Recently some of the most awaited titles on the Next Gen Consoles have been smothered in a tirade of mixed or negative reviews. Be it Alien Isolation, Destiny, Drive Club or Ryse, all were well showcased and their previews were all well received, and much hyped about. But, upon release they were beset by mediocre reviews, cancelled orders, and eventually disappointed game fans. Gamers get excited when they see the promise of a great game, and rightly so, it’s what they paid all that money for, on a console, in the first place.
Some might argue that reviews are irrelevant, and if one finds a game interesting, he or she should go ahead and buy the game. Fair Point. But, what if the reviews were right, and the game sucked. Or, what if the game gets great reviews, and upon purchase, he or she finds its not to her liking. Not everyone will enjoy Dark Souls, no matter how many positive reviews gets thrown at them. And a negative review more often than not just brings down expectations and can even hold back gamers from buying a game they might have really enjoyed. And video games are not cheap, that one can afford to buy whatever looks good, that’s the main reason why we look to reviews before making a decision.
Destiny, being the one of the biggest titles released this year, got some mediocre reviews due to a lack-luster story, but due to a good beta release which demonstrated excellent level design and combat mechanics, the game is a major hit. And, that’s a good thing, it gives gamers a fun game to play and motivates the devs to improve on the weaker points in possible future releases. Video game reviews might at times tend to be harsh, pointing out negatives as per the reviewer’s preferences. This is particularly true of one of the oldest and biggest game review websites, which has been facing layoffs, thus the same person who had been reviewing RPGs (and reviewing very well too) is now also doing Horror and Racing titles. Its only obvious what that’s going to look like.
So, where do we look to, how do we find out if a game is going to be worth our money? One of the best available options are the Lets Play/ Walkthrough Videos on YouTube. Done mostly by fans of the game, with the intent of promoting the game, they focus on the good points of the game. Any negatives become clear during the course of the video and you can come to a reasonable conclusion about the game.
But the best option would have been Game Demos for all titles made available prior to release, I mean, remember back when we had demos for almost every game, whatever happened to those? A Gaming Expo is also a great way of trying on a game first hand, but that’s not happened in India yet.
That’s not to say that reviews are a bad thing. I would probably never have heard of games like Gone Home, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Vanquish, Catherine, Dear Esther and many more, were it not for Gamespot’s amazing reviews. Games should be reviewed keeping in mind the fact people want to play them, and look for something good in every release, make the gamers want to play a game. And, also if one reviewer does not like a game, you can always find many others who loved it. If you want a reason to buy a game, its easy to find one, at least that’s what I did seeing Alien Isolation’s dismal reviews on some of the biggest game review sites.
One of the best reasons to be excited about a game is when your friends are going to play it too. Even a mediocre game becomes frantic fun when its played with friends. A game like Demon’s Souls/Dark Souls becomes a lot more accessible when you discuss strategies with friends and know how they are progressing, and you can call them in for help for boss fights.
Thus, Co-operative modes also become a deciding factor, as a game is a lot more re-playable when its with friends, and an individual reviewer may not appreciate that aspect of the game, or even overlook it entirely.
Far Cry 2’s lesser know multiplayer component is another example of some great explosive fun when played with friends. And not many would remember Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, but that was an amazing multiplayer game with great modding options and tons of maps and game modes. Borderlands’ somewhat desolate landscape came to life with three friends along your side; bullets flying, friendly banter and loot fest ensued!
So, have you ever been deterred or enthused to buy a game, after seeing the reviews? What are your views on Video Game reviews? Do you feel differently about the opinions in this article? Yes, you are allowed to! Let us know in the comments below.