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