Do Reviewers Need to Finish Video Games Before Reviewing Them?

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CountPickles

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Poll Do Reviewers Need to Finish Video Games Before Reviewing Them? (860 votes)

Yes 46%
No 54%

I apologize if this has come up before but I was very troubled by the latest Waypoint Podcast, where they discussed video game reviews. There were a lot of issues that came up in that discussion that I don't agree with but the one that I want to focus on the most was Patrick Klepek's statement to the effect of "Its 2017, you don't need to finish video games to review them". Its not an exact quote, so... don't quote me on it, but it was a fairly bizarre thing for me to hear. My understanding of it is that game reviewers feel they don't need to complete the video games they're reviewing in order to review them.

Now, I am open to the fact that I misunderstood what he said but this is a topic that I've heard from other video games people too.

I am firmly on the side that a game has to be finished before rendering any judgement on it. This seems almost fundamental to me. But I am open to having my mind changed on this if I am missing out on something here.

Now, there needs to be some clarification ... which is why I didn't add a "It Depends" choice to the poll.

By finished I don't mean 100%. Im sure you can make an argument for/against that, but the best way I can explain this is, if I am reading your review of Breath of the Wild, I expect you to have finished the story and have seen the whole game world, and have a good idea of what the game's mechanics are. It doesn't mean that you needed to have collected all the Korok seeds or have done all the side quests for me to take you seriously, but you should have an understanding of what those entail. So, when I mean finished, I mean it in a way that another reasonable person would consider as also finished given the game in question.

Another example would be something like Persona 5. I don't expect you to have maxed out your social links with every character through multiple playthroughs to be able to render judgment on it. But I do expect you to have finished the game and be able to talk about the mechanics and story, and how the path you took through the game affected you. Additionally, on things you missed, I hope you would be aware that if you missed out on something, that what you skipped doesn't dramatically alter the game. Like, for instance, if you max out your social link with one character, the game becomes a top-down shooter or something. Its an extreme example, I know, but hopefully you understand my point.

And, yes, Im aware this veers off into the idea of subjectivity in reviews (which is a minefield, I know) but, lets just assume reviews are for people who want to have another perspective on whether they'll like a game or not. Im not going to get into the idea of subjectivity here, unless I must.

Another clarification is, if you state you only played 5 hours or so in your review, then it begs the question as to why anyone would read it with any alacrity. Again, I take a definition of "finished" or "completed" as something a reasonable person would also agree upon. Multiplayer or "Mechanics-Heavy"-games like Overwatch or PUBG are not excused from this either. If you are reviewing those games, I expect you to have a good enough understanding of those games' mechanics to be able to recommend them or not to a person, given that 30 or 40 dollars is at stake here.

Ill just leave off with some pro and anti arguments for the topic. Again, for me, It feels like I'm taking crazy pills when I hear people say they don't need to finish the game in order to review it, but I want to be as even-handed in my approach to this as possible.

Yes, Video Games should be Finished before Reviewing Them

Undertale: I stopped repeatedly when playing this game because the opening few hours rubbed me the wrong way. I found it cloying and very annoying with terrible gameplay. But as I continued through it, I beat it and realized what it was. Then I beat it again, and realized it was something different. Undertale is without a doubt a game that firmly now is in my all time favourites, and had I not completed it, it would be a game I would have long since forgotten. Im glad I finished it.

Nier: You need to beat this game 3 times to get the full picture and to experience all the diversity in the game's mechanics. Its the flip side from Undertale for me, because had I walked away from the game after the first play through, I would have enjoyed it a lot more. It would have skewed my perspective of the full game. It turns out the game is not good, in my opinion, of course.

No, You Don't Need to Finish the Video Game before Reviewing It

The best argument I've heard from this side was in the Waypoint podcast, itself. It was to do with the recent Crash Bandicoot re-release.

Yes, it does seem a bit weird that people want a review of an ancient game, like that, however, I would simply argue that in a modern context, how does that game hold up? So, while this is still the best argument I've heard, its still something that I feel should be finished in order to best provide a consumer with information as to why or why not they should buy it. Are there technical problems later on? Do the Crash games get better as you play them? How do all the games mesh together in one product? etc.

Regardless, I've rambled on and on, and I am extremely interested to know if I am wrong here. Its simply a ridiculous notion for me to think that game reviewers don't need to finish the game but, again, I'm open to having my mind changed on this.

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Redhotchilimist

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I don't think reviwers "need" to do anything, but I'm gonna have a lot more respect for and pay attention to someone who finished the game and understands it than someone that didn't.

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hans_maulwurf

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#3  Edited By hans_maulwurf

If something is called "review" I expect that to reflect the experience of at least one normal playthrough, start to credits roll/epilogue. Everything below that constitutes "impressions" and neither has to nor should be labeled a review.

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devise22

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Absolutely they have to play the whole game. Would you let someone review a movie after watching only 20 minutes of it? Even if you know where something may be going, you pretty much have to see it through to give that full respected opinion on it. Now that saying, I'm sure lots of people probably want to think they can review without having to play something enough to justify a full warranted opinion, but really who listens to those people? With the exception of large scale games like MMO's or more open ended things pretty much every professional reviewer in the industry, even most of the people on the fringe will play through a game to review it.

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CountPickles

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@devise22: I hope thats the case. As I said, this viewpoint is something that I've heard a few times from different game journalistic outlets.

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MetalBaofu

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I can see some people being fine with that depending on how much they played(and what type of game it is), as long as they note how much they did play, but I don't really think they should do that.

With the exception being something they can't really finish. Meaning, glitchy/broken. Literal game breaking bugs can happen, and if a game has that then you can just throw a shit score at it, whether you finished it or not, as far as I'm concerned.

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BoccKob

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#7  Edited By BoccKob

I dunno, nearly everything I've ever read or heard by Patrick Klepek has made me think he's an unprofessional dolt, but I don't necessarily think a game needs to be played to completion for someone to provide an informative review of it. One should probably relate how much of the game they played through and how they went about it to give context, though. Every review is going to be subjective. Objectivity doesn't exist. A dozen people reading this post could interpret it being written in four or five different tones. So I think it's more important to simply say how you played it, what you did, and what you thought about that. For example, during Metal Gear Scanlon, Dan talked about how he put 100 hours into MGSV, then when Drew was actually playing, it turned out Dan had only researched one or two new weapons, didn't know what loadouts were, or how to hold the button to throw grenades farther. If he had written a review about it (although maybe he would've been more thorough if he knew he would review it), that context would be pretty important.

On the rare occasion I read a review, I don't really care about what the person thought or what score they gave it, because reviewers don't look for the same things I do in games or necessarily enjoy the same parts I do. I'm more interested in learning what you can spend your time in the game doing and glitches or bugs that cropped up. Like a more in-depth trailer. In that case, it doesn't matter a whole lot to me if they finished it or not. But then I guess if a key aspect of your paid occupation is reviewing video games, I would expect that person to put a lot of effort into actually doing their job, so I can see it either way.

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Do they need to? No. Should they? Yes.

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paulmako

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Where are the comments from the 'No' side?

I guess it depends on how they are presenting the review and if it's just 'impressions' or whatever. But yes, they should finish the game. They don't need to 100% it but they should at least finish the critical path.

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Rebel_Scum

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#10  Edited By Rebel_Scum

I reckon they don't need to and I think that expectation is ridiculous. Are you saying that someone can't form or produce an opinion of something unless they've completed it? Gimme a break. The whole "need to finish before review" thing can also work against the reviewers perception of the game because they might get "burnt out" from having to play a lot of game in a short period of time.

If I was given a deadline to finish any game in 3 days or a week I'd probably kill myself.

Edit: A counter argument to comparing it to movies. Movies aren't as interactive as video games. Part of the review is giving your opinion on how the game plays. That you can figure out in most games after a few hours of playing as to what your opinion is of the mechanics, progression, quality etc. Its only the story you can really argue is what might be lacking but you can easily mention in a review if you've finished it or not and comment on the story up to that point. No big deal. Game reviews aren't the be all and end all.

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civid

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Not to be a jerk about it, but give me ten games with a great conclusion and satisfying narrative arc and get back to me. Of course it depends on the individual review and the game.

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odinsmana

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#12  Edited By odinsmana

@rebel_scum said:

I reckon they don't need to and I think that expectation is ridiculous. Are you saying that someone can't form or produce an opinion of something unless they've completed it? Gimme a break. The whole "need to finish before review" thing can also work against the reviewers perception of the game because they might get "burnt out" from having to play a lot of game in a short period of time.

If I was given a deadline to finish any game in 3 days or a week I'd probably kill myself.

It`s the different between a review and an impression. Without playing the whole game you don`t have the whole picture and the review is therefore not as valuable to the reader. The first third of Nier 1 is pretty bad, but after that the game does some pretty cool stuff. I could play the first third of that game, stop and write a review calling it a bad game with no redeeming qualities. This review would at that point paint a false picture of the game as well as just nor being usefull to the reader. If I played a bit further I might decide that the early slog was worth it for the good parts later, but even if I decide that nothing would make it worth it to slog through the start of the game for something cool later, the reader might think it would be worth it, but by not finishing the game neither I nor the reader will be able make that decision because we are left with an incomplete picture.

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BirdyTheMighty

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#13  Edited By BirdyTheMighty

@rebel_scum: That's more on the publisher/editor than it is on reviewer when it comes to deadlines. Reviewers are sent review copies so they have plenty of time to complete the game for review. If the reviewer is suffering from burn-out, then they need to realize that. Also it would most likely show in the writing. They would get critiques and hopefully realize that themselves.

The points by the OP for completing the game are very strong. I want to know if a game craps the bed halfway through. Maybe the three quarters of the game are amazing and that's what the reviewer played. But the back fourth fall apart. The consumer won't know that unless the review played it all the way through. An example I can think of off the top of my head would be Bravely Default for the 3DS. That game is great for most of the playtime. But then you get to the back half and it falls apart due to repetition. And that game is long. What if the reviewer played up to or close to that point and decided that they knew enough about the game to render a judgement? The reviewer would be doing a disservice to the reader.

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odinsmana

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@civid said:

Not to be a jerk about it, but give me ten games with a great conclusion and satisfying narrative arc and get back to me. Of course it depends on the individual review and the game.

Persona 5, Nier 1, Yakuza 0, Yakuza 1-5, Metal Gear Solid, FFX, Planescape: Torment, Arcanum, Uncharted 4, The Last of us, Fallout New Vegas, Wolfenstein: The New Order, Virtues Last Reward, Danganronpa 2...

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CountPickles

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@rebel_scum: the expectation for a reviewer to finish a game they're reviewing is ridiculous? interesting.

in my op, I stated two examples as to why you should finish a game before reviewing it. Most games these days have progression in their mechanics as well. Its just good practise to finish what you're reviewing.

I honestly don't see why this viewpoint is so casually held by some people.

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@katygaga: Also I haven`t listened to the Waypoint podcast, but if they argued that you didn`t need to play through Crash because it`s an old game that`s super dumb. The made fairly major changes to parts of those games and made a lot of tweaks to movement and physics. It`s not just the old Crash games with new graphics. The water scooter segments for example was a place where they had changed the feel a lot. Personally I didn`t mind, but a lot of people felt it made those levels worse which is something they might want to know before buying.

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#17 bigsocrates  Online

I think yes for good games (because they can fall apart at the end) no for very bad ones (because busted games almost never get much better.)

One of the major things reviewers do is assure us that a game isn't super buggy or doesn't turn to crap at the end (as many do) so how can they do that if they have not played the whole thing?

If a game is crap from the beginning then who cares if there is an only mediocre part 7 hours in?

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CountPickles

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@bocckob: correct me if im wrong, but it seems to me you're saying:

reviews are subjective and thus useless.

and

you don't need to finish a game to make a complete judgement on it.

I agree with the first part, but the way a review should function is to show an undecided consumer if the game in question has any value. I know there can't be objectivity, but its still something you should strive for when you're making recommendations like this.

If im recommending a game to a friend, Im doing my best to try to keep his/her interests in mind when making the recommendation. Giving a strictly KatyGaGa-only review, would only matter if you plan on being KatyGaGa in the future.

Maybe just don't do reviews (which is something I also kind of agree with). Making reviews more insular and biased by picking out niche concerns, coupled with the fact that reviewers may not be even finishing the game is just a hilarious situation all around.

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BoOzak

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I think if you're being paid to review something professionally yes, but if it's just some dumb amazon or steam review nobody takes seriously do whatever the hell you want.

I'm surprised by the results of the poll. Also is "it's 2017..." going to become an excuse to be lazy? Is that a thing now or is it just something Patrick came up with? Sorry I know you said dont quote you but as someone who was sick of "It's 2016..." memes which were usually someone complaining about things not being how they want them I think it's funny/sad that lazyness is now the meme that represents this year.

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mems1224

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no, not at all. as long as they're up front about not finishing a game it shouldn't really matter. i especially don't care if they finish if its just a collection of old ass games. just tell me what they changed and how it runs.

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@katygaga: Not quite, I'm saying reviews are subjective, so they'll rarely if ever totally align with the reader's personal interests. I don't think it's a good idea for anyone to base a purchase solely on someone's review or expect one to be written with that in mind. It's simply one more piece of information filtered through someone else's perspective. There's nothing authoritative about it.

The other thing is I don't think you need to finish a game to make a partial judgment of it. If you want to review the game as a whole, then yes, I think you should experience every part of it. If you specify that you're only relating your thoughts on what you did play and make clear which parts those were, then it's fine.

Although as I added at the end, if you're being paid to review a video game because that's your job, you better play every bit of content it has. That's just basic professional integrity. On sites like Giant Bomb where reviews are a kind of once in a while thing they write for fun, I don't mind what they put in them.

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@bocckob: ah, got it.

I think most people think reviews are of the game as a whole, so thats what im basing the definition of "finish" on.

Also, I agree with your comment on subjectivity. All im saying is that reviews shouldn't be further complicated by not even finishing the game. In my opinion, at that point, the review in question would be worse than useless, it would verge on being misleading. However, everything else you said, I agree with.

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@paulmako: Why shouldn't they have to 100% it? I think if you are going to make an argument that they have to finish the game, then they should do everything in it. Anything less is them being lazy motherfuckers who just want to coast. 100%, 100% of the time. No exceptions.

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forteexe21

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I stopped going to IGN years ago when i read a review with factual errors cause they didnt play through the game (it was a DS port of a GBA game with added stuff).

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#25 bigsocrates  Online

@mems1224 said:

no, not at all. as long as they're up front about not finishing a game it shouldn't really matter. i especially don't care if they finish if its just a collection of old ass games. just tell me what they changed and how it runs.

How it runs may not be consistent though. what if there are bugs or other issues in later levels? For Crash there are levels where the collision detection is different and it makes the game harder. If you just play the first few levels you might not know that.

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#26  Edited By PassiveSpiral

@katygaga: Also I haven`t listened to the Waypoint podcast, but if they argued that you didn`t need to play through Crash because it`s an old game that`s super dumb. The made fairly major changes to parts of those games and made a lot of tweaks to movement and physics. It`s not just the old Crash games with new graphics. The water scooter segments for example was a place where they had changed the feel a lot. Personally I didn`t mind, but a lot of people felt it made those levels worse which is something they might want to know before buying.

Their main point was that as long as you are clear and honest about how much of the video game you played that it's fine because at that point the reader can decide how much faith they put into the review. They did also mention afterwards that Crash is a remaster.

Peter Brown reviewed Crash for Gamespot having played half of each game in the collection, which is probably plenty to have checked out the tweaks of the movement and physics in my opinion. I voted no because I think it really depends on the game and the reviewer.

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#27  Edited By Ryuku_Ryosake

I was going to go for the no for the intellectual reasons. Like I've certainly played games and understood how I felt about them well before beating them and my opinion would not reasonably in any manner.

But then again if reviewing games is your job and by not completing game for a review is basically you saying quit your current project because you're not having fun. That wouldn't fly with any other job but like ok if your publication is fine with it. But if you actually want games media to be taken seriously it is a real bad look. "We are a bunch of adult children that won't complete any assigned task that isn't fun."

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#28  Edited By Max_Cherry

Isn't this like what Giant Bomb set out to solve with its quick looks?

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@ryuku_ryosake: Intellectual reasons?

while I agree with you that there are certainly some games where you feel exactly the same way at the start of the game by the time the game ends, its still bad practise to not fully complete the game, especially if you want to pass judgment on it for the sole purpose of presenting it for consideration for a consumer. Further more, you wouldn't be able to reach the conclusion of "I've certainly played games and understood how I felt about them well before beating them" without having beat them. This just seems so obvious to me that Im truly baffled at how "No" is winning right now.

As I stated earlier, it feels like I'm taking crazy pills, and so far no one has come forward to explain why its okay for the answer to be a "no" in any way that I can agree with.

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CountPickles

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@passivespiral: why would you put your faith into a partial review of a video game?

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#31  Edited By mike

I also think it's important to remember that reviews are the subjective opinions of individuals. If a person finds a game so terrible that they don't want to finish it, then fine, just write about it and say that in the review. You hated the game so much you quit playing after 4 hours? No problem. I think that is a totally valid thing to say in a review as long a the writer makes it clear they didn't finish the game.

As an aside, I can't even remember the last time I read a full text review. It's been years. I may have skimmed a couple of GB staff reviews, but that's about it. I find them largely irrelevant these days in the era of Twitch, YouTube, and various communities full of people like this one that discuss games. In the end, I just don't care what any one person in particular thinks about a game.

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#32  Edited By Justin258

I think this is a complicated question. Generally, the answer is yes. If it's in any way reasonable for the game to be finished, yes.

A better answer would be something along the lines of "the reviewer needs to have a thorough understanding of the game before putting the review up." If you're given the Crash Bandicoot trilogy to review and you play a few levels of the first game, write the review, and don't disclose how much of it you played, you're being dishonest and not doing your job. If you play all three games and gather half of the gems and find some of the secret areas and beat Neo Cortex in all three games - sure, you've probably got a good understanding of those games, write what you think and move on.

If you rushed through Persona 5 and finished it in fifty hours, skipped most of the dialog, and played the whole thing on the easiest difficulty and complain about the gameplay being boring and the story being nonsensical, then you're being dishonest and not doing your job. If you played fifty hours of Persona 5, got halfway through, played on Hard so you know the gameplay and mechanics well, and read every dialog box/watched every cutscene, then you have a better understanding of the game than the former guy and your review is probably worthwhile.

@max_cherry said:

Isn't this like what Giant Bomb set out to solve with its quick looks?

Quick Looks are a great idea but I don't feel like Giant Bomb is all that great at actually doing them most of the time. They make some mistake or give some misinformation about some mechanic in almost all of them and are rarely any good at the games they're playing. I'm not knocking Giantbomb or hating on them or shitting on them or whatever, but I also don't think anyone should go into a Quick Look expecting to be well-informed. I go in expecting to get a decent idea of what the game looks like and plays like and to see if it's something I'm interested in and to hear some commentary from people I like to listen to.

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Seeric

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I voted yes, but with some caveats because I think the scope of a review is important.

First, I don't think it's necessary for a reviewer to get every ending or even the 'super secret actually the real one' ending so long as they play to the end. Obviously there would be some exceptions to this, like if there's a bad ending 10 hours into a 50 hour game, but if the only difference is a single, otherwise optional dungeon/boss or a few sidequests I don't think a reviewer needs to dedicate their time to them since they would be unlikely to affect the review. People generally don't dock points off of Final Fantasy IX just because Chocobo Hot & Cold is a terrible minigame nor is the Black Omen alone likely to change one's view of Chrono Trigger one way or the other.

Second, I don't think reviewers need to finish games which have proven to be broken on a fundamental level. If hit detection is horrendous, if the game constantly crashes, if save data spontaneously vanishes, if it's so horribly balanced that banging your head against the wall for 5 hours straight nets you zero progress, the answer is clear. It's going to get a terrible review, even if it magically all comes together in the final act it won't be enough to excuse the intolerable nature of everything which came before it. If a game is so badly designed that a reviewer cannot make meaningful progress without devoting a whole lot of time which could be better spent elsewhere, the answer is to give it the lowest score and focus on explaining just what made it so awful.

Lastly, I think reviews based on portions of a game are fine so long as the reviewer is explicit about it. Just look at Quick Looks. They aren't reviews (though they sort of are in a non-concrete way), but within 30 minutes you should be able to have a feel for a game's core mechanics and controls. You can get a feel for the general pacing too. Level design, balance, and storytelling may all change for better or worse as the game goes on, but core traits aren't going to change unless the game itself radically transforms. Smooth controls will remain smooth and bad mechanics tied directly into the gameplay will just grow more frustrating as the difficulty rises. Even if a game does end up changing later on, I think it's useful to be able to take a close look at where a game shines or stumbles.

With all that said, if a review isn't explicitly for a specific portion of a game, if it's not for a complete mess of a game, and if it's not for a game where a 'true' ending is locked behind hours of otherwise optional content, a reviewer should finish a game, especially if there's an actual score tied to the review. Otherwise good games can have rough starts or they can turn into a tedious slog near the end. A single good or bad boss fight shouldn't impact a score (in most cases), but a bland level or a terrible late-game plot twist might. Time is valuable for reviewers, its their profession after all, but I expect a reviewer to have at least a decent idea of what to expect time-wise going in. Games which take dozens of hours to complete are large commitments, but reviewers should be prepared to make those commitments when they accept the games. Sometimes times a wrong, a game which was expect to take 20 hours might end up stretching out to 50 hours, but I think it's the reviewer's responsibility to put in that extra 30 hour commitment if they are going to commit at all (they can even make status updates and the like along the way to keep content rolling in, turning the whole thing into an ongoing feature).

On a closing note, I do want to say that I realize reviewers can sometimes only do so much with the hand they're dealt. Just like you hear horror stories of game developers needing to cut large amounts of content and/or leave in game-breaking bugs to hit release dates they don't have the power to change, I'm sure there are otherwise honest reviewers who have had to make the most of the time they're given, especially when they're expected to allocate that time between multiple games. For example, I think a reviewer for a magazine can be forgiven for not plumbing the depths of the newest Barbie game's 50+ recycled minigames for the sake of a single paragraph article when they also need to have a multi-page review for Persona 5 done by the end of the week.

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Ryuku_Ryosake

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@katygaga said:

@ryuku_ryosake: Intellectual reasons?

The intellectual reasons are the we shouldn't be putting limits on reviews and that they should just purely express the experience the review had with the game regardless of anything thing else. The 'let's elevated ourselves to the the higher film critique style content.' the 'game reviews as product reviews with check boxes for graphics and sound from an older less evolved era'. That's what I meant. Which my post argued that accepting and writing reviews for games you didn't complete for no other valid reason than the reviewer was having a bad time doing their job runs counter to that intellectual narrative.

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Redhotchilimist

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@max_cherry said:

Isn't this like what Giant Bomb set out to solve with its quick looks?

Quick Looks are a great idea but I don't feel like Giant Bomb is all that great at actually doing them most of the time. They make some mistake or give some misinformation about some mechanic in almost all of them and are rarely any good at the games they're playing. I'm not knocking Giantbomb or hating on them or shitting on them or whatever, but I also don't think anyone should go into a Quick Look expecting to be well-informed. I go in expecting to get a decent idea of what the game looks like and plays like and to see if it's something I'm interested in and to hear some commentary from people I like to listen to.

The secret third option to this poll should probably be "Who cares about reviews from game sites, I'll just wait for the hourlong enthusiast analyses on Youtube". There's no bigger guarantee that you'll agree with those people, but there's a bigger guarantee that they're well informed.

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Wishing no offense to Dan Ryckert, I don't think his Ratchet & Clank review was as informative as that thing.

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PassiveSpiral

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@katygaga said:

@passivespiral: why would you put your faith into a partial review of a video game?

I wouldn't say I put "faith" into any reviews. A review is just a person's opinion of their own experience and thoughts, and if they feel they have formulated those to the point of being able to express them I am open to reading/hearing what they have to say because I am interested in those discussions. At the end of the day, I'm old enough and have been playing games long enough to know what I like and whether I am interested in playing something or not, regardless of a review score.

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RosesAreDan

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When could one "review" Overwatch? When they reach a certain hour count? What about Super Mario Maker? Is one playthrough of Civilization 6 good enough for review? How about Skyrim? I could play Skyrim for 100 hours without touching the main quest. Or I could rush through the main quest in a few hours and never touch the game. Which is better for a review? What if a game is too hard to finish? I think it all depends on when the reviewer feels confident that they can now "review" it. Also as long as they state what they played in their review there's nothing wrong with not finishing something.

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ivdamke

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#38  Edited By ivdamke

I don't put stock in reviews at all these days, and if it becomes the norm where a reviewer can just freely determine how much they want to play on a whim they'll be even more useless than they currently are. People are fickle and the amount of times that I've witnessed people quit games because they encountered one difficult scenario that they couldn't overcome and subsequently determine that the game was a bad game is pretty frequent.

With not all games being play to credits games a standard needs to be defined. If there's no standard to adhere to then it's not even worthwhile paying attention to the reviews. What is a reviewers job at this rate? If they don't have a standard then they may as well just watch an LP and live stream a reaction video.

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deactivated-5a923fc7099e3

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If a game is finishable and the author of the review wants to give an opinion based on the whole product then yes.

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Uppercaseccc

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#40  Edited By Uppercaseccc

No absolutely not, I put like maybe a hot minute in to the first two worlds I knew timidly it was a bad game before I started actually playing it and drooped it. and if peter brown did not like crash badicoot remastered they having him play more of it would probably not make him like it more. This idea that you need to finish a game to review it is dumb you can alwayes tell if a game is good with in a few hours most games dont take a dramatic shift in quality at the back half. and if were doing the dumb thing that we alwayes do of comparing games to movies, yes you can review a movie you walked out of that is your expirence with that movie you can tell and relate that experience to a reader which FYI is what a review is a relation of an expirence to a reader so that they can decied if that expirence might be for them.

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hippie_genocide

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#41  Edited By hippie_genocide

I chose NO. It's unreasonable to expect a critic to get anyending in Persona 5 in order to render their opinion. That could take over 75 hours (and in some cases much longer). That's nearly two full weeks of playing a game as a job and then tack on another day or two to write the review. You know within a considerably less amount of time what that game is. Quite honestly, I don't care if a reviewer plays a game for 5 minutes. If they don't finish it, they should state explicitly in the review that they didn't and let the reader decide how much weight to give that critic's opinion. Arm the reader with the context of how the critic's opinion came to be and I can't see where anybody should take issue with that.

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JohnTunoku

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#42  Edited By JohnTunoku

You don't need to finish a game to have an opinion. You certainly would at least be expected to finish it if you want me to respect your review though.

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clagnaught

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  • If someone is writing a review, like a "<Gaming Website> has a review that reflects our thoughts on a game and whether or not you should buy it" review, then they should finish the game. If the game has a story or end point like Mass Effect, Uncharted, or Final Fantasy, a reviewer "should" see that ending.
    • ...Unless it is a game that can't be finished. For example, Overwatch, Dota 2, Minecraft, etc. has no "ending". At that point, you would need to spend some quality time with the game. For example, a reviewer should have an understanding of how Overwatch plays. (i.e. What's the difference between these various hero types? How are the maps? Are the modes fun? How is the hero variety? Which heroes does the review like and dislike?)
  • If a game is unplayable, so bad nobody should ever finish it, or if it is broken and impossible to finish, I think it makes more sense to not give it a score or just release a news article on the situation if it is worth mentioning. For example, with the whole IGN Prey situation, to me it makes more sense to not score the game. Not a negative/positive score, or giving it a 0 / 10. Just nothing. If that doesn't work with a site's database or whatever, then it probably makes more sense to write a news article called "Why we are not reviewing <Name of Video Game>" and explain the hold up or why the site is passing on it. This is a separate issue, but I remember IGN's coverage of Grand Theft Auto V. The reviewer gave the single player a 10 / 10, and said she would review/look at the mulitplayer when it comes online two or so weeks later. When GTA Online launched, it was busted. If I remember correctly, Keza said "This is broken, and I can't really cover this in its current state" and just moved on from covering the game.

Now, if somebody wants to write a blog on the first half of a game, or just talk about their first couple of hours with Overwatch, then that's obviously fine. A person can judge a game whenever. Which gets closer to the whole "What is the value of a review" thing, which is a completely different topic.

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Nodima

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As someone who did music criticism for six years and continues to do it for free on RYM as a hobby, I was often annoyed by the number of amateurs on user review sites who not only reviewed the album the day it leaked (or in the case of some major publications, the day after) but had written 500-1,000 words on the subject. Part of what makes music valuable to people is the repitition of it; we all can name a song we didn't like the first time we heard it that we wound up memorizing all the words to and finding some kind of joy from it just out of familiarity. The primary reason I got out of that line of work was the pressure to get a review out by the release date; sometimes it was easy to get a full impression of an album, but sometimes you would get caught by surprise and really need to spend your time with something. I was not a "here's what these lyrics mean" sort of reviewer (in fact, I'm generally against the practice of quoting lyrics as I find what resonates with one person doesn't always resonate with another and the quote a writer pulls doesn't always make the point you think it's making) but I definitely wanted to explain the album in the context of the musician's career and the year and musical climate surrounding it.

For me, you needed a comprehensive understanding of how that record felt to you to write a well reasoned review of it.

When it comes to movies, I think a single viewing is just fine. Movies (and games, as evidenced by speedrunners and all the people I've met on forums who have pet games and know the ins and outs of them like I know no single game, and never will), like music, evolve with familiarity but the things that you would gain from a second or third viewing, I find, are for fans of those films. Most people are going to watch most movies once, so for me the most valuable film reviews are based on that first viewing, written almost as if they were first spoken aloud to a significant other or group of friends on the way out of the theater. Granted, the best film reviews are years removed from that movie's release, but we're not talking about best, just valuable.

So, do I think video game critics need to finish a video game before they render a verdict on it? No, not really. Might their opinion on that game change with more time, or more playthroughs, or more whatever? Sure. But unlike these other mediums (the aforementioned plus books, podcasts, sporting events, whatever) video games are an incredible timesink. One of the points Austin and Patrick made on that podcast was that if you want a critic who has finished the game you're reading about, don't worry - they're out there. But if you want Brad Shoemaker's opinion of Breathe of the Wild, it comes with the caveat that he didn't finish it (I can't recall from the most recent Bombcast if this is true, but for some reason I think people would look for his opinion on a Zelda game before anyone else on the GB staff).

I could've written a long, glowing and detailed review of Horizon: Zero Dawn several hours before I finished the storyline, and it would've been missing the handful of sentences that explained how intense the final battle was, how cool the storming of the city was, and how annoying the one-on-one fight with the bad guy wasn't very fun at all. But that wouldn't in any way invalidate the rest of my experience with the game or make it any less valuable for someone who read my review. I suppose this is the part where I also say that I never viewed my music reviews as purchasing advice, and I've always found video game reviews written as if for consumer guides one of the lowest forms of criticism (sorry, Young Jeff; I was always a Reverend Dave and Dave Z. IGN era guy, not a Jeff Gerstmann and Brad Shoemaker Gamespot guy) and have been happy to see so many non-gaming outlets pick up video game critics and expand the form of critical writing about video games. Honestly, I want to know how a reviewer responded to the first five hours of a game a lot more than the last five hours; it would be entertaining to read someone try to sell me on how great a game is after they spent thirty hours hating it only to find a great game in the final fifteen hours, but all it would be is something fun to read. I'd never buy that game to see for myself if that were true - I just don't have the time.

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WynnDuffy

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#45  Edited By WynnDuffy

Probably.

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But having said that, I haven't read any reviews for at least 2 years.

I check scores to see if a game is obviously trash and if it passes that test I'll check out Twitch or a Quick Look on here.

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#46  Edited By Rodin

If you haven't I would recommend people listen to the latest waypoint podcast as I believe it makes a very good argument, better then I can anyway. In regards to the Peter brown review I'm confused by the negative reaction to his review. crash trilogy is, as I understand it, its the same game with new paint and maybe slightly altered physics. these games already exist in a way that is comparable to this release. He didn't even give it a bad score.

In all remaster cases, unless there has been some significant changes to how the game plays, I don't think you need to play the whole thing again to review it, again.

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Efesell

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Not at all, I would only ask that you make sure and disclose that information.

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#48  Edited By ArtisanBreads

If you're calling it a "review" you should have finished the game, absolutely. If it's impressions or whatever, that's fine. If you doing something that isn't actually a review sure but if you are grading a whole product you need to give it all a shot.

Like so much of the press complaining or hand wringing around reviews I get exposed to (mostly I'm here on GB but check a few other places), it's mostly people who don't even review games anymore going on and on about it in such an up its own ass way. If you don't review games, that's fine. If you aren't finishing games, it isn't a review. The word has a meaning.

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Kevin_Cogneto

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Surely this matter has already been settled long ago by Wolpaw's Law...