Why Steam Reviews Aren’t Always Useful
I have a good little story for this. One of my Twitch viewers told me about a game called Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade. It sounded interesting to me, and when I saw it on sale I decided to check it out. WOAH! Bad reviews on Steam though! Well, given that 12 year olds, and adults that act like 12 year olds, have access to the internet, I rarely take ANYTHING at face value. I decided to check out the negative reviews, and find out what it was people hated about Eternal Crusade.
- Kickstarter promises broken this.
- Devs are complete idiots that.
- This game sucks.
There were few actual gameplay critiques. While any of 1 and 2 may be accurate, none of that reflects the current status of the game. Regardless of memes everywhere, ‘because reasons’ isn’t an argument, much less a valid argument. While broken promises and incompetent devs are a concern worth knowing about, if the actual game is good isn’t that more important? Better yet, if the actual game itself is good, are 1 and 2 even possible? These are the great questions of our time.
Challenging The Status Quo
So what’s a gamer to do now that they have evidence that a Steam has been tainted with emotional and subjective reviews of a game? If only there was a way to see what the game was like in its current state, without shelling out all that money? Thank you Twitch. I bounced over to Twitch, and found a few people streaming Eternal Crusade. I watched this more than I have watched any other game on Twitch or YouTube. They weren’t even playing the faction I was interested in (Space Marines), but I was having fun. I asked all the streamers kinda the same questions: how they liked the game, was it worth the money, and so on. They all said the same thing. ‘Game is fun, worth the sale price.’
Now the stakes go up a notch. Emotional reviewers on Steam say no, fun-loving streamers actually playing the game say yes. Yeah, took about a half a second for me to decide too. I was actually ready to buy the game when I won a giveaway in one of the streams I was watching. So I installed the game, spun it up, and WOW! It was lots of fun, and 87 hours later, it’s still fun. While it looks like #1 above is true to some extent, #2 and #3 were definitely wrong. The game is solid, and I recommended it in my review.
Not An Isolated Incident
I’ve come across several games that have gotten wildly skewed reviews. ARK: Survival Evolved went through a similar phase when it launched DLC during Early Access. (Yes, lol, DLC during early access, but…) Everyone slammed it because it offered DLC during Early Access, not because the DLC didn’t work, or wasn’t worth it. Which is silly, because ARK was in Early Release status FOR YEARS. Meanwhile, it was more complete and successful in Early Release, than many other titles at full release. Early Release is just a buzz word. A trendy term. If you don’t know that by now, then you’re in good hands because I’ve known it ever since I first laid hands on ARK. Another good game I recommend too, by the by.
The End Is Not Near
I am not completely trashing Steam reviews here. If I seem a little harsh, it’s because I feel like the people with 0.2 hours in a game, with reviews that consist of ‘awful game. refunded.’, are idiots. I personally use Steam reviews. I find them helpful most of the time. All I want you to take away from this is to actually read some of the reviews. If the game looks good to you, but the reviews are bad, find out why. Giving up and moving on because a group of anonymous people say you should? Use your head, have your own opinion. If you’re wrong, you’ve wasted 5 minutes. Maybe 20 if you watched a stream. If you’re right though, you’ve gained hours upon hours of fun with a hidden gem. One good game will make up for plenty of research on the wrong ones.