This topic has already been covered fairly well (see: The Problems with Game Criticism, and The Problem with Game Reviews Part 1 & 2), but until we're in a better state, it's always a positive thing, yeah?
Anyhow, Variety's Ben Fritz offers his take on the situation (as a response to Variety critic Leigh Alexander's recent blog), saying we nitpick too much and actively look for things to criticize in games instead of really valuing what needs to be valued and not letting the little stuff (like game mechanics) matter so much. Care to read?
What I think (and this is of course my interpretation; I'm not trying to put words in Leigh's mouth) is that in the case of games that are different in some way (like a new IP, or a sequel from a new developer as in the case of "Silent Hill: Homecoming"), a lot of videogame critics obsess about the small stuff because they don't like the big picture. Here's my best example: "The Simpsons Game." Yes, it had some camera problems and yes the gameplay wasn't too fresh. But it was a parody of videogame and gamer culture and it was (at least as far as most videogames go) flat out hilarious. The gameplay wasn't supposed to original since it was, of course, a satire. People were meant to buy that game to laugh, not to enjoy the innovative controls. And what happened? By and large, critics faulted the game heavily for its camera problems and unoriginal gameplay and didn't give much credit to the humor, the rare attempt to use a videogame to satirize other videogames, or the even rarer successful infusion of the spirit of a popular Hollywood property into its videogame adaptation.
- Braid [PS3, Mac, PC, XBOX360]
- Gears of War [PC, XBOX360]
- Grand Theft Auto IV [PC, XBOX360, PS3]
- Guitar Hero [iPhone, iPad, PS2]
- Kane & Lynch: Dead Men [PS3, XBOX360, PC]
- Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots [PS3]
- Silent Hill: Homecoming [PC, XBOX360, PS3]
- Super Smash Bros. Brawl [Wii]
- The Simpsons Game [DS, Wii, XBOX360, PSP, PS3, PS2]
- via kotaku.com