We didn't love EVE Online when it released in 2003. It's "a beautiful universe with a sophisticated interface," we said, "but it's essentially a desolate wilderness of constellations, space debris, and guesses." Our score was 55%.
Today, we have a writer entrenched (opens in new tab) in EVE Online's vibrant game of intrigue, charting tremendous battles and betrayals, writing stories about graveyards (opens in new tab) (hardly just 'space debris') and good Samaritans and unrepentant scammers. The cobweb of factions and figures that occupy EVE's constellations wasn't well-established in 2003, and neither were the many updates CCP has released for the space MMO over the past 15 years. It's not the same game it was, and so we're going to do something we've never done before: review it again. We'll be doing the same for several other living, always-changing games, including Dota 2, LoL, Path of Exile, and Hearthstone, over the course of a couple weeks. (Update: Check out our new EVE Online review here (opens in new tab).)
This may come as a surprise, because it is not and has never been PC Gamer's policy to revise reviews. We review games as they are when they release (give or take whatever last-minute patches are issued before we publish), and once we hit the button our score stands. If a game improves significantly in the months or years after it releases, we cover those improvements in news stories, columns, and features, but we don't change the text or score of a review. If a game is modified and re-released, as Final Fantasy XIV was with A Realm Reborn, we may review that new version. We also review major expansions when we see fit. But those reviews, too, are bound to when they were written, and our scores are final.
That policy isn't really changing now. We're not going to start bumping scores up and down days or weeks after we publish a review, responding to every patch as if it's a turn on a score dial. Basically, we thought it'd be interesting to revisit a handful of big PC games that've changed a lot over the past few years. Part of the purpose here is to inform folks who've never played these games, or folks who stepped away from them sometime along the way.
We feel that these already-reviewed games are so distinct from their original forms that they can be considered just as 'new' as some of the re-releases and remasters and do-overs (opens in new tab) we review without question. What used to be called a 'sequel' or 'expansion' or 'remaster' is now often a gradual, fluid movement in which games like EVE, and Dota 2, and League of Legends grow and change with big and small updates that pile up until they're substantially different from what they once were.
After this, re-reviews will not be everyday events on PC Gamer. For some games, such as World of Warcraft, we'll continue reviewing each expansion individually rather than re-reviewing the whole thing. Others games may not warrant a full re-review in our view, so we'll continue to cover them in other ways—a new review of Rocket League, for instance, probably wouldn't be all that different from our existing review. There's no objective, one-size-fits-all formula that works for every game.
If you're already a player of any of the games we're re-reviewing, this is an opportunity to join us in discussing what they are now after all the ups and downs you've journeyed through since they released. And if you're curious about any of these games, these new reviews will provide up-to-date assessments, more useful than our original reviews as you decide what to play today. That said, our old reviews will stay put—if they've already been published online, we won't remove them—as records of how we felt when these games first released, so that you can compare and contrast them with our up-to-date reviews.
If you like the idea of reappraising popular, ever-changing games with new reviews, let us know in the comments which games you think deserve the same treatment.