Different Review Philosophies

Our friends at GamersInfo.net say this:

No game shall be compared to another game unless it is a sequel. All games should be reviewed on their OWN merits or you run the risk of the player not understanding the comparison.

You may notice that I work on more or less the opposite philosophy. I see everything in a web, with connections to all the other places from which this game got its ideas. I might throw in some books and movies too. I am also quite happy to label a game as “[existing game] +/- 5%.” Because if you are not going to innovate, I am not going to pretend you started with a blank page. If you already know the industry standards, saying how this game differs slightly is how I will express myself most clearly. If you do not know the industry standards, you are probably not reading a MMO blog.

But we love our friends at GamersInfo.net and wish them well on their approach to things. We are just not that kind of site.

: Zubon

4 thoughts on “Different Review Philosophies”

  1. I personally do not see how that is possible. Playing other games will create in your mind a baseline of “fun.” It is a fine philosophy to write that way so as to not assume your readership have played Game X, but I agree with your stance, Zubon.

  2. I think what they are trying to avoid is when you read a review for a game and they say, “Its just like Max Payne, only not as good.” What does that mean to you if you never played Max Payne? Or if you had never heard of Max Payne? I don’t think an outright ban on comparisons is needed, but using them can be “lazy” and leave your review inscrutable to gamers with less experience. If you use a comparison, you have to be sure to follow up with what exactly that comparison means.

  3. I suppose no car should be compared to other cars in auto reviews, or no restaurant compared to other restaurants, no laptop compared to other laptops, etc. etc..

    What a silly concept. Reviews are comparative by their very nature, even if you do not mention the competition by name.

    Sure, all of your reviews shouldn’t be saying it’s like X but with X, but if it’s a game the reader is likely to know, it’s a useful reference point.

    This obsession lately with games for non-gamers is now turning into game reviews for non-gamers? To which, Penny Arcade answers well: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/10/10/

  4. It makes sense. Video games are reviewed in a multitude of ways, and this is simply one of them. You can review them based on other games in the genre, as they are by themselves, or compared to their sequels/prequels. It really isn’t a matter of right or wrong, but just preference.

    Personally, I think there should be defined categories of reviews. The idea being that you could go to a site like Gamespot, look up a game like Call of Duty 4, and find a 4-5 reviews, each one being from a different philosophy with its own unique score. Then you could have an average score based on the different review types. Of course, this would probably be seen as a waste of time anyway, despite it being thorough.

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