Bethesda’s Review Policy: Can Some Good Come of it? – Writing on Games

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Read Bethesda’s statement here:

The purpose of game reviews, in their most prevalent form, is diffuse to say the least – hell, I made a video back in April as to why that is the case (you can watch it here – Now that Bethesda have updated their review policy to send code out to press no sooner than a day before launch for titles such as Dishonored 2 and Skyrim Remastered, prepare for these waters to become muddied even further.

In this episode of Writing on Games I contribute to the melange of opinions you’re currently seeing – examining the nonsensical nature of Bethesda’s statement, why in a utopian world it could lead to some positive change, but why it probably won’t. Ultimately, however, the reason is not Bethesda’s business practices or big outlets crying about them – it’s you, as a consumer, who has to expect more from your games criticism.

Footage from Bethesda and IGN.

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  1. I can't agree that the artistic merit of a game should take precedent over its function as a set of systems for enjoyment. I very much do think reviews should be customer guides first, academic analysis second. Especially since the latter can be done on the side witout using the word "review". Do both if you can, but if you let character motivation impress me while neglecting to tell me the thing runs and controls like crap, you are not a useful consumer advocate.

    You seem to presuppose some first-world gaming scene, where every game is solidly made, meaning focus can be put on its artistic merit as a deciding factor for a review. This is not the industry we are in.

  2. Hamish you are very wrong about everything and I would please like subscription back. Andy McNamara would be rolling in his grave if he could hear what you said about the traditional game review

  3. Reviews are where the bar for critical thought is for a lot of people. Even if shallow, review articles are still likely to promote more of a critical faculty than publisher sanctioned product displays. Critical consumption is a skill to be learnt and kept in shape, and not something you can just demand of people with a call for 'common sense' or somesuch. We're all idiots sometimes, and I'd say we desperately need any form of critical discourse possible, to keep us on our toes. Pushing out the institutions we have for that, with company messaging policies like Bethesda's, is detriment to what people can learn to say and think with games, other than just the base notion that company products are something to buy on impulse, no matter where that impulse might have come from.

    Sorry for rant. Your well articulated video itched.

  4. I've lost all my respect for Bethesda due to how they handled Fallout 4 and now this media control bs.
    Also, its unfortunate but it really is too much to ask of consumers to think more critically about upcoming games. The ones who really give a damn about shady business practices in this industry are a small small minority that can be ignored a majority of the time by game publishers.

  5. This channel is so interesting, I couldn't agree more with evrything you said

    The video games industry is full of bullshit as of right now
    Some of us as gamers are fighting for the recognition of games as art, since they are art, but on one end we got people who for some reason won't accept it because they see games as a product you consume and not as something you truly enjoy, and on the other end, big companies and developers themselves who are just focused on making money and not producing something that actually matters or has a meaning
    I'm so done with people forgetting what video games are meant to be
    Games were created to join people together, to play with friends, to discuss with other people and share opinions, or tips
    But right now developers are focused on making games you play alone, often just to kill time or to increase your "reputation" as a "gamer", and most of the time these games cost a fortune, many can't afford them and so video games become something for the elite

  6. Again, to clarify – I am NOT saying consumer-focused games-as-product reviews should go away entirely, nor will they if that's what you want to see. Just that people shouldn't see them as the be-all-end-all of games criticism. Perhaps by taking the focus off of them slightly, at the very least more nuanced criticism can have a chance to shine through. It just requires a shift in the consumer's way of thinking that I don't think will ever happen. All I'm saying.

  7. I agree that people should have more faith in their own critical ability, but I think traditional reviews are an important tool in doing that.

    My videos take a week to write at the least. A traditional, five minute review will never do a good job of quantifying why a game is good or bad, and so isn't really criticism so much as it's a cursory glance with some quick judgements, but having some aggregate judgement available day 1 is better for the consumer than just watching footage of a product intended to be played, and hoping a 'proper' critique-er gets around to it sooner or later.

    Just recently I would have bought Song of the Deep if IGN's review hadn't pointed out that it has underwater-physics-block-pushing puzzles, essentially. Nothing about the language quantified why that was a bad thing, but I have the critical ability and prior experience to recognize that would have frustrated me to no end.
    So I agree that people need to have more faith in their own critical ability, and use day 1 reviews as a tool rather than a measuring stick, but I disagree that they need to go away to make way for more insightful material, because insight takes time.

  8. What a snobby take on the matter. Most consumers are not as deep in the "business of games" as those that watch channels like this. Reviews are a critical part of any entertainment ecosystem. Asking somebody to instead base their purchase on pre release footage, managed preview content and "their gut" is somehow better for them? Show me another medium that has a policy like this – where basically reviews are trailing by a week after releases. Don't we want this medium to be treated as equals with movies and books? Then we need to have critical voices that can have their option known on day one.

  9. I'm really hoping these types of review embargoes begin having a negative effect on pre-orders and launch day sales. At the end of the day, that's all the publishers look at – the bottom line.
    Games companies, if anything, have lost a lot of trust and prove time and time again that they can't always be trusted. Most games these days release with a host of bugs that aren't fix until days, weeks, sometimes months later.
    I had really hoped that Alien Colonial Marines would have been the catalyst…But it's not been.
    Has No Man's Sky made everyone learn something? Here's hoping.
    If the big games devs and publishers keep pissing all over consumer trust, there will be another games crash. Casual gamers will be burned once too many and give up on the past time altogether.

  10. I do hear where you stand but I trust reviews from game informer more then youtubers or streamers because they have more by as the reviews for sights. they make the band's seem good and make other things seem like little concern to the overall game. halo 5 is plastered with multi-player but looking for story is hard to find.

  11. Really dont agree with you on this. Trusting my on critical thinking mean experiencing the game, what mean buying it and by that time doesn't matter if the game is good or bad i would have alreally bought it.

    Games are a form of art but the are not like paintings, they are more like book, you have to read it all to make you critical thinking about it. So reaview are really usefull and needed.

    I got the problem with the review you talk about. I understand your criticism and agree with most of it, but a rushed review is better then no review at all. The more information the better. To a concient cosumer the rushed reviews will not make theres mind, the rushed review are for the hyped consumers, for the hungry consumers. This consumers deserve information because they will just change. This hype culture is a problem but takes time to solve it, taking away the only reviews that matter for this type will not help in any way.

    The better exemple is Alien: Colonial Marines, locked behind a giant hype without early reviews, the game sold really well. Geabox to this day didnt offer refunds, didnt even apologise for it.

  12. That is WAY too much to ask. Every pro-consumer outlet and pundit, as well as the enthusiast-level social media boards, (/v/, reddit, so on) have been saying it for… at least a decade? probably longer, i don't know any further back than that.
    It is entirely beyond a doubt that there are more impulse-buyers than there are considered buyers, and reaching the impulse-buyers is not going to be easy. Changing the impulse buyers is going to be even harder.

    I love that you are telling people to be better consumers, it can't be said enough.
    However, the things we can change probably lies with publishers, and not primarily with consumers.

  13. I think this is an interesting view, but what about early reviews assessing games technically – e.g. is this game playable or is it a buggy mess. I think knowing this is esp important considering bethesda's history of releasing games with really bad bugs and glitches. That's why it's bad for consumers to not have access to early reviews. If you're paying upwards of £40 for a game it should be playable. When companies like Bethesda release builds to youtubers or streamers it's not uncommon for them to ask for editorial control or only give access to certain parts of the game. Also for players who are disabled and require extra features, it's good to know what's there in advance as these features aren't always advertised.

  14. I think I kind of disagree with your whole point of game reviews being art. When I look at a game review, I want to know what it's like and if I should buy it or not – for criticism and deeper analysis I go to people like you. I see what you're saying as far as that kind of analysis being important but for me, as a consumer, sometimes I just want to see if a game is fun and functional before I buy it, and to lump together reviews and critical analysis like that doesn't seem appropriate to me.

  15. Thanks for watching guys! Just a clarification – I'm not saying that all reviews that don't go deeper or "talk about politics" or whatever should or will go away. They absolutely won't, and I believe that everyone should be able to find the criticism they want. That's exactly the point though – EVERYONE should be able to find what they want. Right now, it feels like that kind of shallow review that just tells people if a game is "binary good or bad" is more prevalent than anything else, precisely because as I briefly mention in the video – a few bigger outlets get code waaay before other people, meaning they get to hit the review embargo thus getting massively favoured by the YT algorithm (for those that don't know, it means that anyone searching a game will find that stuff waaay before anyone else). For those critics that like to take their time, or just don't have the means to meet that embargo/release date end up getting buried. By its very nature, YT favours those that can rush reviews out there ASAP, it means the bigger outlets perpetuate their outdated business model, so they have as much reason to change their practices as the publishers do.

    I also think a lot of people are getting fairly pedantic about the line drawn between 'review' and 'critique'. In my eyes, and in other media, a lot of people consider them largely the same thing. To me, it's weird to view it as such a matter of format as opposed to just a matter of quality. Super Bunnyhop's reviews are more useful to me, and have gotten me to play more games that I wouldn't have checked out otherwise, than anything IGN has put out there. Super Bunnyhop's reviews rarely just talk about mechanics or if it's good or bad or whatever. I saw someone just commented mentioning Roger Ebert – to me, people like SBH are like the Roger Ebert of games (entertaining, critically insightful and informative from a consumer standpoint), whereas places like IGN are like fucking… WatchMojo or something. I say this as someone who does reviews!

    Look at my reviews for Mafia 3, Inside, etc. – I'm not saying talk of mechanics can't come into reviews, of course not. With the Mafia 3 review, I talked about technical issues and repetitive mission structure, but then used that as a jumping off point to talk about how that actually made the narrative worse. For Inside, I went the opposite way – I talked about cinematic games, before talking about how I felt the mechanical puzzles acted as a roadblock for the momentum it effectively built up. Not 'binary good or bad', but I feel still interesting and also at least somewhat informative from a consumer standpoint (I feel anyway – you might completely disagree, and that's cool).

    I'm also not saying that YTers or influencers that publishers go to are in ANY WAY the people you should be going to instead of places like IGN. Not in any way, shape or form. I'm just saying you could watch that stuff – hell, you completely disregard what the people are actually saying – look at the footage, and get a pretty good idea of what a game is like. I don't need someone mindlessly rambling about how "it's fun/is not fun" to be able to gauge that from footage myself. I guess my point is that I feel you could watch a typical review's footage and get as much from that as listening to the review attached to it.

    Also, if your argument is somehow that games are just products to be consumed, that I'm reading into things too much or whatever, words cannot express how deeply I do not care about those comments. Meaningless.

    That said, the vast majority have been really thoughtful and insightful. I'm in no way saying that I'm absolutely right here, this is all obviously my opinion, so seeing people presenting those arguments is genuinely super cool. I want this to be a jumping off point for discussion – so many people were shouting about this Bethesda stuff from the minute it came out and like the title suggests, I wanted to see if there was more to it.

    I'll get around to responding to individual comments soon! Thanks again for watching, I love you all even though you're all WRONG and I HATE YOU


  16. I enjoy your videos a lot, but I can't agree with your stance that traditional press reviews are useless. They're not for everyone, obviously, but they do serve a purpose and they can do more than highlight "good or bad". One only has to look at the work of Robert Ebert to see the ultimate of this form, a review that entertains and informs, expressing an opinion and helping consumers make a decision.

    There is a need for that and there always will be. The danger of letting day 1 coverage become the realm of YouTube Influencers and in-house Publisher PR is that this group of consumers who trust reviewers will instead be drawn to propaganda and end up making bad purchasing decisions. There needs to be a strong pillar of reviewers who aren't influenced by the countless gifts and perks that publishers throw their way, that's where the "objective" in objective reviews come in. It's not that they're not opinions, it's that they are not amazingly excited because they got a fancy bottle opener or a t-shirt in the mail along with the game.

    I want there to be deep analyses of games out there, but that's because I'm an enthusiast. I wouldn't write game reviews if I wasn't an enthusiast. For every one of me, there are fifty others who don't want flowery language and character motivation, they just want to know if the guns feel good to shoot. These two types of coverage shouldn't intersect, and they can happily coexist without one overtaking the other.

  17. You confuse the function of critique and standard "outlet" reviews. The first treat games like art, and comment on them as such. The second treat them like products and help one decide whether they want to buy them od not.
    Both have a place, both can be good or bad, both are needed for a healthy world of gaming.

  18. As a gamer who tries to never buy games at full price (learned my lesson with Phantom Pain) I'll just gonna say – there's too much money involved in game publishing and development than ever and those companies will try every selling tactic, every marketing strategy to get those shekels and that's that.

    and remember, no preorders

  19. Is making a response to something so current a good idea for your channel? I love your videos because of how timeless they are, how you're able to write a script that isn't full of current references or jokes and such. It would've been a good idea to manipulate this topic in a way that it can be still seen as reactionary for us now, but that's not strongly dependent on the catalyst that started the whole discussion – something that'd be equally relevant for all time. Maybe altering the title and tweaking the script a bit would help to achieve that. Me telling you how to operate your Youtube channel stops here.*

  20. While I can see where you're coming from, I disagree with your conclusion personally. For starters, I believe that the reviews these outlets provide (while they have issues) ARE a valuable resource. It seems just a bit ironic that you're calling them out for being black and white, good or bad in nature, and then have a tendency to sort of 'parade' more nuanced, deep, culturally driven reviews as superior; as if only more artistically driven, in depth reviews contain worth, and others like these consumer product reviews do not. That's not meant as an insult, but rather a critique; that's how your discussion of this topic tends to come off to me. But – as someone who makes more artistically driven in depth reviews myself as well (I mean hell, I spent nearly two hours breaking down Final Fantasy XII) – I couldn't disagree with that more.

    I think different types of reviews serve different purposes. Whether we like it or not, games are just as much consumer products as they are art. And I think having reviews that cover the spectrum is healthy. We need reviews that are artistic. We need reviews that are technical and based purely on performance facts. We need consumer reviews geared toward telling like-minded people whether a product might or might not be worth it to them. Each type of review comes with plus sides and downsides. Generally, consumer product reviews for example have to include bias toward or against certain things in their reading of a game. Their shallow but broad nature all but requires that. But if they're clear about those biases upfront, it can lead to a wealth of trustworthy information for like-minded individuals, without risk of spoiling anything. Likewise, artistic critiques are largely neutered unless you spoil anything that relates to the points being made. They're so in-depth, and reflective in nature, that they're only really useful if the viewer already experienced the art in question. It's why – as much as it pains me – I skip analysis from channels like Errant Signal, or Bunnyhop, or you, if I haven't played (but plan on playing) a game you analyze; because in order to be thorough, the game almost always has to be dissected and spoiled. And that's just one example of the different benefits/drawbacks of the different types of reviews. Point is, I think they all have their place, and they all need improvement.

    The reality is, most people don't care about games as art, or technical marvels. Some only care if it looks pretty and is cinematic. Some only care about the performance, or whether it has interesting multiplayer. Some literally just want to know how it stacks up against other similar games, or exactly how much 'game' it offers for the price. I think these consumer product focused reviews can serve these people well. They could be better of course; they could remove scores, and be significantly more clear about where the biases of each reviewer stand. But I think they serve a very valid purpose. After all, while I consider sports cars art, and I love seeing people wax poetic on why so-and-so car is a design masterpiece… I still want to know if the damn thing runs, how economical it is, and how much space it has for storage, right? And I usually go to different places for those different types of information. They can coexist. Judging by what you said in "The Problem With Game Reviews", you obviously understand and possibly agree with a lot of this. I just think it deserves reiterating.

    Beyond that though, we already had a solution to the rushing of reviews to get the most clicks. That's what early copies and review embargoes were for. The idea is that you hand out the review copies far enough in advance, that you know reviewers will not rush the game or the review. And to ensure that is the case, nobody is allowed to release their reviews until the embargo is up. If nobody can release reviews early, there's no rush to be first.

    Now the problem, is that publishers aren't giving out review copies early enough, meaning the reviews end up rushed anyway. And it gets even worse when you give the game out so soon before release. Then you get unfinished 'reviews in progress', and reviewers are really pressed to just plow through a game, ensuring the shallow, biased nature of such reviews runs rampant. If companies like Bethesda are not getting their game's review copies out early enough to make sure there's no rush to get the game done in time, THEY should probably plan their launches a bit better, and be ready to have finished review copies of giant games like Skyrim sent out in like a month advance. That's their responsibility.

    The fact is, they know people will buy without proper knowledge of the product anyway. It will happen. That's exactly why they offer pre-order incentives, is to get you to purchase without thinking. We all know, the second pre-orders drop from lack or pre-release reviews, they'll just offer more incentives to balance that out, further manipulating people. I'm all for consumers taking more responsibility for their own purchases. But that shouldn't be despite allowing anti-consumer practices to run rampant. It should be in addition to preventing these practices in the first place.

    On top of that, with the way Bethesda is choosing to handle this, even independent critics get the game 'late'. So they too have to fight between being comprehensive, and being 'on time' with their reviews. As you no doubt know, YouTube's search engine is definitely not immune to this problem, and it can keep creators who put more effort in from growing, simply because they refuse to compromise content for timeliness. Their content ends up in that 'if a tree falls in the forest, but nobody is around to hear it…' situation. Doesn't matter how good it is, if it's always too late to get attention. So respectable creators often stay small because they work harder, and others compromise quality and integrity just so they can be first in searches.

    Then there's the problem with tracking how these publishers handle review copies, when dealing primarily with independent creators. We'd know if a site like Polygon didn't get a review copy of something. Their reach is broad, because – whether I like it or not – they serve as a general hub for 'gamers'. Independent creators meanwhile are inherently more niche, and will find it harder to make injustices they face apparent to anyone but those in their niche. Everyone knows and cares if IGN doesn't get a review copy of a big game. But do you think Angry Joe fans would know or care if George from Super Bunnyhop didn't get a review copy of Elder Scrolls VI, because he is less inherently biased toward loving TES than Angry Joe (hypothetically of course)?

    It's much more difficult to find exactly which independent creators get special treatment, because their independent nature means the scope of their voice is limited. Publishers will learn this, if they don't understand it already. And they will exploit it. Did I think a channel as small as yours (no matter how worthy it is) was big enough to get review copies on rare occasion? No. If consumers can't easily access information detailing who is and isn't getting review copies (versus who is and isn't actually creating content with said review copies), we cannot monitor to make sure these publishers aren't skewing this information just like they do with screenshots and trailers.

    Look at the Ubisoft ads that show streamers and YouTubers playing Watch Dogs 2 for example. If you actually watch some of those videos, they showcase glitches, and game limitations that disappointed those who were playing it. Is that reflected in the trailer? Well, obviously not. Now imagine the only people getting this early access, are the hardcore fanboys the publisher knows will do nothing but praise the game and tell their fans to buy it. Imagine they only hand out copies to people who aren't well versed enough to articulate why a problem exists in a game, or even realize when there's a problem in the first place. Sounds far fetched, right? And yet, in such a massive well of independent creators… how do you pin down who is and isn't getting review copies and why? In short, that could potentially further shield the publishers from scrutiny, by making it impossible to prove that they're manipulating even just the information we're getting from independent creators. It could actually further dumb down the baseline of information we can even get on these games, leading to even less informed decisions.

    While I'm being hyper-critical of the viewpoint in this video, I still want to make clear that – as always – it was still a fantastic video!

  21. Having watched both this video and the other one you mentioned in the beginning, I have to say I am really really torn on your opinion on general review culture, mainly because in my mind you are merging what is supposed to be a review and what is supposed to be a critique.

    "Is it good or bad?" game reviews are shallower than critiques going deep into certain aspects of a game, I completely agree with that. You deride reviews that treat games as mere products but games as a medium have the tendency to be both expensive and time consuming. Picking up major titles or basically anything that isn't a small indie title often requires a heavy commitment by the player, while a movie takes up maybe two hours of your time and, unless you constantly pay for cinema tickets, less money. So yeah, it's entirely plausible to me that in that case a general public wants to hear about the "objective" aspects of the game first. Am I going to have fun? Does the game have a slow start? How long is beating this game going to take me and how much of my time will it waste with grinding or repeated challenges? Oh and not to forget: how difficult is it and will I possibly fail to reach the end? You will never ever fail watching a movie or reading a book.

    Not only that, what's more is the fact that with so many titles releasing on a weekly basis now, most consumers aren't even aware of what most games are about. I absolutely love your videos dude. Granted I haven't watched all of them because I only found your channel a few months ago so I might be wrong on this but since then I've seen that most of your output is on high profile games like Inside, Mafia 3, NMS, Dark Souls and so on. All games where you can very much assume that the general viewer is aware what they are about and how they have been evaluated by the mainstream public. I would even argue all those shallow day 1 reviews merely trying to inform without much editorializing are actually laying the groundwork for the deeper analysis that you do and favor to actually hit home and resonate with the gaming audience.

    Because what good would be placing a game into a broader cultural perspective when no one knows that game? How does the broader cultural perspective help an individual to make the decision if he should commit his time and money to picking up up the game in the first place when it doesn't tell him if he will simply enjoy the coming 20+ hours of playing it?

    Admittedly what I'm writing here is self-serving because for me the need to first expose an audience to what a game is about before one could possibly go into such a level of detail is doubly true for the smaller, more exclusive titles I tend to review on my channel. Given how many unknown titles are releasing constantly and that the vast majority of gamers is even less informed about most of them, that is not only me though.

    Do I prefer personal channels with good editorializing like Bunnyhop, Mark Brown, Turbo Button or yours? Oh you bet I do and the last thing I'd ever express is telling anyone what kind of content he should put forward. I highly value discussion and I value all possible perspectives as long as they can add something new. But I feel that you are dismissing the value of "shallow" reviews unfairly.

    By the way your examples of Greg and Dan not noticing their own bias were absolutely on point. You will never get actual bias out of coverage, which makes the notion of objective reviews a joke. Greg and Dan mentioning something being easier however and then glossing over it, not trying to understand and explain WHY it was easier is either laziness, sloppiness or plain incompetence. A good reviewer should always aim to support his claims, no matter what.

  22. If you look at it from a different angle, Bethesda are now only giving games media sites less time to fairly assess their games. What if it only serves to make more people cancel pre-orders? What if the sites instead of an in depth review with a score now just put up a quick "Game seems kinda shit, buggy as hell, I'd hold off on buying, stay tuned for more info"? Wouldn't that be worse for Bethesda?

    What if they go to release their next Elder Scrolls game and all of the reviews just read "Barely playable, bugs everywhere, crashes, laggy. Standard bethesda game, don't buy. Wait a couple of months until they've patched it." That would hurt sales a lot. Since the reviewers don't have time to actually go in depth and find out of it's a good game or not, isn't it really their responsibility to tell people at least if it runs properly? And then the full review with opinions on the game's quality can come at a later date. In that scenario you don't get the "Well the story is good" to compensate for the shitty performance. All you get is a wholly negative first impression after a couple of hours of playing.

  23. I think the general problem is that people simply don't know how to deal with game criticism. They don't use it to get an idea on whether something is worth their time and money, but get there to see their hype confirmed, obsessed with the score pasted on the end of it. Review sites are playing into this, game publishers are trying to get their game sold before anyone could even get a good idea of what it is. This thing is just "avalanching" and it's not going to get any better until consumers start to understand how to deal with gaming criticism.

  24. But isn't the complete opposite happening with this? People WILL be impatient for reviews so the faster you push out a review the more successful the review is, no matter how right or wrong you are. The original review embargo's were there to give each reviewer proper time to give a review rather than being the fastest. Sure you're evening out the playing field for professional critics and actual consumers alike but now both of them would work on this fast review output. You'd have to have a helluva lot of faith in the consumer to make this work, and really that's just not reasonable at this point. Edit: and then I got to 7 minutes into the video… sorry.

  25. you are coming like I am from the side of gaming who watches the meta side of gaming but as you can see by looking at some city 2014 most people don't they want to know what they should buy so do i. I think about pretty order the same way you do but this review policy won't help against these. if the reviewers get enough time to test the game the better the quality at the end is. right now it's like you said every one wants to be early so nobody will at the end give more time for more quality. I don't agree with you the video was neat non the less.

  26. I don't know about this. I'm not sure if I want to watch a game review on the artistic level BEFORE I buy the game. After I played the game, I really enjoy these kinds of videos. But before I buy the game, I really just want the notion of the following:
    Is this game technically stable? Does it perform well? Have the claims of the publisher or developer been fulfilled? (No Man's Sky is a prime example of this) Is this game fun for other people? I want to get this information so I can spend my time and money on the right thing for me.
    Perhaps I am not looking for a "review" in the traditional sense? I might be more looking for videos discussing the impression a game had on them. My overarching question is probably "Could this game be enjoyable for me as well?". I don't need fancy rating systems for graphics or controls.

    However, I agree that pre-ordering and rushed reviews are not a good thing for consumers and I mostly refrain from choosing either of them. Mostly I am buying games months or years after they come out because I have such a huge backlog of games I still want to play.
    I'll keep all this in mind when I want to buy a newly released game. The new Zelda and the Switch are coming out next year and the hype is growing strong.. not quite sure how long to wait there.

  27. I do agree on most points, good could come of this and I could see potentially some of the already talented review writers having more freedom rather than being stuck to the good old arbitrary rushed product as their editors most likely breathe down their necks. We could see more creative reviews like Jim Sterlings, although I think the main point is that Bethesda is being clearly anti-consumer and disingenuous, which companies do. However doesn't mean we should just move on from it

  28. Why would I want my game reviews to have anything other than "is it good or bad"?

    Editorials about the deeper artistic values of these games are something I always enjoy… After I played the game myself and want to see how others view it… I don't want my reviewers to tell me there's something politically problematic in the game or if I'm gonna feel bad because something cruel/racist/scummy/whatever happens during the story, those aspects of the game are something I want to see for myself.

    Videogames are art, but it's the kind of art that is better appreciated if I experience it myself, that's why I take a look at reviews, I want to see if these pieces of art are worth spending my hard earned money on in order to experience them.

    As for Bethesda and this move of theirs… I already rarely buy games at full price, let alone pre-order them, I can't trust a publisher that is afraid of negative reviews to the point they will let customers take shots in the dark for a product that is most likely going to be garbage on release and will need months of patching before it's playable

  29. Gotta really disagree with this notion that traditional reviews aren't useful. For the most part, game reviews are comprehensive views of an entire game and usually are posted several days after release. If there are any "Day-1" reviews then they're usually "Reviews in Progress" (see: MGSV during its first day of release).

  30. Total Biscuit has already conceded that, apparently, that is way too much to ask.

    I honestly wish I could mirror your optimism but I'm just too jaded for that. Too many people are willing to support exploitative pre-order practices and resort to fanboy-ism rather than critical discussion for me to believe otherwise.

    But I do very much agree with you that the nature of games journalism needs to change. There seems to be very little sense of ethics in the industry, which is exemplified by the paid-reviews scandals that roll around every other year or so. The place where I tend to find the most ethical games journalism is, ironically, Giant Bomb.


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