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Below, you can see the 20 most recent posts in the forums, starting with the most recent post first and working backwards. Signatures, avatars and other related information have been stripped so that the page will load quickly. Each post contains a link to the thread where it was posted so you can click to see it in its original context.

Thanks for the kind words overall, and congrats to Joe and to Venter on his RotW! It was a pretty packed week of writing, and as Venter said, hope it continues.

Congrats to the winners, a group which include me, so... congratulations to me and to some other people! This was definitely a good week for reviews, and I am pleased to have won again, after such an extended dry spell.

I think everyone who puts together a review and contributes here is a winner, honestly, because not a lot of folks are ready to expend that sort of effort anymore. So many people just make YouTube videos these days, and I appreciate all of you who pitched in to make this a tough week to pull through with a victory. Let's do it all again sometime, everyone!

Not as late as the last guys! Which includes my last RotW, so I probably shouldn't brag too much. Not that a minor quibble like that will stop me from bragging incessantly, but that's life.

We have eight reviews to go through this week, which is a lot. Or maybe not, but I'm in a lazy mood today, so anything over 1.5 would probably be a lot. Anyway, good turnout this week. Apparently the desire to be judged by me is a powerful force. I approve.

THIRD PLACE

Pick's Super Star Path (PC)

Color-matching combined with shmup-ing? Now that's an interesting combination. First, this was a tough week to judge; not only determining who got to place, but where they placed. I'm pretty sure you could get five judges (OR MORE!) and wind up with a different 1-2-3 with each one. There just were a lot of good reviews, all with different strengths. You've been one of the hottest writers as far as winning these things go in recent times and it's really easy to see why. You're just really good at succinctly describing a game without wasting a bunch of words. With a mash-up of two genres such as this game, that attribute serves you well. It was a quick read, but it did a great job of explaining the mechanics and how this game works, as well as the aspects of it that don't really work, as they don't do much more than bloat a pretty short game. Good stuff.

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SECOND PLACE

Joe's Headlander (PC)

Good review of a quirky little game. The best part of this is how you mention it's a Metroidvania, but then do a really good job of highlighting how this game is different than what one might expect from a game given that label. The focus on commandeering robots to get clearance through doors to new places while trying to find creative ways to dispose of your adversaries because simple force isn't that effective much of the time is a pretty neat concept. Add in the sarcastic computer with its bad puns and you did a good job of showing how this game provides entertainment.

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REVIEW OF THE WEEK (aka: Overdrive Place)

Venter's Gal Gun: Double Peace (PlayStation 4)

This is an interesting game, I say in the same tone I'd use while commenting on a weird bump that just sprouted on my neck. I mean, you have to give points for creativity in the premise and all that. The biggest strength of this review could probably best be described as, I don't know, its clarity of purpose? You did a great job of describing to the degree where I got the distinct impression I wouldn't find anything overly interesting about it, but yet I could fully understand why a person would like it. You know, essentially laying out the facts and letting the reader determine if they'd enjoy the game from your words. You did good at that. Congrats and stuff!

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Tune in next week to see what horrible malady or injury EmP will use as his excuse for lateness this time! My money's on "deviated throat", but "bubonic wrist" also is getting a lot of attention.

I never finished Limbo (GASP!). I got quite near the end, but the game felt like it had run out of steam after the giant spider chase cooled off and you were left to fight a dull static factory setting thing instead. Marc said this in a review once - he stole the concept from me. Where was I going with this? Oh, right. Because Limbo was almost very good, I always kept half an eye on what would come next for the developer. Glad I lost track of that one.

Good work, Joe. Props to the gang.

Sorry, I was being extremely vague for kicks and giggles.

I just found out today that the game was out, so I immediately created a topic expressing my surprise. I figured people who were keeping track of the above PR blogs might wanted to know, as well. Just as you made that post, I realized someone could interpret that in a really bad way. xP

My secret plan is to at some point in the future do some additional coding, so that site staff can easily designate blog posts to appear on the site as news and fit in with anything that PR and developers might want to add, using that feature. That way, the stories coming through would be more timely, and that might encourage more participation. It's just that all of these things take time and motivation, and I haven't had as much of either as I would like for the past couple of weeks. I'll try to get at it soon.

J... just saying. >_>

I did notice this when I was editing some of my past reviews a few weeks ago; all of them had been marked as non-exclusive even though many of them were. Changing them all back to exclusive again seemed to fix it though.

That was a glitch I hadn't discovered through my own testing. I recently went through the site and heavily revised a number of key pages, in particular the pages related to review submissions, and somehow a key line got dropped. I've fixed it now, and your review is marked as exclusive. You should be able to change it back and forth whenever you like now, and mark future reviews as exclusive when you are submitting them, but let me know if it doesn't work for you. Also, thanks for continuing to contribute reviews!

I know I haven't submitted a review in a coon's age, but I just noticed that, with the one I just posted, the option for "Exclusive Review" defaults to "no" regardless of what I do. I've clicked it "yes" several times and still no result. Not a big deal, really; just wanted to call attention to it in case other people are haveing the same issue.

Here's another perspective. In terms of PC releases - from a purely technical standpoint - there are a myriad of potential problem that can arise when players are running PCs with different configurations. Whether they have AMD or Intel processors, Nvidia or AMD GPUs, different amounts of RAM, driver issues, different operating systems, or other various compatibility or hardware quirks, it is literally impossible to anticipate everything that can go wrong.

Even when the PC market was simpler, I still remember games like Doom II needing multiple patches because it was released with crippling bugs. That game was patched multiple times, too, and this was back in the days when not everybody had easy access to the internet or BBS systems.

Granted, everything I'm saying here applies specifically to PC releases rather than consoles, as consoles are static platforms and developers really should have their shit together and properly test their games on that platform before releasing. The idea of a patch on a console release is kind of ludicrous. If you released a broken game on consoles back in the day, that resulted in a RECALL, not a patch, and a lot of angry customers wanting their money back.

But anyway, it's no surprise to me that PC releases will continue to have tons of patches post-release. For the past 25 years that has been the norm and I don't imagine things will change anytime soon. I've just learned to deal with it and have patience.

In fact, it may actually be easier and more helpful for developers to release their game, listen to feedback from players, and patch the game ASAP than it would be for them to delay their release for a few more months while they try to troubleshoot things. Chances are they would find new problems once they had released their game anyway.

When I bought NES games as a kid, they cost $60 to $65. And that was in 1990 or so, when $60 to $65 went a lot further than it does now. I paid that much for Super Mario Bros. 3 and for Mega Man 4. Some 16-bit games, like Phantasy Star IV, retailed for $80 a lot of places, and I paid nearly that for Final Fantasy III on the Super Nintendo.

As a child of that era, I don't think games cost way too much these days. Relative to a lot of other stuff, they've actually become MORE affordable (especially now that you can buy them from Amazon near launch at a 20% discount). It's actually quite remarkable how little games cost, given how much the cost of game development has increased during that time. Of course, that doesn't stop a lot of consumers from feeling like they're being gouged, and I have to admit that the "season pass" does rather irk me. I'm not especially big on Early Access stuff, either.

It's also worth remembering that there's no perfect solution that is likely to please everyone. Final Fantasy XV just got delayed a couple of months, and the developers said the delay is so that they don't have to push a giant day one patch on gamers, when some gamers won't be able to conveniently download such large files. That made perfect sense to me, especially with the complaints we've been seeing in regards to No Man's Sky and its PC issues. But a lot of people are saying Square Enix is full of crap, that there's no reason to delay a game when a day-one patch works just fine.

The gamer audience has become so massive that anything a developer does is bound to draw the ire of about half that group, and at best muted praise from the other half (typically, happy consumers are quiet consumers). So it goes with everything in life, these days...

It's the same old story, nothing new:

Developers market a product they can't deliver, then rush to meet an unreasonable deadline. The only difference between now and the old days is that you can release a broken product in retail.

I have no pity for indie developers, by the way. If you're in control of the process, you have absolutely no excuse for releasing a sloppy game.

EDIT:

Something that I was surprised to learn a few years ago is that the price of games hasn't actually gone up much in recent years. When you take inflation into account, publishers today might actually be underselling their game a bit. Games were relatively more expensive in the 8- and 16-bit days, and the average MSRP of a game in the PS2/Xbox/Cube era in today's dollars would amount to the average MSRP of a PS4/ONE/WiiU title.

There is a terrific article that an indie developer recently wrote, following the controversy over day-one patches and No Man's Sky. I recommend reading it, if you're not sure why the day-one patch has become so common, here in 2016.

Here is the link: http://ramiismail.com/2016/08/patch-the-process/

As for no one asking for increasingly immersive games, I disagree. It seems like most gamers are asking for that! I do tend to appreciate simpler games myself, but even those can be extraordinarily expensive projects. I don't believe that developers are making games larger and more immersive just so they have an excuse to charge more, and I don't believe that the alternative to the overblown games we see today is for developers to make much smaller games with lower price points. Smaller games they might make, but the $60 price point for AAA titles isn't likely going anywhere... unless it goes up.

Seems like the Day One patch is basically a way to meet deadlines or get the game out at a specific time, so that the devs can continue working on the game while all the physical copies are being produced and shipped, however long that all takes.

I don't like buying a new game, throwing it into my console and then having to download a patch, sometimes about a gigabyte, before I can actually play it.

In my opinion, devs should not overcomplicate their games. Games this day attempt to be an immersive, living , breathing world with choices and consequences, and cinematic storytelling and emergent gameplay. No one asks for this.

If you can come up with something like Fire Emblem : Awakening, that hit all those features remarkably, that's swell, but sometimes , excellent gameplay is enough, like Bayonetta 2, Super Mario 3D World, and A Link Between Worlds. Last gen there were excellent indie games such as Super Meat Boy, Mark of The Ninja, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX to name few.

Probably devs should attempt to create 'smaller', less 'ambitious' games, since apparently they haven't mastered the technology yet, displayed by the staggering amount of those day-one-patches, and not ashamed to deliver more compact game with excellent gameplay like aforementioned above, and probably charge less than 60 bucks.

Resident Evil Revelations 2
Vita
http://www.ign.com/games/resident-evil-revelations-2/vita-20024844

Added.

Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault
Vita, PS3, PS4, PC
http://www.ign.com/games/aegis-of-earth/vita-20045055

Added.

Oh well, late I am again. Yeah, I pulled a little overtime this week, plus I've started a new work schedule that means clocking in two hours later and getting home by about 2 AM. As you can imagine, I'm exhausted.

Well, that's enough excuses.


THIRD PLACE
otokonomiyaki's Abzu (PlayStation 4)
As you mentioned, it's typically poor form to compare one title to another. I think there are acceptable occasions, and this review demonstrates one of them. Your descriptions of Journey helped clarify what Abzu had to offer without propping the former up as an arbitrary standard, and I appreciate that. Your examples and descriptions are also terrific, including those about the sea life. That alone piqued my interest and had me doing a little math in my head to see if I can justify $20 vs. what's in my bank account vs. what the wife will say when she finds out I spent $20 on a PSN download vs. dude, the next phone bill is going to be insane, so don't spend any money.

Cash conservation won in the end. However, your review left me trying to rationalize spending money, and that's a good thing. I think...


SECOND PLACE
honestgamers' Road to Ballhalla (PC)
Reviewing puzzle and physics-based action games is the pits. Not only are you worried about describing the game properly, but also preventing your audience from clicking the 'back' button out of boredom. This review succeeds in doing just that. There's a lot of good humor and self-deprecation in this piece, particularly mentioning that you're not very good at the game and tend to die a lot. I think my favorite part was when you mentioned the rating system and how you didn't mind scoring a low end 2 or 3 rating, stating "In general, my contentment with mediocrity worked just fine." I don't know about other readers, but I chuckled and said, "Story of my life." Great stuff!


REVIEW OF THE WEEK
Suskie's Inside (PC)
Playdead's new game isn't so good, huh? I guess that figures.

I liked that you described Limbo without giving the reader a huge run down of what that game was like. After reading this review, I knew how both titles worked. I think best of all is that you support your opinion with great examples and tell us why this game's reluctance to stray from its predecessor's formula while failing to build on it in any meaningful way is its undoing. I'm also glad that you called out some of the cheap, easy devices the developer used. Totalitarian governments are bad, you say? Because there aren't dozens of other works of fiction that already spell that out for us? In a way, I felt like you were trying to say that the game is lazily made without explicitly saying that it was lazy. Good approach.

I liked the clever touches the review had, too. They weren't giggle-worthy, as Jason's were in his review, but they made an already slick review more enjoyable.

I've changed the note on the front page. If I find 7000 referenced on other pages, I may occasionally fix it there, as well. I can certainly throw in a variable, but I didn't want to reference the exact number of reviews because that always looks stupid to me (i.e. Jim's Pie Shop, now in business for over 17 years!). Everyone just goes ahead and assumes it has been in business for 18 years. There's also the issue of all of the variables that are already in play. I'm trying to limit the number of queries on each page to reduce load.

And I keep the precise phrasing I do in the front page box because that's how I originally wrote it, years ago, and I like to have elements of the site's past in its present. That's why a lot of links use 2390FF color font, which the site has used since around 2002.

I'm glad RotW is still back, and I hope it stays, but I believe it is here on a trial basis. When it's more definite and likely permanent, I will update the description on the featured page accordingly. I really do like seeing RotW topics posted, and I know the community does, but it's still a struggle to get a lot of people contributing each week so that the topics are exciting like they used to be. I hope that will evolve over time. I would love to see the site regularly cranking out 15 or 20 reviews per week again. Sadly, not as many people seem to like reviewing games in text form as once did, here or anyplace else.

Most of this is just trivial stuff, technically, but I hope it points out that the site has grown.

http://www.honestgamers.com/reviews/archives/all/0/all/date/1.html has 454 pages. 454*20 = 9080 > 9000.

I've also noticed this number is 7000 elsewhere, etc. If you're using PHP can a variable be defined easily, and text searched/replaced?

Also, http://www.honestgamers.com/featured/reviews.html says featured reviews ended in 2013, but they're back, which is cool.

Either way, hooray everyone who helped move things over 9000!

When posting, please keep the guidelines outlined in the forum help file in mind at all times. Disruptive posts will not be tolerated. Let's all try to have a good time and keep things civil.


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