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Sessler's Soapbox: The Science of Game Reviews

Posted: July 6, 2010
Sessler's Soapbox: The Science of Game Reviews
http://www.g4tv.com/videos/47288/sesslers-soapbox-the-science-of-game-reviews/
http://images.g4tv.com/ImageDb3/244515_LGST/sesslers-7-6-10.jpg
Video_47288
Adam discusses a recent study that attempted to determine if reading a review first can affect your enjoyment and opinion of a game.

Comments are Closed

  • xxMayDay31xx

    eh, i don't see the problem. you make a good game you get a good score. it would be one thing if four people reviewed your game and one or two gave it the ole crap stamp, but most games get 50 to 100 reviews. and most if not all of the critics love to play quality video games. so if 75 out of the hundred say your game is crap, or in the case of Lair or Force Unleashed "broken", then they're probably on to something.
    i don't think we have a case like in movies where the critics all want some boring drama focused on character development and some hippie dippie cause, raking all the mindless summer action films over the coals. game critics really do want games to be good. unlike movies they have to look at two things: entertainment and functionality. for the most part, they tend to line up with my own opinions.
    i've never bought a game that got a good score where i thought i got ripped off, and i've never played a game with a bad score that i thought the reviews were all wrong.
    i think the problem is the perception of the number. look at the colors on metacritic. 75 is green, 75 is good. it ain't perfect, but it's good. i buy lots of games that hover in the low 80's and enjoy most of them.
    not only that, but money's tight. if you can guarantee an instant classic, i'll guarantee my 60 bucks. if not, then it's 29.99 for you.

    Posted: July 7, 2010 12:43 AM
    xxMayDay31xx
  • ShinjiEx

    The best "System" ever I think is the pro & con review setup
    so you point out the good and cool stuff
    then point out the bad and or frustrating stuff

    It allows me the consumer to weigh both of them on if it's worth playing or not...
    whether I buy it or rent it

    I hate the number setup as well video games are not super models LOL

    Posted: July 6, 2010 11:29 PM
    ShinjiEx
  • Adrenalyn915

    I do understand your hatred for scores, I truly do. Frankly I wouldn't have a problem if you got rid of them altogether, but I do think that would do a disservice to your reviews. The only reason I think it would do a disservice to your reviews is because, sometimes your reviews sound like you are going to give the game a two or three, and you point out many flaws, going on and on, yet you give the game a four or five (recent example from Morgan: Crackdown 2). Just because there are a lot of flaws in the game, doesn't mean you don't enjoy it, you just think it would've been better without them (although I wasn't a fan of either Crackdown game). The score gives it that final stamp of approval or disapproval. I don't think the Pass, Rent or Buy system, that most people ask for, works in the same way, because when you put that tag on it it doesn't really tell you how good the game is, because sometimes reviewers will give a game a rent, based only on the lack of replayability or depth, but that isn't what (necessarily) makes a game great. I do agree that game scores are misused (especially when companies base their decisions on review scores), but I do not think that they are ALL bad. Scores do give a consumer a final sense of what the reviewers feel about the game, which is sometimes skewed by the review itself.

    Posted: July 6, 2010 11:03 PM
    Adrenalyn915
  • chubi-_-

    i like g4's reviews i have pretty much the same taste as i do how ever i dont trust ign's reviews in fact stoped reading their reviews all together i think ift depends on the auther/reader trust i have yet to disagree with a g4 review

    Posted: July 6, 2010 10:50 PM
  • openfocus

    So ... what sessler is saying is that we need a Top Gear of Video Games type of show?

    Posted: July 6, 2010 10:27 PM
  • UNrealx007

    I totally agree that to many people care about a number rather than what the reviewers have to say about he game. i think i speak for everyone when i say that games should be rated on a type of grading scale. like 80% or something like that but have different grades for different things like graphics, controls, online mode, etc.

    Thats what i'd like to see.

    Posted: July 6, 2010 10:21 PM
    UNrealx007
  • Englund

    Games Reviews have gone the wrong way because just the score i don't trust the score i read the game reviews but still found the scorfe more important games reviews that simple i would buy the game the first day i did buy Star Wars the Force Unleashed dispite the bad game reviews

    Posted: July 6, 2010 8:51 PM
    Englund
  • RandyMercer

    Hmm I don't usually judge a game before playing but I always take few reviews to mind (or heart) when I'm deciding on the next title I should buy, I always try to have an open mind about these sorts of things since I don't always like things critics deem "critically acclaimed" although, quite a few of my favorite games are critically acclaimed (I.E. Uncharted 2 etc.) But some are not (DMC4 which received a 3/5). When it's all said and done it's on you.

    If you read the full written review you should take into consideration the positives and negatives in that review, also don't forget about your own opinion. I mean, it is your purchase and your money and ultimately your opinion, why bring someone else into it? Here's a little anecdote, In 2008 after the release of Mortal Kombat vs DCU I found myself debating on whether or not I should buy the game (Before it's release I was stoked), eventually X-play's review came to mind, "well X-Play gave this game a 3/5 so they think it's average," I thought. However, I weighed in favor of buying it (had no 2 player games at the time), I liked it for a while but spending the 56 bucks and having it in my collection (for a while) I started to despise it since it wasn't that great barely even good. Anyway I sold it (gladly). But those are the risk you have to take when buying a game at 60 bucks a pop. You might not like it or you may like it.

    Maybe, if the review numbers were replaced with "Buy", "Rent" or "Skipp" (Ala Chris Gore) it would generate a different response. Telling some to rent a game before they buy it is different from "we give _______ a 1...out of 5". Even then, people will still complain about what the reviewer said. But "Buy", "Rent" or "Skip" could force people to at least read the written review.

    Posted: July 6, 2010 8:47 PM
    RandyMercer
  • iiTheSiickii

    Most of the time I see the review before I buy a game. Recently I downloaded Duke Nukem Manhattan Project before I read the review online and that was a mistake!

    Posted: July 6, 2010 8:45 PM
    iiTheSiickii
  • Gathoom

    well i bought transformer WFC for the same reason i got Batman Arkum asyslum.... G4... nuff said

    Posted: July 6, 2010 8:41 PM
    Gathoom
  • littleb242

    what game is that with the color balls thats playing in the background?

    Posted: July 6, 2010 8:31 PM
    littleb242
  • IWSTUTNISB

    In regards to the score versus text, I'd have to say that it depends if the review score is really good/bad or if the words in the review convey a colorful enough picture.
    For instance, a game I haven't even heard of gets a perfect score. I'm suddenly aware of that game now. Whether or not I will enjoy the game more (or less) depending on the score is what I found intriguing about the study.
    Perhaps somebody plays Killzone 3 with no prior context to the game. They'll probably enjoy the game a lot more than they would if before they played it I ranted to them about how sluggish the controls are and that the character is a midget.
    Same thing applies if you praise a game and point out some of its more subtle touches. Say I tell somebody that if they pay close enough attention while playing Half-Life 2 they can spot the GMan watching you from time to time. They might have liked the game without knowing that but with that knowledge would probably rate the game a little better on average.

    Needless to say, it would be pretty interesting to see some numbers of how many people get a game because of reviews and if their opinion of the game is directly related to the review(s).

    Posted: July 6, 2010 8:23 PM
    IWSTUTNISB
  • IWSTUTNISB

    In regards to the score versus text, I'd have to say that it depends if the review score is really good/bad or if the words in the review convey a colorful enough picture.
    For instance, a game I haven't even heard of gets a perfect score. I'm suddenly aware of that game now. Whether or not I will enjoy the game more (or less) depending on the score is what I found intriguing about the study.
    Perhaps somebody plays Killzone 3 with no prior context to the game. They'll probably enjoy the game a lot more than they would if before they played it I ranted to them about how sluggish the controls are and that the character is a midget.
    Same thing applies if you praise a game and point out some of its more subtle touches. Say I tell somebody that if they pay close enough attention while playing Half-Life 2 they can spot the GMan watching you from time to time. They might have liked the game without knowing that but with that knowledge would probably rate the game a little better on average.

    Needless to say, it would be pretty interesting to see some numbers of how many people get a game because of reviews and if their opinion of the game is directly related to the review(s).

    Posted: July 6, 2010 8:07 PM
    IWSTUTNISB
  • sandboxgamer

    If their is a demo for the game play nd make the decision for yourself if you like the game or not. If their isent a demo read the review from g4, game informer, and gamespot and then make your decsion thats the way that works for me but soemtimes you just want a game a you dont care what the score is so reviews are always a good starting poit in my opinion.

    Posted: July 6, 2010 8:01 PM
    sandboxgamer
  • Jackal904

    I stopped trusting reviews a long time ago. IGN gave Crackdown 2 a 7.5, and I see comments below it like, "oh man I'm not buying this game now.", and that frustrates the hell out of me. Play the demo, watch some videos, and judge for yourself whether or not you want the game. Don't base your decision on what just one guy said.

    Posted: July 6, 2010 6:55 PM
    Jackal904
  • sdc10

    I like game reviews, if a game is receiving universally negative reviews I seriously doubt by playing a game I will go "pfft every single one of those reviews are wrong" in other words I know its probably something I shouldnt waste my money or time on. What I dont agree with is review scores. Its very difficult to convey an opinion in just the form of a number. Also, more often than not people just look at the number than actually reading the review which leads to ridiculous arguments like "How can a DS game receive the same score as this PS3 game!?" So in short, game reviews yes, game scores no.

    Posted: July 6, 2010 6:32 PM
    sdc10
  • kujel

    Good video Adam and good points. I personally don't look to closely at the number nor do I often read the whole review for any game but I do look at the synopsis of what's good and what's bad. I still like to make up my own mind and would love more developers to release pre-release demos even though it costs money.

    Posted: July 6, 2010 6:13 PM
    kujel
  • The_ULTRA_beast

    I completely base my game selection on the full review of both IGN and G4 and I am rarely dissapointed. My only dissapointing games are Mirror's Edge (4/5 stars) and Demon's Souls (4/5) so I should probably keep away from games with 4 stars and apostophe's

    Posted: July 6, 2010 6:13 PM
    The_ULTRA_beast
  • aimbotwitskillz

    why does g4 bleep the word s#$%? Sesslers soapbox is an online show, so there should b no need to bleep it. Sorry to get off topic, but it bugs me when they do that. So, can some please give me an answer.

    Posted: July 6, 2010 6:13 PM
    aimbotwitskillz
  • g4fan247

    I ignore Metacritc scores when I want to decide on what games to buy. The number on a game score does not matter, its what the reviewer says or writes that matters more to me. I normally trust what X play says about the game. Congrats to another great Soapbox.

    Posted: July 6, 2010 6:11 PM
    g4fan247
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