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The Wall Street Journal’s Borderlands 2 Review Is Fine, Actually.

Pixels or Death's Mike Barrett explains why the internet needs to take a step back, inhale deeply, and understand that there is a larger audience for video game reviews than just the usual crowd.

"Welcome to how non-gamers see the industry. Jumping = Super Mario Bros. Puzzles = Tetris. Guns = Call of Duty. Remember how your mom would call your Playstation “the Nintendo” as a kid? This is that same vague understanding rearing its head again."

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Wraithkal1889d ago

"Welcome to how non-gamers see the industry."

Exactly what people seem to be forgetting when they rage over that Wall Street Journal review: It was not written by gamers and with that in mind, it's at least a decent review. I'd say it's almost impossible to have a review from someone with deep roots in the industry not look at a game with different eyes from that of a place like WSJ.

Sketchy_Galore1889d ago

I haven't heard anything about the Wall street journal's review before this article and honestly wouldn't care what score they gave it but that in no way means their review was fine. Even if their audience know nothing about the artistic medium that the product being reviewed belongs to, that's no excuse for the reviewer not to know either.

If I wrote a review of the Godfather 2 that read like, 'OMG there's like sooooo much talking and boring stuff they need to put in more explosions like what Transformers 2 had' it wouldn't matter if my review was printed in Knitting and crocheting monthly or Teen dream magazine, it would be a bad review and it would betray an ignorance of the field I was reviewing that is inexcusable in a paid review.

Is it really fine for a review to be so condescending to it's audience as to assume they would not be able to fully appreciate the product for what it is and instead to speak only to their ignorant biases because 'that's the kind of audience they are'?

When I was a dumb kid who never watched any movie made before 1980 that didn't have zombies in it I read a review of Citizen Kane In a magazine, I forget which but it was either a video game mag or a metal music mag, not particularly known for a readership that might appreciate classic black and white dramas but this review gushed about how beautifully shot, written and acted Citizen Kane was. I became intrigued, saw the movie for myself and fell in love with it. Thanks to that review I moved beyond my ignorant bias against 'old movies' and discovered a whole new rich area of culture to enjoy. If the reviewer had tried to second guess his audience's tastes and written a review like, 'eeeew, this crap's old and stoopid' I might never have moved beyond that ignorant mindset.

Of course I agree the reaction mostly seems to be one of idiotic butthurt as you'll see under reviews of any anticipated game that give it less than 9/10 but I really cannot agree that an ignorant and lazy review is 'fine' just because it's written for an ignorant and lazy audience.

Gordon_Shumway1889d ago

+bubbles. That comment just shut this bitch down. Lock it up mods.

vortis1889d ago

You get bubs, too. That was a badass comment.

And yeah, lock it down mods. It can only go downhill from Sketch_Galore's comment. I just can't say any comment getting more Oscar-worthy in this thread than that.

Hicken1889d ago

I gave you bubbles, and since I didn't see that you did, posted your response(with credit, of course) to the actual site. Kudos for an amazing comment.

MikeBarrett1889d ago

You would be right except that The Godfather and Transformers 2 aren't in the same genre for their medium. Borderlands 2 and Call of Duty are, so the comparison is completely appropriate. Even more so when you consider their thematic similarity -- both are highly adrenaline and machismo driven glorifications of war.

It isn't condescending to frame a review for your audience, that's a basic concept when it comes to journalism. Different publications with different audiences will approach the same topic in divergent ways. It doesn't make any sense, nor will many readers bother with, a review that references a bunch of games they've never played or heard of. Yes, a more nuanced understanding of games would be excellent for the readers to have, but that's not the point of a review. The review is to give advice on whether or not they should make a purchase, which clearly this reviewer had in mind while writing.

And then even after all that, he still says that players might like it despite the silliness, but warns that other big name games in the genre are also coming out this year and advises that if you're not sure, you should probably wait until those come out to make a decision unless you're swimming in disposable cash.

So yeah, it's fine. You're trying to say that there is such a thing as universal clarity or perfect analogies the writer should have used, but that's not the case.

ObscureAlarm1883d ago

I think your overreaching when you say Borderlands 2 (BL2) and Call of Duty are similar thematically. BL2 is more or less a parody of the gore, machismo and violence that games have today. While COD is a celebration of the military culture. Really the only similarity the BL2 and COD/Halo games have is, that is that they are both video games and their is shooting involved.

Also what's wrong with WSJ just abstaining from review games if their intended audience isn't really into them. They could perhaps point them to other review sites like IGN and Gamespot, that write their reviews in fairly casual or laymen terms.

Eske1889d ago (Edited 1889d ago )

The review was uninformed, and it didn't cop to being uninformed at the outset. He is demonstrably wrong about many of the things that he says.

That's not productive for anyone. No one is better educated about Borderlands 2 for having read that review (whether he liked it or not). It does a lay person no good to be misinformed.

MikeBarrett1889d ago

It's not uninformed in the least. Not only has he done a vast amount of research on this game and the previous one, but he also gives out all the vital information on the story, makes note of the character building, the style of exploration and gunplay, and his general experiences while running through.

What part of that is being "uninformed?"

Eske1887d ago (Edited 1887d ago )

You're rather generous in your description of the work that he did.

It's uninformed because there are numerous factual errors in the piece, gross overstatements, and a fundamental misunderstanding of the game's design intent. It's sloppy journalism, even by blog standards.

London1888d ago

Since when does reading Wikipedia count as 'vast amounts of research'?