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Do you take video game journalism and reviews seriously anymore? [roundtable]
 
Generally, I've given up on game reviews. A lot of them seem biased, pushing a specific angle. And who knows how many are bought off forthe reviews of "AAA" games. I'm much more interested in fellow gamer impressions than some PR-esque review babble.

Journalism has lost its integrity as well. It's hard to find a preview or a decent article that is unbiased or discusses an original premise with well thought-out arguments. Journalists are on the payroll of a lot of game companies, I think it's pretty clear.

With recent review quotes like these:

IGN review of Halo 4 said:
"Halo 4 is a masterstroke everyone can and should celebrate, and its two guaranteed sequels instantly make the next-generation Xbox a must-own system, with Halo 5 its most anticipated title."

Hardcore Gamer review of Assassin's Creed III said:
"Assassinís Creed III is one of those rare games conceived to be revolutionary from the beginning. Games like this only come around once in a generation. One of the most, if not the most, ambitious titles ever created. An inspiring testament to what can be accomplished with unbridled devotion, itís possible that nothing of this magnitude will ever be attempted again. Itís a truly definitive event that will be looked-back as a crucial step in gaming evolution."

and this:



...do you still take video game journalism seriously?

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Posted: 11/01/12, 17:12:41
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@NinSage

Why are they ripping on the game before it even starts? Very ass-y.
Posted: 11/02/12, 00:09:34
NinSage said:
oh yea, Giant Bomb is very serious.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vbuKcZ8048

Maybe when it comes to non-Wii games they are?

Yes, clearly it's just Wii games.



See, you're mistaking their humor/dislike of crappy games for the journalism aspect of their site. Quick Looks are just them playing games for 15 minutes to an hour or so. They're usually pretty funny, and you can typically learn what you need to about the game. If the game sucks, or is busted, they won't fail to harp on it. They also lay all their biases on the table instead of trying to pretend to be objective about everything, because we as humans actually like different things, and 100% objective based reviews, for example only take you so far. Opinion does play a role eventually. (Also, they've had to play about 10 billion Dragon Ball games, so they grew sick of them a loooong fucking time ago.)

Anyway, if you want their more serious articles, you generally turn to Patrick Klepek over there (and by serious I mean there is investigative journalism or journalism in general going on, not that there "can't be humor cause we're super srs");

http://www.giantbomb.com/news/the-humans-are-dead-long-live-the-beast/4433/
http://www.giantbomb.com/news/worth-reading-102612/4426/
http://www.giantbomb.com/news/the-authorship-of-a-video-game-part-1/4417/
http://www.giantbomb.com/news/the-authorship-of-a-video-game-part-2/4425/
http://www.giantbomb.com/news/the-text-adventure-isnt-dead/4316/

And you can't tell me creating and playing host to an international game jam isn't good shit:

http://www.giantbomb.com/news/welcome-to-the-molyjam2012/4039/
http://www.giantbomb.com/news/it-came-from-the-molyjam-bowl-or-die/4091/
http://www.giantbomb.com/news/it-came-from-the-molyjam-secret-dad/4093/
http://www.giantbomb.com/news/it-came-from-the-molyjam-peter-molyneux/4096/
http://www.giantbomb.com/news/48-hours-later-some-thoughts-on-molyjam/4065/

I actually learned a TON behind the creative design of video games and the hardships even a weekend-long game jam can create from that crap. It was AMAZING.

And don't act like they don't treat the Wii fair:

http://www.giantbomb.com/the-legend-of-zelda-skyward-sword-video-review/17-5280/

Right now they're actually harping on the extended lifespan on this console cycle and are looking forward to the Wii U because they're sick of their aging Xboxes and PS3s having constant framerate issues and looking muddy. Surprisingly (for me at least) they have all built (aside from Klepek who is on his way to building) PCs and hooked them up to their TVs because they felt the generation had grown stale. Now, the reason that's surprising was because they were hugely console-focused at the launch of their site, and to an extent still are. But they themselves grow tired of an overlong generation and do what they can to adapt. So I expect a total deluge of Wii U content.
Posted: 11/02/12, 00:23:50  - Edited by 
 on: 11/02/12, 00:28:56
@Xbob42

Thats Skyward Sword though. I didn't click on any of your links (don't have time now to sift through everything, I'm sure you provided good examples), but that instantly reminds me of the people who say "I have a Wii," and then you ask them which games they have for it (after complaining that there are "no" Wii games), and they say "Twilight Princess, 'Smash', and Mario Galaxy." Ugh of ughs.

How'd they do with Muramasa, Fire Emblem, Tales of Symphonia, Monster Hunter?
Posted: 11/02/12, 00:29:33
Isn't it possible that Halo 4 is just really good? I've read a lot of reviews and most of them are very positive, and it's scored several 10s from places other than IGN (who gave it a 9.8, the same score they gave Super Mario Galaxy IRRC). I don't think the reviewers are paid off or that there is some kind of conspiracy to give undeserving games good scores and praise.

So in answer to the questions, yes I take reviews seriously and I like reading them from a variety of sources from IGN to Negative World and most of the sites in between*, I like to hear what other gamers have to say about the games they play, if I agree or disagree I still find it valuable to read other gamers' opinions.

*including Giant Bomb, love those guys, don't always agree but love 'em anyway
Posted: 11/02/12, 00:39:11  - Edited by 
 on: 11/02/12, 00:42:31
@deathly_hallows

I don't think there's any problem with saying a game is really good. There isn't a problem with being very passionate about how much you've liked it. And I don't have problems with statements like "This game makes this console worth buying" at the start of a gen if the reviewer feels that way.

But don't you think saying "This game is so good, the sequels that I know nothing about totally make the next system I know nothing about worth buying?"

I don't think the IGN reviewer was paid off, but he certainly is an idiot prone to hyperbole. How could I take anything he says seriously?

If someone on a message board had said it, I would probably think "Okay..." and take everything that person says with a saltshaker.

But a paid reviewer? Holy cow, man, contain yourself.

You'd never find a movie reviewer vouching for a non-existent sequel while gushing about a good movie. Come on.
Posted: 11/02/12, 00:44:48  - Edited by 
 on: 11/02/12, 00:48:23
@Mr_Mustache See for yourself.

Monster Hunter Tri
Muramasa QL
Muramasa Review

They do not cover all games that are released, though. No Fire Emblem/ToS coverage for you! Which is exactly why they have their massive editable game database and an extensive array of user content for just such missing gaps. (And yes, they miss big "AAA" 360/PS3 games before you ask. Their staff is tiny.)

But if you want Xenoblade, all kinds of Warioware, Rhythm Heaven and Rhythm Heaven Fever (review)/Quick Look, Sin & Punishment, Punch-Out!!, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All Stars, Donkey Kong Country Returns and "more."

They do fair coverage of everything they can. Some Dragon Ball game is hardly some world-shifting evidence of some huge conspiracy, guys.
Posted: 11/02/12, 00:47:24
@Guillaume
I agree that was an idiotic statement, but it's not that much different than people saying they wanted to buy a Wii in 2005 because they knew that Metroid Prime 3 was going to be amazing. 343 has proven (to many, not Stephen probably lol) that they can make a good Halo game. They've announced that they plan on making a trilogy. Common sense says that the 2nd and 3rd games of the trilogy will be on the next Xbox which is releasing as soon as next Fall. It's easy to understand why gamers are getting excited for the Durango/Halo 5 combo. Despite that I agree that it was unprofessional and fanboyish to heap praise upon an unannounced game and console, and it says something about the quality of IGN's editorial staff that such a statement ever made it into the final review. I still read IGN, but mostly for Greg Miller's PS3/Vita coverage, I won't disagree they've gone down hill and continue to slide... but I'm personally not to the point where I will discount their opinions wholesale or accuse them of money-hats.
Posted: 11/02/12, 01:01:57
@Xbob42

Mannnnn... Now I REALLY want to play Muramasa again....
Posted: 11/02/12, 01:05:08
deathly_hallows said:
@Guillaume
I agree that was an idiotic statement, but it's not that much different than people saying they wanted to buy a Wii in 2005 because they knew that Metroid Prime 3 was going to be amazing.
How is it not different? It's completely different. The context couldn't be more different. The place where it's said, what it really means... different.

And I think it's fair to discount an entire website based on repeated examples like this one. The editors that went over the review left that sentence in despite the fact that it had no business in a review. That, to me, means they are more interested in pumping fanboys up than they are in being critical of the games they review.
Posted: 11/02/12, 01:06:22  - Edited by 
 on: 11/02/12, 01:09:19
@deathly_hallows

This same review mentioned monitor melting visuals. I hope that was hyperbole, I really want to play Halo 4 but if it's going to melt my monitor I don't know...

I don't take as much issue with the Halo 5/6 make the next console a must have line as Guillaume mostly because it's being used to illustrate a point. That the outlook for the franchise upon completion of Halo 4 looks good. There probably was a way less hyperbolic way to phrase that but I can understand what he meant. The whole review is littered with stuff like that though and it instantly reduces his credibility. It would be like if a movie reviewer told you that this movie would redefine what it means to be an action movie or it was so scary you would have a heart attack. It comes off as a kid giddy with excitement over a new toy. Inevitably kids get tired of their toys and then it is on to the next one.

For the record though, my issues with Halo 4 stem from being deeply familiar with past games. I guarantee you I know way more about these games than this IGN reviewer so impressing him with a new Halo game vs. impressing me with a new Halo game are 2 very different things.
Posted: 11/02/12, 01:15:03
Also, since it's relevant to the discussion at hand:

Giant Bomb Halo 4 review.

They seem to think it's a great game, but it emulates the old games a little too much and relies too heavily on already-established crap. Doesn't make it bad, just nowhere near as exciting as it could be.

Jeff Gerstmann said:
The presentation end of Halo 4 is quite nice. The music is outstanding, breaking away from the franchise's past a bit by updating the sound and getting away from some of the overt monk chanting that one still tends to associate with Halo. It helps make Halo 4 sound like its own thing, and that goes a long way. Visually, Halo 4 has some terrific moments that really stand out, but it also holds up well on the technical end with a good frame rate, great lighting, and, for the most part, sharp texture quality. Again, these things help to make Halo 4 look and feel different from its predecessors, probably more than the gameplay does.

No "monitor-melting visuals" here.
Posted: 11/02/12, 01:24:39
@Guillaume
I'm not disagreeing that the review reflects poorly on IGN, but I'm personally not to the point to where I think the whole site is crap and I'm not going to stop reading their reviews, especially their playstation reviews.

@Stephen
I'm not disagreeing with you that the IGN review was fanboyish, all I'm saying is that one poorly written review doesn't mean that the game is bad, and it also doesn't mean that IGN is a worthless site and all gaming journalism and reviews in general are bogus and/or paid advertisements (in response to the OP). Also I respect your right to make up your own opinion about the game, and to disagree with the reviews if it doesn't give you want you want as a Halo fan. I don't even have a 360, I have no skin in the game here, some day I do hope to play these games somehow (I haven't played Reach or ODST either) but as someone who doesn't want to support Microsoft and their unfair pricing practices (Xbox Live) it makes it difficult.

@Xbob42
I like Jeff Gerstmann's reviews, but for the last two years he's being saying that every console game has bad graphics because he has a high-end gaming PC that he uses to play everything, and that's his standard, the fact that he didn't take a dump on Halo 4's graphics is actually a huge compliment! All the Giant Bomb guys are like that, except Patrick who plays Wii games and crazy shit like Tokyo Jungle that the rest of the crew would never touch with a ten foot pole.
Posted: 11/02/12, 02:11:07
deathly_hallows said:
except Patrick who plays Wii games and crazy shit like Tokyo Jungle that the rest of the crew would never touch with a ten foot pole.

Um... Everyone at Giant Bomb fucking LOVES Tokyo Jungle. "Weird ass, unique Japanese games" happen to be Jeff Gerstmann's favorite KIND of game.

Speaking of which...





That makes me laugh so hard every time I see it. (You can get the best part just by watching part 2, but the whole thing is great to me.)

Haha, just watched the whole thing again. Their best show ever. The shit they pull off live with users calling in is amazing sometimes.
Posted: 11/02/12, 02:25:33  - Edited by 
 on: 11/02/12, 02:44:51
Zero said:
@GameDadGrant You forgot to add that you look to Guillaume for all mobile gaming needs.

Touchť. Though in my defense, I honestly forgot to even think of mobile phone games as a...thing.

Mr_Mustache said:

I saw my name and thought you were being serious..before I read the context.
I'd trust you first and foremost for a handheld review, I'd hope you'd trust me about something RPG / Sports-related..

Well, I hope you don't take it too personally. My references were obviously in jest, for all involved.
Posted: 11/02/12, 02:30:55
@Xbob42
Okay, guess I'm wrong, it just seems to me from listening to the Giant Bombcast that they are heavily PC focused (except for Patrick), but maybe on the rest of the site they actually discuss Wii and 3DS and Japanese games in general more, I don't really go there that often except to read the odd review.
Posted: 11/02/12, 02:56:23
@deathly_hallows The whole PC focus thing is a really recent development. Each one of them hit a breaking point at a separate time in the last year or so where they just got tired of the aging consoles... showing their age, I guess. They're DYING for new ones. They had like an entire page full of Wii U articles about 2 weeks ago whenever that big Wii U information spike happened, they were hyped! It'll be so nice to finally move on and see what a new generation brings us!
Posted: 11/02/12, 03:00:54
@Xbob42

Sir, what point is it you think you just made? In my video they couldn't even take a decent platformer seriously. In your video they actually give a fair shake to a KINECT fighter and the comedy came from the EMBRACING the campyness.... not from them sh*tting all over a game they didn't bother to learn about. The video I linked ends with "So this is Dragon Ball Revenge of King Piccolo. It's for the Wii. It's in stores now. Don't buy it." Yea ....

Plus, if you ever watched Jeff Gerstmann on Bonus Round, you'd know why I don't think Giant Bomb really viewed all platforms with equality.
Posted: 11/02/12, 03:17:14
NinSage said:
@Xbob42In my video they couldn't even take a decent platformer seriously.

Really? Cause what I saw was them not taking a shitty Dragon Ball game seriously. But I guess I can understand your butthurt over people having differing opinions from you. Clearly not liking some random ass Dragon Ball game means they hate the Wii. Excellent deductive skills you've got there. Unless you took "It's for the Wii. Don't buy it." as some sort of insult against the Wii, when they end EVERY SINGLE VIDEO telling you what system the game is for and a brief summary of their thoughts. Also, what the hell are you talking about with the Kinect game? They flat out said they were completely sick of all the DBZ games being exactly the same in the video!

This whole "victimized Wii owner looking for injustices on any site possible" thing is fucking retarded. Seriously. Get over yourself, someone didn't like a Dragon Ball game. I don't like PLENTY of games.

I mean, I just listed a ton of crap that directly contradicts every claim you have, but you can't get over a Dragon Ball platformer not getting a "fair shake." I just... I can't fathom that kind of pettiness.
Posted: 11/02/12, 03:23:57  - Edited by 
 on: 11/02/12, 03:32:20
@Xbob42

Oh boy. It was the "don't buy it" part that was key. The Wii bit is only important because of the effort level put in to the review. In other words, even though they put no effort in to the review, they feel justified saying it's not worth even considering. I own the game and it IS good. You can tell just from the video it's not some cheap cash-in like the dozens of fighting games in the DB(Z) franchise. which is exactly why they should have been more harsh on the Kinect game... if all things were equal.

Now, I'm not trying to boil an entire website down in to a comparison of two videos. I was presenting one piece of strictly anecdotal evidence. However, the point I was making in my previous post was that if YOU wanted to compare those two videos, it was not leading to a favorable conclusion.... nothing more, nothing less.

Jeff G. on Bonus Round, however? Yikes.

Also, I know people love the "can't deal with differing opinions" argument. However, I run a forum whose original slogan (that I coined) was "it's not about agreeing all the time, it's about understanding that opinions can differ." (upper left image) Soooo, let's shelve that one, shall we?

Lastly, I try to avoid discussions with folks who can't muster the respect or self-control to avoid calling the thoughts of others "fucking retarted." We can avoid the ad homonym going forward, right?
Posted: 11/02/12, 03:51:12  - Edited by 
 on: 11/02/12, 03:53:07
@Xbob42 Eh... the problem with getting excited about the Wii U because the others are showing their age is this will inevitably lead to a lot of negativity towards the Wii U in 2-3 years when it is already feeling super dated. Can't get too excited about Giant Bomb's Wii U love.
Posted: 11/02/12, 04:02:33
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