Has video game reviewing become an impossible task?

With Fallout 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops III and Star Wars Battlefront drawing lukewarm reactions, what is the critic’s role in the age of patches and updates?

Long books, when read, are usually overpraised, because the reader wishes to convince others and himself that he has not wasted his time.”
E.M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel

This month we have managed to shock a few readers by giving four of the year’s biggest releases – Fallout 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Star Wars: Battlefront and Rise of the Tomb Raider – three stars out of five. All are decent in a lot of ways, all have intriguing ideas and look beautiful – but each of them is lacking in fundamental areas, whether that’s about original content, the depth of the mechanics, or basic functionality. Three stars, though, means they’re fundamentally good games. Three stars does not mean we’re haters.

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YouTube Kids app criticised over ‘junk food’ marketing videos

US-based groups want regulators to broaden their investigation of children’s app after finding videos for Coca-Cola, Oreos and other products

The YouTube Kids app is supposed to make watching YouTube videos a more child-friendly experience, but two US campaigning groups claim that it is not filtering out promotional videos for “junk food”.

Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) have filed new complaints with regulator the Federal Trade Commission, following objections lodged in April when YouTube Kids launched in the US.

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Beeline cycling navigation device review: stress-free fun for explorers

Sitting on your handlebars and always pointing you towards your destination, the Beeline is more like a magic compass rather than a satnav

This review was conducted with an early-stage prototype of the Beeline, powered by an arduino board. The final hardware and app due to ship in August 2016 will look different.

The Beeline is a cycle navigation device that dumps your usual turn-by-turn directions for an arrow that always points you in the right direction.

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Google ‘bug’ buries competitors Yelp and TripAdvisor

The search firm is fixing the issues which led to rivals being hidden in the results, it says

Google has claimed that a change to its search rankings that pushed rivals TripAdvisor and Yelp far down the search results is due to a bug, which it is working to fix.

Over the weekend, executives from the two companies complained on Twitter that a search for locations prioritised Google’s own local search – even when the query explicitly mentioned a rival company.

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Mail Online misses £80m revenue target

Daily Mail & General Trust reports decline in print advertising of 12% in second six months of last financial year as online operation posts annual growth of 18%

Mail Online has missed its target of making £80m in revenue this year as annual digital advertising growth slowed to 18% and the Mail’s combined print and digital operation saw double-digit profit increase.

Mail Online made £73m in revenues in the year to the end of September, reporting an annual growth rate of 18%, down on the 41% reported in parent company Daily Mail & General Trust’s full year results last year.

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Man says he invented ‘Phuc Dat Bich’ hoax to fool news media and Facebook

Claims that Vietnamese man with an Australian passport in the name ‘Phuc Dat Bich’ had been discriminated against by Facebook were false

A man whose claim that Facebook discriminated against him because of his name was reported around the world has announced that it was a hoax.

In January, a man posted to Facebook a screenshot of an Australian passport that appeared to show his full legal name was Phuc Dat Bich, claiming that he had been accused of “using a false and misleading name” and had his account shut down multiple times.

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