[Reviews] How do you decide what games to buy?

Discussion in 'Games' started by zacparis, Apr 7, 2009.

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  1. zacparis VIP

    Member Since:
    Sep 1, 2003
    star 7
    Do reviews actually work in convincing you to buy or not buy a game? I've heard and read a lot of interesting arguments for and against reviews lately, and it seems most of the time people don't read reviews to make a decision, they only read them to validate or re-enforce a decision they've already made.

    I'm definitely one of them. I hardly ever read reviews before I've bought a game, only after I've bought the game - which seems a bit silly really, but it can have the effect of validating my purchase if I'm sitting on the fence a bit.

    Most of my purchasing decisions are based on how much a game is talked about, gameplay videos and other bits of information from places like Wikipedia.

    It's just something I've been thinking about lately, as I've just started a gaming blog to just write about games, but I've been struggling with reviews. Should I bother or not? If I don't read reviews why should I write them?

    So I ask you, gaming people. Do reviews have a point anymore? How else do you make a decision?
  2. MarcusP2 Games and Community Reaper

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 10, 2004
    star 6
    I tend to buy games based on fan buzz post-release rather than any reviews. I can't recall the last time I read one. I bought Dead Space purely on the anecdotes I'd heard about it, for example. And Bioshock got brilliant reviews all around but I played the demo and it didn't really draw me. So I haven't bought it as yet (may yet, when it goes Platinum for example.)

    So, I tend to go by demos and anecdotal evidence, unless it's a guaranteed purchase anyway (i.e Ratchet and Clank, Final Fantasy). I'd focus more on 'cool **** that happened while I was playing' rather than formal reviews.
  3. zacparis VIP

    Member Since:
    Sep 1, 2003
    star 7
    I agree with the anecdotal evidence part. Internet forums can also swing me one way or the other. If I see a thread about a game with hundreds of posts that won't die, I usually end up checking it out to see what all the fuss is about.
  4. Boba_Fett_2001 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2000
    star 8
    Reviews help when I'm not too sure either way about a game. For example, I was interested in GTA Chinatown Wars when it was announced but wasn't going crazy about it. Now that's it gotten rave reviews I definitely wanna pick it up.
  5. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    Three things make me decide:

    1. What I am after
    2. What I can afford
    3. What I actually can put on my computer.

    For the second category I am willing to wait, as we all know the price of games usually goes down after a while.

  6. zacparis VIP

    Member Since:
    Sep 1, 2003
    star 7
    It seems there's quite a mix even from the few posts here. There's no simple answer of course, but it's interesting too see the range of influences there are.
  7. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    I pay as muc attention to the opinions of game reviews as I do to film reviews, which is very little. I look at them to see what it is about, plot elements, pictures and so forth. But a review is just one person's opinion.

    Hell, I remember how Empire reviewed Eragon the movie one issue and lauded it, then trashed it the next time. Call that reliable?
  8. TwiLekJedi Pretty Ex-Mod

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2001
    star 10
    If anything, reviews only dissuade me from getting a game. It happens often enough that a game seems very promising at first but then lacks too many important criteria for a good game.

    Positive reviews only reinforce decisions I've already made, but won't automatically convince me to get a game. I'll never get Crysis for example, no matter how often it got 98% or whatever. Only got the demo to look at the pretty pictures when I got a new PC. Neat, but I hated FarCry and FarCry Light isn't that much better.

    And yes, fan ravings sometimes makes me check out games I normally wouldn't have considered, but also not that often. Mostly with RPGs though. Don't really like them, but I'm getting another one soon because it sounds good. And apparently it's pretty.

    Speaking of, I often do that, too. Graphics often help, especially when they do something new or unusual. They wouldn't save a horrible game, but can compensate for mehness sometimes. They're part of it. It doesn't always take a SplinterCell/Oblivion/Bioshock/Crysis, however. A good presentation of at-the-time-average technology can go a long way. Even SNES games are still gorgeous. They age a lot better than most of the early 3D games.
  9. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    Graphics are one of the things in a game we are usually willing to forgive.
  10. zacparis VIP

    Member Since:
    Sep 1, 2003
    star 7
    Graphics are pretty important to me. I remember playing on my brother's PS1 and PS2 and I couldn't do it for long, the low-res TV graphics always gave me extremely tired eyes. So I stuck to PC gaming mostly.

    Until HD consoles appeared of course, they're so much easier on my eyes.

    But HD games have got a certain point where the graphics aren't much of a selling point anymore. When I first started playing RE5 it just looked how I expected a new game to look. It wasn't until I started noticing the detail of the graphics did I realise it was one of the better looking games I've played.

    But then you go back to Oblivion on the 360, and it's really starting to show its age. It looked amazing when it first came out, so I guess there's always room for improvement.

    So when looking at a new game, screenshots and gameplay videos are usually good enough to see if I'm going to like the graphics or not.
  11. The Great No One Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2005
    star 8
    i tend to look at them before i buy a game, and if something i've considered getting basically bottom's out i'll probably pass on it. but i tend to go more by people who play the game, and the buzz about it after it comes out rather than strictly reviews. the biggest problem is i have so little money to spend on it i wanna make sure that i get something good.

    so do reviews still have a use? yes, they give you a benchmark of sorts for what you'll hear about a game from other people, and they do tend to give you a decent idea of how the game will play if not how much fun you, personally, will have playing it. that's the key: a game can be totally aweful in almost every respect... but you know what? if you can have fun playing it, that's really all that matters.

    :snoopy
  12. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2001
    star 9
    Reviews have rarely played into my purchases. Most of them have come from what I am interested in from the previews or what my friends have played, which often has lead to my trying it out for myself.
  13. Sven_Starcrown Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 10, 2009
    star 4
    I dont buy computer games.[face_blush]
  14. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    I buy it if it has "Star Wars" in the title.

    ( That was a joke. Mostly. [face_worried][face_whistling] )
  15. Drew_Atreides Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 30, 2002
    star 5
    Eh, i'm all over the board.. If I hear about a game that SOUNDS interesting, but i'm not entirely sure, i'll wait for reviews to see what the "experts" say...Sometimes that'll sway me..

    An example of this was the original "Advance Wars" on the GBA. That turned out being one of my favourite games ever, but if not for the positive reviews i probably would have never bought it.


    That stuff doesn't always work out though.. I remember finding a game called "Space Station Silicon Valley" for the N64..Just the name sounded incredibly bizarre and interesting, so i checked out some reviews and they were pretty positive.

    I picked the game up and...yeah...it held my interest for about 10 minutes and then i was kicking myself.

    Same thing goes for the DS title "The World Ends with You". It gets near-universal praise, and i found it completely dull. Total dud.

    On the flip side, I love the "Dynasty Warriors" series, and it seems like every release gets a lower score on the review scale then the last.. I'm glad i didn't pay attention to reviews on that one, and just bought DW2 back at launch for the PS2 cause it looked cool.

  16. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    Easy. There's only certain games I buy, when I even buy games. Everything else, I simply don't buy.
  17. DarthCruciation Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2009
    I usually very strongly adhere to game reviews. When it comes to movies, not always because that's based on people's opinions due to taste. When it comes to games; the gameplay, camera issues, loading times, and so forth are considered as well. Game reviews very much go into the actual quality of the game. You can almost guarantee if a game is scored 5.5 out of 10 or so, then it deserves that score. Once you get to games 8.0 or better than you know you've got a quality game.
  18. zacparis VIP

    Member Since:
    Sep 1, 2003
    star 7
    I agree, from a technical view point it's very easy to score a game high or low. But does that mean good quality games should automatically get a hight score?

    Here's an example: when GTA IV came out, just about everyone gave it a 9/10 or 10/10. Yet I found it one of the most boring games ever.

    Yes, I did appreciate the quality of the product; its graphics, sound, voice acting and cinematic qualities. But ultimately none of those gave me any motivation to keep playing.

    So how would I have reviewed such a game? I really have no idea. Did it deserve such universal praise? I don't think it did, and when I tried to highlight why the game didn't work for me I was pretty much accused of flamebaiting in the official Xbox forums, such was the wave of hype that surrounded the game's release.
  19. Darth_Invidious Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 21, 1999
    star 5
    GTA IV definitely got rave reviews across the board when it came out. But I think most of these were gushing with so much praise because most reviewers were incredibly wowed with the beauty of Liberty City and all the technical bells-and-whistles, which distracted them to the fact that the actual gameplay was extremely formulaic and shallow. On my second playthrough it was painfully obvious that 99% of the game - as in most of the previous games in the series - involved driving from point A to point B and even to a point C and then back to point A after doing some nefarious misdeed along the way. It got pretty boring pretty fast, despite the awesome voicework that somewhat made the tedious drudgework more bearable. Considering how lenghty the actual story mode can be I wonder if many of these reviewers actually finished the story-mode before submitting their review. Otherwise I'm willing to bet many of those early reviews would have been so favorable.
  20. MarcusP2 Games and Community Reaper

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 10, 2004
    star 6
    I actually agree with you; GTAIV is a fine technical achievement but it didn't grab me like the previous 3 did, in which I was inspired to keep playing long after finishing the story mode. I did not do that with 4. I even 100% San Andreas- I really miss things like the bike riding and gang warfare. Though of course this was a different type of story.
  21. Celeste_Morne Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 28, 2008
    star 1
    I buy games that I eagerly anticipate, that are cheap, or that are a good value. Example:

    -Lord of the Rings Conquest: Followed it for months before release, bought it on day 1, favorite game ever
    -LOTRBFMEII: Was 10 bucks at Target, picked it up and loved it
    -BFII: Just had to get it since it was such a key game to the SW everything
    -SW The Best of PC: Great value, so I bought it, loved RC, loved KOTOR, loved JO, liked EaW, original BF was meh
    -Eragon the video game: Loved the books, the movie was lame, the game was awesome - best game music I've ever heard and relatively fun overall.
  22. zacparis VIP

    Member Since:
    Sep 1, 2003
    star 7
    Do you think Conquest has long legs?

    I loved it when it first came out, played all the way through both campaigns and did a few MP matches... but then I just stopped playing it. It doesn't seem to have the same longevity that SW Battlefront achieves.

    But getting back on topic, I find that I enjoy a lot of the average to low soring games a lot more than the general gaming public does... or at least what the gaming public likes to admit. :p

    Games like Rise of the Argonauts, an average scoring game that I loved to bits. I think it was mainly the characters and mythical based storyline that hooked me. A lot of reviews focused on its technical flaws and that it didn't "do anything new". But so what, it worked for me.
  23. FlareStorm Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 13, 2000
    star 6
    I don't trust the big corporate review sites. The scale is all *UBAR...like a 7/10 is the "low" end. And they get advertising revenue by the publishers who's games they are reviewing.

    I deciede via rentals or demos. Unless a game looks interesting and is $15 or less, its no loss if it sucks.
  24. Darth-Mortis Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 1, 2007
    For console games, I just rent and see if I like it enough to buy. For PC it's harder, so I check out a several review sites and mostly read the reviews posted by the players.
  25. MarcusP2 Games and Community Reaper

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 10, 2004
    star 6
    Really hard to get rental games here so I mostly buy things I've liked the sound of that are on sale.

    And see zac I liked the idea of Rise of the Argonauts and now that you've given it a good rap I might try it out. That is how I buy games!
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