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Objectivity and Subjectivity - What's In A Good Review?

Roxanne wrote: There’s been more than a few words exchanged on the subjectivity of game reviews. Just earlier this year IGN preemptively gave Prey a 4/10 review on the very objective basis that their copy was bugging out and the internet collectively went crazy over it. Jim Sterling was bashed over his 7.5/10 rating of Breath of the Wild despite publicly proclaiming that he liked the game - just not some features that he found frustrating and unnecessary. That’s before we get into anything echoing Gamergate - reviews marred by political opinion, personal beliefs regarding sex and gender, ethical development practices and the like.

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UCForce115d ago (Edited 115d ago )

Hard to say, but reviews usually about subjective. Objective is where we can see is something that was designed from the start and judge is for what it is.

Apocalypse Shadow115d ago (Edited 115d ago )

When it sticks to the facts. Too many opinions flying around in reviews and articles. And not enough concentration on just reviewing a game on its own merits.

Story- does it have a story
Controls- does it control well
Gameplay- is it fun
Replay- is it a one shot or a game that has random levels and enemies
Price- how much does it cost.

Let the customer or viewer decide if it's long enough or fun enough to buy. Length comes from fun factor. Not artificial fetch missions to extend a game.

admiralvic115d ago

The problem with this is that it's hard to describe something and be objective. No matter how you do it, there is probably going to be some subjective elements built in. I like to use Demon's Souls as an example of this.

People can say the gameplay is thrilling, challenging, engaging and a number of things, but if I were to say tedious or cheap, would you disagree? Obviously most would probably explain how it can't be those things and it's the former, but that isn't the point. The point is, person A could think the fact you have to restart the level upon death is challenging, where as another might find it tedious. There is no objective answer to this, outside of saying "dying places players at the start" and then people try to figure out if that is tedious or challenging.

Though there is something to be said about adding some subjectivity too. I think if you go off my literal version of objective information in Demon's Souls, it sounds really tedious. I think we can all agree that if someone said that and only that, it would seem tedious. By adding your perspective (subjectivity) you can explain why this is challenging or what about the seemingly tedious mechanic is actually good. Because, without these things, games reviews would just be a bulleted list.

Demon's Souls

* Has multiple bosses, weapons, enemies, magic.
* Player versus Player included.
* Players can leave notes that can either help or hurt your adventure.
* Bosses have weaknesses.
* Every weapon type has a different play style.
* Items tell the games story.
* Choices impact your adventure by revealing additional bosses and situations.
* New Game + exists.
etc

FinalFantasyFanatic115d ago

Your bullet points are more like a list of features if anything. As for the positive and negative points about Demon's Souls, they can all apply to that game, although as a reviewer I would say the game is challenging and tedious, I would emphasis the difficulty and the expectation you will die alot as that tells a reader alot about the game.

Apocalypse Shadow114d ago

That's where the gameplay comes in. I mentioned fun. But fun can be subjective. I shortened it when I should have elaborated. Gameplay- what do you actually "DO" in a game. Is it hard or easy based on one's skill level. Is what the developer is trying to do coming across to the player be it gunplay, racing, RPG, etc. And I would leave it at that.

When reviewers start comparing to other titles, docking it for what it doesn't have instead of what it does have and if its done well(as each developer has a different skill level in making games), that's when a review turns me off.

I think of reviews how journalists get news. Stick to the fundamentals of basic knowledge gathering and providing it for the reviewer. But leave the personal bias out of the review.

FinalFantasyFanatic115d ago

Reviews should try to be as objective as possible, not what happens though when it comes to journalism. You should judge the game on each aspect and how it meshes together overall. A persona who is interested in purchasing a title wants to figure out if said title is worth their time and purchase or if it's even tailored to their tastes.