Do you Trust Advance Multi-Player Reviews?

Halo reach

Well, see the problem with multiplayer advance reviews is.. umm.. see... you just aren't enough of a jerk. (image courtesy of IGN)

In case you have been living under a rock: Halo Reach has dropped and the reviews are kinda sorta positive. Like mind-blowing, bust-a-nut positive. But does that mean you actually trust these advance reviews?

This is not a slam against the game reviewers or their sites. These are presumably honest men and women who are big enough to get advance copies of the game. This means that they have proven themselves, and that means that they are generally not cheaters.

We should also take reviews for what they are: one person’s opinion at one point in time. The “one point in time” thing is what concerns me. AND as I mentioned, the fact that these people who are reviewing, are NOT the type to be cheaters.

When reviewing an advance copy, the reviewer is in a rare situation. She or he is playing multi-player with a very select group: in this case a group of pro reviewers. It’s almost like playing a custom game with friends: you play with you know, and these people all have the same goal: in this case to kick the tires and see what the game can do.

The problem comes once we compare this scenario to real life. Once the game hits the tray, it’s thousands, if not millions of games being played that first week. It’s the mass of cheaters who are really good at finding, and exploiting weaknesses in the game. It’s the sheer number of hours being put into the game from so many different  shows us where the problems are in-game.

The advance review of multiplayer will tell us some things about the game, but it can’t tell us if the true multiplayer experience is one worth having. In short: it’s not the expertise of the reviewer that will tell us the worth of multiplayer, it is the drooling masses that will expose the problems.

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  • Tim B.  On September 16, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    I typically read and use reviews as help on new games. Certain games like the Call of Duty series and Team Ninja’s Ninja Gaiden, I buy regardless of how good or bad the review is, mainly because I trust the series. Limbo and Transformers: War for Cybertron, I used reviews, demos, or I would just rent the game. Limbo was an anomaly, however, because there wasn’t a demo or anything. Reviews are good and best used as a tool, but shouldn’t be used as the sole basis to buy a game.

  • commodore64(raymond)  On September 18, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    I remember hearing accounts of the reviews for modern warfare 2. the reviewers were gathered in a controlled environment to review the game. And while I’m sure the reviews were pure in their intention it was incomplete because the game wasn’t under stress. The people who play a game factors into the quality of that game and ultimately glitching gamers defined that game, which is something a reviewer cannot add into his or her review.

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