Game Reviews, Just Another Sales Pitch?
Ever since big titles such as Mass Effect, Skyrim, and Call of Duty became popular, and hit the mainstream gaming market, I started noticing that game reviews were changing. Is it just me, or are most reviews of multi-million-dollar game franchises no longer critical? Instead, it feels as if game reviews can be read more like a sales pitch, trying to sell you the game rather than reviewing the game with a critical outlook, pointing out their flaws — however small they might be.
This seems to be happening more and more with the big budget games, as the reviews come pouring in pages upon pages, throwing and heaping praise on the game — and its developers — for creating such a visceral, emotional and amazing title. It gets to the point where its actually borderline manipulative, based on all the hype. Popular reviewers have become less critical with high profile games and more critical with less anticipated games, which in the long run could stop developers from building new and creative games. However, that is a debate for a different day.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the high scores for Skyrim and Mass Effect are invalid. However, if we use a game like Kingdoms of Amalur as an example, you’ll notice that it got some pretty harsh review scores due to it being an unknown entity, where on the flip side, a game like Skyrim received universal praise even though it had more than a dozen game breaking bugs.
This phenomenon is pretty obvious with smaller games, and also occurs with games released by eastern publishers. For example, Shadows of the Damned. Games like Shadows of Damned would have certain reviewers dig into them with vigour. They would analyse every single flaw of the game, no matter how big or small. All of their findings will be thrown under a microscope, where the smallest detail can turn into a crippling problem. I am disappointed in this, not only because the games I enjoy aren’t getting fair reviews, but also because a lukewarm review is keeping someone from playing a stellar title.
Don’t you wish reviewers would buy less into the hype of a game, and rather relearn the art of impartiality? After all, isn’t that what being a reviewer is all about?