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Should a critic be "objective"?

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outlawauron said:
Critics should due everything they can to give an objective criticism of whatever they're reviewing or criticizing. For a gaming example, criticizing a puzzle game for not having an open world isn't a valid criticism. That's the critic's bias stating what they wanted rather than an proper evaluation of the product.

 

But what would be a "proper" evaluation in that case? The fact that the game has puzzles? What if the critic find them too hard? Saying that would be objective, or subjective? Would his lack of skill with puzzle-based games (assuming no other critic is around) void his review completely? How could he measure the fun factor in this case without his personal bias? Is a personal bias something that should be reflected in the review, or not?



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PieToast said:
I think it's healthier and easier to expect what you called honest subjectivism from a critic than objectivism.

 

Sometimes, I'm not sure about the "honest" part.



If you want an objective review look at the feature list and what digital foundry says about the games performance, but no critics should definitely NOT be objective.



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A review is supposed to be an opinion piece of a product (be it video games, movies, music, comics, books or tech). That's the intention and text book definition of a review. To have it any other way would be pointless, it just wouldn't be a review anymore; it would be a product description.

I find this recurring discussion amongst gamers weird.



Somewhat objective, but certainly not completely. To go too objective would be pretty much just giving a description of the game rather than a review. For a review it has to have at least some subjectivity.



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mjo011 said:

I find this recurring discussion amongst gamers weird.

 

I wouldn't have brought it up, but the discussion I had last night certainly inspired me to look for some insight in this matter here. I tried arguing that a critic's review is an embodiment of subjectivism in itself, but my friends would reply back saying that if it isn't objective, the writer shouldn't criticise in the first place.



A real critic should be objective, yes. And at the same time tell you what can be done better (e.g. draw comparisons to similar things - that way you get away without statements like "this is too hard/easy/loud/green").
A subjective review is just an opinion. Sure, it can be well written and based on proper arguments but it remains an opinion that anybody has and you will have to like/identify with the author to get an idea of what they mean.
Everybody has an opinion and can spread "reviews" but it's not critical. People tend to forget that (both authors of "reviews" and their audience) and feel like they can change the world or personally attacked.
Just like the most famous games/music/movies/... don't equal the best, neither objectively nor (and definitely not) subjectively.



Wright said:

I wouldn't have brought it up, but the discussion I had last night certainly inspired me to look for some insight in this matter here. I tried arguing that a critic's review is an embodiment of subjectivism in itself, but my friends would reply back saying that if it isn't objective, the writer shouldn't criticise in the first place.

It's the weirdest thing I've noticed here on gaming forums, some people expect reviews which are personal opinion to be objective. Obvjective reviews aren't reviews, they are game manuals. :P

Ostro said:

A real critic should be objective, yes. And at the same time tell you what can be done better (e.g. draw comparisons to similar things - that way you get away without statements like "this is too hard/easy/loud/green").
A subjective review is just an opinion. Sure, it can be well written and based on proper arguments but it remains an opinion that anybody has and you will have to like/identify with the author to get an idea of what they mean.
Everybody has an opinion and can spread "reviews" but it's not critical. People tend to forget that (both authors of "reviews" and their audience) and feel like they can change the world or personally attacked.
Just like the most famous games/music/movies/... don't equal the best, neither objectively nor (and definitely not) subjectively.

Yes, that is exactly what reviews are and therefore what critics should be. You cannot review something if you don't have an opinion on what you are reviewing.

See the Jim Sterling video.



Hmm, pie.

Wright said:
mjo011 said:

I find this recurring discussion amongst gamers weird.

 

I wouldn't have brought it up, but the discussion I had last night certainly inspired me to look for some insight in this matter here. I tried arguing that a critic's review is an embodiment of subjectivism in itself, but my friends would reply back saying that if it isn't objective, the writer shouldn't criticise in the first place.

You are right and your friends are wrong. :)

There is nothing more to be said about this matter.



Demanding any critic to be "objective" (by it's actual definition, not whatever suits your personal interpretation) is one of the dumbest demands I've ever seen. In some ways, it feels like a rehashing of the "they weren't being unbiased" response raised whenever some petulant user would cry about a low score for an exclusive game during the 7th generation.

It's unintelligent to demand the impossible and then pretend as if you're the fair one when you 'settle' for the next best thing: "well you should STRIVE to be objective WITH YOUR OPINION." The thing is, there's a much clearer term to use that answers both potential conflict of interests and still acknowledges a reviewer's thoughts. It's called honesty.

If you feel as though the reviewer's been up-front about what made them so ecstatic/disappointed by some game then I'd say they've done their job.  



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