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#1 Posted by Amukasa (53 posts) -

I'm really not sure how reviews should be handled anymore. Should the reviewer be picked because they are a fan of the source material, genre, a fan of the series? Should they try to go into it as open minded as possible about the new experience the title brings? Depending on how this is handled should there be a counterpoint sub review so you get another opinion to balance things out?

I see so many reviews, professional and user reviews out there that are so crazy biased because they don't like the genre, source material etc. Or on the other hand they are too in love with a particular genre that it can do no wrong. I know they are paid for their opinions but some reviews seem to denounce way more than the game they are talking about. I was also wondering which of the Giant Bomb crew you most align yourself with when they debate about games and conduct reviews. I probably most agree most with Brad and Vinny on games. They seem the most open minded and less jaded when playing something new. Patrick reminds me of my friends who go to see a movie like Independence day and somehow expects the Shawshank Redemption when everyone else just expects shit to blow up. That's whet they expected and that's what they received. I respect his opinions but just find them a little silly at times.

Anyways just wondering what the community thinks about this and you think reviews should be handled?

#2 Posted by CL60 (16906 posts) -

It's pretty silly to see Jeff being the MMO guy on this site when he hates MMOs.

#3 Posted by Binman88 (3685 posts) -

I'd rather see Vinny review pretty much any game I'm interested in. I don't really care about the other guys' opinions.

#4 Edited by sungahymn (993 posts) -

I concur, but, as you said, they are paid for their opinions.

#5 Posted by EXTomar (4670 posts) -

There is value in doing the situation like "Jeff reviews a JRPG" but it is more a compare and contrast situation which is an interesting form of journalism.

#6 Posted by Humanity (9053 posts) -

I think Vinny is most open minded about everything and he seems to be the most reasonable when arguing about anything. Whenever they discuss something Vinny is never the one to hammer his point down - he will concede if someone makes a logical argument and is able to counter-argue back. If you listen to those 2011 GOTY deliberations, Vinny was a pretty big voice of reason. The way Brad argues about games is possibly the worst, middle school, way of argumenting I've ever seen where he just basically denies anything that he doesn't agree with.

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#7 Posted by crusader8463 (14419 posts) -

All I want out of a review is to know if the game is full of bugs, crashes all the time, poorly optimized, doesn't offer good KBM controls, and if it is a system hog like LA Noir or any Rockstar game. Sadly I can never find reviews with that information, or it's buried so deep within pages on nonsense that I can never find it. Would love to see a little side panel with a check list that just checks off any technical problems like that for folks like myself. Any other aspect of a review is pointless to me, as I will know if I want to play it or not based on the trailers and previews. The above mentioned is the only thing that you can only know from actually playing the game.

#8 Posted by BirdkeeperDan (400 posts) -

Anyone can review any game. Reviews should have editorial integrity.

If you have some predisposition toward a game strong enough that you want it to get high reviews just buy the game & forget the reviews. If you want to mitigate personal bias read multiple reviews; Metacritic provides links to more reviews than anyone would bother to read.

#9 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -

@crusader8463: That seems more like information you'd find after users have toyed with it for a day or two, and not exactly suited for a review since it really can vary from person to person.

#10 Posted by ShenaniganZ (65 posts) -

I think reviews are just fine. Gamers who are "in the know" generally are only looking for a reaffirmation of what they already think. Personally reviews dont mean anything to me except that the game is not broken. I know what I like, and can generally tell a good game from a bad just from the trailer or small amounts of gameplay, I actually find quick looks to be a far better barometer than a 1-5 star score. Every journalist brings certain a bias to each review they do. The key is to find somebody you like, someone who shares you likes and even better your dislikes. That person for me is Brad Shoemaker....hes got sole.

#11 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

Oh, I'm writing a blog largely on this very topic. I'll give you a little taste and say that reviewers should go in with absolutely no expectations, meaning it would be best if the person reviewing the game has no prior experience with it.

#12 Posted by Deathmachine117 (377 posts) -

You should form your own review of the games by playing them.

#13 Posted by Deranged (1837 posts) -

@ShenaniganZ said:

I think reviews are just fine. Gamers who are "in the know" generally are only looking for a reaffirmation of what they already think.

Best answer you'll find.

#14 Posted by Amukasa (53 posts) -

Which of the giant bomb crews opinions resonate with you the most?

#15 Posted by Deathmachine117 (377 posts) -

@Anwar: Yeah I should re edit it I knew Id get flak after it. Lol

What I am trying to say is if the game vaguely interests you, you should play it and form your own review because the staff tastes on this site vary so much its hard to pin down one reviewer I could agree with.

#16 Posted by EVO (3890 posts) -

Yahtzee.

#17 Posted by CL60 (16906 posts) -
@Anwar

@Deathmachine117: Everybody should buy every game ever, got it. I'm just pulling your leg, dude, but come on now. :P

He's not wrong, if I think a game looks interesting, but it gets bad reviews I'm still going to play it and form my own opinion. If I didn't do that I would've missed out on a lot of games that I enjoy.
#18 Posted by gamefreak9 (2358 posts) -

Vinny is the most rational of the bunch. I also like Brad but he absolutely sucks at games.

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#19 Posted by Winternet (8014 posts) -

This is why they're professional and they're able to make impartial and unbiased reviews.

#20 Edited by Chemin (632 posts) -
@Humanity said:

I think Vinny is most open minded about everything and he seems to be the most reasonable when arguing about anything. Whenever they discuss something Vinny is never the one to hammer his point down - he will concede if someone makes a logical argument and is able to counter-argue back. If you listen to those 2011 GOTY deliberations, Vinny was a pretty big voice of reason. The way Brad argues about games is possibly the worst, middle school, way of argumenting I've ever seen where he just basically denies anything that he doesn't agree with.

That's pretty much the truth right there. I also find Jeff to be somewhat open minded, not in the same way as Vinny, and not perhaps to all genres (anything strategy or RPG is too much work seemingly - or not that interesting), but he can have fun whenever he's in a good mood it seems.
#21 Posted by NathHaw (2760 posts) -

I probably agree the most with Vinny. Probably agree with Ryan the least.

I don't really care who reviews it all that much as long as the reviewer is pretty open minded about it.

#22 Posted by The_Nubster (2095 posts) -

@Winternet said:

This is why they're professional and they're able to make impartial and unbiased reviews.

Yes they are, but no they aren't and no they can't. They say as much themselves, that they're a personality-based website and you should know them well enough after a time to understand their tastes and opinions and compare them to your own.

#23 Posted by RVonE (4623 posts) -

I want all reviewers to like all the games I like and give them nothing less than glowing reviews. If they don't I'll go: "WHY DON'T YOU LIKE WHAT I LIKE YOU PIECE OF SHIT BIASED MOTHERFUCKER EAT SHIT AND DIE!" Or something to that effect.

#24 Posted by Winternet (8014 posts) -

@The_Nubster said:

@Winternet said:

This is why they're professional and they're able to make impartial and unbiased reviews.

Yes they are, but no they aren't and no they can't. They say as much themselves, that they're a personality-based website and you should know them well enough after a time to understand their tastes and opinions and compare them to your own.

Being impartial and unbiased isn't the same as being subjective. As much as they love the series or the genre if the game has flaws they will tell you about it and if the game deserves a lower score they will give it. What they won't do is "there are some problems, but forget about that, Master Chief is awesome!!!!!!1!"

#25 Posted by The_Nubster (2095 posts) -

@Winternet said:

@The_Nubster said:

@Winternet said:

This is why they're professional and they're able to make impartial and unbiased reviews.

Yes they are, but no they aren't and no they can't. They say as much themselves, that they're a personality-based website and you should know them well enough after a time to understand their tastes and opinions and compare them to your own.

Being impartial and unbiased isn't the same as being subjective. As much as they love the series or the genre if the game has flaws they will tell you about it and if the game deserves a lower score they will give it. What they won't do is "there are some problems, but forget about that, Master Chief is awesome!!!!!!1!"

But certain staff will give higher or lower scores to a game just because they are--or aren't---fans of the genre, or the series. I agree with you that they're professional and are able to recognize flaws when they're there, but there's an inherent bias in any review that has to be taken into account while reading and making decisions with it.

#26 Posted by Winternet (8014 posts) -

@The_Nubster said:

@Winternet said:

@The_Nubster said:

@Winternet said:

This is why they're professional and they're able to make impartial and unbiased reviews.

Yes they are, but no they aren't and no they can't. They say as much themselves, that they're a personality-based website and you should know them well enough after a time to understand their tastes and opinions and compare them to your own.

Being impartial and unbiased isn't the same as being subjective. As much as they love the series or the genre if the game has flaws they will tell you about it and if the game deserves a lower score they will give it. What they won't do is "there are some problems, but forget about that, Master Chief is awesome!!!!!!1!"

But certain staff will give higher or lower scores to a game just because they are--or aren't---fans of the genre, or the series. I agree with you that they're professional and are able to recognize flaws when they're there, but there's an inherent bias in any review that has to be taken into account while reading and making decisions with it.

Bias is when someone has a preconceived notion about something and let's it cloud their judgment which I don't think happens on the reviews.

#27 Posted by Ares42 (2619 posts) -

I think the most important point is that the reviewer should be as representative of the interested buyer as possible. What I mean by that is that you want someone to review a game that would also be interested in reading a review to see if they wanted to check out the game. So generally you want someone that has some real interest in the genre, but wouldn't just go out and play any game of the genre that came out (or at least have enough perspective to realize that they are reviewing for people with less investment in the genre). I'd say it's easier to tone down fanboyism than it is to get any real perspective if you don't enjoy the genre.

So to sum up, don't give it to the guy that love/hate the game, give it to the guy who's interested in giving it a shot.

#28 Posted by ShenaniganZ (65 posts) -

@Winternet said:

This is why they're professional and they're able to make impartial and unbiased reviews.

I disagree. It's impossible to be unbiased. 99% of the time you have an opinion going in, and that opinion be it positive or negative will have some effect on the score and your enjoyment level. I believe GiantBomb is one of the least offenders of this. Well, not offenders cause I don't think that its necessarily a bad thing. But I think if you listen to the Bombcast they do a great job of addressing those instances of launch day fever, or a game exceeding low expectations. Its like Fez. Is it really that good? Or did it just suprise everyone? Without those revelations does the game hold up at all? and why would a price effect the score of a game? or should it? Ive heard all these questions asked and talked about on the Bombcast and its that kinda tranparency that keeps me coming back to Giantbomb.

#29 Edited by Rohok (554 posts) -

Everyone should review games and we should sort the reviews into different categories based on reviewer interests overall. If the reviewer likes shooter games their review is categorized under something like that. That way, if you want to read reviews by people with common interests that can give you a rundown of a game you're interested in in a way you can trust, due to your common interest, you can.

I look at reviews for movies, for example, and avoid reviews that gave Battle L.A terrible low marks and a lot of the good action flicks low marks like Transformers because those reviewers obviously don't share my interest in movies. I can't really trust them to recommend movies to me or even recommend against certain movies because they like different things.

I don't care about objectivity or rationality or any of that shit. I rarely read reviews before I see a film/game anyway, I like to read them afterward to make sure I'm not alone in thinking everyone else doesn't know what they're talking about.

#30 Posted by drag (1223 posts) -

Anyone who feels like reviewing something.

#31 Posted by Humanity (9053 posts) -

@Winternet said:

@The_Nubster said:

@Winternet said:

@The_Nubster said:

@Winternet said:

This is why they're professional and they're able to make impartial and unbiased reviews.

Yes they are, but no they aren't and no they can't. They say as much themselves, that they're a personality-based website and you should know them well enough after a time to understand their tastes and opinions and compare them to your own.

Being impartial and unbiased isn't the same as being subjective. As much as they love the series or the genre if the game has flaws they will tell you about it and if the game deserves a lower score they will give it. What they won't do is "there are some problems, but forget about that, Master Chief is awesome!!!!!!1!"

But certain staff will give higher or lower scores to a game just because they are--or aren't---fans of the genre, or the series. I agree with you that they're professional and are able to recognize flaws when they're there, but there's an inherent bias in any review that has to be taken into account while reading and making decisions with it.

Bias is when someone has a preconceived notion about something and let's it cloud their judgment which I don't think happens on the reviews.

While not biased they don't score things as subjectively as they should. Brad giving Azuras Wrath such a high score isn't very "subjective" per se when you think about how long that game is and how much raw "gameplay" there is in it. Ryan has said on the Bombcast that he probably wouldn't pay even $20 for it and the fact that they literally cut the ending off to sell it as seperate DLC is a real jerk move. Yet still Brad gave it a 4/5 with a ton of praise because he had a lot of fun with it. Maybe a near glowing review of that game might not be so cool for Joe Shmoe that can only afford one full priced game a month and decided "hey Brad keeps saying I need to play this on every Bombcast and it got a high score" then he gets it and 5 hours later he's done, without an ending to show for it, and he was basically not doing much on the way there.

So most of their reviews are kind of pointless as a consumer guide and they should probably not even have scored attached. Jeff really likes shooters so he gave Syndicate 5/5 and Brad can really champion something he finds fun so he gave Azuras Wrath a 4/5 and etc etc.. those aren't serious reviews in my opinion. If you want a REAL review then listen to the Bombcast and wait for them to bring that game up, and if Patrick who has probably not even played the game in question will let anyone speak, you'll hear what they really thought about it.

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#32 Posted by ShenaniganZ (65 posts) -

@Ares42 said:

I think the most important point is that the reviewer should be as representative of the interested buyer as possible.

Eh. Again I disagree. Giantbomb doesn't sell videogames and if anything they should work as a representative of their user base. I believe thats exactly what they do. Their user base is their user base because of their personalities. We all have drunk the kool-aid. They just need to continue to represent themselves as truthfully as possible, and present their views in a clear and concise way. MMMMMMM GiantBomb flavored kool-aid.

#33 Posted by AngelN7 (2970 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

Oh, I'm writing a blog largely on this very topic. I'll give you a little taste and say that reviewers should go in with absolutely no expectations, meaning it would be best if the person reviewing the game has no prior experience with it.

You mean like when they say : oh Uncharted 3 is not that good because Uncharted 2 did that , "I didn't play 2! so everything about 3 is new an awesome to me"

I hate when they do that you can't expect that everyone plays every iteration of any franchise , not that all games should exist on a vacuum but is not a fair to knock out of a game if it's borrwing some of the good stuff from the previous game.

#34 Posted by LikeaSsur (1510 posts) -

I can't speak for professional reviewers, since, it being their job and all, they should review everything their job entails. Sometimes that means reviewing a game that they normally wouldn't.

For us users, however, I think we should review games we're interested in, good or bad. Personally, I'm not going to be reviewing any RTS or sports games anytime soon, because those genres bore me, quite frankly, and I'm not very good at them. Were I to review Starcraft II, I wouldn't give it justice. Now give me an RPG or action game, and I'll be happy to write a review about it, good or bad.

As for "How" reviews should be written, I personally would like to see the reviewer break it down into different aspects of the game, rate them individually, and then have an average score at the end. For example, they would start with "Story," then move to "Graphics," "Gameplay," "Difficulty/Controls," and then maybe a unique 5th category that fits the game the most, like "Replayability" or "Achievements." Rate each category out of 10, then give me an average.

As for alignment, I just found this site, so I can't say who I align with the most yet, but I can tell I'm not going to be a huge fan of Patrick if he's willing to overlook flaws in a game just because it's artsy.

#35 Posted by ShenaniganZ (65 posts) -

@Humanity said:

@Winternet said:

@The_Nubster said:

@Winternet said:

@The_Nubster said:

@Winternet said:

This is why they're professional and they're able to make impartial and unbiased reviews.

Yes they are, but no they aren't and no they can't. They say as much themselves, that they're a personality-based website and you should know them well enough after a time to understand their tastes and opinions and compare them to your own.

Being impartial and unbiased isn't the same as being subjective. As much as they love the series or the genre if the game has flaws they will tell you about it and if the game deserves a lower score they will give it. What they won't do is "there are some problems, but forget about that, Master Chief is awesome!!!!!!1!"

But certain staff will give higher or lower scores to a game just because they are--or aren't---fans of the genre, or the series. I agree with you that they're professional and are able to recognize flaws when they're there, but there's an inherent bias in any review that has to be taken into account while reading and making decisions with it.

Bias is when someone has a preconceived notion about something and let's it cloud their judgment which I don't think happens on the reviews.

While not biased they don't score things as subjectively as they should. Brad giving Azuras Wrath such a high score isn't very "subjective" per se when you think about how long that game is and how much raw "gameplay" there is in it. Ryan has said on the Bombcast that he probably wouldn't pay even $20 for it and the fact that they literally cut the ending off to sell it as seperate DLC is a real jerk move. Yet still Brad gave it a 4/5 with a ton of praise because he had a lot of fun with it. Maybe a near glowing review of that game might not be so cool for Joe Shmoe that can only afford one full priced game a month and decided "hey Brad keeps saying I need to play this on every Bombcast and it got a high score" then he gets it and 5 hours later he's done, without an ending to show for it, and he was basically not doing much on the way there.

So most of their reviews are kind of pointless as a consumer guide and they should probably not even have scored attached. Jeff really likes shooters so he gave Syndicate 5/5 and Brad can really champion something he finds fun so he gave Azuras Wrath a 4/5 and etc etc.. those aren't serious reviews in my opinion. If you want a REAL review then listen to the Bombcast and wait for them to bring that game up, and if Patrick who has probably not even played the game in question will let anyone speak, you'll hear what they really thought about it.

Some people play games to have fun. Based on their enjoyment level is how they're going to feel about said games. Whats wrong with that? If you see a score and you're skeptical about it.......watch the Quicklook. Read the review. Form your own opinion. Don't just look at the score.

#36 Posted by MEATBALL (3185 posts) -

Only the people I agree with because everyone else is bias!1

#37 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@AngelN7:

You've inadvertently tapped into the heart of what I'm writing about. I should really get back to writing about it.

#38 Posted by NTM (7336 posts) -

I like it when one person reviews a game in the same series. So I would have liked it if Brad reviewed Mass Effect 3. That's all I'd like I guess. Same reviewer for the same series, unless the next game is drastically different in areas. So for instance, I think Jeff could review Far Cry 3, although Brad reviewed Far Cry 2. I don't really care for the reviews too much, but that's just the way I like things done if I were in charge, but the way they're doing it doesn't bother me.

#39 Posted by MattyFTM (14367 posts) -

There is no one right way to do reviews. Different styles and methods will suit different readers. It's important to have a wide variety of styles of review for different people.

Moderator
#40 Posted by Winternet (8014 posts) -

@Humanity: You do understand the meaning of subjectivity, a subject's personal perspective, feelings, beliefs, desires or discovery, as opposed to those made from an independent, objective, point of view. You say they they don't score things as subjectively as they should and then go on saying how subjective they are towards games.

@ShenaniganZ: Again, biased is when you let your likes/dislikes to cloud your judgment. It would be like Ryan, since he loved the first two, giving Max Payne 3 5 starts even though that wouldn't be coherent with his review.

#41 Posted by believer258 (11785 posts) -

@EVO said:

Yahtzee.

Because he's definitely an unbiased and consistent reviewer. Don't get me wrong, I think he's entertaining and sometimes I actually agree with him. Other times, though, he's just plain unfair and inconsistent. His reasoning for not putting Batman Arkham City into his GOTY show was that he didn't think it was as good as the original - but then he named Portal 2 number 1 and explicitly said in his review that it wasn't as good as the first.

On topic, I don't really care anymore. If I really want to know the general consensus of something, I'll do a quick check of Metacritic and look at the average critic score, but even before I do that I generally have a good idea of what I want. Quick Looks and Youtube have been helping me decide which games I want better than reviews for a long time anyway.

#42 Posted by AK_the_Twilight (52 posts) -

@believer258: I like how you said "general consensus," because a lot of people seem to forget that whenever a game gets a lower or higher score than the public norm. Kudos.

As far as the reviews go, I cannot in good faith say that they can even be close to objective. Reviews are persuasive opinions, but their effects depend entirely on the audience. A game can get a high or low score by a critic, but the person who makes the decision to make the purchase is the reader/viewer. I think seeing actual gameplay from a game can do more for personal impression than any text can, which is why I find the Quick Looks on Giant Bomb to be so helpful (and they're entertaining, but that's not a necessity by any means).

#43 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@believer258:

Wait, somebody put Yahtzee as a paragon of reviewing? Seriously? He's like a laundry list of things you shouldn't do when reviewing games.

#44 Posted by Humanity (9053 posts) -

@Winternet: yah I knew it and I meant objective and I will blame the morning hours for mixing those things up - as in they should be more objective if they're going for a consumer guide approach but they can be as subjective as they want if we just wanna hear an opinion.

Online
#45 Posted by Gaff (1711 posts) -

Professional writers. Or at least someone who can string words together in a coherent sentence and knows how to articulate what he likes or dislikes about a game, without nitpicking tiny minutiae.

Bonus points if you are familiar with the history of video games, can cut through the hype of the audience / PR agencies and can ignore circumstances and focus on the game itself.

Well, I guess we're doomed?

#46 Posted by skadave (199 posts) -

@Humanity said:

I think Vinny is most open minded about everything and he seems to be the most reasonable when arguing about anything. Whenever they discuss something Vinny is never the one to hammer his point down - he will concede if someone makes a logical argument and is able to counter-argue back. If you listen to those 2011 GOTY deliberations, Vinny was a pretty big voice of reason. The way Brad argues about games is possibly the worst, middle school, way of argumenting I've ever seen where he just basically denies anything that he doesn't agree with.

I have to disagree with you here. . . Listen to the whole Skyrim vs Saint's Row the Third Game of the Year Debate. Vinny was getting flat-out rude at some moments.

#47 Posted by Humanity (9053 posts) -

@skadave said:

@Humanity said:

I think Vinny is most open minded about everything and he seems to be the most reasonable when arguing about anything. Whenever they discuss something Vinny is never the one to hammer his point down - he will concede if someone makes a logical argument and is able to counter-argue back. If you listen to those 2011 GOTY deliberations, Vinny was a pretty big voice of reason. The way Brad argues about games is possibly the worst, middle school, way of argumenting I've ever seen where he just basically denies anything that he doesn't agree with.

I have to disagree with you here. . . Listen to the whole Skyrim vs Saint's Row the Third Game of the Year Debate. Vinny was getting flat-out rude at some moments.

I did listen to it and it was Brad absolutely making no compromise whatsoever even when multiple people called him out on some flaw in Skyrim he would say "well I never experienced that!" which was ridiculous because anyone that played the game recognized what Jeff was talking about. I guess it's personal preference because to me Vinny was fine and quite reasonable.

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#48 Posted by Svenzon (718 posts) -

Whoever wants to, simple as that.

#49 Posted by Totori (559 posts) -

monkeys handcuffed to typewriters

#50 Posted by mosdl (3228 posts) -

Personally, I wish they all reviewed each game, or at least gave their opinion in written form and not just on the bombcast.