A reviewer’s perspective on how to read reviews

For the past year, I have reviewed video games, from great games, like “Grand Theft Auto V,” to the terrible, like “Rambo: The Video Game.” I personally have had little complaints from anything that I have reviewed.

Other people who review video games, movies or music, however, are criticized for having an opinion in their reviews. Major companies that review media like IGN.com have been accused of taking bribes in the forms of money or free content in order to get higher than average reviews.

While I do not like the practice of bribing reviewers, I would like to point out certain things that I might get accused of later or that readers should think about when reading any reviews.

I write reviews for more than just the Highland Echo, and I have different writing styles for the platform that I write for. When I write for the Highland Echo, I use a writing style that seems as objective as possible, so that anyone who reads the review can relate to it. For other reviews, I write more from my personal perspective, allowing myself to put my feeling about a game into the review. For any review I write, however, I do attach a score to it, generally assessing its value.

The first thing that I want to point out about reviews is that no matter how objective a person is in a review, it is always a person’s personal opinion at the end. A person makes a judgment call whether or not a song is terrible, whether a scene drags for too long, or if a joke did not hit the mark. While some pieces of art are widely acclaimed and hard to find fault with, like the film “12 Years a Slave” or the game “The Last of Us,” others have a wide range of review scores, following a people’s different opinions about something.

Take the game “Beyond: Two Souls” for example. From critics, it got a wide range of reviews, from nearly flawless 100/100 to the almost broken 20/100. Some praised the attention to story with a different look at gameplay while others saw a lackluster story with terrible gameplay. This shows a problem when a person looks at one review and bases their opinion of whether or not to purchase a product from a review.

The issue of opinion leads to another fault with reviews: the score. I add a score at the end based on the likelihood of a person wanting to play the game. For example, if I say a game deserves a 75 out of 100, I like to say that out of 100 people who play games, 75 of those would be interested in it.

However, one man’s “Ride to Hell: Retribution” is another man’s “Bioshock Infinite.” This makes sense when it comes to music, where a fan of country would most likely not buy the latest from Nicki Minaj. The same principle can also apply to fans of film series “The Expendables” would be unlikely to also own “The Notebook.” Even if the score on the movie, game or album is high, people who hate the genre might not enjoy it.

Within the media there is a sense of buyer beware, but as a reader, always remember that all reviews are basically opinions given to you so that you can decide if you want to play this game or watch this movie or not.

No review is definitive or should be definitive to you unless it is your own.

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