Sad Fact #317: Yes, User Reviews Typically Suck

User reviews are quick to point out everything that sucks, but there isn't anywhere near as much love.

User reviews are quick to point out everything that sucks, but there isn’t anywhere near as much love.

We’ve all heard it before: “I only read user reviews.”

We were talking about this the other day, and everyone agreed that such a sentiment makes absolutely zero sense.

It has nothing to do with the fact that we’ve all been professional critics in the past, paid to offer our opinion. It’s not an elitist mentality; it’s a realistic mentality. The bottom line is that most user reviews you find online for video games are absolutely atrocious. And there’s a reason why the average user review score is ten times less reliable than any Metacritic average you’ll find.

First and foremost, and we know nobody wants to acknowledge this, but anyone can put an opinion down on paper. Believe it or not, there’s a bit more involved in being a critic. Above all else, you should at least be able to write; the majority of user reviews we see show an appalling lack of writing understanding. Here’s a clue: You can’t write a proper review with “e-speak” and a review isn’t about how much you hate a particular game or franchise.

Most people just can't write a decent review. That's the reality of the situation, unfortunately.

Most people just can’t write a decent review. That’s the reality of the situation, unfortunately.

This leads to our second point, which involves the often shocking amount of hatred found in video game user reviews. I mean, they’re downright nasty. Not only would they never be published by a source worth a salt, they offer nothing in the way of insight or information that the reader actually needs. Furthermore, it’s painfully obvious when something is written for the express purpose of bashing. When a new Call of Duty entry arrives and the Metacritic user review averages something like a 3 or a 4, how reliable are those users again…?

Thing is, it doesn’t seem to happen on the reverse side. Gamers seem to take much more pleasure in slamming a game as opposed to praising a game. That’s more than a little concerning and speaks volumes as to the mindset found in gaming communities around the web. Immature, hostile, and egotistical to the point of insanity.

But wait, there’s a good side to this.

There are some gamers out there who really know what they’re talking about. They also know how to write. These are the people who might actually deliver a worthwhile user review; unfortunately, it’s kinda like looking for a needle in a haystack. Still, we freely acknowledge that these people exist. If you can find them, and if they’ve pointed you in the right direction before, by all means, read more of their stuff.

Think you can stand out in the crowd? Think you can write a game review worth publishing? Tell us.

Think you can stand out in the crowd? Think you can write a game review worth publishing? Tell us.

There’s no rule that says you have to stick to professional reviews. None whatsoever. And in fact, we at VGRHQ take great pride in finding lesser-known critics who are very talented and giving them their five minutes of fame. That should be evident when perusing our Honored Sources. If you’re a gamer and you happen to know someone who would qualify, give us a shout-out at sayhello[at] 

Also, if you’re interested in participating in our ongoing Be a Critic program, click here.

User reviews usually suck. They really do. But that doesn’t mean random gamers can’t pen great reviews, so here’s our last option: If you’ve got a review for a game (preferably, a recently released title) and you think it’s pretty darn good, send it to us at the above email and we’ll take a look. If we really like it, we’ll toss it up in our Community Corner as a Guest Review.

See, our user reviews will be worth reading. You can count on it.

10 thoughts on “Sad Fact #317: Yes, User Reviews Typically Suck”

Oh man, I stopped reading user reviews a long time ago. It’s just too embarrassing.

I’ve found a few sites that have some decent user reviews. But they’re usually written by veterans who are older…the younger group can’t seem to write at ALL. It’s really sad.

I also have to say that the younger group also appears to be much more hostile. …I blame the Internet.

I’ve found some user reviews that are better-written than some professional reviews. Of course, some of the worst reviews I’ve ever seen have come from users…they’re basically unreadable.

Doesn’t seem to happen as much in other industries. You don’t see such stupid user reviews of books.

I’ll be brutally frank:

I’ve never read a user review for a game that’s even halfway decent. I mean, not when compared to actual pro reviews. That’s all I’m saying.

I’m pretty much in the same boat. Some of the user reviews I’ve read are just so pathetic I want to cry.

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