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Forums > Submission Feedback > zippdementia's Soul Blazer review

This thread is in response to a review for Soul Blazer on the SNES. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: bigcj34
Posted: June 18, 2009 (04:46 AM)
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Not playing a retro game because you might ruin the nostalgia by going back to it is a somewhat common approach I see. The review was quite philosophical towards the end, and I do like the analogy of visiting "your favourite family fun centre". Quite a lot of deep thought went into it, especially when it's a rare example of you palying a retro game.

Gamesradar ran a feature of games that you remember being good, aren't now. Indeed you may not want to ruin the good times from the past, but when it comes to reviewing it's important to consider how good a game is NOW. If it's 2009, you tell the reader how it holds up now, not in 1996. FFVII was the victor of that GR feature, and I agree. It's a good game, but it's not ZOMG The Bezt Game Ever.


There three types of people in this world: those who can count, and those who can't.


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: June 18, 2009 (12:07 PM)
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... I still like FF7.

In any case, Soul Blazer still works, and I hope that got across in the review. It works differently now than it used to, but it still works.


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


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Author: psychopenguin
Posted: August 11, 2009 (04:11 PM)
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I don't know what kind of person you are writing to, but I just can't grasp this concept at all.


Here the loneliness of the Valley is replaced by the high octave beat of an action filled dungeon crawl. The music changes from somber baroquian to bitchin’ ska and you’ll quickly be set upon by a gang of Beastmen and slimes. Soul Blazer is a top down action game like Zelda,


Well, at least you randomly throw in a mention of what kind of game it is, after paragraphs of flowery "LOOK, I CAN WRITE REAL WELL ABOUT STUFF!" nauseating writing.


As such, you have a stake in every creature’s fate and you feel closer to their personal stories and struggles. Discovering that a goat is the reincarnated wife of its owner doesn’t get you anything gameplay wise, but it does kindle a tiny coal of life in the dead heart of this gamer.


Give me a fucking break. Hyperbole much?


I usually refrain from writing reviews on older games, unless I hated them.


OH SO I BETTER READ THIS ONE BECAUSE THIS IS A SPECIAL OCCASION


I’m of the opinion that our childhood is perhaps our most sacred possession. It should never be brought under the glaring light of the cynicism gained through age and experience. One should stop bringing their children to the miniature golf course around the time they start asking questions about the lonely, cigarette smoking man who runs the joint. For me, reviewing older games is like revisiting your favourite family-fun center only to discover that it’s not quite as big as you thought it, and some kid has thrown up in the ball pit.


This might be the single worst paragraph in the history of reviewing.

You probably have some writing talent underneath all this hyperbolic flowery writing, but I'm not falling for this bullshit. This review is trash.


http://backloggery.com/main.php?user=psycho_penguin


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: August 11, 2009 (08:35 PM)
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I'm inclined to disagree with you, Psycho Penguin.


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


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Author: sashanan
Posted: August 11, 2009 (10:29 PM)
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As am I. For one thing, the goat and reincarnated wife bit WAS powerful - at least to me.


''Yes, yes...but apart from all that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?''


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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: August 11, 2009 (10:35 PM)
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Now that our match is over, here are my comments on your review.

Your conclusion tells us that Soul Blazer deserves its 10; however, the review itself fails to show us why. The first five paragraphs paint a portrait of an entertaining old adventure, so we're definitely in the positive half of the scale, but the review's emotional turning point -- when it should be reaching its fever pitch -- is abruptly interrupted by a vulgar poster that fails to amuse or motivate. (Also, if you're going to call it a poster, there should be a border surrounding the image + text, not just a border around the image.)

For the emotional effect you were working towards, I think inserting anything large at that particular point -- giant picture, poster, whatever -- breaks the flow. You'd be better served by keeping the text continuous (although you could probably align an "emphasis" screenshot to the left or right. That way you maintain flowing text, but still benefit from a screenshot to hammer the point)

By the way: gnome example = great, goat stuff = cheesy.

The sentence immediately following the poster sounds sarcastic, which is unfortunate because otherwise the pre-poster paragraph would easily segue into the conclusion. When you start a review by describing a game with sardonic humor, your heartfelt praise (such as how the goat emotionally affected you) needs to be blunt or else it sounds like you're still poking fun at the game, which weakens the impact.

Regarding the final couple paragraphs: the mental image of the lonely, cigarette-smoking man is very powerful -- reminiscent of the X-Files episode when Cancer Man tried to give up smoking -- but the image of vomit in the ball pit kills the emotion.

As the saying goes, sometimes less is more.

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: True
Posted: August 12, 2009 (01:02 AM)
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I'm inclined to disagree with you, Psycho Penguin.

Don't worry, Zipp. Everyone does.


If I Offended You, You Needed It.


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Author: JANUS2
Posted: August 12, 2009 (06:48 AM)
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Psycho Penguin has some valid and constructive opinions, it's just a shame that he's so angry.


"fuck yeah oblivion" - Jihad


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Author: psychopenguin
Posted: August 12, 2009 (07:11 AM)
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As am I. For one thing, the goat and reincarnated wife bit WAS powerful - at least to me.

Did it kindle a tiny coal of life in the dead heart of your gamer soul?


http://backloggery.com/main.php?user=psycho_penguin


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Author: Masters (Mod)
Posted: August 12, 2009 (07:43 AM)
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Man, I loved Soul Blazer. Played it recently, and realized that I still love it, which rocks. That doesn't often happen for me.


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


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Author: sashanan
Posted: August 12, 2009 (08:34 AM)
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Did it kindle a tiny coal of life in the dead heart of your gamer soul?

Sure, why not. Reviewers write like that. Except me, but then, I'm dry and boring.


''Yes, yes...but apart from all that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?''


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Author: Masters (Mod)
Posted: August 12, 2009 (09:13 AM)
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Hey PP...

Why so serious?


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


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Author: threetimes
Posted: August 12, 2009 (09:12 AM)
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Not everyone disagrees with Psycho Penguin.

I liked the first part of the review, despite the hyperbole, but those last paragraphs were jarring and arch. Seemed at odds with the rest of the review. If your theme was about replaying a game that you loved as a kid and finding a new perspective and that it retained its magic, then maybe something to indicate that in the intro might have pulled it together.


Don't panic!


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Author: psychopenguin
Posted: August 12, 2009 (09:28 AM)
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Hey PP...

Why so serious?


This is a message board to discuss reviews. This topic is to discuss the review in question.


http://backloggery.com/main.php?user=psycho_penguin


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Author: Masters (Mod)
Posted: August 12, 2009 (11:34 AM)
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That doesn't answer the question at all.

The best news is that amidst all the bashing masquerading as criticism, my Soul Blazer love has been re-ignited! And it feels so good.


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


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Author: psychopenguin
Posted: August 12, 2009 (11:41 AM)
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Would you like me to not critique a review seriously? Is that what your point was?


http://backloggery.com/main.php?user=psycho_penguin


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Author: Masters (Mod)
Posted: August 12, 2009 (11:47 AM)
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I'm almost certain you know what my actual point is; others have also made it. You speak of making a serious critique, but I see a bash job.

"Give me a fucking break." and, "This review is trash." That's critiquing? Should the reviewer be taking notes?


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


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: August 12, 2009 (12:35 PM)
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To go with the theme of criticizing the criticisms, I'd look at Zig's on this thread as how I personally would want to have criticism of my reviews come across like, where he mentioned the stuff that didn't work for him, but in a positive way.

While I think you (PP) raised some valid points with your criticism and I can't speak for Zipp, if it was me reading things like, "Give me a fucking break", "This might be the single worst paragraph in the history of reviewing" and "This review is trash".......I think any valid points would be more likely to be ignored by me due to the overall tone of what was written.

Like, if someone tells me, "I don't think that paragraph works. It comes across kinda flowery and pretentious and really doesn't fit in with the rest of your review," I'd be like, "Cool, wonder if I can rephrase a few things to fix it quickly or if this is something that'll take some work." I might not get to it in the near future, but at least it will be in my mind that someone expressed a desire for me to work with the review to improve it. But if someone tells me essentially, "That paragraph is garbage and your review sucks," I'll just be like, "Whatever, dude...." and likely just ignore your post completely.

Or to condense three paragraphs to one sentence, sometimes how you say what you say is the most important part.


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: August 12, 2009 (12:55 PM)
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On the plus side, Psycho Penguin's comments sparked an entire thread of helpful commentary on my review. I think he should post in my threads as an angry bastard more often.

Thanks everyone, for all this feedback, this is great!


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


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Author: aschultz
Posted: August 12, 2009 (12:59 PM)
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I agree--even the most personal criticism can tip off or remind us of the basic questions we should always be asking, or rephrase them in a new way.

The best part is, I doubt he's going to ask for two review critiques in return, as per your earlier topic/generous offer. So maybe this criticism is his way of giving you something for nothing.


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


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Author: True
Posted: August 12, 2009 (01:12 PM)
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On the plus side, Psycho Penguin's comments sparked an entire thread of helpful commentary on my review. I think he should post in my threads as an angry bastard more often.

Weak...

I was going to propose a Zipp/Penguin Ultimate Death Match!


If I Offended You, You Needed It.


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Author: psychopenguin
Posted: August 12, 2009 (01:28 PM)
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I could have given it a solid critique, but sometimes I came off as hotheaded and dickish. I thought you guys all knew that already!

I'm almost certain you know what my actual point is; others have also made it. You speak of making a serious critique, but I see a bash job.

"Give me a fucking break." and, "This review is trash." That's critiquing? Should the reviewer be taking notes?


So, do you want me to be lame and boring and serious or do you want me to bash in a serious manner? I have no fucking clue what you're talking about.


http://backloggery.com/main.php?user=psycho_penguin


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Author: aschultz
Posted: August 12, 2009 (01:56 PM)
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I thought you guys all knew that already!

He did, and I suspect that's why he's calling you on going a bit too far. I think it's pretty clear that several people feel your original criticism would not have lost any effect if you'd added a little tact.

So, do you want me to be lame and boring and serious or do you want me to bash in a serious manner? I have no fucking clue what you're talking about.

If that's really the case, your judgement of context in an actual review should be considered suspect.


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


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Author: psychopenguin
Posted: August 12, 2009 (03:34 PM)
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I will remember to not call a review shitty in the future if I find it to be shitty. Any other politically correct bullshit we sling around here that I need to be aware of so I don't hurt anyone's feelings over them writing like shit?


http://backloggery.com/main.php?user=psycho_penguin


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Author: draculasrevenge
Posted: August 12, 2009 (03:44 PM)
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I think the most "constructive" criticism is harsh criticism. I've improved as a writer immensely by people telling me "this is shit, here's why, now rewrite it".

"Constructive criticism" is a bullshit term, anyway. It's mostly used by authors who are too sensitive to want to receive any substantial, meaningful feedback (I'm not saying this about Zipp, he is obviously a skilled writer)


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