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Forums > Contributor Zone > Brevity or Bust IV: RESULTS!

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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: November 15, 2009 (07:47 PM)
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Behold - it's the fastest results topic ever created! Aren't we awesome?

Anyway, this was an excellent turn out this year quality-wise. We're all very pleased with the reviews. Opinions were varied, more or less, amongst the judges. And despite some uncertainty about bonus distribution (whoops), things are fine now. As usual, please let us (especially me) know if anything's wrong score-wise or anywhere else.


EmP: Big Bang Mini
Words: 500

Felix: Gary, regrettably, this is the first review of yours Iíve read in a while. It contains a good amount of imagery, which is instrumental for this stringent competition. Big Bang Mini sounds intriguing through your choice of words, such as ďmuddy footprints on the wallpaperĒ and ďlaser-spitting crimson piggybanks.Ē I think Iíve read your other review of it for a different competition. I canít remember specifics, so this succinct piece served me well. You could have been a little more economical in your word allocation, as you allude several times to a limited word quota (couldnít that space have been used for something more compelling?). The ending was particularly, clever. You will be docked one one-thousandth of a point for not including a period, however, because punctuation does not go against your word count. Nevertheless, a nice little review for a game bursting with material to discuss.

Score: 81.999 82

WQ: Haha. I love your approach with this review. The constant complaining about the word limit while still doing the game the justice it deserves is quite amusing. Especially the paragraph where every sentence basically starts off ďWell, I would talk about this awesome feature but I wonít because I have a word limit! Oh, wait. I just did!Ē is pretty hilarious. I also thought that the neat-sounding special attacks paragraph flowed rather smoothly. In fact, this whole review flows rather smoothly for the most part. And even though its short, as are all the reviews in this contest, you do a nice job summing up everything I need to know and making it sound just as goofy as I imagine it is. That said, a few things I donít like:

The intro, while a very intriguing metaphor, confuses me a little if for the football references. I know who Beckham is, but who the hellís the other guy? It also probably carried on a bit too much for the point youíre trying to make.

Secondly, when describing your two choices, I donít like that youíre so vague about the things you need to dodge, but, considering your word limit and the point of that paragraph, it really isnít that huge a deal. And you make all this clear later in the review, anyway, to great effect.

Most importantly: You need to dodge the razor-edged leafs fluttering deceptively Leaves! Leaves! Haha.

But yes. This is very nice work and probably better than the review you wrote here. Itís really quite amusing throughout while still being effective; you canít really beat that.

Score: 88

P.S.: Would you believe that Felix and I were arguing about whether you shouldíve ended the last sentence with a period? Iíll have to tell you about it when you have more time. Itís freaking hilarious. XXXD

Suskie: Before you say anything, Iím totally aware of the hypocrisy of this statement coming from the guy who wrote that Fahrenheit review, but I donít care for the constant references to the contest in this review. Youíre an excellent writer, and thatís on full display here, but Iíd say youíre also occasionally too self-conscious for your own good. In the context of Brevity or Bust, it works (especially the very clever joke at the end), but whatís to stop a random passerby from reading this and wondering why, if itís so difficult to describe in 500 words, you limited yourself? I was going to complain about the contradiction of wasting space talking about how little you can write, but the weird truth about this review is that, in my mind, you still paint a vivid picture of Big Bang Mini. It sounds like a relatively simple game (Iím thinking Geometry Wars on a touch screen), and your decision to offer only a few fleeting glimpses of the intensity and visual splendor found within the design itself, rather than spend paragraphs discussing them in great detail, seems like the right one. I guess what Iím trying to say is that you chose a game perfectly suited for Brevity or Bust, that you did a fine job reviewing it with space to spare, and that your in-jokes about having a limited number of words ironically come across as filler. Iíll be surprised if this doesnít wind up being the most bizarre entry of the contest.

Score: 75

TOTAL: 245

Jerec: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
Words 473

Felix: Alex, this review isnít flashy, but that serves as its strength. It contains information readers would want to know. It details (with brevity) the premise and purpose of the game. I donít need to know painstaking details on how the cinematic sequences unfold. I just need to know that the game is cinematic, in the grand tradition of 3D Final Fantasy titles, yet contains flaws in its implementation (in this case text boxes). This review provides that insight without wasting time, which I find commendable.

Score: 75

WQ: Jerecís review, while adequate, really felt like it lacked passion and focus. It seemed extremely listy, shifting from one topic to another without much thought. I couldnít tell whether this was going to be a positive or negative review until the end because these kept switching. Iím actually surprised you liked the game as much as you say you did because I felt like the only positive aspects were the story and cinema (minus text boxes). I remain unconvinced that the battle system works ďfairly wellĒ; I donít like the idea of not having any control, and you donít really shore up this negative with anything positive.

Still, to be completely fair to the review, I still get a sense of how the game plays, and thatís always a good thing. It also doesnít feel too spoily, and I find the new characters and their supposed depth to be interesting. Still, itís a bit difficult getting past the ďCrisis Core in sixty secondsĒ feel the review gives off, especially since it reads extremely emotionlessly.

However, still not a bad effort, anyway. I imagine this isnít an easy game to write such a short review on.

Score: 73

Suskie: Not sure if Crisis Core was a good choice for Brevity or Bust. If you donít pick a simple game that doesnít call for a whole lot of discussion, then you must simply limit what you say, which you seem to have trouble doing here. Iíll say that your opening sentence probably does a better job of illustrating your point than the rest of the review does Ė initially taking on a negative tone (and I get the feeling you were hesitant to give the game so solid a recommendation) and then snapping back and noting that the gameís shallowness is merely a byproduct of the its desire to keep the story moving along. Actually, I think the first half of this review is absolutely fine, hitting all of the major points about the story without going into more detail than is necessary, but still providing enough personal response. (I especially liked it when you said that Zack is made a likeable character, and that this makes the story all the more sad since you know where itís going.) As soon as you go into combat, though, youíve lost me. I still donít really know how it works Ė is it real-time? Turn-based? Why does hugging walls help? Why do enemies spin you around? And whatís the deal with leveling up? Itís at this point that the reviewís placement in this contest hurts it, because I get the sense youíre just trying to cram everything in without making any cuts, and as such, itís all a blur. Itís not a bad review by any means, but it could have used some serious refinement.

Score: 65

TOTAL: 213

Lewis: Stalin vs. Martians
Words: 237

Felix: Lewis, you have taken a bold path. Your review is nicely written. It doesnít contain unneeded words. Every single letter serves its intended purpose. The screenshot boosts your count. It provides just as much information as the actual text. In what ways is Stalin vs. Martians impossible to hate? I can find ways to hate an irreverent and knowing title, especially if its inequities were deliberately produced. I would have liked you to delve into that a bit more, as your review is border-line criminally short. Unlike Zeno Clash, however, which sucked (the blog post, not necessarily the game), at least I feel that most of your claims are definitive and could not have benefited from further elaboration. If a RTS game has no means for conducting strategy, it lacks its soul. And if its developers are in on the joke, and Bolsheviks on bicycles appear in sound or sight, then what possible follow-up could be conducted?

Score: 77

WQ: You really leave me in a pickle, here. Your attempt to write short is brave and inspiring, yet Iím finding myself struggling to determine whether it really is good enough. On the one hand, youíre very succinct in your descriptions; no word really feels wasted at all. You make the game sound more quirky than awful, which is cool, but Iím not entirely sure if it was your intention. In making it sound more quirky, the more awful things are more or less forgotten and not expanded upon, which leaves me wanting to know more. I donít really feel like you describe well enough the game mechanics or anything. How is the play bad? What does it do? Does it glitch whenever you click somewhere and completely misread the command? The concept of the game sounds extremely amusing to meÖ but I really do wish I knew more about why it sucked. It could probably use more examples, too, if you could fit them. You give plenty for the quirky aspects, but almost nothing specific for the awful ones. Still, if I were to guess the score youíd give it, though, Iíd guess somewhere between a 5 and 6, and if thatís right, then that shows you did a good job making the review come across the way you actually wanted.

So, this being said, Iím really uncertain how to score this properly. What you do tell me works really wellÖ but it still feels like it couldíve been elaborated on in some areas. Still, for what you tried to do, I think you succeed for the most part, despite my issues, and thatís one of the reasons why I wish we didnít have to give scores for reviews. But, since I must for the sake of conventionÖ

Score: 75

Suskie: I donít have much to say about this review beyond the fact that I like it. What Iím about to say will make this the third consecutive critique Iíve written now that mentions game choice in Brevity or Bust, but really, when your only real response to Stalin vs. Martians is to point at it and laugh, what more is there to be said? Honestly, that first paragraph is all you need to illustrate that this strategy-free game completely fails in its duties as a strategy game. That point is made immediately and succinctly, and I like the position you take afterwards. It makes me weirdly eager to check the game out Ė not to PAY for it, but to at least see how dumb it really is. I get the feeling thatís exactly the reaction Iím supposed to have: I have no desire to play it, and as such, Iím a little sad that Iíll never get to see the scene where Stalin dances. I canít imagine writing a full-length review of this thing. Good work.

Score: 88

TOTAL: 240 + 10 = 250

sho: The King of Chicago
Words: 483

Felix: Tachibana, you have a way with words that no other reviewer on this site is able to employ. Here we have alliteration in ďbootleg booze, blazing bullets, and beautiful bitches.Ē This would feel forced in most other writersí work, but here it feels natural. The subject matter (Chicagoland gangster adventures!!) is alluring and intriguing. The writing is top-notch. Fast readers will understand the gameís foundation. Methodical readers who soak in what is written on the page will understand twice as much of the gameís content, ranging from cagey lieutenants to electric-chair-condemned kings of Chicago.

Score: 90

WQ: Wow. This is a great review. The descriptions are dynamic and creative, leaving me with a great sense of the game. They also make you sound enthusiastic about the game, which can also be seen through your explanations about how different the game is every time. Despite being for a mostly stationary graphic adventure, this review is action-packed and makes me rather intrigued about the game itself. The writing is also flawless and often clever in places. You really make the review feel like it belongs in that time period, which I think also contributes to its dynamism and vivid creativity. The screens you provided also help in portraying what youíre discussing. Good stuff.

Score: 92

Suskie: Thanks for the recommendation, Sho! Iíve never really been interested in Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, but Iíll take your word for it and assume itís tailored for a guy like me. (Yes, the joke there is that I hate ďatmosphericĒ adventure games, as you suggest.) This is another one of the thousand or so reviews on this site that takes the you-are-there storytelling approach, which has become something of an HonestGamers clichť. I mean, Iím guilty of doing this too and itís not inherently a BAD thing, but I feel you get a little lost in the third paragraph, more concerned with making the review sparkly and dramatic than actually painting a clear picture of how The King of Chicago plays. Iím kind of wondering if the game is as exciting as you make it sound, though thatís probably more due to my natural bias against adventure games than anything else. So really, the writing here is very strong and I especially appreciate the point about how the game will play out differently for everyone, which makes it sound very ahead of its time. Itís a little over the top (which, again, is a trap that a lot of writers here often fall into), but itís hard for me to argue when it would probably be impossible to sell this game to me otherwise. My only real complaint is that you might want to make your negative points (about the gameís brevity and simplicity) a little more prominent to further reflect your score, but nice work otherwise.

Score: 80

TOTAL: 262

OD: Revelations: The Demon Slayer
Words: 467

Felix: Roberto, you have taken on an immense challenge by reviewing a game as plain as this. By no means is this review interesting. You have decreed the subject material as lifeless to all but the most RPG-enthused. I will cut you immense slack, however, because not every review has to read like an elevator on a death plunge. The purpose of this contest was to succinctly write about a game. You have done that, and with words to spare. I understand this titleís offerings Ė generic everything. And I come away knowing that I would not enjoy this game (I think I knew that before I even clicked on the review). The point Iím trying to make is this: You have taken a game that is beyond pointless to most, and yet you have still done your duty in outlining its character. While the review may not be flashy, I cannot fault you too much for telling it like it is.

Score: 70

WQ: HmÖ Well, this review is definitely a competent effort, but it feels cluttered in places. Sometimes you use words that may not have been entirely appropriate or phrases that make the sentence more awkward than it should be. For example, ďWithout gaining monstrous alliesĒ. While I know you literally mean the definition of ďallies composed of monstersĒ, the other contexts that the word offers make this a poor word choice. Furthermore, I think there are two instances in the review where you meant to write something else but it translated to something weird instead. Here: ďyou have a real incentive to convince and bribe them to help you ÔŅĹ it's the only way you'll surviveĒ and here: ďThat's Demon Slayer in a nutshell ÔŅĹ a simpleĒ. I have no idea what these were supposed to be, and in a review this short, that really does more harm than good. Fortunately, if theyíre omitted, the sentences seem to make sense for the most part anyway.

Outside of these things, the review sounds convincing enough. I know why itís not as good as its brethren in the series, and Iím convinced itís an average RPG with average everything that serves more to kill time than to blow you away. The lack of emotion in the review sort of comes off as indifference to the game as a whole, which, in this case, makes it more convincing because of the tone throughout and the score at the end. Iím not overly impressed with it, but thatís not a huge deal, really.

Score: 80

Suskie: I was actually going to copy and paste some of the lines from your review into this critique, and then edit them to make it sound like Iím saying that your review is competent, and that Iím damning with faint praise, and that itís put together well but itís not flashy or memorable, etc. But I donít know how familiar you are with this review and Iíd be taking the risk that the joke flies right over your head. In all honesty, this is very well written, and simply works from the disadvantage that the game youíre talking about isnít very interesting. Itís not interesting to read about and Iím betting itís not interesting to talk about, either. Whereas Lewis picked an excellent game for this competition and wound up coming to the most unique conclusion in fewer words than anyone else, your review more or less says what I expected it to say from the get-go: generic JRPG, save the world, gather party members, fight monsters, mediocre, bleh. I really did appreciate what you said about the game appealing to YOU and people like you, while still acknowledging that Revelations isnít very good. Your attitude about RPGs more or less mirrors mine towards shooters. I just recently played Killzone 2 and honestly enjoyed it, despite it being the most generic cookie-cutter game Iíve played all year. How do you review a game like that, one that you were entertained by for reasons others would hate it? I like your approach, I think youíre totally fair to the game, and I know to stay away now. Itís just a shame you donít have better material to work with here.

Score: 75

TOTAL: 225

Zipp: Final Fantasy VII (PSN)
Words: 480

Felix: Jonathan, this is a terrible staff review because it concentrates on only one of the many aspects in a beloved and famous title, therefore neglecting to mention so much of the content that makes FF7 an endearing title of the ages. With that said, I think you have the basis to a very intriguing review. If this piece can be fleshed out, it would be really cool. You wouldnít even need to mention the typical stuff seen in other reviews for this game. Just keep elaborating on your thesis. You have a really good idea here. Unfortunately, the word count went against you.

Score: 60

WQ: I commend you for trying to be as ambitious as you are for reviewing FF7 in 500 words, especially considering the completely different approach you take. However, I donít think itís completely successful. While I really like how this starts off Ė especially that second paragraph describing how the game broke from archetypal RPG tradition. You then do a nice job summing up some of the story elements and why they make it different (though I imagine that these things arenít so unique anymoreÖ, but thatís not necessarily your point). The only problems I have until the end involve the paragraph where you talk about Cloud and Barrett; some word repetition, word choice and sentence structure donít really work for me, but it still gets the job done. However, things really start to crumble for you at the end, and itís there that hurts you the most, Iím afraid.

The penultimate paragraph (excluding the single-sentence finisher) does absolutely nothing for me nor does it prove any point to me. It reads like something only someone who has played the game before would understand. I, who had only beaten Jenova once before giving up on a badly scratched disk, do not remember some of these events and havenít even heard of others. So, to people like me who donít know the complete story, this paragraph is so confusing and out of place that it doesnít even need to be there at all. Though, in a way, Iím glad Iím more confused than anything else because I also know that these events are extremely spoily; and maybe the reason theyíre so confusing is because you knew they were spoily and didnít want to risk spoiling too much. But either way, the paragraph doesnít do you any favors, Iím afraid.

After this, the review just kind of summarizes and ends. I know this was done because it was short, but with such a lacking close, itís a review that really needs expanding. In a way, itís kind of sad that just one paragraph and a word limit can damage such a review with such potential, but thatís the nature of the contest. Still, I really do admire your daring, and Iím absolutely fascinated by the approach. I actually wouldnít mind if you expanded the review and fleshed out some of your points some more. I think itís really interesting, butÖ as it is now, itÖ just kind of ends, and it makes me sad. Even so, the boldness and angle makes this kind of hard to score., but oh well.

Score: 67

Suskie: Before you start waving guns around because of the score I gave you, I want you to know that I like the direction youíve taken with this review. I really do. Your position on FFVII being one of Squareís darkest games has actually forced me to view the game in a different light, which is a considerable given how much I hate FFVII. Your decision to ignore gameplay-related aspects altogether was also an effective one, especially since even FFVIIís biggest fans seem to have acknowledged by now that the plot is the gameís only selling point. (Ha! Thought Iíd get through this critique without knocking on FFVII, did you?) Having said that, this just isnít a compelling piece of writing. After establishing your point in a particularly strong second paragraph, you seem to have run out of places to go and just wander aimlessly until youíve reached your word limit. There are two whole paragraphs in a row in which you simply run through one-sentence anecdotes from the story in quick succession, without giving them the footing they need to support your central thesis. Some of them donít even make sense out of context. Like, you make it sound as if Cloud WILLINGLY hands Sephiroth the black materia. It just sounds like youíre preaching to a choir here, calling FFVII the ďmost enduring game of all timeĒ for no particular reason, bringing up one genuinely good discussion topic, and then using it as an excuse to plough through as many major plot points as you can before slapping an obligatory 10 onto the end of the review. It isnít even tailored for people who havenít played the game and is too jumbled (and, weirdly, devoid of much actual praise) to work as a nostalgic piece. Iíll add that the writing isnít as strong as usual, either, such as the mention of ďpolygon characters.Ē (I know what you meant, but thereís got to be a better way to put it than that.)

Score: 45

TOTAL: 172

Zig: Brutal Legend
Words: 499

Felix: Zig, your review makes one point that really struck a chord with me. 3D worlds Ė even if they were plain Ė used to be exciting to explore for secrets back when the concept was novel. And here I thought it was inquisitive youth stepping aside for aging impatience as the reason why I can no longer be damned to explore all but the most innovative video game realms. As for the review, itís pretty good. The writing is typically batty, with IMPORTANT words CAPITALZED for added EFFECT, and with noteworthy dialogue highlighted for all intensive purposes. The best thing about this review, though, is that it takes a seemingly insipid, ho-hum game and makes it fun to read about. It answers questions for inquisitive readers, yet it entertains for all competitive purposes. Nifty.

Score: 85

WQ: Bahahaha! Love it. The way this starts is genius Ė all the classic rock/metal puns kill me, and definitely make the game sound like the goofy parody-adventure-thing that I imagined it would be. I like the concept Ė basically taking Iron Maidenís cover art and making it a game (and maybe that of other bandís, too, but I assume primarily them because Eddie seems to be the main character). Then, later, the puns end and things get more serious. In this way Ė intentionally or not Ė the reader gets the same sense of disappointment you do when you realized that the game wasnít anything more than just ďboring exploration interspersed with excitementĒ, or however you phrased it.

Still, I do have some issues with this that hurt a little bit. All the punnage and references to other things, while amusing, do get cluttered after a while, and I donít understand them all. Specifically, the paragraph where you add in (think Conan) ever other sentence is especially cluttered, and all the mentioning of Conan Ė which Iíve not seen and therefore only understand based on context and what Iíve heard of it Ė cloud any other brilliant puns or sentence structure. In other words, it clogs flow and takes away from the IRONHEAD joke.

Still, I found myself very amused Ė and later intrigued when the jokes ended Ė throughout the review. And you do a nice job summing up its negative elements in the amount of words you had left. Great stuff. Iím proud of myself for getting most of the jokes.

Score: 88

Suskie: SoÖ whatís the deal with that opening exchange? Is it from the game? Something else? Did you make it up? Well, whatever. For however disoriented this made me, you got my attention again with the ďRattís assĒ joke. Thatís clever writing right there, folks. Anyway, I really like it when reviewers find unique ways to make simple points, such as when you said that Brutal Legend feels like it was stuck in the era when simply being in 3D was thrill enough. This is a good review that I really canít find fault with. If Brutal Legend provides a lot of potential discussion material, then you did a wonderful job of convincing me that all relevant aspects can be covered clearly and illustratively in the space of 500 words. As always, your writing is tight, creative and entertaining to read. And, uh, thatís about all there is to say. How are you? Good, thanks.

Score: 90

TOTAL: 263

Masters: Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2
Words: 500

Felix: Marc, this review was a pleasure to read. I say this after having read all but one other Brevity or Bust IV review. At 3:40 in the morning. No, I hadnít fully read it until now. I only waited because I wanted to see what my reaction would be toward it at the time that mattered most: scoring time! Anyway, for a review that spends a good portion of its length talking about purple mist and sharp breasts, I have to admit that the argument you are making is incredibly convincing. What were they thinking, exactly, when they took the very essence that made the original version of Ninja Gaiden 2 real by substituting it for watered down confusion? Itís sheer madness, and Iím glad you indicate so in your review. After all, sometimes itís the little things that make or break the experience, and to me it sounds as if Team Ninja had no qualms about gutting their own baby just so it could appeal to wimps, from fountains of blood to suffocating challenge. Now itís all gone. Your review chronicles that nicely.

Score: 90

WQ: *sigh* You had to give me trouble, too, didnít you? I had to read your review twice to get what you were saying, and still had a little trouble in places. I think this is largely due to the fact that Iíve not played either game, and so to someone like me reading a review likely directed at an audience who probably has played the original, I find it a bit befuddling. However, that being said, your argument is an interesting and compelling one. What makes this game worse than its brother? Ironically, it seems to be the things that were meant to make it better! You do a nice job explaining the pros and cons of this versionís ďimprovementsĒ, and even someone like me can see that itís inferior because it leaves the player lacking any sense of sadistic fulfillment.

However, considering how analytical and technical your writing is, appealing to the audience you do doesnít always help, at least not to me whoís played neither. For example, this paragraph: ďThe new generation Ninja Gaiden has always been about permitting progress in the most begrudging of ways. But through the beatings would emerge an indomitable gamer pride: weíd dust Ryu off, assuring ourselves that by defending prudently and patiently, awaiting openings to counterattack, our resolve would see us through.Ē I know what youíre trying to say, but it reads like youíre using a huge in-game metaphor to say it, and itís just really confusing to me.

Still, that being said, this is a very nice review that has a very direct point to prove and succeeds in proving it in an artistic and technical manner. I know that this port isnít as good as the original, despite the better graphics, and I know why. And the way you present it is quite interesting (though I personally could have cared less about eye-candy =P).

Score: 85

Suskie: Wow. Way to go with a single point and run with it. I like this approach if itís done well, and here, it absolutely is. Iíve always been in defense of videogame violence as an almost integral part of the experience (in some cases, at least), so I can totally relate to what youíre saying about excessive bloodletting being so empowering. Notice you say nothing of the gameís actual mechanics. You donít need to. Everyone knows Ninja Gaiden is an action game, and in a way, thatís as detailed as you need to be. This feels kind of like a reflection piece, one that quickly examines what made Ninja Gaiden II work on Xbox 360 and explains how one presumably small change can make for a much less satisfying experience (without falling into the trap of outright reviewing the original NG2). Thatís kind of the case I was making for MadWorld Ė some games are just AWESOME. Taking away NG2ís awesomeness does it a disservice. Gamers know the rush you get from games like this, and any of them should be able to instantly relate to the argument youíre making here, whether theyíll admit it or not. Simple but incredibly effective Ė and I hate the Ninja Gaiden games.

Score: 94

TOTAL: 269

Randxian: Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology
Words: 483

Felix: Dave, I really liked the following line: ďEverybody in the game hates you.Ē I donít know why. It just made me laugh out loud. No other review did that for me during this competition. I guess that counts for something. The subject matter is interesting, if only because you make it sound absolutely ludicrous. This is a scathing critique of a game that is worthy of being scathed. The writing was down to earth and real. Parts of it were a tad rough, though not to the point of concern. The only part that I just refused to accept was the conclusion, about traveling to NYC dressed as a Bosox fan. By the time you fly there or, in my case, take the Thruway, youíre already looking at outrageous fees comparable to purchasing a PSP and $30 copy of this game! Bits about bats, wolves, slimes, and other members of the ďhit parade,Ē not to mention the actual meat of the review, made this a solid read, though. I think youíre progressing nicely.

Score: 75

WQ: Firstly, congrats on your first RotW win. You really have improved a lot since that Crystalis review I read of yours a while ago. This review isnít flawless by any means, but it definitely has a lot of good traits. I like the sarcasm and sense of humor you instill throughout, and I find the idea of Tales in real life rather amusing. It sounds like a largely unfair and boring RPG that failed at pleasing its intended audience. It also focuses on the most important issues, which, in a review like this, is critical especially when writing about games that normally would require a lot of wordage.

That being said, some issues I have with it are the occasional sloppy sentence structure and the somewhat repetitive conclusion. For example, this sentence ďthan successfully getting a local Tales of yahoo to join your band of merry men.Ē Iím pretty sure you were trying to make a joke with the ďTales of yahooí thing, but to me, it sounds like you were just trying to say the gameís title in less words. Itíd honestly be beer if you just took out the ďof yahooĒ bit altogether. Either way, I found the previous prom joke to be hilarious.

As for the conclusion, while I know the point is to sum up and then add something new, which you definitely do, in here it really sounds repetitive because all the points you summarize you already made quite sufficiently. That the review is as short as it is (and needs to be per nature of the contest) doesnít help.

Still, these things are quite minor altogether, and overall, I rather like the effort. Good job.

Score: 83

Suskie: Iím not really getting why you donít like this game, Randxian. You spend virtually the entire review telling me about how much the characters in this game hate you, andÖ I donít know, that seems like a petty complaint to me. I know nothing about the story, the battle systemÖ I donít even really know how the character interaction works. How do you get them to warm up to you? How do you recruit them? How do they contribute to your party, and how do the quests play out with them in tow? I leave this review with nothing. Whatís worse, halfway through you make the declaration that ďthus the game fails completely,Ē like weíre supposed to be nodding along with what youíre saying, yet I see no evidence here to support your claims. Either Iím missing something or thereís an underlying message in this review that you havenít brought out. So the characters are mean? Donít take it so personally, man.

Score: 50

TOTAL: 208



1. Masters: 90 + 85 + 94 + 0 (bonus) = 269
2. Zig: 85 + 88 + 90 + 0 (bonus) = 263
3. Sho: 90 + 92 + 80 + 0 (bonus) = 262
4. Lewis: 77 + 75 + 88 + 10 (bonus) = 250
5. EmP: 82 + 88 + 75 + 0 (bonus) = 245
6. OD: 70 + 80 + 75 + 0 (bonus) = 225
7. Jerec: 75 + 73 + 65 + 0 (bonus) = 213
8. Randxian: 75 + 83 + 50 + 0 (bonus) = 208
9. Zipp: 60 + 67 + 45 + 0 (bonus) = 172

Congrats to all who participated. May the next BoB go even better.

[Eating EmP's brain] probably isn't a good idea. I mean... He's British, which means his brain's wired for PAL and your eyes are NTSC. - Will

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Author: Suskie
Posted: November 15, 2009 (07:53 PM)
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Man, am I the odd man out here? If this was TT I'd be voting for the opposite person you two vote for. Weird how I was simultaneously the nicest and meanest judge here.

Sorry for the wall-of-text critiques, everyone; I forgot to divide them into fancy little paragraphs.

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

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Author: Felix_Arabia
Posted: November 15, 2009 (07:54 PM)
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Wolfqueen sabotaged my score for EmP. It should be 244.999 points!!

In all serious, thank for participating, all. Congrats to Masters on his conquest!

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

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Author: randxian
Posted: November 15, 2009 (08:15 PM)
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Iím not really getting why you donít like this game, Randxian. You spend virtually the entire review telling me about how much the characters in this game hate you, andÖ I donít know, that seems like a petty complaint to me.

It's not a petty complaint when the whole point of the game is to team up with your favorite characters in Namco's Tales of series.

Perhaps I could've made that arguement more clearly. I do admit that I did take a chance by taking one slice out of the game and analyzing it to death. I thought that slice, Tales of characters NOT joining you, was important enough to warrant a low score, given this is a fan based game.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback, all three of you. It seems I still have some work to do in terms of clarity and sentence structure. When the readers aren't 100% sure what my point is, then I suppose there is a fundamental problem.


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: November 15, 2009 (08:38 PM)
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Thanks for the feedback on mine. I agree it wasn't my most eloquent piece. But it was a very intriguing experience seeing the aftermath of its writing, wherein it quickly garnered more discussion across the sites I posted it on then any of my other reviews. Guess FF7's still a hot topic.

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

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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: November 15, 2009 (08:52 PM)
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Thank you judges! These were very prompt and clear results, and the topic was nicely formatted too.

Congratulations to the wieners!


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Author: jerec
Posted: November 15, 2009 (10:40 PM)
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Thanks, judges, for such insightful comments. I can't argue with any of it. I think game choice did hurt me here, but I wasn't actually planning on contributing anything until I wrote a list of things I did and didn't like about Crisis Core on my blog, then turned it into a review (and it was turned into a review very quickly, hence the lack of polish and passion). I felt very constrained by the 500 word limit, and I ended up cutting some of what I wanted to say.

So I suppose I'll take another run through the review soon, with your comments in mind (seems like the first half of my review is pretty good), but I'll go into more detail on the battle, and try to convey better how I still thought it was a good game, despite my overly negative review. It's a strange game, in that way. I was aware of its problems, but I still really enjoyed it. Hmm.

I can avoid death by not having a life.

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Author: Lewis
Posted: November 16, 2009 (04:15 AM)
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Hello! Thanks for the comments. I'd like to address a few, not because I'm complaining, but because I'm a real advocate of concise writing so this is a really interesting contest for me.

WolfQueen: well I reviewed it for Resolution and gave it a 3. But that's based on our scoring system, which is probably a little harsher than the one here at HonestGamers. I'd have probably 4'd it here. In terms of why the play is bad... well, because you just click on things until they die. There's literally no more to it than that. There's a reason I picked SvM for such a short review, because there genuinely is very little more to say about the game.

So I'm glad Suskie picked up on that. His reaction is the desired reading, so maybe I just needed to neaten up some of the other stuff to make sure everyone understood that position. I wouldn't have wanted to increase the length, though - rather, I'd probably rephrase a couple of bits to allow for more detailed explanation within the word count.

If anyone's wondering what I would save said with a higher word count, here's my 700 word piece for Resolution.

And just for Suskie, here's the dancing Stalin bit. Memory fail: it's europop, not drum and bass.

The start of the game, including gameplay footage, is here.

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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: November 16, 2009 (10:19 AM)
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To be honest, I was pretty much expecting the scoring range I got from the judges. I'd been playing that game for a week or so and when I started writing, the only thing I could think of was that I'm writing about a paint-by-numbers RPG that basically sticks as closely to the "competently generic" line as humanly possible. I couldn't think of a single way to make that game sound interesting because there was nothing particularly good about it nor anything particularly horrible to provide fun bashing material.

From the comments, I feel I accomplished what I wanted with this one as a pure review. Just with the subject matter, I didn't accomplish enough to make it a good contest review.

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

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Author: Masters (Mod)
Posted: November 16, 2009 (06:49 PM)
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Thanks judges. That was VERY fast. Trust WQ to be befuddled. You're always befuddled! :P

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

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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: November 16, 2009 (07:14 PM)
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Quiet, you. You still won. =P

[Eating EmP's brain] probably isn't a good idea. I mean... He's British, which means his brain's wired for PAL and your eyes are NTSC. - Will

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