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Forums > Contributor Zone > OVERDRIVE'S All or Nothing Super-Spectacular Spectacle!!! RESULTS!!!

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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: May 09, 2008 (10:01 AM)
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FELIX —  When I read the bit about the interstellar chef marooned aboard an alien-infested spaceship, I immediately imagined Steven Segal starring in this game. Good work. Then I thought back to the part where Booberry explains how lying is fun. Hm, I thought to myself. Can I trust him when he tells me that we vicariously exist through an interstellar chef who says, “I’ve got a frying pan to protect me. Look at my soufflé… flattened by a walking butt. I’m not angry. I’m PO’ed.” This immediately made me think of GUTS’ awesome Test of Fire review (it may not be a real game, but it should be, damn it). And then I wasn’t sure what to think when I did some research and found out that Booberry hadn’t made up any of these shenanigans. Not only is this game real, but you do play as a sassy saucier. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard! With the content given here, this review is hilarious. There were some great lines and some good descriptions and a lot of really great humor. I’m taking off three points, though, because now I will never get to see that 10/10 PO’ed review that TELLS THE TRUTH. SCORE: 97

OD —  You start out by taking a jab at EmP, which is absolute MONEY in my book! Felix took my Steven Seagal comment away from me, which makes me sad. The concept of a chef fighting aliens, as portrayed by you in the early paragraphs, just seems to be one of those hilariously over-the-top "WTF WERE THEY THINKING?!?!?!" game concepts. It took awhile to get into the review (while amusing, the intro parts did go on a bit long — I don't know that the "Let's be clear: I wanted to like this game" part was remotely necessary, as it was like four paragraphs into the review and you still haven't gotten to making any real point. However, when you do, this review is pure gold. I mean, this was just one of those surreal reviews that has me laughing and then I stop and think to myself with no small amount of shock, "Holy shit! Someone actually put this thing on the market! Dude....." While it took you longer to get started with the good stuff than I'd like, I have to say that as far as the bash element of this competition goes, a good chunk of your review perfectly meshes with what I had in mind. SCORE: 91

DRAQQ — I think the review would have been better if it didn't state the reasons why the review was written the way it was - that it was written in compliance with the rules of the contest. It makes the "1/10" seem forced, even despite the fact that PO'ed is quite the up-the-disc-hole kind of game. With that in mind, the introduction could have been condensed, though the backstory is light and entertaining. Only a few mechanical issues like a missing quotation mark at the end of the, err..., quotation and the need of a semicolon in "Textures aren't the new black, black is the new textures!" Overall, it's a convincing piece that could have been made convincing if it had been stronger in telling me what genre this game is (the reference to Doom makes it sound like a first-person shooter, but all the jumping makes it seems like a platformer), giving a discrete description on how disappointing the jetpack is (instead of saying the interpretations "differ"), and really honing in on the fact that enemies are freakin' buttmen. But for actually having to sit through PO'ed, I think you deserve more than a penny. SCORE: 81

Dark Eternal:

FELIX — So reviewers once held a meeting in the seventh circle of hell, huh? Was I there? Once we get past that atypical introduction, the review goes into detail on a fighting game. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m not a fighting game fan, nor am I a fan of reading about fighting games. This review goes into risky territory due to its genre and because it dishes out a perfect score. A lot of the description, such as the modes and the combat, didn’t really appeal to me despite the claims DE made about this being wheat among chaff for PC-exclusive fighters. I can see that he likes the game; his writing just didn’t convince me that I had to play this or that it deserved the high score it received. Sounds like a decent game and the review does cover all of its bases, but I wasn’t gripped by what was said. SCORE: 70

OD — The main thing I have to say about this review is that it didn't really convince me of the game's awesomeness in any way, shape or form. Now, sure, it does seem like a cool game and you did it justice in writing about it, especially in mentioning things like the various styles of play and how the various characters have their own strengths and weaknesses (and, sure, those things are part of most quality games in the genre, but the way you wrote about them made them seem a bit more vivid and important to me), but when I was finished with this review, I just had the impression that you wrote an "8" or so review and just tossed a "10" on it. Especially when you come right out and say the reason you gave it a "10" has more to do with how it's a good game on a platform without many good games, as opposed to simply being a great game that's transcendent in its genre. Well-written, but not convincing. SCORE: 73

DRAQQ — First, a misplaced modifier: is it the meeting that is without violent people or is it Hell? Second, please use commas; that second sentence just about crushed my mind with its unbroken totality (and the verb it needs is "would mean" not "meant"). Now that that's out of the way, I must bring attention to the style of the review, which drifts between formal writing and fiction-esque descriptive writing, and as a result, just looks like it's trying too hard. Also, if you're trying to convince us that this is worthy of a 10, focus on the positives and cut out (or hide) the parts of the game that sound boring. Does I really need to know the specifics of how each robot and each pilot differ, or that there is a training mode? Ultimately, I'm not convinced the game deserves a 10, because the writing doesn't make it sound like a 10. Words have expression, and this review needed to express excitement and a sense that if I don't play this game, I should be maimed, skewed, and sent to whatever hell Paris Hilton's dog came from. SCORE: 60


FELIX —  Initially I was very confused by this review, not because it was hard to follow, but rather because its angle is very story-laden and I felt that a lot of the more mechanical aspects of the game weren’t being covered. This score hasn’t changed much from the original, but now I can at least say after a bit of research that this review covers a few aspects in a subtle manner. Nowhere will you see EmP declare that any specific segment presented here is a battle, but he does indeed describe at least some of them. It’s obvious that Utawarerumono has a very interesting and complex story. Still, if I were the type of reader who came into this review without any previous knowledge on the game (and that description fits me), I would still be confused about the lack of explicit gameplay discussion. After speaking with EmP about this, I now know that it’s more implicitly described. But as an effective review that should both informative and interesting, I can only say it’s interesting. EmP does a pretty darn good job making the story sound really cool. He sacrifices description on the other aspects, though, as a result. It’s still an interesting experiment and I would personally like to see more people try to write dynamic reviews that are both interesting and informative. It’s a tough thing to pull off, though, as evidenced here. SCORE: 65

OD — This seems to be of the same ilk of a review as Zig's Emerald Dragon, where gameplay elements take a definite back-burner to vivid descriptions of the story. I know I've tried doing this sort of thing before and it's not as easy to pull off as I had thought it would be when I started. This review kind of reiterates that in that I can see what you're saying and can understand why you like the game, but I don't know that came away from this review looking at this game as some amazing turn-based strategy game. I can think of lots of similar games that have strong characters such as conflicted villains and more heroic types with "depth" to their personality. Still, you did a strong job of portraying the characters and plot. But, like Felix mentioned, I'd like a bit more understanding of the gameplay and battle system; with TBS games, that can be the difference between greatness and just being there. And, really, other than mentioning the battles are "frantic and full of meaning" (which is a bit vague to me), I didn't get any real insight on much of anything besides the plot and characters. Good review, but one that left me feeling a bit empty and wanting more knowledge about the game. SCORE: 77

DRAQQ: This review essentially makes the same mistake I made with my review for Ocarina of Time - it focuses so heavily on the story that it reads solely as fiction. However, I feel that a story-driven review has the potential to be a review (and if one can be pulled off, the game it's for probably deserves the 10), and that this would have been more successful if it was able to describe how the game's battles worked (without, of course, explicitly stating the mechanics of it all). But the main point for this type of review is to showcase the story, which is the main reason for picking this game up - and on that, it largely succeeds. Though it teeters so often on the edge of too much information that a spoiler alert might have been necessary, I'm drawn to the characters and that's hard to achieve. Some better sentence structures, however, would have helped: "man leaves his bed quicker than his injuries should allow" is a tad awkward; knowing that Nuwangi is a "tax collector" earlier in the paragraph and that Mutikapa is the "odd monkey" earlier would have made things clearer in the first pass; and what do you mean by "stop the villagers from righting the wrongs committed"? Still, I'm left with a feeling that I need to know about how the game works, particularly since it's a strategy title that isn't all about the narratology. SCORE: 72


FELIX —  Holy crap, now here’s a review with a score attached to it that doesn’t feel like a stretch. Genjuro didn’t win RotW with this piece for no reason, folks. The game sounds like crap and Genjuro goes beyond just explaining why by injecting some pretty good descriptions and bits of humor all throughout. The paragraph on the levels was my favorite, and I also loved how he poked fun at Sony. This piece made me snicker, the subject matter was interesting and refreshing, the writing was informative, and I never questioned the author’s honesty. That makes for a pretty solid review in my mind. SCORE: 90

OD: You know, "handle like a limping sack of decayed flesh" just might have been the single best line of this competition. Definitely the sort of thing I was looking for in a bash review. You don't waste any time ripping into this game and you show no mercy in skewering it. As an amusing sidenote, of the first four reviews I've read for this, both yours and DE's include reference to one of the Circles of Hell. Weird. Probably the thing I liked most about this review was how few words you needed to emphatically denounce this game. In one paragraph (the fourth), you were able to say all that needed to be said about the dull, repetitive gameplay (including a humorous comment on reusing sprites). And the incredible thing was that you mentioned four different levels and how they tie into the dullness and repetitiveness without even coming close to being cumbersome in your writing. That was just a great example of how good, concise writing can enhance the point you're trying to make. Very fun and entertaining review. SCORE: 95

DRAQQ: Some out-of-the-ordinary mistakes: not "Robert Di Nero", but "Robert De Niro"; not "wolfs", but "wolves". For better or worse, this review takes a very traditional approach in arguing that this game completely sucks. It goes through the motions of why the controls blow, why the stroy is completely baloney, and why the entire experience is as lumbering and laborious as Frankenstein himself. But I know you can take this to the next level, perhaps injecting more hostility and just plain rage at the total bullshit nonsense - I mean, your entire weapons arsenal is a freakin' piece of dead plant cells. Reading the review just makes me feel like, "Oh, okay, it's a crappy game" instead of "Being an electricity-wielding freak of nature from a legendary novel shouldn't suck this much". SCORE: 79


FELIX — Sportsman proves this fortuneteller wrong by coming out of nowhere and subbing a 1/10 review for Metroid. I could have sworn that he had one posted here already. That makes me wrong on two accounts. This must be a re-written or at least refurbished piece. And judging by the way things are presented here, I’m guessing that this review contains a good amount of ‘original’ writing because I thought this review’s message was conveyed unconvincingly in parts. So Metroid’s a game that tortures the player yet is really addictive to play, hm? There’s a boss fight that ‘isn’t as fun as it looks’ yet there isn’t any real description on what we’re fighting or who we’re even fighting as. I didn’t see the name ‘Samus’ appear once. Nor did I see anything to indicate that this is a Metroid game besides 1) the title being used and 2) some images on the sidebar. The review, as a result, lacks informational character. I certainly can see that Sportsman has some issues with the game (filling up eight health tanks would piss me off, too), but I don’t feel that his delivery is very effective. A lot of the descriptions feel too vague, both when he describes ‘lousy mechanics’ and skimps on the meatier aspects of the game. I know Metroid is a very primitive game by today’s standards, but couldn’t there have been at least a little bit of imagery to describe portions of the writing that deal in the aforementioned boss battle, the ‘darker environment’, and the part where it’s written that, “There is still plenty to do and see . . .”? Unfortunately, reading about navigation through claustrophobic corridors without a map and filling up eight health packs from the start just doesn’t make for a convincing argument by itself. SCORE: 50

OD — You know, this is one of those critiques where I'm typing although I'm not really sure what I'll wind up saying. As someone who's written a somewhat negative review for this game, I see what you're saying and agree with virtually all of it. This is a game considered a legend. My best friend utterly loves this game and has gone so far as to recently say that if he was stranded on a desert island with any eight games (as well as the necessary systems, a TV and electricity), this would likely be one of them. But I just don't see it. When I first played it, I looked at it as a large game, but also a frustrating one. I didn't dislike it, but I didn't get into it like he did. And when I replayed to review it, my feelings had gotten more negative to where I disliked it, but didn't hate it. You're at that next step — where you actively hate the game. And you do a fine job of getting that point through by going off on how you have to slowly build up from 30/100 of one tank to up to eight full tanks when you restart a game and how, since there's no computer map, you have to make maps of a gazillion identical corridors. My main qualm, though, is that the whole section where you're describing a playthrough of the game from one region to the next just seems choppy and was hard to read in comparison to the intro and the concluding paragraphs. It just seemed like you were going from one part of the game to the next as quickly as possible and the result was some very jarring, abrupt transitions that were only connected by variations on "it gets worse". Still, a pretty good bash review that definitely got its point across. SCORE: 73

DRAQQ —  Second sentence: "The idea of fighting in an alien world while finding hidden items and secrets is a great one that has influenced countless classics, but Metroid is certainly not one of them." By the way the sentence is constructed, it sounds like Metroid wasn't influenced by the idea, when I think your point is that Metroid was influenced by it, but just completely fails to realize it. Other than that, it's important that you edit: your simple, straightforward, cut-to-the-point style is best when your words choices also cut to the point. Always look for places where you don't need phrases or where you can condense: "with the mechanics", "there were several instances", "in the matter of fact", the entire third paragraph, and the introduction of the first person. About three paragraphs in, the review shifts from a formal style to a first-person narrative style, and continues to shift back and forth between the two (as well as the second-person "you" in the penultimate paragraph) when only one is necessary. Keep the point of reference fluid throughout. Another place to edit comes from being confident that your examples already explains something clearly; your example of fighting lame enemies for a half an hour just for health already makes it sound like the game is unplayable. A glowing nega-review of a classic is (partially) buried somewhere here, waiting to come out. You're almost there. SCORE: 76


FELIX — Wolfqueen continues her whirlwind tour of good NES games with an interesting piece on Just Breed. Considering that genre is usually very technical – and it’s easy to sound boring when describing the intricacies that go into the mechanics – I am glad to see that this piece tries its hardest to avoid that. As Jason pointed out in the RotW topic, some of the writing gets a little bogged down. But most of it is more pleasing to read since I could see that this game really had an effect on you. The amount of options presented, and the dynamism behind waging such successful skirmishes, clearly indicates to me that this is a pretty interesting game. I liked her Rainbow Islands piece used in Brevity or Bust III more than this one, but this certainly isn’t a bad review. It’s actually rather good. SCORE: 80

OD — I really have to get around to downloading this one and giving it a try. I'd thought about it once, but never got around to it (mainly because my old pre-software-upgrade NES emulator couldn't handle this game for some reason) and this review really makes me think I should rectify that. As a fan of turn-based strategy games, you really made this one seem like a special one. Now, one thing I have to say is that it took you a decent amount of time to get my attention. It seemed like for a good portion of the early stages of the review, you were gushing about standard TBS things (like how in your fifth and sixth paragraphs, you go into detail about strategically fighting enemies and conquering strongholds). But after that, you bring up some really interesting things, like how you can start or come back to levels from different places and the general-only battles. It just seemed like the more I read of this review, the more it picked up speed. Initially, I was somewhat skeptical it'd be anything more than a someone generic strategy game review, but by the end, I was halfway considering aborting my current projects to start this up. Those last few paragraphs just seem perfectly designed to really pump up a fan of this sort of game. SCORE: 86

DRAQQ — The first sentence gets to me: I think you mean that Japan gets the best of everything, not particularly Japanese people in general all over the world. In some places, the review tends to choose sentences that seem to come out of a fact sheet or a back-of-the-box quote: "Stride into battle against hordes of monsters, carefully maneuvering your units to minimize damage and maximize special abilities" and "Further test your mettle with mind-blowing general-only battles." These kind of sentences don't get me excited as much as I feel like I'm being hawked. However, I think this review does a stellar job in showing why you, as a strategy fanatic, love every morsel of this game to death. Winning the ever-challenging battle from such an extraordinary array of possibilities is the hallmark, and the description help in convincing me of that, though many times I felt that they were simply describing what makes strategy games addicting in general, rather than what makes Just Breed the best in its league. Another plus is that, aside from "but every questions has an answer", there were hardly any issues with your mechanics. Still, though I'm convinced about the 10/10, I don't think the review is attuned enough to the general gamer. It doesn't particularly get me excited, but it at least makes me wish I was as happy of a tactician as you are. SCORE: 84


FELIX —  Zanzard returns with a vengeance and pens a review that is 2x better than that incoherent jumble he used in Brevity or Bust III. First and foremost, this review makes sense. Its message makes sense. The descriptions make sense. I can understand the author’s frustrations with the game (some of the observations, such as the amount of hits needed to tackle an end-of-stage boss, were interesting), and I didn’t feel clueless once I got the concluding one-lined paragraph. Some of the writing in this piece read like fluff, though. When saying that, “These thugs kill you with 1 punch,” is it then necessary to say, “GETTING TOUCHED ONCE BY ANY RANDOM HOODLUM KILLS YOU.”? Of course it isn’t. It’s redundant because it adds even more short paragraphs to the mix. With that said, this review, like his others, suffers from a lack of proper paragraphs. Short paragraphs that are very important or well-placed can be a marvelous thing for a review’s flow. Any short paragraphs that do that here lose that effect because the entire review is nothing but a bunch of one-to-three-lined paragraphs. Zanzard, please combine some of these into one paragraph. I am glad that random capitalization didn’t appear (except for the passage I used as an example here), and I am also glad that this review didn’t fabricate ‘statistics’ for the sake of being cute. I do wish for some tighter transitions, and I strongly believe that paragraph development can lead to that. Overall, while this wasn’t a review to write home about it, it was a huge improvement and I hope Zanzard continues to build on it. SCORE: 40

OD — Well, on the good side, you did a great job of making your point. This looks like one of those crap retro games that get reviewers like me all hard-as-a-rock to write a good scathing review of and you did a good job of that. Dying from frog spit, fighting the same boss after every level and other things you described about this game definitely painted a picture of a horrible game with little value beyond unintentional comedy. However, there were some things I didn't like about this. Your style of using a ton of really short paragraphs just seemed to make this one read really choppily. It was just tough to maintain my focus reading this because it was just this huge collection of three-line paragraphs. And it seemed that there was either a lot of repetition or poor organization for much of this review. When I got to the "Simply put, you'll die in this game. A lot." line, I was thinking that you could have easily condensed everything you'd said into a much smaller span of words. It seemed like you were repeatedly going back to things like the ineffectiveness of various moves and how it's easy to die for various reasons to the point where, if anything, it was detracting from the good parts of the review, as I felt like I was being deluged by the repetition. SCORE: 65

DRAQQ —  Where do I start? Unless you're writing for a print newspaper, there is little reason why every paragraph needs to be one or two sentences long. It makes your review look choppy and broken into pieces, as if nothing is connected to anything else. Look again at paragraphs three through five; they all can be combined together and be condensed to about half the size while maintaining the "you press start, you have girl, you lose girl, you beat people to save girl" point that you're trying to make. In fact, before I go any further, you can burn about 80% of the review and still get the same message across. Focus on convincing me that My Hero is an epic failure; any piece of information that doesn't have that purpose should be deleted. Apart from that, I give you a list of things not to do until you can use them in the right way: writing "&" instead of "and", using the phrase "you see" and "you know" and variants thereof, putting low numbers in written form, telling me manual information like "Button 1 does this" and "Button 2 does that", telling me something more than two times (or even just one time, unless the second time is for very well-executed emphasis).??Honestly, you should just stick to this outline if you ever rewrite this: "My Hero sucks. The kidnapped girl story is a cliche that sucks. Punch and high-kick suck because they are useless. The backgrounds are suck-ugly. That the main character has the constitution of powdered sugar sucks. Dying sucks. Dying repeatedly sucks even more. Realizing that you're an idiot for playing this is the suckiest. In conclusion, sucky-suck-suck-sucky-suck." SCORE: 37

Final Rankings
01) Booberry – 269
02) Genjuro – 264
03) Wolfqueen – 250
04) EmP – 214
05) Dark Eternal – 203
06) Sportsman – 199
07) Zanzard – 142

Anyone catch math errors, let me know. I can't handle numbers for crap, so that's always a possibility.

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

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Author: bluberry
Posted: May 09, 2008 (10:17 AM)
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thanks to the judges for doing their thing, and congrats to the winner

Oh no, it's a Goomba!

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Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: May 09, 2008 (10:34 AM)
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I belittle the judge's lack of imagaination and creativity. Especially ODs.

Thanks for the judges, kudos to Draqq for the last minute all-nighter and congrats to Boo who has now almost aveneged the Op Wolf review.

For us. For them. For you.

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Author: Halon
Posted: May 09, 2008 (12:08 PM)
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That is the third time I rewrote the review (and third score I gave it as well) and it was put together in about 30 minutes or less. I typed it all in one go with little thought put into it. I was afraid no one would show up for this thing and this was actually a great contest idea. Good thing it came out coherent at least.

Thanks to the judges for their time and congrats to everyone who entered, especially Booberry.


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Author: Genj
Posted: May 09, 2008 (01:31 PM)
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I love how I seem to be cursed to always place second at best in these things. Maybe it's because I can't proofreed.

Generic thank yous and congratses. I'm gonna go listen to some Wolfs in the Throne Room.


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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: May 13, 2008 (09:54 AM)
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Wow. Can't believe I missed this. Hate being 'net deprived for so long...

Anyway, thanks a lot guys! To Felix, I'll say: I didn't really like the review as much as Rainbow Islands, either, but it works, I guess, as attested to by my placement, so I feel a bit better about it. Thanks to boo and EmP for looking this over, too.

Congratulations to the other winners and contestants as well.

[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: darketernal
Posted: May 15, 2008 (05:11 AM)
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Thanks for judging.

Not sure how to make a sig? While logged into your account, you can edit it and your other public and private information from the Settings page.

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Author: zanzard
Posted: May 16, 2008 (09:18 PM)
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Thank you all for the feedback!

Lesson learned: no more small paragraphs!

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