Videogame reviews have one thing in common. They always eventually degenerate into four little words: but here’s my problem. Whether or not I call it a pet peeve or not, this has gotten to the point of being light years beyond the ordinary pet peeve. No matter how great a game is supposed to be, it’s nothing more than “but, here’s my problem”.
Whether it’s Mass Effect, Call of Duty 4, Halo 3, The Orange Box, or what ever else you want to fill in the blank with, none of us can take a game for what it is. Why? In the case of a franchise, what’s the deal with a game not being good enough when it does exactly what it’s supposed to like finishing a story arc that is already in motion like in the case of Halo 3. What do we expect? Did we expect Bungie to go in some radically new direction right in the middle of one of the worst cliff hangers in the history of anything that’s anything( every entertainment medium included). Halo 3 did what it was destined to do. Finish the damn fight, damn it!
In the case of Mass Effect, look at every review underneath the sun (the actual words, not the artificial number). While lots will declare this game as one of the best RPG’s in recent memory, review after review turns into a bitch fest about technical issues up the wazoo. It has texture popup and annoying elevator rides galore. Ok, but how is the game experience? What game doesn’t have some sort of technical issue to contend with? Whether it’s long load times, texture popup, low resolution textures, jerky animation transitions, clipping, repetitive audio (voice over repetition galore Assassins Creed?), or overall repetitive gameplay.
So, let’s take that last example from just the few that I could easily add to. What game isn’t repetitive? Go ahead! Try to give one example that isn’t. Assassin’s Creed can’t be named without complaints about this, but look no further than every other game that’s EVER been published. The 30 seconds of fun rule is most definitely still king. The venerable Super Mario franchise is the greatest culprit of them all. Yes, Mario jumping from here to the next frontier is fun gameplay, heck it has it’s own genre based on it, but how many times do you really clamor to do so time after time? No one calls out for the down fall of Mario (platform) games, because they task you with jumping endlessly as if your gaming thumbs depended on it.
I don’t care who you are or how legendary a game reviewer others claim you to be, you will 100% fall into this “but, here’s my problem” crisis. When are game reviewers going to review games based on what’s brought to the table whether than what’s wrong with what’s brought to the table? Flaws are going to be seen everywhere. It’s a basic human tendency to judge everything with a red pen ready to condemn it for not being what we’ve built up into our heads as being perfect, but then again it’s about time it stops.
We all play games to have fun, right? So why can’t we do just that and that only without all trying to be Jeff Gerstmann like Roger Ebert clones. If it’s your job to critique then that’s one thing, but everyone and there mother brings it upon themselves’ to try to be the next great game reviewer. Being critical is fine in its own right, but nothing is as bad as when the entire review is nothing but critical. If you have a gripe with something then that’s okay, but don’t make that the entire review and forget to tell the reader/viewer about the only important part, unless it’s Yaris. Was it fun?
Level 5 over……level 6 loading………
-William “thewilleffect” Bell-