ZombieNinjaPanda (User)

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"No Name" Reviewers: More Credible than "Big Name" Sites

ZombieNinjaPanda | 527d ago
User blog

There, I said it. The no-name little reviewers that people only hear about when they give big games bad scores are much more credible than the big review sites out there. I'm sure many of you are reading that title and that first sentence and you must be thinking I am insane, or a crazy fan boy that has an agenda against so called "Triple A Exclusives". But in light of the recent Halo 4 review "fiasco", I'm starting to get annoyed by the idiotic things I've seen being said (or written in this case) on various sites, including N4g, in defense of everyone's favorite exclusive titles. I myself am a reviewer. Not of video games but of music. I listen to an album several times and then attempt to review it in the most unbiased way I can. Integrity is something that to me is of the utmost importance, and if my views are biased, I make sure to express this very clearly and concisely. But many video game reviewers have lost that integrity. This has been an issue that has plagued the video game industry and "video game journalism" (let's be honest here, video game journalism is laughable at best) since the very introduction of the modern generation.

Concerning the big name reviewers such as IGN, Destructoid, Gametrailers, Game Informer and the rest of the cast, I believe their opinions and reviews towards the titles that have been released lately are less valid than the no-name sites. Of these most recently include Quarter To Three and Tom Chick's infamous Halo 4 review and BigPond's review.

Why would I think that reviewers like IGN, handing out 8's, 9's, and 10's like candy; aren't a trust-worthy review source? Well let's start at that point. Reviews have lost a lot of credibility in my eyes. Review scores especially, have become a joke. From both the fan's views of games to the actual reviewer's views, that little 9 out of 10 given to the most recent release means nothing to me anymore. It shouldn't mean anything to you either. The problem is that high scores are given out for everything and anything. This, in my eyes has greatly damaged if not completely destroyed the integrity of any of these reviews. Many times scores don't match up with their actual review content. With the review being harsh and full of critique (Something I don't see often) and the score given being an 8 or 9 out of 10.

But not only does it affect the credibility of the review, it messes with the mentality of those people who read the reviews (or just glance at the score, which is done by the majority of you). The Review System normally works on a certain set of numbers. 1 through 10, or 1 through 5. Obviously the latter translating directly to the previous one. Also there are occasionally given letter grades similar to how high school grading works. In this case I am focusing on the first number system used. The problem that review scores have caused in the minds of the reader is that no one understands how they work anymore. Everyone believes that there are only five numbers, 5 through 10, and nothing else exists. I've read comments describing a 5 out of 10 as a bug filled, borderline unplayable game. I can tell you for certain that that's not the case at all. A 5/10 is supposed to directly translate to 'average'. In my view, an average title is something that can be played, can be enjoyed, but doesn't excel or do anything well enough to warrant a higher score. It's not a bad game per se, and it certainly isn't unplayable. It seems to me that people and reviewers especially are forgetting the other numbers 1 - 4 on the scale. Thus creating an expectation of games to never reach below that threshold of 7 through 10, or else they are terrible.

But the inane reviews and review scores that don't match up are only a part of the reasons why the big name reviewers have less credibility. Take this into consideration: Sites like IGN, Gametrailers, etc have a staff. That staff is employed, so that means they're paid just like anyone else's job does. Ask yourself, who pays their salaries? Well depending on the specific site, some of them are paid by the publishers of the video game industry themselves. So they have an incentive to give out good review scores, their job might rely on them avoiding flaws and giving good scores.

There is one major reason as to why reviewers would be more inclined to give out primarily good review scores to major titles. The fanbases. Advertisements are another way these websites make their money. Whether it be the amount of hits, or the ads clicked on, their revenue is generated this way. What happens when an amazing review score is given to a game? It generates hits and people visit the site. Since they agree with the amazing score, they will visit site more often. What happens with a negative primarily bad score though? While the initial backlash will generate them more hits, people will most likely boycott that website since they do not agree with that single review. Ultimately costing the website hits and advertising money.

All this criticism towards the 'big players' in the media however doesn't mean that the smaller ones don't have their own share of faults. It's true that because many of them aren't on the payroll of many industry giants they don't have an agenda to meet, but they still may use underhanded tactics to gain attention. Sites such as Quarter To Three with Tom Chick's review will write a harsh critique of the game, but then score it too low. In this case a 1 star out of 5 review. This tactic obviously used to generate hits on the site from the fan boys and girls who cannot handle any form of negative critique. This also damages the integrity of their reviews, in the same way that countless high scores do.

Ultimately, what I hope people will understand after reading this blog post is that there should be a demand for change on this side of the industry. Games shouldn't be given 9's and 10's due to having that Halo name, or that Call of Duty, God of War, Gran Turismo name. Reviews shouldn't be a summary of the game with a high score slapped on. But at the same time, they shouldn't be underhanded tactics meant to garner a sudden surge of hits to make money or to get their website's name out. So please look at all the points I've given, realize that there is a full range of numbers towards the grading system of games and other media too. And then use that knowledge to understand if a review has been written to actually review a title or to just please a group of people.

dedicatedtogamers  +   527d ago
I'm pretty much done with reviews (having done them myself on an amateur website a couple of years ago). Reviews are paid advertisements that are several paragraphs instead of just a few bombastic catch-phrases.

The change I want to see is this: any new game needs to have a demo released 1 week prior to release. It's really that simple, folks. Players can play your game and see for themselves. And before anyone says "but sometimes the demo doesn't do the game justice", here's the deal: if you can't make a competent demo, then I question your ability to make a worthwhile full-sized game. Plus, if 1-week-early demos became the industry standard, I'm sure devs would quickly adapt to the new demand for demos.

But of course, everything these days is propped up by massive hype and advertisement, so my idea will never come to pass, because that would require devs to be honest about their product prior to selling it.
ZombieNinjaPanda  +   527d ago
That's another issue. Most games have no demo, so people need to rely on videos and reviews. And both aren't completely reliable since previews will attempt to only show off the good in convenient compilations, and well..I have this blog post and reviews.
NewMonday  +   527d ago
like minded gamers are who i take opinions from, tats my way for many years.
-Mezzo-  +   527d ago
Great Blog, Great Read.

It's been a long time since i last bought a game Based on Reviews or it's Metacritic Score.

There's only 2 reason that validate a purchase for me, 'My Friends Are buying it or I myself am Interested In It' and that's how it should be for everyone.
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But if i had to choose between the Reviews of 'IGN, GameSpot, DTOID, Kotaku etc' or some Review on a 'Blogspot's - No Name Blog', i will definitely go with the 'No Name Blog' because he's a Gamer & not a Journalist who (Most Likely) wouldn't even review that Game if it wasn't for his Job.

That's why i believe that Video Games 'Average Score' on N4G holds more weight than the MetaCritic's 'Average Score'.
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Other than that i have nothing to add, as i agree with everything 'ZNP' has mentioned in his blog.
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-GametimeUK-  +   527d ago
Well, I tend to go off reviews or a brief flick of a meta score if I know little about a game. Sure the actual number doesn't really matter to me, but its more about the range of numbers. I typically go between 80 and 100. The system has never failed me. Sometimes I think some games that score 81 are better than some that score 90+, but that is just the way it is.

I fully trust looking in to multiple review sources before purchasing a game because my tastes seem to fit the standards as these review sites. I could think a game "looks" cool, but if I buy it based on looks and it turns out to be crap then it is a waste of money.

I would never buy a game for the sole reason that "my friends are buying it", but I will usually buy a game of a franchise that I am interested in (Uncharted as an example because I trust the franchise to deliver).
ZoyosJD  +   526d ago
I believe "my friends are buying it" is a completely legitimate reason to purchase a game.

I can have more fun playing a decent game with friends than a wonderful game all alone.

As long as I can connect with my friends with ease and we can all enjoy it (even to different extents), it would be just as worthwhile as another experience that sucks you in.

Z-O-Y-O-S
Kratoscar2008  +   527d ago
In my case i read multiple user reviews and read what the features of the game are and regardless of the score i choose the game based on the features i recognize i would like.

For that end i read reviews with scores like 8 or 7, so far it has worked wonders.

I never had buyed a game based on bigsite reviews. Good BLOG.
bunfighterii  +   527d ago
Bought
Kratoscar2008  +   526d ago
Thanks i tought i did it right oh well.
SilentNegotiator  +   527d ago
I trust only reviewers that don't directly benefit/lose from humping/killing a game.

Example:
Ben of Zero Punctuation. He makes lots of jokes, but despite that, manages to make some of the most insightful reviews on the internet when it comes to the gameplay.
smashcrashbash  +   526d ago
I agree fully. Yatzee is not afraid to say what is wrong with a game and that is why so many people hate him or don't take him seriously. People accuse him of all sorts of things like hating shooters or being a Nintendo hater but he understands the low levels of gaming people have come to accept. That reviewers have come to a point where they toss high scores to popular games and then save all their harshness and nitpicking for smaller or less popular titles. He is one of the few people who don't pretend or doesn't hold back and he doesn't give a crap what you think. He gives his opinion and stands his ground with no apologizes or pandering to fanboys.He is like reviewers from long ago. They give their opinion and score and didn't care what you thought. Deal with it. Either you listen to me or you don't. It is up to you if you want to believe me or not.He is not afraid to say 'I don't like this Mario, COD, Halo or Gears of War game'. He was the one who saw Resistance 3 for the awesome shooter it was. If he likes something you can guarantee the game is a buy. If more reviewers were like him we would have better games and developers would make sure their games are polished and have substance before they go gold.
bunfighterii  +   527d ago
I'll be honest, I depend on reviews- but not the score, rather its content (what the reviewer actually says about the game). As you said, sometimes big name review sites will criticise the hell out of a game and still give it a pass mark. We all know now that reviews require a bit of translating, but I find they're accurate often enough, except with big name franchises.
Jurat  +   526d ago
Some great points here.

I’ve always had a problem with the scoring systems prevalent in reviews these days. It’s the same for all media; it just adds to the tl:dr culture of apathy, where people place more emphasis on the number of stars than any of the content of a particular article. If I ever get around to having a blog, it will be absent of any scores.

It’s also disconcerting when you hear what some publishers do to garner praise from critics, lavishing them with all expenses trips and goodie bags of exclusive merchandise. Even the most forthright reviewer would struggle to maintain any kind of integrity in those circumstances.
byeGollum  +   526d ago
Very well said ZombieNinjaPanda. It's good to know that there's at least someone else out there who still has a reasonable sense of the review scale.

I prefer to read reviews by fellow gamers. This type of reviews is particularly not over written most of time, straight to the point, and usually a reasonable score.

I never bother to read reviews by 'big name sites', usually walls of text, multiple pages, and a high reviews score on the last page.

Ever since I began to ignore the hype and incredible reviews I haven't been misled.
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Twosouls   526d ago | Spam
vortis  +   525d ago
Well written, well argued. I agree.

I don't even bother reading reviews from big sites anymore. I see the arbitrary "7 - 10" ratings and skip over them entirely. I just don't feel like subjecting myself to their shill-tastic bullcrap anymore.
Rage_S90  +   525d ago
Can i have your babies?
moegooner88  +   521d ago
You may only conceive from members of the Kutaragi approved list, as for blog, brilliantly written ZNP, it sums up exactly how I feel atm regarding reviews.

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