Originally Posted by Appletini
If it's a good review, you'll be able to tell what will and won't appeal from the description given of the game and its elements. If a reviewer just states, "I liked this," or, "I didn't like that," and never explains why or links that to the relevant mechanic, it's probably not a very helpful review. A solid professional review is never "just somebody's opinion", but unfortunately many game reviews on the net – often even on "professional" sites – are written by amateur fans and hobbyists who basically write reviews with all the impartiality and depth of a Facebook status update or blog post.
If a reviewer goes on and on about how awful a game is just because it includes a virtual joystick, that won't necessarily mean much to somebody who likes this type of control scheme. Merely mentioning the existence of the virtual joystick is enough to go on with, unless there's something out of the ordinary about it: people who like them will be okay with that feature, and those who don't will have been forewarned. Knowing that the reviewer personally doesn't like something is worthless to me, and won't have any impact on my view if the review is written properly.
Excess personal value judgements just cloud the issue; we're sitting at over seven billion people worldwide, so a personal "opinion review" made up of likes and dislikes is no more valid or concrete than the potential seven billion other such subjective opinion pieces. Just give the facts of the matter and let people interpret them for themselves. Do you like something? I don't care; tell me why you like it, tell me about the mechanic itself. Is something "too hard"? Not useful, tell me why you think it's "too hard", because it might be something I find easy. If something about the game is "broken", it had better be objectively broken and not just something the reviewer couldn't figure out.
Gotta disagree with ya there a bit. Regardless if it's a professional (or not) review, it's ALWAYS just someone's opinion! Their impressions, their thoughts, observations, what they like or don't like, whether it reminds them of another game, or whatever, is just their opinion! Your little rant on the subject is just YOUR opinion! There's no right or wrong! No one person is gonna ever be perfect. That's why we read multiple reviews to help form our own decisions. So, basically you're saying that forums like this are useless? I guess according to you, YOU'RE the only one qualified to review accurately. So, I s'pose you've got a lot of work to do, bud! But seriously, these things, like Yelp, are supposed to be made up of people's opinions, and that's what they all are, that's what a FORUM is. You take a little here and a little there, throw out the fluff in the middle, and take that with you! It's that simple.