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Old 02-23-2013, 01:48 PM
EightRooks EightRooks is offline
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Default Should websites review freemium games?

Angry rant forthcoming, but Eli's comment really touched a nerve, so... time to vent. Ignore it (it's a wall o'text), counter it (if you think it's dumb), flame it (I do say rude things), mods delete it, whatever you feel like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eli View Post
This is what is so incredibly mystifying to me about the need for a review for this game. It's free. Anyone can download it. If you like it, cool. If you don't, delete it. I'm not sure why it needs to be more complicated than that aside from the weird drive to satiate confirmation bias or something.
You seem to be under the impression the only purpose of a review of, well, anything, is to tell the reader whether or not they ought to spend money on it. On a practical level there's the time people stand to invest in a videogame, and past that there's any number of things you can offer your thoughts on. If you're, you know, good at putting words together. I read plenty of reviews of films I've already seen, books I've already read, music I've already listened to and it's never as black and white as OH MY GOD THIS IS TOTALLY RIGHT/WRONG THAT MAKES ME AWESOME/OUTRAGED.

I enjoy reading literate, eloquent commentary on how awesome (or not) the writer thinks the production values for something are, whether or not they think the design choices work and why, what they felt like while they were playing... and none of this ceases to be relevant to me just because something's free. Not to mention just because something's "free" doesn't magically excuse the developers cutting corners, recycling ideas, treating their customers like pinatas - oh, look, this new Korean freemium ARPG is so heavy on the grind you'd have to pay thousands of dollars or else take a day to increase a level! The story's the exact same derivative crap filtered through so many other games before it it's nigh-on meaningless! The bosses all have an attack with a 75% chance of instant kill where you either have to pay up for premium items to resurrect or try again from the start of the game!

...but hey, it's free, right? No-one's forcing you to pay money? If you don't like it, just uninstall it and move on? Absolute nonsense. You think I'm strawmanning? People would try such a game anyway; they'd slave away for the hell of it thinking things would get better; they'd keep playing because all they've ever looked for in a game is to push buttons and make stuff happen on screen; they'd keep playing and drop a little bit of cash thinking surely that'll help. So someone needs to say hey, trust me, I've played this thing for twenty hours and it never gets any easier without spending a small fortune; why don't you try this game instead where the stuff happening is much, much cooler and you'll see awesome things with much less effort; look, your five bucks really isn't going to help you out here for more than five minutes and do you really want to be sending the developer the message this kind of callous, shoddy game design is acceptable? Because you are.

And here's the thing - reviewers, in an ideal world, are the people who are "better" than anyone else at saying all those things and more. Both in terms of personal taste, the style of writing they use, the voice they communicate in, and in terms of simply being flat-out more technically adept at whatever language they're writing in. I like reading internet message boards as much as the next nerd, otherwise I wouldn't be here, but out of all the TouchArcade commenters I've seen putting up giant walls of text (yes, yes, just like this post)? Whether they're doing a "This Is My Review" or arguing about IAPs or whatever there's not a single one of you whose contributions I'd miss - I mean really miss - if you stopped posting. Harsh, sure, self-absorbed, maybe so, but that's what critical opinions mean to me more than anything else. Talented writers whose work I want to keep reading over and over, to help me appreciate the stuff I like all the more or to challenge my ideas that it's okay to put up with something below-par.

My favourite reviewers or the websites they work for? I'd be deeply upset if they just... suddenly vanished.

There should always, always be a place for that as something distinct from LAWLZ DIS GAEM IZ AWESUM I R HAV FUN R U HAV FUN 2?, which is what 80-90% of the posts here boil down to even when they're polite and lucid. It's great to read people enjoying themselves, even for games I don't care for but Jesus, I don't want that to be my only opportunity for critical discourse. And whether or not a game is free should ideally have nothing to do with it. Serve me a bad meal for free, it's still a bad meal. If I'm there specifically to enjoy the food, you're damn right I'm going to complain, or tell other people not to bother turning up. Christ, in RR3's case, why even bother complaining about the timers in the first place, right? If you don't like them, hey, it's free! No-one's forcing you to wait. Jesus. Dismissing reviewing anything, or reading that review as merely playing up to confirmation bias - for whatever reason - comes off as lazy and more than a little patronising.

I mean, why not just shut down TouchArcade's front page apart from a newsfeed for press releases, and run the site as just the forums? I've seen other sites do that, out of some misguided belief their community was the only thing that ultimately mattered. So in the end I just stopped going there. I'd hate for that to happen with TA - I'm under no illusions anyone would particularly miss what I write, either, I just mean while this is far from my favourite website I still admire the writers and enjoy reading most of what they publish. But if you think freemium's beneath you, well, the way the industry's going, you might as well shut up shop right now, while you're on a high.

Last edited by EightRooks; 02-23-2013 at 01:50 PM..
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  #2  
Old 02-23-2013, 02:02 PM
MidianGTX MidianGTX is offline
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Was he actually saying it doesn't need a review, or that you don't need to whine about TA hurrying up with one because you could be checking out the game in the meantime? Two very different things.

I'm pretty sure they're planning to post their review to coincide with the US release. Whoever's got the job is probably hard at work playing it right now.
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  #3  
Old 02-23-2013, 02:23 PM
Connector Connector is offline
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Wowzers, this is over here now? Wow. Guess I will repost my RR3 post about this issue here later, but man, the 28th is going to be very berry interesting. There were 7 haterz related threads on launch, on US launch there will be many more cause the wait timers are getting worse instead of better with wait timers over 20 hours being reported. If this is the case, I urge you all to boycott EA, so they and other studios don't completely destroy ios gaming completely with pricing models that are just based on greed, not gameplay. Too bad, could have been a great game.
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  #4  
Old 02-23-2013, 02:23 PM
squarezero squarezero is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MidianGTX View Post
Was he actually saying it doesn't need a review, or that you don't need to whine about TA hurrying up with one because you could be checking out the game in the meantime? Two very different things.

I'm pretty sure they're planning to post their review to coincide with the US release. Whoever's got the job is probably hard at work playing it right now.
Actually, I think Eli was referring to reviewing freemium games in general. If his argument is "it's free, go try it for yourself" then he's pretty darn misguided. When it comes to iOS games, the issue is not money, it's time. Reviews for freemium games are important because they help you evaluate whether you should invest your time in them -- are there glaring paywalls? Is the gameplay unbalanced? Does the game offer anything beyond the business model? There are many freemium games that give an excellent first impression ("you don't need to spend any money on IAPs!") only to reveal themselves later on as unbalanced money-suckers (what I call the Gamevil approach). A good reviewer puts in the hours so you don't have to.

By Eli's logic, there shouldn't be any TV show reviews either -- after all, you can watch them for free.

Last edited by squarezero; 02-23-2013 at 02:37 PM..
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  #5  
Old 02-23-2013, 02:58 PM
Connector Connector is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squarezero View Post
Actually, I think Eli was referring to reviewing freemium games in general. If his argument is "it's free, go try it for yourself" then he's pretty darn misguided. When it comes to iOS games, the issue is not money, it's time. Reviews for freemium games are important because they help you evaluate whether you should invest your time in them -- are there glaring paywalls? Is the gameplay unbalanced? Does the game offer anything beyond the business model? There are many freemium games that give an excellent first impression ("you don't need to spend any money on IAPs!") only to reveal themselves later on as unbalanced money-suckers (what I call the Gamevil approach). A good reviewer puts in the hours so you don't have to.

By Eli's logic, there shouldn't be any TV show reviews either -- after all, you can watch them for free.
Personally, I think TA should not do formal review, just an impression to stay out of all this mess. My post reposted from the RR3 thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Connector View Post
Yeah, freemiums can be downloaded for free, so there is probably no need to recommend or rate it. Personally, I hope there isn't a formal review, but more of an Impression with some of the good points and some of the bad. Really, no need for more than that, and I personally don't want to see a lot of argueing whether a review shows bias, or it is wrong.

I was really looking forward to a game that could have been my favorite game ever. Instead I got wait timers, inapps, and stupid ai. But anyway, as always I will fight hate through humourz, and pray to god that the world doesn't end on the 28th.

Good luck Eli, god speed.
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  #6  
Old 02-23-2013, 04:02 PM
chris1a chris1a is offline
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This thread needs more pictures of Connectors HDMI TV.
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  #7  
Old 02-23-2013, 04:03 PM
squarezero squarezero is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Connector View Post
Personally, I think TA should not do formal review, just an impression to stay out of all this mess. My post reposted from the RR3 thread.
So they shouldn't review it because it's controversial? Seems like a cop-out. The fact that there is so much heat (and so little light) makes it all the more important for there to be an attempt to objectively assess the experience of playing the game.
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Old 02-23-2013, 04:16 PM
PraetorianX PraetorianX is offline
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Bravo EightRooks! As for Eli.... it's time to take sides.
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  #9  
Old 02-23-2013, 04:19 PM
nightc1 nightc1 is offline
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Eli was responding to something I wrote in reply to yet someone else about how impossible it would be to review this game.

Honestly, I don't come to TA for reviews in the first place. I'm open to them because they shed light on games I may not stumble upon on my own, but I'm here for the community.

In modern times there are hundreds... Sometimes thousands of user reviews on games within the listing on the AppStore. Not all are legit, but its easy for me to get enough info from that to determine if something is worth my time. More than that, it's easy to look at the top IAP and see how heavy handed some games are. It's not a golden rule, but often the heavier the IAP the less its probably worth my time. Still, if a game is something I'm interested in playing and it's free then I'll play it. No review needed.
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  #10  
Old 02-23-2013, 04:31 PM
Jazzpha Jazzpha is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PraetorianX View Post
Bravo EightRooks! As for Eli.... it's time to take sides.
Take sides? What? Is this actually "X-Men 2", and nobody told me? Not cool, guys and gals.
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