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Critic’s Review: X-Play

December 10, 2011

As I review critics, I have to realize what makes a good review in order to judge their performance as a critic. And then I have to apply these things to myself. One of the biggest things that goes into a good review is being unbiased. That fact makes it a little hard to review X-Play because, for about two years, I watched every X-Play episode that came out until a few months ago. At that point I just ran out of time to watch them, and I kind of lost interest in what they were saying. I also lost a bit of trust too. I think that incident kind of leveled my bias towards X-Play. A good thing for this review.

A good review is a review that tells you what the game is, what it does well, and what it doesn’t. X-Play kind of fails on this regard. At the beginning of the review, the hosts will try to say something witty about the game, in trying to describe it, but usually the writing falls flat on it’s face. Most of the time, they can’t really explain what the main focus of the game is, which is a real problem. When talking about the pros and cons, they jump all over the place mentioning totally unrelated things. Sometimes they just forget to talk about the mechanics at all.

At times they will sometimes complain about good graphics, not mention bad graphics and praise mediocre graphics, which I guess is a result of having a bunch of different people doing reviews and not having any collaboration. They only have one opinion on a game. Even though they have a large staff, only one reviews the game, rather than a group average.

For most games, the amount of time spent on the review is about 2 minutes and 30 seconds, which is really not long enough to get the point across. The bigger games get at least 5 minutes. For some reason, they don’t tell the viewers what console the game is being played on. This brings up problems from not knowing if the game is on your console to seeing amazing PC graphics when you only own an X-Box.

Yes, that's in game footage

The opinion of the game play is often skewed by personal opinion and skill. The reviewer doesn’t always explore the full extent and potential of the game, but in my experience they’ve never really gotten anything completely wrong. Whatever score they give a game, it’s never at the other end of the spectrum from what I would have given it. They have never given a game extremely negative scores either, unless it really deserved it, which is nice, because overly negative scores are usually the result of bias. The best thing they do though, is rate games on how fun they are to play, not on how many glitches it might have.

I have become quite jaded over the years, and my comments were mostly negative towards X-Play, but I have been watching it for over two years, every single episode. Most of what I wrote was the reason I hardly watch it now, and don’t factor it in for buying games, but there was a reason I started watching it in the first place. They appeal to the masses, and so the average, not so jaded gamer, can get a general idea of what the game is. They have some pretty good presentation, and sometimes a witty line comes out of the rest. They are arguably the only “news” show on TV for video games there is. It’s kind of fun to be able to watch people talk about your favorite games on TV, like it’s the news… because to me it is.

My jaded gamer face, all the time.

If you’ve never seen X-Play before, check it out. But if you’re wondering if a game is worth getting,  go and watch an IGN review. X-Play gets 3 1/2 stars out of 5

P.S. Morgan Webb, the host, is pretty hot too… so they’ve got that going for them. But there’s serious doubts that she’s a gamer. Well, a hardcore gamer.

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