I do think, going by some of @angryjedi and @redswir1‘s sentiments, that there’re a few things to consider in regards to reviews and reviewers. The idea of “specialists” in the review process seems to be rather exclusive and perhaps asking for exactly the same unbalance that we decry folks like Gerstman of propagating. It’s great for genre fans, but does that necessarily make for a review helpful to other people? Outside of doing the obvious and asking @shingro, should I necessarily trust the impressions of a dedicated JRPG reviewer? Much like what the Minottis said about some hardcore fighting game fan reviews of Soul Calibur V and the disparities observed by casual pundits, the emphases of reviewers is utterly subjective most of the time.

One reason I like Out of Eight is simply that James Allen, that indefatigable one-man show, plays pretty much everything across the board. He has a penchant for strategy, but that doesn’t stop him reviewing casual games, sports sims, puzzlers, shooters, RPGs…and hence why I count him as one of the best reviewers in the business, as unsung as the fellow is against the “personality” journalists of the industry. His simple review process, even outside of the score, is pretty spot on. His review of Recettear reads as well as his review of Gary Grigsby’s War in the East: The German-Soviet War 1941-1945, just to highlight an example of one man investigating the spectrum.

I feel fans are sometimes a bad choice in reviewing a particular genre. Loving Eastern Euro stuff means having an enduring tolerance for jank, but whereas I see a little bit of rough as endearing, others might feel they’ve been deceived if a review does not mark it down for such a thing. Especially when related to technical issues. I pimp Real Warfare 2: The Northern Crusades, truly feeling like its a fantastic, meaty experience that surpasses Creative Assembly’s efforts, but others might find it unwieldy, lacking polish, wrongly or misled emphases and so on. Who is right in this equation?

I think scores are the big undermining factor here. Give me a nice, thick and ponderous review, and a summary. Give me comparative titles, give me contrasting experiences. I want to know the reviewers context THROUGH the review itself. And Metacritic can bugger right off.