Don’t put Personal Bias in Reviews

During the last few years, we’ve seen journalists putting their own bias into reviews without disclosing it.

This has become an unfortunate trend on several popular site and has spread throughout the gaming industry as a whole. Reviews should be kept as neutral as possible. This has become an unfortunate trend on several popular site and has spread throughout the gaming industry as a whole. A journalists responsibility is to provide the reader with helpful information. A review should not contain biased views disguised as helpful information.

In 2013 gamers discovered an issue with Adam Sessler and his review of God of War: Ascension. He specifically talked about the “Bros before Hos” trophy, andd got some things wrong.. The issue he had with this trophy in specific was that Kratos kicked a female villain in the head. The villains in the game are known as Furies and are all females.

Here is the actual review in question:

The issue with this is that he got it wrong.  It also turns out that he doesn’t kill the female character and that he himself is deceived. He does not mention this in the review. Rather than mentioning this in the review, he twists it suit his own personal agenda. He blatantly states that it’s misogyny and borderline. His direct quote is:”while the image of a woman getting her face kicked in is borderline.” He never actually goes into depth why it is borderline. Why is it one of the most violent things he has ever seen? You kill males and mythical creatures throughout the game. Why is this any different. He shows during the review that you split open a skull and cut of feet. How is this not as bad or worse? This is the worst part of the game? He criticizes the game for “lack of gender roles.” Yet he doesn’t commend the game on having several female villains. He uses images of topless women sleeping with the anti-hero Kratos.

The trophy was also put there by a female developer. This sort of hypocrisy when looking at all the terrible things you do to everything else in the game should never be in a review. Hell he had his own channel that he managed, and he could have just done a “Sessler Something…” to actually explain why he has this opinion of the game. Adam Sessler has been in the industry for quite some time. Even by his own standard in comparison, it is unprofessional. A journalist should not put gender politics or personal moral in their own game reviews. He does a poor job of telling us why the game is hateful towards women.

This is how the game actually gives you the trophy:

There was also another review in 2013 that got my attention. Gamespot did a review on Grand Theft Auto V. When Carolyn Petit reviewed the game, she claimed the game was sexist. If you look back at her previous articles, she wrote several editorials of how she thinks games are sexist before this review was written. She is an active radical feminist and has been credited with Feminist Frequency. This should have at very least been disclosed or taken out of the review, but it wasn’t. It is not that hard to be honest with your readers about your prerogative, especially if you are writing for a major publication.

Here is the review in question:

She fails to realize that all the main missions are about killing or torturing men. You are not encouraged to actually kill women.  You might say she didn’t detract from the overall score, but she still mentions her own bias with gender roles in the review without disclosing. Even though she clearly knows what GTA V is about, she still willingly fails to understand it, and misrepresent it. Not one person is shed in a good light in this game. Crime is the name of the game. She says women in the game are: “strippers, prostitutes, long-suffering wives, humorless girlfriends, goofy, new-age feminists.” Totally missing the fact that she, herself is once of those goofy new-age feminists. To give you an example the wife of Michael, she is totally unfaithful. She also bails with her yoga trainer and the children of Michael. Michael is not much better, engaging with strippers in a romantic nature. A friend of Trevor’s has a girlfriend who he stays with. When the girl friend in question gets home, starts to threaten both with a gun. By the looks of it there, the woman kills her boyfriend and Trevor kills her. No one is an angle here.

If you look at the men, they’re even worse. Trevor is a psychopath who will pretty much kill anyone, he also tortures a person. Michael and Franklin rob banks and kill cops. You have corrupt cops and government agents. They don’t look any better. This argument is a bad one to use for only the women, when the men can be argued to be worse.

There aren’t just bad reviews. There are many well informed instances of a reviews as you can see in the clip. I chose this clip because it informs you on the game and how it plays. The reviewer shares the background with you and gives you an understanding of the game. The game is explained in simple terms and shows it by showing the gameplay itself. It is well edited to highlight the point he is making in the review.

A good review is easy to spot. It is informative and concise. A reviewer should guide consumers if a game is good or not. Should people buy it or not. That’s what a review is suppose to do. Don’t further any agenda or push anything through the review. Review the game on its own merits.