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."
...do you still take video game journalism seriously?
In fairness to GiantBomb, I do remember enjoying several of their Quick Looks for games like Kirby's RTDL and Rhythm Heaven Fever (I think?). I remember liking them because it's sort of like a Let's Play where you have running commentary, but for the first half hour of a game or so, and the commentators seemed to enjoy the games well enough (as they should, because RTDL is good stuff).
Is it me, or whenever there is a video of a game journalist playing a game, they usually are pretty bad at it? Granted, no one is master when they first start playing a game, but some general gaming knowledge from playing games over the years and some problem solving go a long way when playing games. I think the Giant Bombcast on RE6 showing how they played was a really poor showing. I know the game has a lot of stuff that really piss me off about the game design but the mechanics of the combat is actually pretty fun and you have a lot of mobility options and great close quarter abilities. But when someone is constantly trying to kick someone who is obviously armored and isn't getting stunned or haphazardly wasting ammo (this is after they admitted going through the game once too, which means they should know better. My little brother played better on his first run through), you have to think, they aren't gonna have a good time playing like that at all.
Like I would never look at any fighting game review. Usually they would just go over what single player options there are and if there are lobbies. That really doesn't mean a lot when when it comes to the longevity of the game. Though it would mean something to casual people who play for the story, such as P4A's story mode. They never really go into what mechanics the game has and how it would effect the gameplay. Granted if you would like a good idea of how a game from a fighting game series would play like, there are sites that specialize in that.
But yea, they are also never critical in their previews. If there are obvious flaws they should point it out, if there is something that they subjectively didn't like, they should also point it out because other people may think the same. In pre-screenings of movies, people are critical of what they see, why can't game journalists? If everything is trying to be so positive, then that's not journalism, that's just PR for the companies.
I actually like Giant Bombs 5-star system, if you actually read their reviews it really makes sense. Never been a fan of the 100 point system, though in the end I don't really care that much because the content is always more important than the score.
I'd have to look over the GB reviews to get a sense of how they employ the scale. If they use all 5 stars then that is a plus. But generally, removing increments of any measurement isn't a great idea. Only if they address the primary issue I raised regarding most other review scores.
But, even if GB is cool with their scores (and I'll accept your premise that they are), they only have 5 increments to work with... which is equivalent to the 5-point breakdown I criticized other gaming outlets for using (great, good, meh, bad, unplayable).
Still, cool is as cool does, so if you say they are cool with it.... then.... cool.
@NinSage I think of it more like a rating from "Don't buy, actively yell at others not to buy" to "Buy it right now," rather than a rating for the game itself. All I need to know is if it's worth buying. But I find reviews entirely worthless anyway, a 30 minute Quick Look tells me more than 800 paragraphs of text ever could.
@Jargon But can't the same thing be said of the OP? If it was a Mario game and not an Xbox-exclusive FPS getting ridiculous praise from IGN would it have warranted an entire thread about how gaming journalism is corrupt and reviews are meaningless?
@deathly_hallows I don't follow your logic. Because that's not happening, which is part of the point in the OP. The kind of text being thrown at Halo 4 and Assassin's Creed III in the OP never gets thrown at games that aren't you know... preordained. I don't just mean praise, I mean THIS GAME IS SO GOOD YOU SHOULD BUY ANOTHER PLATFORM IT'S NOT EVEN ON and THIS GAME IS SO GOOD NO OTHER GAME WILL EVER MATCH IT type commentary. Could you imagine that thrown at Mario or Zelda from anything other than some insane Nintendo fanboy site that would, instantly, be labeled an insane Nintendo fanboy site?
But the issue isn't that it doesn't happen enough for Nintendo games, because it shouldn't. The issue is that this kind of review writing shouldn't happen at all. It reads like an advertisement.
I think the OP is more about publisher money exerting influence on critics. Like I said in my first post, I don't really follow this stuff or care enough about reviews to really weigh in very much on that topic although I wouldn't be surprised if it happened at all. Journalists being influenced by the power and money of the subject of their investigation is a big problem not specific to video games. Would anon have brought it up if it was Mario being gushed about? Maybe if Nintendo was using their money to win over critics more, but that doesn't seem to be the case as far as I know.
But I was speaking specifically about NinSage. He thinks that video game sites have it out for Nintendo because the Wii gets mocked, but then he mocks HD games with the same kind of ignorance you hear from Wii haters. Lumping AAA HD games as buggy brown sequels is quite similar to calling all Wii games waggle fests. It leads me to believe that he just wishes the websites catered to his tastes more, not that he wishes they were fair to all video games.
@Zero Well that one cherry picked quote from IGN is especially dumb and unprofessional, but plenty of Mario and Zelda games have scored 9s and 10s over the years, and plenty of them have been hyped to high heaven. But they are also good games and they deserve the high scores and praise they get, for the most part. Same with the Halo series, IMO, I've played 1-3 and they were all excellent games. Heck same for Gears of War, it's not my cup of tea but I've played the first game from beginning to end (co-op with my brother) and it was a very well crafted experience. Why is it that it's okay for Nintendo to get high scores and praise but if another gaming company does then it must mean foul play and money exchanging hands?
@Jargon Nintendo is a very powerful and influential company, and if you're going to accuse other publishers of buying their scores then why are they exempt?