Sim City Has Shown Me That Reviews Don’t Work, So I’m Not Writing Them Anymore

UM writes: Depending on whom you ask or what review you read buying the new SimCity through Origin is either a completely normal and fun gaming experience or a sign of the end of times (Thanks Reddit!). I know everyone is entitled to their opinion and that differing opinions and critiques can often be good for the game industry, but these days I can’t tell if reviews are actually honest or are just written as reactions to what people already want to hear in order to increase the amount of people who come to a site. Kotaku even wrote not one but two “Sim City Doesn’t Work” posts in two days while also managing to write another piece to give players tips when playing the game.

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Chuk52014d ago

I think it's a generalizing leap to say all reviews are broken. Some reviewers are just more reliable than others. Simcity showed us (something I think we all ready knew to some extent) some writers swallow hype and then regurgitate, but a fair number of Sim City reviews reflect it's brokeness as a product.

It's like going to garage for the maintenance of your car. There are a lot of garages, and some of them are straight up dubious and some are not.

As for the notion of reviews being broken because they're often different versions of the game consumers will get, I also don't think it's possible to hold that against writers across the board. Fact is, even if a reviewer got retail copy, played on a retail server for multiplayer (COD, Halo, etc.) and delivered a verdict, some people would still have different experiences because of their online connection differing in quality.

Modern gaming has this problem where where most people think in dualisms. It's either black or white, and really stifles any notion of nuance.

DragonKnight2014d ago

I don't think it's generalizing. Everyone here can probably come up with a list of at least 10 games that received high scores they didn't deserve. The system is broken for many reasons. Reviews can and have been bought. There is clear proof of that. Hell, I think it was Kotaku that posted an article talking about all the stuff they've been given by publishers before they review games. Then there's the "journalists" who are trying to make it big by sucking up to publishers.

So many examples of how the system just doesn't work. It COULD work if they removed the number system and did reviews just on how they felt about the game, but that's never going to happen. Metacritic doesn't help matters and the "give us high review scores if you want your review on our box art or in our television ad" bribes are another example of just how broken the review system actually is.

Root2014d ago

So true

COD or dmc for example are ones that have probably been bought off someway, the dmc reviews don't make sense half the time. While FF13, GTA4, RE5 were because of hype and we got sucked into it aswell.

Wigriff2014d ago

Make it big? Do you have any idea how much your average journalist gets paid? Only about 0.001% ever becomes Adam Sessler; the rest are driving around in 1994 Accords with duct tape covering tears in the seat.

That is precisely why incentives are effective: Some poor sap, writing for X game publication, making 21k a year, gets offered all sorts of gaming merchandise that he can't afford himself. Now, nobody writes for peanuts because they don't love games, so obviously he will take the offered merchandise – and probably ultimately feel pretty guilty about taking it and henceforth giving them a bad review. Most of the time it's coercion, but not outright bribery.

The numbering system is entirely broken, though, so no argument there. Metacritic makes things exponentially worse as well.

DragonKnight2014d ago

"Make it big? Do you have any idea how much your average journalist gets paid?"

Having been one, yes I do. You're being narrow minded. Making it big can mean more than just money. It can mean recognition, respect, or being in a place where the publishers will lavish you with bags o' swag, or in GameStop's case from Ubisoft, limited edition Cell Art. Any gifts are bribery. They are attempts at buying positive press.

da_2pacalypse2014d ago

Kevin VanOrd from Gamespot is a reviewer that I can usually trust. He gave Sim City a 5/10. No BS, he told it like it was.

I can't say the same for other reviewers unfortunately.

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SilentNegotiator2014d ago

It's as simple as finding someone reliable.

I don't refuse to take my car into a mechanic because a couple mechanics have screwed me...I try someone else until I find someone that does good work.

That's life. A lot of people have poor intentions. You rarely have to have services (and yes, websites are a customer service...we view their site, they get hits from it, they get money from advertisers for the's not "entitled" to have expectations) done by those people if you don't care to.

fermcr2014d ago

"Sim City Has Shown Me That Reviews Don’t Work, So I’m Not Writing Them Anymore"

Ahhhh... so sad... here, have a cookie.

mydyingparadiselost2014d ago (Edited 2014d ago )

I stopped paying as much attention to reviews a couple of years ago. There are WAY to many AAA titles that get a quality pass because of patches & DLC. Mass Effect 3 got great ratings but held all the good stuff out for DLC. Borderlands 2 (among many, MANY others) received rave reviews as it crashed game saves and scraped players B.A. ranks and now all the rest of the vault hunters are coming out on DLC. The game industry is broken so of course the review system is broken as well....

kevnb2014d ago

reviews really don't matter. Websites have been trying to align scores with sales to make it seem like they do, but every now and then they are exposed.

PockyKing2014d ago

I run my own site as well, and continuously fight with myself and the staff about having scores. On one hand, if your site's reputation is in good standing people will usually have a reason to disagree/agree with the score and use it as a buying guide, which in my opinion is why the scores are used. On the other hand, sites like Metacritic won't accept your site unless you have scores, and being on Metacritic does well for traffic etc. My site hasn't been put on Meta yet because as a single player focused site, we don't include the multiplayer portion of the game in our reviews, but to be on metacritic we have to.

Controversial scores = traffic
Scores that follow the trend = less traffic

Lol, easiest way for me to put it. It may sound a bit schemish of me to put it that way, but that's just how it is. Ad money for me isn't a huge deal as we don't get paid based on clicks, I'm more about building the community, but of course to build a community you need traffic and review "Scores" bring traffic. If that makes sense.

PinkFunk2014d ago

A good reply, but...

One has to realize, controversial scores do not build community. They are known as cheap hits for a reason. If you rely on that, you'll gain interest only momentarily until your "brand" is deemed unreliable.

The wisest way to build reliable traffic is to build a reliable reputation. That takes time. You might not get traffic for the first 10 reviews, but you will if you keep appearing on this site with review after review. Your name will spread and people will see you put in the work. Repetitiveness is key, if I keep seeing "" reviewing games consistently, i'll build a natural attraction to it.

The turtle and the hare, man. Be the turtle.

PockyKing2014d ago

No I know controversial scores don't mean building a community. Probably worded that wrong on my part. I just meant, having a "Score" on the review brings more traffic. Wouldn't pull a Tom Chick and give Uncharted 3 a 3/10. That'd bring a hate storm the sizes of Krato's rage to any site lol.

aliengmr2014d ago

I agree with the "bandwagon" stuff and articles being written purely for hits.

But I disagree with judging the game on just the game and not anything else. True, if you buy an always-on game and knew about it prior its your own fault. But when you pay $60, you are entitled to play the game. Regardless if its a business decision or not, if it effects the game it ought to be judged.

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