Reviewing patched games?

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Reviewing patched games?

Postby VideoGameCritic » April 25th, 2017, 10:00 pm

So the other day my friends and I were playing Bomberman R on my new Switch and we were not very impressed. Chris however said there were a few patches available if I put my Switch online (he is always goading me to put my console online).

I'm thinking it's best to review a game in its original form. Otherwise it's a moving target. Then again, if someone buys it they will probably download the updates.

Your thoughts?

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Re: Reviewing patched games?

Postby ptdebate » April 25th, 2017, 10:35 pm

I would say, as a reviewer, definitely score the game in its launch state. The more reviewers are adopting an evolving review cycle, the more they are encouraging and validating developers shipping incomplete games.

That being said, as a gamer, download the patches. You'll want to fully enjoy the games you paid good money for, and there's no reason to deny content as long as its free and presents an improvement. With bomberman R, that means a significant performance boost that doubles the framerate. Sucks that they couldn't make it that way at launch, but better late than never!
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Re: Reviewing patched games?

Postby JustLikeHeaven » April 25th, 2017, 10:44 pm

Yeah, you're gonna wanna patch Breath of the Wild too. There are some terrible frame rate issues with that game and the patch that Nintendo released did a good job mostly fixing them.

In terms of reviewing the games...I don't think it matters. Yes it's nice to know if the game was originally flawed when it was released but most newish games force you to patch them before you play them anyways. I don't like the precedent that game patching has brought to console gaming, but it's never going away at this point. The war is over. Companies know they can release buggy software and fix it after launch.

I think if you write a review panning a game for being a bug riddled mess and it's since been fixed then your review/criticism don't actually matter to the person playing the patched game. I dunno, it's certainly a grey area, and I definitely see both sides. I guess you could mention if it launched with bugs but has since been patched...not really sure.
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Re: Reviewing patched games?

Postby Crummylion » April 25th, 2017, 11:15 pm

I thought the Switch can download patches by connecting to another Switch and not need internet.

While I think it's silly to wait even longer for a fixed or updated game, this is the world we have to accept. I'd like my games completed right out of the box, but it's helpful for in case a last minute error occurs and needs patching. I'm pretty much from an Era that lives on updates, but at least I grew up with the wii than a ps3 or Xbox 360. There were only two wii games I recall needing updates and that was it.

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Re: Reviewing patched games?

Postby eneuman96 » April 25th, 2017, 11:55 pm

Although Super Bomberman R strikes me as a case of Konami rushing the game out the door in order to be a launch title before actually finishing the game, there are definitely cases where downloading a patch for a game is highly recommended. For example, Shovel Knight received two patches, each containing a brand new FREE campaign where you play as one of the boss knights, and there's still one on the way. I don't doubt that some companies use patches as an excuse to release games before they're ready, but it's not always the case.

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Re: Reviewing patched games?

Postby MoarRipter » April 26th, 2017, 2:59 am

I agree, review them in their original released, unpatched state, if possible. Developers that release a game in an unfinished state with glaring bugs or missing/broken features (FPS that has broken online multiplayer at launch for example) deserve to have their game shamed in an honest review.

I'd say the exception to that is a MMO, the type of game that by its nature is consistently evolving. For a MMO I'd probably come back and leave updates on the review every couple of years but leave the original review and prior updated reviews posted as-is so people can see the history of how the game as changed over time. That's probably a moot point as so far I haven't seen any MMOs reviewed on this site.

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Re: Reviewing patched games?

Postby scotland » April 26th, 2017, 6:44 am

She turned me into a newt!
A newt?
I got better.

Patches are here to stay. Its become like versions, like operating systems or mobile games. There is no way you can keep up, and revise things when things change. Its like comic books or Star Wars, where things can just change one day, and the old stuff is de-canonized.

Just review the game, warts and all, anyway you see fit. Maybe tell us if its got patches up to the review date or not (you could invent a symbol if you don't want to slow down the review). After that, outsource worrying about changes to your readers.

You already have 2 systems in place to deal with the game 'getting better'. The simple reader score aggregate on the review itself, and the review feedback thread in the forums. Let the readers carry the weight of the patches over time with those tools.

If thats not enough, you've talked in the past of a comment thread directly attached to the review.

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Re: Reviewing patched games?

Postby VideoGameCritic » April 26th, 2017, 5:36 pm

Sounds to me like reviewing a game in its un-patched form is the fairest approach. I mean, why should I bail out a publisher Konami for releasing a shoddy product?

By the way I do not "want" to patch Zelda because I really haven't encountered any issues.

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Re: Reviewing patched games?

Postby David » April 26th, 2017, 6:15 pm

Are the point of your reviews to help people decide whether or not they'll like a game or to "punish" developers/publishers? I'd guess the majority of people reading your reviews aren't going to play unpatched versions of the games you're reviewing, thus making your reviews not as useful as they could be. It makes way more sense to me to review a game up-to-date as of the time of publishing.

By the way, patching Zelda is going to alleviate frame rate issues that the game has. You might ask, why you should waste time patching games when they should work out of the box? I'd counter with, why would I waste my time and money paying for high speed internet and not download patches that make the game run better, add features, etc and have an inferior experience or none at all? I kinda feel like with all the complaining going on here over trivial things (in my opinion, of course) I wouldn't bother playing games or at least modern games at all.

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Re: Reviewing patched games?

Postby Rev » April 26th, 2017, 7:23 pm

Why don't you just do both with an original post and a follow up section below the review? If you actually do it? You could leave the score as is but include your follow up thoughts to the review in the review itself, under it's comments.

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