Should you trust review scores?
In the fast paced world we now live in, review scores give us an immediate indication if a film or video game is good. Whether it be a score out of 10, a star rating or a lettering grade, these scores can dictate the content we consume and sometime eradicate any interest we previously had in a product. How often have you seen a trailer for a film, kept track of it with the intention of going to the cinema to see it, only to see critics review scores and think ‘I’ll just see it when its on Netflix’. This happens all the time and no one can blame you for it. Going to the cinema is an expensive hobby so its only natural that you want to spend your money on something you’ll enjoy. There in lies the problem though.
Review scores are opinions. Reviewing a film or a game isn’t an exact science. There is no special equation that gives you a products official score. They are peoples opinions of that product and their opinion may be vastly different to yours and what’s even worse, sometimes their review score doesn’t always fully represent their enjoyment of that product.
There have been plenty of films released that are badly made and yet I still have a lot of fun with them. I think one of the biggest examples of this over the past decade has been the Transformers franchise. Those films consistently get bad reviews from critics and yet continue to make astronomical numbers at the box office. Why? Because people have fun with them and enjoy them despite the actual quality of the film making and story telling being poor.
Films, games and TV shows are fundamentally art. And just like some of the most famous art in the world, it doesn’t all appeal to everyone. I could go into a modern art museum and not find any of it that interesting. The same apples to games and films. You wont like everything and just because someone else doesn’t like it doesn’t mean you wont.
The difficult part comes in justifying your purchase of a £10 cinema ticket or a £50 video game when there’s a chance you wont be satisfied by the product you get. Luckily the world of social media has made it a lot easier to get a wide range of peoples opinions. When I was growing up I used to base nearly all of my video game purchases from PlayStation magazines that I used to get every month. They were my go to guide of all the up and coming games and helped shape my playing habbits. Now with Twitter and YouTube there a millions of people sharing their opinions on films and games every single day. Most of them don’t give a score either. It’s just them giving their opinions on a product and whether they enjoyed it or not. That is the most important part, enjoyment. We play games and watch films for entertainment and therefore the technical quality of a game or film is secondary to how much fun we can have with it.
With video games especially, there is also the issue of ‘missing the boat’. There are so many games released every year and with many of them requiring large time commitments to finish it can be hard to commit that time to a product you are fully invested in before release. Unlike films though, the video game experience is the same a few months after release as it is on day one and sometimes even gets better via patches and DLC. This is why I think that building a back catalog and ‘sleeping’ on a game for a while after release can be a great option. For one the game can often go down in price and two it means you can fit it in during a quieter period of the year and not feel like you’re neglecting another game you’ve been dying to play.
I recently stopped looking at review scores completely and switched to reading reviews or watching YouTube videos to find out what people thought of the latest releases. Yes it can take a little longer to find out but with most YouTube reviews being a few minutes long and it taking around the same time to read a review, the overall picture I’ve gained compared to a score out of 10 has been really useful and worth those few minutes.
Now comes the question of who’s reviews and discussions to listen to. Well that again is subjective and will involve you looking around to find reviewers with likeminded opinions. Take some time to read or watch reviews of films and games you like to find people who have similar opinions to you and go from there. I have a few established sites I go to most of the time being IGN, Kinda Funny and Collider Video but there are thousands of options out there and its a matter of finding the opinions you trust.
Hopefully through finding like minded people you can discover content that you love and not have it pass you by. This intern helps support those making the content and allow them to continue to make media you can enjoy.
For those of you who enjoy my coverage of films and games I will continue to post my opinions on Twitter and more indepth discussions via blogs so follow, like and subscribe to never miss a thing.