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Forums > Contributor Zone > Review of the Week: 04/10 /09- 04/16/09)

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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: May 17, 2009 (02:11 AM)
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We have a new lineup of folks ready to contribute RotW topics in the weeks ahead--and an expection that the topics will finally be timely again--so that's good news for everyone. In the meantime, here's some bad news: I'm stepping in for this week and will be posting the topic... right about now!

The usual rules apply: reviews posted as staff and freelance content over this past seven days are ineligible. Only a single submission from any one user will be considered (not an issue this week). I can't give myself the award, either (darn!). Re-posts of known content are also excluded from the running. I don't think anyone snuck anything like that past me... or even tried. With that out of the way, it's on to the picks.




Second Runner Up: Touch Detective 2½ (DS) by woodhouse

This review was a bit on the short side, rather abrupt and not qutie as analytical as I would have liked. There was a lot of time spent examining the characters and how this game differs from the previous one in terms of the protagonist, plus some healthy discussion of the random nature of puzzles, but the general framework of how the game plays wasn't ever really established to my satisfaction. That meant that what here was very good (some excellent phrasing and such), but there were some missing details that would have made the review really stand out from the crowd.

First Runner Up: Defenders of the Dynatron City (NES) by aschultz

I enjoyed this review for an old NES game that I never played. I remember when Howard left Nintendo Power that it was for some odd game... I think this one! The descriptions throughout were suitably detailed, arguably to the point of excess. The text was quite long and there were descriptions of each of the character styles and weapons and stages and some thoughtful descriptions, but after a certain point it just started to feel like a bit of a FAQ and less of a review. There was a lot of good content here, but some self-editing would've made it an even more enjoyable read.

Review of the Week: Metal Slug Anthology (PS2) by pickhut

Aside from a few sloppy moments with grammar, there's not much about this review that I would have cared to see change. The introduction was effective, quickly establishing that "arcade perfect" isn't quite right but not an issue. There were some good nods to the various titles included on the collection without ever resorting to a list or a rundown of each game--a wise choice, I felt--and the technical details discussed always were discussed with a purpose, not to satisfy some theoretical checklist. The comments on the continue system and the slowdown showed a good understanding of what fans will be wondering about prior to playing this port and the review skirted nerd debate but didn't jump into a pointless fray or troll anything. I mentioned a few sloppy moments with grammar, but really this was one of the most polished pieces that I can recall seeing from its author, a real joy to read that got in, did its job well and then got out. That was enough to earn it this week's top spot.




Jerec also asked on his blog for commentary on his not-new review of Animal Crossing for GameCube, which at one point was rejected on the site because it felt like fan fiction. It still does, but it's fan fiction with an obvious and reasonable goal: exploration of what it feels like to play Animal Crossing. While I would caution people against trying the fan fiction gimmick for reviews in the future, it actually worked out really well in the case of Jerec's review and gave as clear and concise an examination of the many separate elements that make Animal Crossing great as any number of other more standard reviews that we have posted.

And since I've commented on Jerec's piece, it really wouldn't be fair to leave out fleinn's quality submission, which just barely missed out on a ranking this week. It was a good analysis of the game, but unfortunately there were just too many awkward phrases. One early one comes to mind: "Much lighter than this everyday life in Boletaria never seems to become after that." There's really no reason that I can see for the awkward phrasing. A simpler, punchier "Boletaria never seems to become any brighter after that" would probably make things more dramatic (and certainly less passive). Little examples like that held back the review as a whole, or else it might have placed higher (as the content explored and the rationalizations were quite worthwhile).

With that, I leave you to your debate over my choices... Be sure to contribute more great content this coming week as we break in our new faces. Wouldn't want them to have it easy now, would we?


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: jerec
Posted: May 17, 2009 (04:57 AM)
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Thanks :D


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: May 17, 2009 (09:17 AM)
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Congrats to the winners. Haha. I like that Jason typoed 4 instead of 5 for the month. Thought this would be spam.


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: pickhut
Posted: May 17, 2009 (12:51 PM)
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Thanks for the comments and the RotW placing, Venter! And yeah, I always find compilation reviews to be a challenge, because you could easily fall into the simple trap of just listing the games in the collection and explaining how each of them play.

Congrats to woodhouse and aschultz for their placings as well!


I head spaceshit noises


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: May 17, 2009 (02:20 PM)
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Be sure to contribute more great content this coming week as we break in our new faces. Wouldn't want them to have it easy now, would we?

......
......
......

According to our schedule, it's me (not a new face) that's doing this coming week. Therefore, the above posted line by be is not only inaccurate, but cruel.


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


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Author: bloomer
Posted: May 17, 2009 (08:25 PM)
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Hm, I think Pickhut's opening needs heart surgery, as it leads the reader well off the path.

The opening statement is basically 'The title's claim to be Arcade Perfect is top five nonsense'. But that never is followed up with any conviction. When you get to the second last paragraph, two things are mentioned, that the games no longer have arcade slowdown, and that there's the odd 3-4 second load. That's it. These two observations can't stand up to the content of the first paragraph or its tone, or the lead it generates about what's to follow in the review, which isn't bourne out.

Content is v good, intro I'm pretty certain needs a retool.


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Author: pickhut
Posted: May 17, 2009 (08:44 PM)
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Hm, I think Pickhut's opening needs heart surgery, as it leads the reader well off the path.

The opening statement is basically 'The title's claim to be Arcade Perfect is top five nonsense'. But that never is followed up with any conviction.


Because it was never intended to be. I defuse the situation at the start of the second paragraph, telling the reader that the compilation not being arcade perfect doesn't matter, and that it's just great that all these titles are on one disc.

I'm sorry, but I'm having a hard time understanding how you think that the game not being arcade perfect is the main focus of the review.


I head spaceshit noises


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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: May 17, 2009 (09:11 PM)
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I suspect the issue is because you said "top five" nonsense. Top five seems to be pretty strong nonsense, better reserved for sweaty Mortal Kombat ports than an elimination of slowdown and loading times.

I agree with the point that arcade perfection can go screw itself when it comes to having fun. The awesome DDP DOJ BLX on 360 (commonly referred to as "that horrible, horrible port") has gotten similarly maligned, for pretty much the same reasons -- elimination of slowdown and a bit of loading.

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: pickhut
Posted: May 17, 2009 (09:21 PM)
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Well, that part was meant as things said in the back of game boxes, since a lot of game's have a lot of silly sayings in the back of their cases. But, I guess I can understand the confusion.


I head spaceshit noises


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Author: aschultz
Posted: May 18, 2009 (02:21 PM)
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Thanks for the placement and for the comment on how I could make things better! You are not the first to point out that I can lapse into FAQ mode if I do not watch it. As always, I proofread the piece, but it is very valuable to know if there's anything particular to look for when proofreading.

Congratulations to the other people on here, too. It's good to have this sort of competition to pick up my efforts.


My principal said, 'Emo, Emo, Emo.'
I said 'I'm the one in the middle, you lousy drunk!'
-- Emo Phillips


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