Steam(Valve) allows users to give a review score based on two main factors: “Like” or “Dislike”. Some review sites allow users to give the reviewed items a score between 1-5, or 1-10. Steam realized people are more likely to give a game a 1 star rating if they disliked it, rather than give a fair rating. So, Valve did a smart thing here. It forces users to put games in one of two boxes rather than a rainbow of options. It makes it easier, but does it also make it fair?
The main thing I miss is a “neutral” option. Some games are just bad, or annoy you up to a point where you don’t want to bother anymore. Those get a negative review. Some games are “ok”, but not necessarily terrible enough to warrant a negative review. Not bad enough for a low score, not great enough to give a positive review. Do you bother posting a review at all, or give it a negative review simply because it didn’t “wow” you?
Not all games need to be great
When reviewing a game it’s not always an easy task. Do you post your honest opinion, or are you swayed by the masses of other reviews? If everyone else likes a game, then there must be something wrong with your game skills perhaps? Or even your computer/controller,.
No. Simply put, everyone has different tastes. You may enjoy fifa and play the exact same game with a different number every year. Or you may enjoy first person shooters, while someone else gets motion sickness from playing those. I like dark themed games, while someone else wants bright rainbows in their hack and slash action game.
And that is fine. What matters in the end is the average score among multiple users. Your opinion is valid for you as an individual. But let’s cut the positive go getter reading right here and look at some games. That’s why you’re reading this bit after all? Bring on the pitchforks!
Neutral would have been better
Hellblade. Beautiful game, wonderfully voice acted. Terrible timed events/combat that just pulled the rug from under me.
Book of Demons. Stable, well made game. Made in honor of Diablo 1 by Blizzard. Not terrible but just turned repetitive and frustrating after a while.
The elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim. The game that everyone loves. Graphically sound and millions of mods and memes were inspired by it. But the base game is bland, buggy, lacks direction and feels empty. Yes, you can change that with mods – but we’re reviewing the base game here, not what the community made with it.
Kerbal Space Program. A pretty unique simulation game that is highly HIGHLY rated, but simply fell flat for me. The tutorial was basically: “Go RTFM”. What, but,. no? A game needs some level of intuitivity to play right. KSP did not have that.
The Purring Quest. A cutesy cat platformer that feels thrown together. The control theme in a platformer is important, very important even. On most levels that’s “ok” and you can get around it. But once you get to the skyscraper level everything just falls apart and turns frustrating.
A Bird Story. The prequel to the amazing tearjerker: Finding Paradise. Felt empty, predictable and hastily thrown together. It wasn’t terrible, but it felt like it should have been free rather than have a price tag.
Wings of Vi. A difficult platformer that gives you terrible controls just so it is even harder to play. Nope. The only redeeming factor are the well done 16 bit graphics.
Cultist Simulator. If any game needs a good tutorial, this one would. The game plays ok, but winning without a guide is just not an option.
Some games are just bad
Automachef. The game could have been good. A nice direction/ai puzzle like some well known Zachlike titles. But when you’re spending 75% of your time clicking, setting orders, scrolling down lists and cursing at the terrible interface… Then you know a game deserves a negative review.
Inexistence. Clunky controls, simple graphics, buggy combat. There’s not just a huge lot to say about this one. If you’re looking for a good metroidvania style game – this is not it.
Reus. “Giant” when translated to Dutch. Crashes more than you can play it. Stability is important when you release a game.
Rapture Rejects. Everyone has heard of Cyanide and Happiness right? Amazing yet simple comic. Jumping onto the battle royale bandwagon was not a great idea. Nobody is playing this, and you can’t play a battle royale style game alone. I have no idea why this game is still being sold at full price.
Cook, serve, delicious. Basically a ripoff of the flash games “papa’s pizzeria”, freezeria, bakeria, scooperia, sushiria, etc etc,. too many – all the same concept with different graphics and mind numbingly awful.
Deleted from steam
You know your game is bad when even steam doesn’t want to have it in their store anymore. Usually these are oft reported and asset flipped games. Devs who put out 50.000+ copies of their game up for free and allow it to give cards. Then make money off the users when they sell their cards on the Steam market at 0.01$ per card. This business practice was eventually put to a halt by Valve, at least. But some of those games are still “around” on various trading forums. If you want to read more on that, look up Digital Homicide.