If you’re anything like me, you spend forever stood in the game stores googling that game you’re considering buying. You look up professional reviews and glance through them for the key points, you look up gameplay images, and you also look at what other players have said about it on websites such as Amazon.
What is it that sways you to buy a game though? Is it the citizen journalist who thinks their review on Amazon is top-notch? Or is it the paid professional who has poured hours into this game, purely to spend more hours writing thousands of words about its merits? As an aspiring journalist myself, I find this a tough question to answer.
I use both, and it ultimately depends on how fussy you are about your gaming. I for one would never consider picking up a JRPG without first of all scouring the internet for all possible opinions. The problem is, so often the critics reviews and the consumer reviews vary so drastically.
I was reading reviews for Children of Mana, and some were saying it was amazing, whilst others were saying it was a tough slog, a bit repetitive and featured a tiny world. That put me off straight away. The critics gave it glowing reviews, receiving a decent 8/10 many places, but Amazon told me a different story, and ultimately it was the reviews on Amazon that changed my mind.
Why did I trust the consumer more though? Because they were more inclined to point out its flaws straight away, rather than hiding them in a positive review. When I write a review I like to remain completely unbiased. Even if I love a game, I will still point out its flaws, and I will go into details of those flaws if I need to. I’m not saying all reviews do this, because they don’t, but unless you read many different reviews you’ll never get the full picture.
I then looked up reviews for Dragon Quest Monster: Joker 2. I compared the consumer opinion with professional opinion and they both matched, so I bought the game. On the flip side though, I bought the original Cooking Mama without even bothering to look up a review. I knew what it was, I knew it would be addictive, and I knew it my kind of game. I didn’t need to look it up on either platform. I knew that some would love it, and some would hate it, but it didn’t matter (because it was £6).
I trust the opinions of IGN and GamesTM more so than any other gaming site and magazine. Why? Just personal preference. IGN is my daily news site, and GamesTM is my subscription magazine. Their opinions matter, but I would never trust them alone when it comes down to certain genres. It’s nothing against them, but I’m a picky gamer sometimes, and I just want both sides of the story.
As someone who writes reviews herself, I struggle with myself sometimes when I choose the consumer opinion over the journalists opinion. Who do you trust the most when it comes to games reviews? Are you a rigid believer in the game sites and magazines, or are you all for the consumer review?