I happen to be doing my usual web surfing today, and while at GameSpot I saw that there was a review for the new Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir expansion, and that it received a score of 6.0, ouch. I don't want to get into the debate on whether scores for reviews are good or bad, but I personally like something that indicates the tone of the review before I read it, if it's a number or a letter it doesn't matter to me.
So the low score already tells me the tone for the review, that it is going to be negative in nature, and it didn't disappoint. Once I finished the read, I began to recall seeing something on the interwebs that the first few reviews for the game were favorable. And so I went to GameRankings.com and pulled up NWN2:SoZ, and sure enough there were two other reviews and both had much higher scores for the game.
The first review was from 1up and they game the game a B+, the next review was from IGN and they gave the game an 8.3. So why do I care about all this, because I have been looking forward to Storm of Zehir since it was announced and I had a knee jerk reaction to the GameSpot review when I initially read it. So I sought vindication by looking for some positive reviews so that I justify my feelings that the game is good no matter what they say.
Then my mind began to recall something that I saw in a Zero Punctuation video about not letting others opinions of a game influence you if you enjoy the game, which made me realise why I read reviews in the first place, to gain some knowledge! I have personally written two reviews, Age of Conan and Warhammer online, and they do come off as a bit on the negative side, but I do make mention that I did enjoy playing both games. I tried hard to present the facts both good and bad about the games, but the negative tone was because I felt that there were issues that both games had that were glossed over in the early reviews, one reason why I chose to do a review almost two months after release.
The reviews that I enjoy reading are ones that present the facts about a game, both good and bad. I really get annoyed with reviews that focus on what the game is, the back story, what the author did in one level that made the game so great for them, and finish up with little information on things like how the gameplay is, framerate, graphics, sound, multiplayer features, and even bugs and what not. I feel that GameSpot is one of if not the best online review site out there, and most of the time the reviews they have are informative mixed with personal play experiences, and I like that. I have always felt that if a review has a score, that is the opinion of the reviewer, and should be taken as such.
So the bottom line is that all three reviews presented some of the same facts, but it would seem that one person was expecting something completely different than what they played, and that I should not have taken the review personally just because I was looking forward to the game.