It's important for any reviewer to do the following:
1) Get the game on the table and play
2) Remember that any game, no matter the system, is only as good as its players and DM
3) Speaking to D&D specifically: Remember that 1st edition players hated 2nd edition and 2nd edition players thought 3rd edition's skill system killed roleplaying.
I'm an old school, Fighting Man, white box gamer from 1978 and have seen the industry wax and wane over the decades. In many ways, I felt the same way about v3.0 back in 2000 as I did about my first look at 4th. A friend brought a copy of the 3rd ed Player's Handbook to a LARP I was running back in the day. I took one flip through and handed it back scoffing, "This isn't D&D."