Whether you like it or not, the Steam Review system plays an important role in the success of any game on Steam. Unfortunately for us all, it is also a system that is incredibly open towards abuse and 'joke reviews' that add absolutely nothing of consequence, and yet constantly hog the top position due to their brevity. Thankfully, Valve is well aware of these issues as they have just recently added a couple of new and highly requested features to the Steam Review system.
The first of these new features is the ability to separate reviews based on purchase type. In other words, the ability to only read reviews from people that purchased the game directly from Steam, rather than from other third party websites or developer giveaways. This change will not affect a game's overall score as that was always based only on customers that purchased it via Steam, but it does give you the means to focus only on the reviews you might be interested in.
The second, albeit minor change relates to the 'Mixed' rating games receive when their reviews are... well, mixed. Previously this score was a rather ominous shade of red, which more often than not pointed towards the game being absolutely terrible, rather than somewhat flawed. After this update it is now a yellowish/tan color which better represents its status as an enjoyable, but still rather flawed game. This really isn't a massive change, but I have a feeling its going to have a rather massive impact when it comes to the amount of 'Mixed' games being sold on Steam. First impressions mean everything!
That is it as far the current changes go, but Valve has also announced an important update for the 'helpful review' tag. For those of you that might not frequent Steam very often, the 'helpful reviews' are currently mostly dominated by reviews that got popular first, as well as joke reviews that are short enough to catch people's attention. While this might not sound like a big issue, they are often inadequate at telling you how good the game is in its current state given that they have been written months beforehand and pretty much never updated. With Valve's upcoming 'patch' the system will start considering a few additional factors when it comes to choosing the most helpful reviews, so we should be able to more consistently see only the best rise to the very top.
What exactly these changes will be, nobody currently knows, but there is going to be an open beta in the near future. So if you feel like testing out the brand new Steam Review system makes sure to keep your eyes peeled as you can never really tell what 'soon' means with Valve. It could be next week, or at some point in the next millennium!