Changing Criticism, Or Fuck Game Reviews

So let’s just cut to the chase – I’m over game reviews.

I continued writing game reviews after I declared Jimdependence because of my passion for traditional games criticism. They were not the real draw for the Jimquisition’s Patreon, but nonetheless I added them in as a means to continue doing something I loved on the side. Trouble is, I kind of don’t love them anymore.

There are a number of factors for this. The main one is that, honestly, the amount of time a game review takes is time better spent on new original work like the freshly launched Commentocracy and upcoming Loose Boys. My passion is in creating original video work, that’s become evident as we’ve begun to put our efforts there.

I had hoped video reviews would mitigate the feeling of burnout I have with traditional games criticism, but honestly that hasn’t helped.

The same old arguments about “objective” reviews, the usual hassle and pressure accompanying scoring systems (which I’ve always defended, but I’m so tired of doing it), not to mention the fact that publishers have pretty much ensured game reviews en masse are tightly controlled (they’re terrified of the “wild cards” after all) means I’d much rather tackle games criticism in a way that keeps me happy and invested in my work.

This doesn’t mean I’m chucking in games criticism, I’m just doing it differently. Here’s the deal.

Jimpressions, formerly part of my ad-supported content, will become officially part of the Jimquisition brand, which it should’ve been anyway with a name like that. Jimpressions will be me talking over footage of games that I’ve captured, focusing on aspects of the game I specifically want to talk about without the same old tired structure of a review format.

The previous Jimpression videos had started to split into two types of very different show – the type I just described, and sillier videos played in real-time and often edited for comic effect, typically playing random nonsense found on Steam. I’m going to make the two things their own separate series from now on.

This ultimately means more content for Jimquisition fans, and allows me the added benefit of getting criticism out there quickly without having to rush through games to beat them – often a problem for game reviewers. This new approach allows me to have my cake and fuck it too – I can give you instant critique of games at or near launch, with more nuanced criticisms after I’ve played more fully.

For example, I plan to put up a Shadow of War Jimpressions soon, but that’s not to say it’s the only Shadow of War Jimpressions video coming. As I play more, get to grips with the Nemesis system, and tackle the Domination aspects of the game, I can give you a second Jimpressions with updated thoughts in real-time.

This is an approach I tried with Dark Souls III last year, producing Jimpressions videos with early gameplay, followed by a video looking at later content and another specifically showcasing multiplayer aspects.

I’d told a few people about this plan, and one concern was that I was the “only reviewer [they] trusted.” I see that phrase come up a lot, not just concerning me, and I have to wonder what the point of game reviews are if people only trust one or two people in the whole industry. Seeing as every major “AAA” release is expected to get 8s, 9s, and 10s regardless of actual quality, I think it’s safe to say the system is busted beyond saving now.

While I certainly wanted and hoped for that cycle of “AAA” reviews to change, it was never going to. I’ll confess I’m jaded by that entire part of the industry.

I can give you criticism and thoughts on games without being part of that increasingly obsolete world. And I’ll admit, I relish the thought of taking more time with games. I used to enjoy the idea of getting through them under pressure, but I’ve long since grown out of that.

I’m expecting some disappointment, hopefully not too much anger, but ultimately I think this is a good move. It’s a good move for my mental health, giving me less stress and more time to focus on the parts of the business I think people are really paying for. It’s good for you, as it gives you more ad-free content and what I believe is a more useful format for games criticism.

And it’ll be good for the poor precious Nintendo fans who don’t want to see another Zelda get less than a perfect fucking 10.

Not that I’ll be letting Nintendo off the hook in any other fucking way.

My other SNES Classic is a Raspberry Pi, after all.

saynotogamblingingames
Member
saynotogamblingingames
Jim, I dont agree with scrapping reviews though jimpressions is an excellent segment. Saying you dont enjoy it or its pointless or why bother in a jaded industry…feels like youre giving up and if you’re the voice and score they fear…well that’s the voice we need to hear the most! Also we pay for you to care with our loyalty and support and money in some cases as we’re exhausted too and with the money you can take on someone to be less exhausted for you. A free intern or someone who does it because they believe in you and… Read more »
Roganzar
Member
Roganzar

I’m all for this new “review “ policy. With games being updated constantly, they aren’t always the same thing days, weeks or months down the road. Having an early sample to judge if a game simply works and is playable can be a better game overall after a few patches. This will allow for valuable comparisons in the future.
I’m optimistic about this direction.

Mudkipman98
Member
Mudkipman98

I’ll miss Jim’s written reviews, so maybe we’ll still get one every now and again. I noticed a few videos over the past few weeks seem to be reviews put to video, and that format was entertaining. Change is part of growing, and I’m curious to see what the Jimquisition brand will continue to grow into.

TemplarGR
Member
TemplarGR
Jim, you are one of the few reviewers i trust. I know you have heard this before, but it is the truth. Your reviews will be missed, although i am not angry and can perfectly see your viewpoint. To be perfectly frank about it, i don’t really need game reviews that much. I tend to sample games before i buy them, whether by legal means or if i lack those, illegal*, so i don’t waste time or money on things i don’t approve. But i always enjoy reading other reviewers’ opinions and comparing my viewpoint to theirs, to see what… Read more »
zippydsmlee
Member

I like reviews and a score, the better I trust the reviewer the less likely I will adjust the score to what I think. And that’s probably why its a wasted effort unless your really into being “corrected” by brainless fat sweaty gamers….

If you get a chance think about doing previews or post views, put acouple hours into a game and give us your take on it. But their again that’s alot of time and effort. Still I wish you good luck on the changes!

UniPrancy
Member
UniPrancy

Honestly, I must say I approve of the approach. I long ago stopped reading any form of actual game review after IGN ruined that for me though I’ve always taken your opinion seriously. Instead, I often take to simply listening to your video’s and podcasts while I work. And on a personal note, I rather enjoyed the Shadow of Loot Jimpressions video. Though it is sad to see just how fucked up the games industry has become when reviews simply can’t be trusted. Anyway, good luck Jim!

jtellis80
Member
jtellis80

Jim, I can honestly I would be willing to give up ALL the rest of your content just to see you create content with…ahem…”Just Jonathan” again. I mean for the “first time.” Because that’s definitely an all new Jonathan and not any other Jonathan you may have worked with in the past.

grumpyboy
Member
grumpyboy
Jim, obviously you need do to what’s good for you, your doing a job not a duty…but I worry..that this a trend, interesting reviewers being driven out, by over manipulative developers and crazy almost paranoid fanboy’s attacking reviewers for doing reviews they disagree with, I mean how crazy is it to demand a review be what you want it do be? it makes no sense, and were going be left with no one but mediocre time servers and quislings doing reviews, I hear reviewers moaning the job is too much of a pain in the arse a lot, and not… Read more »