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Forums > Contributor Zone > TT: WEEK 6 - RESULTS!

Additional Messages (Groups of 25)

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Author: jerec
Posted: August 02, 2009 (12:37 AM)
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Felix at EmP
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EmP vs Zig

JEREC: EmP's review could use a quick edit. There's a few mistakes in there, and generally the review feels a bit long. It's a nice little story about nostalgic memories of an old favourite, and very much about EmP & friends' personal experiences with the game. I didn't really get much else from the review. I never really got whether it's worth playing even without the nostalgia side of it, and a bunch of friends who also played it. Seems like one of those blog articles where the writer just waffles on about some game experience from the good old days. If the writing were a bit more polished, it might work for me more. Zig's review of RE5 is pretty interesting, and I'm not really a fan of the series. Zig raises an excellent issue about how games can really draw you in, and then lose you when things get too silly. Mostly this happens to me in RPGs, but I suppose it also holds true for other story driven games. Normally I'd find this game completely ridiculous based on the descriptions, but Zig manages to make it actually sound fun. This is actually a feat, because I'm not too easily swayed by reviews... though in all likeliness I still won't be playing RE5 anytime soon. Not until I actually play and beat RE4 which I've had sitting on my shelf pretty much untouched for years. As a final comment, both writers have done a lot better than this. For all the hype and trash talking, this match seemed very subdued.
WINNER: ZIG

LEWIS: EmP, do we really have UT to thank for Q3A? I don't know which was announced first, but with Q3 only released two weeks after UT, I doubt the influence was too huge. Anyway, I'm kinda having trouble with pieces like this, in that they're obviously very good while straying well outside the established review format. It's like Bow, Nigger, only not saying anything quite as profound. It kind of riffs off the review thing a bit, but really, it's a retrospective think-piece about how the game affected you and your friends. It is, for the record, an absolutely delightful read, so you set yourself in very good stead indeed.
Zig, I think this would have benefitted from going either way. Your commentary on the race row is really interesting, but it seems at odds with the rest of the review. Furthermore, you go to great lengths hinting at it, then talking about it fully, only to dismiss the claims pretty viciously. Resi's not racist, but it perhaps *was* ill-advised for Capcom not to think of those things (N'Gai Croal's interview with one of the game's producers springs to mind, in which said producer couldn't even remember which African country the researchers visited, and I can't help but feel your counter-argument isn't as solid as it could have been. Alternatively you could have missed out that stuff already and helped the flow a little, cutting back the word count and being more concise. Aside from that, it's a reasonably strong effort, but for his enthusiasm EmP wins.

SPORTSMAN: EmP over Zig. Iíve read both of these pieces before. This is one of my favorite Emp reviews. Even though I know this game is a crappy port of a crappy title the review really made it sound like something special. More importantly than the game sounding great he made the whole experience sound magical. Multiplayer games are more of an experience that youíll come back to over and over again rather than a typical game you complete and move on, and this review really brought out what makes these games great. Very impressive. Zig wrote a great review as well. The individual parts of it were fantastic, but the problem I had with it is seemed a bit unfocused. The setup was interesting, the bit about race was interesting, and the whole second half was pretty well done. Itís just together this one really isnít as strong and convincing of an argument as Empís. Also nice throwback to Emerald Dragon, though I donít think it worked as well in this case!

DE vs Felix

JEREC: I didn't like DE's review. It's rough writing. Haven't you written anything in 2 years? All I'm seeing is these 2007 reviews, and most of them haven't been that good. It's not even a very long review, but I only got about half way through before I just couldn't handle anymore. Lots of sentences are worded awkwardly, there's a then which should be a than... it's a mediocre review of a mediocre game. Moving on. I wasn't keen on Felix's, either, as it seemed a bit over-written and pretentious, but the writing was good enough to get away with it. Felix paints a beautiful picture of a game that has to be showing its age by now, but perhaps this game is a bit of a Drakengard type temptation for reviewers. Whenever you've got a game about flying on a dragon, suddenly it's deep and it's a tale of ordinary but extraordinary men, and a few paragraphs describing the intro movie. Complaints aside, Felix easily beats DE's lame effort.
WINNER: FELIX

LEWIS: DE's review has a few really nice moments, such as the "beating the shit out of a monkey" gag right at the start. The little interludes like this are really welcome, but unfortunately, much of the review is clumsily written, with convoluted sentence structuring, a few nasty grammatical twat-ups and A FUCKING LIST. So while a couple of genuine giggles make me want to like this, my critically engaged brain simply can't mark it up high.
Felix, I wonder if this doesn't quite engage with the game substantially enough to be wholly successful. You spend an awfully long time in description mode, without actively, critically assessing the quality of the release; and it doesn't read fluidly enough as an expressive piece for it to entirely work in that direction. The analysis that is there is left too late in the day, and although some of the illustrative bits are quite good, I'd say DE just about wins this one, even though - sorry guys - I wasn't particularly impressed by either review.

SPORTSMAN: DE over Felix. This has always been my favorite DE review. Also props for fixing up the writing, since based on my foggy memory this one reads a lot smoother than it did last time I read it. This piece is very well organized and with great enthusiasm DE really provides a great argument. The intro really got me hooked because he was so into it and from there the review never slowed down. Good review from Felix as well, but it felt a bit unnatural to me. This relied heavily on imagery and fancy descriptions and seemed out of his element. To an extent it worked and although I disagree (could never get into the game myself) Felix did make the game sound appealing. I like Felixís reviews best when theyíre more unrestricted and heís having fun with them like the one he used last week. DEís came more natural and he was into it more so he gets the win.

DoI vs Rand

JEREC: DoI's game sounded awful from the title alone, a point he cleverly alluded to. This seems a very fair breakdown of a crappy game that fails to get anything right. There's no bashing, it's actually a very calm read. I get the feeling DoI gave this game more than a fair chance, and probably only had to play it as a HG Staff requirement. Must suck for these companies to send out their games for review and then they get a 2/10. Rand's review isn't bad, which is surprising since it's a double dose of what I'd normally hate reading - an Anime licenced sports game. Baseball is usually pretty boring, and though Rand describes it, and seems to like it, I never did manage to get interested. But I can tell that he tried, it's just my usual aversion to both sports and anime that held me back. Both reviews in this match up were fairly ordinary, but solid, respectable efforts. DoI's was the more interesting read for me.
WINNER: DOI

LEWIS: I think DoI could have done to talk a little more about the irreverant humour here. I also think it may have been worthwhile to consider Mezmer's intentions with the game -- not in drawing conclusions of quality, of course, because the game is irrefutably rubbish -- but merely in terms of an interesting angle on the review. 'Cause, y'know, it's kind of knowingly rubbish -- the awfulness is even plastered all over the game's literature with faked press quotes and "censored" opinions. It's all oddly clever in its marketing genius. But the review does explain, quite thoroughly, why it doesn't work at all. Even though it does a bit. Oh, I don't know -- anything about this game kind of confuses me a bit. I found it impossible to dislike the game. It's just so cute, offensive and ridiculous, all at once. Erm, the review, though? Yeah it was good. Sorry for the sidetracking -- but perhaps some worthwhile thoughts. Or perhaps not.
Randaxian -- I have so little interest in baseball that it's untrue, but I'll give this my best shot. I think it's a particularly satisfactory review. It's adequate, y'know? It does its job. But to be honest, as I think I've said before, in this contest I'd rather read a clumsy, badly written but fascinating and interesting review above generica any day of the week (unusually, this time it's Thursday night, not Sunday night/Monday morning as I rush to finish this. That's 'cause my girlfriend's on the PC and I've nothing to do other than while away the hours on my underpowered -- though thankfully underpriced -- laptop). Where was I? DoI wins.

SPORTSMAN: DoI over Rand. Two good reviews here. DoIís is one of my favorite ones heís used thus far. Itís another quick look at a game that tells you everything you need to know with no wasted words. Nothing groundbreaking or insightful, but more than competent. Despite the reviewís length I was more than convinced that, despite the quirky premise, there is no reason to give this game a try since it fails in just about every way possible. Some of the failures actually sounded humorous. Randís review was good as well. It started a bit slow but really picked up once he started talking about the game. He seemed really into it and that definitely helped me understand the appeal of the game. The problem I had with this piece is Rand couldíve done so much more. This review was calling for examples, and so many times I was getting into what he was saying and then he just moved on to something else, leaving me wanting more. Still that wasnít too much of a big deal and this match was very close. Unfortunately for the second week in a row Rand writes a highly enjoyable review and I just canít give him the nod.

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Dagoss at Janus
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Janus vs Dagoss

JEREC: I'd never heard of the game Janus reviews, something much like Braid. The story and atmosphere of the game sound amazing, though I am turned off by the game's rough spots and frustrating platforming elements. It's a remarkable bit of reviewing that Janus takes a game I'm unfamiliar with, makes me LIKE it, before making me a lot less sure about it by pointing out its faults. I'm tempted to give the game a shot, though. [turns out I can't get indie games in Australia] Dagoss reviews that Quest of the Avatar game that Overdrive has already made me read about twice in review tournament history. He doesn't do as good a job as Overdrive. This review seems a lot less focused, and while it does provide a different perspective on the game, it does take a long time to make a point. The comparison between this and other NES RPGs was a good idea, but putting in two back of the box blurbs felt like a blunder to me. And then when the game turned out to be not that great, I wondered what the point of it all was.
WINNER: JANUS

LEWIS: In terms of traditional format reviewing, Janus' piece is about as good as it gets. Aside from an awkward opening, towards which I've expressed my distaste before, it's an absolutely splendid, critical and exciting analysis that's infused with regular passion about both the game and the medium as a whole. I bought A Fading Melody on Janus' recommendation and wasn't as taken with it as he was, but nevertheless, I feel in no way mislead. It's fair, expressive, descriptive and thorough, and our difference in opinion comes down to nothing more than personal taste over an aspect he describes fully. This is excellent. Top form indeed.
Dagoss -- is that *really* what the genre's always been about for you? *Really*? That's a big sweeping statement, and one I'm not sure everyone would agree with, making your differentiating opinions stand out a little too much early on, particularly given how assertive you are about it. I don't think the quotes from boxes work either -- you're a writer; use those skills to paraphrase and explain. This is okay, though, generally. But for his exquisite article, Janus wins with a stonker.

SPORTSMAN: Janus over Dagoss. I never even heard of A Fading Melody and Janus did a great job at making it sound like something interesting. There were a lot of comparisons to Braid, and even though I didnít like Braid it still worked pretty well. There were a few parts where my mind began to wander, but as soon as that happened Janus came up with a great point that brought my focus right back. Not a bad effort from Dagoss, but I couldnít get into the subject matter. It was a very deep analysis and Iím sure that there are people who would really appreciate it. Since JRPG (and 3D fighters) is the one genre that I really canít stand my mind began to wander a lot and I just couldnít absorb this one the way it was intended. Good effort, but too much analysis for me.

Disco vs wolfqueen

JEREC: Disco writes a pretty convincing review of KotOR 2, and shares many of the same complaints about the game that I have, though I find it odd how he didn't mention the incomplete ending. It's a shame that the game was rushed. I think it could have been one of the best games ever if they'd allowed it to be finished. Disco's review is polished, seems about the right length, but isn't anything special. Wolfqueen tries something different, but I'm not sure if it works. Reading this review, I have no idea if it's going to be fun. All I got was a bunch of stuff about Freud and all the subtle qualities of the game's levels. It's a lot of tell without any show, the examples don't really do much for me because Wolfqueen ignores the levels themselves. I'd like to know how this game plays, if it has control issues (which a lot of platformers do), whether it's actually worth playing if I'm not a psych major. Overall I enjoyed the writing of Wolfqueen's review more, it seemed fresh, it took some risks, but I'm gonna have to go with Disco, as he reviewed the game. And in KotOR, I know there's the temptation to spend the entire review talking about choices and the nature of good and evil, and I'm glad he didn't do that.
WINNER: DISCO

LEWIS: Man, Disco, that's one lengthy introduction. It's one of those where I find myself glossing, just to see where the review properly starts -- and when it does, there's no overt link, no obvious reason why you took that long fannying about in the first place. Outside of the intro, it's a very normal review -- it tackles the areas of the game you'd expect, in a manner and order you'd expect, with the quality you'd expeect. It needs to do more to impress me, I'm afraid.
WQ: Read your opening paragraph carefully, aloud. Notice anything? Every single sentence has the same grammatical structure and rhythmic pattern. That sort of stuff really stands out, so to have it so early on causes problems. Elsewhere, it's good, picking up on a nice focus and running with it. I understand what people were saying about it not picking up on the *game* bit enough, but honestly, I think you describe it adequately in your opening paragraph, and explain why it's only touched upon in the last one. It's a less holistic review, perhaps one you'd expect to read in a non-gaming mag or something, but that totally works, so WQ wins.

SPORTSMAN: WQ over Disco. Psychonauts is also a game that I love and hate at the same time, but for different reasons. Since Iíve played the game Iím not so sure if the argument is all that convincing to those that havenít played it, but to me it seemed like the perfect approach to take. There are some parts that I think couldíve been done better but overall I really enjoyed this piece and think WQ did a great job at bringing the game to life. This is not an easy game to review, and I can say that from my own personal experience. Discoís piece was competent but left a lot to be desired. The intro didnít work for me because it is done to death and wasnít too interesting to begin with. The rest was maybe a bit too brief. I understand how the game works and all (Iíve played the game but would understand it if I hadnít) but Iím not entirely convinced. More examples and/or descriptions wouldíve definitely helped this review quite a bit. This would also probably hurt fans of the first game because it doesnít do much to make this one sound any different.

radical dreamer vs turducken

JEREC: Radical Dreamer's review was slow, a little boring, but descriptive. Turducken's randomly selected review made me cringe countless times in the first two paragraphs, and I decided right there I didn't want to proceed, lest my face get stuck in some painful cringe. God, those ninja jokes were awful. Dreamer, to make your review read a little quicker, and thus keep disinterested readers interested, try shortening the sentences and removing unnecessary words. It won't change the meanings of the sentences, but it makes it a much tighter read. For example, there has to be a more concise way to say "Though Splinter Cell is centered around its overarching political plots rather than its main character, the world-weary and cynical Sam Fisher is a refreshing change from the youthful idealists that spearhead the save-the-world efforts of many other games." The whole review sort of proceeds in that tiresome fashion. It isn't bad, and it probably would have lost if you were up against a tougher opponent.
WINNER: RADICAL DREAMER

LEWIS: RD begins with some unbelievably awkward comparisons. Splinter Cell's much, much closer to (the universally acclaimed? *Really*?) MGS2 than it is to Thief, which was all about its sprawling, non linear levels, player choices, absolute patience and care etc. It is for me, anyway. I dunno. Anyway, this is good. You do the whole "...and that's before the game even starts!" thing, which I've read so many times now it makes me want to shoot my eyes off, but other than that it's a solid if not entirely impressive or memorable review that may or may not serve you well depending on the quality of the other one in this match which I don't know about because I haven't read it yet NEXT!
Huh. I do feel that, until right at the end, Turducken's review reads a bit like a press release. Where's the illustration, or critical analysis, you know? You're telling me about the game, sure, but you're not showing me how it feels to play, or any of the other things you need to be doing. So while the writing is good here, it falls into too many traps for me. As such, though this is entertaining, RD wins.

SPORTSMAN: RD over Turducken. I remember reading this Splinter Cell review a long time ago. Although there are a few instances when the writing got a bit too flowery for my taste, this was an extremely smooth reading and well organized review. It is a convincing case and if I had not played the game I wouldíve still came away believing all of it. There are some parts of Turdís review that I liked and the level of enthusiasm was pretty high. However, a lot of it seemed forced as well. Too much quirkiness worked against him and the review felt a bit formulaic. Not a bad effort, but RDís was more organized and a smoother read.

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Overdrive At Will
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Zipp vs OD

JEREC: So both Zipp and OD review games with hot female protagonists, and both games have problems which make them disappointing. Zipp's problem is that he's playing a Tomb Raider game, but he seems to like the series, so I'll let that slide. This is one of those instances where control is good to talk about, as it pretty much ruins the whole game. "The ruins are in very good condition" but also made me laugh, but I found the Lara on drugs humour a bit off. I was not a fan of the TV show style of writing that bookends Overdrive's review. It feels tacked on and a bit lame. The actual review is pretty good, though, and though I haven't played Parasite Eve, I can see how the elements of this game, while cool sounding, would actually fall flat. It sounds pretty similar to Koudelka, another RPG that tried to invoke the survival horror theme, but actually had random battles that took place on another screen. Zipp and Overdrive seem fairly evenly matched here. Both are good reviews with a few small issues. I suppose I find it easier to ignore the silly opening and closing lines of OD's review than the sometimes forced humour of Zipp's, so that decides it.
WINNER: OVERDRIVE

LEWIS: Top marks for Zipp for using the word "spelunk" in the first line of the review. That's pretty special. It's also a reasonably nice review -- lighthearted, entertaining and amusing, without losing its critical value at all. Like all the best articles, you pick a focus and maintain it through the review, while touching upon the relevant peripheral areas. I feel there are a couple of clumsy sentence constructions here and there -- nothing overtly *wrong*, just stuff that reads a bit awkwardly -- but it's minor griping. Overall this is nice.
OD, I like reading this sort of review-that's-not-a-review. They're often fun, a nice break from the norm, and interesting for different reasons. Your intro here is sublime -- I love the whole "gather round children"-storytelling-style you're utilising, in what should set the tone for the whole piece. But it doesn't. It kind of fades out and goes increasingly normal towards the end. Additionally, there are a couple of areas where you're going "and also" a bit, which leads to some slightly clumsy transitions. This one, with a bit more care, could probably have been really exceptional, but as it stands it's merely quite good. So, alas for you, Zipp wins.

SPORTSMAN: OD over Zipp. Donít have a lot to say about this match. I didnít like the intros or conclusions for both reviews, but aside from that both reviews were good, but not great. I enjoyed them though Iíd be damned if I say that I havenít read better from both authors. Zippís was a lot briefer than his past few but the downside is it didnít seem as inspired and I couldnít get sucked into his examples. OD has written much better and it isnít the best PE review Iíve ever read but the review was overall a little bit more engaging so he gets the nod. Probably the closest match of the round.

Sash vs Venter

JEREC: Sash's intro is clever and sarcastic, and it helped me get into a review I otherwise would not have bothered reading. Hover Bovver sounds like a fun game, and Sash does a great job describing its many quirks. The paragraph where he describes the neighbour, the dog and the gardener really helped capture that sense of mayhem which made the review all the more convincing. Venter's review is functional and solid, but kind of bland. There's very little personality to the writing, which made it harder for me to stay focused. Everything is there, though - what makes the game good, what lets it down, and it is a professionally written review. But Sash's quicker, more enthusiastic review gets the win from me.
WINNER: SASHANAN

LEWIS: Sash's review is okay, but a little wordy. It could really do to be trimmed into something a lot shorter than this, as it wouldn't lose anything from the content, and it's be a lot easier on the eyes and brain. It's all just embellished a little too much through the writing, even though what the writing about is reasonable. It's never exceptional, though, and tends to stay in the region of being a typical review. So it's okay, but certainly needs some polish and inspiration.
JV, this is a really thorough, really fair and really excellently written traditional review. I like to see people doing something different, but sometimes, if you can stick to the formula but do it *really well*, that's all that matter. You show a great understanding of both the game and games journalism generally, picking up on relevant topics, not going overboard, ensuring your writing is varied enough to maintain reader interest. It's just a really carefully constructed piece, one I really enjoyed reading. Good work. JV wins.

SPORTSMAN: Sashanan over Venter. Wow, Sash has really been writing some great stuff lately. He might not be the most engaging writer in the competition but here he really brought out the quirkiness of this title and made it sound like something interesting. It was an enjoyable read, I was fully able to understand how this game works and I didnítí lose interest or PC clock once. Not a bad review by Venter but I would say itís serviceable at best. Everything you need to know is there and itís presented clearly and doesnít get into any technical jargon that turns me off from many fighting game reviews. However, it isnít exactly an engaging or memorable piece, either.

Will vs Beli

JEREC: That's more like it, Will! This review was an enjoyable read, even for an adventure game. It's kept brief, but the review provides plenty of information, and I'm convinced that this game does the Star Trek franchise justice. I liked the idea of the redshirt acting as a sacrifice, too. I'm not that familiar with Star Trek, but I will agree that it's all very iconic. Beli's review seems a lot more subdued than his usual enjoyable blog style ramblings, but it is a decent review. It does have his usual unfocused diversions, though. It might have been a very close call if not for a few unfortunate errors that could have been picked out with a proof read. The use of pictures worked well for the review, too. Especially the first one, with calling that guy Bob.
WINNER: WILL

LEWIS: Hmm, yeah, I don't like this one, Will. The italic quote bits feel convoluted and out of place. There's also not enough here that critically engages with the game; most of it is describing or explaining. It needs more depth - not necessarily a higher word count - and more careful illustration. As it stands, I leave knowing you love the game 'cause it feels iconic; I know what happens in the game and what you do; I know some Star Trek quotes. That doesn't quite feel like enough for me.
There's still something really captivating about Beli's writing. It's not quite there yet - occasionally I find myself thinking you're struggling with sentence phrasing or word-selection - but in terms of sticking to a thoroughly distinctive writerly style, you've nailed it. You've also managed to make your work less *about* that style than before, which will serve you very well. You never want your articles to become big ego boosting sessions, so that's good. And the content of the review doesn't lose anything -- everything's clear, and I don't find myself wanting to know any more, really. A successful piece. Beli wins.

SPORTSMAN: Beli over Will. I actually liked this Will review a lot up until I read the score. 10/10? The game sounds pretty neat, but nothing about the review makes it sound extraordinary. Itís well organized and the sectioned gimmick did work though maybe this isnít the greatest approach for such an epic game. Beliís was a typical good Beli review for a wacky old title. Great humor, great descriptions, and he wound up making the game sound pretty cool in an odd way! He gets the win here.

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Boo At Suskie
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Suskie vs Woodhouse

JEREC: I know Suskie is tired and all that, but there's gotta be better stuff in his back catalogue than this. His Deus Ex Invisible war review just goes on and on and on and on. I lost interest about two thirds of the way through, not particularly caring about how this game isn't as good as the first. I'm glad Woodhouse reviewed something different, as I don't think I could handle another DS mystery game. This police game sounds quite interesting, thanks to the numerous examples. The review did feel a little slow and plodded along, but it might just be that I'm over this round.
WINNER: WOODHOUSE

LEWIS: This is a really interesting review for me, as I'm currently replaying the game myself. There are things I really disagree with about this review, but not a lot I feel I can overtly argue with. It's a strong argument, y'know? It's also an incredibly thorough review that engages with the game on a strong level. My take on IW? It's a mechanistically perfect and narratively elegant game that still manages to feel frequently lifeless for some reason. But that's not important. What's important is that Suskie's review here is an excellent one, a piece I thoroughly enjoyed reading, analysing and picking apart in my own head. It engaged with the game, and it engaged me. Good work.
I'm not sure I like the whole narrative review structure thing. I mean, when it's done well, it can really work, but I find it to be horrifically overused -- especially here at HG. Woodhouse's doesn't stay in that style for long, but when it opens in this way, I can't help but call the cliche police. I don't know. As a gimmick, it's just not strong enough for the review to ride on, and that it's at the start puts me off from the rest of the otherwise quite good piece. As such, I can't get behind this one, so Suskie wins.

SPORTSMAN: Woodhouse over Suskie. Both these writers clearly know what theyíre doing and got the analysis down pat. Woodhouseís was pretty neat and one of the highlights of the round. There were tons of great descriptions that really made this game sound wild. I was anticipating a stinker but by the end of the review it actually sounded pretty cool. Maybe Iím just tired and cranky, but it often seemed like Suskie took too long to make some points. He would set it up, then bounce around a bit with certain (mostly relevant) sentences and then finally make it later. It just seemed slower paced compared to Woohouseís review and therefore was tougher for me to get into. Two good reviews but Woodhouseís was the smoother and more engaging read.

Schultz vs Espiga

JEREC: Puzzle games can be difficult to review, and although it took me two tries to read Schultz's review (the first time was much earlier this morning and I couldn't follow it), it eventually becomes easier to follow. It's a convincing review that illuminates the game's strengths, and makes me want to give it a go. The writing is energetic and enthusiastic, and that really helped. I'm not sure what it is about that intro, though, but it wasn't easy to follow at first. Espiga used this review in a tournament ages ago, and I seem to recall praising it. That was before I'd played the game myself. Now, I find the review annoys me. Namely due to the HUGE spoiler towards the end of the review. That is not cool. Also, the rest of the review seems less descriptive than I remember, simply focusing on story and characters, with brief mentions of the game's difficulty. The game's graphics are made to sound a lot better than they actually are. Try reading "Phantasy Star 2 thrusts you into a most beautiful world. Large, expansive fields have huge, domed farms spread liberally throughout the landscape." when there's a bunch of screenshots to the right that say otherwise. Technically this is a well written review, but nearly everything about it annoyed the crap out of me.
WINNER: SCHULTZ

LEWIS: 'Schultz' review here is really strong -- a nice retrospective that's enthusiastic without losing the analysis. It's fairly traditional, but it's also really nicely written, and taps into just the right things about the game so that I understand fully what it's all about and why you liked it so much. That's what I'm looking for in this sort of piece, so well done chuck.
Hmm. This is sort of straying towards the narrative thing too, but I think it just about works here, Espiga. You're building up to that single moment, that defining section of the game where everything just becomes astonishingly beautiful. I dig that -- that makes sense to do. So this is well written, engaging, and really shows me what's so special about the game. That's essential when you're awarding such a high mark, so good work on that. This is a tough match-up, but just about, Espiga wins. Well done both.

SPORTSMAN: Espiga over Schultz. Espiga is at his best when heís super passionate about a game and it comes through in his reviews. Even though Iím not a fan of the genre and probably will never play this title, I can tell that itís something special. Great writing as well; it takes the story telling/imagery approach but never seemed flowery to me. This Schultz review is as solid as ever, but unlike Espigaís it really didnít pull me into the game or make it seem like a standout title. Espigaís passion won him this round.

True vs Boo

JEREC: It's always a personal moment for a reviewer when they review one of their all time favourite games. I could tell from the writing just how much True likes this game, and it was conveyed perfectly. Now I want to play it. I love RPGs and this one sounds awesome. The review had a bit of a hiccup starting with a fairly in depth look at the battle system. I found it a little hard to take, but by the time I'd read the whole review, it did seem like the best place for it. But this might turn some readers off. I wasn't too interested in reading about the game until after these paragraphs - the rest of the review was an absolute joy to read. Apart from a few grammatical errors. Boo reviews a Metal Gear Solid game. Oh noes! But thankfully this one is short, makes some rather interesting points about what the game tries to do but ultimately doesn't get right. I actually enjoyed this one more than I thought I would. This makes it a rather hard match to call. Boo's is the more consistent piece, while True's sort of starts off dull before becoming really good. I'm gonna have to go with Boo on this one.
WINNER: BOO

LEWIS: True, this kind of jumps awkwardly from section to section. Intro! Combat! Story! Heck, you practically label it. So while I love the enthusiasm of this piece, and how effortlessly that draws me into what you're talking about, I find myself being snapped out of it on a reasonably regular basis as you transition between sections. I think it was probably an intentional ploy used for effect, representing your gradual realisation of what made the game so special -- but as a reader, that effect's kind of lost at times.
Boo -- I kind of completely agree with your sentiments here, that MGS2 is a brave, fascinating and often hugely clever game that, ultimately, stumbles over itself. I mean, it's a game that mainly appeals to the core console market, yet its biggest achievements are those that would appeal more to the literary market than the mindless shooting one. As far as the review goes, you convey that really well, in a piece that's well written, informative, illustrative and critical. I think we all need to tone back our use of "games as art", as it's becoming a bit of a buzz-phrase that I fear I might be guilty of perpetuating a bit in these parts, but other than that, this is a fine article. Great work, and Boo's deserving of the win.

SPORTSMAN: True over Boo. True tried to write his magnum opus here, and although I donít think he succeeded this review was pretty damn good. It wasnít powerful enough to convince me that this game is life changing or anything and the intro and conclusion came off as a bit cheesy. With that being said, this was still a great read and Iím convinced that there is something special about this game, even if itís not a godsend or anything. It was a bit on the long side, but Trueís passion never let up and I was able to make it through this one fairly easily. On the other hand, Booís didnít impress me as much as last weekís. When it comes to MGS that last thing I want to hear about is story and that was like 75% of this review. The gameplay mechanics bit got somewhat interesting, but was too brief. The neat shit you can do is the more interesting part of the game, not the bisexual ninjas and Raiden. Iím probably making this one sound worse than it probably is so let me say it wasnít bad. Trueís was just the more interesting piece of the two.

RESULTS

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

Team EmP vs Team Felix 3-0

EmP vs Zig 2-1
DE vs Felix 2-1
DoI vs Rand 3-0

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

Team Janus vs Team Dagoss 2-1

Janus vs Dagoss 3-0
Disco vs wolfqueen 1-2
radical dreamer vs Turducken 3-0

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

Team Will vs Team Overdrive 1-2

Zipp vs OD 1-2
Sash vs Venter 2-1
Will vs Beli 1-2

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

Team Suskie vs Team Boo 0-3

Suskie vs Woodhouse 1-2
Schultz vs Espiga 1-2
True vs Boo 1-2

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

LEADERBOARDS

Team Leaderboard

Individual Leaderboard


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: Suskie
Posted: August 02, 2009 (12:45 AM)
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Thank fucking god.


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


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: August 02, 2009 (12:44 AM)
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Thanks for the comments, judges, and for making them so timely! One more week at full power and then anything after that will find you having to read through fewer reviews. Judging these things is hard work and I really appreciate all that you've done.

Now for my review...

I actually thought that this was one of my better reviews in recent times. I'll admit to sometimes forgetting to make things over-the-top flashy, but I do always try to cover the salient points and in this case I felt that I did better than usual at that task. Lewis really left comments that let me know my efforts were going in the right place, and even the judges who voted against me had that effect. I have no regrets. Thanks for your comments, everyone!

Next week, I plan to use another recent review of mine that I like very much, one that I feel is a lot riskier. I lost this week with a review that I felt represented some of my best work, so maybe next week I can win with something more daring.


"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: bluberry
Posted: August 02, 2009 (12:46 AM)
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rien ne peut m'arrÍter maintenant


Oh no, it's a Goomba!


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Author: Halon
Posted: August 02, 2009 (12:51 AM)
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I was gonna say even God rested on the seventh day in my comments for Suskie's review for the lols but really didn't want to torture the guy anymore.


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


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Author: jerec
Posted: August 02, 2009 (12:53 AM)
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Thank God that round is over. Will everyone PLEASE bring out your absolute best for the next round? Give it all you've got! No more holding back!


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: bluberry
Posted: August 02, 2009 (12:55 AM)
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and just for the record, I know you're only going off wins and then alphabetically but we're in second place. the more you know!


Oh no, it's a Goomba!


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Author: jerec
Posted: August 02, 2009 (12:57 AM)
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Yeah, unfortunately I don't have all the tie breakers on hand when I'm sorting the results. I'll make sure I have a list of who beat who handy next week when I sort the results so we know for sure who our top 4 are.


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: August 02, 2009 (12:58 AM)
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I'm going to bed in moment and I'll have a big shit-eating grin on my face when I do so. That PE review was one I was really experimental with when I wrote it and always wanted to know how it'd fare in a contest. To beat a writer as good as Zipp with it is a wonderful feeling. I'm legit ecstatic at the moment!


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


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Author: Suskie
Posted: August 02, 2009 (12:55 AM)
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Okay, serious response. My congratulations go to Woodhouse for being the first to beat me -- if it had to happen, I'm glad it was to someone who isn't going to be a dick about it. Same to Boo's team in general. We were out-written and that's all there is to it. Well done, guys.

But seriously: I'm finally free of all this pressure. What a fucking relief.

In regards to me choosing IW, I wanted to go with something fairly recent, and I'd already known that Lewis considered it one of my best reviews. I was hoping at least one of the other judges would follow his lead but apparently not. Never dreamed Jerec would dislike it as much as he did, either.


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


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Author: bluberry
Posted: August 02, 2009 (01:01 AM)
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Yeah, unfortunately I don't have all the tie breakers on hand when I'm sorting the results. I'll make sure I have a list of who beat who handy next week when I sort the results so we know for sure who our top 4 are.

it's not who beat who, as far as EmP's told me, it goes team wins, then total wins, then total votes. I'm sure he'll change the rules now that it's to his advantage, though!


Oh no, it's a Goomba!


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Author: jerec
Posted: August 02, 2009 (01:08 AM)
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Oh, that's easy. I can add a votes column!


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: August 02, 2009 (01:18 AM)
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Well, my predictions were spot on until my team's matches. The last two teams threw me for a bit of a loop, though I think I said they probably would in my preview.

Alas, this means that Team Will won't be going to the finals. Ah, well, I think we got some good licks in. I certainly learned a lot, and now I feel that our final bout against team Zig will be suitably epic... you know... cause it's final and all.


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 02, 2009 (01:25 AM)
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I knew my intro would have to carry 80% of the Hover Bovver review for me - as after that brief bout of inspiration it does the usual things right and the usual things wrong for my kind of writing - so I'm pleased to see it followed through. Jason isn't exactly a formality to beat.

Thanks everyone!


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


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Author: WilltheGreat
Posted: August 02, 2009 (01:26 AM)
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Well, thanks as always to the judges for taking the time to do what they do. But...I don't mind saying that I'm now extremely uncertain on how to write a review that would meet your collective standards. o_O

That said, I suppose this means Team Verbose Eloquence is out of the running for the finals. But make no mistake; our next and final match will be anything but a push-over!


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


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Author: sashanan
Posted: August 02, 2009 (01:29 AM)
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Of course. Now we have no reason left to hold back reviews for potential future rounds. Like my grandfather before me, I intend to go out with a bang.

(He went to find a gas leak and boy did he succeed.)


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


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Author: aschultz
Posted: August 02, 2009 (01:21 AM)
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Oh look! We clinched a playoff berth! OK, that was due to Team EmP's performance, but never mind.

Well done to Team Bluberry. Maybe we will meet again in the playoffs. I was really impressed with Woodhouse's APB review, and reading through Espiga's stuff I felt PS2 was perhaps my favorite of his, so I was honored to have it thrown at me.

Thanks judges for the nice words--and the useful comments--even though my review fell short. I have to admit I'm getting tired of thinking up new stuff and proofreading, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been enjoyable.


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: jerec
Posted: August 02, 2009 (01:38 AM)
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Okay, I've updated the Team Leaderboard to show total votes, so Boo is indeed in second.


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: August 02, 2009 (01:44 AM)
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Team FRZ! I've looked over our teams, and I think the match ups that would be most fun would be:

Zipp-Zig
Sash-Felix
Will-Rand

If you agree, then let us have at it! I don't think there's any need to be clever at this point, as neither of us is making it to finals. Let's just have a kick ass match. I want to see your best! I want to beat your best!


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


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Author: WilltheGreat
Posted: August 02, 2009 (01:52 AM)
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Damnit, Zipp, which of us is captain here? Back to the hold with you!


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


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Author: True
Posted: August 02, 2009 (02:06 AM)
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I have to agree with Suskie on that one. Thank fucking God. I no longer have that undue pressure of Blue never beating me over my head anymore.

It was a good match though, and I thank him for the stress and eventual battle.

And as always, I thank the judges. I know this was a tough round for you guys, and you're speedy response was probably just to get it out of the way, but it's appreciated all the same.

And to Wolf, Turd... heh...or Dag. I apologize beforehand for taking out this now building aggression for being so close, yet so far to victory on you.

Sorry.


If I Offended You, You Needed It.


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Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: August 02, 2009 (03:02 AM)
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What's that bubbling noise? Why, it's sinking Zig! Send my regards to the ocean's bottom.

Good work, team, and thanks to the judges. Kudos to team Felix for a hard-fought match.


For us. For them. For you.


This message was administratively deleted because it did not adhere to site guidelines, or because a user other than MadarasDavosko requested its removal.

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Author: randxian
Posted: August 02, 2009 (05:48 AM)
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Heh heh heh. I knew writing a sports game was taking a chance here. I'm just happy you all seemed to enjoy it on at least some level.

Good work, team, and thanks to the judges. Kudos to team Felix for a hard-fought match.

Same to you, Emp. Congrats to your team for working hard and earning those wins. Congrats to DOI. No, wait a minute. You beat a game about my favorite anime. This will not be forgotten DOI! There WILL be a day of reckoning!

....

Or not, since we're not going to the playoffs now.


I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?


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Author: Felix_Arabia
Posted: August 02, 2009 (08:08 AM)
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We have lost. But I think HG has won. Used to be a guy like Zig was guaranteed to finish the season with a spotless record. Thanks to the judges, Zig became beatable. I don't always agree with the verdicts or the logic in the feedback, but I'm grateful that it's given. Jerec, find a way to start writing more frequently, as reviews are only words formed into sentences. Same for you Sportsman, as you should strive to remove the clunkiness that has affected some of your reviews I have read. And Lewis, video games are not Art, though they can be artistic in design.


But with that said you guys have put a lot of effort into making this a great competition. You have posted your verdicts like clockwork. You have battled illness, a change in residence, and personal distractions and have stuck through this tourney through the thick weeks and the thin. That is admirable. More importantly, you guys have destroyed the old hierarchy. The winners are not guaranteed through past actions, and that is what makes such an epic competition like the TT all the better.


When I first started this year's event, I wasn't expecting this strong a turnout. I think a lot of us became better writers. I think we put more effort into ensuring things got off to a strong start after its initial rocky premise. None of us could have expected the enthusiasm that arose for this competition. EmP, you've been a great co-comish. Drella has been great for providing previews, and I think you've done a very good job taking over his spot, Zipp. Really, all of you have been wonderful for showing so much interest in an interesting tournament.

Team FRZ has nothing to play for but personal pride. Zig, Randxian, you guys have been great teammates. I don't think our record even begins to show the effort and planning we've put into this thing. I want to win this last week's match for you guys. One more team win is all we can ask for.


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


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