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Forums > Contributor Zone > Review of the Week 1/26/2009 to 1/31/2009

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Author: drella
Posted: February 01, 2009 (08:02 AM)
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A RotW, that while not a day late, is a dollar short, because the 25th was accidentally included last week in RotW. I suppose I should be thankful Masters made my job easier. With those three reviews from dagoss, cornwell and fastkilr ruled out, there were still eight articles vying for three spots.

Mostly I came away disappointed after an hour or so of reading through them, not at anyone in particular, but because almost everyone as a whole -- will, wolfqueen, DoI, true, Janus -- are writing in the same stylistic manner. The same types of transitions. The same types of "action snapshots" that are supposed to make you realize how cool the title is. The same way of approaching a game's faults. A nifty trick here or well reasoned paragraph there adds some character and keeps the lot from being too homogeneous. I'm not sure it's enough, though. Maybe as an experiment deliberately try writing something no one else would write and see what happens; when this many reviews strike me the same way I worry. They're not bad. They're just... the same, in a lot of ways.

Winner:
Call of Duty: A World at War by hmd

Hmd's unique look at Call of Duty this week stands out the most amongst the pack and is my recommendation for the top read. Some of the hyperbole concerning Infinity Ward is a bit much, but it centers in on its main point well, and its main point is justification enough. Thinking about it, a lot of these realistic combat games based on wars do seem to promote stereotypes and keep alive covert racism; A World at War seems like the most egregious of offenders by a mile based on the examples here, but it's a topic rarely recognized and probably worth noting. There's nothing nostalgic or entertaining about calling people japs or gooks and it doesn't seem like it should have any avenue as far as video games are concerned. Hmd wins for a review that falls well short on achieving answers, but raises very good questions.

Runner-Up
Mass Effect by JANUS

While I can harp about similar writing styles and such, this is by far one of the most unique looks at Mass Effect I can remember reading and the best "pound for pound" review this week. It covers a lot of bases, reaches for and defends a lot of good points, and keeps a level head while looking at one of the modern day blockbusters. That level head when it comes to hyped titles is a Janus staple though. The comparisons here are apt and the introduction capturing, because after reading a few of the reviews this week, I didn't think anyone would write something like that and then go in a different direction. Great work.

Third Place:
Operation Darkness by turducken

Aside from the fact the genre could have been made a little more obvious from the start (I assumed FPS based on talking about the nationality of the group members), this was a solid, witty read throughout. I think it covers the pros and cons pretty well without being too in-depth. Is it leagues ahead of God or War by wolfqueen, or Space Quest 1 by will, or Little Big Planet by true? No, not really. This one just stuck with me a little more than the others, for whatever reason (I liked the humor with the guns doing more damage when you're a werewolf and the clever way of mentioning the dated graphics), and someone has to round out the group of placers. Congrats!

See you all in a month or so for another RotW.


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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: February 01, 2009 (10:38 AM)
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Hm... Well, I can understand your need to see something different, and I'll be the first to admit that my review was pretty "standard" as far as these things go, but I have to disagree with the HMD verdict. His review merely discussed the issue of racism without any context, in a game about a very racist war to begin with. This was the only focus in the review; he provided no other information about the game in question. I can't imagine many people seriously deciding whether or not to buy this game would have their opinion swayed solely based on the argument of racism alone. His review would have been much stronger if he had argued his points much more effectively, but his tone, style, and abrupt ending didn't do him much favor in my opinion.

Anyway, enough of that. Congrats to the winners.


What espiga does in his free time
[Eating EmP's brain] probably isn't a good idea. I mean... He's British, which means his brain's wired for PAL and your eyes are NTSC. - Will


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: February 01, 2009 (11:13 AM)
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It's true, as far as a review goes, there's little to really praise in the Call of Duty review. As far as an article goes, it's pretty good, though.

I see where the win comes from, though. It is a compelling read guised as a review, and it does stand out from amongst the others this week.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: Suskie
Posted: February 01, 2009 (11:29 AM)
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Couldn't disagree more with your choice, for reasons I have already gone over.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: Felix_Arabia
Posted: February 01, 2009 (11:32 AM)
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Congrats to the winner, and more so to the losers.


I don't have to boost my review resume because I have a real resume.


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: February 01, 2009 (12:01 PM)
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Personally I thought it was Janus win this week, for a new look at Mass Effect that isn't oozing with gushing love.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: JANUS2
Posted: February 01, 2009 (12:35 PM)
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Thank you.

I sort of understand where you're coming from on the style issue. I suppose my defence is that my intention with this review was to make a really strong argument given how universally adored Mass Effect is on HG. If the writing isn't all that "different" then that's probably because I was concentrating on content more than achieving a unique style.


"fuck yeah oblivion" - Jihad


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Author: Suskie
Posted: February 01, 2009 (01:06 PM)
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A noble endeavor.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: i_am_a_towel
Posted: February 01, 2009 (01:09 PM)
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i am a towel


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Author: turducken
Posted: February 01, 2009 (05:35 PM)
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I'm genuinely shocked I placed at all. Glad ya liked it.


"My father, the Emperor, had many powers of the Dark Side. But without three eyes he could never achieve perfection." - Trioculus


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Author: WilltheGreat
Posted: February 01, 2009 (11:11 PM)
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That is not a review, it's a blog entry. Last time I checked, we did not do a "Blog entry of the week" thing.

It's well-written, sure, but it's not a review. It says hardly anything about the game, and the only question it raises is whether or not the author finished the eighth grade. If you want something different and experimental, how about a review that attempts to seamlessly blend images into a body of text? You don't see too many people trying that.

I call shenanigans. But mostly not to do with this, but rather to do with having my review, my attempt at avant-guarde, dismissed as being bland and overdone. Did you even read the damn thing?


"Either, sir, you're an ass or you're masquerading as one."
- Nero Wolfe


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Author: Suskie
Posted: February 01, 2009 (11:56 PM)
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Somebody give me a heads-up the next week Drella is due for a RotW. If a discussion-starter is his idea of a cure for all those boring old "reviews," I'm gonna have fun with this.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: drella
Posted: February 02, 2009 (06:30 AM)
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Obviously I'm out of touch.

I resign as staff. Someone else should redo this week because after nearly ten years, I'm obviously clueless still. And, as Masters noted privately, no one ever shows much thanks or gratitude in these topics. Funny that all it takes is one perceived sense of injustice and as soon as one person complains, you all act like vultures.

Will, your images stood out as obtrusive in a very ordinary review; it was darketernal with pictures. I'm usually nicer, but you've lost me when you think what you wrote was avant-guarde. Ridiculous. Get a load of yourself :\

Janus wrote the best review this week, which I noted in the first post.

Review of the week is something, to me, that people should read. Not something that people should like. I saw a review that was different enough it might influence people to take a different approach, and when everyone sounds like everyone else, a different approach is needed.

But I'm not going to get kicked around here anymore or have people gunning for me next time my RotW is up. That's really fucking childish, Suskie. Imagine, the guy who ran off in a huff saying this site wasn't fun when he was under fire comes back only to deliberately keep trying to goad responses from one of the guys that went out of his way and asked him to stick around. Over one minor decision that two weeks from now no one will care about.

Hope it was worth it.


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Author: Suskie
Posted: February 02, 2009 (07:15 AM)
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I was hoping you'd pick up on the fact that I was joking, since, as you'd wager from my current situation, I'm not the kind of guy who would say something like that and actually mean it.

From what I've seen in the past, RotW winners are usually very grateful, and those who have gone unmentioned are almost always good sports about it. Frankly, this is the first time I've seen such outspoken disagreement with the final decision. But knocking all of last week's reviews for being reviews, then awarding the top spot to a piece of writing that barely qualifies as a review in and of itself just because it's a discussion-starter, is a pretty big move. Did you honestly think everyone would just nod their heads and approve?

In the end, it's your call and none of us can change that. You'll note that most of my outspokenness thus far on the topic has been here, on the subject of the review itself. However much I may disagree with your decision here, I ultimately don't care very much. Others in this topic may feel differently, but even if they do, why should that affect you? I know it sucks when so many people gang up on you like this, but if I've learned anything recently, it's that running away with your tail in between your legs isn't the answer.

Also not the answer: Re-doing this week's RotW. HMD has already won and it would be very unfair to take his victory away from him. I'm assuming you haven't changed your mind about him? If that's your criteria for a RotW victory... well, I disagree, but who cares? I urge you to stick with that, since you're the one writing up RotW in the first place. You don't need our approval. For a guy who waves his lengthy reviewing career around like it entitles him to some level of authority, you're doing a remarkable job letting the public opinion sway you.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: WilltheGreat
Posted: February 02, 2009 (10:33 AM)
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It may have been darketernal with pictures, but at least it was a review and not a rant.


"Either, sir, you're an ass or you're masquerading as one."
- Nero Wolfe


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Author: Lewis
Posted: February 02, 2009 (10:42 AM)
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I think this topic would have gone down a lot better if Drella hadn't have spent so much time talking about what other people are doing wrong, instead of just what these ones are doing right. It just seemed a little... off, and particularly odd within what is usually such a strong, supportive community spirit.

It sounded like the sort of thing you'd say in a specific article feedback topic, or even by email if you were feeling constructive... but not in a public 'competition-style' forum thread.


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: February 02, 2009 (11:08 AM)
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Yeah, but I can see the need to input "what went wrong" with the reviews in general. This was a contest week being judged and, in my opinion, that can lead to reviews being what he was saying about them, even though not all the reviews mentioned by Drella were for the CHALLANGE.

When a person is just doing a review for the hell of it, they're writing for themselves primarily. When a person is doing a review with the intent of putting into a contest, they're writing for judges and, I think, sometimes, that causes people to unconsciously slip into a template where the writing likely will be very good, but the review itself is by-the-books. I know I fall victim to doing that a lot and can't count the number of times I've gotten comments along the lines of "standard OD review". Granted, that sort of line often has been used as praise for a review that's scored good, but it could be taken to mean when it comes to contests, I go with what feels most comfortable and write something I know will likely score well in a contest......but don't take the sort of chance that may score amazingly or might get horrible scores, but will definitely grab the attention of the judges and other readers. On the other hand, I have a few reviews that are of more of an experimental style, but those never seem to be written for contests.

I'd say pretty much every current reviewer here puts out stuff of very high quality with consistency. However, there are only a tiny few writers who I can be counted on to read each and every thing they submit without fail because, to me, they don't fall into the trap of doing "typical (username) review" reviews. That's something I'd like to work on for this year --- taking more chances with my writing so that people get surprised when they click on something I write, instead of basically thinking, "Yep, that's about what I expected from him"......but still maintaining the strong points of my style.


I'm not afraid to die because I am invincible
Viva la muerte, that's my goddamn principle


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: February 02, 2009 (12:54 PM)
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The main point is, as Suskie says, that this was Drella's turn to pick the ROTW, and if he choose it based on what he thought were strong grounds, then that's all there is to it.

Now, that doesn't mean people can't disagree, and I personally enjoyed the discussion that erupted from this. even if at times it came close to personal bashing.

But I'm all for freedom of speech. To maintain it is a responsibility of not only the speakers, but the listeners. This is all just opinion, Drella. Keep on doing your thing, man, and don't fret.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: February 02, 2009 (01:24 PM)
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Yeah. If there's one thing that I think many people (including me, at times) struggle to comprehend is that different people have different opinions on what makes a good review and no one opinion is a be-all marker which everyone else should use as their judging standard. For me and my style of writing, I've noticed over the years that some judges are near locks to give me a high score. I also know with other ones that I'll have my work cut out for me even get into the low 80s. That's just the way things go. I've written things I've looked at and thought were up there with my best and then got very blah opinions for judges (ie: many of my new reviews for the '07 Summer Team Tourney). I've written things where I found myself wishing I'd have played another game for the contest it was for.....and wound up getting a very high score. My recent Rogue Galaxy review for Janus' Dec. competition works there. Getting a 92 or so for a review I felt was utterly mediocre by what I expect from my reviews surprised the crap out of me.

To use Will's review as an example, since he's been the most vocal about the "injustice" of it all, I'd guess if you had every single staff member and regular/semi-regular user of this site now, as well as some of the more esteemed people who used to be prolific, but for whatever reasons, don't come 'round here no more give a brief opinion on it --- I'd guess you'd have a few people who shared his "avant garde" feelings about it to various levels. I'd guess you'd have a few people whose opinions were more along the lines of what Drella said, once again, to various degrees. And there'd be a lot of people who shared more neutral feelings to various degrees.

It all depends on which of those viewpoints is possessed by the guy judging that review on that day. One negative commentary doesn't mean your review sucks. One positive commentary doesn't mean it's awesome. Anyone who looks at old contest results will likely not have to look for long to find a review with wildly different scores given to it by judges (like in the 88, 75, 40 realm).

All I know is that I'll have some big shoes to fill with my RotW week being next week......man, I'll have to have my "a-game" on to create this sort of outrage.


I'm not afraid to die because I am invincible
Viva la muerte, that's my goddamn principle


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Author: WilltheGreat
Posted: February 03, 2009 (12:15 AM)
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Don't misunderstand me; there's no injustice here. As has been correctly pointed out it's drell's turn to do the RotW by whatever criteria he sees fit. I just happen to think his picks are ridiculous.

Does that constitute an injustice? No, not at all. It's bullshit, but it's completely fair bullshit. Besides, we'll probably all forget about it in a week.


"Either, sir, you're an ass or you're masquerading as one."
- Nero Wolfe


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Author: True
Posted: February 03, 2009 (02:26 AM)
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Drella is one of those few people that I've never talked to, or never taken the time to get to know. He's judged some of the contests I've entered, and oddly I always thought he kind of had it out for me. Nothing personal, he just doesn't like my style. So I'm probably the last person that should be backing him, but... he has a point.

What are we here for? I mean, really here for. To write consistent, bland reviews that never stray from a normal structure in hopes that one day we'll become professionals and work for a magazine? Maybe...

But in all honesty... fuck that. Magazines are boring. Big IGN sites are boring. Ever read Game Informer and their "Second opinion"? Nine times out of ten the second score is reasonably close to the first. There's rarely a difference of opinion, and even less writers trying to press the boundaries. To me, most writers for sites and magazines strike me as carbon-copies of their chief editor.

Honestgamers is not your normal, everyday, sell out, IGN/toothpaste add, soul-less writers site. And that's why I still come here. That's why I still write here. Because it's fun, because it's original, and because every now and then it shakes things up. This site is full of diverse, original, not-of-the-norm talent and reviews here are ones you can't find anywhere else.

And while I could easily sting Drella for his choice, or get butt-hurt because he mentioned me only in a brief segment for a review I thought was at least up to par with everything else produced this week, I'm not going to.

Instead, I commend him for making a decision that not everyone was going to agree with, or curse him for. Was his choice right? Don't know. It's his opinion and his week. Drella has always struck me as a person with obscure taste, but most artists have that same curse. I, however, appreciate his outlook and his attempt to call-out the writers of this site and to inspire them to try something different, then giving us an example of what shatters the mold.

He's trying to keep this place original, and trying to help us tread the path that makes us one of the most ingenious, creative, entertaining sites out there.

At least, that's how I see it.

It'd be a damn shame if this silly bickering really did drive him away.

Remember: There's always next week.


If I Offended You, You Needed It.


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Author: draculasrevenge
Posted: March 06, 2009 (12:10 PM)
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So social commentary is eligible for ROTW now? Tell me, what will someone who is looking for information about this game think when he reads it as a FEATURED review on HG? He'll likely never come to HG ever again.

The developers of the game obviously aren't trying to perpetuate racism. It's about authenticity. I don't think a game should sacrifice trying to create an authentic atmosphere of its subject matter to avoid offending an overly sensitive few. It's god-damn warfare, a soldier doesn't have racial sensitivity on his mind.

Tell me what sounds more appropriate:

American Soldier: Not that I mean to imply any disrespect, the Japanese are a wonderful people and civilization, but DAMN THOSE JAPANESE SOLDIERS.

or

American Soldier: DAMN JAPS!

Besides, the Japanese themselves were far more egregiously racist during the war. Just look at the enmity today between them and China. For example, the Japanese PM drew a lot of criticism from China a few years ago for this: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junichiro_Koizumi#Visits_to_Yasukuni_Shrine


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: March 06, 2009 (12:44 PM)
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Congratulations, Drella. I do believe you have the distinction of creating the only ROTW to draw socio-political criticism.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: Masters (Mod)
Posted: March 06, 2009 (12:55 PM)
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FYI guys: I don't think Drella visits the site anymore.


I don't have to prove I'm refined - that's what makes me refined!


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Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: March 06, 2009 (12:47 PM)
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Good job, everyone else. Drella's not visited the site since his honest opinion was lampooned to such meteoric proportions in this very topic.

So let's all make sure it says that way with a spot of necro-bumping. Hurrah!


For us. For them. For you.


Additional Messages (Groups of 25)

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