How Much Should You Listen to Game Reviews?


As the audience for video games grows and grows, with the products themselves having an increasingly large amount of money behind them, the discussion around quality can get quite intense and, at times, even contentious. The topic of game reviews comes up time and time again, with aggregate scores as found on sites like Metacritic being argued or cited as an objective source of quality by some fans, and the supremacy of the individual experience being touted as most important by others. 

It raises the question of the value of game reviews, how much you should listen to them, and if you should let them influence your own experience.

When You Should

The times that you might think about paying the reviews and the consensus around games some heed is when you’re thinking about buying a game at full price. Triple-A games that are fresh on the shelves are starting to become significant financial investments, and so weighing up these costs against whether they’re worth it might be a conversation worth having, especially if the games in question are reported to be technically unstable or deemed unfinished, as in the recent case of Cyberpunk 2077.

It might also be prudent when you’re looking for more mechanically-based experiences, such as the games found through digitized casinos, in which case, perusing online casino reviews can help you find the one that is most likely to provide you with exactly what you’re looking for – helping you to avoid illegitimate sites.

Perhaps When Not To

That being said, if the quality of a game in the general, technical sense isn’t in question, and it’s not an issue of you having to spend a substantial amount of money on the title, it might be best to see what it’s all about yourself. Looking at too many reviews can not only be something that spoils your experience through the incremental reference to plot details that you can find there, but it can also give you an impression of whether you like a game before you even play it.

You might argue that this is something that can still save you time, but if you’re interested enough in the premise and what you’ve already seen about the game to begin with, trying it for yourself might provide you with an experience contrary to the reviews that’s personal to you.

Usefulness for Long-Term Discourse

Down the line, though, if you’re someone who finds yourself regularly engaging with games discourse online, you might find that the popular critical consensus around games can sometimes act as a stated fact of quality. One game scoring above 90 on platforms like Metacritic might give it more weight in this regard than something that sits around 80, but despite all the attention that can be drawn to numbers like this, it’s important to remember that they don’t mean anything. Having an experience that was important and meaningful to you with a game isn’t lessened by a review score, and a flat number like that might not regularly be sufficient for conveying the various pros and cons of any given title. 

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