I’ve long advocated that reviews, no matter who the author, are not a be all end all of an opinion. Entertainment is incredibly subjective and what it comes down to is finding several reviewers who fit your tastes. What you shouldn’t do is act like a child when someone disagrees with your opinion. Totalbiscut, one of the biggest YouTubers out there, made an incredible video where he argues how to properly go about being a consumer of reviews. I hate to undermine my own writing, but the man addressed the issue in a way I always wished I could, but was never able to.
Instead I’m going to give you a little advice on finding reviewers you’ll like. Get to know the faces behind the reviews. The ones you like, and the ones you don’t like. I’m not saying you should spam their emails with personal questions and/or ask them out on dinner dates, but there are two easy things you could do. Firstly, read, read, and read some more! By reading reviews of games you’ve played, you can see how critical opinions stack up against your own — and, hopefully, why. Secondly, check out individual reviewers’ site profile, Twitter, Facebook, and all those other social medias. If they’re anything like me, they’re blabbing away all day. It may take some time to peg their tastes, but by doing so, you could end up saving yourself a fair bit of dough. Eventually, you’ll have a handful of reviewers you generally agree with, and you’ll come to rely on their insights.
Another separate part of this whole mess that I find shocking is how many people lack a healthy understanding of rating scales. A 10/10 does not mean the game is perfect, and a 5/10 does not equal average. Nothing we humans create is perfect, especially when it comes to entertainment. A 10/10 is simply the best score a game can possibly receive. No reasonable reviewer will ever use the word perfect to describe a whole game. Reality is never that simple.
For the same reason, 5/10 cannot mean “average,” because average is a relative term. To truly find the average game score, you would have to compare every interactive project under the sun. Going by how game development has generally improved over the years, it’s quite possible that a 6 would now be an average score.
Generally speaking, critics are normal people too and they have their careers because they know more or are extremely passionate about a given subject. Film, TV, books, video games, music, it doesn’t matter, use their advice to your advantage. But at the same time, don’t take everything they say as gospel. As I always say, entertainment is highly subjective.