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Editor's Corner: On Updating Video Game Reviews

Posted on Tuesday, February 18 @ 18:35:24 Eastern by

Welcome to Editor's Corner. This is a semi-regular entry in our daily manifesto. It can be about anything going on in the world of video games, but that also means it's an open page in an open book for the editors here at GameRevolution.

Editor's Corner might not appear every week. One week it might be a rant, the next it might be about a big change in the industry or particular thoughts on the process that went into reviewing a game. I know we'd all like to get in the mind of Anthony Severino as he visciously tears Sonic the Hedgehog a new one.

This week, let's talk about our recent decision to start updating game reviews. I think this is a natural progression for our in-depth critiques on new video games, a welcome step up to the plate as games begin delivering ever-evolving experiences.

Years and years ago, early copies would go out to the press and they'd be just about set in stone. You couldn't update cartridges to fix bugs, but as the universes developers ship get more complicated, so do the hunts for glitches and the like. Now we have games launch under the banner of Early Access, games that aren't technically finished with production, but are at a playable and purchaseable state.

Should those games get reviews early and then updates up to and throughout launch? Maybe.

GameRevolution's review updates will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Take Marvel Heroes for example. We had updated reviews of several different games as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles launched last year, but Marvel Heroes is the first game to get a full-blown update and a brand new report card out of the deal too.

Marvel Heroes is representative of a lot of changes going on in video games. It launched as free-to-play and has since tweaked its model to include Eternity Splinters, an in-game currency that means you don't ever have to pay a cent for your favorite Marvel super hero.

Marvel Heroes also opened the flood gates in a beta and has since updated beyond 2.0 with tons of new content patches, bug fixes, and entirely new gameplay modes that extend the entertainment for both newcomers and max-level players.

We felt that Gazillion's work on the game was deserving of an improved score, and hopefully our update text justified that new, higher score in the report card. Still, review updates leave a lot of space for us to decide how and when to strike. Should old video games really get updated reviews from fresh eyes?

I don't think you could craft a better take down of the Survivor video game, for example. There's probably not much use in digging up an old Nintendo 64 cartridge just to let frustrated modern thumbs suffer for the pageviews.

Which games need updated reviews in your opinion? How early should we review games like those appearing on Steam via the Early Access program? Should beta periods like Titanfall's get a review, only to be updated at launch?
Related Games:   Marvel Heroes, Starbound, Titanfall

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