Sadly, traditional RPGs really aren't what they used to be. That's true. But there is one phenomenon that may indicate something different…

The first White Knight Chronicles didn't fare so well in the critical world; the Metacritic average sits at only 64, despite many role-playing aficionados defending Level-5's effort. Now, the second WKC is available in Europe (US gamers have to wait until September) and yet again, we're finding the exact same discrepancy between reviewers and fans. And what's the primary source of conflict?

Critic: "Bah, it's just old and outdated. Nobody wants games like this, anymore."

RPG fan: "Um, yeah, we do."

When we awarded the original White Knight Chronicles an 8.5, we knew what we were doing. We knew what type of gamer would enjoy such a production, and we knew there were more of them out there than big publishers – and critics – seem to think. The game wasn't broken or bad; the second probably isn't broken or bad. Both simply seem "old" and the sequel is just "more of the same."

So no wonder developers have no interest in creating traditional RPGs anymore. The critics will hate them, which will in turn have an immediate impact on sales. And if that's going to happen, why bother?

Related Game(s): White Knight Chronicles 2

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TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

YES!

Yes, the critic are killing the genre. Even critics who gave WKC a relatively rough landing are giving the sequel a rougher landing for being what it is. Not because it's a bad game but because it is what it is.

Why are reviewers/critics doing this? That's what I want to know. If a game is a good solid RPG, then why tear it to shreds for being a good solid RPG? As you point out, that's what RPG fans want, good solid RPGs. Is this some weird fashion thing where it's fashionable for reviewers to pour scorn on a genre?

Either way, I'm sick of it. Some reviews of RPGs have been absolutely derisive.


Last edited by TheHighlander on 7/7/2011 11:23:11 AM

shadowscorpio
shadowscorpio
9 years ago

Couldn't agree more.

Nlayer
Nlayer
9 years ago

I feel like critics do this kind of thing to other genres as well. Good games get low scores it seems. Bad games get high scores.

Can we just get rid of reviews all together? Why must we have a "score" for a game? Why can't critics just share their opinions without giving a silly number. If they got rid of the number, maybe people would actually try the game themselves instead of making a judgement based on seeing low scores. (Because we all know everyone doesn't actually read the reviews, they just look to the score)

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

You shouldn't be shocked over it though Highlander. Reviews have killed more then one game.

It's why I believe that there should be a governing body over the review system and the individual reviews.

Reviewers, as professionals, must have accountability. For example, If I, as a designer release an incomplete set construction documents, I will have to answer for it with State and Local officials. If the review industry already has something similar in place, please Ben, correct me on this.

jimmyhandsome
jimmyhandsome
9 years ago

You want state or federal goverment bodies to oversee reviews of movies and videogames? No, this isn't communist China. Reviewers should be held to a standard, but by readers not a governing body.

You take review scores with a grain of salt. inFamous 2 I believed average an 84 or so on metacritic, I personally think its in the low to mid 90s. People have different opinions, and unfortunately there alot of hack journalists and reviewers out there.

In terms of RPG review scores I'm sure that critics butcher scores. You need to be educated on who is reviewing it and what type of games they like.

Clamedeus
Clamedeus
9 years ago

I don't look at reviews or scores for a game,

(Mind you I do read them, but that isn't my main focus point of purchasing a game whether or not the author liked it or didn't like it and what score they gave it)

I look at video's and if it catches my eye's and I like what I'm seeing I will do more research on it, if it hits home I will buy it. I do that with all of my games. I didn't buy any of my games because of review scores.


Last edited by Clamedeus on 7/7/2011 4:45:02 PM

Lotusflow3r
Lotusflow3r
9 years ago

I'm 42hrs in WKC2….

All on here who liked the original are going to doubly love it. I PROMISE you.

The improvements are fantastic, the story is now gripping, ive grown attached to the characters and it's very imaginative.

It captures the old school, golden era charm at the same time as giving you something new.

It has flaws, but they don't stand out over all the things it does right.

I'm hooked. I'm captivated and i'm getting "the feeling" you don't get with today's rpgs.

My theory is that the West just wants to beat the east at everything and just brush off the root so they can plant their own…NEVER GONNA HAPPEN.
Eventually, everything comes back home and the industry will go back to Japan.

As long as we have our Level 5's, From Software's, Team Ico, Sony's and more…it's all good.


Last edited by Lotusflow3r on 7/7/2011 7:52:10 PM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Max, I'm not talking about a single game, and neither was Ben, they're killing a genre.

Jimmy, I'm not sure what is up with your reply, I made no mention of politics so let's keep the government creep paranoia elsewhere please.

Nlayer
Nlayer
9 years ago

@Highlander – I think Jimmy was responding to Max about the government stuff.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Nlayer,

OK, I wish he'd have included who that was directed at since it was a reply under my original comment. But I see that, thanks.

jimmyhandsome
jimmyhandsome
9 years ago

Sowwy 🙁

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

jimmyhandsome –

You either failed to read what I posted or didn't understand it. Only reasons I can think of to explain your "communistic" comments.

I am a professional designer of light commercial and residential projects. I am currently taking steps to earn my Architect Seal. My point? As a professional, I am bound by laws through various local and federal organizations (btr dot com). It is my opinion, that reviewers and websites who offer reviews should be bound by something similar to this. As professionals, it should be something they embrace, for it would separate those are serious from those who blog.

Highlander –

I know. But my point was that how many reviews have trashed a game (some deserving) and as result cost someone's job? A closure of company? I am all for reviewers and critics informing the consumers of low quality titles, but considering that reviews for any given title are usually all over the place, all that shows that there isn't a standard in place.

Eventually, I see some governing body in place to separate the tabloids (Destructiod)from the professional (PSXE) sites. This business is getting big enough, wouldn't you agree?

jimmyhandsome
jimmyhandsome
9 years ago

Maybe I misunderstood what you meant by "governing body" but I interpreted it as having a government or organization that regulated or somehow controlled review scores. I think thats highly unnecessary, even with the amount of crappy websites out there.

I take it that your Architect Seal is some sort of certification from the state you live in, correct? I think that the two are very different in terms of being regulated. Its necessary that you as a professional need to follow those state guidelines. Reviews and review scores of videogames or anything else are just people's opinions of a new product. I don't think we need anyone but ourselves to regulate that? And how would you determine what you call a tabloid and what you consider professional?

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

Oh no, these agencies don't control everything, but for example, what the BTR does for architects and engineers is provide guidelines for each professional to follow while creating construction documents. Now while it's up to the individual first and foremost to provide a service to the best of their abilities and do what's "right", there have been cases in which that doesn't happen.

Another example I want to point out is to take a look at the Association of Food Journalists. It's set in place not to tell food critics what to do, but it offers a standard for ethical conduct and credibility. All agencies whether they are associations or state jurisdictions are very similar in that regard. In my opinion, this is very similar to the video game reviews and reviewers.

Yes, I understand the reviews are opinions, but in some cases, some of what's covered in the review is factual such as graphical and frame-rate issues. But most reviews have statements such as "boring" (for example) in place, which in all likelihood, it may be isolated to the reviewer himself due to their dislike of the genre. You or I may find the game-play very fulfilling.

When it comes to what separates a tabloid from a serious site, it's pretty obvious to most of us since we come here. I know it's why I do! I don't have to navigate through the attention grabbing articles or reviews that are heavily biased. In my eyes, PSXE is cut above the rest for this very reason.


Last edited by maxpontiac on 7/8/2011 12:23:15 PM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

I do think the business is big enough Max, but in the US regulation is the devil's work, so you likely won't see any kind of governing body – unless market forces create one…

Anyway…..What would help a lot if is both Google and Metacritic were more discerning in their decisions about what is a real news site and what is a blog.

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

Excellent point Highlander, and thanks for discussing this with me (as with the others too).

Well, the reviewers and authors can easily create an Association. The small firm I am currently with is a charter member with a local building association. It is an entity that has help separate the license contractors who are serious from those who fly by night.

Right now, video game review sites are a dime a dozen. Why? Tons of intelligent people out there play video games, and have access to internet. It's not a bad thing, but separates one critic from another? What do you think it would take for a governing body to come into effect?


Last edited by maxpontiac on 7/8/2011 3:12:00 PM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Hmmm… great question.

I think that if there was enough willingness to create a trade association, then there really should (in that case) be enough willingness to start demanding actual journalism qualifications. Whether through verifiable work experience or educational qualifications. But that would only be a voluntary trade association – something like the chartered engineers, but with far fewer teeth.

The thing is that without some kind of regulatory basis how does such a body do anything? It comes down to peer pressure. I don't know if you've read Ben's editorials on the subject, but it's clear that most print journalists don't have a high view of gaming journalism in general – presumably for the same reasons we are discussing this now.

I just can't see how a trade association could help the situation though since everyone with an IQ above their shoe laces can get online and have a website to play with.

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

Critics are killing more then RPG genre, and it's nothing new. It's why certain games get reviews that ignore issues while other games get faulted for it. For the record, PSXE does not do this.

On topic, and I speak only as a new person to the RPG genre, I am glad traditional RPG's are becoming a thing of the past. Why? My favorite games to play are Fallout and Dragon Age.

The action RPG is the way to go.


Last edited by maxpontiac on 7/7/2011 11:35:39 AM

coverton341
coverton341
9 years ago

Both Fallout and Dragon Age are good franchises, but why would you be glad that traditional RPGs are becoming a thing of the past? That is equivalent to wanting simulation racers to become obsolete because you only like arcade racers. Why can't both options live harmoniously together so that fans of either flavour can have what they enjoy?

I think that this way of thinking is doing more damage to the gaming variety than critics alone. The "my way is better so the other should go away" mentality that seems to permeate the thinking these days.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Max, Coverton nailed you with his post, and he's 100% correct in his post.

FM23
FM23
9 years ago

Yeah, I think I should say thank god for action RPG's instead of saying…too hell with classic RPGS…lol

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

Coverton – Well, for one, if Dragon Age and Fallout played like a traditional turn based game, I would have never bought it, nor gotten to enjoy two of my favorite series.

I stand corrected. Perhaps I should have said I am glad "action" RPG's seem to be replacing the traditional ones.

coverton341
coverton341
9 years ago

Again max you seem to be glad that one genre is fading away. That is entirely your prerogative but I don't see why anyone should be happy that one genre is going away in place to another. Again I feel like the more the merrier. Traditional RPGs have just as much place as action RPGs. I don't see why Dragon Age and Fallout (which started out as a PC exclusive turn-based 3/4 view mind you) can't coexist along side White Knight Chronicles and the like. I personally enjoy both and am sad to see traditional RPGs go the wayside because of this mentality that people seem to have that since they don't like it there is no place for it.

I hate football games but I don't hope that Rugby games start to replace them. I loath arcade racers but I don't want them to disappear and be replaced solely by sims. You know why I don't want that to happen? Because everyone deserves to be able to enjoy their chosen genre of games regardless of my preferences.

cLoudou
cLoudou
9 years ago

"I wish WRPGs would die" is what I would be saying since I prefer traditional turn based RPGs, but I've learned to accept it and I actually enjoyed Mass Effect 2.

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

Max, you and usually see eye to eye but on this one we must part ways. Games like Fallout 3 and Dragon Age are not even in the same league in terms of quality, game play, character development, presentation or story telling as franchises like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and countless other JRPG's. If Fallout 3 and Dragon Age are an indication of the future of RPG's, I consider the genre dead.


Last edited by Jawknee on 7/7/2011 1:45:24 PM

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

coverton341 –

You are making an assumption. I am not glad traditional RPG's are shrinking in popularity. I am however glad the action RPG's are becoming the norm.

I absolutely love the characters and stories from Dragon Age (for example), but I am glad I can still play it in real time, and with two, I can press the button manually.

Jawknee –

Yeah, well, we can't always see eye to eye! I believe if the trend continues with "action RPG's" fans such as yourself will continue to be in the minority.

coverton341
coverton341
9 years ago

"I should have said I am glad "action" RPG's seem to be replacing the traditional ones."

" I am glad traditional RPG's are becoming a thing of the past."

I don't think with these two statements that I am making an assumption. Rather I am going off of your own words and responding to that. Replacing one genre for another and being happy about it says you are happy one is being replaced by the other not that you are glad there are a lot of action RPGs.

Saying you are glad that traditional RPGs are becoming a thing of the past is not saying you are glad that there are more action RPGs.

Sorry if I read that wrong but I honestly can't think of any other way to take it other than you being happy that a genre that other people like is seemingly disappearing in favour of a genre that you prefer.

If what you mean to say is that you are glad you found some action RPGs that you enjoy, then more power to you and I am glad you found something you can enjoy. I don't think anyone should be glad that variety is disappearing in gaming though.

Nlayer
Nlayer
9 years ago

I don't think Max was trying to say that he wants the old RPGs to die out. I think he was trying to say he enjoyed developers making the western style of RPGs instead of making the older style of them. There's nothing wrong with that view.

My view: I'm a big fan of Final Fantasy 7 since it released, but I enjoy Mass Effect 2 a whole lot more nowadays. I love to see new Mass Effect style of games currently. Not as much as I do with FF7 style of games. Why? Well, the old RPGs were great back in the day, but now I think the western style is what's good right now. In another ten years I'll probably not be looking forward to any Western style RPGs, but instead whatever else is popular/good at the time in the future. This is my view, however, and you certainly do not have to own it. I just think that everything evolves. I like the old RPG style because of the nostalgia it gives me(But an entirely new game with old RPG elements doesn't do much to me nowadays).

Please don't let nostalgia blind your view when talking with others.

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

coverton341 –

No need to apologize, but since it is MY opinion that I am speaking about, of course it's going to come off that way. This isn't as black or white as you (and others) make it sound. I am a huge fan of Gran Turismo. Does that mean I want Burnout to fade away. No. Make sense?!

With RPG's going the "action" route, I have been treated to an experience that no other TPS or FPS can deliver.

So yeah, I am thrilled with the prospect of more "action" RPG's coming out. If that means the death of traditional JRPG's and the like, so be it. I have compassion for folks like you, but it might end up just be a case of you having to move on or adapt to the change your genre is experiencing.

Nlayer –

Thank you for understanding what I am saying. I am currently playing Dragon Age 2 right now, and dare I say, I love it! Perhaps even more then the first!!

I agree with your last statement. Nostalgia plays a huge part in peoples opinion whether they want to admit it or not!!


Last edited by maxpontiac on 7/8/2011 10:16:41 AM

Xombito
Xombito
9 years ago

I don't really follow what critics are scoring games anymore. I read too many that just seem off. I think most critics have completely lost touch of what makes a game fun anymore and just based their reviews in current trends and being over objective. I played too many games that were deemed either awful or mediocre but had a blast playing.

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
9 years ago

maybe, although i feel the rise of twitch gaming and military fps are more to blame. it is really game sales that dictate what games get made. review score can impact game sales, though.
the bottom line is this… if traditional jrpgs sold enough copies publishers would be more than happy to make them, right? i often wonder about that. i would love to see a full budget traditional jrpg made and thrown out there to see what really happens.

it's strange becuase there has been a history of some really high scoring games that do not sell. so it seems like review scores do not always have an impact on games sales. a low metacritic score can seem to affect game sales pretty negatively, however. duke nukem comes to mind.

i'd be real curious to know what japanese gamers thought about wkc2.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

The thing is, that gamers on the fence read reviews and when a game gets abused by the critics, it does have an impact. If you want to see the disparity between review scores and game quality, you can look at the difference between the critical apprasal at somewhere like Metacritic, and then compare it against the kind of user reviews at Amazon or Metacritic.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

I agree with you guys here, but Highlander, that specific point about user reviews it not valid imo. user ratings mostly is a question of either full score or no score, and by far most often full score.

Why? Cause it's mostly the fan boys or haters that *bother*, and fan boys are in the majority.

Just browse user ratings at Amazon or Play and try to calculate the average score across all products. I'd not be surprised if the *average* were 4.5/5 stars.


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/7/2011 12:57:49 PM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Beamboom, that's why you have to look at the user reviews. On amazon I look at the pattern of scores and then sample the reviews to gauge whether it's a fanboy reaction or honest reviews. I mentioned the metacritic user reviews because I'd already mentioned Metacritc for critics reviews. However their user reviews are very prone to the fanboy voting. YOu can read the posted reviews there to make your own mind up, but Metacritic is very vulnerable to skewed voting. Amazon is far less vulnerable to that.

However if you do go look, you can see what I am referring to, and in the majority of cases it's actually valid. Sufficiently to make the general case that for RPGs critical reviews are overly harsh and perhaps even biased – in my opinion.

SayWord
SayWord
9 years ago

Famitsu gave wkc2 a 33/40. They said the story was so-so but they loved the gameplay saying it was a lot better than the first. (I liked the first one and I would trust japanese reviewers on jrpgs more so than western at this point).

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

High, I see what you mean and indeed there have been times where the user reviews have been *good* too.
Good user reviews do exist. And when used carefully they may be of good value.

However I put *far* more trust into the professional reviews. I simply find the typical pro review to be *way* more balanced, objective and fair than the typical user review. So when a difference is found, I'd say almost always the pro review score is closest to the objective truth (to the degree such a thing can even exist).


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/7/2011 1:56:43 PM

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
9 years ago

i was able to find the review scores of wkc in famitsu. it got 7/8/7/7. 29/40 which comes to 72.5 score. the first game did not impress the mag very much, and its online mode was heavily criticised.

wkc2 has faired better with a score of 8/8/9/8 33/40 that comes 82.5. the mag praises the improvements made so that's good news..


Last edited by Excelsior1 on 7/7/2011 3:02:52 PM

Lotusflow3r
Lotusflow3r
9 years ago

WKC2 had good reviews and loads better user feedback in Japan.

Here in Europe, the message board in-game on WKC2 is full of people saying this is what FF13 should of been or how much they're loving it

Looking Glass
Looking Glass
9 years ago

@Beamboom

You clearly haven't read IGN's so-called "review" of Atelier Rorona. It's utterly disgusting.

The professional reviews are generally subjective personal opinions too. The only real difference between them and the customer reviews is that people get paid to do them.

And I have indeed noticed them being more hostile toward certain kinds of games such as niche games like Afrika and Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes as well as JRPGs like Atelier Rorona and White Knight Chronicles.


Last edited by Looking Glass on 7/7/2011 10:47:56 PM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Looking_glass,

Indeed. That is a charming game and very solid and enjoyable at that. Of course my opinion is laid out in my user review.

One of the majors also gave HyperDimension Neptunia 2/10, and whatever that games issues are, it's at least playable, absolutely not a 2/10. But the criticisms are generally culturally based (not biased, *based*). What I mean is that the harsh criticism leveled at the games is rooted in cultural difference and a lack of understanding. It's not about whether the game is any good, it's often about belittling the art style or the character archetypes. Sometimes it borders on xenophobic.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

No I havent read that review, LG, and furthermore I don't even know the game so I would not be able to judge the review anyways.

And yes, you two may be very right in that the western media may generally devalue non-western culture in games. I believe that right away.
It makes perfect sense. We find the exact same to be true with movies. The further away from the western culture that movie is, the harder it is for it to gain a good reception and an audience in the western world. That's simply a fact. It's automatically labelled a niche movie the moment any other language than english is used.

That being said, I must say that the reviews I've read regarding WKC is pretty much spot on with my perception of the game. I guess I'm a more "typical westerner" than you guys, but I honestly believe that you have to have a particular affection for the japanese culture in order to rate these games much higher than its metascore.

* * *

Also, I must say that I really do not understand those of you who thumb down my statement that professional reviewers *generally speaking* write more reliable and realistic reviews than amateurs/fanboys. There are exceptions, yes, but give me just ten minutes and I'll return with a list of links to a HUNDRED outrageous, worthless user "reviews" that's not even *close* to the worst ever professional review. It's *too* easy, really. just click at some random game you know over at Play or Amazon and browse the user reviews. 8/10 are *pure trash*.


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/8/2011 5:24:12 AM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Beamboom, I disagree with what you're saying about needing to have an affection for the artistic style or cultural context of the game to see it in a more positive light. Yes professional reviewers typically write a better – asn in more sound – review of a game. But, let's face it, not every review written and published on every major site is written by a professional. There are a lot of jumped up bloggers pretending to be journalists out there now, and they are no better than you or I.

However with regard specifically to RPGs (and games of any genre), I understand what you're talking about with respect to having an affection for a culture. However, the job of a critic or a reviewer is to be more objective and analyze the game without cultural bias. When I see reviews that actively belittle the culture, art style or character archetypes inferring that they are some how inferior, or too simplistic or simply distasteful, then I know I am not dealing with an objective review or reviewer.

As I said; "What I mean is that the harsh criticism leveled at the games is rooted in cultural difference and a lack of understanding. It's not about whether the game is any good, it's often about belittling the art style or the character archetypes. " Just as you're saying that in your opinion you have to have an affection for particular things to see them in a more positive light. I can also point out that the opposite is true, if you have antipathy towards something, you will see it in a more negative light. When reviews contain what amounts to cultural superiority, there is not doubt about the negativity on display. As I said though, reviewers are supposed to be objective, and personally I feel that when reviewing a game you have three possible options, a reviewer that is completley and professionally objective, a reviewer with a cultural bias for the aesthetic and genre in the game, and a reviewer with a cultural bias against the aesthetic and genre in the game being reviewed. Why would you get the reviewer with the cultural bias against the aesthetic or genre to review the game?

Obviously you want the objective reviewer in an ideal situation. However if you cant' have that, at least with the positive spin on the culture and aesthetic you are giving the game the benefit of the doubt. The reviewer who dislikes the aesthetic or genre (or culture) will certainly produce a more negative review. It's not really sufficient to have a RPG reviewer review games that are within the JRPG either. Just in this article's comments alone you can see at least three subsets of bias, action RPGs, western RPGs and JRPGs. Reviewers have to be objective, and if anything they neet to be actively open to other cultures and understanding that whether they like the style or not, they still have to assess the game for what it is.

Look at Ben's Mass Effect 2 review. He freely admits that the setting and style of the game is not his cup of tea and then proceeds to fairly review the game without detectible bias. That is what I expect from reviews, and that is what I so very rarely see in reviews.


Last edited by TheHighlander on 7/8/2011 9:10:42 AM

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

High,
Amateurs are amateurs even if they are wrapped in a "professional" wrapping. I talk about true, *real* reviewers, working at magazines/sites you trust. Not bloggers or hobby sites. And, well, I haven't seen that widespread antipathy in professionals reviews that you refer to. I simply see them in a different light, at least if we talk about wkc, who are one of the few typical Japanese games I've read a lot about.

I do maintain my opinion that you have to be particulary fond of the "Japanese style" to rate wkc much higher than the meta-score. Just like I'd rate most Marvel games higher than their meta-score. That was actually a quite good comparison I came up with there. I do impress myself sometimes.

Other than that I think we basically agree in all you're saying here in your last post, also I got this feeling we've discussed this before? 😀

And yes, Ben's review of ME was indeed one of his few definitive highlights in an otherwise sea of darkness. (j/k Ben ;))
He's a stormtrooper, you know?

I look forward to get wkc2 and team up with you guys soon. mmo-style coop is definitely my cup of tea, being it of Japanese or western origins. 🙂


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/8/2011 9:53:24 AM

Looking Glass
Looking Glass
9 years ago

@Beamboom

True, some customer reviews tend to be unhelpful in one way or another and for one reason on another. Others on the other hand are different and may be helpful for one reason or another.

But it's the same with professional reviews. Professional reviewers have their own flaws and biases too. That's one of the reasons why it's not very wise to rely too heavily on them. And that's not even taking into account the issue of conflicts of interests involving publishers and/or developers (Can you say Jeff Gerstmann?)

Customer reviews, for all their flaws, are written from the point of view of average ordinary people, people who are just like the ones reading the reviews. And they tend to understand things that professional reviewers may not, such as the appeal of niche games and JRPGs among other things. And this sometimes rings true for other games as well. A good example would be The Fight: Lights Out. That game was largely drubbed by critics but on Amazon it currently, as of the time of this writing, has a 4.5 out of 5 rating based on 155 customer reviews. Professionals tend to fault games for things that may not matter all that much to ordinary consumers and their expectations and desires tend to be different from ordinary consumers. They may simply want different things than the consumers. Or simply put professionals are not always on the same page as the average, ordinary consumers. One of the best examples of this would probably be with the movie Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. On Rottentomatoes that movie has a critic rating of 20% but an audience rating of 76% and was a huge box office success.

If I were to put it more harshly and bluntly I might say something like "Professional reviews tend to be written by stuck up know-it-all types who are generally out of touch with the feelings and desires of average, ordinary people" (some people supposedly even pay for things like movie showings at least partially to spite critics/reviewers). Although I believe I should also note that I think Ben would be an exception to this. I don't always agree with him but he by all accounts seems to be more open-minded. And PSXE seems to be more consumer oriented than other review sites, which is one of the reasons I like it.

So the thing is while some customer reviews are more worthwhile than others there generally seems to be something more honest and open and certainly more relatable about them (and additionally I like the fact that Amazon gives consumers the option to rate individual customer reviews as either helpful or unhelpful). And of course, as is the case with the professional reviews and perhaps reviews in general, it's probably the wisest course of action to take in all of the customer reviews, or at least as many of them as you feel you need to, rather than limiting your scope too much.

But ultimately the best course of action for any person deciding whether or not to try and/or pay for a video game (or something else) would probably be to gather as much simple raw information about a game as possible (you don't necessary have to read a review to do this as there's always stuff like wikipedia and promotional materials and the like) and decide for his or herself whether or not it is right for him/her or at least whether or not it's worth a try. Listening to other people's opinions (both the positive and negative ones) is fine but it ultimately all comes down to the person and what he/she likes and/or wants.


Last edited by Looking Glass on 7/8/2011 9:47:43 AM

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

I understand your logic LG, I just fundamentally disagree in your conclusions, cause they do not harmonize with my experiences.

To put it very simple: Of all my ps3 games I think the metascore is fair (meaning within the realms of my own rating of that game) on *all* but one single title. One single exception, that's all. Please note that I'm talking about the metascores here. There's been single reviews now and then I've disagreed with, but the consensus amongst the sites scanned by gamerankings I've nearly always agreed with.

User reviews basically have just been of use to me in those cases where they contain some factual information. A very typical example is info about subtitles on a given bluray-release that are missing from the product description. In *those* cases user reviews are gold. But that's really not part of the actual "review" anyways.

I'd like to add one more exception btw: The user reviews over at imdb com. Some of those guys are exceptionally good, but I'd hardly call some of them "amateurs" either. Plus, a title has typically like five HUNDRED user reviews each, so it's almost unavoidable that some of them are good. 😀


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/8/2011 10:22:20 AM

Looking Glass
Looking Glass
9 years ago

@Beamboom

So it seems that you don't consider any factual information included in a user review to be part of a review. That seems to be a point open to debate right there but never mind that. In any case by that logic the same would also be true for the professional reviews and any factual information they contain. And in professional reviews (and perhaps reviews in general) it doesn't seem to always be a simple matter to separate the fact from the opinion.

As for the rest of the stuff you just said: fair enough. Professional reviewers are not always on the same page as average, ordinary consumers but sometimes they are.

But my point is that it's not particularly wise to rely too heavily on them because professional reviewers have their own flaws and biases too (that's of course not only reason). This is especially obvious with how they tend to treat certain kinds of games. And just because you may do something unwise repeatedly with no resulting negative outcome, like driving without buckling your seatbelt, that doesn't make doing it any less unwise. And just because you personally have not really been burned (or at least been at odds with) all that much by these flaws and biases of professional reviewers that doesn't mean that they're not there and that also doesn't make my point any less valid.


Last edited by Looking Glass on 7/8/2011 11:11:37 AM

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

Yeah I do differ between fact and review. Facts are objective product information. Like this:

Artist: BeamBoom
Album: The Boom Of The Beam
Tracks: 12
Duration: 1:24
Genre: Dubstep

This is not a review. Sure, facts are often included in a review, but a review is a qualitative human consideration of a given product. This is a review:

"With Beambooms latest album he's really showing how low you can go. Quite literary; Never have I heard a lower bass recorded on tape."

That's a kind of a review. Well, at least part of one.
So yeah I separate between facts and opinions.


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/8/2011 12:01:27 PM

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

I forgot to add the words "in my opinion" above but of course, these are all just my views on this topic. Hastily written too.
I'd like to add one thing to the "facts vs review" topic: Facts tell nothing about the *quality* of the product. "Norwegian subtitles" say nothing about how good the movie is. "Dubstep" tells nothing about how good that album is. That's what you want to know when you read a review.

Regarding to rely too heavily on the reviews: No of course not, there we agree 100%. They are just guidelines, a source of inputs. I have deliberately bought games that are rated below my general limit (80%) quite a few times (ref: Marvel games), and will do so again with Madness Returns, for instance. I do however not expect my personal rating of that game to be radically higher than the meta-score of 73%. Maybe I'll go as high as 76% (I dunno yet) but that's still what I consider to be within the range of the metascore.


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/8/2011 12:29:27 PM

Looking Glass
Looking Glass
9 years ago

@Beamboom

Let's not forget that quality itself is generally a subjective thing. "One man's trash is another man's treasure" as they say.

And yes one shouldn't rely too heavily on reviews. But I think this is especially true for professional reviews because as I've said they tend to fail to understand the appeal of certain games or certain kinds of games. In which case it's good to hear from the people that the games do appeal to: average, ordinary consumers. Sometimes they even call out the professional reviewers. And of course ordinary consumers may also (and sometimes do) highlight unappealing things that the professional reviewers may overlook for whatever reason. Possibly a need to foster a relationship with the publisher and/or developer.

In any case I believe that the customer reviews are important because they provide a fresh alternate perspective on things (there are other reasons of course). I think this is why Highlander suggested looking at both the professional AND customer reviews. To get the best perspective possible. Of course I personally prefer the customer reviews for reasons that I think I've already established. Among them being that I myself am an average ordinary consumer so therefore I am interested in what other average ordinary consumers think.

But as for you, you have often agreed with the professional reviews. I understand that. But all the same my advice (not that you actually seem to need it or anything) would be to not to put too much stock in them or rely too much on them and ultimately make your own decisions.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Regarding game reviews. I am honestly more likely to pay attention to a reviewer who I know likes RPGs when it comes to reviews of RPGS. I mean, if you have a reviewer that doesn't like or is not familiar with the genre, then they will review the game from a point of view that already starts in unfamiliar and uncomfortable (out of their comfort zone) territory. A reviewer who likes the genre and/or is familiar with the genre will give a fairer appraisal (in my opinion) of a game in that genre.

So if you have a reviewer that really doesn't care for JRPGs and normally plays shooters and you have a second reviewer who plays lots of RPGs and is OK with JRPGs (not their preference, but they are familiar with them). If you look at those two reviewers, which is likely to give a fairer review of an RPG or a JRPG? I'm going to trust that RPG reviewer – unless of course I already know that they have a specific bias against JRPG style.

Objectivity is fine, but you also have to have someone who knows and likes the genre to get a truly fair review. Just as has been said about other games – GT5 comes to mind.