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Before You Say “This Game Sucks!”

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There is no ‘magic’ videogame out there that’s going to please everyone on the planet. Fortunately for us, we’ve got a wide variety of games to choose from, and even the person who doesn’t enjoy the current games can always find something in the nostalgia pile.

Problem is, the haters tend to be the loudest. Angry Joe’s…well, angry review of The Elder Scrolls Online was a deal-breaker for most folks, as he highlighted the negative, more unpolished aspects of the game. For beta testers, this was normal first release difficulties. For anyone who hadn’t yet checked out the game for themselves, that review spawned months of “ESO sucks!!” comments on Reddit and other gaming websites.

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Though in some cases, the fallout’s even worse.

It’s harsh, but it’s marketing, plain and simple. Player response is as necessary for a game’s success as sweet tea is to a Southern restaurant.

Now, before you start looking at a new game to play and proudly declare, “This game sucks!” to the heavens, I’d like you to try a few simple steps.

Watch gameplay instead of reviews.

Instead of immediately flocking to a game review a few days after its release, grab some chips and a drink and go on Youtube for the playthroughs and gameplay snippets. You’ll get a better feel for the game than if you were reading or watching a review, which is ultimately just someone else’s opinion. Make note of the combat, the interface, the dialogue, and whatever else appeals to you as a player. Check out the Let’s Play folks as well, because even if you don’t like the game, you might at least be entertained by the commentary.

Remember – this is a game you’re interested in checking out. It’s not a bad idea to check reviews out afterwards, but what they find unacceptable or problematic might not line up with your view of the game. Never feel guilty for enjoying a game that doesn’t have five stars.

The big name reviewers aren’t always right.

Zero Punctuation, Angry Joe, Game Grumps – you’re likely to find these guys and other reviewers speaking up on the latest games in their own unique ways. The trouble with game reviewers is that too many people take their word as fact. They’ll watch one review and find themselves completely disgusted by a game they were previously interested in, or immediately levitate over to the nearest Gamestop to pick up the premium edition. It depends on how the reviewer feels like presenting the game.

This is in no way an atypical reaction to a second opinion. If your cousin warns you at a family reunion not to eat Grandma’s pumpkin pie because it tastes like death, are you likely to try some of it? Alternatively, if you look on Rotten Tomatoes and see a movie with a high rating and hundreds of positive reviews, would you go ahead and buy a ticket or hold off until it comes out on DVD?

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Save the rage for the people paid to rage.

A game reviewer is going to make several valid points, but others will cherry pick and exacerbate issues within the game that really aren’t that big of a deal. Not every game’s going to be perfect (or even good), but focus more on the objective opinions than the reviewers who simply make the aspects of the game they don’t like a big deal. You can then decide for yourself whether or not a game’s worth picking up,

Does it suck because it’s not well done, or because there’s features you don’t like?

When you’re playing a new game, you’re obviously either going to like it or dislike it. That said, your opinion of the game as a whole shouldn’t be based just on features that might not be your cup of tea. I kind of hate Mass Effect’s character creator, but that doesn’t mean the game has terrible character creation. Others might not like how combat is done in World of Warcraft, but this doesn’t mean the game has a horrendous combat system.

What works for you might not work for others, and vice versa. The problems only arise when people take the things that don’t work for them and make a huge deal out of it. Some games aren’t well done, and others are well done with a few issues.

Try not to be reactive.

If you’ve found some things you don’t like in a game, don’t immediately rush to the forums to rant about them. Take a deep breath. Step away from the keyboard or controller. Take a short break. Even if you’re completely disappointed by a game, it’s better to wait until you’re calmer to start posting your thoughts. Caps and exclamation points might get people to notice you sooner, but no one’s really going to take incoherent ranting seriously.

You should also avoid taking note of every single little nitpicky thing you can find and instead focus on playing the game. If something sticks out to you, definitely note it, but don’t put all your energy into finding something to hate. You never know – a good, objective opinion might get the attention of the devs.

Now that you’ve given this a read, go play that game. And do try to keep your fingers out of the forums for awhile.

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Let’s be fair, though. Real Life hasn’t had a content update in decades.

 

About Deborah Crocker

Deborah is a 22 year old semi-hermit currently plodding through her senior year of college and getting her feet wet in game journalism. She has a somewhat unhealthy obsession with high fantasy, video games, novels, and Elder Scrolls. When she's not in front of a screen, she enjoys singing and a bit of beading. She's also currently on the hunt for the restaurant with the best cheeseburger.

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