Consumers are generally directed to purchase a product via word of mouth, recommendations of peers and reviews from critics. Critics to many onlookers are the source of knowledge around the subject/product/release that particular reviewer is focusing on. Naturally the opinion of the critic can split readers because more often than not reviews are the basis of the opinion of the critic. When I try to review games for instance, I try to put across my opinion but also how it would appeal to potential owners and or viewers in the case of films. Some reviewers though seem to get lost in their point of the review either through self-bias or the content of their review simply does not represent the score that was given.
A particular example is Gaming Age’s review of the Killzone trilogy. Killzone is a great series of FPS games exclusively on the Playstation with Killzone 2 and 3 arguably among the best FPS games this gen. The review reserves praise for the latter two games in the trilogy as both games are mentioned lightly in the review therefore this serves as a basis of acknowledgement for the games. It makes sense to focus on the HD revamp of Killzone. Killzone was a visual treat in the PS2 heyday but was plagued by technical issues and at times terrible design. Its HD revamp has hardly changed the face of the game as those issues remain and there is very little in the face of the value of the trilogy as the review is mainly about the first game. Killzone 2 averaged 90 on metacritic and Killzone 3 84. Both of which are very good scores. Gaming Age gave the Killzone trilogy 58/100- hardly representative of the last two games in the series as well as the value of the trilogy as a whole.
Reviews like this are misleading. I’m sure this reviewer and Gamin Age have put the nail on the head with other games they have reviewed. Yet this review is misleading because the focus is clearly on the HD revamp of the original and not how Killzone 2 stands up 3 years after its release or how the story continues in the three games. Does it get better? Worse? How about the gameplay- is that up to scratch? These finer points in critic reviews regardless of film, games, theatre you name it need to be addressed.
Now I used Gaming Age as an example because it was the only review that was listed on the review aggregator website Metacritic. Metacritic when I first and many others discovered it found use in the variety of reviews for games and films. In my opinion, Metacritic had a terrible year last year. Late embargo’s, multiplatform games gaining more reviews on one platform more than the other and re-releases such as the Killzone trilogy only having 1 review to its name. I don’t dictate my purchases on reviews alone but sometimes they help point me in the direction or things get pointed out that is worth knowing. IGN video reviews are generally solid with one or two odd reviews that to me and many other judging by the comments have not been entirely accurate.
The point here is that the value of reviews is dependent on the reviewer and consumer. If I had not been following Killzone until recently and wanted to buy the trilogy as a package then I would have 1 review to use from metacritic. Would that alter my opinion? Probably. Reviews can be the source of information and in many ways can act as propaganda with strict recommendation guidelines from the reviewer. It is a shame that sometimes reviews can dictate success, profits and sales. Just google Obsidian and Fallout: New Vegas- you will see why reviews play a powerful role. There is no question that reviews like Gaming Age’s reduce the validity and value of information regarding the source. Metacritic then use that information, post it on the site and make it seem to be the almighty source of information. Reviews generally are well presented and accurate. Shame that some let the majority down.