Recently several news outlets have delayed reviews of Killzone 2 because they were given review code and not final code and because the multiplayer features are difficult to test. Reportedly the code submitted to outlets for review was older and had bugs which were removed from the retail version. This raises some interesting issues.
If a publisher submits pre-release code for review then they must have a certain amount of faith in the product. Still it’s somewhat unreasonable to review admittedly un-finalized code as a finished product. It’s also unreasonable to presume that all of the admitted bugs have actually been fixed. The question here is one of editorial policy: Do you take the publisher/developer’s word at face value? Do you preface your review with a note about pre-release code and review the code as is? Do you just wait and review the retail version?
There are legitimate arguments to be made for every option. The ultimate issue is that whatever policy a publication decides to use, they have to use it across the board. If you wait for a retail copy of Killzone 2 then you have to wait for a retail copy of Halo: ODST or any other game. At the same time if you notify your readers of pre-release code in one review, you must do it in all reviews.