Reviewing a Review: Why They Are Somewhat Useless

Reviews are an interesting thing. Someone “qualified” to judge something tells you whether it is good or bad and why. Some have sound reasoning behind their logic. Others may seem to be talking out of their ass. So how do you know what review to trust? Well the answer is none.

So no review should be trusted eh? Not exactly. What I am trying to say is that every review should be noted, not followed. To some, this is common sense. To others, it is a revelation. Let me defend my reviews so it does not seem like I am just making shit up.

The Looking Glass

This was a theory more than a review but I promptly called it that. The idea was to get you thinking about the song and to go over how I thought the video was rather bland and boring.

Amazing Spiderman 2 Trailer and Movie

This was a review. Whole-heartedly a review. My purpose in the trailer review was to guess at what the movie had in store (as would most trailer reviews). The movie, however, I ripped it a new one.
I only just recently delved into the dark arts that is movie criticizing and that is because I only just recently discovered what makes up a “good movie.”  Things like:
  • Coherent Plot
  • Little to no plot holes (with existing plotholes being ones that don’t really effect the story)
  • Interesting and relatable characters
  • An interesting main character
  • A plot that is focused on 1 or 2 story lines involving the characters without getting too out of hand

Those are just a few.  Well Amazing Spiderman 2 fell so short that none of the above ever made it into the movie. The characters were not really developing. The plot was all over the place with character motivation making absolutely no sense. I mean the list goes on. The purpose of the review was to bring that to light to let you know that it was not a good movie in the sense of “Here’s what qualifies a movie as good.” I flat out hated this movie.

Captain America

Again, this was speculation more than a review, but I did hit on how the little amount of CGI actually made the movie better and more believable (in my opinion).  I speculated on what I thought was coming next for Marvel along with hitting on some neat stuff in the movie.  The overall point was to say “this was a good movie and you should go see it.”

TMNT

This one is my personal favorite.  No one hesitated to take a big shit on the TMNT movie because Michael Bay and Megan Fox were apart of it.  They hated on the script and the movie as a whole because they probably liked the 90s movies more.  Well hey, I loved the 90s movie and 80s cartoon.  I did not grow up with them, but my cousins did and showed me it when I was just a young lad and I loved it.

I also did not mind this movie. And I explained why.

This whole review can be summed up as “See the movie if you want turtles doing ninja stuff while eating pizza and being funny.  Do not see it if you want a good and engaging story, great acting, and a fantastic movie.”

What am I getting at?

There is something all of those reviews have in common.  Take a minute to see if you can figure out what that is.

You got it? My opinion.

That is what a review really, truly is.  No one’s tastes are the same.  Sure we have similar ones, but just because you and I both enjoy Borderlands, does not mean we have the same feelings about it. For instance, I hate that I have to grind through a shit ton of side quests to be a strong enough level to play through the story line.  I want to engage in the story and I feel separated when I have to do some stupid quest for someone that adds little to nothing to the overall story besides “they’re a character in the world.”

So let’s go a step further.  You and I are tasked with writing a review of Borderlands 2.  You have no real problems with the game besides maybe a few glitches or shitty loot experiences.  You end up giving the game a stellar review of 9.5/10.  My review was a 7.5/10 because of what I said earlier.  2 whole points were removed because I felt that grinding for levels was annoying in a game designed to make you spend hours in it grinding and looting.  That is not right, right?

Well this delves into the psychology of gaming: What do I enjoy?  Do I enjoy quick rewards for small tasks? Do I enjoy playing for hours in hopes of looting that 1 legendary item that only 10 people have ever gotten?  Do I just enjoy simple games with simple controls?  What makes a game great, in my opinion?

Since it has a feature that I just do not quite like (grinding), I score it lower than you.  Some would argue that it is apart of the game and the experience and I am wrong for penalizing it for being designed exactly how an RPG would be designed.  Others would say I am brave for scoring it lower than the threshold.

But take that logic and apply it to any game and you will quickly find that every game has the experience of the review added in to finalize their score. They score it on replayability, content, story, fun, etc. etc.

How can you score a brand new game on replayability having only played it for a few hours?  If it is just awful that is one thing but giving a game a “10/10, would play again” as its official score after 5 hours of game play is just outright insane.  Sure you want to play it again, but you may only feel that way for a week.  Generally speaking, only playing a game for a week and never again is not good replayability.

Fun?  You had fun playing that game?  How do you know I will have fun?  Do you personally know my tastes?  Do you know exactly what makes the adrenaline in my body start pumping when I play this game?

It “is set on the planet of Pandora. Lured by its apparent vast deposits of minerals, several colonization ships sponsored by the Dahl Corporation (one of several diversified mega-corporations that appear to control and govern entire planets) journey to the planet and build settlements there” (taken from the wiki page for Borderlands). You say “that sounds interesting.  A unique world to explore, bring it on!”  I might say “sounds kind of boring and I just don’t want to learn an entire new universe’s lore.”  Probably should not ruin the story in the review since people are potentially looking to this to play the game so I will just say “The characters are really interesting and witty!  The art style is very unique and modern.”  What makes the characters witty and interesting?  Do they develop beyond witty into characters I might be emotionally attached to?  You do not know?  Well then I would argue that the characters might not be that interesting besides the first encounter.

Do you see what I mean?  Reviews are opinions.  They are branded as an overall score when in reality they are way more biased than they should be.  Giving a game a 9/10 for “fun and action packed” may not mean that someone who feels exactly the same about it will give it a 9/10.  What 2 people consider great can be 2 totally different meanings of great.

I am definitely not saying ignore someone who says “this game is great! 10/10!”  If a game is truly great, it deserves praise.  If you enjoy a game, tell your friends if you think they will like it. There is no harm in saying “Hey Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is a lot of fun!”  If you have fun playing it, then you are not lying or talking out of your ass.  What I am trying to tell you is that no game is perfect for everyone.  You have a specific taste that fuels your gaming or movie or music fire.  Let that guide you when searching for your next favorite game instead of someone else’s personal opinion.

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