After playing Bioshock 2 for several hours, a day before its launch, my friend decided to write a review for it (which was very good I might add). Subsequently, an argument ensued between both of us today where I suggested that the review of a game should not be written until it has been entirely completed…
Perhaps it’s from my years of reading PC Zone, and their mantra that a game should not be reviewed until the credits roll, or perhaps it’s the years of disappointment from playing games that on the surface appear promising, until a distinct lull several hours in reveals its short comings. Either way, I’m not entirely comfortably with such early reviews (although not entirely dismissive of the practice).
Using the original Bioshock as an example, the opening sequence remains one of my favourites within any videogame, while the twists and turns throughout the games story (irrespective of play time) are still fully enjoyable. However, what became apparent as I played the game at greater length is the shortcomings I initially overlooked. The abundance of player resources, the lack of death penalty, the predictability of enemies, the dull and time consuming hacking, redundant plasmids and their power balance, and the general game descending into another shoot-em-up.
Now don’t get me wrong, I loved Bioshock. But these issues only struck me as issues after playing the game for a long period of time and more notably towards the end of the game. If I was to review the game based on my first several hours, I would no doubt have heaped praise on its ingenuity. However, if you asked me my opinion after completing the game, I would have still praised what it achieved, but would have been much more critical in my approach once the shine had actually worn off.
So, my question to you out there is:
“Should you write a review for a videogame, without having completed it?”