What review sites do you go to? Destuctoid, Gametrailers, IGN, Gamesotp, Eurogamer, Gameinformer, Polygon and so on are all paid just like Gamestop/IGN is paid.
So, before a review can be taken seriously (for me), I have to first have to establish its on a website that isn't bought out, then have to establish that the person reviewing it doesn't have a history of getting paid for his reviews, then have to establish that the person playing it doesn't just straight up suck at the game or has a bias against (or for) it. I'd rather just look at a YouTube video, see if the gameplay looks interesting, then pick it up and see for myself.
Anyways, basically the point is reviews said Knack isn't that good of a game, I decided for myself that it looks interesting and then bought it, and so far it's the best game I've played on PS4.
If you like reviews or trust them or whatever that is fine, you are certainly not the only one.
I use Forums, Blogs, User Reviews, and more.
Off the top of my head i can think of
Youchew, Cheatmasters, Blastoutyourstereo, PlaystationOfficalMagazine, EdgeMagazineUK, Gameplanet, GodIsAGeek, ArcadeSushi, DarkStation, Worthplaying, DigitalSpy, Metacritic and many more.
I also use GOOGLE to find random blogs, Real People opinions/reviews
, Random Reviews.
I use Youtube to look at Gameplay footage.
I make sure to find Reviews of the person playing the game while talking about it.
And i use my common sense to weed out useless reviews.
Maybe if i was rich i could get away with playing every game out there but i am not rich. Id rather not spend 60$ on an average/bad game. If the gameplay looks interesting to me i might go to redbox and rent it for a couple of days and see if its a good game in spite of the opinions iv read on the net. Most of the time its not. I actually cant think of in recent memory where a game was getting majorly blasted and when i played it i liked it. Usually i can see what most people are talking about.
Both IGN and Gamespot also have user reviews and forums. Iv not been contacted by a company that they are going to pay me to give a positive review after i posted something negative and the user reviews iv posted have not been erased. So id say those are safe.
And can i ask you which Companies are buying which websites in their favor???
And a side question
You said Knack is the best PS4 game youv played yet and that you would have missed out on it if you cared about reviews. Can i ask you how many PS4 games you currently own???
And iv seen reviews from people who enjoy Knack. And they point out if you like that style of gaming and dont care too much about graphics or a huge array of moves that you should still buy Knack and you can have alot of fun with it. So i dont believe that if you listened to those reviewers you would have missed out on a "Great Experience". I think if you did more research then just IGN or Gamespot that you would have found yourself in the category of the people who positively score the "Gameplay" experience and you still could have bought the game. Thats why reading lots of reviews from normal people is important. They dont lower the games score because the graphics arnt great or the game does not have more then 3 skills. They grade it mostly by how much fun they had playing.