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Title: Internet reviewing climate report.
Posted: November 29, 2007 (10:44 PM)
In light of all of the recent malarky with Jeff Gerstmann and Gamespot, it'd be really easy to just make a disparaging comment about where certain parts of Eidos's anatomy are in relation to certain parts of Gamespot's management, and call it a day. However I like to think I'm classier than that, so instead I'll take a trip up the ranty high road.
For those who don't know, you can pick up the story here
I guess it was inevitable, capitalism being what it is. Advertisers want to protect their investment, and when their hands are so far in your pocket that you have to store your keys somewhere else, there's a certain amount of interest in protecting your own investment. Still, the idea that one can be fired for posting objective content on a site that's supposed to be about objective content is disturbing at the best, and outright infuriating at the worst.
Infuriating indeed. And the most infuriating part of it all is that opinions on the matter are mixed. What could potentially be the death knell of the credibility of online reviews is being obscurred by the cheers of overzealous fanboys. You see, Gerstmann is the one who gave an 8.8 to Twilight Princess. It's an injustice, they cry, he's had this coming for a long time.
Yeah, the injustice isn't that a reviewer was fired for a perfectly decent review on the account of money. It's that he wasn't fired earlier for a different review that they didn't like! And when did 8.8 become such a horrifyingly bad score, anyway? Last time I checked, that's still far above average.
But that's another rant for another time. Right now, it's all rumors, of course. Though it's been all but confirmed that Gerstmann has actually been fired, the reasoning is still 'in question'. But the timing is so suspect that it seems dense to not be skeptical.
And I'm nothing if not skeptical. Is that what the reviewing community has become?
Well, mayhaps not. One of the reasons I stick to this little corner of the net, aside from the fact that I actually like most of the community, is the fact that it seems more...well, honest. Borderline sap aside, I think that the kind of work seen here is what the internet needs at times like this.
Maybe I'm not so much distressed as I am resolved. If Gamespot can't do it right, then someone else has to. And before I turn into a coach giving the boys a halftime pep talk, I'll just say that honesty is important, and it's something we have.
It's something we should hang onto as well.
Note: Edited after cooldown time for general coherence.
Users with accounts on the HonestGamers site are able to contribute reviews and occasionally other types of content. Below, you'll find excerpts from as many as 20 of the most recent articles posted by dragoon_of_infinity. Be sure to leave some feedback if you find anything interesting!
The gimmick is simple. Go to the right and win. You can jump, you can shoot, and you can invert gravity within a certain radius of the character. And that's it. There's no plot or villain, just you, a plasma rifle, and a hellish maze of circular saws, moving platforms, and angry robots.
Game: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 (PlayStation 2)
Posted: January 08, 2011 (10:48 PM)
Think back to a normal day in high school. Specifically, remember the routine. Every day, you wake up, you go to class, eat lunch, take tests, talk to friends, and do the same thing you've done a thousand times in real life. Yet through some trickery, it's actually a great game that excels in taking the mundane and making it exciting.
Nifflas makes a very specific kind of game. You can generally pick them out at a glance, it's the kind of game you can sum up in a single sentence.
Somehow, this deceptively simple fighter with fewer than 10 moves per character has the depth of an ocean. Even the story mode is deceptively complicated, and all the more rewarding for it. Moreover, the combat is complex, and the characters are interesting in battle and out. Blazblue is a fighter of the highest caliber, and a truly rewarding experience.
Game: Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars (Wii)
Posted: February 28, 2010 (07:16 PM)
Capcom has always kind of been the premier name in fighting games thanks to Street Fighter, but I've never thought that was their biggest strength. There are plenty of other games, each with their own merits that make them debatably better or worse. Capcom's real strength instead lies in the one niche of the genre that they have almost completely cornered, the team fighter.
A persistent question throughout both Aion's beta and the early days of live was "Will this game kill WoW?" It popped up in the world chat channel more often than "Can I borrow 10 gold?" That by itself is pretty mind blowing, but really, it's a stupid question. No, Aion is not going to kill World of Warcraft. No game coming out in the foreseeable future is going to knock WoW from its throne, but that's the wrong question to ask anyway. Why should it need to?
It frequently surprises me just how broad the range of concepts are that get made into full fledged games now, especially on the PC. It probably shouldn't anymore, but if I was asked, I would probably list concepts for new games for several hours before getting to 'realistic simulation of the Indian spice trade in 17th century Europe'. And yet none of my ideas are being made and here's a realistic simulation of the Indian spice trade right in front of me.
Game: Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete (PlayStation)
Posted: August 21, 2009 (12:44 AM)
Modern day RPGs could stand to learn something from Lunar, though it's not immediately obvious why. It's a PSX remake of a game with graphics that would be embarrassing on the Super Nintendo, and a battle system that was already standard fare when it originally launched on the Sega CD. What could such an old fashioned title possibly show our modern huge budgeted masterpiece? Well, all that pizzazz aside Lunar is a game that's good for the soul.
Knytt Stories is a little hard to define because it's not technically a game. In actuality, it's a custom made level editor built by freeware genius Nifflas, the guy behind Within a Deep Forest and the original Knytt. He then used that level editor to build a simple story about a girl named Juni, prefacing it with the following:
But anyway, the game is an RTS in the same way that margarine is butter, which is to say it's not, but it looks similar! The overhead camera is old hat to the genre. The piles of units marching together toward their objective is familiar. The hud, with its point-and-click interface and minimap, leaves no doubt. Any given screenshot tells the RTS story, but it's only when you play the game that you realize that something has gone horribly wrong.
Star Ocean: The Last Hope is the type of game that can have you reaching to play it again even though you just beat it a half-hour before, just for the opportunity to rough up some more monsters. The number of RPGs that have that kind of instant gratification is extremely limited, a true testament to the kind of fun you can have only with the likes of Star Ocean: The Last Hope.
Game: Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People Episode 5: 8 Bit is Enough (Miscellaneous)
Posted: March 14, 2009 (11:59 AM)
All in all, it's a pretty great ride, but it's somewhat telling that even Strong Bad seems bored when you go to pick up the metal detector and shovel for the fifth time. There's plenty of more standard and less inventive ambling about which I admit has gotten a little old by the fifth game. The game is still short, and only flirting with the fringes of frustration by the end. Episode 5 is easily the best game in the series, but it's probably a good thing that they're taking a break after this on...
Really, it's just a matter of what you want. Anyone with the right mindset and a pinch of imagination can get swept away in the world of Mount and Blade, and create something that is unique and epic to them. That one aspect, in spite of any of its faults, kept me playing for hours. If you like having your hand held, and being given direction and taken through a story, then the game's not for you.
Game: Ar Tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica (PlayStation 2)
Posted: February 20, 2009 (11:48 AM)
Ar Tonelico 2 took me by surprise. It feels weird to say that given that I played the first one, and I can't really say that the two are all that different. Gust is infamous for making the same game repeatedly but somehow, it just gets better every time. What I expected was a quick cash in, a little game that was thrown out there to make a buck and then fade away. I was right in some ways, but the word 'little' doesn't belong anywhere near a description of this game.
It's not really going to surprise anyone when I make the claim that Sonic Unleashed is a bipolar title. The entire gimmick the game is built around is that half of the levels feature Sonic being the fastest thing alive. The games have always been about breaking the sound-barrier as you scream through cities designed by engineers who think that metal rails should go everywhere, and loop-the-loops are perfectly safe highway features. Nothing has changed in that respect, and it's good.
Game: Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People Episode 4: Dangeresque 3 (Miscellaneous)
Posted: December 26, 2008 (02:00 PM)
From the very beginning, it had to be coming. I knew it, probably everyone who knew of Homestar Runner before the games knew it as well. Dangeresque 3. Those of you who know what that is have probably already skipped the rest of the review to go download the game, because in the annals of Strong Bad history, Dangeresque is legendary.
Everyone knows about Ninjas. Their infamous reputation precedes them everywhere. If you close your eyes, you can probably picture one in your mind. Clad entirely in black, they're a short, round people with no discernible hands or feet. Their society resides in small, colored huts based on their station and they all survive by eating delicious shuriken-cookies, which also double as a form of currency. ...Wait, what?
Flash games have become a kind of champion of lost productivity. Whether using them to milk the clock at work or to avoid that pesky learning thing in school, a massive time sink is perpetually just a click away. Utterly simplistic, these games are generally about the little things. It's not too often that you find anything unique, the real joy is instead in each game's individual quirks.
Game: Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People Episode 3: Baddest of the Bands (Miscellaneous)
Posted: November 09, 2008 (12:42 AM)
It was somewhere around the middle of Baddest of the Bands that it became obvious the series was almost more sitcom than game. At the time, I was attempting to set a car on fire, so that I could take a picture of it for an album cover which I would use to win a contest to recruit celebrity judges. I needed celebrity judges to hold a benefit concert, raising money to repair my video game console. A worthy cause if ever there was one.
Game: Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People Episode 2: Strong Badia the Free (Miscellaneous)
Posted: October 26, 2008 (02:12 PM)
In essence, this game makes the entire first game feel like a lengthy tutorial, familiarizing you with the characters and the locations and the flow of gameplay. It was as much a learning experience for the developers as it was for the player. The game is a step in the right direction, a big one. It's full of hope for the future, bright with the knowledge that Telltale can actually handle the task of creating a compelling episodic series.