Other critics and modern games

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VideoGameCritic
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Other critics and modern games

Postby VideoGameCritic » June 4th, 2016, 8:35 pm

I posted this to Twitter and it got a big response so I'd figure I'd post it here too:

Why do other critics give #PS4/#XboxOne games a pass for lengthy installs, long load times, and unnecessary online requirements?

Voor
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Re: Other critics and modern games

Postby Voor » June 4th, 2016, 10:21 pm

As I said in your Doom review thread, I think it's just an expected annoyance. Annoying yes, but it's not gonna stop someone from buying a game they are really hyped about. Buyers roll their eyes at it, but when the fun starts, they forget all about it.

Plus, most younger folks don't remember a time when you didn't have to deal with updates, load times, etc.

jon
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Re: Other critics and modern games

Postby jon » June 4th, 2016, 11:58 pm

It's funny, because when the PS1 came out and it had ridiculously long, previously unheard of load times, I thought that was unacceptable. Whenever a topic like this is brought up, I always think about Gamepro in the mid 90's, and the fact that I recall games getting trashed all the time. Oh, the good old days.

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scotland
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Re: Other critics and modern games

Postby scotland » June 5th, 2016, 8:34 am

Because game 'reviews' are not reviews, they are guides. They are written for people who are already invested in the game. Things like load times and online requirements are besides the point.

Just yesterday on a subreddit, 'Joabyjojo' who claims to be Joab Gilroy - who wrote the IGN Doom review answered the question about why modern game reviewers are so much easier on games than modern movie reviewers on movies. His answer is that games don't want reviews to be a critical analysis of the game. That game reviews don't serve that purpose to most readers. (Those are his words).

In essence, the review is not a review - is this game good or bad and here's why - but more like a guide or a walkthrough. "I played this game, and this is what I experienced". The review does not have to white wash issues peculiar to that game, but its going to be far more like a strategy guide.

This is a shame because writing guides instead of reviews, professional reviewers might not reward the developers who do go the extra mile - or at least have to be careful about doing so. For instance, the Uncharted series has the reputation for reducing load times by being smart. Maybe you start each level in a small enclosed place before you can enter an outdoors space. This bit of cunning allows loading and processing to happen, invisibly, while you play. That's smart, and should be applauded.

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scotland
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Re: Other critics and modern games

Postby scotland » June 5th, 2016, 8:44 am

This is also not a new issue. look at the Sega CD.

In a Sega book that reviews all three Sega platforms of the day -- Game Gear, Genesis and Sega CD games --, Sewer Shark gets an 8/10, and while it mentions that "excellent live action video graphics but player's interaction with the game is somewhat limited and somewhat repetitive" (translation: gameplay is lacking but it looks great) it never mentions the load times compared to Genesis and Game Gear games.

Many reviewers and review sites/books over the years have consciously elected to dull the edges of criticism or risk being the target of online venom, or to lose favor with the companies they have a relationship with. So everyone has an interest in making the review, not lie per se, but just focus on the positive. Why would a review ever then shine a spotlight on a negative that is common to many games. They wouldn't.

Its a win-win for everyone, and no one gets their feelings hurt, and the clicks keep on coming. Oh, its a win-win for everyone except for on the fence consumers who honestly want to know which of the many available games they should buy and play. Why - because video game reviews are not consumer's guides, but strategy guides. They are not 'reviews', but 'guides'. The name is all wrong.

Personally, I applaud Dave and others who write thumbs up/thumbs down style reviews. I think it makes for better discussions about gaming, and certainly helps when its time to decide what to buy and play. Sometimes reviews on Amazon tell me more about a game than a professional review on a review website.

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DaHeckIzDat
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Re: Other critics and modern games

Postby DaHeckIzDat » June 5th, 2016, 8:54 am

I admit, I don't know a ton about it, but from what I've heard they do it because of how big the games are. It doesn't all fit on the disc, so they half to download some of it onto the console to make it run. It's either that or go back to having the game come on multiple discs again. Personally, I'd rather have the install times.

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: Other critics and modern games

Postby VideoGameCritic » June 5th, 2016, 10:52 am

Daheckizdat - I think you've been buying into a lot of propaganda. The game companies aren't coming anywhere close to filling up a Blu Ray.

It just occurred to me that I'm the anti-establishment critic. Since I'm an outsider who's not supported by the industry in any way, I'm free to speak my mind.

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velcrozombie
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Re: Other critics and modern games

Postby velcrozombie » June 5th, 2016, 11:30 am

VideoGameCritic wrote:Why do other critics give #PS4/#XboxOne games a pass for lengthy installs, long load times, and unnecessary online requirements?


A few people on Twitter have said things like "It's because they are in the back pockets of the game industry", but the more I thought about it the more I realized that I probably wouldn't mention these things either if I were to write a review. I wouldn't be ignoring them or sweeping them under the rug or trying to deceive people - it just wouldn't be something that I would even think of talking about. It's also not because I'm a newer gamer who just takes these things for granted - I got an NES for Christmas back in 1987.

Thinking back to the limited writing I've done in the Now Playing section of this website, the only times I mentioned any technical issues is with Silent Hill: Homecoming and Rocksmith. In Homecoming I had a bug where I was unable to complete the game until I uninstalled it from my hard drive and played the final boss fight from the disc and in Rocksmith I just gave some advice on how to reduce audio latency. Would I have docked Homecoming if I was a professional reviewer because of the bug? Obviously the game (which I didn't like all that much) would have gotten an F if I'd been unable to complete it due to a technical issue, but since I was able to finish it after taking a simple step I probably would have just made a note of it in my review and stopped at that. If I loved the game otherwise and was toying with giving it an A, maybe I would dock it half a letter grade - but since I was already giving a the game a C- I don't think I'd go any lower because of the bug.

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Re: Other critics and modern games

Postby VideoGameCritic » June 5th, 2016, 1:05 pm

I have another, less nefarious explanation for why professional reviews don't mention a lot of these annoyances - including obvious bugs.

I suspect many of these reviewers receive early "review" copies of games that aren't 100% complete. This gives the reviewer the benefit of being able to post a review the day or release (or earlier). I've actually read reviews that said things to the effect "the framerate was rough at times, but I'm sure this will be addressed before the final version is shipped".

Since these reviewers are getting early access, they probably give the developer the benefit of the doubt and assume any headaches they encounter will be addressed before the game is sold. Not only is that a bad assumption (issues like framerate are not minor, last-minute fixes) but there's clearly a conflict of interest going on. If the publisher doesn't like the review, no more early/free copies of games.

It seems to me the game publishers are cozy in bed with the reviewers. And if major review sites need to make money, do they even have a choice?

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scotland
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Re: Other critics and modern games

Postby scotland » June 5th, 2016, 2:13 pm

velcrozombie wrote:It's also not because I'm a newer gamer who just takes these things for granted - I got an NES for Christmas back in 1987.


Here is the Corollary to reviewers not commenting on commonplace issues in modern games - when a younger reviewer writes a review on an older game, isn't it normal for them complain about things that were common at the time? If they reviewed a PS1 game, wouldn't they savage it for its appearance? Or an N64 game for its fog? Or a C64 game for its load times?


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