In my long career in retail, I find that I am passionate in recommending things to customers based on their personal tastes. This is the thing that I love most when working at a game store; I get a chance to ask questions, get an idea as to what the customer wants, and, based on their input, offer something that they may potentially like and, often, would not have picked up otherwise. One of my favorite experiences involved me recommending a game called "Metro: 2033" to a gentleman who, later on, came back ecstatic that they gave it a shot.
With that in mind, I would groan when I'd have a customer walk in, either a month before the game launched or within the launch week, and tell me why the latest release was garbage. Of course, 9 times out of 10 this person had no experience with the game itself, having never bought, borrowed, or demoed the game beforehand. They would quote what they read in a magazine or on a website as if it was their own thought, explaining why the game mechanics were terrible or that the story was lacking...none of these things being from their own time spent.
This has really turned me off from game reviews in general, especially when it's right before a game launches. Now, the reviewer usually has access to a completed copy of an upcoming game and has spent some time with it before writing their review, so I'm not going to go so far as to claim they don't know what they're talking about (otherwise they wouldn't be at their job, right?) What I will say, however, is that I feel that reviews for A list titles are pushed out entirely too soon.
Take Tom Clancy's The Division, for example. The IGN review was published a week after launch, and, while it gave it a fair rating by my standards, I felt didn't give the game a fair chance. A couple of things I felt that it missed the point on were the end game content, how the Dark Zone works, and how character stats work. Some of these things alluded me until my second or third week with the game, honestly, and I'm glad that I've invested the time to understand it better.
If, say, I was an overanxious gamer and wanted to know immediately if the newest game is going to be worth my $60, I'd be all about listening or reading reviews that rapidly. I personally fall into the category of overanxious gamer (DARK SOULS 3 IN 1 WEEK!!!) but I try my best to avoid reading my latest Game Informer or browsing the web for a podcast. There's something to be said about giving a game a fair shot, which means that you, the gamer, must be willing to invest both money and time into a game and come up with your own conclusions. Was the Dark Zone in The Division really only for end game players, or was the reviewer focused on the PVE part until then? Should I judge a game's end content just on the package delivered at launch, or do I keep open minded as new missions are released and judge then? Are the stats for characters really confusing, or have I spent some time playing with the mechanics?
This is just an example from a recent title. Game reviewers are quick to either praise or shun new games, and I feel that hurts the industry as a whole. On the side of praise, a reviewer can give an excellent review to a game that, they initially thought, was absolutely amazing...only to find that it falls short on promises made a week or two later. On the shun side, you have a reviewer telling you things like, "lack of content," and, later on, having their foot in their mouth because the developer gave out new missions (for example.)
What I'm trying to say is this; if a game looks like something you may be mildly interested in, give it a shot! No, you don't have to spend $60 to find out if you'll like a game or not; go and rent a copy from that big ugly box thing outside of your local gas station or invest in a rental subscription of some type. But, please, take the time and come up with your own opinions.