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Ryan asks, What Does IGN’s Review Policy Actually Mean?

Ryan asks, What Does IGN’s Review Policy Actually Mean?

It was announced earlier in the month that IGN were reviewing their policy on reviews, dubbing it re-review or something of that ilk. It is the culmination of Christopher Nolan’s Inception concept and a bid to get with the times. Oh and they might also be twiddling their thumbs waiting for new releases and going back to some old games might be the best way to pass time.

The long and short of it is that IGN are seeking to go back and gloss over the games of old that have recently had updates, adjustments or bug fixes in a bid to increase score and arguably get in with the developers/publishers by washing their hands of those reputation tarnishing bad reviews. The main crux is that some games have issues on release and in such a modern society we have the ability to patch games post release.

rereviews1280jpg-dc3ad0_400wAlthough, when sugar coated and worded the right way it sounds like a fantastic idea, I mean what’s not to love? The corporate people pleasers can publish its slanderous review and then remit it post patch shouting the developers praise. It pleases both the blood thirsty indie masses and makes good with those who developed a shoddy game in the first place.

My main gripe with the approach is that it gives IGN the ability to bow to pressure from bigger companies. The idea may be pure of heart and have the best of intentions but it could falter under pressure from publishers. That means games with incredibly poor releases – ala SimCity and Battlefield 4 – will be able to request a new review once all the release issues have subsided. It’s almost like they are given a free pass; what was once slander and discourse in the comments could see a 180 on the review and far more pleasant read would replace it.

It’s appeasing to the modern ideology that publishers can release unfinished games if need be and update them at a later date while the industry follows suit in rectifying their reviews to pander to the new and improved game. And yes I mean industry, after all many will follow suit after the flagship sites start to reconsider their scores. It’s almost encouraging the developers to release a broken game when all else fails, and rise like a phoenix from the ashes when they finally “get it right” and resurface on the front page of our favourite sites. The general public don’t always needlessly flock to purchase games on day one and those who hold off might be swayed by a turn in reviews a few weeks later after the initial bad release.

steve_and_his_friend_by_theevollutions-d429y48_4250568_lrgThat being said there this new approach isn’t all doom and gloom as some releases are only let down by such overwhelming popularity that maybe a release review is tarnished by issues out with a companies control. External factors, which I am sure we have all fallen prey to, will no longer be a factor in a reviews supposed objective interpretation. And if there were, the review can be revisited.

Many games have also evolved completely since their inception like the already fantastic Xbox360 Minecraft and a new review could do them a great deal of justice. The same can be said for games like Hearthstone that are constantly evolving in Beta and online games too. These are games that would definitely benefit from a revisiting but they were in no ways broken or unplayable on release.

Either way I am as torn as a high resolution screen on an XboxOne and I can see both sides of the coin. I just don’t know if it sits right with me, on one hand we have writers progressing with the times and on the other hand we technically have a more appeasing approach to reviews in which opinions and scores can be retconned to oblivion. If I could make one suggestion it would be that rules be integrated to make the original reviews and allow them to be visible at all times, so as to prevent what could be perceived as manipulated reviews from happening.

MOAR FROM CALMDOWNTOM!

3 Comments

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  1. Kevin Lynch says
    02/18/2014, 4:04 PM

    I think that personally, it’s a good idea in theory. Looking back on a game with mild hindsight can be beneficial for everyone involved but it will depend on how they do it and look at their process.

    If they are only re-reviewing and increasing scores then it diminishes the reason to provide a score in the first place. They need to be completely honest and think, did we actually over-rate this game.

    The best way forward is to give an addition to the review that pretty much says: “Hey, this is what it was like on release, this is what its like now”. Just leave the score as is, if you even need a score in the first place!

  2. Craig Campbell says
    02/18/2014, 2:49 PM

    Good read Tom, a nice piece. As with any kind of power like this it could be a great thing but is also ripe for abuse. Will be interesting to see which emerges first.

  3. 02/18/2014, 12:51 PM

    If one had reviewed a game with bias or whatever reason and unjustly given a lower or higher score then that would be the only reason to go back and adjust the initial review. All the other reasons don’t matter. On the other hand who cares if the score goes from 7.8 to 8.2. Those mean nothing to me. It only remotely serves as an indication since even when people try their hardest in the end it is all subjective.

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