Superfan Reviews - the comical, the sad, and the downright complexing

April 22, 2020

As users of Steam, we all do it. We peruse the gazillion amount of games in the catalog and a game catches our interest. Once you've seen the trailer, read the description, you then want to read the reviews. You've already seen that most of the reviews are positive, but you soon drill down to the negative ones to see what is actually wrong with the game.

A couple of hours played here, a few hours played there, some of the reviews are just plain straight to the point. "Boring". "I tried it, didn't like it." Fair enough - the player tried it, some even gave the game a far shot, but in the end, they decided its not worth your few hours.

But what about those reviews where the player has sunk hundreds, even THOUSANDS, into a game, and still marks it as "Not Recommended"? Even better are the reviews that have dedicated the equivalent of a whole month and perhaps even received the game for free, and still gives the game a thumbs down? What's up with that? Surely there must be a very, very serious reason why you wouldn't recommend a game after all of that gameplay you got out of it?

Cue Superfan Reviews:

Superfan Reviews was created to highlight those "Not Recommended" reviews which provide little to no constructive criticism for a game, even after the player has invested a heavy amount of time to it. As you can see above, some of the reviews leave much to question. Investing 1061 hours into a game when it stopped being fun 1056 hours ago, but carried on playing for another 398 hours? How very perplexing indeed.

But why highlight these kinds of reviews? From what I've learnt from developers, Steam Reviews are vital to being seen on Steam. Given the number of games on there (with quite a sizeable amount being absolute junk), for independent studios it can be the difference between make and break. But when a player feels that they can't recommend a game, even after playing it for hundreds of hours, surely they must have enjoyed it at least at some point, so where was the point where they decided they needed to say to the world "No, don't play this game"? Developers are keen to know why someone won't recommend their game. And some reviews...just don't quite provide that level of information.

Some are just downright comical.

A few of them are quite blunt and straight to the point.

While others leave you scratching your head and asking, seriously?

Note: though some have argued on that last one that yes, perhaps that is playing 'a little' of Stellaris 😀

We live in a world where we are free to voice our opinion on a product sold to us by a company. But developers work hard to make a game they not only love, but they hope you will love to. If there's something bad to say about a game, you have to say it. But when you've played it for so many hours, what is it exactly? Is it the game the player is disappointed with, or is that the player is disappointed about how many hours they've invested in it? Or is leaving a review like that 'just for bants'?

It's not that players are not allowed to leave "Not Recommended" after so many hours. I've come across quite a few that actually, you can see their point, but only when the player actually goes into detail into why they left a negative review. That's helpful stuff. And because we live in a world where games can be updated any time, developers today can analyse these reviews, identify trends, and work towards fixing these issues, be it about the game, or even the developers themselves. After all, developers are keen to here from the most dedicated of players of their game, but not when your review looks like this:

Steam reviews are essential for buyers to make sound choices when purchasing games. One of the main aims of Superfan Reviews is to highlight those reviews that offer the least amount of helpful criticism, in the hope that others will, should they feel they need to leave a negative review, at least provide some helpful criticism so that developers can work towards making a game better, all in a light hearted, slightly humorous way.

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