Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Games Reviewers are hacks, frauds, and liars


I walked into my local Gamestop today *the audience cheers and applauds* and I realized something. If you take the word Gamestop, and rearrange the letters, you get Gamespot. There's no punchline.

your one stop shop for being a loser

The only unfortunate joke here is the awful shit that constantly is passed for as a review. It's hard to say that what these people do is classified as writing, but, well... I guess it has words. And they're stringed together consecutively, complete with punctuation, capitalization, and even sometimes grammar. I guess that's writing? Steinbeck couldn't hold a candle to these dudes.

It's kinda difficult to say what's wrong with any given amateur game reviewer, let alone someone who is paid to put this shit on the internet, without just screaming "all of it" at the top of my lungs. Now, I understand the need for a game review, I understand the demand. Games have become expensive and time consuming products. No one wants to spend $60-70 and 10-30 hours on a game only for them to come to the conclusion that they didn't enjoy the experience they just had. Like movie-goers, audiophiles, and every other first-world luxury consuming idiot, you need to be hand fed what exactly it is you like and don't like, because you are incapable of keeping your stupid-dollars in your moron-wallet.

stop buying these fucking wallets you stupid nerds. you aren't samuel jackson, and you aren't a bad motherfucker. i hate you.

What I don't understand with game reviewers, is why they are seemingly incapable of reviewing the fucking game. Okay, this isn't fair. Review has many definitions, one which is to "look over again", to create "a formal assessment or examination."

The problem is that most video game reviews go on for about two pages, if that. Most half their article is spent simply describing the game to fucking idiots too stupid or too busy to do any background research what so ever. What I'd want from a review is to tell me is it fun to play? What are the gameplay issues? Is it really easy to die in the game? Is it buggy?

Is it an RPG? What kind of RPG? Does it focus too much on story? Is the combat repetitive? Dissect the game. Tell me what you do, what you enjoyed, what you disliked. A review is a personal thing so fucking tell me what you personally did.

For shits and giggles, let's look at IGN (it stands for ignorant, gdumb, nstupid lol). Here they review Dragon Age II, a really good game.

average gamer, and reviewer, Kirstine Steimer, enjoying a refreshing gamerfuel

Over a thousand words were written. And a little less than three hundred are used to talk about things that actually pertain to, you know, playing the thing. The rest is all story, narrative, dialogue, setting, all those little things that the developer uses as a bright light and loud noises to distract you from the fact that there either isn't anything to actually do, or what there is to do isn't fun.

"You can easily play it like an action title and mash buttons on lower difficulty levels, but if you prefer to think about what you're doing, you can crank up the difficulty, pause the game, and issue commands for individual team members. "

Okay that's good, but somewhat precarious. It's good to be able to reach across the spectrum of difficulty and make an interesting game that can challenge people at all levels. However you never like to hear the words "mash buttons" because it makes you wonder how deep the combat exactly is at the higher difficulty levels. Kristine never goes much into detail about that though, so I'm only left wondering.

"The only trouble is your buddies aren't smart enough to play Dragon Age II like a straight action game, despite BioWare's claim that you can. Unless you set up specific instructions in individual characters' tactics menus, they won't take healing potions (and even then they might not do it)."

Oh ugh. Well this is good to know. A game in which a major feature (ie: your companions in Dragon Age II) might not work. This sticks out to me. For a game like Dragon Age II where you have combat that takes place with you and several select companions, the idea that you might not succeed because the game mechanics do not work correctly is frustrating and completely turns me off. Whether or not I succeed should be an element of my own skill, not because you hired one programmer who's resume listed HTML and Microsoft Word as his two major programming languages. 

"As I mentioned earlier, you're in the same city and surrounding areas for the entire game and it can get tiresome to see the same sights. Dungeons often look identical and even the mini-map doesn't change – the only variable is which pathways are blocked off. It's a major bummer that every time you try to explore, the places you discover feel familiar."

And the game is repetitive. Great. Just what I wanted. Especially in something like a role playing game where I might want to explore the world and build a role for my character in that role. So far, we've learned that we can't explore, that the game is repetitive, and the game feature of companions doesn't work properly. That's all we know about what you can actually do in the game. That's all we know about actually playing the game. At this point, why would I want to play? 

Even in the little gameplay rating box at the bottom she goes as far as to say:

 "This is a game that lets you play the way you want to: be a jerk or a saint, play it like an action game or employ your own strategy. It’s up to you, and that’s great."

Cool. Cool. Hmm, what score did she give this game?


Finally, a repetitive, buggy, game where the main gameplay feature doesn't work correctly gets the recognition it deserves


Fuck you.

Point systems like this are probably about as big a cancer on the gaming industry as story-telling. Game reviewing websites like IGN and Gamespot know that no one actually reads the review, and so do the Game Developers who repeatedly put up advertisements on a website that reviews the games. Let me just repeat that. The Game Developers are paying the people who review your fucking games. Hmm I wonder if the reviewer giving the game a bad score could result in the game company pulling all of the advertising money. Uhhhhhhhhh.

People who buy games just want to know if it's worth buying or not. So they make up a spectrum like 1-10 or 1-5 or F-A to let people know how good a game is. 

Which doesn't make any fucking sense at all.

One game can be better than another game. For example: the games that I like, are better than the games that you like, because I'm smart and cool, and you're... not smart, and not cool? But overall games are a very subjective medium. Someone may only like games where you shoot people, while other people may only like games where you get kicked repeatedly in the dick (massively multiplayer online role playing games). 

I can try to look at the game objectively. I see Civilization 4 as a very well made, highly polished game. As a turn based strategy game, it has a lot of depth, allowing a lot of different ways to efficiently run your civilization. It works on a tactical level in terms of maneuvering units and unit variety, and strategically in terms of specializing your cities, researching technologies, and choosing government policies.

 this game fucking sucks. where are the headshots? where are the hardcores? i think im going to puke

On the other hand, I see Dragon Age 2 as a poor game. There's very little depth to the combat available. While ordering your own attacks and getting your companions to work with you can work fairly well, the combat in the game is so repetitive you will find yourself fighting the same exact fight over and over. After the first fight, you run on auto pilot and have very little to do, tactically speaking. Exploration is limited because of the limited game world. And that's all the gameplay. There's some story, but story isn't gameplay so we won't talk about that as we are just looking at how they function as games.

not a writer

So while I'd say that Civilization 4 is a better game than Dragon Age 2, someone may hate turn based strategy games, and only like role playing games. At that point, what do you do? You'd look at how the consumer could procure certain games. You'd base your review on whether they should Buy It, Rent It, Play It At Your Friends House, or Stay Away. And you'd do this based on several factors like: are you a fan of the series, are you a fan of the genre, are you looking for a timesink, are you looking for this that or whatever. 

If you do anything else, you're a fucking hack. 

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