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Forums > Submission Feedback > Suskie's inFAMOUS review

This thread is in response to a review for inFAMOUS on the PlayStation 3. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: fleinn
Posted: January 16, 2010 (12:35 AM)
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..honestly.. every review of inFamous should include a mention of:
-the camera (that should have won an award)
-the way the parkour play works, amount of nodes for collisions (ledges to climb on), and how often they are updated (skate on vehicles down the street)
-how the gameplay is integrated into the story (I've still not heard of anyone who hasn't felt a small tug of guilt, or boost of righteousness during a playthrough)

..and reviews of inFamous should not include:
-console wars. Review the game, not the console.
-misplaced comparisons without actual analysis (apples are fine, but we've seen fruit before - oranges are best). Not because you can't make comparisons, but because you need to be specific and compare something in the game.

This, for example: "Aside from the moral choices, though, the only thing going against Infamous is that it presents us with nothing we haven’t seen before. Sandbox cities, cover-based shooter combat and parkour platforming are all commonplace in today’s gaming era, and it may very well be that few people will look back five years from now and think of Infamous as a classic."... really doesn't tell me anything at all about the game, or why you seem to both like and hate it at the same time. If you described well why you both like and hate it at the same time, I think that would be very interesting. :)


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Author: LowerStreetBlues
Posted: January 16, 2010 (12:50 AM)
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Allow me to offer the author advice:

"What truly impresses me about Infamous, however, is how it balances its linear narrative and open environment in such a way that makes both aspects equally worthwhile." "Worst of all is that Infamous informs players that they’ll only reach the peak of their power if they choose to stick with a single alignment and max out their moral slider in one direction or the other." Those two just juxtaposed quotations, fleshed out over an entire review, might demonstrate why a person might like and dislike the game at the same time. Next time try something interesting like that.


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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: January 16, 2010 (08:50 AM)
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In response to Fleinn's comments, I saw no references to console wars in this review. Perhaps you were speaking in general about inFamous reviews, and not about this one... just wanted to make sure, because Suskie's review did not go there.

The sentence that you highlighted actually did tell me something about inFamous. It told me that the game is great, but no single element of the game is noteworthy enough to herald as an innovation.

A lot of people have a mindset nowadays that if a game isn't innovative, then it is somehow a disappointment. I disagree, and it appears Suskie does as well; a great game doesn't have to incorporate anything singularly novel. If it can put everything together into a great package, or if it can take prior innovations and refine them, then that's a game worth playing. That's basically what that sentence, when combined with the prior sentence, is saying.

Because of Suskie's conclusion, people who have played a lot of sandbox games know to expect another great experience, albeit not an entirely fresh one. People who have not played sandbox games know that this is one of the best.

So when you talk about Suskie seeming to "like and hate" the game at the same time... I didn't pick that up at all. Aside from the fake moral choices, it sounds to me like he loved the game. He just doesn't regard it as something people will look back on as a genre-changing classic.

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: January 16, 2010 (02:30 PM)
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Wow, Suskie! This was a terrific review. As Fleinn noted, it doesn't discuss the camera (which I guess is good?) and there was no discussion of the overall visual polish (which sounds like it must be sufficient, at least, based on your blanket description of every feature being good but not standout), but I got a solid idea of how this game plays and I know that I'd probably like it despite the fact that you didn't award it a 10/10 or anything. I somehow missed reading it when you first posted it, but now I have and I loved it. It's the sort of thing that I wish we had posted as a staff review months ago (though then it likely would have been lambasted on N4G.com for scoring the 8/10 that we seem to give most exciting PS3 games for whatever reason, a trend that I unwittingly started).


"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: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: January 16, 2010 (02:59 PM)
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In my opinion, the best cameras should go unnoticed and unmentioned.

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: January 16, 2010 (03:03 PM)
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That's true to an extent. When I notice a particularly good camera, it's because I'm playing a 3D platformer and something seems odd and then I realize that what I find odd is the fact that I haven't spent most of the last few hours fidgeting with a camera. It's a unique experience, one that I personally don't recall having since... Super Mario Galaxy, actually. The camera in that one was pretty much perfect.

I was watching a video for Quantum Theory, the upcoming action title from Tecmo Koei (yes, they're using that name to publish now). It had some vaguely cool environments and some neat actin, including the ability to throw a hot sword-wielding chick toward enemies to skewer them. The game looks awkward to me, though, because even the promo video made it clear that camera manipulation is going to get in the way of things. I'd agree that a good camera should be transparent. That transparency is remarkable when it occurs, though, and warrants a mention in some cases.


"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: fleinn
Posted: January 17, 2010 (02:35 AM)
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@ziegfried: ..keep in mind I'm being overly critical, in the way I wish people would be ;). I don't think it's a problem comparing the game to Crackdown, or anything like that. The problem is comparing the game to Crackdown on some strange high level. That it's put aside another sandbox game with lighting in it.

I don't even see fighting games put against other fighting games like that, for example. And it doesn't tell anyone anything about what the game is like either, even if you had played Crackdown. "It's a game with jumping and lighting in it", could be as useful as a framer. So the impression I get is that it's put there to place the game in some sort of cosmic relation to other console games. That's fine if it tells us something about the way it plays. That there's a characteristic about the game that recurs in either title, or something like that. But otherwise it's a cop out, isn't it. A way to avoid describing the game.

The same about "ps3 owners", "must have title", and "may be known as a classic to some". Keeping in mind that I'm overly critical here ;) - we're not IGN. We don't put our opinion out there as if the conclusion we've reached is so interesting that there is no reason to explain the reasoning behind it. We don't have much interest in adjusting reviews to fit with what we believe is the average opinion about the game either. "Many people seem to think that".. is probably the worst sentence I think I can read in any review. Because it's only used as a way to legitimize an opinion without really explaining the source of it. And this review only narrowly avoids that.

But other than that, not a bad review (and I am interested in Suskie's opinion on it's own, btw :p).

And you can of course decide on your own whether I'm just sour because my favourite game was not singled out as the work of art it is, and grouped together with other mediocre titles ;). Or whether it would be the same with any review that doesn't explain the reasoning behind an initial flat comparison. (That's your karma moment right there :p)


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Author: Suskie
Posted: January 18, 2010 (10:24 PM)
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Thanks for the comments and concerns, Fleinn. I actually do understand where you're coming from, i.e. using too many comparisons as a sort of reviewing crutch. On the other hand, though, if a game is composed entirely of elements ripped from other current games, I'm not going to treat readers as if they're unfamiliar with them. Anyone who's remotely in tune with the modern gaming scene will already recognizing everything that's here.

Whether or not I settled in any sort of middle ground between the two extremes is up to the readers, I suppose. I can simply do what I feel works and hope that it does work.

Also, consider Zig's posts copied and pasted here. He pretty much said what I was prepared to say. Thanks to everyone else for the feedback.


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


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Author: Masters (Mod)
Posted: January 19, 2010 (09:47 AM)
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You got feedback for your Uncharted 2 review as well.


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


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Author: fleinn
Posted: January 20, 2010 (05:35 AM)
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"Whether or not I settled in any sort of middle ground between the two extremes is up to the readers, I suppose. I can simply do what I feel works and hope that it does work."
:) well, I'm an extremist about this kind of thing, I won't deny that. Hate films that are reviewed by people who can't stop about pointing out they've seen too much film (even if I get the references).

And I agree it's difficult, because you don't want to review the game in a vacuum either. But it's risky requiring the reader to know a lot about games to really understand the comparisons.

A.. trick that works when reviewing films is using some other title just to set the stage. You list it's "cinematic qualities" or memorable moments and interplay between the characters, or something like that. And then give a blank reader some insight to the impression you have about the setting, and someone who gets the references maybe a different or familiar perspective of a movie they've already seen. I mean, it could be as simple as nodding in parkour gameplay, like you do, and then doing a comparison about how the parkour play works.. if there are any differences or even something... like how the different setups made you feel when jumping around.

But people won't necessarily get that you're referring to the "trekking around the city" gameplay that you have in games like these. So making a good description of what it is might be necessary either way, so the comparisons are clearer - and your impressions of the game comes out better as well.


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