How you doin’?
It’s been a while, huh? Well… tough.
So today, kiddies, let’s talk about reviews. More specifically, game reviews. Even more specifically (specificallier? Maybe not), game reviews for the new God of War by Santa Monica Studio on the Sony PS4.
There are plenty of them out there. No doubt you’ve seen your fair share if you’re into that kind of thing. There are the usual over the top, inane gushings of the fanatical fans. There are the more considered, thoughtful and detailed descriptions (both positive and negative) from those who are more interested in the actual game than the IP, developing studio or platform.
And then there are the reviews from people who just seem to want to jump on the reviewing bandwagon for a much publicised triple-A game in order to up their view count.
Gotta get them YouTube views up, even if you are talking shit, amirite? Right!
The first two types are to be expected and welcomed. The fawning, fan-boying reviews are a good benchmark to judge the independent ones by. As in all reviews, you should pay just as much attention to how the reviewer has arrived at their final conclusion as to the actual conclusion itself.
Which brings us to the subject of today’s little rant – those who do reviews because it’s a big name title just for the exposure, even if it’s a game or genre they’re not that interested in.
Now, don’t get me wrong, God of War isn’t the only game this happens to, it just happens to be the most relevant right now as it has only just been released, and I’m still playing it.
Yes, I like the game a lot, but no, I haven’t got a bee in my bonnet because of negative reviews. In fact, some of the bandwagon reviews are completely positive. They’re still talking bullshit though.
As a side note – I happen to write game reviews for an online publication (under a pseudonym), so I do have a vested interest in all of this. No, I’m not going to let you know who I write for, I value my privacy, and I’m not here to advertise for anybody (though if you pay me lots I might consider it). Occasionally I’ll write a personal opinion piece on this blog, which won’t differ too much, it’ll just be a bit more, well, personal.
Anyway, back to it. The game was released last Friday, and the first review I saw for it (not including the journalistic reviews written pre-release after playing advance copies) was an hour after the release. An hour! It happened to be a good review but still, how much playing of the game was done in that hour, bearing in mind the review itself needed to be written in that time too?
A few things from some of these bandwagon reviews that bugged me include –
- A positive review waxed lyrical about the obvious love and affection between the main character, Kratos, and his son, Atreus, right from the beginning of the game. This isn’t the case at all.
- One reviewer remarked how they liked the blue paint Kratos wore. The colour is, in fact, red (which is almost blue, I guess, in a certain light. Like total darkness). It’s also a tattoo, not paint.
- A reviewer stated that their biggest problem with the game was the fact that they had changed the voice actor for Kratos, and he didn’t sound the same as he did in the previous games. This was the main reason for their 6 out of 10 mark.
- Another reviewer disliked the main attack buttons being the controller’s trigger buttons. A quick look at the game settings reveals this can be changed. The same reviewer also heavily disliked the motion blur and film graining. These can also be lowered or turned off completely in the settings. As a result the reviewer stated that the controls were “ass” (obviously an advanced technical term), and the game made him feel nauseous (nit-picking: nauseated would have been the correct term) because of the blur.
- A reviewer complained that the game’s map was too cluttered with icons. Yep, you guessed it, these can be altered to suit.
- Another reviewer commented that while the game looks really good graphically, it would look a whole lot better on a high end PC. Well yes, no shit, Sherlock.
- The best complaint of all, and a main reason for the reviewer marking the game down, was the fact the game didn’t tell you where the hidden things were, you had to go and look for them. You actually have to go out and search for the hidden items? Damn, no wonder it’s a bad game!
So what’s the point of all this, you may ask? Well, not much, to be honest, just a bit of a rant on my part. But also it stands as a piece of advice to be wary about a lot of “reviews”. Make sure you understand why the reviewer came to their conclusions, and that those reasons make sense to you. The best thing to do is find a reviewer who holds most of the same opinions as yourself, likes most of the same games and game genres as you, and keeps you entertained. Stick with their reviews and take others with a pinch of salt.
And of course, the best review of all – play the game yourself, whatever it may be, and make up your own mind.
As stated earlier, I’m currently playing the new God of War, and enjoying it immensely, though I can appreciate why some people might not like it as much, if at all. I’ll write a personal opinion piece and post it on here once I’ve completed it.
As always, that shallot.