It must have been nice to be a game reviewer over that time. Free copies of games landing on the office mat, or download codes in their inbox, ready for them to blast through them in a matter of days (sometimes less) in order to tell us, the ordinary folk whether the experience will be worth our hard earned cash. And yes, I've often used a review to help influence my decision as to whether to invest in a new game or not.
But as ordinary folk, the way we receive games is much different. It is our hard earned cash after all, and we're not always able to buy all the AAA releases we desire. So we make a reasonably informed decision. And we live with it. We don't blast through a title in a couple of days (unless it's the most recent generic fps with a story span of 1 and a half hours). We get to savour the experience, coming back to it time and time again, sometimes with massive intervals between gaming sessions. Longevity then is important in our decision, maybe wanting the most for our money in a game that spans months on end; or maybe craving something shorter so that we may finally be able to see a game's epic conclusion before someone inevitably spoils it for us.
So for me, as an ordinary Joe (well, ish), I want different things to more or less everyone else in my games, so that they meet my specific needs, just as the rest of you will want something different to me. And whilst it's ace reading an informed all encompassing review of a title, a game may be technically bad but still immensely enjoyable for me, whilst a game that ticks all the technical boxes may be downright dull.
For me then, these are the games that have ticked my boxes; they've been enjoyable for me for different reasons, and I've stuck with them and drained every last tax deductible penny that went into buying them from them. For me, they have had the most value.