Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Play-Through Reviews. Change In The Way We Review Games

There's a reason why you won't find many game reviews on this blog. I was brought up to seek out knowledge, and not look like an ass doing it. And what is more 'ass-ish' then not playing a game and giving an opinion about it? OCD and my need to complete things aids in the non-reviews. My brain won't allow me to give an opinion until I have finished watching a film, read the last page of a book, or defeated the final boss. Most reviews you'll find of video games, television shows, books, anything that takes longer then 2 hours to digest, are going to be general glances at the product. The reality is no one has the time to sit and play a video game for 60 hours. Even if you're paid for it, the company expects you to plow through 10-15 more games by the end of the week. It's impossible to dedicate 60 hours to every game and expect to get your work done.

For some products, such as mobile games, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Many mobile products are designed for 'on-the-go.' They are quick to pick up, play, and pause to save for later. Which makes reviewing them much easier. After 15-20 minutes, you get an idea of what the game is about - many of them are puzzles or simple action point and click. Large scale games like RPG's are a challenge to review when you only have so much time to spend on them. You have to plow your way through the main story and hope you have enough of a grip on the game play to write about it. I wouldn't be surprised if most game reviewers say that they rarely to never finish a game they are reviewing.

But! I also want to provide more review content on this blog. So I'm trying another experiment. Taking a page from Kotaku as their publication enters a new level of maturity, I'll be offering mini-updates on new games that I'm playing instead of a full-out review.  Think of it like the Let's Play Mass Effect series I started in 2012. As I consume more video games over the upcoming months, having one review really wouldn't convey my thoughts and feelings on the product, nor would they be timely. Again, I only like to post reviews when I have finished the game. Something like Dragon Quest would take me 3 months to complete and post, well past the release date and, thus, no longer making it a timely topic.

I like the idea of being able to provide genuine responses as I play a game. In many ways, our perceptions change as we continue to go through the game; our initial reactions can be replaced by other emotions. That's one aspect of the Let's Play series that I really appreciate when it comes to games people have never played before. Honest reactions. Honest feedback.

Over the next few months, expect to see more of these type of...oh let's call them "Play-through Reviews." They won't be one individual response to the video game, but a series of blog posts that make up the whole experience.

I'll be starting out with Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. Let me know what you all think. Feedback. Super important. With the change in how press and gaming work together, I feel this would be a step in the right direction for future review concepts.

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