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Who makes the best reviews in your experience?

CapnRex101CapnRex101 United KingdomAdministrator Posts: 2,272
edited January 2012 in Brickset.com
I was just wondering who you all think does the best reviews here on Brickset? Are there any profile pages which you frequently check for new reviews?
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Comments

  • mr_bennmr_benn United KingdomMember Posts: 834
    Actually, I tend to go to Eurobricks for reviews - they have quite a strict quality control policy on their reviews which means that they are, on the whole, rather good!
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,266
    ^ So much so, in fact, that where possible we link to the relevant Eurobricks reviews from the Brickset set pages
  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 United KingdomAdministrator Posts: 2,272
    Eurobricks reviews are often more in depth than reviews on Brickset, but which reviewers are good here on in your opinion?
  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 United KingdomAdministrator Posts: 2,272
    *on here ^
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ NZMember Posts: 4,179
    Short, to the point reviews are what I'm looking for, but I find that the short reviews tend to be low quality (i.e. I dont trust their opinion) and the quality ones tend to be too long (I find myself thinking 'get to the point').

    It would be nice if there were more editorial, e.g. some kind of 'star' reviews, so that (like a magazine) you know its by someone you can trust, also you can get to know the authors you most gel with.
  • bluemoosebluemoose Member Posts: 1,716
    edited January 2012
    Check out the 'top reviewers' list ...
    http://www.brickset.com/reviews/topReviewers/
    ... which is based on how highly rated their reviews are. Top reviewers get a 'gold', 'silver' or 'bronze' badge.
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ NZMember Posts: 4,179
    A useful list, thanks.

    Personally I take the ratings with a pinch of salt - I see some great reviews marked badly, and not so great reviews marked well. I think people must have widely differing expectations about what they expect from a review, and so the ratings seem less reliable as a measure of quality than they are on, say, amazon.
  • bluemoosebluemoose Member Posts: 1,716
    ^ a lot of people tend to down-rate reviews that they disagree with, rather than because they are bad reviews. But aggregated up, across lots of ratings, the good reviews (and reviewers) tend to float to the top ... IMO of course :-)
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,266
    edited January 2012
    Well, since you're asking, IMHO reviewers can be prolific, and they also can be pretty terrible by virtue of terrible grammar or not having anything very interesting or insightful to say, but I'm not sure there's such thing as a "good" reviewer. We're all looking for something different out of a review, as evidenced by Si's comments above, and as such we'll all individually judge reviews on that basis.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,458
    edited January 2012
    Actually, I tend to go to Eurobricks for reviews - they have quite a strict quality control policy on their reviews which means that they are, on the whole, rather good!
    EB reviews, on the whole, tend to be little more than a collection of images and a single statement under each. Take this recent one as an example: http://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=63936

    I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with them, because they are useful, but they aren't really reviews, are they: the reviewer's views are normally absent or brief.

    I know a picture paints a thousand words, but sometimes it's nice to read something more detailed and subjective, like this review, by none other than CapnRex101, for the same set: http://www.brickset.com/reviews/?ID=42352.

  • Lego_Lord_MayorcaLego_Lord_Mayorca H-Town, USAMember Posts: 523
    I agree with @Huw and I would even go so far as to say that EB reviews often reek of too much ebullient adoration and "gushing", often for minor aspects of the sets (like some random piece in a different color...like that really makes or break a set). That's why I like reading reviews here on Brickset by the members. The format, while prone to allowing people to post short and often under-detailed reviews, also lets people channel their likes and dislikes more concretely than easily falling back on pictures. But that's just me. I just appreciate a critical eye every now and then.
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    man, I need to get caught up on review writing, which I did diligently when I first joined here. I have dozens of sets I need to review. I'm just a bronze reviewer right now - time to get busy!
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,768
    since I get the feeling this is what CapnRex101 wants to hear Im gonna say it. CapnRex101 is an amazing reviewer woo, go him, if i can only be him when i grow up etc etc etc
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,768
    The way I look at it is this: does anyone care what I think about a set; no. Do I care what anyone else things about a set; no. Thus never pay attention to reviews unless its on the brickset front page
  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 United KingdomAdministrator Posts: 2,272
    @Redbullgivesuwind - Actually, I was only interested in what other people thought made a good review and who they thought made good reviews, I was not fishing for compliments from anyone. If people want to say, 'CapnRex101 is a good reviewer', then that's great, but I am not just looking for people to compliment me.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,458
    ^^ So you value my opinion but nobody else's? :-)

  • TechnicNickTechnicNick Berkshire, UKMember Posts: 277
    When I'm undecided about whether to buy a set I read the reviews on here - that helps me decide and that, Redbullgivesyouwind, is what they are for.
  • mr_bennmr_benn United KingdomMember Posts: 834
    I do maintain my stance of liking the Eurobricks reviews. As you said, a picture does indeed speak a thousand words - if the pictures are good enough you can really see what goes into a set and the detail provided - the new Friends reviews as currently listed on the front page have all been very informative. EB is more of a MOC-y sort of site compared to the collector-focus of Brickset so that's probably why people get a little bit more excited about new pieces there!
  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 United KingdomAdministrator Posts: 2,272
    I absolutely agree with TechnicNick, if someone is not sure about whether to buy a set, you look at reviews of it and decide based on that.
  • ErnstErnst Member Posts: 133
    edited January 2012
    I think the question should have been : what makes a review good or usefull instead of who.
  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 United KingdomAdministrator Posts: 2,272
    @Ernst - That is another discussion I just opened a few minutes ago! But on this discussion, the question is: Who is your favourite reviewer?
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,768
    @TechnicNick I'm gonna buy the set anyway so does it really help that much? No. I think its the same for most people here. So think them pointless. Like people who comment on youtube videos.

    @Huw no was just saying that so not to get completely kicked off the site for my sarcasm. I think they are more useful than some kid telling me its great.

    @CapnRex101 yeah but you were hoping for it to bee said :-D
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    EB reviews, on the whole, tend to be little more than a collection of images and a single statement under each. Take this recent one as an example: http://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=63936
    Couldn't agree more. I always found EB's reviews to be immature, unprofessional and lacking in content.

  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 United KingdomAdministrator Posts: 2,272
    @Redbullgivesyouwinds - Well it is nice to hear people say they like your reviews but I was actually hoping for people to point out good reviewers so that I (and everyone else) could read their reviews and learn from them.

    Also in response to your comment to Huw, reviews from younger Brickset members are useful for finding out what children think of them and that can help parents to select presents etc. If you don't like them, don't read them...
  • ErnstErnst Member Posts: 133
    edited January 2012
    @Ernst - But on this discussion, the question is: Who is your favourite reviewer?
    None, I look for the specific set and than read the content of the reviews and filter what I consider usefull information. I don't look at names only sometimes the type of reviewer (AFOL, TFOL etc)

  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 United KingdomAdministrator Posts: 2,272
    @Ernst - Good policy :)
  • andheandhe UKMember Posts: 2,768
    edited January 2012
    I'd rather look at pictures and make up my own mind than trawl through someone else's opinion which will be skewed as to their personal likes/dislikes.

    Some of the EB reviews are poor (mainly in terms of photography) in the reviewers rush to be 'first', but most suit me fine. I'd forgotten about the reviews on brickset other than the front-pagers if I'm honest...
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    I'd rather look at pictures and make up my own mind than trawl through someone else's opinion which will be skewed as to their personal likes/dislikes.
    Pictures are fine but that's not a review. The pictures can be uploaded to a Flickr account without the cursory sentence and still provide the exact same amount of useful information. A review should contain more than that or what's the point?

  • trickydicky0880trickydicky0880 Member Posts: 134
    I disagree with Redbullgivesuwind when it comes to reviews being pointless. I really do think that they help. Do I care who writes them? No, not at all. Do I look for a specific reviewer when reading reviews? No, not at all. If I'm really interested in a set, I'm going to read all the reviews for that set no matter who it is. There are a few things that can turn me off to a review such as misspelling, bad grammar, non interesting comments (such as, "I can't believe it has stupid stickers! Get over it already.)

    I do have to agree with Redbullgivesuwind though when it comes to the part that this topic appears as if someone is looking for a pat on the back for how many reviews they've written or how they've written them. Sorry, I'm just putting out my opinion. I don't care who's written them, I just want to know if it's a good set or not.
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,768
    They are really just someones point of view at the end of the day and I dont think they add anything. if we live our life caring about peoples opinion you would never get up in the morning. Its like films its completely subjective and while the bad ones are funny to listen to or read, it is a personal opinion and do we needed to be subjected to what someone thinks about the set. And before any one pics me up on it there is a difference between a community forum such as this and reviews.

    I do as andhe does look at pictures and decide if it looks good or not.

    While there are bad adult reviewers most of them are KFOLS and TOLFS with terrible punctuation and even worse grammar. Hell I can show you reviews I wrote as a teenager and you will as I do want to kill yourself.
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 809
    edited January 2012
    I find myself thinking 'get to the point'.
    Honestly, I'm not sure I've ever read a review here where I wasn't thinking this. Generally speaking, I like review statistics, but hate textural reviews because they're largely subjective content that I may or may not agree with, and therefore aren't useful to me.

    I want to know the facts, and JUST the facts, ma'am. You can skip the whole "I liked this set" or "these minifigs are great" opinions. I don't really care what you think as a reviewer. I *DO* want to know things like "the door has a tendency to open by itself", or "the model is extremely fragile".

    For example, the review that Huw posted earlier:
    http://www.brickset.com/reviews/?ID=42352

    It's filled with subjective opinion that I couldn't care less for. It also goes into detail about facts that I don't need. It talks about:

    - box and instruction design, which I don't care about, unless it's truly noteworthy
    - no mistakes found in the instructions (I don't care if there aren't any mistakes, but I might care if there are large mistakes)
    - individual minifigures which I can already see in pictures (and if I couldn't, pictures would be far better than descriptions)
    - the build time (I can infer this pretty easily from the piece count)

    I think if I had to edit the review into something I wouldn't mind reading, it might look like this:

    Rating: 10/10

    There are quite a few new parts in this set, the new helmet, Pauldron and Kama, and the new Commando Droid head.

    The new fabric Kama allows the figures to sit down easily and means the legs can be put in a running pose.

    The trooper's brick-built backpack fits behind his back without interfering with the Pauldron.

    There is a translucent cylinder piece supporting the cannon from below which is not needed as the cannon stands well on its four legs.
    That's roughly a 91% reduction in length, and even then, I might edit some of that down if I were writing it myself.

    When it comes to opinions, I might like to know your opinion, but I don't want to spend gobs of time trying to absorb it by reading your writing and inferring your assessment of quality from your writing style. If you want to tell me your opinion, I like numbers. Tell me the overall rating, or the quality of the piece selection, or what-have-you. Give me an x-out-of-10 rating, and you can even break it down by each sub-category if you want. But I want opinions brief, easily skippable, and easy to absorb.

    DaveE
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    i agree with this. 5 to 6 sub-ratings, which automatically calculate to an overall rating. brief single-line fill in the blanks for noteworthy items (good and bad)
  • tdhbrtdhbr Member Posts: 188
    I would be interested in a format for comparative reviews. Such as Black Pearl vs. Queen Anne's Revenge, or Red Cargo vs. Yellow Cargo trains, etc. While the current single reviews may do a little of that, it's not necessarily in-depth. I expect I'm not alone in that I may be considering getting one of something, when there are two similar choices, and would like to know how they compare/contrast to each other.
  • TheJoker101TheJoker101 Member Posts: 17
    I think you write the best reviews CapnRex101.
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,768
    Cough *fanboy* cough
  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 United KingdomAdministrator Posts: 2,272
    edited August 2012
    ^Sorry about that, I cannot take responsibility for that kind of stuff, I did not make this thread to gather praise at all, just to find out what sort of reviews people were most interested in. I see completely though how one may have misinterpreted the discussion in this way and for that I apologise.
  • JasenJasen Member Posts: 283
    Although they not be considered as reviews as much, I do like brickfanatics.com
    It may be fan-based but it's from the heart (and mostly unpersonally biased) and that is really what matters
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,548
    I tend to take a review on its own merits, sometimes a short snappy review summing up main points is just as useful as an in depth one.

    On a topical point, given the front page news that LEGO has officially announced/recognised it's appreciation/affiliate partnership with brickset (which to my knowledge is unprecidented for a fansite) - are we now to view front page reviews and some news as impartial and still personal decisions by the reviewers/staff, OR are LEGO going to be having an influence (albeit benevolent) on news pieces, or sending sets with the intention of having them reviewed by brickset. I think it's worth asking, just to clear up any confusion.

    If a review is conducted at the bequest/suggestion/gifted/hint of LEGO's wishes, will this be stated at the start? I really don't mind how brickset operates, or how it pays for itself, as it's a great site and resource, but transparency is also important in how to judge a review. After all, parting with our own hard earned cash changes one's feeling about a set, than one we might receive as a gift, or would never have bought at all, this is a key issue when people talk of a sets' value for money in a review.

  • caperberrycaperberry LondonMember Posts: 2,226
    Agreed on EB reviews; many good ones but also many of the type "here's the box, here's the parts, here's the model". I like a lot of humour and, contrary to an earlier comment, thrilled to hear all about how new or rare certain pieces are.

    The filter for K/T/AFOL is great on Brickset, in a dream world you could filter types of reviews according to what you want to know about sets.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,458
    @legomatt, excellent questions. The site is and will remain impartial and LEGO has no influence, and has not asked for influence. Beyond press releases it does not provide anything for the news.

    I've been sent exactly two sets by LEGO and in both cases I've declared that in the reviews:

    - Minecraft (http://www.brickset.com/news/article/?ID=3372)
    - Brand store (http://www.brickset.com/news/article/?ID=3237)

    Everything else I've parted with hard-earned cash for :-)

    I think the only difference between the reviews of those sets and others is that I feel more obliged to take time to do them properly; the fact I've been given them hasn't influenced the content otherwise.

    I would like to think I'll be sent more in the future, but I'm not banking on it!
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,768
    edited August 2012

    ^Sorry about that, I cannot take responsibility for that kind of stuff, I did not make this thread to gather praise at all, just to find out what sort of reviews people were most interested in. I see completely though how one may have misinterpreted the discussion in this way and for that I apologise.

    Ha ha dont worry about it. I'm just winding you and him up. It worked so I take that as a win. :-D. Its nothing personal at all. I do enjoy your reviews....just when there short. Plus the fact that your on the front page reviewing sets with Huw shows your doing something right and there worthy of notice. Film critic as a career choice maybe?
  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 United KingdomAdministrator Posts: 2,272
    @Redbullgivesuwind - I thought it might be something like that :). You may be closer to the truth than you think about the film critic thing as well (failing being a Lego designer of course)!

  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,768
    huh, that's good to hear all though you sound way to optimistic to be a film critic. Im guessing its not a job right now though as id always assumed you were at uni. So aside from the lego reviews I take it your doing some kind of writing.
  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 United KingdomAdministrator Posts: 2,272
    Not at university yet, only just done GCSEs, 5 A*, 6 A, 2 B. Maybe being a film critic I would be less optimistic as I would have no real desire to see the best in what I am reviewing, unlike Lego where given that I have bought the set of course prior to reviewing it, you cannot expect me to really loathe it.
  • LegoDad42LegoDad42 Member Posts: 54
    I love reviews with combinations of pictures, detailed descriptions but also with a pro/con list for quick reading. And then if in the pro/con list there's something that interests me, I can go back and read the detailed description about that area of the build.
    Lately I've been lovin' those morphing builds by ArtiFEX on YouTube. Not so much a review but fun to watch.
    Sometimes in my reviews I put too many pics but still trying to find a way to balance pics and description. I haven't done one in awhile but I always look at the top reviewers to see how they format their reviews.
    Would be cool to have a link to comments on a review. Like if a sharp eyed reader noticed something the reviewer might've missed like if there's a new color for a piece or an all new element that got missed. Or maybe just simply start a thread on the forum and put in a link to their own Brickset review.
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,768
    @CapnRex101 congratulations on your results you must be pleased. Sorry i meant pessimistic just in general (maybe its just my hope as I fall into that camp). The good critics I think are much more balanced in how they see films and then review them. Unless its tripe. I don't think so just because you bought it doesnt mean you have to like it. You need to have bought it to see if its any good first otherwise its not really a review.

    @LegoDad42 completely agree with you except for the comments bit that I think will just get way to messy. Have you seen the state the front page can get in when kids get going.
  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 United KingdomAdministrator Posts: 2,272
    @Redbullgivesuwind - Well I would only buy a set if I thought I would like it, of course I do buy sets which I am disappointed with, but more often than not I find the sets I purchase are good at the very least. I consult textual and video reviews prior to most of my purchases and while my opinions often differ of course, it is a rare occurrence when I simply think 'this set is absolutely terrible, what was that reviewer thinking?'
  • LEGO_HULKLEGO_HULK Member Posts: 20
    I really like the video reviews from the guys at The Brick Show. Some of them are quite comprehensive and sometimes quite entertaining. In the end though, they love LEGO and it shows in their reviews. Eurobricks does have some good reviews though.
  • Lego_Lord_MayorcaLego_Lord_Mayorca H-Town, USAMember Posts: 523
    Since this topic is enjoying a resurrection of sorts, I thought I might be positive and specific this time around and mention who writes the best reviews. His name is one word: Dimensioneer. No, he's not a Brickset member (as far as I know), but in the early days of BZPower, he would write reviews under his real name (Jon) for various BIONICLE sets. The first review of his that I read was for Onua Nuva. I was 13 and away at summer camp, and although I was having a great time, Jon convinced me with the force of a pile-driver that Onua Nuva was going to be a huge step forward in Toa design, while also looking very cool and continuing the grand tradition of mystery surrounding the then-developing BIONICLE mythos. His combination of pictures and words brought the building of the set to life, some times literally. My favorite review of his was for the Rahkshi Vorahk in May 2003. That review transcended mere critical appraisal of a set; his attention to the new parts and features of the Rahkshi approached the level of an artform. Heck, in that review, he had a .GIF file showing how the Rahkshi arms swung back and forth on the gears. Who goes to that level of detail anymore? Needless to say, his review took me from just wanting the Rahkshi sets to needing them in an almost empirical manner.

    Sadly, real life took over, and after his 2004 review of the green Vahki, he stopped contributing reviews to BZPower. Eventually, the site abandoned his format and started the bland, color-by-numbers routine that seems to celebrate more the quirks and silliness of the reviewer than the set itself. No matter how many reviews for Lego sets you have written, you can always take some pointers from Jon. I know I try, but there can only be one Dimensioneer.
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,768
    ^^I think thats how most people purchase there sets. They look at reviews to see if its worth it. Especially with money being as tight as it is at the moment. People are much more wary.

    But being a completionist even if its rubbish I have to have it. Its annoying to the point I threw my toys out the pram over star wars. Ill never own them all. But even though I had to buy it. Ill still pan something. But I think cause I own it I can speak with much more authority on it.
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