The Problem With Writing A Game Review.
I started writing Video Game reviews about 2 years ago on the Playstation Forums, just a little bit before I became an MVP there. I think my first review was for Cross Edge. None of the MVPs had shown any interest in the game and there were quite a few posters curious about the game. I took it upon myself to write up my own review of the game because I enjoyed my experience with it.
A video game review, for better or for worse, is largely determined by the review's personal opinion. There are some things that are fact, such as release date and platform. When it comes to what some might feel to be fact, such as a game breaking glitch, uneven gameplay mechanics, frustrating camera controls or poor graphics are really opinion.
What one gamer considers to be acceptable in a game, another will find to be a major flaw. I enjoyed Final Fantasy XIII's story line, but many I know hated it. I found Cross Edge to be a beautiful game, but many I know thought it was sub par. Quite a number of gamers find the Grand Theft Auto series to be a great gaming experience, but I can't get into it. A lot of Final Fantasy fans hail FF VII or FF X as being their ideal game. I found both to be mediocre. Decent, but not great. All of that, is opinion. It doesn't make me right, but it doesn't make me wrong either. Nearly every game out there will have those who love it, and those who hate it.
To give an example, the PS3 version of Skyrim is condemned by many as being a broken game. To me a broken game is one that is unplayable by anyone, at all. I have yet to come across a fully broken game. I am not saying that the game is unplayable by many, but I am saying that even if half the gamers out there can't play the game at all after their files get to 9MB in size, there are still many gamers who can play their game past that point.
I was one of the lucky ones. I was able to play Skyrim with little problem. Most of the minor lag I experienced was nothing more than a minor nuisance. When I wrote it, I'd put 20 hours of play time in and had seen not even the slightest frame rate drop. When it was published, no one had been experiencing any problems. But within a day of writing, some gamers started to post threads about their troubles with Skyrim.
It took a few days for the full effect to be felt across the gaming community. PS3 owners affected were irrate, rightfully so. But I can't write about something I haven't experienced. I still stand by my original review for the most part, although I would change the game play commentary some and lower the score a tad bit from the few minor issues I had. After all, minor flaws are still flaws and keep something from being perfect.
It would be great if there was a way to write a video game review and be 100% objective about the subject. But our feelings get in the way. We use colorful adjectives to describe what we've experience. The graphics are gorgeous. The voice acting was horrendous. The combat was boring. We want readers to be able to identify with us and be as excited or dismayed by the game in question as we are.
But each review is the basic opinion of the author. Not everyone will agree with what we say. I caught a bit of flack with a few gamers who thought my review of Uncharted 3 should have been a perfect 10. I gave it a 9.5/10. It was a great game, but the game play was just a bit bland in my opinion. There was nothing new to experience and sometimes it felt as if my opponents shrugged off point blank shots that should have wiped them out, especially in multi-player. Not to mention the bad guys had impeccable aim from half a mile off.
I love video games. Been playing them a very long time. I also seem to have a bit more tolerance for minor things than others do. I write my reviews from my experience, based off what I look for in a game. I will not write about things I haven't experienced. I will not praise an aspect I feel is flawed. But I also admit that my reviews are my opinion. As all reviews I've ever read have been.