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RaychelSnr's Blog
The Fine Art and Careful Approach to Reviewing Next-Gen Stuck
Posted on October 21, 2013 at 10:41 AM.

NBA 2K14 Next-Gen

It is a new generation, which means it is a chance to start some things new and to really give us a chance to change in many key areas.

One of the things we've always done at OS is review the newest, latest, and greatest (or not so much so) sports games.

The past couple of years, I have put in a lot of time making sure our scoring scale got into a good rhythm with some consistency across the genre. This was not done in a vacuum, with next-gen approaching, I knew we'd have to figure out how to navigate the leap and the best way to do it would be with a strong scoring scale.

Our approach at OS is not perfect, but I feel trying to use more of the scale than the 5-10 most sites use, which I feel is a political move to keep from scoring games 'too low', has been a good move. We still don't rate games lower than five too often, but I believe that is also because the quality of sports games has tended to be pretty good overall.

As we prepare to make the big leap into next-gen, there has been a bit of an ongoing debate behind the scenes as to how we score next-gen games.

You can not score games with current expectations, as most of them (yes, even Madden) will likely be pretty sizeable improvements over current gen. There is little chance current game games are going to be worth the 8.5s, 9s, and 9.5s we give them in the next couple of years if we go with that sort of a mindset.

However current generation games are all we do have to go on and what is left is a sort of arbitrary 'where should next-gen games be' or 'what is the perfect 10 on this scale now' thought process. There isn't a perfect solution for bridging the gap.

What we are planning on doing is going with a bit of both of those thought processes in order to review games most effectively scoring wise. We plan to take the leap into account (was there any from current gen) as well as keeping in mind past launch titles and how much they improved the following years along with some sort of a more stricter review process for many elements.

Expectations are going up here at OS, which I'm sure is the case at many other outlets, much to developers chagrin.

Another thing we have been mulling is the review process, format, etc. The one thing I am wanting to do in the new generation is to have a more open process so visitors to OS can have a better feel for what we think about the games and where they stand. We are also wanting to emphasize the role of our user reviews even more as we go into the future -- so I would encourage you to start submitting your own reviews and scores for games.

We take the review process and reviewing sports games very seriously here at OS, I for one am excited about the next-generation of sports games and what they will mean to gamers. With a flurry of next-gen information expected to be hitting the web over the course of the next few weeks, there likely will not be much mystery as to how these games are going to play when we finally get them on our TV screens.

This is an exciting time to be a gamer, and an exciting time for sports fans. I for one am pumped for November 15 (and 22), and I hope you all are too!

You can follow me on Twitter @ChrisSnr. I tweet about just anything, but there is a lot of sports, sports video games, and weather talk on my feed. I am a lifelong Oklahoman and the Executive Editor here at OS.
# 1 speels @ Oct 21
I think you are really fighting a losing battle with reviews right now. The problem you have is that IMO each review needs to be done looking at the game from different perspectives, and that is tough for one reviewer. There are too many different kinds of gamers to have 1 all encompassing review. You have the "hard core" gamer that basically wants the game to match up exactly with what is happening in real life. You have the arcade players who just want to have a good time with the game. Then you have the offline and online gamers. The "semi hardcore" like me who want to play the game and get realistic results, but don't want to have to play 20 minute periods in hockey to get them. And finally you have the gamers that basically just want to watch the games, something I don't understand, but accept as a viable video game consumer. Each type is looking for a different review, and writing 1 single review makes it hard to distinguish between all these types of players.

Also trying to establish a level of "what could this game be" is next to impossible because we really have no idea. People coplain that a game "should be able to.....", but do we as consumer's really know. Perhaps The Show's lack of franchise depth is due to the fact that there is no more power or room left to add more, we don't know. Everybody knew that next gen was coming so do people think they held back? Maybe, but why as current gen games ported to NG consoles will just be a good start, not a "well, we really have no way to improve."

Also, sports games are a tough business because if you make the "perfect" sports game, where do you go after that?? It's not like COD where you can just make up a new mission or a new location. Once a sports game is "perfect" it becomes the last line of game.

I do enjoy your reviews here on OS, I just think that you may have to change your review plans a couple times before you are going to get locked onto one that works for the majority.
# 2 threattonature @ Oct 21
I agree with Speels. The example I will give is NBA 2K. For someone who plays online it may be a 10/10 or a really high review. However someone who approaches the game primarily as an online association player may rate it a 5 or 6/10. I think approaching reviews based on the hardcore users of different game modes may be more meaningful in the long run.

I do love the operation sports reviews those as they do seem to make an effort to go in depth about the different game modes.
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