A platforming segment, showing Nathan attempti...

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Now, that title may bring all sorts of thoughts into your head, but it’s true. I look at reviews of Triple-A games and it doesn’t swing my opinion back or forth on whether I’m going to buy the game or not. It has no effect on me whatsoever. Especially if it’s a game I’ve followed for a long time. There are many reasons why I still decide to read them, though. Sometimes it’s because of who’s doing the writing, such as Giant Bomb‘s review of Uncharted 3. Other times it’s purely out of curiosity to see what a harsh critic thinks of these games. These are completely irrelevant to my purchasing decisions and they haven’t for some time.

These reviews get the most traffic on websites and the scores are often discussed and debated long before they are even posted. Gamers like to speculate what certain sites and reviewers think of these big budget releases and wonder which ones will just jump on the band wagon, giving it a high score, and which ones will give their honest and thorough opinions throughout the piece. It’s a weird meta game that almost breaks down to scoring the scores of a review. It’s amusing to watch as people descend into complete insanity defending the titles or destroying them before anyone has any experience at all. It’s interesting to watch, but I always wonder how many people are speculating this because they want help with justifying a pre-order or a buy on day one.

For me, I had already made my decision long ago. As soon as I know I want a game and that pre-order is set, that’s me done. Nothing changes my mind. This is most common with these huge releases, usually causing me to pre-order as soon as I can, either committing the money there and then or guaranteeing that I’ll have the money on the day of release. I still feel compelled to read these reviews however, for a few different reasons. Seeing what other people thing is always interesting, no matter what my opinion might be, but there’s a little more to it than that.

Crash Bandicoot (video game)

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Seeing that Uncharted 3 is getting high scores was no shock to me. Naughty Dog have continuously shown that they know how to make a damned good game, even back in the days of Crash Bandicoot. The quality of the first two Uncharted games in the series spoke out to me so much that I knew that I’d buy that game when I had the money, because I knew that it’d be fantastic. It wasn’t enough to make me pre-order, mainly because of having a lack of money, but it was enough to justify myself buying it when I had the spare cash and the time I wanted to commit to playing it. I’m extremely happy for the developer that they’re getting these excellent scores, but I had made my mind up months ago.

Another example that has reviews coming out this week is of course Battlefield 3. Having played every other game in the franchise, I was already a huge fan, and had my pre-order secured months ago. (So long in face, that I can’t remember the website and have no evidence of it’s existence in my History or Emails. Oops.) I had decided for myself that no matter what other people will say about the game and it’s features, I’ll be buying and playing it as soon as I can. I knew some things coming into it. As much as the game looks amazing, I knew that the single player campaign would probably not blow anyone away, even if I enjoyed it. This didn’t even concern me when it came time for the PC Reviews to get released, as that’s not what the majority of players to the Battlefield franchise come for. It wasn’t surprising to me when I heard about the length of this campaign and the fact that it seems to be pretty “uninspired”. It might be slightly disappointing that it’s not the best it could be, but again, my purchasing decision was locked so long ago that nothing could change my mind.

I know for a fact that both of these games will sit on my shelves at some point, and I’ll enjoy my time with them greatly, without having to read someone else’s review to tell myself whether I should buy it, or even if I should regret getting it so early if at all. I rarely suffer from buyer’s remorse and I’m happy with that fact. I’ve been a gamer long enough to know what I’ll like and what I won’t. That doesn’t mean I don’t take risks with purchases now and again (especially if some reviewers decided to go against the crowd and call something great, when others hated it.) and it has led me to find plenty of games I really enjoyed, Quantum of Solace and Singularity being two great examples of this. (League of Legends would be one too, if not for the fact it’s free to play.)

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Knowing what games I’m into and willing to try means that 99% of my purchases are good ones. I get the time I wanted out of them and I don’t regret it one bit. Having to save money is also refreshing as it means that during the dry summer months of no releases, I can go back with some extra money and get some games that I missed out on. Two great examples of this for me was Dead Space and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. Both excellent games that I played weeks or even months after release.

Reviewing games myself, I do hope that I help the people who want to know whether a game is good or not, but that’s not the only reason I want people to read them. If anyone like myself reads my review and comments upon it, I get the same satisfaction that I would if I had helped someone decide whether to spend their hard-earned cash on a game. Sparking up a discussion is always a grand thing, and that is the main reason why I read reviews of games I, have basically, already purchased.

 

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