Can we really trust the opinions of the gaming media?
What are the options?
Gaming in the past ten years has reached it's all time high and with that so has the opinions of those that play these games. The opinions loudest heard are those of the gaming media review sites such as IGN.com, Gamespot.com and Giantbomb.com. Many gamers rely on reviews from sites such as these to determine what games they spend their hard-earned money on. Do they want to spend $60 on another Call of Duty or save $40 and get Deadly Premonition? The people of these sites are paid to have an opinion that affects hundreds of thousands of people around the world so it should be their job to give a full and honest assessment of the games they play right? Well sadly this is not always the case.
Who pays the price?
Day in and day out on gaming forums such as Gamefaqs.com you can see the hate for gaming review sites radiate off your screen. Every time a review is posted from IGN.com you are guaranteed to see, "You can't spell ignorant without I-G-N." Gamers just can't take sites like IGN seriously for the simple fact that they can't believe the opinion of someone reviewing a game where that game's publisher has paid for ad space all over that site. Can you really trust a review for Black Ops while ads for it are bombarding you while you're reading it? And that's not the only problem, it's the actual content of the reviews that make these opinions harder to believe. Take IGN's review of L.A. Noir for example which they gave an 8.5. This review score considers the game "great" yet the review went on to call the gameplay "repetitive" and that "the story didn't match the great performances." (http://ps3.ign.com/articles/116/1168417p2.html) In games there are two factors that need to be good for the game to be good and that's gameplay and story. Many times, well most of the time, you will get one without the other but this review states that the gameplay is repetitive and the story isn't "great" yet they claim the game is great. How does this make sense? I don't know, maybe the L.A. Noir ads on their site pummeled me in the face so much that I just lost all sense of reality. They claim this game was so great yet the only news heard of it since it's launch is the downfall of the company that made it. Another example of this type of horrible business practice is the infamous Gamespot.com situation involving reviewer Jeff Gertsman. A reviewer that many have, and still to this day, respect for his brutally honest opinion and knowledge of the industry. What happened here, allegedly, is that Jeff gave the game Kane and Lynch: Dead Men a somewhat negative review of 6 out of 10. This review pretty much coincides with most other professional and player reviews of this very disappointing game. Well CNET, the company that owns Gamespot.com, didn't like the fact that Gamespot had someone negatively review a game which was created by a company that purchased as space from them on that very site. This ultimately led to Jeff Gertsman being fired from the site and many more of the respected reviewers leaving as well such as Ryan Davis and Brad Shoemaker. Thankfully this controversy led to the creation of Giantbomb.com which consists of Jeff Gertsman, Ryan Davis, Brad Shoemaker and many other former Gamespot employees. Many flock to Giantbomb because not only do they respect these people's opinions but also that they can see these reviewers actually play these games while not having to worry about being bombarded with game advertisements. Now I'm not here to scare you away from your favorite review sites but am just asking that you always take more than one opinion into account. This is your hard-earned money at stake so don't waste it on a game reviewed by someone that fell into the hype or was seemingly paid for a positive review. Look into player reviews where you can see that that person actually played the game and has nothing to sway their opinion of it. Just remember that in the end the only opinion that counts is your own. Freedom of speech is a wonderful right but freedom of expression can be just as powerful.