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Forums > Contributor Zone > WEEK 4 RESULTS - Blame Lewis Again! ...and timezones.

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Author: jerec
Posted: July 20, 2009 (04:23 PM)
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Felix vs. Overdrive
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OD vs Felix

JEREC: These two reviews could not be more different. Overdrive reviews a bad GBA game which is ruined by how dull and easy it is. I'm fairly familiar with the Gauntlet series, and Overdrive is right. It's a multiplayer experience. My friends and I would have good fun with Gauntlet Legends on the N64, but none of us liked the game AT ALL if we played it alone. I chuckled at the transition between paragraph's 2 and 3. Very clever. Overdrive's writing is very easy to read, even when I could tell this game isn't worth playing by seeing what system it's on, I still wanted to read the whole thing. Felix reviews Fallout 3, giving it a 10, and saying pretty much everything I would also say about the game. I'm glad this isn't one of those reviews that goes on and on, because there is a lot of stuff to talk about in this game. Felix picks a few things about the game he likes, and manages to sell the game based on that. Both are very good reviews, and it's hard to objectively say which of these is better, due to them being so different. In the end, though, my familiarity with Fallout 3 (having put 200 hours or more into it), made the review a little less interesting for me to read than Overdrive's. But it was a close one.
WINNER: OVERDRIVE

LEWIS: A strong effort from Overdrive. But I think itís one Iíll struggle to remember. Thereís nothing that really grabbed me and drew me into this piece. Reading it thoroughly, itís clear thereís a lot of effort into the content here, which Iíll concede is obviously the most important thing. But itís almost as important to convey that content well. Itís coherent and cohesive enough Ė it just doesnít sparkle.
Felixís Fallout 3 review is a really stunning read. It conveys such enthusiasm about the game from start to finish. Itís sort of the opposite of what ODís could have done with. Convey your feelings through the tone of the writing, yíknow? It works strikingly better than methodically explaining why something is or isnít good. Anyway, to make stuff even better, Felix *does* explain why itís so good. But he does it with such incredible consideration for emotional impact (particularly with his introduction) that I imagine if I didnít understand a single bit of the content, and didnít glance at the score, Iíd still have a pretty good understanding of how wonderful the game is. Felix wins.

SPORTSMAN: OD over Felix. This is another case of the more consistent review (OD) versus the one with more highs and more lows (Felix). OD delivers a very enjoyable bash. I like it when his reviews are based on personal experiences rather than the typical by the book perspective he has been using as of late. This always seems to be the more powerful approach to me. I wouldnít call this ODís very best bash and it wasnít as ruthless as it couldíve been but it was a smooth and enjoyable read that was probably my favorite OD review in the tourney thus far. There were some parts of Felixís review that I loved and some parts that left me kind of disappointed. Iíve literally played this game for about 35 hours in the past two and a half weeks or so and can say he really nailed the atmospheric aspects and made the setting sound like something spectacular. However a lot of the other bits just soundedÖ good to me. It turned into more of a laundry list and became more focused on many smaller aspects instead of what makes them great. Fallout 3 didnít reinvent the formula with its premise but rather with its execution. What Iím trying to say (itís 4am!) is that I was left wanted to be convinced that some aspects stand out above the rest instead of being told about their presence. Ironically I was brainstorming a review of my own for this game Wednesday night and encountered a similar problem. This was a close match that could go either way but Iím picking OD because although Felixís is probably more memorable Iím not quite sure if he completely succeeded in completing his objective.

Venter vs Zigfried

JEREC: Venter's review almost reads like a Zig review. It's very descriptive, an engaging read, and it tries something a little different with the usual review formula. This review reads like it was written specifically to face against Zig. The "one handed play style" dig at the genre made me grin. One question, why is there a paragraph after we've made the choice to stop reading? I read it anyway, but it seemed a line like that might have worked best at the very end of the review. I'm never familiar with these sorts of games, so Zig can pretty much tell me whatever he wants and I'll likely believe it. Unfortunately, we're treated to an analysis of the hentai genre, a page into the review, we're introduced to a game. Is that what Zig's here to review? No. Not at all. This is actually a review of a fan disk that seems more like an expansion. Yes, it seems interesting, and it might have been necessary to have almost 2 pages of build up (well written build up, at least), and then the rest of the review talks about some puzzle game. I honestly don't know what to make of this. I quite enjoyed reading it, but now that I think back, that whole hospital scene described early in the review probably isn't even relevant. Or is it? I have no idea. This must have been an odd title to review, because it's certainly odd to read about. You know what? I think Venter may have out-Zigged Zig.
WINNER: VENTER

LEWIS: Aha Ė a hentai direct contest! Venterís strongest outing of the competition so far. Some may call it a gimmick, but itís a very clever gimmick that works in conveying a particular message about the game. Itís also not too intrusive, which I like, and is very much an HonestGamers review Ė itís clever, aspires to something slightly different from the norm, itís well-written and thorough. Itís very nice indeed.
I think Zig could probably have done to trim the introduction a little bit. Itís a clever reveal, but itís already taken a little time to get to the point, and I think that same point could have been made more concisely with a little more thought and care. Be your own harshest editor! This theme kind of runs all the way through: itís a bit choppy, a little unconscious of the readership. Or maybe that readership just wasnít supposed to be someone with as short an attention span as me. Thereís some good stuff here, but I think itís a bit clouded, so Venter wins.

SPORTSMAN: Zig over Venter. Props to Zig for writing a Hentai review that didnít focus on the sex. Usually you get walked through some personís (usually disturbing) sexual fantasies or encounters and are left with a dirty impression on the game but here Iím left thinking that this is actually a damn good game. Who wouldíve known that thereís more than sex to these games? The problem I had with Venterís is underneath the gimmick it was a pretty uninspired review. It seems like it was trying to cover the fact that he was completely uninterested in the review. Venterís piece last week was full of excitement and personality but this one was dry and seemed like he really didnít want to write it. Itís a decent look at the game for those interested and I did think the gimmick was cool for the first half of the review but Zig seemed far more into his piece and actually made the game sound interesting so he gets the win and title of the roundís token pervert. GABOOOOON!!!

BELISARIOS vs Randxian

JEREC: I remember reading a Castle Crashers review that tried to make this game sound exciting and a whole lot of fun, but it wasn't really convincing. BELI's is convincing, though. This one seems a little more organised and planned than the usual BELIRAMBLE, but it still has that fast-paced energy to the writing, and the game seems to come alive as I read about it. Randaxian's review is a very solid read, and a fairly smooth one, too. I normally find reviews of these sorts of shooters to be DULL, but that was not the case here. I was quite interested in this, whether it's due to the subject matter or Rand's rather vivid descriptions, I can't really say. Probably both! This was looking like a fairly close match, with BELI looking like the winner, until I read this line... "This seductress produces tiny demonic babies faster than a high school cheerleading squad." I laughed out loud. And I kept laughing for longer than I would have expected. I smile and smirk at jokes in reviews from time to time, but I rarely find myself laughing like this. Humour like this turned an incredibly close match in Rand's favour, here.
WINNER: RANDAXIAN

LEWIS: Belisarios needs to be careful not to fall into the trap of assuming itís more about the writer than the product. Itís safe for now, but something to think about. The intro to this piece in particular takes the stream-of-consciousness thing and runs with it, to the point where youíre finding yourself saying ďAnywayÖĒ within just a few sentences. If you feel yourself having to snap your writing back on track, you should probably delete and re-write, as youíre essentially making an admission that youíve gone off-target. Celebration of videogames stuff is strong. But Iíd shuffle your format a little in the future to keep us on our toes.
Randaxianís offering, heíll be pleased to hear from the guy who keeps rating him down, is his strongest yet. By quite some way. Itís amusing, but the humour is never to the detriment of explaining the game carefully and effectively. Me? Iíd edit out some stuff that seems slightly unnecessary (ďdirty pervertĒ sounds a bit playgroundÖ can you not think of a more mature synonym that still fits the humorous style?), but really, this is getting much stronger. Strong enough for a win, anyway. Randaxian emerges triumphant.

SPORTSMAN: Rand over Beli. Two good praise reviews that made their games sound special. This is definitely Randís best review yet. The writing is not as good as Beliís but his smoothest read thus far and the whole piece seems completely convincing and from the heart . This was much more accessible than last weekís and the fact that he was into it made me interested as well. Nice review from Beli as well but it the problem I have with it is I feel he overdid it. It seemed like he tried too hard to be funny or insightful and it wasnít necessary. Beli is a naturally funny guy and great writer and heís at his best when the reviews come natural to him. This one seems a bit overdone, and Rand gets the win because his is the more honest piece of the two.

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Janus vs. Suskie
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Janus vs Suskie

JEREC: I never much cared for the Call of Duty series, but the way Janus writes about this one, I find the subject matter at least interesting, and also see how it's not that fun, even if the message of war seems like something different. When Janus was describing the cutscenes and tone of the game, I was wondering if it was any fun. "Not really." It's a very convincing argument, and even though I'm not familiar with the series, I feel like I know how this one compares to the others, which is what a CoD fan really wants to know. Suskie continues to deliver awesome reviews. Eternal Darkness is a game I've owned for years, but never gotten that far with. That's going to change, because Suskie has drawn me back into the game so effectively, I want to actually get up right now and play it, rather than finish the judging. There are some 10/10 reviews out there that can do this, but they are quie rare. Suskie's love and experience with this game really becomes apparent. He knows exactly why this game is so great, how it works on levels other survival horror games don't. The writing itself is so smooth that I read from start to finish without even looking away. Janus' review was good, but Suskie's was even better!
WINNER: SUSKIE

LEWIS: Janus pens a mature and considered review that taps into World at War on a somewhat deeper level than most. The introduction is a clever play on what the game itself does: present something thatís going to grab attention and then provoke further thought. Thatís a good way to take it, and something we could all probably do to pay attention to. A strong outing here.
Suskieís is a really strong offering, as well, so itís a tough one to judge. It segues neatly between the fourth-wall-breaking shocks, into more concrete stuff about the game, and then into enthusiastic love-lettering about various smaller aspects. Itís a really good read about a game I remember being thoroughly impressed by. Thereís very little to fault with either of these, but I find myself siding slightly more with Janus, if only for the introduction. Even though Suskieís was good too. But, man. This is one of the strongest match-ups so far. Janus wins, but only by a hairís breadth.

SPORTSMAN: Suskie over Janus. After reading Suskieís review I can almost guarantee that Iíll hate Eternal Darkness. Regardless I really want to play it. I donít really know what to say about these Suskie reviews anymore. This isnít my favorite Suskie piece of the tournament and some parts mightíve seemed a little bit too melodramatic but itís another fantastic review. I enjoyed Janusí review as well, a lot more than last weekís. The problem is when I was done I had the ďthatís it?Ē feeling. It felt incomplete to me, as if there was another point he was going to make or something. However I read his blog post about not mentioning Nazi Zombies and multiplayer and Iím glad he didnít mention it because that wouldíve killed the focus and flow of the review. Not a bad effort overall by Janus that probably wouldíve beaten the majority of reviews this round. Suskieís really bringing his best here and if someone wants to beat him they need to really step up their game and go over and above.

Radical Dreamer vs True

JEREC: Dreamer's review is very heavy in places, filled with all the FPS jargon that FPS players know, explaining the various moves and how they benefit the game (fine!)... and telling me the keystrokes (noooo!). But even for a review of some Half Life mod, this one is full of enthusiasm, and that line early on about our favourite games being the hardest to write about rings true with me. The final paragraph in particular was very good, and it really justifies the 10, that even long after this game has lost popularity, the fans will still return to it. True's review starts out very interesting, describing a game's story that is actually quite compelling. The review gets bogged down in moves and button presses, which become even more tiresome than the one's in Dreamer's review. I don't need to know which button to press to use which move. I'm not playing the game, and when I do, it'll all be there in the manual. Dreamer's review comes off as the stronger of the two reviews here.
WINNER: RADICAL DREAMER

LEWIS: I really like RadicalDreamerís piece. Itís a retrospective overflowing with nostalgic admiration for something that shaped its writer as a player and lover of videogames. Illustrative, glowing and fresh, itís exactly the sort of thing I look for in write-ups of older games. A new perspective, the benefit of hindsight, and Ė well Ė just absolute adoration for the game in question. It shines through beautifully, so you shine as well.
Amazingly, someoneís just subbed a Heavenly Sword retro to Resolution. Ha! So Iíve already done a fair bit of reading about this one today. Trueís is strong too. Man, youíre all making it super-difficult for us judges this week. I like how expressive this is in painting a picture of the game youíre conveying. I think it stumbles a little around a third of the way through, though, with a convoluted ďquestionsĒ paragraph, and then a slightly clunky drop into plain analysis. Which is, of course, useful Ė but when youíve set that sort of precedent in your introduction you need to keep up the pace and maintain the tone. As such, though this is good, RadicalDreamer wins.

SPORTSMAN: RD over True. Awesome matchup guys, as these were probably my two favorite reviews of the round. Iíve never heard of Trueís game before which made me feel kind of unfortunate that awesome games are slipping by me this generation. Trueís always had the charisma and energy to write a great review but usually got bogged down with technical problems. In this tourney those technical problems donít exist anymore. Great energy, fantastic descriptions and an all around excellent review. RDís piece is equally as impressive. I wasnít sure how well the best game of all time review would work out because they usually donít match up to their claims but this one surely did. It also makes me wish I tried the game out back when it was big and I was too busy playing Science & Industry and the god-awful Counterstrike. It is not easy to write for multiplayer games since a lot of it is community based and itís tough to convey that to writing without rambling on forever but this one nailed it. I am completely convinced that this mod is deep and enjoyable. Although both deserve to win in my book I have to pick one and am going with RD here because he made the bigger claim and delivered just as well as True.

Disco1960 vs ASchultz

JEREC: I thought this review looked familiar, but then I knew for sure when I read the line about the box (who is known as being a big liar). This is from Alpha 07, and I gave it a 70. I enjoyed it a bit more than I did that time, thanks to a few fixes I did notice. The review seems shorter than I remember it being, and is a smoother read as a result. Schultz once again goes for that over detail that the other two judges usually respond well to, but I found myself getting bored rather quickly.
WINNER: DISCO

LEWIS: Discoís reminds me of a conversation I had at Develop with a fellow games journo, who was talking aboutÖ oh, the details arenít important, but basically: a child saying ďI got the game because the box said it would be good, but it lied!Ē So this kind of triggered me to think about that too. I think itís a worthwhile approach to take, and even if it is used primarily for a humorous focal point for the review, it does work. Thereís an informal style to this one, and I think that works too Ė itís difficult to talk about mediocre games sometimes (a four or five is that horrible Ďmehí mark to justify), but this is nice.
Aschultz has really nailed the flow of this piece. Everything runs smoothly from the previous area, the segues are neat and unintrusive, and nothing jumps out as a big shift in tone or content. Thatís really useful when maintaining reader attention. Structurally, itís actually pretty straightforward Ė description, the good, the bad, the conclusion Ė but you canít really tell, because it feels like thatís the way it was intended; like that was the only logical way to present the argument. This is really good. Aschultz wins.

SPORTSMAN: Schultz over Disco. Similar to Beliís review Disco is suffering from the case of trying too hard. I normally like Discoís light-hearted approach but here he went too far. It seemed like he was always trying to be funny and while I appreciate the effort too many jokes and one liners fell flat. The whole conclusion didnít make much sense to me, either. I think the problem here was the material was bland so Disco relied on jokes to make it interesting. Some of it was interesting and it was a solid read but overall itís a huge step back from his PGR2 and Dreamfall reviews. Schultzís review wasnít his best and really didnít make the game sound as good as he wanted it to but his voice is credible and it came across as the more honest piece of the two.

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Boo vs. EmP
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EmP vs Bluberry

JEREC: Oh please no. Please no. No no no no no no no. I declare no one the winner, and I subtract 1000 points from both of you. ...I suppose I should actually read the reviews. Okay. I tried to read EmP's, but I got bored very, very quickly. If I can get further through Boo's review before wanting to stab my eyes out with a fork, he wins. Let's see. Okay, I didn't get very far into Boo's, either. But I got further. I know I'm being a terrible judge here, but holy fuck Metal Slug is the most boring series to read about. EmP's going on about how we expect it to be a bad game and apparently lives up to those expectations - earning a 7, while Boo talks about how the game is competent, so it at least seems decent, and it gets a 4. I don't understand either review very well because reading either one is a painful experience. Fix ruined this series for everyone, guys. Fix, and the many others who wrote flowery reviews for this series to the extent that I can't even take it seriously anymore. It's about a fucking soldier who shoots stuff. Is it any good? Yes or no. The problem I have at this point is that I can't even decide which review should win here because I didn't read much of either. I guess I'll have to give both reviews another chance to redeem themselves... Fuck, I hate you both for doing this. Okay, I sorta skimmed through the rest of EmP's review. It seems to make a little more sense than Boo's, and seems to poke fun at the incredibly insane expectations fans have for the series, so he gets the win. Lesser of two evils or something. Fuck. I was even going to try and judge a whole bunch of stuff right now, but I'm gonna have to take a few hours break because I'm gonna be too damn annoyed to read the next reviews fairly.
DIDN'T LOSE AS MUCH: EMP

LEWIS: Iím totally put off by EmPís opening sentence. Well, Iím not, because I know him, and know itís just his sense of humour. And kind of mine too, unprofessionally. But the point is: this is a review on a games website thatís largely not going to be read by people who understand that. Sure, itís obviously a joke, but itís a crass one to make so early on. Others might find it courageously so, but to meÖ I dunno. Iíd be careful with that sort of stuff. But actually, this is a strong review once that opening questionabilityís out of the way. And I do like EmPís sense of humour that runs through the entire piece (slight aside: I really like the way EmP jumps out of the main bulk of text to say something really short and snappy from time to time. Works exceptionally). So, yeah. Itís good.
MetalÖ wait. What the fuck? Man, thereís some careful match-ups this week. Am I missing something? Are we running to a theme? Iím not keen on Bluberryís review, anyway. Thereís nothing particularly remarkable about it. Unfortunately, the ďcompetencyĒ thing is kind of what springs to mind here too. Itís alright. It needs to be more thorough Ė and I donít necessarily mean longer, itís worth saying Ė and more striking. As it is, itís one I probably wonít remember, even though itís not at all a bad effort. EmP wins.

SPORTSMAN: Boo over EmP. EmPís review read like your typical Metal Slug review would: fast-paced, level descriptions that try to convey the gameís intensity, long sentences with big words, etc. First we have the random intro, then the gameís wackiness, some level descriptions, the negative catch, and conclusion. It certainly worked and Iím glad I read it since Iím interested in the title but after all these years this formula seems kind of dated and tired. Itís almost as if the review was straight from the 2004-2005 era when everyone tried to copy that style (myself included). It just isnít as exciting today. I think EmP knew this and hoped the matchup would be a lesser of two evils designed to piss the judges off, but unfortunately for him Boo took the far superior and fresher approach. This definitely isnít the most polished review heís used in this tourney but he manages to get his point across clearly without the typical Metal Slug template. Iím convinced that the title is a competent game but a bad Metal Slug game. Kudos to these two for both managing to pull off two Metal Slug reviews; when me and Boo tried to do the same with God of War two years back he wound up reviewing Doom and I came up with nothing at all.

Dark Eternal vs Woodhouse

JEREC: DE's review stumbles around the place, especially in that introduction that I can't make any sense of, even after reading it twice. There's also mass confusion every time he uses a hyphen... there's a space on either side of it, which means that the mind does not automatically connect the two words, leading to even more confusion. The writing itself was fairly bland and uninteresting, despite the interesting game. When DE told me to get my mind out of the gutter, I clicked back. I was not thinking anything of the sort, despite the implications in the text. Don't ever blame the reader for thinking dirty thoughts when you don't know for certain if they are. Woodhouse wins. Oh? I have to read Woodhouse's review first? Okay.Woodhouse's review has the usual smooth writing which allows me to see exactly what the game is about, what it's like to play, and this one does sound interesting. I almost even share Woodhouse's frustration at the game solving some things for him. I know that would annoy me.
WINNER: WOODHOUSE

LEWIS: ďLet us speak of Shadowrun.Ē Well, yes, DarkEternal, itís a Shadowrun review. Come on. Harshest editor. Be that editor. Chop the irrelevant or superfluous. I think this is all just a little bit clumsy and unrefined. It needs a good going over with a bit editorial stick; it needs reshuffling; it needs sections fancied up a little bit. Find a style. Present that style solidly throughout, and ensure youíve your argument in your head before you start writing. It gets better as it goes along, which for me is a sign that you should have started over once you found your flow.
Woodhouseís is an example of what I mean by being through without being lengthy. This is a really good piece. The intro is striking, but the review proper gets going quickly enough that thereís enough time to expand on everything sufficiently. It identifies the most important aspects of the game and discusses them, without feeling the need to go into all the peripheral stuff that no one other than the fools worries about. Itís neat, tidy and pleasant to read, so Woodhouse wins.

SPORTSMAN: DE over Woodhouse. Good review from Woodhouse and being a math nerd myself props to him for math references. However this is the fourth week and his fourth puzzle/adventure game in a row. I appreciate how he sticks to his strengths and can always be counted on to deliver something great, but it is starting to get a little stale. DE comes out with plenty of enthusiasm. He really made the game sound interesting and the writing is the best Iíve seen from him thus far. Woodhouse might be the more consistent writer of the two but DE mixing it up always makes his reviews seem fresh.

Dragoon of Infinity vs Espiga

JEREC: The way Blazblue is described by DoI, I feel that even I might enjoy the game. I never was a fan of fighting games, finding them complicated, and like DoI very succinctly says "As your aptitude increases, the game becomes about improvisation rather than memorization." It's lines like this that help to sell the game. This is a very good review because it's not too long, but says everything I'd need to know about the game. DoI manages that fine line between too much information and not enough. I have no questions in my mind because this all seems very clear to me. Espiga's review was also pretty good, giving me a rundown of why Beowulf is CARNAL, and also why it's not that great. It's a very short review, and I know this sounds odd for me to say, but it's a little too short. Most of the game is pretty much glossed over, unless that's all the game is. But it is a quick read, and convincing enough. Lines like "the graphics are also pretty nice" is a bit of a rookie move. DoI's was the better read of the two.
WINNER: DOI

LEWIS: Itís interesting how DoI poses an audience straight away. This is a review targeted at fighting game fans. I canít decide whether this is a positive or negative thing. Iíll go with both. It has an angle, and such clear targeting is going to ensure that a particular audience trusts the review well enough. Itís going to put off anyone *not* into fighting games, but thatís fair too, as youíre transparent about who the reviewís aimed at. As such, Iíd say this is a successful tactic, and the quality of the writing (though nothing spectacular) does its job well enough to ensure the review as a whole is successful as well.
But Espiga produces an incredibly strong short review. Short reviews are difficult to judge: how much information do you need to convey, while still ensuring the concise nature of the piece means everyoneís going to read it and enjoy it? This is how you do it: you identify a quirk, a nuance, whatever, and you run with it. The carnal thing isnít gimmick at all Ė it works perfectly, and you bounce off it to convey various opinions about the game. An exceptionally strong review, and a deserved win for Espiga.

SPORTSMAN: DoI over Espiga. Obviously DoIís topic was kind of boring to me since I canít stand fighting games but the review was rather interesting. It reads like a (very good) professional piece that youíll find in a magazine. For someone who stays as far away from the genre as possible this piece was surprisingly accessible and I was able to understand everything he was saying. The bit about the combos in particular was interesting because it shows me how this game is special and is a bit different (in a good way) from the norm. Espigaís review was entertaining but a bit too brief. Just when I was understanding how the game worked and getting into it the review ended. DoIís was more informative and complete so he gets the nod.

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Will vs. Dagoss
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Will vs Dagoss

JEREC: Will's review takes a while to get to the point, and he seems to be aware of this fact... but doesn't bother to hurry along. I'm actually familiar with MechWarrior, though I haven't played it since the mid 90's. I always thought they looked pretty cool (compared to the ridiculous looking Gundams). Once the review actually gets going, it's pretty good. Will goes through the campaign mode, talks about upgrading mechs, various tactics, and it all sounds fascinating. Made me a bit nostaligic, too. Dagoss, I think the word you're looking for is "principles"... though the review does stay more focussed on the game. The amount of detail does get a bit much at times - bad old RPGs rarely make for good reads. Two paragraphs in, we already know they're bad - the rest of the review is just a description of how bad things can get. Still, it's a decent read. Though Will's review took a while to get to the game, when he did get to the game, it was the more interesting read. It was a close one, though.
WINNER: WILL

LEWIS: Will Ė as I said above in a comment to Beliís, having to apologise for getting sidetracked is pretty much an admission that what youíre writing wasnít strong. If you canít maintain focus, how do you expect an audience to? I think itís probably more apparent here than in Beliís, as itís usually obvious thatís just his style. But with you, it isnít so much, so it grates a little. This whole review just seems to sidetrack a lot, and I find myself struggling to follow the flow until, on a regular basis, you find time to explain where itís going. If you have to explain it, thereís something fundamentally wrong with what youíre doing, meaning I canít find this to be wholly successful.
Dagossí review isnít the strongest Iíve ever read, but itís sufficiently detailed and well written. Thereís an odd tense-quirk in the first sentence (they *were* based on those mechanics, surely? Even though they still existÖ oh, I donít know), but itís over quickly, and itís all nicely explained. Itís also particularly fluid, which helps convey your argument in a way that Willís failed to do. So thereís an obvious winner for me here: itís Dagoss.

SPORTSMAN: Dagoss over Will. Will PLEASE NO MORE PICTURES! I think it would be wise for Will to stick to reviewing simpler games like in the first two weeks because the complexity is working against him here. Too much technicality, and once he does make a fair point Iím either bored from all of the technical descriptions or it isnít as powerful as he wanted it to be. Maybe itís just because Iím also a MW vet, but this review was an improvement over last weekís, despite still being too long winded for my tastes. On the other side we have a solid bash effort from Dagoss. It got kind of boring at times but overall made its point more effectively than Willís review did since it contained far less technicality. It spoke about something I would want to know about a lot more and the more you can do that the better!

Zippdementia vs Wolfqueen001

JEREC: Zipp's game sounds like a review that writes itself, with the funny dialogue options letting the player have a different take on a familiar story. The mech stuff came out of nowhere, actually, and surprised me that this was what the game was actually about. It's a lengthy review, and I think Zipp might have found it hard to be so honest about this one, comparing it to a favoured pet that misbehaves, though I found the review started to drag a bit in the second half. The mech stuff and jobs wasn't anywhere near as interesting as the early portion of the review. Wolfqueen's review is fast paced and manly, and makes the game sound cool but irritating at the same time, hence the 6. It's a short read and it packs a lot of punch, making it the more enjoyable of the two. Slightly. I like how this review at the same time makes the game sound awesome, but also really silly at the same time. And now I know where that opening line comes from. I knew it was from some NES brawler, but wasn't sure which one.
WINNER: WOLFQUEEN

LEWIS: Thereís an odd paragraph in Zippís review. The third one. It suddenly goes all over the place, and I had to re-read a few times in order to understand it properly. Itís all a bit of an assault on the senses, with loads of concepts suddenly coming into play. I know thatís exactly the thing youíre trying to convey about the game, but you do have to be careful when writing about it in that fashion. Despite this, I do think this is one of the stronger reviews youíve entered so far, and did enjoy reading it a lot. Just be careful not to go a bit overboard too early in the piece.
Ah, I remember reading this WQ review last year. Itís very good, and exceptionally funny. You use a variety of methods to illustrate your points effectively, without resorting to bland info-dumping or even feeling the need to stray into too much in-depth analysis. Itís also structured beautifully, with quick chop-outs and back in again to the main flow. Very good. Iíd like to learn to write like this from time to time. Itís excellent stuff indeed, and for that reason, WolfQueen wins.

SPORTSMAN: WQ over Zipp. This WQ review is leagues ahead of everything else sheís used thus far. Ironically itís also probably the manliest review written this round. You guys better be ashamed of yourselves! She made her point clearly, it was a quick, engaging read, and super entertaining. Zippís review was a solid choice and Iím really starting to like the conversational tone but overall he didnít seem as interested as in the previous three weeks. It didnít read like something that he put his heart into but rather something he just wrote for the sake of writing. There wasnít a whole lot of excitement in this piece (oddly enough the tentacle sex bit was the most dynamic part of the review haha) and as a result I couldnít enjoy this one as much as WQís, which was the attention grabber and smoother read.

Sashanan vs Golden Vortex

JEREC: This is one old Sashanan review. I remember reading this years ago, and it was supposedly the first "non-dry" Sashanan review, probably due to the "Neptune's gorgeous (and more importantly, naked) daughters" bit. However, the writing is incredibly rough in places, and I found it a bit of a chore to read. I was also distracted by those screenshots that make the game look truly awful, so two paragraphs of graphics discussion was difficult to slog through. Vorty's review is the better read of the two, and a fair bit better than the previous reviews his teammates have chosen for him. It actually contains some detail, which is nice, and makes Splatterhouse sound like quite a fun game.
WINNER: VORTEX

LEWIS: I think Sashís piece is okay, but a bit by-numbers. Nothing grabs me, and though thereís an excellent amount of attention to detail throughout the piece, itís often overly wordy or clumsily strung together. For example, starting a paragraph with ďVisually [comma]Ē is almost always a turn-off for me. You should be able to link the segments of your article cohesively, without having to so explicitly signpost where youíre going. Work on that, and youíll get there Ė no questions about it.
Again, while Vortyís piece conveys a decent amount of information, the actual writing strikes me asÖ well, itís not *amateurish* by any means. Just not entirely pro. Just not entirely successful in capturing my attention throughout. I donít like the whole rhetorical question thing which a few of this roundís entries have used. ĎďInfluential?Ē you may ask.í No, I didnít, actually. But if I did, it was probably because you werenít explaining it well enough in the first place. As with other examples Iíve cited in my judging this week, it strikes me as a slightly nervous admission that your article wasnít going the way you intended, or that somehow youíre self-deprecating enough to want to pretend thatís the case. Both ways are ones to avoid. Sashanan wins.

SPORTSMAN: Sashanan over Vorty. I liked this Sashanan effort a lot more than those in his past few weeks. It was a lot more personal and he seemed to be interested in his topic a bit more. Knowing that the reviewer is interested in the material always helps me get into the review more, and thatís especially essential with these old games. There were some areas where he couldíve trimmed a lot of the fat; for instance we didnít need 2 paragraphs on graphics for a C64 game (though the analysis was good) but as a whole I liked this one. Vortyís look at Splatterhouse wasnít as exciting. It was a quicker read with good info but wasnít quite as personal as Sashís. Also it didnít contain much that I havenít read or heard about this game before.

RESULTS

---------------------------------

Team Overdrive vs. Team Felix 2-1

OD vs Felix 2-1
Venter vs Zigfried 2-1
BELISARIOS vs Randxian 0-3

---------------------------------

Team Janus vs. Team Suskie 1-2

Janus vs Suskie 1-2
Radical Dreamer vs True 3-0
Disco1960 vs ASchultz 1-2

---------------------------------

Team EmP vs. Team Boo 2-1

EmP vs Bluberry 2-1
Dark Eternal vs Woodhouse 1-2
Dragoon of Infinity vs Espiga 2-1

---------------------------------

Team Will vs. Team Dagoss 1-2

Will vs Dagoss 1-2
Zippdementia vs Wolfqueen001 0-3
Sashanan vs Golden Vortex 2-1

---------------------------------

LEADERBOARDS

Team Leaderboard

Individual Leaderboard


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: JANUS2
Posted: July 20, 2009 (04:48 PM)
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We have lost the last three matches by one vote. How annoying.

Last week my review was too long, this week it's too short. Based on this I now know that my optimum length is 900 words! Anyway, thanks for judging judges.


"fuck yeah oblivion" - Jihad


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Author: Genj
Posted: July 20, 2009 (04:58 PM)
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I enjoyed Jerec's commentary for EmP vs bluberry.


_


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: July 20, 2009 (05:17 PM)
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Thanks for your commentary, judges, and for giving me my first-ever win against zigfried. I was really anxious about this one because I wrote it specifically for this contest with less time available than I had hoped for. I was really pleased with how it came out, but I knew that I was definitely taking risks with the approach. Then zigfried produced a review that was really different and I had no idea how that would be received. I'm glad that two out of three judges liked my effort more. Now I can focus on how to win next week! :-D


"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: aschultz
Posted: July 20, 2009 (05:21 PM)
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Me too genj. I'd been waiting for that. Good to see a lot of first wins this week, too. DarkEternal's too good to go winless.

Rough match here with Team Janus, with a 2-1 and 4-5 result...I appreciate the feedback from the judges. I tried to be a bit more spontaneous but recognize where I fell a bit short. Well, wait til next week--err Wednesday midnight.

You guys are doing well despite the hassle of timezones. I never considered they were THIS far apart.

P.S. arithmetic police: GoldenVortex is missing a vote against in your always appreciated individual tables. Sorry, I'm in proofreading mode. Plus I'm a math person.

Edit: that post I made just ahead at the same time was not a duplicate post, or at least you can't prove it. Pay no attention to it.


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


This message was deleted at the request of aschultz, the person who originally posted it.

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Author: jerec
Posted: July 20, 2009 (05:37 PM)
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"P.S. arithmetic police: GoldenVortex is missing a vote against in your always appreciated individual tables. Sorry, I'm in proofreading mode. Plus I'm a math person."

You're right. I'll fix that up. Doing this first thing in the morning, heh.

I'm Australian, Lewis is in the UK (I think) and Sporty is in the US (I also think), so yeah. Lewis would have gotten his results to me just after midnight, and I was already asleep by then.


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: JANUS2
Posted: July 20, 2009 (05:34 PM)
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Jerec goes to sleep just as Lewis wakes up, which was the problem in this case. I wonder who the most efficient person to post the verdicts would have been, assuming everyone finished at the same time in the day. Sportsman as the person furthest west or lewis as the person in the middle?


"fuck yeah oblivion" - Jihad


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Author: jerec
Posted: July 20, 2009 (05:42 PM)
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Me, as I'm the one who is currently unemployed and has time to do this shit. Also I'm good with Excel. I usually finish judging first, though.


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: JANUS2
Posted: July 20, 2009 (05:47 PM)
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Do you like cricket?


"fuck yeah oblivion" - Jihad


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Author: randxian
Posted: July 20, 2009 (05:57 PM)
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Appreciate the feedback here. I'm glad you pointed out things that could be better even though it one. That'll help for next week.


I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?


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Author: Felix_Arabia
Posted: July 20, 2009 (06:07 PM)
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Both teams played hard.


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


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Author: Halon
Posted: July 20, 2009 (06:35 PM)
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Team Suskie vs Team Janus was actually super close. Halfway through the Disco review (I read Schultz's first) I thought to myself that he was going to be the clear winner here and was almost tempted to just skim the rest. Then I got kind of annoyed by the end of it and wound up picking Schultz's. That pick determined the fate of the match, actually.

Sry janus & co :(


IF YOU WANT MORE BEATS FOR YOUR BUCK THERE'S NO LUCK.


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Author: disco1960
Posted: July 20, 2009 (06:42 PM)
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...uhh, i'm gonna get beaten up now.


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Author: Halon
Posted: July 20, 2009 (07:05 PM)
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http://johndavies24.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/world_time_zones.png

I'm -5 and will guess that Lewis is 0 and Jerec is +8 - +10. HG time is -8. However I work until about 7pm eastern time (4PM HG) so actually mine would've been posted later than Jerec's if I did it.

Janus: It isn't the length that was a problem for me, it was perfect. It just seemed like you wanted to make another point and/or flesh out one of your arguments further and didn't. Still a very good review.


IF YOU WANT MORE BEATS FOR YOUR BUCK THERE'S NO LUCK.


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Author: True
Posted: July 20, 2009 (07:12 PM)
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Tragic...

Can't win them all I suppose and I'm glad I have a great team behind me to pick up my slack, but it doesn't hurt my feelings one bit that I had a very close match with someone extremely talented like Bbobb.

A deal's a deal, sir. I will remove all my reviews and quit this site forever...

Just kidding.

Thank you, Jerec, Lewis and Sportster for judging. I know this was a tough week for you, given the Metal Slug and Hentai reviews, so you all did a stellar job. More than I would have done, I'll tell you that much.

And as far as Venter...

Now I can focus on how to win next week!

You'd be better off spending that week deciding on how you're going to cope with your loss. That's my suggestion, anyway.

:D


If I Offended You, You Needed It.


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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: July 20, 2009 (07:41 PM)
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I just want to take a moment to share something I was thinking about today at work, as I anxiously awaited for the results that would end up spelling my doom.

I was thinking about gaming websites in general. They have staff reviews, and they often allow user reviews. Users gather to express their thoughts about the hobby they love. Staff members write because, well, that's what they're supposed to do. The same thing happens here at HG... BUT!

Where else can you find such competitive tournaments and cutthroat contests? Where else are people so intent on demonstrating their talent to anyone who'll read, and where else would you see staff members actually risk the site's "official" reputation by pitting themselves against users? We're all in this to show off but also to improve even a little bit, to become the best writers we possibly can.

It's a wonderful thing. Almost like street-racing, in a sense. Anyone with a car can race, anyone with passion can strive to set the best times they're personally capable of attaining. We're motivated to push ourselves through direct, head-to-head challenges that make us work harder than writing in a vacuum. In the process, we've seen talent bloom and writers put together reviews they never thought they'd see come from their own keyboard.

.....

That was all a very long-winded way of saying that I intend to crush Janus in round five. Have a nice day!

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: July 20, 2009 (07:58 PM)
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@Jerec:
Although phrased as "hypothetical examples" (so that general readers will get some meaning out of them), the situations described in the first part of the review are actually inside jokes for fans of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien and hentai in general. It would take a long time to fully explain, and long explanations tend to make jokes lose their humor, so uh... I guess what I'm saying is those examples -- like the hospital scene -- aren't as irrelevant as they may seem.

Just responding since your commentary sounds genuinely curious about that point.

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: Suskie
Posted: July 20, 2009 (08:57 PM)
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Man. Beating Zig just isn't as magical when everybody's fucking doing it.

And so my "perfect victory" streak comes to an end! Props to Janus's team for putting up such a good fight. Frighteningly close results, those. Drella was right about this whole round being extremely well-fought from every angle. Thanks to the judges as well, even if at this point the results for the finals won't be in until Christmas.


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


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Author: randxian
Posted: July 20, 2009 (09:14 PM)
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Man. Beating Zig just isn't as magical when everybody's fucking doing it.

A win is a win. I would be happy if I could beat someone like Zig. If people start beating Beli, I'll still be happy about this week.

We're all good writers, so beating anybody is a huge accomplishment.

Besides, Zig is going to light on fire! GABOOOON!


I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?


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Author: bluberry
Posted: July 20, 2009 (08:41 PM)
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good to know that it's not worth writing new reviews since the judges won't even bother to fucking read them if they assume that they'll be something they're not, huh EmP? get ready for Doom II and the rest of the hit parade! he's right though, I thought my piece in particular was very flowery and gay, lilicesque even. we're trapped in Fix's shadow even when we're writing totally different stuff, how depressing is that?

oh, this isn't HG Mail. my bad.

I guess competent but soulless games can't get below a 7, too. or maybe we're not IGN and it's actually that they deserve a 5. I don't know. sorry the number I put on my review is off by one. maybe it would have made more sense in the context of a review, but now I know to just link to a GameRankings score page and have a really good tagline instead.


Oh no, it's a Goomba!


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Author: jerec
Posted: July 20, 2009 (10:06 PM)
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Don't feel too bad, Boo. I hated both reviews.


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: bluberry
Posted: July 20, 2009 (10:16 PM)
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that's why I like you. you don't take my shit too seriously. but still, fuck you.

and technically, you hated the thought of our reviews. you didn't get any further.


Oh no, it's a Goomba!


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Author: Lewis
Posted: July 21, 2009 (02:53 AM)
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For the record, I think "I have no interest in this series. Do you manage to win me over?" is a totally fair angle to take with judging this, even when the game in question is mediocre.


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Author: bluberry
Posted: July 21, 2009 (03:14 AM)
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me too.


Oh no, it's a Goomba!


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