I think video game reviews are far more important than a review of any other entertainment category. This is simply because video games cost a lot more than a movie or a CD. When you are trying to decide if something is worth $60 of your hard-earned money, then you had better make sure you do the research. This way you will know if the game is something that will work for you. That is why you absolutely must refer to these aggregators before you take the plunge on your next video game purchase.
GameRankings is the review aggregator I have been personally using for as long as I can remember. I can’t remember the last time I have gone out to the store to buy a video game that I did not pull up game rankings first to see what the average review score was across the board.
When you first visit GameRankings you are greeted with a box telling you what games are currently hot, and what games were most recently released. There are also links across the top for the various platforms, so if you only have one console, you don’t have to see reviews for all the games you cannot play anyway. There is also a search feature, which is what you will probably use the most. Type in the name of any game, and it will give you the average review score across all major game review publications.
Possibly my favorite feature of GameRankings are their All Time Best and All Time Worst pages. It’s fun to take a look back in time and see what the best games were for a particular platform, or across all platforms. You can tweak the results by platform, year, genre and what letter the game starts with. This allows you to really fine tune the results you want to see.
MetaCritic is one of the most popular review aggregators for movies, but they are no slouch in the video game department either. They are similar to GameRankings in that they take review scores from various sites and average them out. They have a much different layout; they focus more on being aesthetically pleasing than GameRankings.
What I really like about MetaCritic is that they have embraced the iPhone as a gaming platform much more than other sites. They feature a full suite of iPhone reviews that they aggregate. Even though iPhone games are cheap and aren’t a major purchasing decision that a console game is, it is still nice to know what is worth looking at and what isn’t from more than one perspective.
Since MetaCritic features movie, TV and music reviews, you can get all review needs taken care of in one place.
ReviewTrax is a little different from its counterparts because it isn’t as concerned with numbers, but more of a general reception for a game. They rank games based on a Poor to Excellent scale. I think this is a cool approach, because it allows you to just focus on whether the game is good.
You don’t have over analyse and think “well this game got a 92.4 and liked it, but this new one I am looking at got a 91.6, so is worth it?” With this site you can simply look and say “Okay this is excellent, I should play this game.”
ReviewTrax also feature iPhone game reviews, although not as many as MetaCritic.
This is a site I was not as familiar with as the other two when I started my research, but after messing with it for a while, I am going to add it to my video game bookmarks and use it regularly.
Before you buy a video game you should always refer to at least one of these three websites. $60 is no small investment, and you want to make sure you are getting a product that is worth it. By checking these review aggregators you are able to get a good idea of how the game review community feels about a particular product, and you can make a more informed decision.
Have you ever been burned with a bad video game? Perhaps you purchased Superman 64 and felt that you did not get your money’s worth. Let us know in the comments; I would love to hear some video game horror stories.
Image Credit: Jeroen van Oostrom