Posted on September 25, 2007,

The Review Process: Do Reviewers Need to Finish Games?

joysticklogosmaller.gifHow long do you have to not enjoy a game to definitively know it sucks? How long do you need to be entranced in an action game to know it rocks?

How is it that a guy who writes so badly ends up working for this online Seattle publication? Not only does he misuse “your,” but he also writes “day job” four times within two sentences. But my anal grammar habits aren’t the point, here. The point is that there is a legitimate question that has been brought to this reviewer’s attention: Do you need to finish a game in order to review it?

The short answer is no. You don’t need to finish your dinner in order to tell if it’s a good or a bad meal, and I think the same can be said about video games. But what does one do with a review which, really, isn’t even worth its weight in gold?

8BitJoystick gets a little butt-hurt when a gamer accuses him of a bit of foul-play in his review of Blue Dragon for the Xbox 360, claiming that the achievements he received in the game clearly came across as nothing but a n00b, or at least not finishing the game. So is there something to be said for gamers who achieve enlightenment after finishing a game which is considered by many to be anything but good? Yes, and it has something to do with finding a justification for wasting dozens of hours of your life.

And with that, there is definitely also something to be said about a game not even being able to motivate a gamer to even think about playing all the way through a game.

via Digital Joystick

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6 Comments on The Review Process: Do Reviewers Need to Finish Games?


On September 25, 2007 at 6:05 am

It’s the job of a game tester to finish a game, not a writer. I think it’s beneficial to finish a game, but it’s simply not realistic in all cases. With the number of games out there, it’s not possible for a game journalist to finish every game he/she writes about. He needs to base his review on known information and I’d say at least play the game for several hours. The other thing you have to keep in mind about reviewing is that we often get input from other gamers or other writers about a game prior to developing a final analysis.

Some game companies have started including saved game files with the review copies sent out to help writers experience the entire game.


On September 25, 2007 at 7:21 am

Many games become transparent after a short amount of time, others (i.e. most RPG’s) can take hours before you even see all the features in the game. I would say that finishing isn’t needed, but the more they play the better their review can be (some people write crap whether they’ve beaten the game 50 times or not)


On September 25, 2007 at 12:17 pm

I think its a really good question. I would say yes, they do need to finish it (if they can). Comparing it to reviewing a meal isn’t appropriate because a meal isn’t going to suddenly change for the better or worse. A game on the other hand is like a film or a book. You cant possibly give an good review if you have only seen 10% of it.

used cisco

On September 25, 2007 at 12:21 pm

I don’t really care if a reviewer FINISHES a game. I do expect a reviewer to play the “bulk” of a game though. And if they don’t finish a game they are reviewing, I think this should be disclosed at the beginning of the review.

Jake of

On October 1, 2007 at 10:51 pm

I have two things to say.
1. Jealous much?
2. Day job, day job, day job

havoc of smeg

On October 8, 2007 at 9:33 am

i think you dont have to. and the meal comment is fair. i mean once youve played it for a few hours, its like marmite,your either going to love it :grin: and carry on playing it or hate it to bits :mad: , stop playing it and maybe even sell it off. :arrow:

lets face it, games generally dont change that much, and any change is mostly in diffaculty.