In an age where games are promoted less and less by publishers, the hype comes solely from the media. Whether it’s bragging about a game’s graphics or art style, or about the size of a game’s open world, hype is everywhere.
This leads to games being reviewed when the full experience isn’t available yet. This is a big problem!
1. They’re too subjective
If we’re going to review games objectively, we need to know what the factors are that drive game reviews. Reviewers critique a wide variety of game design aspects, but which ones really impact the final score? We took a look at the data from EEDAR to find out.
Gameplay discussion receives the highest allocation of critical callout text, as it’s important to explain how a game functions. However, there’s a large gap between this allocation and how important the discussion is for overall sentiment.
It’s also important to note that the discussion of Technical aspects has grown increasingly negative, likely due to increasing reports of bugs and connection issues. While it’s important to highlight these issues, they shouldn’t dominate the review score www.topreviewssite.com/.
Narrative and Social aspects are another area of growing negativity, likely due to high expectations for narrative quality and the increasing number of games focusing on controversial topics. While it’s okay to criticize these aspects, it’s not acceptable to denigrate them as “morally incorrect”. This is a shame, as a morally-oriented site like Christ Centered Gamer has received praise from readers concerned about the ethical breaches of other sites.
2. They’re too repetitive
It is important to remember that video games are a very subjective experience. Attempting to place a static score on a piece of media that is dynamic in nature will only lead to disagreements and dismissive behaviors.
A good way to see if a game is being reviewed in a consistent and objective manner is to look at the percentage of review callouts that are positive or negative. Using this data allows developers to better understand what aspects of the game review community broadly feel games are doing right, as well as areas where improvements may be necessary.
The most consistent positive callout is for Graphics, which speaks to the success that development teams have had in making games more visually appealing. However, Social and Market categories often receive a low number of positive callouts, which could indicate that many reviewers are not enjoying multiplayer elements of the game. This is likely due to a lack of active player communities at the time of review, which prevents them from experiencing these features.
3. They’re too rushed
Video games are a complex medium, that cannot be accurately reviewed by placing a static score on something that can change depending on when and how it’s played. Many reviews try to place an objective value on a game, but that’s often misleading and can lead to dismissive behaviors towards titles that should be celebrated for their uniqueness. For example, the Assassin’s Creed series are huge open-world games that arrive every two years and can take hundreds of hours to complete.
4. They’re too expensive
It takes a ton of time and energy to play, write, record, and produce a game review. Even just getting a few plays in can take a dozen hours. Then adding the images of components, writing a script for video reviews or the full text of written ones, communicating with the publisher over rules questions or timing restrictions, and then posting and publicizing the review takes a whole lot more.
The price of games is a big deal for many gamers. Yet it’s a question that is often skirted by reviewers. Especially as reviewers are increasingly expected to provide promotional content in a way that will directly influence the success of Kickstarter campaigns and their subsequent games.
A lot of the focus in reviews is on gameplay, but gamers are also looking for a wide range of other features. EEDAR’s review database shows that reviewers spend a significant percentage of their callout text discussing Graphics, Social Elements, and Audio.