PS3 News: Game Reviews: Okay, It's Good, But...Will I Actually Like It? - PS3 News

Members Login: Register | Why sign up? | Forgot Password?

Game Reviews: Okay, It's Good, But...Will I Actually Like It?

As a critic, I have two primary goals for every review I write:

1. Determine if the game is good (aka quality).

2. Tell people if they might like it (aka appeal).

That's the analysis and breakdown in its simplest form. Seems easy, right? And yet, when it comes to certain games, such as Resident Evil 6, it becomes a mind-bogglingly difficult and even confusing task. The problem is that "good" and "opinion" are two very different things, and I think it's important for a critic to make the distinction. But at the same time, he or she can't completely ignore one or the other.

Personally, I think goal #2 is more important because that's where the recommendation comes in. That's where the reviewer tells the reader to either spend hard-earned money or hold off. I know that doesn't seem like much of a responsibility but any critic worth a salt takes it very seriously. Those who treat this as nothing more than a lark have no business reviewing games. That being said, it can be exceedingly tough to jump into the minds of the targeted audience (which can be just about every gamer in existence when it comes to mainstream titles like Assassin's Creed III and Call of Duty: Black Ops II).

How many times have you seen a score and gone, "Yeah, it's good...but will I like it?" Not everyone is immediately convinced after seeing a score. Maybe it's not usually a genre they play. Maybe they don't have a lot of cash and are forced to be extremely selective. Maybe they've had a bad experience with a previous entry in a franchise, or they just don't like the developer. Maybe they're looking for something specific in the product, something the critic just doesn't see as important. I find it extremely easy to tell you whether or not something is good; in truth, I think any avid gamer can do the same. But to recommend or not recommend? A whole lot more must be taken into consideration.

Therefore, when you read the reviews here at PSXE, please know that the aim is always the same. Quality and appeal. If you finish reading the review and you're still fuzzy on either, we haven't done our job. If you come away saying definitively, "Yep, I want it!" or "Nah, that isn't for me," that there is a job well done. Just my two cents on the issue.

Tags: video games, video game reviews, game reviews, gaming culture

10/31/2012 10:01:28 PM Ben Dutka

Put this on your webpage or blog:
Email this to a friend
Follow PSX Extreme on Twitter

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Share on MySpace Share on Delicious Share on Digg Share on Google Buzz Share via E-Mail Share via Tumblr Share via Posterous

Comments (31 posts)

TheAgingHipster
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 @ 10:44:44 PM
Reply

For what it's worth, your reviews play a major role in shaping my decisions regarding which games are day one purchases, and which get pushed back until the off season.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 3 down Disagree with this comment

Killa Tequilla
Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 12:33:58 AM

I usually know what im buying, but sometimes Bens reviews help out. I didn't purchase MOH based on Bens review.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

iankhaneagle
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 @ 10:58:20 PM
Reply

ben i respect your opinion. yet i find it hard not to disagree sometimes as i find that you often allow fanboy to overtake on occasion. on one level i like that part because it gives your website a bit of a professional blogger feel. yet, and dont take this the wrong way..i miss Arnold K. i miss his writing style. truth be told he is what brought me to PSXE. not ben dutka. something about his style was concise and informative, and i could get a feel for him wrapping his head around things. what i am trying to say is that while i appreciate what you go through to post the reviews, you need a counterbalance. i am not positive if arnold left or what, but i think you desperately need someone to share duties with you. i respect your opinion more then the big websites, yet i find myself slowly going more to Youtube reviews. my personal preference there is ReviewzoneHD. the host, zer0, has a grasp of what professionlism is. the guy has sold me on a few games like El Shaddai and reconfirmed my belief in others, such as my preference to Sonic and Sega Racing vs. Modnation.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 @ 11:03:36 PM

I miss Arnold's blunt directness.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 @ 11:06:50 PM

I do not agree that any fanboyism whatsoever has ever influenced any of my reviews and for the record, Arnold gave out higher scores to PS3 exclusives than I did. Not that I'm saying he's guilty of fanboyism, either, but there is no basis for any such claim if you read all our reviews.

I have never cared what platform a game is on.

But I do agree that it's often better to have different opinions, and I miss Arnold, too. We do have altering styles and that was a benefit to the site. However, you really don't find many places where the same game is reviewed but multiple critics at the source, so you almost always have to visit different places, anyway.

Agree with this comment 5 up, 3 down Disagree with this comment

PoopsMcGee
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 @ 11:24:46 PM

Off-topic, sorry:

DUDE! Your icon!!!!!

THE UNHOLY WAR!

That game rules! Is it on PSN????

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

tes37
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 @ 11:42:35 PM

I miss Arnold as well, but Ben does a fine job. I don't feel like the site is hurting in his absence, though I like his personality equally as much as Ben.

If Arnold is reading this, then drop in every once in a while.


Last edited by tes37 on 10/31/2012 11:43:18 PM

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Killa Tequilla
Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 12:36:34 AM

I guess I haven't been around enough?

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

StevieRV
Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 3:13:50 AM

what happened to Arnold, Ben? Where did he go? I'm curious and i cant recall you mentioning, but i may have missed it

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Lawless SXE
Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 7:31:36 AM

Stevie,
Last I recall he was off to start a new website called ApPoppa or something like that. He memorably returned in fine fashion for the UC3 review but, aside from that, nary a dickybird to my recollection.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

AcHiLLiA
Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 12:32:22 PM

what year did he leave? when I bought my first PS3, heck I forgot how I spotted this site to begin with.

Last edited by AcHiLLiA on 11/1/2012 12:39:55 PM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 @ 11:07:26 PM
Reply

The reviews here usually do the job because if you remove the score from your mind and just read it you can usually tell if it's "your thing" or not, and that's really all I'm looking for. My only complaint would be an occasional lack of detail concerning things like controls and physics.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Rogueagent01
Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 2:41:43 AM

I agree with every part of your post. I am different then a lot of other people as I never need a review to help me decide whether or not I will buy a game, after playing games for 30 years I can see almost immediately whether or not a game is worth my money.

But at the same time I have read reviews here by both Ben and Arnold(throughout the years) and have to say, though they don't influence my decisions they are great reads. Like World pointed out if you read the review you actually can paint a picture most times of what you are reading. That is a very difficult thing to do for most critics, and people in general. I have read more reviews here then I have from the rest of the internet combined, as I feel that some of Bens judgements on games are very similar to what I would have said(other then my writing skills are garbage).

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Shams
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 @ 11:55:38 PM
Reply

Looking for perfection or complete agreement is always futile, and moreover, pointless, but honestly delving editorials like this one, and the reviews, separate Psxextreme from the pack. It's why I always come back here. Rock on.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Douchebaguette
Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 12:05:47 AM
Reply

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 1:52:25 PM

Who said that? Their grammar is bad.

"There is nothing neither bad nor good" is how it should be read!!!

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Zeronoz
Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 1:09:36 AM
Reply

Reviews are just an opinion, sadly some tend to take it seriously...I remember when DBZ games (I think it was DBZ Saga)was bashed for being repetitive and lackluster (which is true) but I still find it entertaining especially MP.

Frankly, I like PSXE`s reviews...I like "the good, the bad and the ugly" feature at the end of every reviews. I appreciate that!

Agree with this comment 0 up, 5 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 1:43:56 AM

Reviews are absolutely NOT all opinion. I refer you to this thread in the forums.

http://www.psxextremeforums.com/playstation-3/13414-im-interested-hearing-bens-opinion.html

Agree with this comment 3 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Zeronoz
Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 5:08:58 PM

To each his own.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

bigrailer19
Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 3:19:15 AM
Reply

I don't read reviews to help me make a choice on games. I usually know what I'm going to buy before it comes out. I know what I like. If for some reason I'm all caught up on my games and I'm looking for something or on the fence then I will look to reviews.

But 98% of the reviews I do read, are from PSXE. It's the professionalism that keeps me around. I typically agree with all of Bens articles, and even if I don't, the professionalism is always there, regardless.

Keep it up!

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Hannah CVH
Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 3:45:53 AM
Reply

Sounds like a recipe for awesomeness :)

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Lawless SXE
Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 6:53:17 AM
Reply

I think that you've pretty much got it nailed Ben. I normally go into the release of a game with a good idea of whether I'll get it day one, a little later down the track or not at all, but there are a few times when I've been influenced for the better by the reviews here, most prominently in the cases of Assassin's Creed II (which I wasn't going to get after the tedium of the first but ended up doing after some time), and Mirror's Edge, which I was going to wait on but got immediately instead.

I can't say that there are too many instances where I've disagreed with the review, either. Your work is always appreciated. As are John's news posts. Just a question: Why does John not do more? Why not occasional articles or reviews or previews? It'd be nice...

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Dukemz_UK
Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 10:47:29 AM
Reply

At the risk of being branded a PSXextreme fanboy, I have to add my opinion. I used to surf the web and read reviews and editorials of many game-related websites. I found them to be inconsistent, unprofessional, sometimes immature, and often blatantly pro x-box skewed in their opinions. I have always been impressed by the format of Ben's reviews. While I usually, but don't always, agree with Ben's opinions and judgements, they are professional, informative, mature, insightful and seriously empower me to make a decision on whether a game I've been interested in for a while, is worth my:
1. Pre-order or Day 1 purchase
2. Slightly discounted purchase
3. Bargain bin purchase
4. Avoid purchasing altogether

In this regard, I use PSXextreme as my primary source of game-related information, and I've never been disappointed to this day.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

jimmyhandsome
Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 11:02:40 AM
Reply

Ben does a great job at reviewing titles. I almost always come away knowing what to expect from the game and whether or not it is "right" for me. There is obviously a layer of opinion in the TYPES of games that people like (for instance, I really hate RTS games; it could be the best RTS game ever made but I'd have no interest in purchasing it) but there is also an objective quality of games that is simply not opinionated. I usually read plenty of reviews for games I'm interested in, and Ben and Greg Miller (IGN) almost always nail it for me.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 11:40:28 AM
Reply

"Resplendent set-pieces are ubiquitous during your quest, matched by what is inarguably the finest Halo sandbox yet. Halo 4 feels much more open-ended and organic than Halo Reach’s paint-by-numbers sequences because of its massive scale, scope, and freedom for possibility. Go it on foot, or take the Scorpion in front of you? Hop in a Ghost, or take the riskier strategy of trying to get to a heavily guarded Wraith? All of these choices exist in a moment, not a spectacular scene, allowing for emergent encounters dictated by the opportunities you seize." -Ryan Mccaffrey, IGN

It is great reading moments from reviews where you tell the editor clearly gets what makes a long running franchise so special. Everyone has played a Halo but not everyone interprets things the same way. Ryan clearly gets it and I'm overly excited. I'm thinking of ways to come up with $60 right now... and those graphics WOW

Agree with this comment 0 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

gungrave
Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 11:56:51 AM
Reply

Psx is always my first stop. Everything on this site, and it's community, feels like tight family if that makes any sense.

The only thing I don't like is Ben's fanboy towards the old Final Fantasy. With the announcement of FF13-3, Ben pretty much started bashing the game. Ben wants the new FF games to be just like the old ones, like the old rpgs that used to flood the market, but wasn't that one of his complaints about the new Medal of Honor?

Agree with this comment 0 up, 2 down Disagree with this comment

maxpontiac
Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 5:09:35 PM
Reply

Ben -

I have mentioned this on this site and said it a PSN message, I exclusively trust this site and what the reviews are.

Sure, I have disagreed with plenty of your scores over the past few years (Medal of Honor recently), but I always keep in mind what I like. That is the most important thing afterall when it comes to purchasing a game.

I come here to see what you have to say in regards to the quality of the title, how it runs per se.

The only feedback I have for you and this site is to keep in mind that someone such as myself might score a game like Birds of Steel higher then someone who is not a fan of flight games. If you were to let's say put some type of genre-fanboy level in it, it might clear up some of the "fuzziness" your readers have. I am not sure how you would pull that off, but maybe something like your "good, bad, and ugly" closer. Just a thought.

Last edited by maxpontiac on 11/1/2012 5:11:49 PM

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 9:44:50 PM

I appreciate everyone and anyone who wants to read.

And I'm well aware that fans of certain genres will score certain games higher. There's not really anything I can do about that; larger sites with multiple critics have options. They can hand a flight game to someone who likes flight games and knows a lot about them.

Me, I have to do research and try to get involved so I can understand it better. It's harder but like I said, there isn't much I can do. I almost always, however, make a point of noting if the game is in a genre I don't normally play. :)

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

maxpontiac
Friday, November 02, 2012 @ 12:54:12 PM

I completely understand and respect the position you are in. It's one of the many reasons I have come to trust this site when it comes to reviewing games.

I also know that you appreciate your readers and the courtesy is extended back at you. This is a great website that features an outstanding community. I wish I had more time to get to know everyone better, but that really isn't an option for me.

Anyways, keep up the good work sir. The service you offer is one that I find value in.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

BikerSaint
Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 5:17:44 PM
Reply

"In Ben, I trust"

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

TheCanadianGuy
Thursday, November 01, 2012 @ 6:59:35 PM
Reply

i've never really been one for reading alot of reviews. i don't play a wide variety of genre's mostly just straightforward 3rd person act/adventure. like uncharted And open world like GTA And assassin's creed. so if they get good scores i pretty much know it's a safe buy. no need to read a bunch of review's.

the only review's a normally read are Ben's And PTOM magazine i subscribe to.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Leave a Comment

Please login or register to leave a comment.

Our Poll

Rise of the Tomb Raider is a timed Xbox exclusive, and...
...I'm so pissed, I can't see straight.
...I'm annoyed, but I can be patient.
...I'm not caring much at all.
...I think it's actually a good thing.

Previous Poll Results