Back when I was in my prime - not the calcified husk that I am today, trading on past glories and begging for some sort of validation - we knew what to think, we knew what to believe. The games magazines told us.
They were the sole authority on whether a game was good or bad. We believed them, and - for the most part - there was usually a consensus. One that we all bought into.
Nowadays, it's all... Halo 5 is great. Halo 5 is rubbish. Call of Duty Black Ops 3 is great. Call of Duty Black Ops 3 is rubbish. Assassin's Creed Syndicate is... well, you get the idea.
I don't think I've ever seen quite such a spread of differing opinions as there has been over the recent clutch of blockbuster games, but it seems to be the way gaming commentary is going. There are more voices on offer, a sweaty abundance of independent opinions, and more in-depth analysis of games than there ever has been before. It's inevitable that not everyone is going to agree.
And that is an awesome thing.
Seemingly, nobody can agree on which games are great, and which games are rubbish. Is Fallout 4 a bug-ridden mess that renders it unplayable? Or are the bugs easy to overlook, along with the terrible character models, and woefully traditional RPG structure?
Is Call of Duty Black Ops III a "a limp amalgamation of Deus Ex, Crysis, and BioShock" - as Jim Sterling claims? Or is it "the biggest and most feature-packed game we've seen out of the series yet" as IGN would have it?
Fact is, it's both of those things, depending on who you are.
Something that I have sensed from the recent releases of Fallout 4 and Halo 5 is just how loved these big franchises are. Halo and Fallout in particular seem to have a properly fanatical following, and the fans do seem prepared to ignore faults with those games, just to get a fix of something they love. And that's absolutely fine.
Just because I think they were both alright, rather than stone-cold classics, doesn't make anyone wrong. It just means I have a different opinion to you.
It's healthy. You have a different opinion to everyone else you know. So long as we listen to those opinions, and own what we actually want, we're never going to be disappointed.
Ultimately, this brave new world of fragmented opinions reveals a truth that was always there: games reviews are mostly completely pointless.
Alright... games reviews aren't as pointless as music reviews, or food reviews (I'd give broccoli 13%, but my other half would probably rate it 95%) .. but they're still pretty pointless.
How do you tell someone they're wrong about their own likes and dislikes, about what they're prepared to overlook, or not? About their own tastes in stories, or settings, or gameplay? About whatever it is that makes them like, or dislike, whatever they like? If you tell them - without room for manoeuvre - that they're wrong, then you're telling them that they're wrong as a person. Which makes you wrong as a person.
We're all wired up in a unique way. I'm always going to favour a game that's pretty - because I've got a fairly strong visual sense - over one that has functional graphics. I don't enjoy games that scatter a load of statistics and numbers in the path to me enjoying action, or exploring an environment, because numbers terrify me, and I'm an impatient sod, with an over-clocked brain.
All a review can ever be - unless the reviews have been bought with PR trips, gifts and advertiser pressure - is one person's subjective opinion. If a reviewer isn't listening to their own subjective opinion - trying to listen to some external voice, or succumbing to pressure - then their work is worthless. Reviews have to come from a personal place, have to be of the person writing them, or there's no point.
All you can ever truly trust at the end of the day is your own sense (Halo 5 is still shit, though, and that's fact).