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Why are Publishers Holding Back Review Copies? We asked our Staff what they think.

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With publishers holding back review copies, due to a number of reasons including breaks in NDA, Piracy and day one patches, as well as the change in what gamers expect from AAA titles of late, what do you expect a game to be? Perfect, Have issues, Must have graphics suited to Next Gen, must have a perfect story to suit every gamer, must make every gamer happy… let me know, how you review a game and what makes a AAA game score well with you.

Also do you think a viewer should ignore the score and read the review and concider a game based on what you talked about and see if it is something you would like, regardless of the writers score.

Daniel James Considering the most recent AAA titles have been buggy messes, i just want the game to actually run.

Nathan O’Grady Delays etc dont effect my reviews of final products. I will tend to mention it, and if there is a delay I would expect the final product to be fully ready as a result, but delay itself wouldnt lose a game points for me. Any AAA title that is released should have no major compatibility issues on any platform, with any bugs being minimal to none and patched within week one. The style of the game however, in terms of story and gameplay, will never suit every gamer, and these elements I review on a basis of what the game claims to be compared with what it actually is. Some personal opinions will be mentioned too, but these are clearly noted in my articles as personal opinions.

Lewis Hallam Personally I review the game based on the usual graphics, sounds and story but I like to also review on user experience, I.e. the game could look amazing, but if you walk as slow as fuck then it takes 20 minutes to go press a button then that game isn’t very pleasing or active. Mostly though I don’t differ from AAA games and indie games, as it’s all about enjoyment and I’m sure most of us will agree that they’ve played some great indie games, far better than most AAA games out there. Ultimately you play to enjoy, so that’s how I review.

Nathan O’Grady Recently, indie games have been released with far more quality and entertainment value than AAA games have achieved. I think the devs tend to care more.

Lewis Hallam Agree with you on that Nathan, I think in today’s gaming world you need a lot of work to get noticed and that really does shine through with most indie games now days.

Nathan O’Grady Any video game production, both AAA and Indie, just like any movie or music production, should be released with the highest quality possible and in a fully working state for the consumer to enjoy. The only exception to this should be early access titles, where the end user explicitly agrees to receive an in-progress and incomplete example of that work.

Craig Roberts Do you think there is a lot put on the shoulders of AAA studios to create huge games, with next gen graphics to suit every gamer regardless? if yes do you think gamers should stop expecting perfection allow AAA developers to go back to their routes and create games on their time frames and how they want to do it?

Craig Roberts Good Example Witcher 3, created on their time frames and how they wanted it, but it was still released with bugs?

Nathan O’Grady There is a lot on the shoulders of these developers, but that is because they set the standard of our industry. They employ hundreds of the most able and experienced creators from around the world to create the highest standard of work. I would prefer a AAA studio to delay a work six months and deliver the quality they promise to the industry, than for them to release something like Assassins Creed Unity EVER again. They put themselves out there as the best. They need to be prepared to produce that or face the consequences as a result.

Benjamin Guy Scores are arbitrary in today’s market. You can’t truly make a judgement on a piece of art based on a number.

Daniel James I wouldn’t really consider AAA titles a form of art, or most games for that matter.

Benjamin Guy All games are art in my eyes, as is TV, music, dance etc. There are however different kinds. You wouldn’t compare “mills and boon” to Agatha Christie or Charles Dickens. There’s popular art and there’s fine art lol.

Aidan Bates I don’t tend to talk about graphics, since beauty is subjective, when I do write about it I talk about how it fits the theme and if there are any glaring issues.

Games are expected to have bugs and glitches, a lot of classic games were known for having some of the best ones, even to be exploited in Speed-runs.
Really, the game needs to be enjoyable, understandable with a smooth learning curve. It also needs to continue with a certain degree of enjoyment throughout the entire game and not feel like a grind-fest to compete against what the game wants to throw at you.Overall, gameplay = game. Doesn’t really matter what it looks like as long as it portrays what it needs. If you have crappy fps, game breaking bugs, immersion holes, repetitive mechanics/concepts then you will get scored down.

Craig Roberts would you consider that many games have a sort of repetitiveness to them EG World of Warcraft grind fest, fetch quests, thats just as an example… or Mario games jump. jump, jump or Gears of War Cover shoot, Cover Shoot,

Aidan Bates Developers have found many ways to make “grinding” fun, but a lot just use it as a means to lengthen their game. Using Hunt boards like Final Fantasy, skit cut-scenes like Tales of (Namco), herbalism like Elder Scrolls. Those are a few ways that developers have made the grinding interactive and fun to do whilst also building up for % completion.

Mario is a whole different argument since back when it first came out, that was pretty much all gaming could do, they have tried to innovate in recent years but to me the franchise became too stale after Sunshine, it’s just jump, collect, reach top of flagpole at the end… to save peach or defeat Bowser.

And MMO’s need to have that grind to keep their players interested and it works for quite a few years. They hide the grinding by giving you plenty of “Congratulations” in the form of levelling up, sound effects and new items, but the camouflage only lasts for so long and you realise you’ve just wasted 100 hours farming for Leather-working items to be rewarded a much better one from a raid.

Overall, if the grind is hidden, actually rewards you, it can be a fun experience. But if it’s just to fill time and you find better rewards around the corner the feeling is diminished and the real face is shown. Tales of is on it’s 16th release and against Mario who has had or been in over 100 different titles, he is just Cliché and overused.

Craig Roberts So would you consider games like Mafia, GTA and shed loads of others games that have a form of repetitiveness a bad thing, or is there a form of repetitiveness that is simply poor., give an example please if you can. of a good form repetitiveness within a single player game and not.

Craig Roberts Recore has a form of repetitiveness, in for the form of grinding orbs to open new areas and dungeons and Mafia 3 has side quests that have to be completed on some occasions to move on, GTA has many fill quests which are mostly the same.

Craig Roberts or is the term repetitiveness over used, or missed used and we need to use other words to explain?

Aidan Bates The problem with Mafia is it suffers from Ubisoft syndrome, climb this, liberate that, kill him, repeat X times for 100%. It gets even worse when it reuses assets, like enemies and locations.

GTA does it a slight bit better, as it allows you new places to visit, unlocks more cut-scenes while allowing you to date a partner, do a delivery, help a friend. It hides the grind by giving you more varied quests to undertake.

The sad thing about Mafia, is that it’s pretty much been done before, with Godfather, previous Mafia’s and other gang-related games.Grinding is bad when it doesn’t reward the player for doing it, a lot of games forget to give achievements/trophies for 100% a part of the game, or even leaving out Ultimate weapons or items to help them in completing it. It was just a grind with no climax or reward besides a number.

Repetitive /= Grinding. Repetitive gameplay is boring and tiresome since you keep doing the same thing over and over, whereas Grinding is continually doing something with the hopes of being rewarded for it. A game can be repetitive by throwing hordes of enemies at you. It can be grinding if those enemies give you good exp/items that make you want to fight them.

For example, DOOM is repetitive as killing enemies just gives you health and ammo to kill more enemies.

Witcher is grinding because enemies drop gold and equipment you can deck yourself out in.

Mad Max was repetitive as the rewards given for completing areas or taking over strongholds took too long to get to the player or were replaced too easily.

Final Fantasy/Kingdom Hearts is a grind because each kill gives you exp, Gil, items and levels up your Limit Break system, levels up Materia, background Vitality, Statistic points, sphere points, techniques, Chocobo age/color/exp/nut/egg, combining materials etc etc. Each action in a Final Fantasy game will reward you in some fashion.

Phil Dean I expect a game to be finished when I play it, I don’t care for day 1 patches as anything can happen or be found between completion and game in hand, I don’t even care for day 1 DLC, a little mift but not angry about it as I don’t tend to buy DLC or season passes. I do however expect that a game releasing in 2016 is of the standard it should be, especially considering how much games retail for and how much more popular the gaming industry is now. Developers & studios should ensure that every game they put on shelves is of an acceptable quality and game delays should happen more often in my opinion, delays to me means more thorough quality control and because more often than not Im disapointed by a new game, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t buy a preowned game at half the price it was several months before.

Phil Dean Regarding how I review a title, graphics mean nothing to me. yeah sure they add to the overall game and if something looks truly spectacular then it does bring it home about how far the industry has come, but ultimately gaming is an experience for me, and a deep narrative and compelling gameplay is what brings out the big scores from me. If I feel that the money and time i’ve spend slaving away on a game for so long can be justified by something thrilling and rewarding then I’m a happy player 🙂

Joseph Kerr If I buy a AAA game there are two main things I want from it

1. For it to fit what I expect from the series/genre. As such this will vary from title to title (EG I want to not be disappointed by Fallout 4’s lack of a story)
2. I want the business practise of the publisher to not negatively impact my experience. I want the PC port to be good, I dont want it locked to 30fps for no reason than to appease console players and NO MICROTRANSACTIONS

Id like to think I don’t ask much. As for reviews I like to read them myself and formulate my own opinion. I wont let IGN tell me how to think.

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