Since the dawn of time, well maybe not that far back, publications have played games. Then they rate and review them for apparently our benefit as consumers. Sometimes they align with your views, sometimes they don't. Every gamer is different. With the slew of Skyward Sword reviews coming in and a few of them being controversial for their scores or comments, It's making me wonder who you all actually trust? I admit I haven't really examined all of the 38 different publications currently collected in our Zelda Review Thread, but I definitely know who I trust. When Nintendo World Report gave the game a 10/10, that is pretty much all I needed. Then when Famitsu did the same with their 10/10/10/10 rating, I knew my beliefs were real. Sure what they had to say mattered a lot too. It's not just about the number. I trust those two sources quite a lot with my gaming decisions, looking to them for guidance on any game I'm unwavering on, or when I'm looking to solidify my own thoughts or not. I used to feel that way with IGN but after the core group left, things got weird (though really that started before they even were out), but even seeing their perfect score puts a little smile on my faith. Makes me feel like they're not as crazy as I thought considering what I believe to be true from the trusted reviews I do care for.
So my roundtable question to you all is this,... Who do you trust with your gaming opinions? What reviewers do you trust and care for? Who are you weary about? Or are you open your heart to all publications evenly? Most importantly, WHY do you put your faith in those reviewers? Explain yourself and defend your preferences. I'm eager to learn some perspective on all this and I'm sure others are as well.
No one, really. I have an idea if I want a game in advance. If it reviews super well in general, I'm down. If it reviews ok in general but I know I want it anyway, I'm down. If it reviews super poorly in general, I hesitate. But there is no one place I look to.
...except maybe here. If you guys are all for a game, I might check it out, even if the reviews aren't so hot overall.
Matt Casamassina (now moot), because he appreciates the same things I do in games, and tends to dislike things I dislike too. He's an esthetics whore like me.
Scottish Duck because we have scarily similar tastes in games as a whole.
Derek from Classic Game Room because he makes awesome reviews, talking about the things that actually matter with each particular game instead of blandly going into detail about every feature in the game (something I'm trying to implement for my own reviews)
Generally speaking, the sources I gel with most are GameTrailers (though that's been waning lately), Giant Bomb, The Escapist, and Gamers With Jobs (though they are more "personal impressions" rather than traditional, scored reviews).
For impressions "from the ground", I enjoy reading thoughts from Negative World and Gamers With Jobs members.
I take a few reviews into account, including any reviews you guys have (for instance I want 999 simply because you guys thinks it's awesome) but I try and rent it first if possible - unless it's a series that has a proven track record like Mario/Zelda and Layton.
If metacritic has an overall positive average on a game (over 80 percent), chances are I'll really enjoy it as long as the genre is up my alley so I do check that often. If it's less then 80 then I do more research but I have quite enjoyed some games with MetaCritic of less then 70%.. (FFCC CB is 66% for example).
I read board member's opinions more than reviews, but if you mean journalists, I used to read both Matt and Bozon's reviews, as well as Craig's on IGN, but since they're all gone...mostly GT's. They're pretty spot-on the majority of the time, at least with my gaming views.
"I think that everything is a trap, which is why I'm still alive." -Prince Humperdinck
Having said that, I usually used to agree with Matt, Bozon, and Craig when they were in IGN. I like Richard George's reviews too. And I also usually agree with Lucas M. Thomas. I also trust the the Radio Free Nintendo and Weekend Confirmed podcasters. They have turned me on to some great games I would have otherwise overlooked. I also trust Adam Sessler a lot. While we don't agree on some games, I hold high respect for his opinion on games and the gaming industry in general. In fact, I respect all of the afore mentioned individuals because their passion for the industry shows in what they do. And lets not forget James Rolfe. You really have to admire a guy who wades through all that crap so you don't have to. I wish I had seen some of his reviews when I was a kid.
I don't trust the rest of the IGN staff. I'm a little wary of Game Trailer's reviews as of late. I don't trust dude-bros because all they play is Gears of War. In fact, I don't trust people who pigeonhole their likes into a particular genre. They do this and then they want to have an opinion on everything else. Their opinions are not informed and, therefore, irrelevant. I don't trust the people on IGN boards. And last but, certainty most important of all, I don't trust Damon Hatfield. If he just had one slip, I could forgive it. But I feel like he genuinely wants to infuriate readers with his articles.
I have to say I also trust and respect the opinions of the Negative Worlders (we really need a name for ourselves; this one is too clunky). I trust your opinions because I can see where they come from. I see the thought process of the people through their posts and have come to understand all the different opinions and personalities. Therefore, your opinions seem very personal, as if we were friends hanging out in someone's house, discussing our favorite games without fear of ridicule for our opinions. For example, I wouldn't have given a second thought to Pac-Man & Galaga or Steel Diver if it wasn't for @roykoopa64 or 999 and Might & Magic if it wasn't for @Zero's love for the games. In fact, I just bought 999 SOLELY based on @Zero's glowing review for the game. It better be good or I'm coming to get you.
Most importantly, I think it's better to trust yourself over anyone else and to keep an open mind. That way you will be able to discover new games that may become lifelong passions.
Some of the people I've heard on podcasts, mostly, and of whom I understand the preferences, pet peeves and such. Jeremy Parish, Chris Kohler, Kat Bailey, Ray Barnholt, etc. Even if they give certain games I like so-so scores, I know enough about them to understand what bothers them that doesn't bother me, and what they like that I don't care about.
There are certain people who I'm more likely to listen to as far as opinions on a game go, like Craig from TVandLust or whoever, but I still don't "trust" anyone, really. I usually pay attention to the general consensus a game gets on certain boards, such as how users here on Negative World usually feel about it, how users at Hardcore Gaming 101 usually feel, how users at BadCartridge usually feel, etc. I reserve final judgment on most games until I actually play them for myself though. And even then, if I'm given the opportunity I'll still give a game a try if I don't think I'll like it. I haven't liked what I've played of Call of Duty for instance (Modern Warfare: Reflex Edition on Wii, plus the demos for Call of Duty 3 and Call of Duty Classic on the 360), but I'd still give a game in the series a try if it's presented to me. I'll even give a fighting game a try in that situation, and that's my least favorite genre
Honestly, myself. I use podcasts and reviews to help decide what games are on my radar. But I rent the majority of games before I buy them. There are some games like Mario and Zelda which I'll buy without renting first. Also there are games like Batman Arkham City which I bought without rental, but I had based my decision on impressions and my love of Arkham Asylum.