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#1 Posted by ak1mbo (66 posts) -

I know its an odd thing to think about a "games" site without reviews, but, more and more, I visit this site, and other sites, not for one man or woman's opinion on a game so much as coverage of a game. By and large, it's the unfiltered gameplay sessions and frank, open discussion about a game that informs my purchases. When I listen/watch someone play a game, the things they say, the tone with which they speak, the general level of enthusiasm they project tells me so much more of what I need to know about a game than blocks of text (however well-written) ever could.

Why am I posting about this? Well, I think Giant Bomb (and many sites) devote entirely too much time to writing game reviews. I very, very rarely read them--often, by the time a review pops up, I've already got a pretty good idea as to whether a purchase is warranted based on video/podcast content alone. Rather than spending hours and hours playing a game and writing a review, I'd probably be entirely happy with a Quick Look and some podcast discussion. Play enough to do that (more, if you actually like the game), and then tell me why you stopped or why you didn't. I may agree, I may not--either way, I know the personalities on the site well enough to make a fairly informed decision.

What to do with the extra time? Video content! Quick Looks, Unfinished, weird indie stuff, crazy mods, user-created game content/levels, community online stuff, developer interviews...and I'm sure other stuff you've already thought of.

Anyway...I still love the site. I just want it to stay that way.

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#2 Edited by Immortal_Guy (203 posts) -

I don't know how long it takes to write a review, but presumably most of the time is spent by the reviewer playing the game and forming their opinion, which they'd still have to do if they were to discuss games on podcasts and in quick looks - if they were to give informed discussions, at least. I thought the main thing that took oodles of time was cutting together and recording video reviews, which the giantbomb team don't really do anymore, since it wasn't worth the time and effort involved.

As great as quick looks are, I don't find "cold" quick looks - where they just boot up a game with very little experience in it and roll the cameras - very informative. Sure, they might tell me if I'll like the first 40 minutes of a game (and in some games, that's 100% representative and useful), but with others - particularly if the story of the game is an important part - they're not so great.

Anyway, I don't think "they just write too damn many reviews!" is a criticism you could fairly level at giantbomb these days...

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#3 Posted by CheapPoison (1031 posts) -

For me personally not really. But that is because i rather have a quicklook to make a judgment. that being said review do have their place but it isen't a make or break for me as i don't even read most of them.

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#4 Posted by forkboy (1584 posts) -

You are maybe the first person I've seen in years claim they write too many reviews! I think that's interesting. Personally, I'm happy with the current output of reviews.

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#5 Edited by Zevvion (5217 posts) -

I don't like written reviews to be honest. My excuse? I don't like to read. I know it's a dumb reason, but it's there. I'd much rather have them write a review for themselves which they'll use to shoot a second video in addition to the Quick Look where they'll run by all the points they've written in their review. Extended Look, or something.

With reviews, I just skim through the review. Ctrl + F things I want to know. Take a quick look at the score, and that's it.

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#6 Posted by Tabain (11 posts) -

I believe at one point Jeff said reviews were important because we're in some weird world where being on metacritic is important for access to developers and publishers and the like.

That said, I'd just watch quick looks or if they're going to write reviews, to have them without score and pure opinion.

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#7 Posted by Giantstalker (2293 posts) -

I like reviews, I actually like them more than Quick Looks, but they're far rarer.

Reviews kind of express the argumentative skill of the author, which is something I really respect from the staff of this site. It's a shame we don't see it more often.

And let's get this out of the way also, I think scores are a good thing and not having one is a detriment to the entire process.

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#8 Edited by Random45 (1726 posts) -

Game reviews come so infrequently on this site now that I don't rely on them anymore to come out. It's actually a surprise when they DO release a review. Hell, I pretty much only visit this site for the forums now, it has been forever since I watched a Quicklook.

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#9 Edited by EXTomar (5047 posts) -

I would be fine if GB went for more news and features style site. I don't mind if staff gives their opinions on games they play but I haven't actually looked at a review here or anywhere in so long they are mostly meaningless to me. But I also recognize they need to do it because without the "reviewers work here" label on GiantBomb.com they get far less clout and access to the industry.

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#10 Edited by spraynardtatum (4368 posts) -

I like reading their reviews.

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#11 Edited by Sbaitso (613 posts) -

I think most games don't need review anymore because we have much more information available to us about the games we're interested in through all the long form video (streaming, let's play, etc) that has become basically standard for most games. I think that reviews are still useful for a certain set of games however; games which look a little dodgy.

Two recent examples of this are Wolfenstein and Watch_Dogs. With Wolfenstein, it seemed as if we hadn't heard all that much about it, the trailers tended to shy away from showing much gameplay, opting for style instead, and we hadn't heard a ton of enthusiastic opinions from the press (at least from what I saw), and so having the review be done for that makes sense.

With Watch_Dogs, the case is slightly different. So much expectation, hype, etc built up around that game so quickly (and I think they definitely played into that), while the game simultaneously saw multiple delays, etc. I think near the end of it's development just before it came out, alot of people no longer knew quiet what to expect. As it turns out, that game is not as revolutionary as some people may have initially anticipated. Reviews help dispel those myths very effectively.

I think being even more selective about reviews on GB would help to combat the 4-5 star bias this site sometimes feels like it has.

Edit: All this sort of depends on the "reviews as buying advice" view, rather than looking to reviews to read a specific person's writing as somebody mentioned above.

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#12 Posted by Amikron (439 posts) -

I'd rather have more video content with them just bs'ing about games than actual reviews. While I do enjoy the writing style of Jeff and the others I'd much rather hear them talk about their opinions than read them simply because I enjoy them as personalities.

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#13 Posted by Jazz_Bcaz (272 posts) -

It doesn't need them no, but it's still a legitimate format, which is unfortunately abused across gaming media. Alex's contributions are always pretty good to read. I find it's a medium he's particularly well adjusted to, and I tend to be bit colder on Jeff's reviews. It's not really where the strength of the team lies. I'd much rather watch a Quick Look as it's much easier to gauge what you know about their personalities and how they're actually interacting with the game.

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#14 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (6219 posts) -

Well, Giant Bomb has proven they don't need to re-post the same news as everyone else and they certainly are cherry picking what reviews they have, but I would not say they can entirely dispense with written reviews.

I think Giant Bomb is directioned correctly for teh future and seems to be staffing up in the right direction. However, I see no need to suppose what 'stays' or what 'goes' in the near term. The trend is to video and showing people things to decide for themselves and not telling them what they think...GB is doing that.

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#15 Posted by Yummylee (24646 posts) -

@spraynardtatum said:

I like reading their reviews.

This. Alex's strengths in particular lie with his writing, so whatever he writes I'm all for checking out. Really wish he'd bring back his Guns of Navarro series back.

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#16 Posted by riostarwind (1221 posts) -

It's kinda funny how I very rarely read a review anymore yet I write a mini review for each game I finish. At this point I don't think Giant Bomb really needs to write anymore reviews yet they kinda have to since it is almost mandatory for a video game website to have that these days.

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#17 Posted by conmulligan (1701 posts) -

I'd like it if longer form, more thoughtful criticism along the lines of Alex's "Previously On..." pieces replaced scored reviews.

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#18 Posted by FinalDasa (3056 posts) -

I still value the long form review. When I want to know some more about a game the review still holds up. A quick look shows you a vertical slice but a review is from someone who has invested the time and effort into the game. Having a full viewpoint on a game can give someone a better overall feel for a game. For me, I still need that overview to really decide if a game if truly for me or not.

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#19 Posted by kishinfoulux (3243 posts) -

No. Quick Looks are infinitely more valuable. Should just be rid of them. Would ease the load on them a bit too so they could do other stuff.

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#20 Posted by leejunfan83 (1156 posts) -

Fuck no

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#21 Posted by Quarters (2591 posts) -

I think they are completely unnecessary. I feel their video content more than fill that void, and are far more effective. Reviews are just straight up archaic, all across the board. I feel like video games are an even more subjective thing than movies or any other sort of media are, rendering reviews increasingly useless against the gaming landscape.

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#22 Posted by fisk0 (6351 posts) -

I don't think all games lend themselves for video coverage, in those cases a regular review is probably the best. For most other games I do prefer video content though, even though I read all reviews they post on the site.

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#23 Edited by Andorski (5481 posts) -

I think they still have a purpose. I can read through a review a fraction of the time I can get through the deceptively named "quick look." Quick looks are great for learning the minutia of a game, but I get a better understanding of the reviewer's general thoughts on a game when it's expressed in a written format.

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#24 Posted by Oldirtybearon (5626 posts) -

Yes. Even if people don't care for reviews Giant Bomb would still put them out. Why? They'd lose their spot on metacritic if they abandoned reviews. Lose your spot on metacritic and suddenly a lot of press access dries up quicker than a camel's cooch. Hell, even then Giant Bomb has caught shit for not reviewing enough games. Jeff in particular has talked about fighting with certain publishers to get review code because of this.

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#25 Edited by Counterclockwork87 (1162 posts) -

Yes they do.

I don't care THAT much about reviews from them but reviews help keep Giant Bomb in the video game conversation. It helps their status as a video game website. Eliminating reviews will make them less visable to the gaming public who doesn't regularly visit Giant Bomb.

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#26 Posted by Anwar (986 posts) -

They do one review every two weeks or something and they think that their audience gets the opinion of GB from QLs, bombcasts etc. So yeah, I think that they maybe need them, but the more important thing is that they don't really care about them. Only good thing about reviews are review copies which come early, I guess.

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#27 Posted by Slag (7349 posts) -

No it doesn't, but I still want them anyway.

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#28 Edited by RonGalaxy (4688 posts) -

As someone apart of their dedicated fan base, I would say they probably could and nothing would change that much. But from what I understand, they still get a lot of traffic on reviews, and a lot of unique user traffic at that. So it would be pretty stupid of them to phase out something that is still beneficial to them