Can you review a game if you haven’t completed it?
Yes, at Hard Mode Gamers, reviewers are allowed to write up reviews on games that they have not finished, though there are several caveats to that.
If the game is clearly a short experience, then unfinished is not acceptable. No bull. If the game is medium length, it really depends on the reviewers’ tolerance for the game they are playing. For instance, maybe they are playing a multiplayer game and it’s just riddled with lag and cheaters, there’s no guarantee that playing the game longer will fix that negative experience. Or perhaps the game is really long and it only gets good 25 hours in. That’s a long time to invest in a game and if it’s terrible before you reach that point, it’s acceptable to say that a good experience is not being had.
Conversely, you could also consider that you objectively find the game good but don’t want to play any more of it. Our review of Prey 2017 is a solid example, the game is fundamentally good, but the reviewer just didn’t want to invest in completing it. We frequently use howlongtobeat.com to look at aggregate scores over how long games take to be finished. Also, we account for the time each reviewer has to spend vs how much time they have.
There are tons of games out there that can take quite a while to beat too. Big sandbox games and RPGs come to mind. Ideally, there has to be a point in the game where either you are satisfied with how you feel about the game, be it hate or love. The most important point is the reviewers feel that their review is representative of the experience they had. The mild level of objectively to our review guidelines highlights this.
Many more factors come into play when reviewing a game. What if the game is endless like a puzzle or procedurally generated game? How much multiplayer do you need to play? Our final line is that we make sure our reviewers are well-versed enough into their assigned games to arrive at the conclusions they do. So for now, we allow unfinished reviews. Some time later this may change, but as always, that’s subjective to the gaming climate.