Simulators Require Expert Knowledge Most Critics Don't Have
It can be difficult for a critic to admit that he or she simply isn't qualified to provide the reading public with an accurate, fair analysis of a certain product.
When it comes to simulators, the unfortunate fact of the matter is that most video game critics are not equipped to properly handle a review. This has been a problem in recent years, especially as the subject pertains to Gran Turismo.
Back in the day, gaming experts and even regular everyday gamers could judge a simulator's realism and authenticity. It wasn't hard. In that time, games were so far away from the real thing that even the inclusion of something like the hurdle in Madden was viewed as a big step forward. And it was obvious what wasn't realistic. We all know that there isn't one spot on a basketball court that is 100% money for every player on earth. Really, things were just so much simpler in those days.
But now, as gaming continues to push forward, most game critics find themselves outmatched when trying to review simulators. They're too ridiculously intricate and in-depth; it's rapidly reaching the point where if you're not an expert on the sport in question, you'll inevitably miss a few critical points. Actually, in the case of GT, it's far more important for someone to be a car and racing expert than it is to be a video game expert. Now, the latter can still do a ton of research (as I did for FIFA 14) but in the end, he or she must still make the difficult admission.
This is an admission I'd like at least one critic to make in regards to a Gran Turismo 6 review. I know more about it than most, so at least in the realm of reviewers, I'm better equipped than most to handle it. But I'd be willing to bet that a real-life racer would still offer you a better analysis (even if he couldn't write it as well). I've reviewed flight sims, but I always make it plain that I am really not familiar enough with the subject. Hence, I always advise that the consumer find a more informed source. The problem here is the ego of critics, who apparently never want to admit that they just shouldn't review something. This is a big issue, especially when review scores have become the be-all, end-all.
Sure, qualified critics can still evaluate certain aspects of any game; graphical quality, frame rate, control, etc. We should know about those things. But if you have no idea what camber is, if the only thing you know about your car is its color, you're outmatched. Please just do the consuming public a favor and admit it.
12/9/2013 10:00:12 PM Ben Dutka