking as well.

As Nick and Tara discuss in the video above, review scores are becoming less and less (or maybe always haven't been) productive in terms of purchasing advice or to sum up the review as a whole. And more often than not, serve to fuel fights about arbitrary numbers, rather than discussions about the successes and failures of a game.

Basically, I'm thrilled about this change, and hope it's just the beginning.

Thoughts?

#2 Posted by Steadying (1472 posts) -

Eh, I dunno. Scores are kinda helpful if I just wanna see if the game is worth while in a quick glance. But then again, I always found myself reading through the review anyway, so I guess this doesn't really matter at all to me.

Also, I'm pretty sure I've seen Rev3 on Metacritic before. I think. Probably not.

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#3 Posted by ShaggE (6699 posts) -

Sessler should have brought over his *number of humorous sound clips from the review* out of 10 format.

#4 Posted by Chop (1998 posts) -

I like review scores. A score can draw me in and make me want to read a review more than a single sentence can =/

Yeah, I might be part of the problem but you know what? Most people are like me and if you don't cater to us, you'll lose us.

#5 Posted by adoggz (2070 posts) -

wow, rev3games still exists? didn't like everyone leave there? also review scores are super helpful in determining if i care to read the review.

#6 Posted by FinalDasa (2046 posts) -

Makes sense.

Especially as video game coverage moves more and more towards all video, why keep a score? If a score is just a number at the end of a video, then you've already listened to the impressions from the reviewer, you ideally have heard their points, gripes, and opinions on the game, and hopefully you've come away with how the game is.

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#7 Posted by TruthTellah (9472 posts) -

Oh, so kind of like Kotaku switching to a Yes, No, or Not Yet recommendation system.

#8 Posted by joshwent (2351 posts) -

@chop said:

A score can draw me in and make me want to read a review more than a single sentence can =/

@adoggz said:

also review scores are super helpful in determining if i care to read the review.

Interesting. I'd love if you could elaborate on how just seeing a score could actually make you want to read (or in Rev3's case, watch) a review. Is it if a score is wildly different than most other site's, or if it's just far from your own opinions of a game? I definitely like to read reviews that have opposite POV's than mine, but it's still only with reviewers that I like/trust in the first place, and therefore would have probably read their review anyway.

#9 Posted by nasp (416 posts) -

i think the yes, no system would be the best for reviews imo.

#10 Posted by Fear_the_Booboo (586 posts) -

I'm all for it. I don't think scores help much and tend to find they help reduce games to bullet points. It creates this idea that games are on a scale of quality whereas I think really some flaws or qualities that would be important to some are meaningless to other.

#11 Posted by me3639 (1849 posts) -

Scores are irrelevant as are GOTY. Too many games, too many different types why cant we all just enjoy the many great games there are to play.

#12 Posted by Marokai (3143 posts) -

Pleasantly surprised by this.

#13 Edited by SunBroZak (1349 posts) -

@joshwent said:

@chop said:

A score can draw me in and make me want to read a review more than a single sentence can =/

@adoggz said:

also review scores are super helpful in determining if i care to read the review.

Interesting. I'd love if you could elaborate on how just seeing a score could actually make you want to read (or in Rev3's case, watch) a review. Is it if a score is wildly different than most other site's, or if it's just far from your own opinions of a game? I definitely like to read reviews that have opposite POV's than mine, but it's still only with reviewers that I like/trust in the first place, and therefore would have probably read their review anyway.

Personally, ignoring instances where I'm reading reviews before I buy something, I'm not a huge fan of reading reviews of games that score poorly, but I enjoy reading about good games and what makes them good. So review scores can usually indicate if it's worth my time.

For instance, while I have no intention of playing South Park: The Stick of Truth, I found it interesting reading about why people enjoyed it so much. Had it received poor review scores, then I wouldn't care enough to see why.

#14 Posted by ripelivejam (4852 posts) -

i need quantification dammit.

#15 Posted by believer258 (12184 posts) -

@chop said:

I like review scores. A score can draw me in and make me want to read a review more than a single sentence can =/

Yeah, I might be part of the problem but you know what? Most people are like me and if you don't cater to us, you'll lose us.

@adoggz said:

wow, rev3games still exists? didn't like everyone leave there? also review scores are super helpful in determining if i care to read the review.

These are the problem because there's no actual criticism in a number. And it's not really a summary of the reviewer's thoughts, either, it's nothing more than a number on a recommendation scale. They're useful as a quick glance but they really hold back meaningful insight when everyone just looks at the score. It's the kind of thinking that kept Obsidian from getting a bonus when Fallout New Vegas got an 84 on Metacritic and not an 85.

And like joshwent, I'd like to know why you guys think that the score might make you want to read the review, as opposed to a one-sentence summary. Do you read scores that reflect an opinion opposite yours, or just a score that reflects your own opinion? Or both? Wouldn't a summary with a good point that you've never heard before be better?

Anyway, I do applaud Rev3's decision. Few websites will follow suit, and nobody that really matters will, but it's nice to see someone do this.

#16 Posted by TheManWithNoPlan (5985 posts) -

Definitely interesting.

#17 Posted by GunstarRed (5453 posts) -

Now all they need is some reviewers. Four of their main people have left that site over the last year with only Tara left. I have no Idea why Nick has become so prominent in all their videos as he has some of the most boring opinions on games I have ever heard, not to mention a total lack of personality on camera. I like Tara's opinions on games and I'm glad she addresses the 5/5 she gave Dead Space 3 in that video. I'd prefer sites to have some kind of score though, although I'm totally ok if there isn't one. The five star system is what I'd prefer all sites use.

#18 Posted by GalacticPunt (1106 posts) -

Numbers are so passe. Get with the times.... in whatever year this is now.

#19 Posted by Chop (1998 posts) -

@believer258:

It's simply a screening process that stops me from having to read reviews for every game that comes out. Numbers are faster than words.

Sorry, I know I'm a terrible person :(

#20 Posted by NTM (7542 posts) -

That would have been more interesting to me if Adam Sessler still worked there, but really, since he left, I left too. Alright though. That being said, Rev3Games can do that, because they never were on Metacritic.

#21 Edited by Clonedzero (4196 posts) -

I think there is value in review scores. It's only really an issue when people take them too seriously. I generally don't read entire reviews, i'll skim them. A review is purely information about the product, is it good, is it bad, why.

Also since video games, like movies are almost entirely subjective having a score in front of it is an easy way to tell the reviewers over all opinion. It also forces the reviewer to think critically about how good the game is in a scale instead of just listning the good and bad stuff and their opinions on it. It makes you compare it to other games.

And yes, i read reviews that have an opposite opinion than mine, usually i almost never read reviews before i play a game. I like reading reviews after i beat the game, i have my own opinion, but i like my opinions being challenged, either it'll change my mind about something or reinforce my existing opinion.

But scores are pretty important. Just dont take it too seriously and publishers have to stop using metacritic. Actually, just metacritic is the main problem. Also i kinda hate the inflated review scores, and 8 is supposed to be a really good game, not average. But whatever.

Edit- Also, a GREAT use for scores, is when you know you want a game before it comes out. Say, i already know i want Watch_Dogs. But what if i dont to be kept in the dark about the mechanics, story, all that. Well i can glance at scores from various sites to get an idea of the quality of the game without any spoilers. (i've personally had multiple games spoiled for me by reading / watching reviews, even giantbomb is guilty of that sometimes). So im getting ready to go to the store to pick up Watch_Dogs and i check scores, now for the sake of this example, lets say, its getting low scores all over the place. Then i stop and go "hold on a second, something must be wrong with the game, i think ill investigate before using my money". If its getting high scores, then i finish putting my shoes on and get the game knowing the consensus is that its a good game. No reading detailed opinions necessary, i can form my own opinions. I just want an idea of the quality.

#22 Posted by NTM (7542 posts) -

@me3639: For me personally, I like scores, but I think it's mainly in how I can personally critique a game as I play, and putting a number to an aspect makes sense to me, for me. As for Game of the Years, I like the idea, but I don't like taking and choosing one great game of the year, when we should be celebrating the best games of that year in general, even if there is a clear winner to some. I think people that say we should get rid of scores say it because they never took the time to understand how it works. At times, there are scales that don't work, but some do.

#23 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -

Not a bad way to handle it. I like scores though, and all publications usually have a *bottom line* paragraph summing it up. Seems more like a political move, like making a statement about scores. It won't do them any good. If I was in this business, I'd want to show up on metacritic. To be relevant in the broader landscape, having some kind of quantifiable scoring system is important.

#24 Edited by NTM (7542 posts) -

@gunstarred: I like Tara, which is really the only one that would have me willing to stay on that site, but I didn't. As for her Dead Space 3 review, I had to disagree with her when she said Danik is the best voiced character in the game, because he's the worst in my opinion aside from the very short moment you hear Carver's son talk. Danik's voice makes me hate him, and not in a good way.

#25 Posted by PandaBear (1384 posts) -

That's sticking it to the man Rev3!! YEAH!! Numbers are for losers! I mean sure we're a society obsessed with numbers and we have ratings for things like car safety, electricity usage on appliances, water efficiency... you know all those trivial things.

Sigh ... they're just doing their readers a disservice. If you want to do a critique of a game than get rid of the score and talk about it differently. If you're just doing a review but without the score who exactly is this in service of? Like all those things I mentioned before a score gives you a nice snapshot of what to expect.

#26 Posted by adoggz (2070 posts) -

@joshwent: @believer258:

i use them as a way to get a basic idea of whats in the review. Why waste my time wit ha 4/10. 10s across the board and i already know what all the reviews say. 6's and 7's for games im interested in i'll check out the review. something horrible like a 1 i have to see just to know how bad it is. Scores are also useful for discrepancies if someone seemingly trustworthy is giving weird score to a game ill check it out just to see why they think so differently. I just find that review scores are a useful way to sort though reviews.

#27 Posted by GunslingerPanda (4859 posts) -

Good. Hope this is the start of a trend of actual critiques.

#28 Posted by wemibelec90 (1830 posts) -

@me3639 said:

Scores are irrelevant as are GOTY. Too many games, too many different types why cant we all just enjoy the many great games there are to play.

Some people really like scores on their reviews. I think more people should like to actually read the text of a review, but it's their choice to just focus on scores.

I agree with you that sites making a GOTY list (and the resulting arguments) can feel a bit pointless. My personal GOTY list, however, is a fun way to reflect on everything I played during the year. It reminds me what I liked and didn't like--or even reminds me of games I forgot I played.

#29 Posted by ArbitraryWater (12108 posts) -

Good on them, but it's going to take a bit more than that for me to give any sort of crap about Rev3, especially since like half their staff appears to have left. At this point the person reviewing the game is probably more informative than the actual score.

(Also I've been writing blogs that are pretty much reviews without scores for like 5 years at this point).

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#30 Edited by believer258 (12184 posts) -

@chop said:

@believer258:

It's simply a screening process that stops me from having to read reviews for every game that comes out. Numbers are faster than words.

Sorry, I know I'm a terrible person :(

I don't think it makes you a terrible person, I just think there's far, far more to be gained with a written review than a quick glance at a score to ensure yourself that the purchase you're about to make is a good one. As for "quick glances", I think that a short summary of a reviewer's ideas is way more interesting than a number.

#31 Posted by Giantstalker (1726 posts) -

Scores are a great thing, they just need to be used properly and be given a good sense of context.

I like that someone has to put their foot down and say, here's a number that reflects how it's this good (or bad). It's a sense of commitment to the evaluation.

It's a great exercise in minimalism, too. Scores are good, but apparently not good enough for Rev3 (whoever they are, never heard of them till now).

#32 Edited by JMan240 (57 posts) -

People spend so much time spewing bullshit around comment sections and not actually informing themselves that I expect this to be more and more common moving forward. Even a written recap at the bottom of a review that takes all of 2 seconds to skim offers more information about a game than a number. That's how I treat stuff on sites like Polygon and Joystiq when it's a game I have only a passing interest. Click through, support the site, read the recap judgement and then decide if I want to know more.

Not to mention that review scores are both pointless spitballing on the part of a reviewer and actively harmful to the industry, since a lot of publishers base bonuses off review scores or metacritic. It would be nice to see all that sink and disappear. Generally no one outside of the video game industry assigns scores to games anyways. We don't assign them at my college newspaper for anything, I reviewed the new Miyazaki film and AoT Season 1 and we didn't even bother to put a score on either. I enjoy writing and reading them, and I've gotten to the point that unless I super on board with a game I don't pre-order it, and just hang out reading reviews to make sure I'm cool with what I might be buying.

#33 Posted by SomeDeliCook (2341 posts) -

Is there a final verdict at the end of the review then, like a 2 word description of its rating? Otherwise making someone read an entire article to get the point of the review across is pretty shitty

#34 Posted by JMan240 (57 posts) -

@somedelicook said:

Is there a final verdict at the end of the review then, like a 2 word description of its rating? Otherwise making someone read an entire article to get the point of the review across is pretty shitty

I'm pretty sure Rev3 just does video content, so you'd probably be sitting through the entire thing anyways. Idk, I've only ever watched their videos.

#35 Posted by cthomer5000 (864 posts) -

Objectively this thread deserves a 4 out of 10, but I will use my 'Tilt' to bump it to a 4.3.

#36 Posted by PSNgamesun (414 posts) -

If Roger Ebert, the best film reviewer, used scores then I have no problem with them. It's the actual reviews that I feel need work, the writing of the review is fairly weak.

#37 Posted by Aetheldod (3723 posts) -

I really dont care if there are review numbers or not ... they are just another part of the equation that I make when I have an interest on a game (alongside of wirrten reviews and videos , videos mostly).

#38 Posted by Bocam (3822 posts) -

I find it funny that Adam Sessler seems to be the only reason that Rev3 were using scores as before he came along they weren't using them

#39 Posted by Random45 (1279 posts) -

I kind of like scores. You gather em all up, average it out, and you can usually tell the quality of a game that way. Of course, your tastes may vary, and you should never let a score be the deciding factor, but I find that it does help.

#40 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4881 posts) -

@jman240 said:

People spend so much time spewing bullshit around comment sections and not actually informing themselves that I expect this to be more and more common moving forward. Even a written recap at the bottom of a review that takes all of 2 seconds to skim offers more information about a game than a number. That's how I treat stuff on sites like Polygon and Joystiq when it's a game I have only a passing interest. Click through, support the site, read the recap judgement and then decide if I want to know more.

Not to mention that review scores are both pointless spitballing on the part of a reviewer and actively harmful to the industry, since a lot of publishers base bonuses off review scores or metacritic. It would be nice to see all that sink and disappear. Generally no one outside of the video game industry assigns scores to games anyways. We don't assign them at my college newspaper for anything, I reviewed the new Miyazaki film and AoT Season 1 and we didn't even bother to put a score on either. I enjoy writing and reading them, and I've gotten to the point that unless I super on board with a game I don't pre-order it, and just hang out reading reviews to make sure I'm cool with what I might be buying.

Review scores will never go away because there are far more people like me than there are people like you. People like me don't really give a shit if a reviewer has a problem with this or that mechanic, we just want quick information and a score allows us to get to that without reading through pages upon pages of foreplay.

The reasons for this are numerous. Some people just don't care about the text, some people have been burned by mid-game or late-game spoilers sitting right there in the text, some people think that the writer is an asinine hack who tries too hard. Whatever the reason is, the scoring system has worked for decades and will continue to work. Whether it's on scales of 10, 20, 100, or a star system. Ratings are important to people in general, and it's not going away anytime soon. Or ever.

#41 Posted by Roboculus92 (534 posts) -

I approve of this decision and I hope that all games site eventually move in this direction.

#42 Posted by cmblasko (1344 posts) -

Great, I would like to see Giant Bomb follow suit.

#43 Posted by Roboculus92 (534 posts) -

@jman240 said:

People spend so much time spewing bullshit around comment sections and not actually informing themselves that I expect this to be more and more common moving forward. Even a written recap at the bottom of a review that takes all of 2 seconds to skim offers more information about a game than a number. That's how I treat stuff on sites like Polygon and Joystiq when it's a game I have only a passing interest. Click through, support the site, read the recap judgement and then decide if I want to know more.

Not to mention that review scores are both pointless spitballing on the part of a reviewer and actively harmful to the industry, since a lot of publishers base bonuses off review scores or metacritic. It would be nice to see all that sink and disappear. Generally no one outside of the video game industry assigns scores to games anyways. We don't assign them at my college newspaper for anything, I reviewed the new Miyazaki film and AoT Season 1 and we didn't even bother to put a score on either. I enjoy writing and reading them, and I've gotten to the point that unless I super on board with a game I don't pre-order it, and just hang out reading reviews to make sure I'm cool with what I might be buying.

Review scores will never go away because there are far more people like me than there are people like you. People like me don't really give a shit if a reviewer has a problem with this or that mechanic, we just want quick information and a score allows us to get to that without reading through pages upon pages of foreplay.

The reasons for this are numerous. Some people just don't care about the text, some people have been burned by mid-game or late-game spoilers sitting right there in the text, some people think that the writer is an asinine hack who tries too hard. Whatever the reason is, the scoring system has worked for decades and will continue to work. Whether it's on scales of 10, 20, 100, or a star system. Ratings are important to people in general, and it's not going away anytime soon. Or ever.

To not give a damn about the text but still care about the score is crazy. If you don't care why a reviewer thinks a game is good or bad then why would you care if they give it a good or bad score? They could have used a random number generator to pick the score for all you know. Also, reviews generally have a short summary of the reviewer's thoughts on a game (usually the first or last paragraph) so if you're worried about spoilers or you don't want to read the whole thing then just read those parts.

Here's the thing, I understand the temptation to be lazy and just take a quick peek at a score. However, people should really spend more than a couple seconds looking at a score to determine if they should buy a game. Scores often do much more harm than good so I strongly believe that removing them is the right choice. Yeah, it'll probably lead to less views (as you said, there are many people out there that only care about the score). However, if more and more sites move in this direction then I believe that the audience will eventually get used to it and it'll end up working itself out.

#44 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4881 posts) -

@roboculus92 said:

@oldirtybearon said:

@jman240 said:

People spend so much time spewing bullshit around comment sections and not actually informing themselves that I expect this to be more and more common moving forward. Even a written recap at the bottom of a review that takes all of 2 seconds to skim offers more information about a game than a number. That's how I treat stuff on sites like Polygon and Joystiq when it's a game I have only a passing interest. Click through, support the site, read the recap judgement and then decide if I want to know more.

Not to mention that review scores are both pointless spitballing on the part of a reviewer and actively harmful to the industry, since a lot of publishers base bonuses off review scores or metacritic. It would be nice to see all that sink and disappear. Generally no one outside of the video game industry assigns scores to games anyways. We don't assign them at my college newspaper for anything, I reviewed the new Miyazaki film and AoT Season 1 and we didn't even bother to put a score on either. I enjoy writing and reading them, and I've gotten to the point that unless I super on board with a game I don't pre-order it, and just hang out reading reviews to make sure I'm cool with what I might be buying.

Review scores will never go away because there are far more people like me than there are people like you. People like me don't really give a shit if a reviewer has a problem with this or that mechanic, we just want quick information and a score allows us to get to that without reading through pages upon pages of foreplay.

The reasons for this are numerous. Some people just don't care about the text, some people have been burned by mid-game or late-game spoilers sitting right there in the text, some people think that the writer is an asinine hack who tries too hard. Whatever the reason is, the scoring system has worked for decades and will continue to work. Whether it's on scales of 10, 20, 100, or a star system. Ratings are important to people in general, and it's not going away anytime soon. Or ever.

To not give a damn about the text but still care about the score is crazy. If you don't care why a reviewer thinks a game is good or bad then why would you care if they give it a good or bad score? They could have used a random number generator to pick the score for all you know. Also, reviews generally have a short summary of the reviewer's thoughts on a game (usually the first or last paragraph) so if you're worried about spoilers or you don't want to read the whole thing then just read those parts.

Here's the thing, I understand the temptation to be lazy and just take a quick peek at a score. However, people should really spend more than a couple seconds looking at a score to determine if they should buy a game. Scores often do much more harm than good so I strongly believe that removing them is the right choice. Yeah, it'll probably lead to less views (as you said, there are many people out there that only care about the score). However, if more and more sites move in this direction then I believe that the audience will eventually get used to it and it'll end up working itself out.

Metacritic says hello.

No really, I'm not being facetious. Metacritic is the best because it aggregates the opinions worth knowing and streamlines it into a general score. It's like, 30 Helens Agree that a ham sandwich is tasty. 30 Helens think a ham sandwich is tasty, do I really care what part of the sandwich stood out, or what part of the sandwich could be improved in future iterations of the ham sandwich? If I really want that ham sandwich, knowing by sheer volume that it turned out okay is more than enough for me to justify buying my ham sandwich. Reviews are a hybrid of buying advice and art criticism, right? So here's the skinny; I don't care what would-be academics think so I don't care about the criticism. I also have enough money to buy and play the games that I want, thus negating the buying advice. All reviews - and by extension their scores - are to me, is a rough idea of what to expect when I play a game. That's it. I don't need fifteen paragraphs telling me how an emotional cutscene made them feel or how the graphics on level 3 could have been tightened up to get what I need out of a review.

I used to think like you, by the way. Some ten years ago when this conversation came around there were people talking about how removing scores would force readers to engage with the text and determine their own meaning. You know why it didn't work then? Because people don't care about the text. There are maybe a handful of critics in each medium that mean anything. That have anything insightful to say. Let's not pretend that game critics are somehow a haven of intellectualism and not at all prone to click-bait overwrought jargon-filled essays on how their life choices don't need validation (but please validate my life choices!).

As it stands I don't really care for the circlejerk in game reviews. In my system, the cream rises to the top. Reviewers/critics worth reading still get read with the added bonus of not having to descend into an anarchic pile of shit to get to them.

#45 Posted by MarkJW (117 posts) -

Rev3 Games is also hiring a new Associate Producer in San Fran. Hmm...

#46 Posted by Ghostiet (5318 posts) -

I just want to say that Tara Long is fantastic and should work here.

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#47 Posted by freakin9 (1171 posts) -

I'd like to see a future of no review scores, but max 3 word reviews.

"Game's shit."

"I liked it."

"Crap hole."

#48 Edited by Jimbo (9986 posts) -

Never heard of Rev3 but RPS doesn't use review scores either and they seem to have done ok.

I suppose it really just comes down to knowing what sort of audience your site has / wants. Some people want the convenience of review scores and others find them dumb. There's more than enough (mostly poor) games coverage out there to serve both groups of people.

The Metacritic-being-shit issue is mostly down to a combination of a) Metacritic being mathematically retarded at converting review scores (the 5 star system only covers 20-100% according to Metacritic), and b) the sources of those scores being terrible in the first place. There's nothing wrong with review scores in principle, just with how badly everyone is using them.

#49 Edited by FaPaThY (139 posts) -

Good, I hope more places adopt this practice. Maybe someday devs will stop being afraid of trying something new when metacritic scores don't directly impact how much, if any, "bonus pay" they get when a game's released. Maybe consumers will start growing a brain and make decisions based off of what the game actually is, instead of arbitrary numbers that may or may not have been paid off.

One can dream, I guess.

#50 Posted by AndrewB (7689 posts) -

*After* Adam left? Seems weird that the change that Sess would have loved is being put in place shortly after leaving.

Also, there's a huge difference between summing up a review in a sentence or two and giving a blanket yes/no, binary statement on if you should buy it. There's nuance to every decision.