Who Reviews the Reviewers?

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December 10th, 2008

Who Reviews the Reviewers?

TimThe recent controversies at IGN sadden me quite a bit because I have always been a fan of IGN. Their reviews always carried some weight for me as I’ve checked that site since the PSXPower days (before the sites were collected under the IGN name). The first issue I was made aware of was the 4.5 score on the Sonic Unleashed review for the 360 version. While this baffled me, I wasn’t too upset until I found out that the reviewer DIDN’T FINISH THE GAME! That’s right, Hilary Goldstein’s gamertag spills the beans, just 4 of the 7 continents beaten. First of all, I don’t believe a reviewer should be able to review a game unless he’s at least beaten the main objective or quest in the game. Does a movie reviewer give a thumbs up or down based on the first half of the movie? Now I know the analogy breaks down a bit since movies aren’t typically 10+ hours long like many games are, but at the very least I believe there needs to be much more transparency here. Ray has the right idea by putting a Reviewer’s Completion description at the end of his reviews. Why can’t IGN do that? They could at least admit that they haven’t finished the game, and the reader can weigh his opinion accordingly. By omitting that piece of information, the reader assumes that the reviewer is basically an expert at the game and is giving an expert opinion. IGN has also recently apologized for and taken down its U.S. review for Football Manager 2009 for the PC. It gave the game a 2.0/10 when the MetaCritic rating was a 9.0/10. The review was littered with factual errors and ridiculous comparisons which you can read about here. Just another example of how screwed up things are over there. They are losing credibility pretty quickly and I think something needs to be done.

P.S. – Since Casamassina is our ‘face of IGN’ we went with him for the comic, but he personally wasn’t involved in the two controversies I mentioned.

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92 Comments

  1. Lewis says:

    It’s the CHristmas rush, what do you expect? That said, I would prefer a more gradual process, even if it means not getting reviews ’til January. Great comic by the way!

  2. Dre says:

    You do realize that game reviewers often don’t use their own hardware for the actual review, right? All this proves is that Hil played little of Unleashed on his OWN 360. Ugh, it saddens me that some people are so quick to point fingers.

  3. Ray says:

    You do realize that game reviewers often don’t use their own hardware for the actual review, right? All this proves is that Hil played little of Unleashed on his OWN 360. Ugh, it saddens me that some people are so quick to point fingers.

    While a decent idea, I don’t think it works. First, why would he take home a game he hates and play through the first four continents a second time? Second, I find it hard to believe that he’s achieved a gamerscore of 28,000 points on his own free time away from work.

    I’m still a noob when it comes to 360, but is it possible he can sign into his gamertag on two separate consoles?

  4. Anon says:

    I want that new Kid Icarus game!

  5. sheppy says:

    While it’s true that early review code could be missing parts like achievements, that’s not the case with Sonic Unleashed. In fact, reviewers were given sealed copies that didn’t even need debug stations so I totally poopoo’d on that theory.

    I also have to say this, Kid Icarus doesn’t exist. Sorry Matt, calling you out on your own bullcrap. Because his hint was that Factor 5 was the dev but the Brash collapse is on the verge of collapsing Factor 5 and their two other projects are digitial distro efforts as revealed on gamasutra over a year ago.

  6. ubuntun3rd says:

    Is that monkey pregnant?

  7. BulimicKoala says:

    You do realize that game reviewers often don’t use their own hardware for the actual review, right? All this proves is that Hil played little of Unleashed on his OWN 360. Ugh, it saddens me that some people are so quick to point fingers.

    While a decent idea, I don’t think it works. First, why would he take home a game he hates and play through the first four continents a second time? Second, I find it hard to believe that he’s achieved a gamerscore of 28,000 points on his own free time away from work.
    I’m still a noob when it comes to 360, but is it possible he can sign into his gamertag on two separate consoles?

    Yea all you do is recover the gamertag on a different xbox 360. But great comic but why isnt the monkey using a wii jacket. He could break his tv. You should think about promoting safety. I love you guys (Tim and you) as much as I love Morgan Freeman.

  8. Secre says:

    Maybe it should be looked at this way; If you don’t finish a game, most likely you didn’t like the part you did play. If the part of the game you did play sucked, then the rest of the game will probably do the same. Therefore, not finishing a game would usually = still knowing if it sucked or not based on the most important factor: Gameplay.

    I don’t get what the problem with someone not beating a game before they make a review is. You’re not exactly supposed to spoil the entire game if you’re a professional reviewer. The player wants to know if it’s worth playing throughout the game, not near the end. Therefore, having played at least a part of it, as long as you got the main elements, would make your review still correct.

    Unless they only played a couple of minutes, I’d say the review is still legit. And the fact that they didn’t beat the game would only prove whether or not they like it. I agree that a completion rating would be a good idea for these things. But someone not completing the game does not an illegitimate review make.

  9. Gamer_1337 says:

    I don’t agree that reviewers should finish their games before reviewing them. I write reviews for a site, and it is almost never necessary to finish a game in order to give a good opinion of it. If the gameplay doesn’t work, it also won’t work in the final bits of the game. Same goes for story, graphics, originality, well basically everything you encounter in a game.
    A game should be about the entire experience, if a game sucks but has a great ending it’s still a bad game and should be rated as such.

    Futhermore the argument that he could have taken the game home with him is legit. No-one uses their own gamertags for reviewing games, preciesely for this reason: you don’t want other people to know you’re playing a game, and you especially don’t want agitated fanboys flaming you all over the internet. My guess is that he took the game home with him and a son/daughter/nephew/niece/any small child played the game.

  10. Tim says:

    Secre,
    I wouldn’t say it’s ‘illegitimate’, just incomplete. Ray thinks that the last stage is probably one of the best Sonic levels ever created. But Hilary wouldn’t know that because he never played it. It would be one thing if he got to the end boss and just didn’t beat the boss, but he barely played half the game, 4/7 continents. Some things he said are, according to Ray, just not true. He says that the framerate is great, but one later level has major framerate issues. It’s things like this that you miss when you don’t actually complete the game. Sure, his overall opinion and score might not have changed too much, but then again, we’ll never know.

    Gamer_1337,
    If your site reviews games with just a thumbs up or thumbs down, I’d say that’s fine, you basically know if the game is good or bad. But when a site is giving fractional points, basically rating a game on a scale of 0-100, how can you really say that the game is a 7.6 based on 50% of the game? If you don’t finish the game, fine, tell the reader.

    Am I the only one that assumes the reviewers have finished the game when they don’t tell you one way or another?

  11. nintendogamer101 says:

    So you’re saying Sonic Unleashed for the Wii did suck?

  12. ashdcuk says:

    I have to disagree with the post, and agree with Secre.
    Briefly about the Gamerscore thing, reviewers at Gamespot and 1up have both talked about the fact that their public 360 profiles and achievements often don’t show how much they’ve played for reviews and if that’s the ‘source’ that people are relying on then it’s yet another forum storm in a teacup.
    But aside from that, why does a reviewer have to finish a game to review it? If he liked the game then he probably would have finished it, sure, and if he’d played it for only 10 minutes then yes, the review would be unreliable. But 4/7 of any game seems like a decent portion of any game – enough to see any faults in the gameplay mechanics or the graphics engine, etc.
    If I’d played 4/7 of Red Steel and had to stop because it was horrible, I’d feel pretty qualified to say to any friends or fellow gamers, “stay well away from this game”. I don’t need anywhere near that long to see that the controls were terrible, for example. That’s not an issue that will fix itself by the end.

    And even if the last part of the game was absolutely amazing, it deserves a bad rating because, for one thing, you shouldn’t have to play through crap to get to the good stuff. The vast majority of people won’t, and that’s not their fault.

  13. Tim says:

    ashdcuk,
    Sounds like you would be willing to give a thumbs up or thumbs down on a game, but I already addressed this. Would you be confident in giving a game a rating on a scale of 0-100 based on half the game?

  14. Tim says:

    Also, if a person is PAID to review game, as in, they are PROFESSIONAL GAME REVIEWERS, there’s no excuse to not finishing a game. They are paid to plow through the good AND the bad so that we don’t have to. Reviews are there to help people make informed purchasing decisions. If you are too lazy or just suck really bad at games, get a new profession.

  15. Tacos says:

    Nice comic. I too also trusted IGN, but now its tough. I think the only surefire way is to find someone with the game and get a real person’s opinion.

    Oh and nice logo. Except I would rate this site a 10 out of 10, would visit again.

  16. MetaRidleyR27 says:

    I know many people have said this, but, “You can’t spell ignorent without IGN.” Anyway, nice comic guys. 🙂

  17. Gamer_1337 says:

    I agree that for paid reviewers it’s different, but to answer your question: yes, I do feel comfortable to give 1 to 100 scores based on not-finishing a game. Like I said, I don’t need to finish a game to experience all that there is to it, to experience how it is. Of course I’m no idiot, if I want to stop playing the game halfway through I’ll check other reviews or friends to see if I may be missing out on anything significant, but that is almost never the case.

    Where you assume that a reviewer has finished a game, I assume that a reviewer is knows what he’s talking about and is confident in his judgement of a game.

  18. Tim says:

    I’m still going to have to respectfully disagree with you Gamer_1337. I really don’t care how ‘confident’ a reviewer is with his score, I care how many facts he has in front of him. If he only has 50% of the facts, then I’M not confident in his score.

  19. CKcheeseboy says:

    WARNING! LONG POST APPROACHING!

    This is a rough issue. I think there is a point at which horribleness (Firefox thinks that’s actually a word?) can become so bad that you just give up. Like, let’s say the first half of a game is the CD-i Zeldas. Then, just after halfway, you get to play Ocarina of Time instead. Even if the last half is amazing, it shouldn’t get that great a score if the first half is almost unbearable. Also, for the other side, look at something like Fire Emblem. The game is fairly repetitive in terms of gameplay, but it can take a long time to actually finish. You can tell by halfway through the game whether it’s worth the purchase or not, because it’s not likely to all of a sudden become a FPS or platformer.

    Other issues come up when you consider genre, though. Somebody who isn’t a fan of FPS’s shouldn’t review a Halo game, for example. I’ve seen some reviews for the Strong Bad games where the reviewer doesn’t seem to “get” adventure games, in which case they won’t like it by default. If they give it a low score, it may not be because the game is that bad. Now, there is some leeway, because sometimes if a genre isn’t your favorite, you can still tell if something’s good or not (as I’m sure most movie reviewers rate all kinds of movies), but if you don’t like a genre to begin with, you shouldn’t review that game.

    I do agree on one thing, though: they should be clear that they didn’t finish the game. Like you said, Tim, if I don’t see otherwise, I would assume they beat it. To not be clear on that is very misleading.

    There may have been other issues going on with those reviews, but in terms of completion, it’s not a requirement, as long as they are clear about it. In general, they SHOULD finish it, unless it’s just that terrible (or good enough but unlikely to change most of the way through, like Fire Emblem).

    Anyway, I think this is a pretty moot argument in terms of Wii reviews. It seems like most Wii owners don’t care about reviews, or games like Boom Blox and Zack & Wiki wouldn’t sell like crap while stupid stuff like Carnival Games sells millions.

  20. BulimicKoala says:

    Also, if a person is PAID to review game, as in, they are PROFESSIONAL GAME REVIEWERS, there’s no excuse to not finishing a game. They are paid to plow through the good AND the bad so that we don’t have to. Reviews are there to help people make informed purchasing decisions. If you are too lazy or just suck really bad at games, get a new profession.

    True but if youre Yahtzee then all you have to do is rant.

    Is that monkey pregnant?

    A cigarette a day makes a healthy baby.

  21. sheppy says:

    Ugh… look… can a review be done on a partially complete game? Yes, check the forums for my Contra 4 review. HOWEVER, you have to state how far you got, etc. I made some examples before but the tendacy is for reviewers to pretend like they played it all. This is where the deception kicks in.

    Another IGN review that got revised after they got caught on it bashed Enchant Arms for 40 hours of hirrible JRPG cliches and commented how annoying the party for the entire game was. Only one problem though, that party dies in the first 3 hours. A full review of a full walkthrough of the main quest ranting on how horrible the characters are when taken in 40 hour doses and guess what… those characters died real quick.

  22. roadjcat says:

    I shouldn’t have been able to look at the first panel and go “Another Sonic Unleashed comic?”. 😛

    Sorry, didn’t really care for this one. I don’t really know how to say why, but I dunno, I kinda saw something to the effect of the punchline coming…

  23. Yakko Warner says:

    I want that new Kid Icarus game!

    Wait, there’s a new Kid Icarus game?!?

  24. roadjcat says:

    I want that new Kid Icarus game!

    Wait, there’s a new Kid Icarus game?!?

    No. XD

  25. D3vin says:

    I know many people have said this, but, “You can’t spell ignorent without IGN.” Anyway, nice comic guys.

    And you can’t spell 2P Start without “Pee” 😉 alright comic, I liked the logo to an extent also, THE IGN WATERMARK HAS ATTACKED AGAIN!!! first that one game for the wii, now the Logo?!

    This is MADNESS
    [spoiler]THIS IS SPARTA![/spoiler]

  26. dr.mario says:

    THIS IS YOUR BEST COMIC EVER AND YOU CAN’T REVIEW A GAME WITH OUT FINISHING IT 24% IS JUST UNACCEPTABLE COME ON WHAT WAS THIS GUY THINKING HIS REVIEW TURNED AWAY CONSUMERS AND YOU JUST DON’T DO THAT YOU DON’T GIVE PEOPLE THE IDEA THAT THEIR WORK IS VERY BAD AND STOP PEOPLE FROM PROFITING OFF IT THAT’S JUST WRONG

  27. dr.mario says:

    I want that new Kid Icarus game!

    it’s on the way don’t lose hope

  28. William says:

    Its really bad if its come to this. I remeber a Gamepro article about 8-10 years ago that asked the question “So, you wanna be a Game Rater?” and talked about what most of thier guys went through(and believe, they do some serious work). Looking at the talk of the SU review, I really wonder how much people are trying to get away with IGN’s style.

  29. dr.mario says:

    Also, if a person is PAID to review game, as in, they are PROFESSIONAL GAME REVIEWERS, there’s no excuse to not finishing a game. They are paid to plow through the good AND the bad so that we don’t have to. Reviews are there to help people make informed purchasing decisions. If you are too lazy or just suck really bad at games, get a new profession. right he is paied to do this he shold do it right

  30. Dre says:

    Yea all you do is recover the gamertag on a different xbox 360. But great comic but why isnt the monkey using a wii jacket. He could break his tv. You should think about promoting safety. I love you guys (Tim and you) as much as I love Morgan Freeman.

    That’s not how it works, bud. Game code is provided to the editors, typically, on debug hardware. Profiles cannot be swapped to and from debug hardware–its locked. Games are provided to reviewers under these circumstances for security reasons (that is, they can’t be copied). I know because I work in the industry…and hell, I even worked for IGN mere months ago.

    As for why he would go home and play it? My guess, he was checking to see if the retail copy was the same as the code (on the debug hardware) that he was provided. It shouldn’t take playing more than a few levels to determine such.

  31. CKcheeseboy says:

    THIS IS YOUR BEST COMIC EVER AND YOU CAN’T REVIEW A GAME WITH OUT FINISHING IT 24% IS JUST UNACCEPTABLE COME ON WHAT WAS THIS GUY THINKING HIS REVIEW TURNED AWAY CONSUMERS AND YOU JUST DON’T DO THAT YOU DON’T GIVE PEOPLE THE IDEA THAT THEIR WORK IS VERY BAD AND STOP PEOPLE FROM PROFITING OFF IT THAT’S JUST WRONG

    Do you know how many Internet etiquette laws you’re breaking by typing in all caps like that? Well, you’re breaking one: Don’t type in all caps.

    But anyway, if you look at the article, the 24% is of EVERYTHING, not the main quest. That’d be like saying “What! The reviewer didn’t get every last Piece of Heart/Gold Skulltula/whatever collectible item from the newest Zelda game before reviewing it?!?! That’s unacceptable!” The reviewer completed AT LEAST 4/7 of the main story, possibly more (I’m not getting involved in the ongoing argument over that).

    And you can’t spell 2P Start without “Pee”

    I see no “e”‘s in the name. But you can’t spell it without “art”.

    …or “tart”…or “rats”…”star”…”parts”…”apt” …”pat”…”trap”…”past”…”strap”…”rap”…

    OK I’m done now.

  32. moonjuice7 says:

    I have to agree on this one. If you didn’t finish the game, say so. i would prefer if my reviewers finished the game, but i usually just read player reviews anyways and i certainly don’t put to much stock in any one of those.

  33. roadjcat says:

    I have one more thing to say. GT takes the cake for me. I almost always agree with them. And they don’t review every game ever created so that probably helps.

  34. BulimicKoala says:

    That’s not how it works, bud. Game code is provided to the editors, typically, on debug hardware. Profiles cannot be swapped to and from debug hardware–its locked. Games are provided to reviewers under these circumstances for security reasons (that is, they can’t be copied). I know because I work in the industry…and hell, I even worked for IGN mere months ago.
    As for why he would go home and play it? My guess, he was checking to see if the retail copy was the same as the code (on the debug hardware) that he was provided. It shouldn’t take playing more than a few levels to determine such.

    I answered what ray asked about how you can play on your gamertag on different consoles. I was not trying to say anything else. Sorry if you thought something else but I don’t really care about all this. I hate IGN. So I am not getting into this mess.

  35. Dre says:

    I answered what ray asked about how you can play on your gamertag on different consoles. I was not trying to say anything else. Sorry if you thought something else but I don’t really care about all this. I hate IGN. So I am not getting into this mess.

    You know, I realized that after I reread your comment shortly after posting my response, so I apologize for that.

  36. BulimicKoala says:

    You know, I realized that after I reread your comment shortly after posting my response, so I apologize for that.

    No no its fine. This is what I like about 2pstarts comments. I dont see the N word every other post. Well Thanks for the info it sounds interesting.

  37. roadjcat says:

    I recommend against quoting again. It’s going to screw up the page.

  38. Roto13 says:

    I’ve never had any respect for IGN. They’ve been awful for years.

  39. D3vin says:

    And you can’t spell 2P Start without “Pee”

    I see no “e”’s in the name. But you can’t spell it without “art”.
    OK I’m done now.

    That is how the ‘p’ is pronounced, that was what I was trying to get at.
    *sings to Podcast theme*
    TWO PEE START!

  40. Ali says:

    A masterpiece. One of my favs. Plus there are two cigars in ign’s logo. Hmmmm. I wonder if that mean’s something. And the monkey is awesome. ME WANT WALLPAPER

  41. ig0rpwnwEd says:

    Very cool? But why is there black text, a black suit, and the dark background. Are reviewers and monkeys the source of all evil? “I will feast on your child’s soul!” “Ooh ooh AH!”

  42. ultimateDK says:

    I just think game reviewing itself has been broken from the very beginning. Everyone can usually agree on the low 2’s and 3’s and the high 9’s and 10’s, but everything else in between is a tossup for everyone, and we each have our own opinion of likes and dislikes, and what we will or won’t tolerate in a game. I might enjoy a sequel to Shadow the Hedgehog while completely stay away from the next Mario Party sequel. It just comes down to the player’s taste, and that’s not something any established reviewing system can cover.

    There are plenty of games that I’ve played that I haven’t finished simply because I think the game sucked hardcore, but if someone asked for my review of it, it would simply be an opinion. I couldn’t give them a proper review because I haven’t completed the game. (think review in high school…you don’t review a portion of the material, do you? You review everything).

  43. Ragna-Rok says:

    An unfinished playthrough can not be used for a review if you want your review to actually have any measure of validity. It can however, be used for an opinion piece and I wouldn’t have a problem with it as long as the writer made it clear where and why he dropped out of the game. All of those who post that you can get a clear impression of a bad game from the first few levels/hours/stages are dead wrong when you flip that analogy on it’s head. What about a reviewer who gives a game a 100/100 from just playing the first few levels and stops there. Then all the exited people who have read his review rush out to buy it only to find out that everything after level 3 is a buggy, god-awful crapfest? There is NO substitute for experiencing a game in it’s entirety, anyone reviewer who does not should not be allowed to post a score, only an opinion.

  44. D3vin says:

    Very cool? But why is there black text, a black suit, and the dark background. Are reviewers and monkeys the source of all evil? “I will feast on your child’s soul!” “Ooh ooh AH!”

    Well, the monkey IS smoking after all…

  45. CKcheeseboy says:

    @Ragna-Rok: I don’t know if that was partially targeted at me, since I mentioned not having to beat EVERY level, but I would like to defend my position. I mentioned the example of Fire Emblem. The game’s levels are pretty repetitive in terms of gameplay, so you can have a pretty good idea of how the last few levels are going to be by playing the first bunch. Playing the whole thing may be too time consuming and not worth it in the end. I’m maybe halfway or so through the GC one, and I’ve already logged maybe 30 hours on my save file (not counting restarts due to losing a characters, but a reviewer probably wouldn’t restart because of that). That’s on easy. A great reviewer would at least try every difficulty level to gauge how spread out they are. So that’s a lot of hours to put in for one game, when by halfway through, you should know whether the game is good or not.

    Now, you mentioned only playing through “the first few” levels. That’s something I agree with you on. Halfway through is a bare minimum in my book, with at least 75% or so being adequate. I’m not saying somebody could play 1-1 to 1-4 of the original Mario and call it a day, but getting to 7-X or so is good enough for me. The reviewer should be clear on how far they got, though, no matter how far they made it.

    Of course, this doesn’t apply to all genres. Like I mentioned, Fire Emblem is one you don’t have to beat, because you pretty much know how the last few levels are going to go by the time you get there. Zelda, on the other hand, is definitely something that should be beaten, because the game is not as repetitive as something like Fire Emblem. I just don’t think you can give a blanket statement on whether or not beating a game is necessary for all games. To throw out an obvious counterargument, try reviewing any Animal Crossing game by your standards. Different games require different standards. Beating a game is necessary for certain genres, but not so much for others.

    EDIT: I think sports (normal, not stuff like Mario Baseball) is a good genre to back up my point. Do you need to make it to and win the Super Bowl in Madden to review it? I would say no. Of course, you can just copy and paste the previous year’s review, but that’s besides the point.

  46. Clem says:

    IGN’s teams are usually not the best, but Matt and Bozon are usually quite fair in their reviews. Matt’s been a part of IGN for around 10 years, so I have faith in his reviews. Some of the other Nintendo team reviewers are lacking (cough Daemon Hatfield cough).

  47. Ragna-Rok says:

    Not directed at you specifically but I’ll continue with you from this point.

    You can’t give a blanket statement on your point either CK; not without making the same mistake you say I did.
    Just because some games lend themselves to easy reviewing (sports games, repetative turn-based RPG’s) doesen’t mean that it’s a good means of reviewing games.
    While I agree that you can get a pretty good feel from a game after a short amount of time, a “pretty good feel” does not make an informed or informative review. Writers can drop out of the game at any point they chose and tell us all about how they feel about it and I won’t mind. Stick a 1/100 score on the end of a game you barely played and spew alot of nonsense about levels you have never played and content you’ve never seen and you should have your reviewing badge revoked. Don’t you find such practices disingenuous?

  48. Ragna-Rok says:

    To clarify my last post. I’m not attacking you or your opinion. And I’m also not against writers dropping out of a game if they think it sucks. But if you give a score to something then only give it to the part of the game you played or saw. Be clear about what you played and what you did not and don’t try to judge a whole game based on content that you never experianced. I’m just asking for a little honesty and integrity. And I really think you could review Animal Crossing by my standards. you don’t/can’t complete animal crossing, but you can DO everything the game has to offer in a short amount of time. So you write your review on how tedious but addictive the fishing is and how much you’d like to strangle Tom Nook. As stated before sports games are pretty much the same. Story driven and stage based gameplay does not lend itself to such practices and therefore should never be subject to them.

  49. If you zoomed in on just the monkey’s belly… it looks like a boob…

  50. Ragna-Rok says:

    ^
    ^
    ^

    ewwwwww dude.

    just, ewwwww.

  51. Fierce Deity says:

    wow never seen so much contreversy on any of the comics before this
    and i only prefer ign cos they gave majoras mask a 9.9 whereas gamespot gave it a stupidly low 8 something who obviously didnt complete the game.
    to anyone who hasnt played majoras mask, go play it now its the best, most different zelda, a lil depressing story and an amazing musical score.

  52. ubuntun3rd says:

    Also, if a person is PAID to review game, as in, they are PROFESSIONAL GAME REVIEWERS, there’s no excuse to not finishing a game. They are paid to plow through the good AND the bad so that we don’t have to. Reviews are there to help people make informed purchasing decisions. If you are too lazy or just suck really bad at games, get a new profession.

    True but if youre Yahtzee then all you have to do is rant.

    Is that monkey pregnant?

    A cigarette a day makes a healthy baby.

    Good point. Perhaps, then, this is an (unintended) joke within a joking, yet politically serious comic?

  53. ^
    ^
    ^
    ewwwwww dude.
    just, ewwwww.

    But it does…

  54. Ragna-Rok says:

    still.

    Just thinking “Monkey-stomach-boob-nipple”
    turns my insides all squirshy.

  55. Ethan Kerr says:

    Lol, Henry The Internet Junkie Reference. And yes, I do believe quickly pointing the fingers is wrong. Just like judging a book by its cover. Nice comic!
    -Ethan Kerr

  56. Comatose811 says:

    I caught the Watchmen reference in the title. Was that intentional or was it my base need to project the awesomeness of Watchmen onto everything.

    On the topic of reviews, I think that a megasite like IGN should have enough people to fully complete the main story at least. (I think that some RPGs are just to huge to have to do everything.) On the other hand, I don’t think that a person like Ray, reviewing for a much smaller audience needs to, though I do value his opinion much more when he does. I think that the reviewer should, at the very least, show how much he completed.

    Keep up the good work, Ray. You too, Tim.

    P.S. How did you figure that out about zooming in? Is this something you do regularly with the 2PSTART comics?

  57. Mark Chao says:

    Get over yourself Hilary, Werehog is not that bad. I actually like the night levels more than the day levels.

  58. Tim says:

    Comatose811,
    Congrats! You’re the first to mention the Watchmen reference. I think it works perfectly as a title because of what that question means.

  59. CKcheeseboy says:

    To clarify my last post. I’m not attacking you or your opinion. And I’m also not against writers dropping out of a game if they think it sucks. But if you give a score to something then only give it to the part of the game you played or saw. Be clear about what you played and what you did not and don’t try to judge a whole game based on content that you never experienced…

    Don’t worry, I didn’t take it as an attack. I also agree with the bolded part. If a reviewer says “Hey, I only made it through 90% of the game, but that part was great, so unless the game blows up your system at the end, you should get it.” or “I couldn’t stand it any more after halfway because of all the issues, so I didn’t finish it.” and makes it perfectly clear, I’m fine with that. Again, only for certain types of games, though. Also, don’t get me wrong, a reviewer SHOULD complete the game before reviewing, but I don’t think it’s a requirement all the time. I can’t think of a good example, but there could be a game that’s designed to be hard as crap that maybe the reviewer just can’t beat or something. If they make it to/almost to the end and say “I couldn’t beat it”, I would still say their review is valid.

    A random side argument, too: something like Smash Bros. with a bajillion different modes I would say could be reviewed without beating the Subspace Emissary, given that the Final Maze is really long and is pretty much the rest of the SE repeated. Should they? Yes. Do they have a pretty good idea of how the SE plays without beating the last level? Pretty much, they just shouldn’t comment on the end. That’s part of where I agree with you, too: not only should a reviewer say how much s/he finished, they shouldn’t talk about stuff they didn’t even do. That’s (apparently) an issue with some of the reviews, but if you don’t complete part and don’t talk about what you didn’t complete, that’s OK with me.

    Side note: Wow, with all the quote towers and wall-of-text posts, I think this comment section is even longer than the one where people spammed up to like 400 posts.

  60. Comatose811 says:

    Yay! Tim directly mentioned me! I feel so proud! This is like the best moment in my life! OK, not really, but it was pretty awesome.

    And I agree. I think that that was an excellent title, and associating your comic with Watchmen is never a bad thing. 😛

  61. Marth_Koopa says:

    I find it highly amusing that you, Tim, think IGN was ever good at reviewing. You know how that joke goes: can’t spell Ignorant without IGN.

  62. FluffyPanda says:

    Dre

    That’s not how it works, bud. Game code is provided to the editors, typically, on debug hardware. Profiles cannot be swapped to and from debug hardware–its locked.

    Not according to IGN:

    Do you review games that aren’t finished?
    No. IGN only reviews retail product or games that have been deemed “final gold code” by their publishers. While not all of our review builds come in a fancy box, they are identical to the master that is sent out for duplication weeks before a game’s release, and contains the same code that will appear on store shelves. We do not review any early-release builds or non-final product, and deny early reviews if the publisher cannot provide us with a final build of the game. However, we don’t always get titles early, and like you often rush to the stores to buy games on the day of release so we can publish our review in a timely manner.

    Also rather interesting:

    Do you “complete” games before reviewing them?
    Not always. Keep in mind, that not every game can be “beaten,” which would make a blanket policy of “completing all games” flawed from the start. Sports titles, puzzlers, and MMOs are examples of software that typically has no real end, but they’re not the only genres that fall into that realm. As a general rule, IGN’s philosophy is that editors should play an assigned game as much as they need to in order to give a fair, in-depth review that can accurately represent the overall experience. This means that we might spend as little as 1-2 hours with a casual puzzle game or more than 100 hours on those persistent online behemoths that eat your life away.

    In the end, how much a game is played before it’s reviewed varies on a case-by-case basis, and comes down to the individual editors’ comfort level with giving their final verdict on a product. That said, we always try to complete every game that is “beatable” and usually do so more often than not.

    As far as I’m concerned, Sonic is very “beatable” and should have been beaten, or at least given a note that said “I couldn’t even bring myself to play the last 3 levels because it sucked so bad”

  63. ultimateDK says:

    The ultimate lesson to be learned: Review the game for yourself! Enjoy the games you like even if nobody else does, and hate them even if nobody else does! Nobody should tell you what you should play, they can only recommend it.

  64. Tibbs says:

    Ever thought that he beat the game on a debug console?

  65. CKcheeseboy says:

    Ever thought that he beat the game on a debug console?

    Ever think of reading the 60+ comments above you (or at least Ctrl+F “debug”)?

    And @FluffyPanda: That kind of changes my stance a bit. If you say you will make every effort to beat a game where possible, then stick to that. As long as the game isn’t broken, you should beat it if that’s part of your guidelines. That just reinforces the idea that they have completed it if they don’t mention otherwise.

  66. fierce deity says:

    not really related but vote for fierce deity link for brawl
    http://www.eesyntaxerror.net/?p=2254

  67. BulimicKoala says:

    At least the monkey can play the games I just got the rrod. I didnt even beat call of duty world at war yet.

  68. Wrenchmonkey says:

    It all makes sense now!

  69. roadjcat says:

    One thing I just realized…why is the monkey so freaking close to the screen!? XD

  70. Jerry J says:

    Honestly, though, I got this impression with his Fable II review. I read it when it first came out, and he mentioned things like not being able to aim the firearm/crossbow, when anyone who’s played for a couple of hours knows you just have to level up enough to do this. Also, he reviewed the co-op when it wasn’t even up and running yet, like he just read the manual. (xbox 360 Fanboy reviewed the game at the same time, and it wasn’t up and running for them…)
    I have to agree with Tim on this, I remember the psxpower days, too, as well as the days of seeing Mr. Bean on every #$%@ banner/label on the site. It saddens me to see how far the journalistic integrity of IGN has fallen, not just with Goldstein, but overall.

  71. lwelyk says:

    Oh boy, this is a lot of comments. I like the jab at Matt’s frequent THERE IS TTLY KID ICARUS. I seriously stopped listening to their podcast because of that. >_>

    I am so going to write an article about this sometime soon. I explicitly state in my review if I haven’t beaten the game. I generally don’t review games I haven’t beaten, but when I do, I say so.

  72. Zach says:

    I like the monkey.

  73. nintendogamer101 says:

    I just need to know one thing. What was rated 7.9 (on the logo)?

  74. nintendogamer101 says:

    I just need to know one thing. What was rated 7.9 (on the logo)?

  75. Hi, fan of the comic, just thought I’d comment as I was led here from another site and believe that you’re being misled somewhat.

    Speaking as a games journalist myself (not IGN, blah to that ;P) it’s commonplace for reviewers to use office gamertags/usernames when testing new titles. This is because their office consoles aren’t likely (nor would they want the hassle) to contain the personal gamertags that their home consoles do. Seeing a (very badly screengrabbed anyway) image of Hilary’s personal gamertag does not in any way suggest that he has not completed the game.

  76. One thing I just realized…why is the monkey so freaking close to the screen!? XD

    Smoking makes you go blind. Remember that kids!

  77. Johnston says:

    Actually, Roger Ebert was able to review an entire movie after only watching about 8 minutes of it. Though, I think he was made to go back and watch the whole movie and his original review of the 8 minutes didn’t change all that much.

  78. hasdgfas says:

    First off, very interesting comic.
    Second off, I found it interesting that we spent all this time talking about people who don’t finish games they review and haven’t even mentioned the other problem, reviewers who don’t understand the game they’re reviewing. I’m talking about the Football/Worldwide Soccer Manager review, which was absolutely ridiculous. The reviewer didn’t make it about the type of game it was, a sports management simulation, and instead talked about how the game wasn’t “playing actual soccer” like FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer. That is even more of a travesty than not playing the whole game. It’s not an “action” soccer game, it’s a management game. Review it on it’s own terms. Don’t pretend it’s a different game than it actually is. If someone’s going to be reviewing it based on what they want as opposed to what it is, get a different reviewer, don’t make the entire site look idiotic.

  79. Milquetoast says:

    Sorry I gave this comic 2 stars because I only read half of it.

  80. Dre says:

    Dre

    That’s not how it works, bud. Game code is provided to the editors, typically, on debug hardware. Profiles cannot be swapped to and from debug hardware–its locked.

    Not according to IGN:

    Do you review games that aren’t finished?
    No. IGN only reviews retail product or games that have been deemed “final gold code” by their publishers. While not all of our review builds come in a fancy box, they are identical to the master that is sent out for duplication weeks before a game’s release, and contains the same code that will appear on store shelves. We do not review any early-release builds or non-final product, and deny early reviews if the publisher cannot provide us with a final build of the game. However, we don’t always get titles early, and like you often rush to the stores to buy games on the day of release so we can publish our review in a timely manner.

    Also rather interesting:

    Do you “complete” games before reviewing them?
    Not always. Keep in mind, that not every game can be “beaten,” which would make a blanket policy of “completing all games” flawed from the start. Sports titles, puzzlers, and MMOs are examples of software that typically has no real end, but they’re not the only genres that fall into that realm. As a general rule, IGN’s philosophy is that editors should play an assigned game as much as they need to in order to give a fair, in-depth review that can accurately represent the overall experience. This means that we might spend as little as 1-2 hours with a casual puzzle game or more than 100 hours on those persistent online behemoths that eat your life away.
    In the end, how much a game is played before it’s reviewed varies on a case-by-case basis, and comes down to the individual editors’ comfort level with giving their final verdict on a product. That said, we always try to complete every game that is “beatable” and usually do so more often than not.

    As far as I’m concerned, Sonic is very “beatable” and should have been beaten, or at least given a note that said “I couldn’t even bring myself to play the last 3 levels because it sucked so bad”

    How does that contradict what I said?

  81. CKcheeseboy says:

    Sorry I gave this comic 2 stars because I only read half of it.

    Seriously? 3 panels with one sentence only in each of the first 2, and you only read half?

  82. MetaRidleyR27 says:

    Sorry I gave this comic 2 stars because I only read half of it.

    Seriously? 3 panels with one sentence only in each of the first 2, and you only read half?

    No, don’t you see? He’s making a point about what Tim and Ray are saying. Kinda.

  83. CKcheeseboy says:

    Sorry I gave this comic 2 stars because I only read half of it.

    Seriously? 3 panels with one sentence only in each of the first 2, and you only read half?

    No, don’t you see? He’s making a point about what Tim and Ray are saying. Kinda.

    Wow, I feel dumb now. -_- It’s almost as bad as me not realizing the logo was a Start button.

  84. Destrucshun says:

    THE LOGO IS A START BUTTON?!

    Hehe just kidding.

  85. Ragna-Rok says:

    in conclusion I would just liek to say.

    monkey stomach boob nipple

  86. GaryCXJk says:

    I just want to say that, based on what I’ve heard on that article linked about the guy with a girly name, the accompanying video indeed does seem as if a monkey has played it.

    A quick quote here:

    “He showed his own footage of the game and it looked awsome and he called it all sorts of things. He didn’t even give a good example of trial and error. The idiot jumped over a speed ramp!”

    Mind you, I don’t even really like platform games that much. I’m more of a simulation / RPG guy. I’m also not that fond of Sonic games, I only buy the ones with a good vocal soundtrack.

    Follow me inside, outside, trough the stratosphere…

  87. JT Gwozdz says:

    Can you blame him?

  88. KnightWing says:

    I hate to say this, but I think that this comic represents a lack of reasoning on the part of the gamers who agree with it.

    The only reason that this was even brought up was the fact that Hilary’s gamertag didn’t show the game as being completed, but there are plenty of reasons why this could be:
    -The game review copy had to be played on a review console, which doesn’t allow for achievements to transfer.
    -The game was an early copy and didn’t record his achievements correctly.
    -Perhaps he played the rest of the game on a different gamertag, or even a different console. That would make sense, considering that he reviewed both the PS3 and 360 versions of the game. Perhaps he actually finished the game on the PS3, but only played through half the game on the 360? Heck, maybe someone else in the IGN offices was playing it, and Hilary didn’t sign back into his own gamertag when he finished the second half of the game.

    This is a witch hunt. People disagree with the review score, and therefore find anything they can to discredit the review/reviewer.

    No one outside of the IGN offices will ever really know if Hilary finished the review, and it’s completely immature and despicable to simply assume that he did not, then seek to publicly discredit him and his company.
    Even worse is writing a comic that ridicules someone else (M. Casamassina) who doesn’t even work in the same office. (the IGN offices are split between San Francisco and L.A.)

  89. Pedro Cancel says:

    Secre,
    I wouldn’t say it’s ‘illegitimate’, just incomplete. Ray thinks that the last stage is probably one of the best Sonic levels ever created. But Hilary wouldn’t know that because he never played it. It would be one thing if he got to the end boss and just didn’t beat the boss, but he barely played half the game, 4/7 continents. Some things he said are, according to Ray, just not true. He says that the framerate is great, but one later level has major framerate issues. It’s things like this that you miss when you don’t actually complete the game. Sure, his overall opinion and score might not have changed too much, but then again, we’ll never know.
    Gamer_1337,
    If your site reviews games with just a thumbs up or thumbs down, I’d say that’s fine, you basically know if the game is good or bad. But when a site is giving fractional points, basically rating a game on a scale of 0-100, how can you really say that the game is a 7.6 based on 50% of the game? If you don’t finish the game, fine, tell the reader.
    Am I the only one that assumes the reviewers have finished the game when they don’t tell you one way or another?

    Not everybody has the same taste or the same likes, reviewers just give you there opinion about the game based on what they like or not, and it’s the readers option if he should listen or not. Sonic games have had there problems and the last games almost convince me of never buying or rent one again. Don’t get me wrong Sonic Unleashed it’s not a bad game and for me was great because I have loved sonic games, but we have to admit it’s not for everyone, and sonic unleashed wasn’t in the same level as the classical ones or even sonic adventure 1 and 2 ( I loved this games a lot in the dream cast) that brought new game play elements and a new story line. Sonic fans should be pleased that sonic unleashed wasn’t really a epic fail like sonic the hedgehog 2006, sonic heroes (I personally hate this game), shadow the hedgehog (biggest WTF?), and sonic riders. I used to love been able to rent a game without anyone close by telling if it sucked or not, I just rented before buying and draw my own conclusion.

  90. lisandro says:

    so no one would ever review the bad games i mean you can’t expect a guy to finish my sims or dewi’s adventure to review it

  91. g0ff says:

    Look at it this way: if a movie was so bad that you walked out halfway through, would you not be obligated to say “hey, guys, don’t waste your money on this f$@#ing movie?”

    By the same token, if a game is so bad that you do not want to finish it, I thinks it’s safe for the reviewer to say “hey guys, don’t waste your money on this f%$#ing game.”

  92. Mirby says:

    I remember back then too, Tim. I remember when it was free to browse, then came memberships and stuff. And then came the stupidity and moronic stuff.

    And now there’s reviews based off of unfinished games… How tragic to see what was once a good site fall into an endless abyss of low intelligence and such impatience… Or something like that…

    Good comic though. So true.

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