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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: Reviews and the Bell Curve

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36 posts found
  Nephelai

Novice Member

Joined: 1/29/13
Posts: 159

5/25/13 6:40:43 AM#21

Most reviewers aren't good gamers and so don't have the experience to give a comprehensive review. Its like saying a hobbiest can tell the same story as a craftsman and that's just not true. That's ok because most gamers are average and appreciate an average review.

For example if you've never played at the highest level in a fluid game you probably still think animation lock games are passable. Well they are for the average gamer who cant use the fluidity anyway so it doesn't matter. There's no right or wrong just understanding the context for example when I see a review done by Pocket it makes me cry. I could never rely on her review for my impressions of a game but many Farmville people could just fine.

Its not about getting your nose out of joint because people didn't like your review its about understanding your review is only going to appeal to your own demographic and in the vast majority of reviewers that is average.

 

 
  jbombard

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/06/08
Posts: 455

5/25/13 10:20:54 AM#22

You wouldn't do a book review unless you have read the whole book.  The same should be true for games.  Just like the crap the news industry has become, everyone wants to be first so they just throw their crap out there without doing their homework.  If you have only played part of the games do a "first impressions" not a review.

 

I personally don't expect a review to match my expectations.  I generally read through it and see if their comments apply to what I am looking for in a game.  But then again I don't read one news story and decide that is what happened, I read several and try and find the truth, and I take a similar approach with games.

 

What I would like if every review would start with a short explanation of what kind of games the reviewer likes, a short list of favorite games of all time, what their expectations were before playing, and an honest appraisal of whether or not those expectations possibly colored their impressions of the game.  That would help tremendously when trying to figure out whether or not the reviewers opinions would be applicable to myself. 

  maplestone

Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

5/25/13 11:18:46 AM#23
Originally posted by jbombard

You wouldn't do a book review unless you have read the whole book.  The same should be true for games.

There's no such thing as "the whole game" for an MMO (at least not for anything I personally would call an MMO).  There's a subjective component of what you choose to do with it beyond simply the story arc at hand.

But when it comes to the basic look-and-feel, controls and advancement style, the impressions of the first few hours (once you've adjusted to any unique elements of the UI) are unlikely to be wildly different from the impressions of a few months later.  The only question mark is whether there is a radical shift in gameplay at some point (if you want to write a review of the raids, you can't do that at level 1 in most games),

 

  Plageron

Novice Member

Joined: 5/28/08
Posts: 107

Good Gravy!!

5/25/13 12:16:28 PM#24

 

 

A good review is not based on what someone else says....but based on what the reviewer knows to be the truth...and that is what people want.

 

So this devils advocate article is interesting....if not some form of hidden attempt to protect some reviewers from the angry mob of players who notice when the reviews are not based on factual information.

The moral is: In this day and age....you have to be careful because you never know who is reading what you write.

  User Deleted
5/25/13 12:41:23 PM#25

It's an interesting discussion, and reminds me a lot of the discussion that surrounds board game reviews. I am an avid board gamer, but I wouldn't play a game I don't like more than 1 or 2 times. So should I review it? Should I try it with different (numbers of) people first? How often is enough? 5 times? 10 times? If the latter, could it be anything other than a good to great game?

 

Books and films are not that good an analogy, because there is no variety in content dependant on player input (as there is in board and video games), and (therefore) cost way less time to fully consume and therefore be able to review.

 

Now MMOs are among the most complicated and content rich forms of entertainment known to man. And I am a very impatient video gamer and an avid game hopper. There are few games I have played to completion. Can you ever play an MMO to completion? Doesn't 5 minutes of play already lead to a first impression, which is difficult to get rid of if you don't play a considerably longer time? And that's the question: Why would I if I don't like the game? How long do I have to wait before it becomes good? 20 hours? 100 hours?

 

Yes, it is a problem that many people have the "everything now" mentality, and that doesn't fit at all with playing an MMO. Or playing a long and complex board game. So yes, an MMO player, and especially a reviewer, should be held to a higher standard. Some crucial and fundamental aspects and elements of the game should be experienced to provide decent information (opinionated or not) in a review. I've dismissed MMOs just based on the graphics, or the character creation process, or the style of the HUD. I certainly would disagree with a reviewer doing that! Yet, if he has dipped further in the game, and makes perfectly clear from the start of his review what and how far he has played, then I am fine with taking the review into account when searching for an MMO.

 

Be clear, reviewer, about your approach of the game for the review, and as an intelligent and experienced gamer I can take it or leave it as I please.

  Mimzel

Novice Member

Joined: 7/08/07
Posts: 372

5/25/13 4:32:08 PM#26
Actually, it would be a good idea if each review started out with a short methodology chapter (i.e. this is how I went about reviewing this game). It would place the score into a meaningful context.
  BMBender

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/14/07
Posts: 547

5/25/13 8:48:23 PM#27

Off topic but related, If you really want to make a splash in the industry and actually be a force to improve it.  Don't review from a standpoint of neutrality, come in with a jaded view and make the game impress you or tear it apart.  A review is supposed to be about informing a potential customer, however in recent years the industry as a whole has moved to quick gotcha gimmicks to sell consumers products that are arguably of a lower quality.  With that trend in effect trying to be neutral only empowers less than savory practices.

 

A good indication of this is pick a review site, pick a game and 9 out of 10 the review score is higher than the consumer score, that should tell you something.

  Mkilbride

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 9/01/07
Posts: 616

5/25/13 11:27:55 PM#28
 
 
Originally posted by jbombard

You wouldn't do a book review unless you have read the whole book.  The same should be true for games.  Just like the crap the news industry has become, everyone wants to be first so they just throw their crap out there without doing their homework.  If you have only played part of the games do a "first impressions" not a review.

 

I personally don't expect a review to match my expectations.  I generally read through it and see if their comments apply to what I am looking for in a game.  But then again I don't read one news story and decide that is what happened, I read several and try and find the truth, and I take a similar approach with games.

 

What I would like if every review would start with a short explanation of what kind of games the reviewer likes, a short list of favorite games of all time, what their expectations were before playing, and an honest appraisal of whether or not those expectations possibly colored their impressions of the game.  That would help tremendously when trying to figure out whether or not the reviewers opinions would be applicable to myself. 

 

Are you serious? Are you sane?

 

How can you "complete" a Sandbox MMO? You can't. That's the point.

 

Help get Camelot Unchained made, a old-school MMORPG, with no hand holding!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/13861848/camelot-unchained

  itchmon

Elite Member

Joined: 1/21/07
Posts: 1506

5/26/13 1:20:32 AM#29
Originally posted by Mkilbride

Lol, so true.

 

Go to the Darkfall Forums "So I've played this game for a month, and these are my thoughts..."

 

Response

 

"ONE MONTH ISN'T ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND THE GAME!"

 

Then the game is flawed.

well, for example, Eve takes a lot longer than a month to understand.

 

it takes less than a month for some folks to think they understand it but it does take longer than that to understand.

 

i think eve has its flaws but i dont think that fact is one of them.  on the contrary i think it's a strong point of the game.  I would call it its "depth".

 

"depth" is actually one of the things i think DF really needs.  Also it might be why i am not a big fan of the "first impressions style" reviews we have been talking about (that is what we've been talking about yes?).  I kind of like when a game confuses me for a bit before things start to make real sense.

 

yeah, i have played all the europa universalis games, etc etc.

RIP Ribbitribbitt you are missed, kid.

Currently Playing EVE, DFUW

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.

Dwight D Eisenhower

My optimism wears heavy boots and is loud.

Henry Rollins

  Mkilbride

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 9/01/07
Posts: 616

5/26/13 1:34:18 AM#30

There's no way a reviewer can play a MMO to completion and review it. he has a job - he can't just go "ok, I've been allocated 4 hours a week for a month to play this game...but instead of doing my job, I'll play it for 100 hours so no one can doubt me"

 

What I am saying is - people are telling reviewers that you can't have fun within the games first month - you need to play more than a month to actual enjoy the game. In my opinion then, the game is flawed if your first month, regularly or casually, isn't fun.

 

They act like some magical barrier comes down once you've played two months and suddenly you'll understand that DFUW is the best MMO ever made.

 

That's just what pisses me off. It's a level of absurdity I can't believe.

Help get Camelot Unchained made, a old-school MMORPG, with no hand holding!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/13861848/camelot-unchained

  victorbjr

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/13/10
Posts: 157

5/26/13 9:15:12 AM#31
Originally posted by Mimzel
Actually, it would be a good idea if each review started out with a short methodology chapter (i.e. this is how I went about reviewing this game). It would place the score into a meaningful context.

Actually, I love this idea! :D This is a great way of setting the tone for a review. :)

A writer and gamer from the Philippines. Loves his mom dearly. :)

Can also be found on http://www.gamesandgeekery.com

  User Deleted
5/26/13 11:34:09 AM#32
People come on here complaining about games and writing 'reviews' after playing a game for less than one day. At least you guys get the newbie experience. Some of these posters barely make it past the character creating before having a rant.
  Zooce

Novice Member

Joined: 1/24/11
Posts: 588

5/26/13 7:16:59 PM#33

Great article VBJ.

 

Glad forumfall was enough to keep you out of DF.  Call a community toxic, yet you go to extremes to smear a game you never even played.  Who is toxic again?

  victorbjr

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/13/10
Posts: 157

5/26/13 9:44:57 PM#34
Originally posted by Zooce

Great article VBJ.

 

Glad forumfall was enough to keep you out of DF.  Call a community toxic, yet you go to extremes to smear a game you never even played.  Who is toxic again?

I'm sorry? Was the second paragraph for me?

I actually am playing Darkfall: UW. Not particularly actively (spreading my attention outside of work among a number of games), but I did throw some time in after finishing election coverage. :)

A writer and gamer from the Philippines. Loves his mom dearly. :)

Can also be found on http://www.gamesandgeekery.com

  Zooce

Novice Member

Joined: 1/24/11
Posts: 588

5/27/13 12:59:37 AM#35
Originally posted by victorbjr

I'm sorry? Was the second paragraph for me?

Apologies, second paragraph was meant for Mkilbride.

  jbombard

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/06/08
Posts: 455

5/27/13 9:24:09 PM#36
Originally posted by maplestone
Originally posted by jbombard

You wouldn't do a book review unless you have read the whole book.  The same should be true for games.

There's no such thing as "the whole game" for an MMO (at least not for anything I personally would call an MMO).  There's a subjective component of what you choose to do with it beyond simply the story arc at hand.

But when it comes to the basic look-and-feel, controls and advancement style, the impressions of the first few hours (once you've adjusted to any unique elements of the UI) are unlikely to be wildly different from the impressions of a few months later.  The only question mark is whether there is a radical shift in gameplay at some point (if you want to write a review of the raids, you can't do that at level 1 in most games),

 

I can see some people are taking "whole book" way too literally.

 

It is like reviewing a PnP D&D module.  You can't determine what each DM will do with it, however you can read it and speak as to the quality of what is provided for the DM to work with.  

 

An MMO has many parts, you cannot call it a review if you only played one aspect of it.  You cannot comment on raiding if you just talked to a guy.  At that point it isn't your review it is just something somebody else said.  How can you comment on the story if you only saw the introduction.  

 

Like I said before what most people put up for an MMO review is not a review, it is a "first impressions", and there is nothing wrong with that but they should call it that.  If they are going to call it a review, they should be very clear on what aspects of the game they reviewed or perhaps do a feature review(for example a "dungeons review" or a "raids review", or a "PvP review").  While there may not be a finite end like there is with a book, chances are if the review is out in the first week, they only read the back cover. (I'm not asking for a detailed analysis on class balance and group dynamics in end game raiding, I'm asking that they have stepped foot in a raid)

 

Also in the case of a sandbox MMO, even though their may be no end, you sure as hell can try out the various systems and see how they interact with each other. 

 

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