Graev and I were talking about reviews today, and the subject came up about how reviews are so variable. We looked at Mists of Pandaria‘s reviews and saw a lot of “more of the same” in the ‘negatives’ section, yet it still manages an 83 which is a good score. Compare that to other reviews where a game or movie (Taken 2) scores horribly because it was once again more of the same, and blamed for “sticking to a formula.”
Then on the total flip side, games can be scored poorly, despite being good games, because they aren’t the same as a predecessor. That’s the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality. If a game adheres to the formula, in many cases it scores well.
So you have reviews saying it’s good that something changed, or good that something didn’t change, or bad that something changed, or bad that something didn’t change… I think I have that right. Sometimes following a formula can be a great thing, or the worst thing imaginable.
Resident Evil 6 is getting slaughtered in the reviews, but Capcom has shipped (note: Not sold) 4.5 million copies worldwide. People are going to buy the game because they love the franchise, and despite its flaws that won’t change the game being good in their mind.
In general, it’s getting harder and harder to trust reviews. The reviewer could be having a bad day, or not like action rpg’s. Reviews all come down to personal preference. The best anyone can hope for is that you find someone who, over the course of a long period of time, appears to have similar tastes and mood swings. Even then, the variability is extremely high.
So what do you guys think? Do reviews matter to you when making a purchasing decision, or 9/10 have you already decided before a game even comes out whether or not you’re going to get it? Personally, when I don’t already know for certain that I will or will not buy, I don’t turn to reviews; I take a much more organic approach. I think watching a game be played or reading a journal of someone’s playtime is far more informative. Anyway, I’m curious what you all think.