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What's in a Review?

Updated: Jul 19, 2018

Reviews are very important to the video game industry. How do you know if a game is worth your hard earned money if you have never played it?

Video games are an unique form of entertainment. There are tons of different genres and some games are 2 hours long and some are 100 hours long. It can be a daunting task to experience all the content a game has to offer especially if you have a deadline approaching.

Every couple of months a game comes along that sparks the debate on what constitutes a review. This time the game Octopath Traveler has caused commotion among gamers and reviewers alike. Should you beat a game 100% in order to give a proper review?

Octopath Traveler is beautiful. I've only played 30 minutes and can't wait to really get into the game

In my opinion you don't need to 100% a game to review it. If you're 100%'ing a video game and then giving your take on it, then it's not really a review; it's a critique.

And you might think that I'm splitting hairs here but when you look at the actual definition of the words, you'll see what I'm talking about.

A review is a formal evaluation and tends to be subjective

A critique is a critical assessment and tends to be objective.

Most people presenting a review that covers all the nooks and crannies of the game and can tell you about the secret endings and achievements are experts in the game they're talking about and are giving a critique of the game rather than a review. Games like Octopath Traveler are probably going to have more critiques than reviews simply because of the depth of the game itself. Typically if you're playing an RPG you're not just running through the game to see who the end boss is. There are a lot of intricacies in the game that add up to the whole package.

I personally stray away from reviewing such games for that very reason. I simply don't have the attention to detail to critique RPGs that requires 50+ hours to complete.

If I were to review Octopath Traveler I would give a rundown of the game mechanics, soundtrack, graphics and initial story. I could totally give you everything you need to know to start the game and if it's worth your time to start it and complete it.

But people really seem to want a critique of such a game. And if that's what you want, why are you wanting it on the first day of the game release? A critique shouldn't be rushed. Typically I only watch critiques after I've finished a game to see if there's anything that I missed.

People don't want to watch reviews to see if they should buy the game. They watch reviews to validate their opinions on the game.

That's why you have people say "There's no way you can get the full scope of ______ without putting 100 hours into it" when met with a game review/critique that doesn't align perfectly with how they feel about the game.

Give The Witcher 3 a 7/10 and something must be wrong with you, bud. How could you NOT see that this game is the best game of all time. If you stopped playing in the middle of the game, you clearly didn't see the end. It only gets good when you're 50 hours in. Anything less is just a warm up.

I'm being factitious. I haven't played enough of the Witcher 3 to form a good opinion on it but if I based my review on the first hour, I'd say its over rated. I will need to play a bit more, but personally if a game can't grab my attention within the first 5 hours of playing it, it's not worth to play the next 45 hours.

The Witcher 3 is a fan favorite. I just can't get into it.

And really that's what I'm getting at for when I form a review. I shouldn't have to play 50 hours of a boring (to me) game to tell you if it's good to me. I really dislike when people tell me that that the last 10 minutes of the game make the entire 50 hour grind worth it.

Screw that. A game needs to hold my attention the majority of the way through. I don't play games to waste time, I play games to be entertained. And if a game isn't entertaining, I'm not going to give it a good review.

You shouldn't rely on one source for all your reviews. It's important to have a wide range of opinions to determine if a game is worth playing, but if you're just using the review to confirm what you already think, then why not make your own critique and post it?

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