I think Giant Bomb should do reviews on the latest and greatest because they have to articulate their thoughts and feelings about the game. In my opinion, without reviews, no precedent can be established and meandering conversations like this past GOTY will continue. IMHO
Even if they reviewed every game it wouldn't alleviate the length of discussions during GOTY, everyone's lists are different, everyone has different favourites, everyone has arguments for why games should be higher or lower in each category, reviews don't affect it in any way.
Should they keep doing it? Sure, is there a reason they shouldn't?
Through reviews they can highlight important games with more depth than a Quick Look, or if it seems important, warn of disasters. With hundreds of games coming out every day not everything qualifies for a review, and it's no secret that GB are very selective which games they cover, but that's the way it's always been, it's not always fun to wear critics glasses all the time.
hmm- that's a complicated question.
is it a (business and/or content) productive use of their time? probably not.
do i like having a document wherein i can quickly check in on a staff member's opinion on a game?fuck yeah i do!
i imagine the bombers must be having lots of soul-searching discussions about the shape and 'voice' of the site moving into the future. but honestly one of the major draws to the site (at least initially) was their experience in the industry. reviews, while certainly not my favorite content on the site, still do convey a certain approach or thoughtfulness to their treatment of games. excising reviews entirely won't reduce that asset to me (i'm fully bought-in at this point)- but it does make me wonder how they'll distinguish themselves to a younger audience who will be asking, "why should i watch you guys instead of [streamer X] on twitch/youtube/whatever?" i suppose they'll need to find other ways to leverage that experience while simultaneously making it relevant to a contemporary audience.
I enjoy reading their reviews when they feel like doing them, so I voted for yes.
But I am totally happy without them, and it's not really what I come to the site for. It also wouldn't replace those meandering discussions during podcasts, nor during Game of the Year - and I wouldn't want it to. I come to GotY for those long, meandering back-and-forths on what people love and hate about everything from that year.
So yes, I'd still like to see them from time to time - but only when a staff member feels like they want to express their feelings on something in written form.
I also think they should keep writing reviews, but not for the same reason. I just like to read them, therefore if they decide someday they are ditching them entirely, I won't be THAT heartbroken. Still pretty bummed, but hey, you follow where the path takes you, or something like that. When I'm considering things selfishly, I really want reviews to continue, but when I think of them in how Jeff refers to them on a large-scale industry sense, I get the slow obsolescence they're going through, even if I don't think we should write them off as DOA right this second... But I still wanna read them! See? Selfish.
As for GOTY, I don't know what universe you're watching GB in, but in mine, those discussions are supposed to meander and go in circles forever! Mostly kidding, but I honestly don't think reviewing the biggest games will help with that. Besides, the idea that a review of something would represent what the whole site thinks of a game kind of goes against the individualistic and personality driven nature of Giant Bomb. Unless you just mean a review would solidify one person's opinions on a game, in which case I don't think that changes anything at all. If anything, we get a situation like Mass Effect Shadow Broker Vs. Bioshock 2 Minerva's Den: both sides are positive their game is superior and will not budge until they simply run out of arguing energy.
Anyway, reviews are cool! I say keep them around for precisely as long as they seem the least bit useful.
As I wrote somewhere else, they should do a 2 person spoilercast type of thing, maybe not necessarily spoiling the story of the game, but two of the crew members that played it to completion would sit down and do a deep dive on what they liked and didn't like about it, their experiences, that sort of thing. This way you can get everything you want across without worrying about spitting out 10,000 word essays, or that you'll forget something. It's free flowing, it can have video or not, and it's another great podcast that you can listen to while you run, or clean the house.
Personally I stopped reading the written reviews a while ago and only skim the ones Jeff or Brad write, and only when it's about a game I'm either really curious about or I really disagree on the score to see what the reasoning behind it was.
They should do what they want to do. I imagine that from a purely ROI standpoint, reviews aren't worth a whole lot. They haven't published a written review in more than three months now. If you're listening to the podcasts, you still know what they think about recent games. And a lack of reviews is NOT a lack of content.
Jeff made some great points about reviews last week. My guess is that there will be an official statement on it soon.
Reviews don't establish any type of "precedent" for GoTY talks, and they never have. Remember, only one person actually writes the review, and the crew is not a monolith. A Red Dead Redemption review from Jeff would be very different from a review by Brad. Dan's review of a Metal Gear Solid game would be very different from anyone else's. An appeal to a game's review score is meaningless when there's half a dozen other people who didn't write the review.
I agree with this but want to expand on why I like Giant Bomb reviews. I'm usually not looking for purchasing advice - if I'm on the fence about a game I find a Quick Look even more valuable since I can see how a game plays along with the commentary. I look for reviews that are just as much critical discussions, and Jeff, Brad, and Alex especially have literally decades of combined experience playing and thinking about games. I'm less interested in "Is Game X good" and more "Why is Game X sucessful or not at what we think it's trying to do, and here's where we've seen the seeds of this idea before from the same developer or how they took an idea from game or genre Y and made it work here."
A more concrete example that may actually lean more towards purchasing advice - I knew I had no interest in this year's Call of Duty, but I still really wanted a Jeff review because of his history with the series and genre. If Jeff had raved about the game, I might have reconsidered my position. As is, we have a critical look at the game that takes into account the series' history and can serve as a reference point for the next time they make a major change in direction (so 2020.)
I want them doing things that they enjoy and also entertain me.
If they want to write reviews, or do video reviews, fine. If they have fun with them, all the better. But I don’t feel that there’s a content vacuum where reviews used to be.
I would have loved to read a review or an editorial on Metal Gear Survive by Jeff, there's so much history behind the series and the publisher that screams "write-up" to me.
Podcasts and video are great, but accessing specific key moments in gaming history is much easier to do when something is written than if the conversation is part of a longer-to-consume piece of media. You can't skim/access an opinion on a video or podcast in the same way you can something that's written, and for archival purposes I think it's important that a lot of these moments get preserved in writing.
Also, written media has the benefit of being well thought out and editing before publishing. A lot of times (during something recorded without a script) someone does a lot preemptive crowd control because those thoughts haven't been given a place to sit and be worked on. You'll hear Jeff oftentimes say "Well, I don't know... I guess I can see the case where..."
That being said, I'm happy if they're happy. If they're cool with not doing those types of things anymore then I'm sure there are plenty of sources for that kind of stuff out there.
I'd like to vote for Reluctant No plz
I'll say what I've said before. I think doing reviews is important for them to not lose perspective. If all you do is "taste" stuff, then all of a sudden that's also all that will matter. They're already on the low end of the spectrum, where anything that takes more than 20 hours of dedication gets mostly ignored and put to the wayside. If they shrink it down to just a handful of hours they will start lose any sort of connection they have with much of their audience, since most people only play a a handful of games per year, not 2-3 hours of 50 different games.
Yes, as I love their writing, particularly Brad and Alex's. Maybe there's a better outlet for written content on the site but I still enjoy it and would hate to see it go away permanently.
I'm also old and am starting to detest every tutorial on the Internet being a fucking video, so take that as you will.
@ares42: They'll also lose perspective of the industry as a whole if they can't have a broad experience of the types of games that are out there by devoting a certain amount of time to a game before moving on to the next one. Not every game released requires 10's of hours to understand and many are barely longer than 15. They also aren't mostly ignoring games with more than 20+ hours of play time, nearly half of the games in their top 10 are ones they played nearly or more than 20 hours of. Most of the top selling games from last year are sequels in a series that you don't have to play a dozen hours to have a comfortable understanding. This year alone several staff members have played games from a series they had no previous interest in and spent multiple dozens of hours playing, which translated to extended coverage on the site. There are also games that were played long enough to get a quicklook and short overview on a podcast or to realize they had no interest in doing anything with the game. The audience they've cultivated over the past 10 years has a broad array of interests in games and other media both past and present, and the site has grown around that. This hasn't changed and I doubt they will lose touch with much of their audience by continuing to adapt their coverage of games to that audience and the industry at large.
@goboard: Well, I can only speak for myself, but I've definitely lost interest in their opinions as the site has changed. Hell, at this point I barely even check out QLs, as I can often get the same information earlier from other sources.
They will never be at a risk of not being exposed to a big enough variety of games, but they might end up ignoring sections that are vastly more popular among "regular people" than games media. And I believe the average "gamer" is interested in getting value for the money, and sticking with the games they buy. That's not to say there isn't an audience for what they're doing, and it might totally make sense for them to try to specialize for that audience at this point, but I don't think it would be a good idea for the site to barely cover games like say GTA6 or Destiny 3 because no one on the staff had any interest in those games beyond booting them up for three hours and going "yes, that's more GTA". They've already done this kinda cut-off with many popular franchises and genres, and if they keep doing it then sooner or later all they'd end up doing is losing any sort of mass appeal.
I always interpret this question as, "should Giant Bomb still do deep dives into games other than in a lets play format" because let's be honest, that's what this really means. The Endurance Run format isn't for everybody. As Brad (and others) have been known to say, the way you want to play a game in order to play it well is often the opposite of entertaining to watch.
I personally still want reviews, and wish GB did them more often. I get that they are a huge time sink, but I like the dedication it takes to make them and organize ones thoughts and feelings in writing. It sort of serves as a counterweight to the kind of hot takes you can sometimes get in a Quick Look.
I want them doing things that they enjoy and also entertain me.
If they want to write reviews, or do video reviews, fine. If they have fun with them, all the better. But I don’t feel that there’s a content vacuum where reviews used to be.
Same. I think I'd rather leave it to them to do what they want or enjoy. It's like Endurance Runs. It was loved - became a thing, they didn't like it anymore and that's that. I do like the deep dive of a review though, rather than the passing comments on a Bombcast or UPF. But where it makes sense for them. I feel like now when they do a review it's a big signal to say 'Hey, look at this (good or bad) because it was worth writing a review for it's worth your attention of some kind.'
@ares42: I don't think there is ever going to be a universe where they don't cover "big" titles like Destiny 3 and GTA6. Even though the site may not review as many games, new games pretty much always get covered. It almost sounds like your just frustrated X big AAA Sequel only gets a Quick Look + some UPF/other random videos as opposed to a more dedicated review. Which is just the nature of how things evolve in this industry, even besides the shift we've seen to non written in the games coverage medium.
Like, do they really need to review a new Sports game every year? No. But that doesn't mean they don't still cover them, it's just their coverage is a lot different than it used to be. But as more sequels start becoming just machines to leverage brand, with enough built in audience to justify a lot of games earnestly don't deserve the critical outlook of being reviewed. That is before you even get to games as a platform, and how all of that is changing things. At some point it just makes more sense for them to talk about them on the Bombcast, and provide a QL (something they set out to provide for damn near every relevant game, AAA or indy) and I don't see that changing anytime soon.
@devise22: You're misreading me, I have no bone to pick. I'm just worried that if they have no incentive to stick with games they will gradually also start to favor not sticking with games, which I think would be bad. As I said in my first post, if all you do is "taste tests" then eventually that's also all you care about. It's already pretty much what happened with FPS campaigns, they became shorter and shorter because it reviewed better and gave better press. If press only spent two hours playing through the starter area of Witcher 3 they might've just gone "ye, it's your typical open world RPG" and then next time around CDPR would've probably downscaled to get better scores.
@ares42: It's definitely true that the majority of the staff doesn't play any given game enough to talk about it at length at GoTY, but that's not really a new thing. That's always been the case. And they definitely do stick with some games at length. Last year saw tons of content about PUBG, they did a three part series about the Destiny 2 raid, and the past three GoTY winner have been games that they produced dedicated series for. Whether one staff member does a review or not doesn't seem like it's ever had an effect on other staff members sticking with games or not.
@ares42: I don't think that would very much be the case. Even if a high majority of the staff don't stick with a long game like Witcher 3 for example, that doesn't mean there isn't anyone on staff who hadn't. Vinny played the hell out of that game and repped it hard during the GOTY. I also don't think the "review conundrum" you reference has any logical chance of happening. The staff isn't in the habit of reviewing games which they don't play to enough of a degree to warrant a review. There would never be an instance where CDPR downscale to get better scores because scores aren't being given by the site members who haven't played enough of it to warrant it.
Your basically just laying out another reason reviews don't happen as much. Games as a whole are broad enough that everyone on the crew doesn't need to play everything to 80+ hours to get a sense of more than just the taste testing your talking about. Because most of the staff recognize when they are just taste testing genres or games they likely won't enjoy, and there are countless examples of games they don't think they would enjoy that they've dumped more time into and ended up liking. Both in genres they haven't previously enjoyed or franchises they have.
I guess I don't see any dilution to the overall quality of the content being delivered. It's still just as nuanced, we still have lots of different takes and games being talked about and represented at length. It's gone further away from the taste test problem your talking about, not more towards it, so I don't really see that argument at all.
I think the amount of coverage we've seen towards Metal Gear Survive is a good early test.
Jeff was very curious about this game, and felt that he had see it through to the ending to be able to talk about this. I bet that if this game was released a year earlier, he would have thought about writing a review for this. Now, they did a lengthy quicklook, and some bombcasts. I certainly feel informed enough about the game now; I don't really need a review.
But if i'm sitting here in the year 2019, and Metal Gear Survive is 10$ , i might wonder how Jeff felt about Metal Gear Survive. There's no 5 minute solution to get the answer to that question. The quicklook would be easy to find, but the bombcast segments would need to be tagged with the metal gear tag and i would have to browse around until i find all the correct segments. Then i would have to listen to those fragments. A review would be a way better solution in this case. I bet if you're not engaged with Giantbomb at this point, you would just read a few reviews from other sources instead.
So what it comes down to for me, is that this way of coverage could be good enough, BUT.. They would have to edit all the sound files and get that on the metal gear survive page so that people could listen to the fragments about that game with a click of a button. And that's a lot of work. At that point, unless you start to create a specific 'REVIEW OF THE WEEK' segment on the bombcast for a particular game, every mention of a game is somewhat part of giantbombs coverage. Which blurs the lines between which soundfiles should get attached to a game page , and which soundfiles are slight enough to not warrant the editing time. At some point, when you already played through an entire game because you want to be able to talk about it from a knowledgeable perspective, maybe writing a review about it is just the most practical solution for everyone involved.
I also wonder if reviews are a significant vector for new users. I first learned about Giantbomb from the reddit reviewthreads. Being able to see the games they wrote about , and how those lined up with my own feelings about those games certainly helped me gauge what kind of people i'm dealing with.
@ares42: I don't think Giantbomb has ever been about mass appeal. This has been a site about doing and covering games and game adjacent stuff that they enjoy including covering games from decades past that no ones ever heard of or played and turning it into multi-part and multi-hour videos. Sites like IGN and Gamespot go for mass appeal and cover each major release with numerous videos, articles and upload every trailer. That's no really ever been Giantbomb. The closest they ever get to that each year is E3 when trailers get uploaded. You don't have to watch every QL, stream or video they post, I know I miss some here and there, and as @bladeofcreation brought up they do cover bigger games over a period of time when they are genuinely interested in those games or think it will make for good site content. If they aren't covering a game your interested in or you just like to know everything about a given game asap there are plenty of other sites that have you covered. Nothing wrong with visiting those for that stuff too.
I feel like I get enough information about games through listening to the Bombcast or Beastcast or watching a quick look. Between all the content I see on specific games I know what the opinions are of the person/people that played the game extensively. A review score is an easy way to see how "good" a game is at a glance, but the rest of the content that would be in a review generally seems to be in other content. Maybe not edited as extensively, but I feel what I would gain from reading a review I gain from the other content on the site anyway.
Edit: Another thing to consider is how people use the site. I listen to the podcasts every week then watch anything else that interests me. Are most users listening to the podcasts? Are quick looks opinionated enough to stand in for a review?
Sure, I enjoy the reviews. Its a good way to get a better idea of how the reviewer feels about the complete experience and regularly helps me make purchasing decisions. If they stopped reviews I probably wouldn't bother moving over to another source, because I've become familiar enough with the guys to interpret the review for my own use.
Having reviews provides a concentrated place for that info to exist vs several in progress discussions across weeks of content. I like that stuff but a solid review is valuable to me.
@devise22: I'm having trouble following what you're saying, and I think you might've misunderstood me somehow. I'm trying to make a point about how I think reviews are important because it's a mirror of the audiences interest. I realize the reviews themselves might not be the most popular content, but I believe doing them has an overall effect of elevating the quality of the discussion around the game in other content.
Now, I might be remembering wrong and this has never been the case for the site, but for me at least there was a time when listening to what they were talking about and playing the games myself it seemed like they knew their shit. However as time has gone by I've found their opinions to lack insight, especially for bigger games.
Reviews for ongoing games, multiplayer games, and "games-as-a-service" games seem more and more irrelevant. Those games are too prone to evolving (or devolving), so a written review tends to feel like an exercise in futility more than anything.
I still support reviews for relatively static single player games that are narratively driven etc.
I really enjoy reading articles when they are written by someone with a passion for what they are writing about and whom really is about to express themselves through writing in ways that perhaps they can't or don't get across in other mediums. I feel there will always be room for that.
That said? What Jeff and company have said about the topic rings true to me. The days of not having any idea what to think of a game until you could get written reviews are long gone. Now, for even the most niche titles there is at least one play-through of them. Steam (at least) even allows inset you-tube reviews on store pages these days.
If all you ever use a written review for was to know if a game was worth your money, then they no longer serve that purpose. On the other hand a lot of the articles written on, say, Waypoint, I much prefere to read then I would to hear them read-aloud too me.
So, should GB do away with reviews of games in the old-school tradition of every game needs a 1-10 or 1-5 grade as quick as possible and a write-up to go with it? Absolutely, yes. I like them adapting to the times. But should they do away with any written content when it comes to games? No, absolutely not. Some of the people on staff are fantastic writers whose's deep-dive/passion driven takes on gaming topics I always enjoy getting to read. I wouldn't want them to stop producing those, if they have the desire too.
@ares42: Apologies if your having trouble understanding what i'm saying. I'm countering your review argument by suggesting that reviews are only an important part of the conversation if the content your reviewing continues to speak to you as a player, and speaks to an audience as well. You suggest simply having a review of anything period "elevates" the conversation, but I don't really see how, nor have you really laid out why it would elevate it.
EA Sports Madden doesn't really need a review every year to somehow elevate the conversation around the game. Because at the end of the day, the details your going to be getting into and the types of discussion your going to have about it is the same as it was the last X amount of years. It might differ to the hardcore fans of that series, and there may be moments and points to talk about differences from a purchasing decision. Which is exactly why those things receive Quick Looks with all that info. They are far more a product, then they are art. It's like people thinking reviewing all the new features on a new IPhone on the 55th edition of it somehow is this "artistic" thing. No it isn't. It's a baseline product that has been so god damn streamlined that it doesn't often deserve a nuanced elevated look. It's corporate shrill, and as someone who enjoys that stuff myself I totally get enjoying it. But just because you enjoy it doesn't mean one has to study it on a review level or play ever iteration to have a conversation about it.
I don't really think because the crew ignores reviewing some AAA games or games in general that they are losing grips on the narrative of the industry. They still attend E3, they still get AAA and big stuff shoved around them that the majority of times when they are talking about a bigger game a high majority of the crew has knowledge about how it plays, controls, what it's going for.
I also think your seeing to a degree the casual knowledge of gaming products grow, which puts the GB guys into a position where offering the straight product review experience simply isn't as needed or essential as it used to be. They have mentioned this on casts and the like before as well.
I hesitate to say what they *should* do, but I suspect if they stop doing them, it's for a good reason, and it's mostly likely because as much as people on here would talk about missing them when they're gone, they're likely the tiniest drop in the smallest of buckets, so it's probably just not worth the time or effort in the long run. Just my guess. Knowing all of their history with reviewing games, I'm sure they hold themselves to a certain standard and that standard probably takes a time commitment that just isn't really worth it anymore, I suspect.
For games that are important enough to review, I would love to see them have a mini-podcast or video/livestream where they just played some of the game and talked about what they liked or didn't like. Maybe do the first part non-spoilery and the second part with spoilers (or split them out). For what its worth though, I voted yes for this poll. Reviews are great and I enjoyed them growing up, but I think there are opportunities provided by the technology we have access to now to explore alternative methods of reviewing, and redefining what a "review" even is.
As much as I loved the guy's reviews back in the day, if I'm looking to read games criticism it's not here. I think the guys shine in the audio and video format. I guess I associate the written form with academic critiques and I go elsewhere for that stuff.
@devise22: I'm suggesting that having to go through the review process encourages games press to actually deep dive into games rather than skip on to the next one as soon as they're annoyed/bored etc. When you play 50+ games/year and always have 5 other games on the table it's easy to lose patience for clunky mechanics or a generic story or grinding etc. You could see this with Nier last year. Most of them had barely touched it before GOTY season came around, and it was only after getting a few kicks in the rear they got around to playing it. And then it turned up all over the place for their nominations.
I'm not saying they're losing grips with the narrative of the industry, but they might lose grips with the perspective of the audience. All the stuff you're talking about is exactly the opposite of that, it's all the stuff the audience connected into. Most of us don't get to spend a week checking out all the new games coming out ahead of time, most of us don't get free games shipped to us on a weekly basis. Most of us sit at home with maybe two or three games that we really enjoy and keep playing even though they have some rough parts.
And no, I'm not suggesting they should go back to the good old review grind and hit every game possible. But doing them on a fairly regular basis probably helps to keep you grounded a bit, and to remember how to appreciate more complex and slower experiences. It probably also helps your reputation as well. If all you do is "hot takes" and "reaction vids" no one is gonna come to you for any meaningful opinions.
Don't their impressions on the podcast and during QLs kinda serve as reviews? Sure they aren't the same as playing a game until completion but sometimes I just need to know how a feels and how it plays.
I'm fine with how they have been doing reviews. The major releases that do deserve the time and effort to review, deserve reviews. I don't need a review to guide my purchasing decision for Into The Breach of Hunt: Showdown.
I mean, I'd say yeah, but they don't really do em with any kind of regularity such that if they just stopped I'd actually notice. Actually looking at the reviews section they did quite a bit of reviews last year, and at a pretty decent clip too. Must be the year end/start lull that had me thinkin they're aren't many reviews.
Reviews are nice cause we get an impression of the whole thing beginning to end. Bombcast talk I've found isn't quite as thorough and carefully articulated as what you'd get in a review. But eh, if that's the way the wind blows. That's a saying right? It sounds like a saying.
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