130°
Submitted by digitaleraser 657d ago | opinion piece

Why Do So Many Reviews Read Like Opinions?

A Critical Hit!: "It’s become a recent trend in the age of Metacritic for gamers to question critics’ reviews. Why do so many reviews read like opinions, shouldn’t they be more objective? When critics give games a higher score than everyone else, were they paid off? When critics give games a lower score than everyone else, are they just trolling? And why do so many reviewers only use half of their review scale?

Asking questions is a good thing. Questions keep us honest, and the act of asking can be the quickest way toward gaining understanding. I addressed the review scale question in a previous article, but now let’s take a look at the other most frequently asked question." (Culture, Halo 4, Industry, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360)

brish  +   657d ago
Q. Why Do So Many Reviews Read Like Opinions?
A. Because a review is an opinion!
WiiUalpha  +   657d ago
Exactly what I was going to say. Are people really that stupid that they cant grasp that when you ask someone about a game, they are giving you their opinion?
digitaleraser  +   657d ago
The reason for the article is because the question has popped up so often on places like N4G.
StanLee  +   657d ago
My worry about reviews isn't that it's someone's opinion, it's the lack of objectivity when the reviewer clearly isn't a fan of a particular franchise or genre. If you're not a fan of a franchise, a new game wont change your opinion. Games within a franchise iterate and make evolutionary changes. Similarly, if you're not a fan of a genre, it's hard to appreciate when a game within that genre does things well. Reviews are opinions but they should offer objectivity. Those are the two biggest problems I've had with recent reviews. Some question whether you should trust the review of fan who may score a game prematurely high and that's a reasonable argument but again, there needs to be objectivity on the part of reviewers. This means weighing the game's accomplishments, with its flaws and its value to fans.
MikeMyers  +   657d ago
You then have to ask yourself, what purpose is the review there to serve? Is it based on their own experience or should it be based on how the general public should view it?

Famitsu is a magazine published in Japan. It seems to me those reviews are aimed more at the Japanese culture. I'm not suggesting IGN should put an American stamp on all their reviews, but I do think the reviewers should be professional (not just IGN) and knowledgeable in the field they represent. Meaning if someone is reviewing a shooter game have a shooter expert who enjoys shooter games. Same goes for RPG's or even further to an expert in JRPG's.

This is why reviews are all over the map. You have people reviewing high profile games that really shouldn't be because often times it's just for the exposure. Or you have reviews that are biased when they ought to serve the general public.

Ask yourself this, would you rather have a professional reviewer like Roger Ebert review the latest Star Wars movie or have a fan based site that lives and breathes Star Wars do a review? This is why professional movie reviews often times are at odds with the general public. People go to the movies to be entertained. That doesn't mean we should ignore bad acting and poor screenplays. It just means you need to consider the audience it's marketed to.
#1.1.3 (Edited 657d ago ) | Agree(10) | Disagree(0) | Report
digitaleraser  +   657d ago
It's about finding a reviewer whose tastes are similar to your own.

An expert on a particular genre might have a better idea of which games are innovating or not, but that expert still has their own tastes in what they like, and their tastes might not line up with yours.

Even two experts in the same genre aren't always going to agree with each other, because they'll have different tastes from each other. There is no such thing as objectivity when it comes to determining the value of a game, outside of programming issues.

@MikeMyers: But even Star Wars fans aren't in agreement with each other. Is Empire or Jedi the best film? It depends on personal taste. You need to find someone whose tastes match yours.
#1.1.4 (Edited 657d ago ) | Agree(5) | Disagree(1) | Report
MikeMyers  +   657d ago
@digitaleraser

It's pretty hard to find a reviewer who will always match your own taste. As for Star Wars fans I will agree that not are all created equally. The consensus out there seems to be that The Empire Strikes Back was the best but that isn't written in stone. That's kind of what I take from all reviews and that is a common theme among them. If they all say the controls are crap then it would be something I'd be worried about. If one or two reviews gives a game a low score while all the rest are excellent scores then I take that into consideration as well.

Reviews are just supposed to be a guideline but I look for depth within the review, not necessarily the final score they give it. A reviewer is just a normal person like you or I but IMO they need to take away their own bias if the review is to be publicized. If they don't like Halo then chances are they won't like the new one. So that review serves no real purpose to Halo fans.
digitaleraser  +   657d ago
Please read the article before trying to answer the question in the headline.

@ReSoakedSponge: The headline is a reflection of the article; the article answers the question in the headline in a detailed manner, for the people who keep asking that question.
#1.2 (Edited 657d ago ) | Agree(3) | Disagree(6) | Report | Reply
RedSoakedSponge  +   657d ago
if the headline isnt a reflection of the article then its a stupid headline!
Ashby_JC  +   657d ago
I myself agree with what you said earlier...simply find a reviewer who matches what you like and just read there reviews.

Im not into arcade racers so if I reviewed a new arcade racer game...my score most likely would be lower based on personal preference.

Movie critics...I usually agree with alot of Eberts reviews...I remember reading his review for the movie "Torque" he gave it a good review. HE basically took the movie for what it was ... and gave it a favorable review. I myself agreed with what he had to say.

Whereas other critics would trash it.

I remember years back reading a review for one of the Xmen movies and the critic started to go in on about Mutants and questioning why this person was blue or why this person had this power etc, It was obvious the guy was unaware of the Xmen universe...but he went on to review and give it a low score. But thats his opinion and I wouldnt waste my time reading anymore of his xmen reviews lol
DarkSymbiote  +   657d ago
Uh, no. A decent reviewer should be able to review professionally and with some objectivity. Saying thinks like "I didn't like the feature and I find the game too hard" is poor reviewing.
JeffGrubb  +   657d ago
Wrong. It's not the reviewers job to speculate that his instincts are wrong and say "I didn't like this feature, but everyone else will!"

A reviewer should say "I didn't like this feature, but under certain conditions, someone else could like it. And if this feature doesn't sound bad to you, then you may still enjoy the game."
giovonni  +   657d ago
you are exactly correct, in college my professor taught us how to write a review the correct way.

" A review is clear of any opinion. it states only the facts, and leaves bias out. An example of a review would be the news. When a commintator speaks on a crime it gives the facts, the who, what, where, why, and when. In no way does the comintator place their opinion with in their casted review of the scene."

He would give F's if our writings read "well I though, I didn't like, etc. He stated,"it's no longer a review, it is now an opinioned piece."

The problem is, reviews would be boring as hell. Adding opinions to reviews gives it character, so the rules aren't heavily enforced as they should be.
JsonHenry  +   657d ago
Unless there are technical flaws like screen tearing, bad clipping, or broken elements of the game then it is all opinion based.
knocknock  +   657d ago
It may contain opinions but if it lacks objectivity what use is it as a review, if you write articles for international games sites you should be able to pin together some text to comprehensively display a games pros and cons regardless of your personal preference. It's call being unprofessional and I read far to many reviews where the reviewer spouts too little fact and to much conjecture. They often don't know there gaming history, even to the specific game being reviewed, it's just not on really, I'd love to be paid to write articles these people are lucky they arnt stuck on a factory line or behind a till and need to start putting a bit more effort into their writing, I say these big sites need to get out the beaty stick and not encourage rave reviews be it positive or negative, just to get hits, get back to the nitty gritty of defining what the hell the game actuly brings to the table.
DigitalAnalog  +   657d ago
@MikeMyers
There's nothing wrong with opinions within the review. However, what makes it so fundamentally different than your average user review?

I look at reviews because I want to know whether or not I can warrant a purchase on a game. I don't wanna take risks buying every possible game only to be disappointed, and this is what reviews are able to shed light upon.

Reviews should take into consideration controls, bugs, glitches, gameplay time. Although I do prefer them going in-depth, investigation whether or not the negatives are outweighed by the positives, or is there a certain element that hinders the game's pacing. These are "swing" moments that would decide whether or not the game is worth my purchase or not.

Sadly 99% of the reviews read like summaries of the game you see at the back of the f*cking box. That makes their "opinion" as worthless as going into a store, reading said summary and evaluate your purchase on that.
#1.6 (Edited 657d ago ) | Agree(3) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
AsheXII  +   657d ago
So you basically quoted the article? Aren't you smart.
csreynolds  +   657d ago
This. A review is an evaluation formed by one person’s experience of something designed to inform, educate and advise. Opinion is fundamental, therefore.

However, too many reviewers nowadays allow their opinion to cloud their account - i.e. they stop evaluating the product and instead allow their feelings towards the game/series/developer/publishe r to intrude, thus compromising the credibility of their critique.

The problem with reviews lies with the reviewer. Fanboys will always over-hype, haters under-hype. That's just the way it is.
#1.8 (Edited 657d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
WiiUalpha  +   657d ago
There are no stupid questions. Just stupid people.
bubblebeam  +   657d ago
If you read the article:

"Why Do So Many Reviews Read Like Opinions?

In short: because they are opinions."

I think the heading is to address the many people who question a reviewer for not giving the desired score of many of the fans.

In all fairness, it is an opinion. But reviewers have to realise that you can't criticise a game for what it isn't trying to be.

Exmaple: Halo 4 was criticise for not having iron sights. If it wanted them, it would have had them by now.

Example 2: Why don't the karts in LittleBigPlanet Karting handle as well a real life kart? Or a car from Gran Turismo?
RivetCityGhoul  +   657d ago
a review is an opinion.
giovonni  +   657d ago
This is not true at all Rivet, Reviews are short summaries that contain only facts. Take the news for example, when the reporter is reporting the news aka reviewing the stories of the day. In no way shape or form do you hear them give their opinion on the stories.
Ashby_JC  +   657d ago
You cant really compare reporting news to a game review.

If something happens in the world the NEWS is there to tell you what happened. "Thats all" now if you want an opinion based news...there are radio, podcasts etc for that.

A game review....How can you NOT give your opinion in writing a review?
StrongMan  +   657d ago
Reviews aren't fact. If one reviewer says game A has great graphics does that make it true. Some will agree and some won't. Reviews ARE opinions.
KRUSSIDULL  +   657d ago
Reviewers need to be more proffesional and start reviewing games for a game what it IS and not what it COULD be like. Reviewers need to compare the game to itself, and not compare it to game Y or any other games.

Real reviewer does not take out points just because a game is different.

When a reviewer downplays Game X for not being enough Game Y I want to punch the reviewer in the face.
#4 (Edited 657d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
JeffGrubb  +   657d ago
Yeah, review games in a vacuum. Review them as if people have unlimited funds and aren't choosing between two or three different games at all times.

If another game does something better? Ignore it! That'll make for a better review!
KRUSSIDULL  +   657d ago
You dont understand, If you're a fan of CoD and are reviewing Halo you dont give it less score because it isnt CoD. You give the game the score it deserves.

I want reviews not opinion pieces.
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JeffGrubb  +   655d ago
@KRUSSIDULL But dude, as long as the person stipulates that they prefer Call of Duty over Halo, that is still a review and it is still useful to someone.

I happen to be someone who prefers COD to Halo. So a review from that perspective is useful to me.

Reviews are opinion pieces.
cleft5  +   657d ago
Today a review is an opinion. But back in the day, when Reviewers had credibility, a review was so much more than an opinion. The opinion section of a review was very limited, at most it was the last paragraph of the review. It use to be that Reviews discussed all the technical stuff in the game like graphics, controls, and gameplay. When the Reviewer was done talking about that, maybe they would put their overall opinion of the game.

What that left gamers with was credible reviews that we could trust because their review was so much more than their worthless opinion. Today, reviewers have fallen into this disgusting trend of making all their reviews opinion based. What that leaves us with is idiots giving games like Halo 4 a 4/10, when nothing could be further from the truth. Emotions have no place in a review and it is truly sad to see how far reviewers have fallen.

For this reason and many others, I no longer trust any reviews, be they good or bad. I will play a game for myself or watch someone play it and come to my own conclusions. Barring that, I will just hold off on judging a game.
GreenRanger  +   657d ago
Most big review sites are given incentives or intimidated into giving high scores.
Jek_Porkins  +   657d ago
Reviews are opinion, its as simple as that. I've noticed a lot of big AAA titles that everyone expects to get good scores, usually get good scores. I never really let a review decide if I'm going to buy a game, I do use reviews to see if there might be an issue or two that I'll have to deal with.

If you want really honest reviews, you have to look to the independent ones that do it for free and with no incentives but the love of gaming.

If anyone judges a game based on a review, I think they aren't getting what it means to be a real gamer.

Also, when you see a score under 5 on a scale to 10, I think those people are obviously letting personal feeling cloud the review, a game getting a 4 on a scale of 10 would, in my mind be totally broken mechanically. A lot of really low review scores on good games are because people hold a grudge or are biased, the only reason a game should score that low would be if its unplayable.
#7 (Edited 657d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(2) | Report | Reply
Valenka  +   657d ago
I always laugh when people ask a question that could be answered by rubbing a couple of brain cells together.
ginsunuva  +   657d ago
I know, very strange. Reviewers need to start writing about facts and give correct scores at the end.
DethWish  +   657d ago
People these days.... where is the world heading?
GraveLord  +   657d ago
A review is an opinion.
ShaunCameron  +   657d ago
Because they happen to be exactly that. OPINIONS! You'd have to be a real lemming to believe they're anything otherwise.
Hicken  +   657d ago
Reviews NOW are exactly that. But as cleft5 said, they didn't used to be, and as MikeMyers and giovonni say, it's supposed to be more about presenting the FACTS of the game than your personal OPINION of it.

Really, there's nothing wrong with giving your opinion in a review, but the entire review SHOULD NOT be your opinion. How can a person make up their mind about whether or not THEY will like a game if all they've got to go on is whether or not the REVIEWER liked it?

As I said, it's not a problem if you make the distinction between your personal opinion and your professional critique, but that's woefully lacking in the reviewing community these days.

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