Giant Bomb Reviews in 2019

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Smallville123

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#1  Edited By Smallville123

Hey Duders,

Been noticing that Giant Bomb does way less written reviews than they used to (only 2 this year so far) I was wondering what you guys thought about this? I realize we gather much more of their opinions from the podcast and Unprofessional Fridays, but I really liked having them review the game and give a good summary of why they liked it or did not like it. I hope everyone can be calm and chill about this discussion.

-Cheers

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Rejizzle

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Yeah, I liked the reviews. There are some really excellent writers on the staff. They tried doing those podcast accompaniment a while back, but I guess they didn't do as well as they'd hoped.

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Relkin

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#3  Edited By Relkin

Yeah this has been a thing for quite a few years now. Reviews seem to be entirely dead at this point, at GB. They wrote them with less frequency until they were gone altogether, and then they attempted to change them up a bit in a way to bring them back, to no avail. I guess there just aren't enough people reading them to justify the time spent writing them.

I think think the worst aspect of them no longer writing on the site is that their oral critiques of games (in QL's, podcasts etc) have steadily been getting worse as well (likely a direct result of not writing anymore). Like any muscle, a skill will atrophy from disuse.

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BonelessSpirit

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#4 BonelessSpirit  Online

Traditional reviews are dead, honestly. People watch video content to get their first impressions or listen to podcasts. The amount of people who really care about written reviews or formal scores is shrinking. It's just a lost cause to even try and revitalize it.

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nateandrews

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It bums me out. I still go back and read old reviews for games, on this site and elsewhere. Maybe I’m a bit of a traditionalist in that sense, but I miss written content from these guys.

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Rahf

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#6 Rahf  Online

@relkin: I'll say oral reviews are always below written ones, because you're taking away the introspective and reflective aspect in favor of immediacy. That also contributes to a less intelligent or analytical approach that quite often boils down to complaining, because lots of people connect with that in the moment.

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cikame

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#7  Edited By cikame

I find that straight gameplay is much more useful to me than a review, and then hearing the guys chat about certain games in Quick Looks, UPF and podcasts adds any extra detail or opinions, i don't really miss them. For example Jeff suggested on this weeks Bombcast that he'd probably give Breakpoint 3/5 and that despite its flaws he was getting some enjoyment from it, there's your review.

This has come up a lot, there are many existing threads about it.

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Teddie

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I'm a huge fan of Redlettermedia's movie review format, and that recent Last of Us 2 video on here was so close to that format, and I absolutely loved it despite having zero interest in that game.

They gave something similar a shot when they started doing video reviews again, but they were way too long, didn't have any cuts to relevant game footage because they edited it live, and even had Alex call in to review a game instead of GBE doing it local which hurt the format even more. I expect the extra effort wouldn't be worth it, if those recent video reviews didn't do well enough to keep working on 'em.

I do miss the reviews, they were thoughtful and conclusive in a way the 10 minute podcast mentions never will be. Their personal GOTY lists are where to find that now, I guess.

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BladeOfCreation

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Jeff has talked about the changing nature of reviews for years now.

A lot of GB fans still like written reviews (this type of thread pops up a couple times a year). This is interesting to me because GB--and Jeff Gerstmann in particular--has been at the forefront of new media in games coverage. As I understand it, Jeff was podcasting for GameSpot before podcasting was a big thing. When GB started, there was a large push for video, as seen with a ton of Quick Looks. I'm not a historian of games coverage or anything, but I've always understood that to be somewhat uncommon for the time.

A review is a static piece of commentary on a game. In reality, our opinions on art change over time as we experience different things. For one of the prominent examples in recent years, take a look Horizon: Zero Dawn, which Jeff gave a five star review. When GoTY discussions rolled around, the game was barely even mentioned as a contender for the top 10.

I like podcasts because they're more conversational than written reviews. A podcast can have two or more people talking about the same game and giving different opinions on it. That said, if you want to remember what a particular person said about a particular game, having it written down can be convenient. But it's important to remember that those opinions can change.

I've been podcasting for years, and I've recently decided to start writing down my impressions of games, books, and movies as I think about them, just as a record.

Jeff and company have been doing this for a long, long time. They're going to change the way they do things, because what worked a decade ago doesn't work today. And because it can be exhausting to do the same thing for 20 years.

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BonelessSpirit

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#10  Edited By BonelessSpirit  Online

@bladeofcreation:

Absolutely. Giant Bomb was ahead of the curve of basically everyone. What we've seen in recent time with Twitch and YouTube having blown up in popularity of personality focused game content and subscription-based models that Twitch incorporates and YouTubers using Patreon, GB have been doing all that shit. They saw the coming demise of ad revenue and written articles and the need for pure personality focused entertainment in the gaming sphere a long ass time ago.

Twitch is now eating everyone else's lunch on that front, and GB will be fine since it's established a large enough space. But you see GameSpot and other traditional game sites scrambling to do something similar.

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Shiftygism

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#11  Edited By Shiftygism

I'm glad they've moved away from reviews myself. Less chance of clickbait attention grab scores and forced injection of political/social issues which have been a problem as of late for other outlets. I'm cool with everyone on the crew, but knowing the personalities and interests of each, their sole opinion being looked at as the site's overall take on something (which too many people unfortunately still do) would be a recipe for the disaster in some cases if Giant Bomb was more reviews driven. The roundtable discussion approach of the podcasts works best nowadays.

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Sombre

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Why bother writing a long form review when you can half arse a 30 minute video of the first 2 hours of a game for 10% of the time spent

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BoOzak

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I get that theres so many games coming out these days that it's hard to take the time to do a review but I always got the impression that Brad, Alex and even Jeff enjoyed writing them. (I say even because he seems like the most jaded of them)

My guess is that they get less clicks so it's not worth doing to them, not that they're too lazy to write them. It's sad (because I liked reading them) but ultimately they're just giving the most people more of what they want. (videos and podcasts)

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MonkeyKing1969

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I don't miss reviews. Giant Bomb has a small staff, and I assume most of what they are tasked with "producing" for the site is what they feel will get views. Lets say, they give Brad a week to make a review for "Control". That is him playing for 20 or 25 hours while taking notes, then spending another 20 hours working a review for Jeff to edit. So 40 to 44 hrs of Brad's time and 2 hours of Jeff's time. How many views will that get? How much revenue for the site does that generate? And, was there a better way to convey moving pictures, sound and story....?

Too bad there is not sort of "technology" that could somehow capture game play on the fly, but also some "technology" where that information could be stored for years for anyone to see & hear. WHAT A SHAME THAT DOES NOT EXIST, RIGHT?

There's got to be a better way!
There's got to be a better way!


If a picture says a thousand words, then 10 minutes of video with commentary from two people is a 900 page review. Better yet Brad does not have to tell you what it like you can see it. He does not have to recribe the flow of gameplay you cna see it, the appropriateness of voice acting to story - you can see and hear it. And, If Giant Bomb's quick look is not enough, then YouTube has 50 videos by very well know video reviewers or streamers. If that is not enough there are 500 people streaming it on day one.






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TheFlamingo352

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A lot of people seem to be saying that written reviews are objectively inferior because you can learn more about a game from play footage, but that's assuming reviews only serve one purpose: helping decide whether to purchase something.

I'll always miss written reviews because I like reading them--they're interesting/fun/reflective in a different way than conversational mentions.

And like Relkin is saying above, I think writing reviews is a good exercise for critique. If they're not making traffic, though, then I understand why written reviews have been fading out.

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KingBonesaw

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@relkin: Now that you point it out I found it weird how a few weeks back on the Bombcast Jeff was describing basically every aspect of Borderlands 3 as “bizarre”. Not that I disagree with his critique of the game but it threw me off when he couldn’t come up with a different term do describe anything about the game.

I miss reviews, even the podcast form ones they experimented with.

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Alias

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I've always liked the reviews as I enjoy reading well written critique of games.

I also liked the style they adopted when they reinvented their reviews last year. I thought it was an interesting take on the idea of a game review in 2018 / 2019 but have been disappointed we haven't seen them more often.

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mikewhy

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#18 mikewhy  Online

I'm also in the "don't miss written reviews, but found their recent video reviews interesting" camp.

@teddie compared them to what Red Letter Media does, and I love half in the bag. Maybe the reason half in the bag works better is that all parties have seen the movie, where it's not always the case when it comes to a new game. Would be great though, it's a much better dynamic than one person explaining a game to another.

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Big_Denim

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I prefered written reviews. They felt like the writer put more time and thought into their overall reflections and take-aways on the game. The modern take on video game reviews through video format always come off as super lazy and half-hearted, imo.

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Zleunamme

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#20  Edited By Zleunamme

It has been trending that way for a few years now. GB has collected enough data on how people use the website. It did not seem feasible for the staff to spend so much time writing a well thought out review only for users to skip straight to the numerical score. I get more information out of the quick look and the bombcast. I wouldn't mind if Jeff, Alex and Brad would publish a written feature once in a while. I think the user written blogs are nice alternative.

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FrodoBaggins

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I mean they are nice to have as a reference and for reading material but are they worth the time and effort? No.

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nutter

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I stopped reading reviews years ago.

Sometimes their nice to read after finishing a game, just to rationalize your thoughts against critics, but I don’t use them to make buying decisions.

I just buy what seems cool from whatever I’ve seen. Most games are totally capable these days, so you’re seldom buying a stinker.

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doombot13

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I don't think I've read a review beyond glancing at a metacritic score to see what the general consensus is in years. I prefer listening to them talk about games on the podcasts and QLs, I feel like I get a good sense of if they like it or not that way, and you often get multiple viewpoints. They could stop doing reviews completely and I'd be fine with it.

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ArbitraryWater

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If there's something to be bemoaned about the death of traditional reviews on Giant Bomb, it's that it feels like a lot of podcast impressions for games feel like they're for the first handful of hours. If we get any follow-up, it tends to be "it's still good." I never know how certain staff members actually feel about certain games until they come up in Game of the Year, at which point it's all drowned out by the absurd arguments and dumb horse-trading that feature is all about.

The nice thing about a write-up is that it's a centralized, concise place to put those thoughts and force the reviewer in question to think a little more critically than they have to when just talking about something casually. Hardly vital, and I'm sure it doesn't do a whole lot for the bottom line, but it is something I miss.

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Smallville123

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If there's something to be bemoaned about the death of traditional reviews on Giant Bomb, it's that it feels like a lot of podcast impressions for games feel like they're for the first handful of hours. If we get any follow-up, it tends to be "it's still good." I never know how certain staff members actually feel about certain games until they come up in Game of the Year, at which point it's all drowned out by the absurd arguments and dumb horse-trading that feature is all about.

The nice thing about a write-up is that it's a centralized, concise place to put those thoughts and force the reviewer in question to think a little more critically than they have to when just talking about something casually. Hardly vital, and I'm sure it doesn't do a whole lot for the bottom line, but it is something I miss.

This

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Smallville123

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Also, surprised to see a review of Control go up.

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nateandrews

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Two reviews today! It’s an exciting Tuesday.