- Chris Wager raises the criticism that reviewers sometimes unfairly dismiss complicated games.
I hope people are reading this...
Honestly, its just the nature of the business. I know superfans of things like Smash or Metal Gear Rising or Wonderful 101 really like to shout down reviewers for not understanding why people like the games or playing them that much. The thing is that not every publication has someone who is super into a specific genre or game series, let alone someone good at the specific kind of game. For a lot of publications, its just not worth it to spend a ton of time with one specific game. I know that's super disappointing for fans, but its just the way it is.
Except it serves absolutely no one. The reviewer just comes off as ignorant to the people who actually played and explored the game. The reader who wants a review to inform their decision gets misled. The developer doesn't get an actual critique of their game, they just get a surface level glance. It's a poor, dismissive approach, and anyone that actually cares about balanced game mechanics is left not getting served any information.
I'm not saying every reviewer has to be a competitive-level master at every game - that would be incredibly unreasonable. But I'd hope the reviewer would be better able to articulate and more willing to engage with a game on a deeper level to understand what makes it different. In the writer's example, popping Smash Bros. Melee for an hour and then playing Brawl should atleast elicit could some kind of a response like "This does feel different... It has a different weight to it, and my character just feels slower." Just shrugging "Yeah, it was okay I guess. I pressed the button and the dude swing the sword. It's.... visceral?" doesn't help me. It says nothing.
And brushing off people who want an analysis with some level of depth as "the crazies" is a gross attitude to have. These are people who should be more willing and able to look deeper into what's going in a game rather than shaking their head after 20 minutes of not understanding and walking away.
"The nature of the business" isn't good enough. That's not an okay excuse.