So I was reading a gaming site this morning and a game journalist mentioned that he hadn’t gotten an advance copy of a game so he had been playing the game basically non-stop so that he could get a review ready for the readers.
What does everyone think of this?
While I admire the person’s work ethic, I’m not sure how fair it is to the game. Imagine someone forcing you to play a game for 18 hours straight whether you wanted to or not. How likely is it that you’d come away with a warm and fuzzy feeling about that game?
I’m not faulting the reviewer; don’t get me wrong. S/he doing the best job s/he can in this “Publish first or don’t bother” environment we operate in.
And this is me picking at problems without offering any solutions.
Here’s another example. Deathspank. Now I love Deathspank! Jeff Gerstmann doesn’t. But here’s the thing… I play Deathspank for an hour here, an hour there, sometimes I get on a real roll and I’ll play for a few hours straight but after I do, I’ll leave it alone for weeks after. Gerstmann, according to what he said on the Giant Bomb podcast, sat down one morning and played it straight through, finishing sometime later in the evening.
If I’d played Deathspank like that, I’d probably give it a 3/5 star review too. The jokes would run together and lose their humor, the game play would start to feel really repetitive and I just don’t think the game would be as fun.
Again, not faulting Gerstmann; he had a review to finish and he was getting it done. And for people who tend to marathon-play every game, his review was absolutely valid. If your plan is to wring every achievement point out of Deathspank over the course of a day, you’re going to come away feeling pretty sick of the game.
For that matter, I like cotton candy. About 2 bites of it. If I ate 2 bites of cotton candy I’d give it a big thumbs up. If someone brought me 10 wads/spindles/whatever-you-call-them of cotton candy and I had to eat them all at once, I’d probably tell you cotton candy was the most awful, wretched food ever invented.
I just wonder if we need reviewers to offer more disclosure over *how* they played the game. Something like “Play time 10 hours, played over a weekend”. I just think the experience of spending 10 hours in 1 day with a game might be much different than the experience of spending 10 hours with a game over the course of the week. Some titles are just not meant to be gorged on.
Or maybe the easiest solution is just to ignore professional reviews and go by what friends think of games. Actually, that’s probably the best plan.