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You are not worthy to judge a game


kerraig UK
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I think anyone can judge a game at what point they choose, as reasons for playing vary so much anyway. eg. Some people just want instant fun, others are prepared for a more long term approach.

Personally, I don't judge a game until I've played it exhaustively (a few unfinished or obviously 'broken' games aside). Often I find it hard not to like something I have become so familiar with. Judging games is a difficult area.

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I'm reminded of Infiltrator for the CPC. Effectively, this was two games. The first was a helicopter flight sim, the second a psuedo-stealth adventure, which kicked in once you'd landed your copter outside the enemy base. The stealth adventure appealed to me greatly (and in a way still does) but the helicopter segment was poorly realised and felt like a chore.

End result: poor game. No save function meant every time I wanted to play the good bit, I had to play the bad bit for 20 minutes (a long time back then). In fact, I never got past the bad bit myself - I let my older brother (who enjoyed the flight sim) finish that.

People don't want to play bad stuff to get to good stuff, so if a game has a shit beginning, it's put its foot wrong from the start and it'll take a long time to pull it out.

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So a team of say 4 or 5 reviewers should be able to get through say, 4 or 5 games a month, in entirety, plus write the reviews, get the pictures, sort out the next batch of games etc?

Plus any other writing they need to do for the magazine?

For fucks sake, I type out, edit, and re-edit a post about game reviewing and my fucking laptop decides to go back to the previous page on its own and I lose the text.

Crux of what I was saying, you're entitled to an opinion even after seeing a game. To review it however you need to reach an end in the game and then, if necessary continue playing it until you stop finding anything new in the game.

A crap game will be shallow and won't take much time deduce, a great game will warrant so much continued play that you could only hope to get as much time on it as possible before making your review.

Thats why Edge spent what I think to be over 100hours playing Halo to ensure it was a ten.

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Perhaps it would be more useful if a review mentioned that for a particular game the first 30 minutes was tedious because..., but after 15 hours it was enjoyable for these reasons...

Isn't this better than having to say whether the game is good overall?

This is a problem with scoring a game. How can a single number capture that information?

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I'm pretty sure I can judge a game for my own tastes pretty damn quickly with reasonable accuracy. I may get it wrong occasionally, but then that's one of the reasons I frequent places like this and ask others of their opinions.

I dismiss any argument that suggests '15 hours' investment is necessary to get a satisfying return from a game - that really is silly.

If you must talk in terms of investment vs. return, then I suggest using something a little more scaleable like percentages or being more specific by describing milestones/narrative stages which you found rewarding or caused a renewed interest in the game.. ...

.....are you really sure you want to "Judge" a game?

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Perhaps it would be more useful if a review mentioned that for a particular game the first 30 minutes was tedious because..., but after 15 hours it was enjoyable for these reasons...

Isn't this better than having to say whether the game is good overall?

This is a problem with scoring a game. How can a single number capture that information?

It needs the text and the number because you can, in the text, point out the first 15hours are boring and try and cover all significant points in the review but the number gives the overall picture of having spent say 30hours playing a game.

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But it can't even do that, because as people have mentioned above it all depend on how much you persist, or what you want / like in a game.

Course it can. But because the first few hours are crucial, a game can get a 6 if it starts shit, even if the last levels are the best things ever.

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I dismiss any argument that suggests '15 hours' investment is necessary to get a satisfying return from a game - that really is silly.

So, the review would be ok for you. But there are other tastes, as the discussions above reveal. Some people do like to persist and then find they greatly enjoyed the game. Some people want the game to grab them in under 30 mins.

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Course it can. But because the first few hours are crucial, a game can get a 6 if it starts shit, even if the last levels are the best things ever.

But if you are someone who loves to play a game to the end then those last levels may be the most important ones to you. The early ones no longer matter. You end up loving the game, thinking that it's a 10. Whereas other people will hate those first few levels and stop, thinking its a 2. You can't just average those numbers. The 6 isn't right for either type of person.

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But it can't even do that, because as people have mentioned above it all depend on how much you persist, or what you want / like in a game.

Exactly, although we'd like reviews to be fact, as Biffo said, if you don't like rpg's you won't even like a 10/10 one because its the pinnacle of everything you don't like about rpg's.

You have to look at what the game is, and align that to what you like in a game and think for yourself as to whether you're going to enjoy it.

Going back to the original point of this thread(before it becomes 'should we get rid of the scores' or something)

I think there's a point in a game where you've seen all the game has to offer, only then can you truly comment on it.

Super Mario Sunshine for example, you can comment and review that game without having found all of the blue coins because they aren't adding anything to the game. Once you've done the challenge shines, thats it.

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So, the review would be ok for you. But there are other tastes, as the discussions above reveal. Some people do like to persist and then find they greatly enjoyed the game. Some people want the game to grab them in under 30 mins.

My 15 hours would not be the same as your 15 hours. That was my point, and why I brought up the subject of using something else to gauge progress.

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But if you are someone who loves to play a game to the end then those last levels may be the most important ones to you. The early ones no longer matter. You end up loving the game, thinking that it's a 10. Whereas other people will hate those first few levels and stop, thinking its a 2. You can't just average those numbers. The 6 isn't right for either type of person.

You may love the game then, but an objective view taken on it a while later will see you no doubt come to the opinion that it's a good game, marred by a dodgy start.

Reviews aren't a guide to those who have finished the game, they're one for those who are about to buy it.

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You may love the game then, but an objective view taken on it a while later will see you no doubt come to the opinion that it's a good game, marred by a dodgy start.

Reviews aren't a guide to those who have finished the game, they're one for those who are about to buy it.

<off topic, sorry>Exactly, which takes words not a number to explain.</off topic, sorry>

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You may love the game then, but an objective view taken on it a while later will see you no doubt come to the opinion that it's a good game, marred by a dodgy start.

Reviews aren't a guide to those who have finished the game, they're one for those who are about to buy it.

<off topic, sorry>Exactly, which takes words not a number to explain.</off topic, sorry>

<offer-topicer>Never said it didn't. Just said a score can represent a rough feeling of the game.</offer-topicer>

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I'll tend to judge a game after about 5 hours of play. My wife will judge them after a couple of goes.

What does this say?

It says that she has tougher standards than I. She won't put up with crap controls or a story that takes too long to start. (Hell, even the long winded LOTR had a cracking start.)

The 'hardcore' will persist. But does that mean that we're better than the herd or more than willing to put up problems that should have been fixed?

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So a team of say 4 or 5 reviewers should be able to get through say, 4 or 5 games a month, in entirety, plus write the reviews, get the pictures, sort out the next batch of games etc?

Plus any other writing they need to do for the magazine?

You'd think so, although Gamesmaster shamelessly shows certain people reviewing upwards of five games a month each, which is patently nonsense, and goes some way to explaining the quality of their reviews.

I must stick up for Gamesmaster and say that's not the case. Freelancers possibly, and they have time to review around five games in an issue - that would give them about 4 days to play a game. But staff writers will seldom review more than five games. Preview yes - but previews generally require much less time.

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I think there's a point in a game where you've seen all the game has to offer, only then can you truly comment on it.

I think you've absolutely nailed it with that sentence.

I disagree with people who say "I know in 30 minutes if i like a game or not" or "I'm a pretty good judge, I know what I like almost straight away".

The threads on metal Arms convince me of this. People say its "good shallow fun" and this instantly reveals that they aren't very far into the game, because it soon becomes very deep and tactical.

If you spent 30 minutes on Metal Arms you wouldnt have the first clue about how the game plays. You wouldnt have god the nail gun, or the scope, or the tether, or the emp, you wouldnt have got airbourne yet, or taken over another droid, or manned a vehicle, or powered up any weapons etc etc.

So I think the phrase above sums it up. You have to see all the game has to offer before you truly know the games worth.

Imgine watching arlington road, the vanishing or the usual suspects but turning it off before the last 10 minutes. It would be a completely different experience to seeing the whole thing

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I think there's a point in a game where you've seen all the game has to offer, only then can you truly comment on it.

I think you've absolutely nailed it with that sentence.

I disagree with people who say "I know in 30 minutes if i like a game or not" or "I'm a pretty good judge, I know what I like almost straight away".

The threads on metal Arms convince me of this. People say its "good shallow fun" and this instantly reveals that they aren't very far into the game, because it soon becomes very deep and tactical.

If you spent 30 minutes on Metal Arms you wouldnt have the first clue about how the game plays. You wouldnt have god the nail gun, or the scope, or the tether, or the emp, you wouldnt have got airbourne yet, or taken over another droid, or manned a vehicle, or powered up any weapons etc etc.

So I think the phrase above sums it up. You have to see all the game has to offer before you truly know the games worth.

Imgine watching arlington road, the vanishing or the usual suspects but turning it off before the last 10 minutes. It would be a completely different experience to seeing the whole thing

If you are a professional and it's your job to read books, play games, watch movies, then it's beyond question that you should see everything it has to offer before attempting to make an informed comment.

If however you are a consumer then frankly "it bored me within 10 minutes" is a completely valid comment to make as it warns other consumers who may not have the temperament to stick with it. For some people immediaecy is as important a quality as depth is to others. Therefore you cannot simply say that it is the consumer's fault if they don't dedicate hours of their life to something they ultimately may not enjoy, so it has failed them as an experience.

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If you are a professional and it's your job to read books, play games, watch movies, then it's beyond question that you should see everything it has to offer before attempting to make an informed comment.

Unfortunately - and we've had this conversation before - if you're getting paid thirty or forty quid to write a half page review of a massive RPG, you can't spend 60 hours completing it or you'll end up getting paid about 50p an hour.

I'm sure most magazines endevour to complete all the games they review. But when code of a big game turns up two days before deadline and you know all your rivals will be reviewing it, making the moral decision to wait and review it properly next issue will probably result in the demise of your mag.

And what about sports games? I assume the people who expect reviewers to complete a game in order to make an informed decision accept that there are types of games that don't really warrant that.

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If you are a professional and it's your job to read books, play games, watch movies, then it's beyond question that you should see everything it has to offer before attempting to make an informed comment.

Unfortunately - and we've had this conversation before - if you're getting paid thirty or forty quid to write a half page review of a massive RPG, you can't spend 60 hours completing it or you'll end up getting paid about 50p an hour.

I'm sure most magazines endevour to complete all the games they review. But when code of a big game turns up two days before deadline and you know all your rivals will be reviewing it, making the moral decision to wait and review it properly next issue will probably result in the demise of your mag.

And what about sports games? I assume the people who expect reviewers to complete a game in order to make an informed decision accept that there are types of games that don't really warrant that.

That's probably why I no longer buy gaming magazines. Why pay for a rewritten press release, or to enjoy the reviewer's witty demolition of a game he hasn't played based on it being superficially similar to some he has?

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Correctomundo

I hate being told I've no right to my opinion and I should spend several more hours of misery with a rubbish game.

I see your point, but how do you know its a rubbish game? Some brilliant games have had rubbish first levels/hours play.

I'm sitting on the fence, if there is one. I clearly see both point, and agree with both, if possible.

But there is something very wrong with your last sentence. IMO, a game can't be really brilliant if it has a tedious beginning. If I were a developer/writer/film director, I'd put every effort to grab the attention of the player from the very start, and give him hints of what to come. KOTOR being a great example of that. You "know" from the start that later new possibilities will appear.

I can't be arsed with a 500+ pages book with a tedious first chapter. Writer's fault, not mine.

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