Gimli: "Tell me your name, Horsemaster, and I shall tell you mine"
Eomer: "I would cut off your head, Dwarf, if it stood just a little higher from the ground"
Legolas: (nocking an arrow) "You would die before your stroke fell"
Me: (nudging one of the Rohirim) "I got $20 on the Elf"...
I don't think it's quite as unknowing as you make it sound however. I do not think they are necessarily "biting the hand that feeds them." You are right, none of these "professional reviews" would exist if it weren't for these games, but when you think about it, neither would the big games. Go flip through any Game Informer and think abstractly for a moment about it; do you think that everything mentioned in all of it is entirely based off what the editors and writers want to talk about? I would guess not even remotely. After all, every image in the magazine is copyrighted, hence, they all have to request permission from the publishers or at least developers to get that imagery or any information pertaining to the game they want to talk about. It's incredibly subtle, manipulative advertisement. If you know anything about social psychology, you know any social interaction gives off a notion of group think, depending on the size of the group you're a part of. This is how marketing works: All you have to do is get the message out to enough people, and just simply by word of mouth you'll sell more copies than if you didn't bother with it.
So how does this relate to reviewers giving bad reviews of this game? It should get you to realize that there's a lot more behind the scenes that goes on that you'll never even begin to realize. Some of it can be dishonestly set in to motion, but others simply do not know, and some can still occur out of basic circumstance. How do you know the what kind of gaming experience and history the reviewer has? It makes a huge difference who you're talking to if Person A has played nothing but big budget popular games or if Person B has played nothing but sleeper hits and lackluster gamers. You can't tell, and you'll never be able to tell. So to question it is somewhat a moot point that doesn't ultimately go anywhere. If you want an example, I see so many reviews of "great games" such as Dragon Age and whatnot. People continue to tell me how great some stories are and how developed this and that characters are, but I'm not seeing it. You know why? Because I've played Xenogears and understood it lol that's all you need. If you haven't played that, learn it, love it, live it. In my personal opinion nothing has even come close to that kind of unique, detailed, well thought out experience that Xenogears' story presented. But that leads to the next paragraph...
In my opinion, the review system needs to be botched, entirely. Why? Because of one reason, and one reason only: it's part of the entertainment industry and as such cannot be officially reviewed. We all enjoy different things, don't we? I mean hey you can love to sky dive if you want, just like you can sit back and enjoy a book at your own leisure if you want to. Are any of us truly to say what's more enjoyable? You know just as much as I do it's ridiculous. I just used Xenogears as something that I enjoy, you don't have to agree with it whatsoever, I respect that. So why is the system even there in the first place? Let's go right back to my first paragraph: Because it makes money. Any consumer's dollar bill is important to every individual in a capitalist society. By that understanding, how are we going to take an aspect of life such as "relativity of enjoyment" and manipulate the consumer to throw money our way? By basing a review system around it so we can, in hopes, mold the consumer's mentality of what the ideal entertainment should be. You can see proof of that within the industry presently; there are far more 1st person shooters/3rd person shooters than any other genre (I think) certainly more than console-style rpgs, racing games, or strategy games.
TLDR version: You are the master of your own ship. You choose what you enjoy, no one else. Attacking another individual (as I stated in another post somewhere) for them not enjoying it is not any different from them attacking you for enjoying it. Keep the "reviews" as neutral as possible and address what the game actually is/does (the bugs for example) first. Then try to move forward with the sole intention of understanding (by usage of your best comparisons) so everyone can move the industry forward, instead of the intention being based solely around what makes the most money.
The problem is that most people, the masses, are stupid. Politicians make use of this fact and so do game developers.
In a perfect world, we would have reviews without scores where a reviewer is giving his independent opinion. The site/magazine he works for is independent as well and does not want to make a profit.
If you think about it, gaming magazines (and websites) depend on their readers. If they wouldn't give a big AAA title a good score, they're going to lose some of them. So giving both Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 at least a 8+ is the best option to keep as many readers as possible. That's one of the reasons why games like War in the North get criticized in a different way than many AAA games. Have you seen a reviewer calling the combat in Skyrim repetitive? I haven't. Although I do think Skyrim deserves a 90/100, there are dozens of 100/100 scores from the same websites who gave WitN a 50-65/100 and called the combat repetitive.
It basically works like this:
AAA game, rating from 80-100
All other games, rating from 0-100 or they get ignored
What we need is more independent game reviewers (there are some really good reviewers out there) and maybe some kind of international ruleset or organization for game reviews.
As for ratings, the problem is that most people want ratings. It's an easy way to compare games and decide whether you'll purchase it or not. I think a 5-star rating system isn't that bad but 0-100 doesn't make any sense. What's the difference between a 83/100 and 84/100 rating?
But yeah, it's good that we all agree that non-independent game reviewers should be ignored .
"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."
It's a real shame WITN isn't scoring better, although I've not played it yet to have my own opinions. That's a real drop for SB, and considering this game has been sooooo long in coming, it must be pretty gutting for them all. I wonder where they go from here?
A Snowblind Studios fan, and not a Tolkien fan!
If you have not started yet I'd suggesting waiting another week for Snowblind to get the next patch out. I've only encountered a few minor bugs myself but rather than risk loosing your save or something like that it might be best to wait a tiny bit longer for the eventual bug patch. Hopefully they'll working on that over the weekend and we'll have at least an ETA on monday.
With regard to the OP, I agree that the reviews don't always give an accurate picture of the game. However, there are plenty of games which fall victim to unfair reviews, whether they be too lenient or too harsh. WitN just happens to be one of those games that's catching a lot of flak for not being what some people expected. Overall, I'm very happy with it.
Last edited by Zaltyre; 11-11-2011 at 07:29 AM.
I dont know about you all, but I tend to go see the movies and play the games that get bad reviews, because those tend to be the best ones out there. Of course there will be bugs. Every game has bugs. Even in the exalted Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion, I have fallen through many floors and walked through many doors, as well as have uncompletable quest and unusable quest items stuck in my journal and inventory respectively. Honestly, as much as I'd like to see an open ended LotR rpg, I dont think it will be possible to make one without interfering with the lore in a major way. I have nothing against the reviewers, as everyone will have their own opinion about the game, but I dont like how they take good game that took years of hard work to create, and then immediately start pointing out its flaws. Thats like someone saving up their money to buy you a very nice gift, and when they give it to you you say, "Thats it?".
p.s. The intro to the song "On Fire" by Eminem perfectly explains my opinion.
I agree that some of the reviews seem to stem from misconceptions about what the game was aiming for. Despite my complaints about this game, I still want to play it more, and I still visit the forum to see if they have fixed anything. Its still disappointing that im stuck in chapter 3-2 on my first playthrough because of a game breaker, over a week later because snowblind wants to fix everything in one patch. If you have a significant number of fixes, push the patch and keep at it. I was working through the stutter but I cant work through not being able to see anything. So, while the reviews might be a bit too hard for the wrong reasons, I think its for the best if it keeps people from buying this game in its current state.
I like the game a lot so far. I can see where the misconceptions have come from. The fact that there are so many bugs and the game starts sub-par (it's not a bad beginning, but the first couple levels do feel pretty repetitive) have hurt this game pretty badly at this point. Word of mouth is important, now.
My greatest and sole gripe atm is the fact that at times this game feels so excruciatingly linear at times. The hubs, tunnels, character path, and levels as a whole are too "linear" for me to feel free. Rather than approach every fight the same way, it'd be nice to have several different paths into an area and take out several key enemies assassin style. I don't mind that the game isn't open world, but at least a couple different ways to approach a scenario would really be great. Tunnel, open area, narrow path, open area, repeat
Otherwise, great game so far. Looking forward to seeing what dlc/patches come along.
It always tickles me when reviewers pop a hack n slash game into their system and make statements like "The gameplay gets repetetive and boring after a while."
So, you gave COD4 4.5 stars because shooting people with a gun over and over and over and over again isn't repetitive.
Hacking away at people with a sword, mace or axe is plenty fun to me. That's why I play games like this, Viking: Battle for Asgard and Spartan: Total Warrior.
WITN is a fantastic hack n slash with dialogue trees (with much better acting than a lot of the games out there), a skill point system and tons of LOOT to make it a more immersive experience. But it's still a hack n slash. Reviewers need to get their stuff straight and know what it is they're getting into, and review a game for what it does within it's own genre.