Don’t Let A Bad Review Stop You From Playing A Good Game!

     How many times have you found yourself in this classic gamer scenario? You have a game in mind that you’d like to try and so you go to steam to buy it but right before you purchase it you scroll a bit further down to look at the reviews, it’s there you read negative review after negative review, all while not taking the positive ones with as much weight. Then you decide not to try this game and might even be thinking to yourself “What a terrible mistake I almost made”! 
     Allow me to counter this mentality. The mistake was not informing yourself on the opinions of others before trying this game; rather it was allowing the opinions of other to stop you completely from ever trying this game before you could form an opinion of your own. Wasn’t this a game you were excited for? Have you considered that you may have just passed on a game that would have gone down as one of your favorites? Gamers missing out on a potential great experience because of some nobodies 2/10 rating all because they are mad about the length of the story and yet have 987 hours played is something I have been seeing more and more and even I have been guilty of it. Game gods please forgive me for all the good games I have passed on!

     Not convinced yet that you shouldn’t put 100% stock into reviews? Then I can guess what you may be thinking, “Jay, $60 is a lot of money so I need to know if I will like a game before buying. Anyways, I don’t read steam reviews, you moron, I watch very notable YouTuber with big followings so surely their negative review is something I should take into consideration”?

     While I do agree that Youtubers tend to have a more in-depth review process, and if you are anything like me you kill for a well-constructed YouTube review, it is still only their opinion and often it’s a rushed opinion at that in order to get first clicks to their video. It is also these same videos where I see disclaimers before hand saying something along the lines of “if you are already enjoying this game then this video isn’t meant to insult you, this is just my perspective on it.” Strange they need to note that, no? Or maybe they are educated people, like you and I, who realize you may not take away with the same outlook they did. Next comes the script of a dozen things they like and the few things they didn’t which of course will be the focus of their video, all that never sounds to convincing to me. Finally keep in mind that in reviews that games tend to get generalized. They are rating them in relation to other games, but is it really right to rate a looter shooter on the same scale as a JRPG? Or a horror survival game to an open world adventure one? I think you know the answer and hopefully you are starting to see my point.

     Trust your gut! You know what games you enjoy, don’t second guess that because of a negative review. I surely wouldn’t let a person’s negative review on Kingdom Hearts because of cheesy story affect me. The cheesy story is the whole reason I love that franchise. If shooters are the games you enjoy the most but the next one you were looking forward to is not rating so well this doesn’t mean you won’t have an absolute blast playing. It may just mean that it’s no Ocarina of Time but that’s something you will find out on your own.

     All this doesn’t mean I look at every game as having positives, I don’t, there are plenty of games I hate but I just decide that on my own. Teach yourself to realize a 7 out of 10 or a 6 out of 10 review doesn’t classify a game as “never touch”. For example here is a short list of those “7 out of 10 or 6 out of 10” games just in the last year that I played with much enjoyment and fond memory:

  • Disgaea 1 Complete (Switch)
  • Pokemon lets go (Switch)
  • Vampyr (PC)
  • Darksiders III (PC)
  • Kingdom Come: Deliverance (XONE)
     My final thought on this topic, at least for now, is on understanding what a bad game actually is. I’m going to cheat a bit here because that topic alone could have a whole other post dedicated to it so instead let me quickly touch on what a bad game is not. A bad game is not one with a few bugs (think Elder Scrolls), a bad game is not one with a short story mode (think Resident Evil), a bad game is not one with only PvE or only PvP options (think Apex or Anthem), a bad game is not one where the cycle is repetitive (Hi, Monster Hunter how are you!?), and it is especially not one where the game play is linear (think God Of War 4 bit of an unknown game but you get the point). YouTuber Chris Davis says it best “There is a lot of hyperbole in games media these days especially on YouTube. Everyone needs a catchy thumbnail so games either have to be the best thing ever or the worst thing ever with no room in-between”. So lets as gamers, like a neutral play through of KOTOR, acknowledge the grey that lies in-between these too extremes.

     Don’t let a bad review stop you from playing a good game! Watch/read reviews for entertainment and to learn from another perspective but in the end make up your own mind. You will be all the better gamer for it and you may find that hidden gem!

Jason Hittinger

WGG's resident fighting game guy.

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