Chalk Talk - Reviewer Revelry

This weeks Chalk Talk we discuss the impact that video game reviews have on the community. Do these critiques hurt the fans or do they help the hype?

This weeks Chalk Talk we're going to spend some time reflecting on the art of the game review. Sometimes we love them; sometimes we hate them, sometimes we are confused and confounded by their logic when it comes to the games we love as well as the games that we thought were absolute trash. Here's what GameSpotters had to say.

EvanescentCrow: Of course, most common gamers only play a few of the games that are released every year - more if you are fans of a genre and don't mind the similarities or downright repetition - but reviewers, usually, have to play a lot more so what seems or feels perfectly acceptable to you, may be downright grating for the reviewer. This is where we begin to separate the professional reviewers from… everyone else. read more.

GeekyDad: When it comes to reader reviews, I feel a player has the right to chime in at any point in their progress, so long as they intend to offer something of meaning to the community and how it relates to a game. read more.

Darthkaiser: A decent review takes in account the good and the bad things in a game objectively, gives credit when credit is due and mentions the game's flaws or improvements it could have made. Sounds pretty simple and yet the reviewing process can vary a lot from reviewer to more.

benleslie5: Most of these reviews I've read, I would agree with the 1 or 2 reviews on what were the good parts about the game and the bad parts about. Even if it is not worth checking out people are still going to buy it because most people would be a fan of that series, have a look at Call of Duty the series has sold millions and billions of players play online for fun but half the gamers wouldn't even care how bad it is, people would still play it. read more.

Starshine_M2A2: Reviews should always be unbiased, ignorant of the writer's own personal opinion and above all, be a guideline for those unsure about purchasing the subject of the review. While I agree with this stance, I also take a certain pride in knowing that my game collection is of high quality and is regarded by professional game reviewers and that I generally have good taste. read more.

Peanut Gallery

In addtion to the fantastic blogs on GameSpot we also took a quick Community Poll via Facebook and Twitter to find out what others had to say on the subject.

More Chalk

A very special thanks to everyone who contributed to this week's Chalk Talk! To read all of the entrants, you can check out this link here.

Extra Credit

Sometimes a good blog is simply a good blog, and these GameSpot members deserve recognition for their efforts and contributions:
- Are games lacking a challenge? I think so By: Smokescreened84
- Heroes of Paper By: Pierst179
- A Letter to Nathan Drake By: terrascythe

Last Week on Chalk Talk: Achievement Unlocked

Next Week's Assignment:

Downloadable Content (DLC) it can come in many shapes, sizes, forms and costs. For some it is a way for a game that would otherwise age quickly to maintain that fresh out of the box smell. While others feel that it is a slap in the face. Some remember the old times where additional content was a boon gifted to you by the gaming gods for performing a particular feat of strength. This weeks Chalk Talk we're going to discuss Downloadable content, does this nickel and dime action shake your faith in the companies you would otherwise support? Do you feel that DLC adds an other dimension for your gaming experience? Does DLC hurt the consumer and the community? Comment in this thread here with a link to your blog marked as editorial for your chance to be featured. Big thanks to g1rldraco7 for this weeks topic!

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Synthia Weires

Community Producer for GameSpot. Fan of all things gaming, social butterfly, a lover of bacon, MTG, D20's and pie.

i hate them..


1. They review the game even though they haven't really gone through the whole game to review it, they just spend 3 hours-10 hours of game play, mostly in rpg's those hours are only for the learning curve and that's not enough to learn everything about the game.


2. They just put what they see fit, curses!


3. Let's be honest, game reviewers tends to praise western games more than eastern games.  In short, bias!


4. I'm not saying all but most of them only care about overrated games, they don't care about indie games and sadly i know this one gaming site who hates jrpg's and have the nerve to review it, dafuq. 


Conclusion: I don't really trust game reviewers, i trust the players who really played them. >:(


More often than not it seems like those inspired to comment on reviews really only came to have their opinions confirmed, and are outraged - outraged! - when their title of choice received an 8.0 or 8.5.


As I see it, the review dynamic as it is at present only serves the gamer/consumer. I say this from the standpoint of a gamer that is concerned about having availability of good games, so I can say that without reservation as this allows for us to have direct influence over the production of material that we want, and to discourage filth and trash--mind you I differentiate between 'filth' and 'trash' as they are not always the same!


A lot could be said about this subject and, as time goes by, little details start to surface.


This is not really an addenda since I'm not adding anything new, but more of a clarification of the point.


I don't expect everyone to have studied social sciences in college (a large portion of the gaming public isn't even old enough to BE in college), so I can't expect everyone to know some of the basic rules of science, like, not relying on common sense and evaluate something without the influence of feelings or personal opinion. However, my reference to reviewing as a science was based on my background in that area.


That said, from a psychological point of view, it is well-known that some people are just incapable of doing anything in their lives without having their emotions involved. This is not a flaw, just a characteristic of some human beings, which you'll have to cope throughout your life. The opposite is also true, meaning, some people are very dispassionate about everything, but that's not a flaw either, just the way some humans are. The point is, some people will never be quality reviewers because they honestly can't be anything other than subjective, while others are naturally born with the skills for that kind of job or function.


Expecting everyone to have that mind frame is like expecting a shy person to become the life of a party... it's not impossible, but it will be much harder for him than it would be for a natural extrovert.


This is why I finished by asking what style  do you prefer. There's no "one" answer, just choices.


I mainly use any game site's reviews as ways to mainly get video footage, and there's a lot a viewer can tell by that, but like most people I know, if I need more help I tend to turn to my gaming friends I know- since I already trust their opinions and I'm better acquainted with how they interpret things. I only rely on a game site for more than video in a case where I don't know anyone that has tried it, but that alone will never sell me completely. I also get information from multiple places (sites).

kitty moderator

When it comes down to games, reviews have some impact on my purchases. Although sometimes not. When I have my eyes set on a game, I usually get that game at some point. A review may give me second thoughts on whether to purchase it now or wait til later. But when it comes to jrpg's, i'll admit (I have a thing for those), nothing sways me away from purchasing those.


Well the way I look at it, when it comes to reviews, the creed here is 'know your reviewer' - everyone reviews differently as there are no set 'rules'. If you trust the person who drafted the review, it's all good.


E.g. I track some users that their concept of 'scoring' differs drastically however I know their style, therefore trust in what they have written. That's why I place a 'clause' on top of my profile page so whoever reads my review, have an idea what I'm trying to achieve.


Yet I'm very guilty of 'selling the game' and not 'reviewing' it. Also spoilers tick me off completely!


Here's a good <a href=">blog</a> from @pokecharm (I hope you don't mind).

c_rakestraw moderator moderator

I'm of the opinion that reviews should embrace their subjective nature. Feigning objectivity when there obviously isn't any (or very, very little at any rate) is just wasting time. We don't need to know whether a game is for us anymore -- videos and demos are more than enough for that. Reviews should be discarding the archaic consumer guide formula and move toward actual criticism; push the discussion surrounding games forward.


I like how EvanescentCrow takes into account the two different perspectives that exist when it comes to reviewing games: the gamer and the critic. Definitely all too true and quite often explains why critics can sometimes be out of line with the majority as they have a much wider experience of games than most gamers.


Hey they used my suggestion, I feel very loved, Chalk Talk RULES!!!!


Most of the time, I always have my mind pretty set on what if I'm gonna get a game or not. But these is the time that happens every now and then where a review can sway me to a purchase. Dishonored is that most recent example. Most of the previews I had read made the game sound like going stealth was the only way to get any benefit from the game. But after reading/watching Chris Watters great review and sending a PM to Chris about it, he convinced me that taking the non-stealth approach would be just fine. So reviews can certainly be a help.

Allicrombie moderator moderator



There may be reviewers out there that play only a few hours before writing up a review, but for every one of those, there are probably twenty that play a game thoroughly, investing time into games they may not enjoy and writing thoughtful reviews. 

c_rakestraw moderator moderator

 @ggblackrose As someone who's worked as a game reviewer, I take offense to all this.


1. We play through games in their entirety. Editorial policy usually dictates as much. Thus, people often end up working themselves harder than is reasonable so they can give an informed assessment. Not completing a game is like not finishing a move for review; it'd be clear if happened.


2. Eh?


3. All fabricated. No one side of the world is praised more than the other. There's no evidence to support this.


4. Indie games are plenty popular with the press. They make up the majority of "critical darlings," often scoring as just as well as bigger-name games.

Pierst179 moderator

 @c_rake That's a very interesting take. Reviews that focus on analysis, criticism and more subjective topics are much more interesting to read and tend to be more thought-provoking.

c_rakestraw moderator moderator

 @Pierst179 That's why I prefer those sorts of reviews. More fun to read, and more fun to write! Everyone wins.