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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.

Have a review for a PC game (well, almost, still polishing) I'd like to submit, for which I'd need the game added:

Castles (Interplay, 1991)
PC

Nicely generic name, of course. The game I mean is:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castles_(video_game)


Added.


Ah! Well thank you!

Sega Genesis 6-Pak
Genesis
https://www.amazon.com/Sega-Genesis-6-Pak/dp/B000035XQN

This one is already in the database under its proper name, right here. It has been there a long time, because I own a copy. :-D

Sonic Classic Collection
DS
http://ign.com/games/sonic-classic-collection

Added.

Witch’s Wish
DS
http://ign.com/games/witchs-wish

This one is already in the database right here. Certain titles (particularly those with apostrophes, which may have been added with an irregular apostrophe rather than the standard one) don't come up in site search, so you'll need to browse to find them.

Vaporwave Picks II: The Return. These fit surprisingly well with playing Yume Nikki, incidentally.

"NΞΘN DRΞΛMS INFINITY" and "KΞΞP/////THIS/////" from nmesh's "Dream Sequins"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pa4hOFVGHIA
The majestic madness of nmesh takes its most dreamlike state in this album. Few other works, audio or otherwise, allow for such an entrancing experience as this auditory simulation of dreams. "KΞΞP/////THIS/////" is my favorite song of the album (perhaps the peak of vaporwave as a genre), but "NΞΘN DRΞΛMS INFINITY" segues into it so impeccably that I had to throw that in as well.


"東京 HAZE (extended tape version)" from 猫 シ Corp.'s "SANDRAWAVE"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ao97vrAkF8
Another of my favorite vaporwave artists. By the way, most of these guys have their work up for free on Bandcamp. Check the links in these videos!


"永遠に生きる" by t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtLVMEjnoB8
His music titles aren't English-friendly, but it's worth the trouble to find the music of t e l e p a t h -- not "telepath," mind you. He might be the most prolific artist in the genre, making an ocean of excellent albums and collaborations over the years.

Aw, gee, I eat up food metaphors, but dishes my own tastes, so take it with a bit of salt. Jokes aside, I'm glad you brought that up; I lost some progress typing this up due to computer problems (lost some good screenshots as well) and must've forgotten to put back in my changes to the intro that expounded on my point there. I'm glad you enjoyed it, though, and I can't express how much I appreciate some helpful criticism, too!

Incidentally, I'll add (since I'm the only one ever who'll get it since I'm bad like that) that I'm extremely and unduly proud of the title I picked for the review. "Dream Sequins" is a play on words that indicates the nature and quality of the game ("sequins" are gold coins), and it references one of my favorite albums, nmesh's "Dream Sequins," which I'll link in Freeman's Music Corner presently.

Tough competition from regulars and fresh faces alike this week, too. I'm glad the Ys review was the one picked from Joethe "Android" Destroyer's 2.5 octodecillion reviews to place. Great reads from other folks, whose catalogs of reviews I'm interested to read now. Hurray!

EDIT: I don't know how, but my post made quadruple copies. So those messages I deleted didn't have a treasure map or the winning lotto number or the release date of Half-Life 3. Sorry. But I fixed my intro and linked that music!

I’ve said a few times that Pickhut’s one of the fairest bash reviewers of us, rarely grabbing the low hanging fruit of mockery

Hmm. One of my upcoming reviews might challenge that notion!

But in all seriousness, thanks for the comments on the review, especially the above one. I guess it's one of those things where my curiosity to examine a "surefire" good-sounding game-turned-bad, overpowers my need to make fun of it throughout the review.

Congrats to Freeman on another RotW victory, and to Joe and dirtsheep for their submissions this week!

[insert generic introduction here]





THIRD Kid Klown in Crazy Chase [SNES] Pickhut



I’ve said a few times that Pickhut’s one of the fairest bash reviewers of us, rarely grabbing the low hanging fruit of mockery (that I live by) and instead thoughtfully dissecting games. Perhaps he scales back on that a little here, and I’m very okay with that, because Crazy Chase is a game deserving of some mockery.

For the most part, though, Pick remains on point, picking out design flaws for fun. Talking about how the game succeeds at their goal of advancing a clumsy clown avatar at expense of the overall game was a very strong point to make. I also liked that you started with some of the smaller complaints and worked your way up to bigger and bigger fails as the review went on. It could be said that you managed to get a very, very good review from a pretty uninspired game. But I won’t say that. It’s far too positive.


SECOND Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA [PS4] by Joe



“Did you know”, I once said to absentee flunky, WQ, “that there’s no such thing as a bad Ys review?” I told her this because she was sulking that she’d pulled Y in an Alphaolympics. She thought about this for a while, reviewed a Ys game, and won the entire bloody thing.

OD’s still not won one; I’ve won three It’s to Joe’s credit that he does not break the streak. The first two thirds of his review especially are extremely effective, at walking you through what you can expect from Ys VIII, but it starts to falter around the time you drop a really jarring sound props paragraph in between two paragraphs that seemed to naturally fit together. I think we all do this at times; we realise we should have mentioned some aspect of the game, so awkwardly jam it in anywhere we feel we can fit it. I think this stands out so much because the rest of the review is so well written. There’s today’s backhanded compliment out of the way…

That’s why I’m going to tell you all this was beaten to first place. The real reason is that I really want to play YS VIII, but the only version I have access to is the awful, broken PC port, and I resent everyone else who’s managed to play this outside that.


WIN Yume Kikki [PC] by Follow_Freeman



It’s been a while since I had grounds to complain about awful food metaphors sneaking into reviews. I’d almost forgotten the deep-rooted seething hatred I had for them. Then came this opening line:

Some games resonate with us in ways that are difficult to articulate. When it comes to criticism, video gaming, like most other art forms, is like cuisine;


Pet hates aside, it a befuddling comparison in the contect you provided. It simply doesn’t work.

The rest of the review is exactly what a good review on a game as abstract as Yume Nikki should be; an attempt to understand its meaning rather than dissect the basic control scheme and RPGMaker graphics. It’s a game that wants to be a little more than a game, and, whether it succeeds or not should certainly be the focus of any discussion.

We’ve got an excellent line up of Yumr reviews (mainly thanks to Lewis, whose initial submission ensure the half written draft I once penned stayed forever rotting in the back of my hard drive) and to say that this one hangs with them is as big a compliment as I can offer. Freeman’s been penning some good stuff as of late and while I’ve often said (and continue to stand behind) that his greatest strength has been an uncanny knack of picking excellent games to talk about, he’s also been constantly experimenting with different styles of writing. It’s really starting to show; in a very short amount of time, his reviews are becoming a real asset to the site.

I haven't read many reviews lately, but congratulations to those who placed, especially Freeman, who I think notches his first win here.

Ether ONE, huh? I TRIED TO WA... no, wait. The opposite. I said very nice things about that one.

Appreciate the mention; I've been quite open in not much enjoying back to back visual novel reviews, but I think Fatal was the better of the two. There were some good reviews out there this week; even the ones that didn't talk about Rob a lot.

Glad to see Midcore and Freeman getting some props. I really dig both their material choices for slightly different reasons, but I'm glad to see the retro flag being flown.

https://youtu.be/VJTxlAS2A8M

All right! Glad you liked the reviews! I'm trying to reinvent my approach with each review, but I feel that I'm at my best when I have a topic that gives me something to say about the medium as a whole. Those two Milon games made a scenario in which I felt as if I learned an important lesson about games from it, and I wanted to share my thoughts on the matter. I suppose something that differentiates games from other mediums is that "more of the same" flies over much better with games if it's good, but having a relatively fresh presentation doesn't hurt, either.

We had some great ones this week, too. Midcore's are especially interesting to me since they make for great reading while providing information delivered in a professional manner. I'm inspired to try something like that and a visual novel review soon, but right now I need to do a review I promised myself to do when I got my first win of a week...

I've got no excuse for my lateness. I just got a new computer and decided to devote my time to it instead. I'm currently trying to blast through Ether One, which has been terrific so far.

As for our reviews...

The Talos Principle (PS4) by sam1193
Funny thing: I had no idea this was done by the Serious Sam guys. That tiny bit of info floored me. It's hard to believe Croteam made an artsy puzzler. The dry wit in the first paragraph was a good hook, too, with all the references to headless enemies and such.

Anyway, this is a detailed delve into a game I've been itching to play. You do a good job analyzing its story themes and describing the environment, plus bringing up the concept that the game is a bit tense but not scary. My only complaint is the review could use some tightening, but not extensively so. This is otherwise a very good write up that increases my interest in The Talos Principle.


Sonic and the Secret Rings (Wii) by Follow_Freeman
You'd think a Sonic runner title would be a no-brainer, but somehow they managed to screw that up as well. This is a good bash review, with plenty of scathing crits (and rightly so). You cover all of the right bases, but I prefer your DoReMi review to this one.


Spyro the Dragon (PS) by overdrive
EmP would have a field day with that intro. "Let's talk about muuuh!" I like it, though, because it informs younger readers of something we fogies remember: gaming magazines that came with demos. I used to freakin' love those, even the ones with shitty demos. It's thanks to those discs that I discovered Incredible Crisis, which I absolutely adore. I also thought it was kind of weird that GameFAQs allowed people to review them. But I digress...

Wait, no, another digression: I had no idea Stuart Copeland was the composer of this game's soundtrack. Cool! Alright, done.

One thing that stands out about this review is that you rightly criticize the parts that didn't age well. Technology has moved on since Spyro, and that means improved camera mechanics and other nuances that you don't see these days. At the same time, you remind us that the first game is a good title because its developers crafted it to accommodate all skill levels. You also do a good job of dissecting the game and showing us what works both within the title itself and within the genre. My only complaint involves a little tightening, but this is an otherwise good piece.


THIRD PLACE
Fatal Twelve (PC) by EmP
A quick review for a visual novel. I have to commend you, because I don't think I can review these pretty much at all. The closest I came was reviewing Light's End so many years ago. This one sounded pretty tough to review, but you kept the piece clear and to the point, so it ran smoothly. You also did a pretty good job of analyzing the plot without giving anything vital away. It's easy to forget to do that sometimes, especially if the game in question tells a good story.


SECOND PLACE
Pong (arcade) by Midcore
Minimalist games are tricky to review. They're typically so technical that it's hard to not deliver a dry piece. This review is somewhat technical, bit undeniably enjoyable. It flows smoothly and gives a detailed enough description of the mechanics that anyone who hasn't played it will feel like they've donated an hour of their time to it.

My favorite feature of this review, though, is the little bit of history at the beginning. It's always nice to get extra background on older titles, especially if there's a story to tell.

REVIEW OF THE WEEK
DoReMi Fantasy: Milon no DokiDoki Daibouken (SNES) by Follow_Freeman
This was very well done review. I chuckled a bit at some of your commentary, but what I enjoyed the most was that you drew a comparison between the game and its soul-destroyingly bad predecessor without merely falling into the "DoReMi is good because it's not Secret Castle" trap. The comparisons needed to be drawn, because DoReMi plays it relatively safe and succeeds, whereas Secret Castle just wants you to suffer tried to be unique and was awful. I also like that this was a very detailed review, and it described its presentation in a very orderly manner, without doing the whole "by the way, the graphics are good" thing that most of us do now and then.

___

That's all I got.

Fret not, I am currently working on ROTW.

"Battle BGM (Arrange CD)" from Princess Maker 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdHKg6d9PXI
Time for some FM-Towns music! This game is a sim/RPG in which you raise a child to influence her path in life, accompanied by GAINAX of Neon Genesis Evangelion fame. Princess Maker 2 has a Steam re-release, and while I don't know if it's any good, but the music sure is!


"Tower of Destiny" from Rusty
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyJ5jvROwac
Rusty is basically a Castlevania game; there exists an English translation patch, so I may play and review this some day. Are you noticing a theme with these game covers?


"Shop Demo" from Grounseed (PC-98)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLOqRHi927g
A masterwork from my favorite composer, Ryu Umemoto. Expect me to feature more of his music in the future. Absolutely astounding.

Megadimesion Neptunia VIIR
PS4
http://ign.com/games/megadimension-neptunia-viir

Added.

Was Freeman's review on your week? I thought his dropped Monday? No matter; feedback is always appreciated.

I would say I'm glad to get the VN review behind me, but I have another up next. I really struggle with them; I remember Zig using them as a foundation for a conveyor belt of excellent reviews, but I don't know how he pulled it off. Happy enough to know it's readable.

Congrats to OD, Zach and Joe. A tough week to come out with points, to be sure.

Styx: Shards of Darkness
PS4, Xbox One
http://ign.com/games/styx-shards-of-darkness

Added.

Thanks for the placement and kind comments. One correction: I had TWO reviews from last week, not one!!!! I mean, I doubt Alphadia Genesis 2 (ie: Kemco Review #359385) was as good as SML2:6GC, but it does exist!

Thanks for the feedback, Jason. I'm sorry my review for a tired game didn't quite appeal to you, but such is life. :P Congrats to the winners! I'm actually keenly interested in the new God of War, so I'll have to check that one out later.

I really need someone to help me do editing runs. I actually did edit two or three of them post-publishing but I must have missed a few.

Hope it was a fun read, regardless.

Are you all trying to kill me?! I've read some quality reviews in my time, but this week was full of them! That made choosing my top three a difficult chore indeed, and I freely admit that some of my choices probably came down to mood. Hit me up on a different day and the order might change slightly.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for making my job so tough this time around. Keep doing that, please!

Side notes: Overdrive had one review in the running this week that actually made its appearance last week, when he was judge. That brings the total number of reviews for this week to 10. I tend to write up comments about each review as I read, which is what I did this week, so I'll share the comments I had on even those reviews that didn't place, starting immediately below and in no particular order.

---

DoReMi Fantasy: Milon no DokiDOki Daibouken (SNES) by Follow_Freeman

This is my favorite review I've yet read from Follow_Freeman, with polished writing on the grammatical side and some witty asides that keep things interesting. Some of the little quips fall slightly flat, I felt, but then there are those that really tickled my funnybone. Here's one I liked a lot: "I, for one, know of only eight ways to kill a man with a bubble blower, yet Milon seems to have everything under control if the gameplay is any indication." It's a line that acknowledges the apparent absurdity of the protagonist's weapon, but also seems to say "Let's keep things moving along, folks." So it worked really well, I thought. I'm not sure the score really fits the text, though. This reads like a fine example of a 4/5 game, with no damning criticisms leveled against the game and even comments that it's "one of the best platformers of the era" (an era generally acknowledged as the best treatment the genre ever got). Score aside, I don't have any huge nitpicks, though. It's a shame this game wasn't released in the United States until it arrived on the Wii U Virtual Console... where it is likely to yet again receive little of the recognition it apparently deserves.

Chuusotsu! 1st Graduation: Time After Time (PC) by EmP

It's hard to know how to rate this review, because it wisely makes the most of its source material. What else can you do with a visual novel, anyway? The story sounds genuinely intriguing, and it can be tempting to say "Well, all he did was summarize an interesting story, so he shouldn't really be in top-three contention." But that's not fair, because we've all read boring PR descriptions of stories we knew almost had to be far better than that. EmP does a good job of describing this game in a way that doesn't seem to spoil anything, but also makes me want to maybe go through the game myself and enjoy it personally... even though he freely admits there is a lot of silly digressing. So my final verdict is that this is a strong review of what sounds like an unexpectedly solid game. I enjoyed reading it!

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus by JoeTheDestroyer

This is a solid review for Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, a game I also have played and also liked. I don't have a lot to say about the text, because while I thought it was effective, I much preferred the review for The Punisher that Joe also contributed this week. But if you happen to be looking for a solid write-up of the game, quite some time after it was originally released (my own review was written when everything it didn't couldn't help but be new and exciting), you should find what you seek right here.

Blaster Master Zero by mariner

It's good to see the site offer a second opinion on another Switch game, and from a fellow fan of retro games. I liked the experience a bit more than mariner did, but I can appreciate his points against the game's revival. Bosses really did get to be a pain, for precisely the reasons he mentioned, and the final boss in particular is just a tedious torment. The precise angle this review took--damning the original with faint praise, and then showing how that praise seems set to become genuine in regards to the new entry--was very effective, I felt. It describes the game in terms that should make sense to new players who never played the original, offers reassurance that the new version is mostly faithful to the original, and allows for some nice discussion about why all of that matters.

One Must Fall 2097 (PC) by darketernal

This was an interesting review for a game I hadn't heard of, and I enjoyed the discussion of the game's mechanics. I was less enamored with the point about the game being unique for being a fighting game exclusive on a platform that didn't really get those, because that doesn't impact my actual interest in playing it today. Fortunately, the aforementioned gameplay discussion painted the picture of a fighting game that I might have found interesting even if it were on consoles and competing with some of my other faves. The customization sounds like it could add some longevity and strategy to a genre not always known for either of those things. Some missing commas here and there made for slightly rougher reading than I would have liked, but overall darketernal's writing was smooth as usual and this was a joy to read. Thanks!

Frostpunk (PC) by Zydrate

Zydrate's review alerted me to another game I hadn't heard of--and a recent release at that--while comparing it to City Skylines and then revealing how the experiences aren't particularly alike. I don't know if the game's marketing calls it "roguelike," but this review made an argument for that interpretation that I found extremely effective. Thanks to detailed descriptions, I can imagine myself playing the game and having a good time, especially if the promised quality of life enhancements come along and work as advertised. One thing that held this review back from placing in the top three, however, was its tendency to make minor grammatical errors from paragraph to paragraph. There were numerous issues with subject/verb disagreement, and various other minor issues. They weren't enough to get in the way of my understanding, nor were they enough to make the review ineffective. But in a competition of the sort RotW is and especially during a week like this one, they were enough to disqualify it from a stronger showing.

Metal Gear Solid (PSX) by wolfqueen001

"Oh, great, another Metal Gear Solid review," I couldn't help but find myself saying as I started reading. I've heard so much about this series, and enjoyed it relatively little when I played it for myself, that you're immediately fighting to keep my interest when you decide to review a game within the franchise. wolfqueen001 does a commendable job of describing the game's mechanics, and her writing was free of any obvious grammatical errors that might have jumped out at me and gotten in the way of any of that. Yet the text didn't venture far enough off the well-worn path to really hold my interest. I get that she thought the story was awesome, but the twists and turns that made it that way weren't presented in a way that resonates. The stealth action sounds as bad in the written descriptions as I remember it being, the boss battles crazy. But there's a disconnect between what the review is describing and the conclusions it seems to come to. Did the game really score 4/5 almost entirely on the basis of its story and a few stolen moments of enjoyment as enemy bones cracked? Maybe playing into that a bit more would have made for a more compelling read. Anyway, none of my problems with the review were huge. None of them stand in the way of this being a competent review. I hope a lot of readers find and enjoy it.

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Third Place: Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (Game Boy) by overdrive

Sneaky overdrive swoops in from last week to snag third place, with a Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins review that covers all of the basics in fine form. His writing throughout was lively and insightful, and he describes in careful detail those elements that allow the second Game Boy Mario platformer to stand apart from its generally disappointing predecessor. His principle point, that the game is a "legitimate" Mario effort, comes through beautifully, amid text that makes the reader want to play the game again... or perhaps for the very first time.

Runner Up: God of War (PS4) by Phazonmasher

This review starts with an assumption the critic had that time proved wrong, which is an effective way to open a review that had no trouble selling me on the quality of a game I haven't played. God of War, throughout this review, sounds like a joy to play, thanks in no small part to effective description of the combat elements that make the experience so strong. The bit about camera work is probably the most interesting camera description I've read in a game review for at least a decade, as well. And there was some great description of the game's narrative and how that ties into the gameplay. All in all, it was a terrific read that seems to do justice to a simialrly terrific game.

Review of the Week: The Punisher (PS2) by JoeTheDestroyer

This review really worked for me. There are numerous approaches a review can take. This one settles on reminding players how many licensed games suck, and showing how this particular game bucks that trend. There are other forks in the road when reviewing games too, though. Do you get really technical and write to a particular audience you may or may not even understand, or do you go with the more general approach? This review wisely takes the latter route. By not falling into the trap of making excessive comparisons to games his audience may not have played and instead realying on succinct but effective descriptions of the gameplay mechanics, Joe essentially writes a review that can cater to either group. He also keeps the writing lively, so I flew through the review and came away with what feels like a working knowledge of how the game functions, what I might not like about it, and what I might love. Which maybe isn't much, because I'm kind of tired of anti-heroes getting too much attention these days... but this was a terrific review regardless.

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Thanks again, and have a great week, everyone!

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