We store cookies, you can get more info from our privacy policy.

A Note about Our Reviews

by Jonathan Metts - November 30, 2007, 4:05 pm PST
Total comments: 51

Here's why you can be confident that there are no money hats or outside influence at Nintendo World Report.

We have used the same process for reviews since our very first reviews of import GBA games in early 2001. I oversaw the development of this process (although not the review format itself) and gained more and more influence as time went on, because my ideas seemed to work and make everyone happy. I know this is a good system, because I hear praise for it from our staff members who worked at other websites before coming to NWR, and I also hear praise from former staff members who have moved on to work at professional websites and magazines.

Here's why NWR reviews are tamper-proof:

  • We are 100% independent – not owned by a corporation, not affiliated with a game retailer or publisher, not beholden to investors, and not even part of a network with other gaming sites. Our only responsibility is to you, the reader.
  • Editors never change articles against the author's will. All changes and suggestions made during the editing process are tracked and explained to the author and are up for discussion. This goes for everything, from comma placement to final score.
  • The author has final say over every single word in his or her review, and in fact the author directly posts his or her review to the website.
  • Our reviews do not represent, nor claim to represent, the views of the entire staff. As editor, I am not concerned with whether I agree or disagree with the review. All I care about is the writing quality, thoroughness, fairness, and self-consistency. If another staff member vehemently disagrees with a review or just wants to give a different perspective with a similar conclusion, he or she is encouraged to write a second review.
  • Publishers' public relations agents are not involved whatsoever in the editorial process. If someone at the publisher has a problem with the review after it is online, we may offer to write a second review (in addition to the first, not replacing it) with the disclaimer that it could be the same or more critical than the first.
  • Our entire staff works for free, including editors and the Director. We have nothing to gain or lose by inciting controversy for its own sake. We have no job security to jeopardize or protect. No person has ever been removed from the staff over a review.

For all the reasons above, you can rest assured that NWR takes its integrity, particularly with reviews, more seriously than anything else we do. You may not always agree with our reviews, but at least you'll know that they are our honest opinions.

Jonathan Metts, Reviews Editor

Talkback

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorNovember 30, 2007

face-icon-small-happy.gif

Backwards Flying DragonsNovember 30, 2007

I thought you received praise for it from forum members, too. I could swear I've praised NWR's reviews around here, somewhere...

Also, in this article, you refer to yourself as "I." From the forums, we have no idea who "I" is, Jonny. No idea at all.

Ian SaneNovember 30, 2007

This is appreciated but, like your mother telling you she loves you, incredibly unnecessary. And that's a good thing. face-icon-small-smile.gif

optimisticlimboNovember 30, 2007


There's a feeling of pride in reading this site because of the integrity it has upheld all these years.

How much does it suck that we have to come to this? I'm sure the other sites across the industry will release similar statements, but the very fact it has to be done is sad.

Thanks thatguy, I forgot that editorials don't show the author for some stupid reason. I'll add that at the end.

NinGurl69 *hugglesNovember 30, 2007

Is this like bragging about having never gone to jail before?

DID NINTENDO NOT PAY ANYONE FOR A BWii REVIEW?

"I TAKE CARE OF MY KIDS!" -- Chris Rock

No really, I just wanted to clarify a few things about our editorial process. Some people are now saying that they can't trust anyone's reviews, but due to the unusual nature of our site, we can cling to a greater degree of integrity than many others.

Backwards Flying DragonsNovember 30, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: Jonnyboy117
Thanks thatguy, I forgot that editorials don't show the author for some stupid reason. I'll add that at the end.


Nothing it talkback shows the author unless it's included in the article itself. That's what I've been trying to get changed around here.

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusNovember 30, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: Crimm
How much does it suck that we have to come to this? I'm sure the other sites across the industry will release similar statements, but the very fact it has to be done is sad.


True, but what site writes their articles in the BLOOD OF THE INNOCENT. Signed and sealed with a pact from the great N. Endorsed by both forces of good and evil.

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusNovember 30, 2007

NWR is and has always been a very reliable source for reviews. I have immense respect for all of you guys and I think you do a fantastic job.

I've always liked and respected the reviews and reviewers here. Except whoever gave Star Trek: Tactical Assault a 4.5 and Alien Syndrome a 3.5, I hate them with every fiber of my being.

GoldenPhoenixNovember 30, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: insanolord
I've always liked and respected the reviews and reviewers here. Except whoever gave Star Trek: Tactical Assault a 4.5 and Alien Syndrome a 3.5, I hate them with every fiber of my being.


Yeah Alien Syndrome should have gotten a .5/10.

Quote

Originally posted by: GoldenPhoenix
Quote

Originally posted by: insanolord
I've always liked and respected the reviews and reviewers here. Except whoever gave Star Trek: Tactical Assault a 4.5 and Alien Syndrome a 3.5, I hate them with every fiber of my being.


Yeah Alien Syndrome should have gotten a 6.5/10.


Fixed

Yeah... it sucks that I'm staff now because now everyone will think I'm toeing the party line, but even as I'm somewhat frustrated with the site, it's truly a place where I can respect the staffers and forumers.

Yes yes, I've been at the vocal forefront before, ranting and raving and crucifying some staffer over a review before, but that's only because I care, and of course because I have conflicting opinions and sometimes feel that things haven't been taken into account.

...hmm... maybe I should finally give Phantom Hourglass the review it deserves now that I'm here....

Quote

Originally posted by: insanolord
I've always liked and respected the reviews and reviewers here. Except whoever gave Star Trek: Tactical Assault a 4.5... I hate them with every fiber of my being.


That would be me! Hi there. That game is garbage, and I can say so without bias because I'm not a Star Trek fan boy.

GoldenPhoenixNovember 30, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: Kairon
Yeah... it sucks that I'm staff now because now everyone will think I'm toeing the party line, but even as I'm somewhat frustrated with the site, it's truly a place where I can respect the staffers and forumers.

Yes yes, I've been at the vocal forefront before, ranting and raving and crucifying some staffer over a review before, but that's only because I care, and of course because I have conflicting opinions and sometimes feel that things haven't been taken into account.

...hmm... maybe I should finally give Phantom Hourglass the review it deserves now that I'm here....


So you are going to it that 6/10 it so sorely needs?

MysticGohanNovember 30, 2007

So I take this comes in light of the recent GS staff firing? That's Gamespot for ya, I knew there was a malicious dictator somewhere in that warehouse xD

Quote

Originally posted by: Jonnyboy117
Quote

Originally posted by: insanolord
I've always liked and respected the reviews and reviewers here. Except whoever gave Star Trek: Tactical Assault a 4.5... I hate them with every fiber of my being.


That would be me! Hi there. That game is garbage, and I can say so without bias because I'm not a Star Trek fan boy.


Yeah I went back and checked after I posted that, so I knew it was you. That wasn't meant to be taken seriously so I hope you didn't take it that way. Those are just 2 NWR reviews I happened to disagree with. And the thing about TA is that you need to be at least somewhat of a Trek fan to appreciate the game, not in the sense of being a Trek fanboy and loving any Trek thing, but in understanding the reasons for it being the way it is and wanting it that way. I can understand that looking just the gameplay mechanics as someone who isn't a big Trek fan it wouldn't seem like a very good game.

Quote

Originally posted by: GoldenPhoenix
So you are going to it that 6/10 it so sorely needs?


Grrr. I'll give you a 6/10!!!

GoldenPhoenixNovember 30, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: insanolord
Quote

Originally posted by: Jonnyboy117
Quote

Originally posted by: insanolord
I've always liked and respected the reviews and reviewers here. Except whoever gave Star Trek: Tactical Assault a 4.5... I hate them with every fiber of my being.


That would be me! Hi there. That game is garbage, and I can say so without bias because I'm not a Star Trek fan boy.


Yeah I went back and checked after I posted that, so I knew it was you. That wasn't meant to be taken seriously so I hope you didn't take it that way. Those are just 2 NWR reviews I happened to disagree with. And the thing about TA is that you need to be at least somewhat of a Trek fan to appreciate the game, not in the sense of being a Trek fanboy and loving any Trek thing, but in understanding the reasons for it being the way it is and wanting it that way. I can understand that looking just the gameplay mechanics as someone who isn't a big Trek fan it wouldn't seem like a very good game.


So in a way, it is like Killer7. If you aren't a fan of style, then the gameplay will be poop. But if you are a fan of style, you will shut off the part of your brain that registers fun. Hehe, j/k. face-icon-small-wink.gif

nitsu niflheimNovember 30, 2007

the things with reviews are, I rarely base my purchase on them. I like when a game I like gets good reviews and don't like when they get bad ones, but I just chalk it up to the fact that reviews are opinions and not everyone will like everything, how boring life would be is that were true. There are people with their biases, some more veiled than others, but a site like Gamespot, as it is constanly being accused of being biased, as a multi-platform site, where their staff mingle all over the place more or less, should have zero bias and no ulterior motives among any of the staff, especially since it's a for profit site and thrives based on the happiness of it's subscribers. I bet there are right now some unhappy subscribers over at Gamespot.

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusNovember 30, 2007

As much as I didn't like Jeff Gerstman I feel bad for him because its a retarded thing he got fired for which was his own opinion on kane and lynch, but I suppose thats Capitalist greed for you. While I was vocal on how I disagreed with some reviews on here I do respect what we get on this site since this is not a for profit site, and that I assume that the review writers have more freedom in writing their reviews(with little rules to keep the sites integrity up) and that this is a closely knit community that has evolved nicely.

DjunknownNovember 30, 2007

Its nice to have a pleasant reminder. This alleged incident vexes me because professionals are set to a higher standard simply because they are PAID for that do. I expect grammatical accuracy, somewhat keen analysis, and reasoning for said analysis.

This isn't a knock against NWR or the independent/fan sites. Since they are doing this as a hobby/ in their spare time, expectations are set lower. The possibility of corruption from corporate interests is easier since they ultimately have no one to answer to, unless they explicitly say they do like NWR for example. They can be as biased/unbiased coherent/incoherent as they want to be, and I wouldn't complain. Sometimes,
contreversy is sparked, and chaos ensues.

In the case of PGC/NWR, they've taken it upon themselves to police themselves. If the NWR one day collectively loses it, and just post walls of text that are grossly inaccurate, or review games while drunk, I won't complain. I'll be saddened, and go elsewhere, but if its what they want to do, who am I to stop them?

While we're at it, let me say that maybe Mr.Burchfield and Co are on to something with their complaints with current review system. PA (More specifically Tycho) has some new beef with IGN concerning Assassin's Creed. Will we continue to see these types strains in the gaming community?

theratNovember 30, 2007

HES INSANE-O! well, seems that the sheets are finally being takin off peoples faces. this happens in the governmet as well. why do you think life sucks right now? corporation ruin everything! including nintendo! (friend codes!)

CalibanNovember 30, 2007

At first I thought "why is NWR publishing such an editorial?". I thought something happened in the forums or they got some hate mail. I read the editorial and thought "well duh, it's NWR like it has always been". I start reading on other sites about some guy that was fired from gamespot because of one review..."ah, I see. That will never happen at NWR. They're piss poor, and they rely on volunteer work. Everything's the way it should be".

IceColdNovember 30, 2007

Quote

."ah, I see. That will never happen at NWR. They're piss poor, and they rely on volunteer work. Everything's the way it should be"
Ahahahahaa.. great backhanded compliment.

NinGurl69 *hugglesNovember 30, 2007

Gerstmann gets axed, kairon's onboard, so is all this all an elaborate scheme to propel kairon's internet status?

Yes

Quote

Originally posted by: Kairon
Quote

Originally posted by: GoldenPhoenix
So you are going to it that 6/10 it so sorely needs?


Grrr. I'll give you a 6/10!!!


OMG WHAT DID YOU DO TO GP!?

face-icon-small-shocked.gif

Spak-SpangNovember 30, 2007

"Our entire staff works for free, including editors and the Director. We have nothing to gain or lose by inciting controversy for its own sake. We have no job security to jeopardize or protect. No person has ever been removed from the staff over a review."


I have more respect for the amount of work and dedication every single member of the NWR staff puts into every aspect of the site after reading the above statement.

Bravo. And your reviews have always been some of the best reviews I have read on the web. Great scoring system, Great Summary System, and most importantly it is too the point and not filled with pointless fluff to bloat the review and waste the readers time.

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusNovember 30, 2007

95% of the time I wouldn't base my purchase decision on a review since most of the time I already want to buy it, but what it does do for me outside of entertainment purposes is set how much I am willing to pay for a game. For a game like RE4 that gets a 10, I happily paid full price for it and continue to be pleased by it.

PGC/NWR has served me well over the years with their continued unpaid, unparalleled professionalism that is rarely seen on the Web. It serves me so well in fact that unless a review is no here at all, this is the primary and effectively the only place I need to go for those needs. Don't change a thing.

NinGurl69 *hugglesNovember 30, 2007

NWR can change for the better by reviewing BWii.

Thanks for the last few posts, they have really warmed my heart.

Quote

Originally posted by: insanolord

Yeah I went back and checked after I posted that, so I knew it was you. That wasn't meant to be taken seriously so I hope you didn't take it that way. Those are just 2 NWR reviews I happened to disagree with. And the thing about TA is that you need to be at least somewhat of a Trek fan to appreciate the game, not in the sense of being a Trek fanboy and loving any Trek thing, but in understanding the reasons for it being the way it is and wanting it that way. I can understand that looking just the gameplay mechanics as someone who isn't a big Trek fan it wouldn't seem like a very good game.


Don't worry, I wasn't at all offended, but I will back up my review. I am actually a "big" Star Trek fan, in that I have seen nearly every episode of the original series, absolutely every episode of Next Generation, most of Deep Space 9, half of Voyager, and almost every movie. But this game is fan service at best. I totally understand that Star Trek's star ship battles are slow and strategic. However, they also last thirty seconds on the show. Playing these out for ten minutes at a time is brain-melting due to the pace, and the strategies are not nearly complex or interesting enough to sustain such long battles. Also, the combination of bad camera + insta-death asteroids resulted in at least half a dozen incredibly frustrating mission failures for me.

Just because NWR forum members heavily criticize the occasional NWR review doesn't mean that we don't appreciate and respect your integrity!

Quote

Originally posted by: Jonnyboy117
Thanks for the last few posts, they have really warmed my heart.

Quote

Originally posted by: insanolord

Yeah I went back and checked after I posted that, so I knew it was you. That wasn't meant to be taken seriously so I hope you didn't take it that way. Those are just 2 NWR reviews I happened to disagree with. And the thing about TA is that you need to be at least somewhat of a Trek fan to appreciate the game, not in the sense of being a Trek fanboy and loving any Trek thing, but in understanding the reasons for it being the way it is and wanting it that way. I can understand that looking just the gameplay mechanics as someone who isn't a big Trek fan it wouldn't seem like a very good game.


Don't worry, I wasn't at all offended, but I will back up my review. I am actually a "big" Star Trek fan, in that I have seen nearly every episode of the original series, absolutely every episode of Next Generation, most of Deep Space 9, half of Voyager, and almost every movie. But this game is fan service at best. I totally understand that Star Trek's star ship battles are slow and strategic. However, they also last thirty seconds on the show. Playing these out for ten minutes at a time is brain-melting due to the pace, and the strategies are not nearly complex or interesting enough to sustain such long battles. Also, the combination of bad camera + insta-death asteroids resulted in at least half a dozen incredibly frustrating mission failures for me.


First off, you should check out Enterprise, at least the 4th season which was way better than the other 3, though they were good too. I guess I just enjoyed TA more than you did. The camera didn't bother me too much, but the fact that you could run into and take damage from asteroids but not other ships was an odd choice. Will NWR be reviewing Star Trek: Conquest, the recent Wii game?

ShyGuyNovember 30, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: Kairon
Just because NWR forum members heavily criticize the occasional NWR review doesn't mean that we don't appreciate and respect your integrity!


What's this "we" stuff? You're no longer one of us, Mr. Switch-sides.

When I'm on the forums, I am! Or am I supposed to stop derailing threads alongside Golden Phoenix and Mashiro all of a sudden?

You can't stop the derailings, the derailings are what make the NWR forums what they are. Like this thread for instance.

Yes, planning to review Conquest. I need to check back with Bethesda to make sure they remember to send a copy.

wanderingDecember 01, 2007

I love your site, but, no offense, I don't think it is, or could be, completely above the influence of game companies. Maybe it is in the area of reviews, but not in all areas.

From Ty's blog:

Quote

not posting the scoop lol

I was recently reading some comments on the Sony/Kotaku thing and about game journalism in general, and this one really caught my eye:

Quote

To me this is more of a factor of "game journalism" being totally broken than anything else. Mainstream game media is 99% dependent upon playing ball with these big companies and their PR rules. They get free hardware, free games, trips to press events and a lot of other stuff in exchange for being "responsible" and doing what the console companies and manufacturers say. I don't consider this sort of thing to be "journalism" in any way, it's just adding comments to canned media on a schedule set by the PR wings of these companies. This creates an environment where when someone does actually get some sort of scoop you end up at odds with these companies.


This is completely true, and is probably the reason I can't muster the effort to really write anything for PGC (er, NWR) other than a game review or a trolltacular forum thread.

It's some sort of rule that all non-review game coverage has to be largely positive. Even in a preview of this year's next in a series of really shitty games, it's going to be all positive, or at least optimistic. Guaranteed. And then the review comes out, and it's all "it totally sucks, what were you thinking? Ahahahahah."

So, a little over two years ago, I was doing initial impressions of a pre-release game I had gotten (hurr PR outlet hurr) and I felt the need to totally trash it. I mean, hey, I thought it totally sucked, and impressions are impressions. My editor then requested I soften it up, so I/we did (I forget who made what changes). They're still up, here. I re-read them the other day and the article reads terribly. The good news is, I found my original version, and the differences are hilarious. I'm gonna post 'em up!

Click here to read the rest of his post.

Shoulda trashed it. For all the praise that others give it, Baiten kaitos made me writhe in agony...

Wait a second, that's the soft version? You were pretty critical of the game in my eyes...

vuduDecember 01, 2007

Jonny, you forgot to refute the belief that everyone who works for a Nintendo-specific site is a blithering fanboy. face-icon-small-wink.gif

NinGurl69 *hugglesDecember 01, 2007

If you take the time to refute something, you're a blithering fanboy.

Quote

Originally posted by: Kairon
When I'm on the forums, I am! Or am I supposed to stop derailing threads alongside Golden Phoenix and Mashiro all of a sudden?


As temporary forum goon I have to assert the following:

Do whatever the hell you want.

Quote

Originally posted by: wandering
I love your site, but, no offense, I don't think it is, or could be, completely above the influence of game companies. Maybe it is in the area of reviews, but not in all areas.

From Ty's blog:

Quote

not posting the scoop lol

Click here to read the rest of his post.


I had not see this blog post from Ty before, but it bothered me, so I did a little research. Luckily, I keep copies of virtually every article that has ever been posted to the site... or at least the ones that I edited, but that's most of them. I do have a copy of Ty's Baten Kaitos impressions that have been edited and look like the ones now on our site. However, I don't have the original version, and Ty had a tendency to submit articles in plain text rather than in Word format, so the changes could not be tracked. Therefore, I can't say which parts were in the original version and which were changed heavily in editing -- and Ty did not post the entire original article on the blog.

What I can say is that, like our reviews, impressions and all other types of articles that go through our editing process are returned to the author so that he or she can review all changes and suggestions and post the article only when he or she is satisfied with it. There are exceptions to this rule but only with the author's prior consent, e.g. "I'm in a hurry, so just post this for me unless it has major problems." So if Ty had a problem with what was done to his article by the editor, he should have said something and started a discussion at that time.

There's always regrets that writers develop, I'm sure... "what ifs" that pop up. But the end result was plenty critical as it was, I don't think anyone was done a disservice by it.

PlugabugzDecember 02, 2007

It's better to be critical on something and stand by what you say (regardless of the amount of stones, or crocodiles in kairon's case, you'll have thrown at you) than back down and start bending over backwards because someone cried foul about it.

Saturn2888December 15, 2007

The reason I'm gonna write in is to say that I think NWR is the only website to ever have multiple reviews of the same piece of software. While the amount of multi-reviews have been waning recently, that's probably because there are a ton more games coming out and that the staff seems to agree more (because Bloodworth is gone :P). Either way, I site that as my most memorable part of when I'd look at GameCube and GBA games years back.

Must...find time...to do a third...review...of Zelda:PH...GAH!

UERDDecember 15, 2007

It seems like being at the mercy of the game titans is an unavoidable evil in this particular industry. Getting even one of the 'Big 3' (Sony et al) upset at you could seriously ruin your coverage- but what are you going to do about it? If the industry were full of tiny companies (relative to the size of the industry), you'd have the reasonable ability to resist the temptation of outside influence, but that's not the case here.

However, it also seems that NWR is too small and 'under the radar' for the big companies to care all that much about negative reviews. The site is staffed by highly dedicated volunteers and is not exactly a moneymaking enterprise in the same vein as Gamespot or any of the larger VG sites. And I think that's a really good thing. Nintendo or any other company really has no incentive to cow the site to artificially boost ratings or rankings, and we get high-quality, pretty well unbiased coverage.

This brings me to the third point. Baten Kaitos was a pretty craptacular game, looking back. I thought the sequel (Origins) was much, much better in most respects, which makes it 'on-the-par' for an average JRPG (although most people probably thought it was crappy as well). But Baten Kaitos was a low-profile game that wasn't heavily advertised and wasn't really expected to sell very well- which leads one to ask: were the impressions changed at the behest of a publisher, or were they changed to conform to an industry convention (positive impressions)? If it's the former, there really might be something to worry about.

I don't know any of the specifics, but my guess is that impressions should ere on the side of caution. It's an impression, not a review, and the game is a work in progress, not in a shape meant for purchase. To point out its failings too harshly would be pointless since things may change in the future, and to give these impressions an air of finality would be a disservice since you typically don't have enough time in a hands-on trying-the-game-out to form a substantive opinion one way or the other. I'd guess, out of the blue, that the impression was edited to put it more in line with an actual impression than as something more final.

Got a news tip? Send it in!
Advertisement
Advertisement