Spec Ops: The Line Reviews Prove Gaming Journalism Is Broken

WC writes: Videogames are about doing as you’re told. Short-leash shooters like Call of Duty keep you in line with objective marker sticks and action-beat carrots: they say jump, you press X to ask how high. Bigger games like World Of Warcraft and Fallout give you the space and freedom to play how you like, but they still have rules; sure, you can strip your Lone Wanderer down to his Vault-issue undies, but his pork ‘n’ beans are strictly off-limits (probably a good thing considering how accurate VATS can be).

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PockyKing2339d ago

I don't get this at all. If a game is advertised "correctly" then the final product is what was advertised. Spec Ops was advertised to have you questioning your morality and giving you the options for the choices you're forced to make. The game did that. I certainly had no idea what was right and what was wrong in my playthrough and I noted that in my review. The game was actually better than I had anticipated by a long shot.

"And when the game turned out to be a pool of slo-mo, gore effect, rock soundtrack kill-spunk, it was too late to back down. "

Back down from what the game was advertised to be? It had all those aspects in there and more like I said above. It's a shooter, what did you expect? But the narrative in the game is far above and beyond 90% of the other shooters out there. Either the reviewer didn't pay attention to what was really going on, or just mindlessly played the game to review it and get it over with. This game literally made me keep asking myself even after I was done if there was another way I could have done something.

Soldierone2338d ago

This makes no sense.

1 If game journalism is broken, then fix it! Don't sit there and say that....

2 It isn't broken because you fall behind the bigger websites....Do your own research, base your opinions on that, and talk about it that way. I personally knew what Spec Ops was going to be like a while ago, IGN sitting there telling me it was going to be godly didn't change my mind at all....I don't start "praising" a game until it releases and I've played through it. Just because YOU did that, doesn't mean EVERYONE does it....

Plus you don't NEED to be negative. I hate MW3, but I'm not sitting there constantly writing articles about why I think it sucks. I just avoid it, talk about COD as a whole or the past games. When news comes out I cover it, I'll try to come up with a different spin, perhaps bring both sides to the table. This is how journalism is. Unless MW3 did something drastically stupid that hurt other sales and the industry, then no need to put it down.

On the other hand If I think its godly, then I throw tons of coverage at it. If a publisher was kind enough to send a review copy, then I'll throw coverage at it too as a thank you.

If a developer gets butt hurt about a negative article they will either contact you about it to allow them to explain or put their spin on the story, or in the worst case....blacklist you. If you get blacklisted, then guess what? Their game sucked, and now your free to say it sucked all you want, who cares? The major publishers won't do this, and if someone is caught doing this you can complain. The only way it happens is if you constantly attack their product though. You won't get blacklisted for simply stating a game isn't that great. Why do you think little bobby in high school with a video game website gets a review copy? Because more people see the name and will talk about it, good or bad, its good for them in most cases.

3 I don't consider little fanboy blogs as gaming journalism. You can tell real journalism from the "im doing it for review copies!" sites.

PockyKing2338d ago

See that's the thing though, journalists get based if you say bad things about games early. People turn around and say "hey, you haven't even played the game yet! You can't make that judgement"

I mean yea, you can't please 90% of the readers, but if a game looks good, it looks good. But if a game looks good and turns out like crap, well then your first opinions don't get matched up and you get called out for it. It's really all based on what the developers/publishers show about the game and say about it.

Soldierone2338d ago

Yeah but who cares, when it comes down to it, its personal opinion. If people disagree, then let them disagree. The only issue is did you say "it sucks" just to say it, or do you have a strong opinion about it. If you don't have the strong opinion, then like I said, you dont NEED to talk about the game at all.

As for the second one I never base a game early without getting my hands on it. I will say "it looks good based on this" but never outright say "the game is fantastic looking!" because PR's do their jobs well. They could make the crappiest game ever made look better than everything.....

morganfell2338d ago

It isn't just personal opinion when opinions become party line and they are continually rammed down the throats of every consumer as we are told ad nauseum this is a faithful telling of Joseph Conrads's journey into the horrors or war.

Repeated hammering of this lie/idea isn't personal opinion but rather blunt force marketing.

And reviews are not supposed to be "just" personal opinion. They were originally intended to be more, an objective insight on the material rather than a slobbering fanboy on a high horse who overlooks 90% of the warts in a title because he enjoyed that 10%. A proper Editor in Chief - a position long since forgotten about on every website - would reign in such adolescent stupidity.

The real abject horror in this game was the atrocious multiplayer which was completely overlooked and provided a greasy pass. This game was little more than a cover shooter with a few mechanics slammed against the gamer repeatedly. Every website that gave this title a high score should be ashamed as they have no integrity, standards, or sense of what makes a truly great game.

The same faults which fanboy blinders filtered out in the reviews will later be used to attack and completely damn other titles and by the very same unqualified reviewers.

This is what happens when reviews lack objectivity and are instead mere standard free opinions fueled by bong hits, Mountain Dew, and a sense of overbearing, self important righteousness.

PockyKing2338d ago

That depends on how you write your reviews, when I review a game, I base it on the quality of a game. Basically, is it fun, does it have good graphics and overall is it a quality product. I can add in some examples of personal preference in the review, but it's not, do I like the game or do I not like the game.

@Soldierrone, The sites that gave it a high score shouldn't be disdained for it. The game had a great single player experience and that's what most people bought the game for. Multiplayer once again was just an add on to add replayability to the product. But then again, my site covers Only Single Player so I can't vouch for the scores on MP, although I have played it and can't say that I liked it.

showtimefolks2338d ago

i recently finished it and liked it but the game provided me with little option, my hands were forced to do what the game wanted me to. The story is really mature and shows the toll a soldier can take during a mission

when you start the game there is hope, your team believes in you and your team is joking around about 7-8 hrs later they call you a killer and you don't even know what's fake/real

i wish there were some more player choices other than that the single player is a solid 8/10(though i do wish this game had a longer story)

i rather have 15hrs of very good single player plus some sort of co-op than 7 hrs of good story with throw in MP

nowheredan2338d ago

Another "games journalism is broken" article? Because Jeff Gerstmann got fired like five years ago? Christ, let it go. Gerstmann's firing was a big deal because that shit practically NEVER HAPPENS.

aliengmr2338d ago

So what's the point of this article? Publishers having an influence over journalism? Well that's obvious.

The Gerstmann thing was more of a "perfect storm" of things that led to his firing. Under normal conditions that probably wouldn't happen, but other things might. In fact someone getting fired for a review would only make matters worse for everyone.

I don't buy that SO:TL is even remotely high profile enough to influence the reviews it got. But, whatever, this issue is hardly news, and won't solve anything anyway.

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