February 5, 2013

Why I Could Never Be a Legit Video Game Reviewer

Posted in video games tagged , at 1:14 pm by riulyn

Writing about video games sure is fun, isn’t it? I mean, look at all those blogs out there about it! Anyone who is really passionate about the games they play and wants to broadcast it to the world floods the internet with words in some way or another. A lot of it isn’t so coherent or structured logically. For example, look at this post πŸ™‚

For me, playing games is about having a good time. It’s about being presented problems and solving them. It’s about trying something new. It’s about seeing a story unfold. It’s about doing random, roundabout things. It’s about finding the annoying things and working around them/kicking their asses as well as the amazing things and fapping over them. It’s about screaming, yelling, laughing, crying, and smiling at the game. Tears fall easily out of my eyes, so yeah there has been some crying πŸ™‚

So how do I really judge one game versus another? Battle system? Story? Character design? How frustrating one is versus another? How long it is? How much it costs and how much it should have cost? How much it changed my life?

Firstly, how would I put a score on a battle system? Does Suikoden’s battle system suck because it doesn’t involve a lot of strategy most of the time, but not suck because you can do things like unite attacks and they go super quick? Is Dragon Quest 8’s battle system great because most battles involve your characters taking massive damage but suck because the animations can be slow and most spells (at least in my case) didn’t seem that useful? Is it the fun factor? Xenoblade’s battle system seems to be hit or miss with most people. How do I give it a score?

How about customization of characters? Good, bad, necessary, unnecessary? Depends on the game, right?

And story…that has to be the hardest one. Giant robots always gets bonus points with me. I don’t mind bishonen main characters. Amnesia is overused but doesn’t bother me. I love/hate tropes. I don’t mind if my main character is growing into an adult for the millionth time. Unique can be awesome but also a turnoff. I don’t mind long cutscenes, but they have to actually be doing something in them. Yes, I’m referring to a specific cutscene in Star Ocean IV where I swear the ship went backwards any time it wasn’t on screen. How you feel about the characters really affects how I like a story. If I didn’t fall in love with NieR, then the whole game is just a series of fetch quests with no real aim. It’s also the whole point of the game.

When I look back at the games I play, I think of all the good times I had with them. All the crazy things I did with them. Glitches, cheats, quirky dialogue, battles that went terribly badly or unexpectedly awesomely, etc. I think it’s relatively easy for me to tell the world which games I enjoyed and why, and somewhat easy to rank them if I spend enough time thinking about it. But to give a score like those major sites do? Not my thing.



  1. Tara-Chan said,

    I could never add a “score” to games, either. Sure, some of them I could easily rank them as “good”, “bad”, and “ugly”, but in the end I typically judge the game on how much fun I had with the story and battle system. And since I’m much more focused on plot and character, I could never really give a fair review on the other stuff, I think.

  2. Joseph said,

    This is why I decided to end my retro reviews by answering the question “Should you play this game?” because I really just want to provide a simple yes or no answer. Either the game has merit, is fun, and adds something positive to the genre, or it doesn’t. My favorite part of role playing games is that almost every game has at least something unique and interesting to add. Rarely do I play a game and find it has no merit whatsoever. So I agree that reviewing is a tricky thing. Especially since I find some games that receive a 2.5 or a 3 are really fun to me, and other games that get really high scores I find disappointing. (Skyrim I’m calling you out here:P). As gamers who like to write and share our opinions about games, I think it’s better for us to discuss the various merits each game has, as opposed to pumping out some number that we think fits the game. In my opinion numbers lie, but a discourse about a game you like (such as Xenoblade) makes me interested in it again in a way no numerical review, no matter how high, ever could. I guess what I’m saying is that I would rather discuss them and think about them than review them and move on:)

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