Ads are gone. We're using Patreon to raise funds so we can grow. Please pledge support today!
Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All

Forums > Contributor Zone > EmP's Wacky Genre Tournament Results! (The Horror Chapter)

Additional Messages (Groups of 25)

[01] [02]

Add a new post within this thread...

board icon
Author: zippdementia
Posted: May 21, 2010 (01:40 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

EMP and Silent Hill: Homecoming

Zipp says...
My favorite thing about this review is that it manages to say more about Silent Hill: Homecoming than “it plays like this and it looks like this.” This is a true critique of a game, not just a look at its mechanics.

The section of the review that I have the most trouble with is the one that discusses inversion. It comes out of the blue and, while I like the conclusion it offers on Double Helix’s philosophy, it always takes me a while to acclimate to the new discussion... generally I don’t get there until it’s over. It’s not as well written as the rest of the piece; not as clear, I would say.

Best part of the review are the little coloured sections that sarcastically highlight the ridiuclous developer throughlines. While they are (probably) not accurate, they bring up the burning question: “what were they thinking?!” without just coming out and asking it.

In short, it’s a surprisingly subtle review, and that sits with me well.

Structure: 4/5 (rough section in the middle takes away from review)
Substance: 5/5 (subtle and thorough at the same time)
Style: 5/5 (light on the sarcasm, but without losing it)
+1% for a horror game

94%

Overdrive says...
As a fan of the (early installments of the) Silent Hill series, I could really get into this review. You did a great job of explaining why the first game was great and why the second one still worked very well before things started getting bogged down. When you got to Homecoming, you really did good at subtly mixing in good things about the game (such as the good graphics based on the movie and overall creepy vibe), while keeping the glaring negatives at the forefront. Creating a RE-esque hero, healing items disappearing/reappearing, the invert disaster...all of these serve to undermine the game and all of them are detailed nicely. There are glitchy little moments like, "Siphoned in quickly comes new beasts", where some word seems wrong or out of place or you're just randomly going into odd British language quirks that go miles above my head. Regardless, you wrote what I'd consider a pretty killer review that I enjoyed reading. 93 (+2, it's horror, but with a powerful man's man hero) = 95

Genj says...
EmP’s reviews are often great because he is consistently able to hone in on the important details to discuss while having an engaging writing voice. It is also nice when he reviews games that are interesting to read about rather than Jurassic Park strategy games. Most that read EmP’s SH: Homecoming review will understand he knows what makes this series work and what doesn’t. He offers sound arguments on why this one is another recent flop for the series, while also giving us intriguing descriptions of the game’s cosmetics. Unfortunately it is not too uncommon for EmP’s humor to just not hit me. The developer conversation was an example of this, though it effectively got its point across to me that Double Helix didn’t really understand what fans of the series wanted. The only other complaint I have with this review is the large paragraphs in the beginning. What’s written is beautiful, but there’s just too much (especially when compared to Nightmare’s similar but much more succinct recap of the series). – 87
Horror Bonus: The Silent Hill series is pretty much the industry definition of a horror game now. +4
Final Score: 91

EMP SCORE: 280/300




Dark Eternal and Phantasmagoria

Zipp says...
The Michael Bay line is great. I just wanted to point that out. I said this before, but I really think DE is finding a solid voice with his last few reviews, the last two in particular. I also like the intro to this review. It’s a nice blend of history and critiquing exposition about Phantasmagoria’s story.

Things get a little messy after that. The sarcasm of the opening doesn’t completely meld with the assertion that the game is nicely subtle... and while you’re trying to get used to that, DE says that this is a lie, too! So is this game subtle or not?

I think the switch from “this is subtle” to “this game is totally not subtle” could’ve been really powerful, had the transition between the sentiments been a bit smoother. Also, examples could’ve helped. As much as I like the Michael Bay line, it doesn’t do much except make me laugh. It doesn’t convince me that the game is actually full of “Bayness” nor does telling me that zany characters exist convince me that the game isn’t subtle. Going into more detail on these things would’ve helped here and given me more info about the game, besides.

The end also seems a little unsure of itself. The last four paragraphs keep changing their stance on whether the game is quality. One says the game isn’t horrendous... the next says the FMVs are alright... the next says that it depends... and the last reccommends an entirely different game to readers. All in all, it doesn’t end with the same powerful direction that it opens with.

Structure: 2/5 (the end throws me off entirely)
Substance: 3/5 (lacking in examples and details)
Style: 5/5 (great voice that was easy to follow)
+2% for a unique horror game

69%

Overdrive says...
Ahh...a sub-genre I'm not familiar with in the least. And from reading this, I don't think I'd want to be particularly familiar with this particular game. A crapload of CDs making a movie-game that seems content-wise to be about on a par with the average SyFy Channel original. Hopefully Uwe Boll never finds out about this one! Your writing is pretty engaging here. I don't know that I'm overly fond of all the one-sentence "paragraphs" (six, by my count, with one being long enough that it could be easily be divided into two), but the review read smoothly and had the sort of cleverly condescending tone I find myself using whenever I'm describing some horrid SyFy Channel original I sat through for some stupid reason. I'd say my main problem with this one is how, after reading the majority of this review, I really struggle to gather how you finished with a mildly favorable review. There might be alternate ways to solve some puzzles and some really good (for the time) FMV, but to me, all the other stuff mentioned seems to way outweigh those positives. I think you would have been better served to accentuate some of those positives a bit more rather than having a good time poking a bit of fun at the flaws of this game, as it made the comments of the final couple paragraphs seem a bit surprising. Still, this was a fun read. 78 (+2, much like SyFy Channel horror flicks, this doesn't sound scary, but random gory deaths does sound fun!) = 80

Genj says...
This is a good look into Phantasmagoria but also underwhelming. To give a graphic adventure with such pathetically easy puzzles as this one (and as you’ve argued) a 6, you probably should have gone into more detail about the game’s horror and gore aspects. You’re descriptions are too vague and general to really convince me they’re worth stomaching the game for. The paragraphs on the gameplay are fine but like I said feel a bit too negative for a 6 (multiple puzzle solutions commentary aside). And unfortunately the humor fell flat with me. Writing in all caps in bold about gore for an entire line was annoying instead of funny. The Chris Brown joke is a lame example of topical humor (a topic which is now old news). Parts could use editing as well. For example the third paragraph is one entirely too long sentence and starting sentences with phrases like “you see” is unnecessary. – 70
Horror Bonus: Phantasmagoria is basically Tales from the Crypt-level gore with lots of boring shit in between. It does have a few legitimately creepy parts. +3
Final Score: 73

DARK ETERNAL SCORE: 222/300




Suskie and Left 4 Dead

Zipp says...
Picking Left 4 Dead as the game for this tournament was somewhat risky, I think. It’s such a well known game that it’s hard to say anything more about it. For instance, I’m not sure how much of Suskie’s introduction is necessary. The first few paragraphs cover things we already all know, like how the game handles and what the zombies are and that it’s a truly co-operative experience. I think starting with “Beyond a doubt, Left 4 Dead is the most fulfilling representation of the zombie apocalypse to ever grace a video game,” would’ve been a stronger opening. I didn’t need all of that earlier stuff, no matter how well composed it is, structurally.

The whole review is pretty well composed, actually, and the voice is full of vibrancy and energy. Like I said with his Wolverein review, Suskie knows how to fit his voice to the genre. The pacing of the sentences here is perfect, filled with terse inflection and short bursts of words that make me feel like I’m playing the game. It stumbles a couple times when I think too much information is forced into a paragraph, like here: “Yet what Left 4 Dead does well, it does so well that you can only wish there were more of it. Valve’s production values are high, as always, and the countless ways any given encounter can play out lead to just as many solutions. Mutated zombies mix things up a bit, too.” That’s really three fairly separate points that are strung together in the opening of a paragraph. When I get past them, I’m not sure if the paragraph is going to be about production values, zombies, or the lamentation that there isn’t more Left 4 Dead.

My biggest problem though is that a lot of the review acts to confirm what I think most people will already know about the game. At this point in Left 4 Dead’s well-documented history, I would’ve preferred to have heard a full on account of one of Suskie’s runs, or seen a review that tackles some of the issues that are less discussed about the game, such as how co-operative play functions on a psychological level. Or, if one was going to go this more standard route to reviewing the game, maybe it would’ve been nice to offer some commentary on the fact that the game has been out for years now and talk about whether it holds up and why.

Suskie’s impecable voice makes this a good solid review. But I’ve read dozens of good solid reviews for this game and I’m ready for something a little different.

Structure: 4/5 (a couple odd openings throw me off)
Substance: 2/5 (I think there was room to do something new)
Style 5/5 (the writing is full of the usual Suskie energy and vibrancy which makes reading his reviews fun)
-1% for a game that makes me think about cursing out my teammates more than sweating bullets

72%

Overdrive says...
I'm not one for Internet gaming, being more concerned with a good single-player campaign than anything else, but it's easy to see the appeal this game has from reading this review. A multiplayer game that forces the players to truly work together against a vast horde of undead. I liked the line about how this game could be used to determine how useful various friends would be in a real zombie apocalypse. It's a good way to cap a review that'd been doing a great job of illustrating the intensity of this game. Even with all the praise you give, the score seems accurate, as you do a good job of mentioning how there are only four (or is it "our"?, I say in the guise of the typo police) campaigns. I think you did good at saying that, while the AI director makes those four campaigns have a great deal of replay value, there should have been more...especially considering this game was sold at full price. I also liked the descriptions of the mutated zombies. That does a good job of backing up the replay value part, as it sounds like any of those things popping up can really change the direction of a given session. Not much to complain about here. 91 (+4, having to rely on help from others against a vast horde of powerful undead...now that freaks a man out!) = 95

Genj says...
Suskie’s review of Left 4 Dead is pretty awesome. I’m not much of a fan of the game, but it’s a fun read. He makes the game sound pretty intense and I love his descriptions of the multiplayer aspects. I think Mike is really great at making games sound particularly awesome or really awful. I’m pretty impressed that he’s able to make this game sound so great because it doesn’t seem like an easy game to praise, and you really need a solid understanding of the game to effectively do so. My complaints are very minor. I think Suskie has written better reviews with more clever lines, but I’m not going to hold that against this entry. The other thing is the phrase “zombified hoodlum” was incredibly awkward. It’s right in the beginning and it made me stop and laugh because of how weird it sounds. It just doesn’t fit with tone he’s going for at all. 93
Horror Bonus: Left 4 Dead is barely a horror game. I’ll give it one point for being based on so many “zombie apocalypse” films and for some of the tension the game tries to create with sound and enemy types. +1
Final Score: 94

SUSKIE SCORE: 261/300




Bloomer and Bloodrayne

Zipp says...
I really start to enjoy this review right around this line: “The soldiers' obvious terror in the face of you is like a red rag to a bull.” This is where Bloomer stops talking about all the mechanics and starts talking about all the fun. Knowing that you can rip a guy’s arm off and then shoot his fleeing fellow in the back is disturbingly enticing to me and is around the point where I start to believe Bloomer that the game is worth my time.

I think the opening is overlong. I don’t really need to know about the tutorial level or even the plot, outside of the fact that it’s inane. Because once you’ve told us the plot is inane, I have little interest in hearing more about it. I think a few key (and awesome) lines could’ve been combined here to make a smaller paragraph or two. These lines (and some of those building up to them) might be great to see in such an opening:

“The point of BloodRayne is that you are a nightmare unstoppable force whom everyone rightly fears. The question isn't, "Can I destroy the one thousand people who get in my way?" but, "How will I destroy the one thousand people who get in my way?"”

“The violence is also about as detailed as can be. It figures so strongly in the game mechanics that it will end up framing most players' ultimate response to BloodRayne, one way or the other.”

“Players who don't respond to BloodRayne's constant invitations to explore its crazy sadistic possibilities will probably end up doing something like this, and assess the game as being overlong and repetitive.”

You also do a good job describing bullet time, but I think it could’ve been combined with some of your more vibrant descriptions of arm-ripping and back-shooting to carry the whole paragraph through.

I really like the fact that you end by telling us there’s a second game that’s better. Somehow that adds legitimacy to Bloodrayne, as if its problems can be excused because the developers/programmers learned from their mistakes the next time around.

Structure: 3/5 (the opening segments read slowly; they don’t illustrate the purpose of the review)
Substance: 4/5 (I wouldn’t mind knowing a little less about some of the less relevant and interesting things, like the tutorial; other information could’ve been condensed )
Style 5/5 (some really classy lines here and a great tip of the hat to bare-tits)
-1% for a game that is more Underworld than it is Bram Stoker

79%


Overdrive says...
I'm pretty sure Uwe Boll also made a movie based on at least the Bloodrayne character, to add to her "accomplishments". This was one very interesting review, as you pretty much come right out and say this is an easy game that's pretty repetitive AND still are able to do a pretty good job of selling the reader that those things are NOT bad. The part of me who would start a Madden NFL franchise on All-Pro, build up a team of studs and routinely beat everyone by obscene scores like 84-10 for 5-6 seasons finds this appealing. This is a very intelligent review that does a great job of exhibiting how a bloodthirsty, easy vampire game can work (but probably only once, as your conclusion states). This review could potentially get me to rent this game someday, if I ever get through the big pile of games I'm working through...and don't have another big pile after that's accomplished (in other words, that probably won't happen). I'm not going to say you completely succeeded in eliminating the game's perceived weaknesses as important, as I still wince a bit thinking of how the environments are "big empty spaces in which to toss around body parts" and I don't know that I personally like the concept of spending time talking about how the game was ranked by other publications in your personal review, but you did an admirable job of making this game seem like something that'd be very fun to play. 86 (+/- 0, well, there's a vampire and all, but this is more spatterpunk camp than actual horror) = 86

Genj says...
This a beautifully written review, which is quite weird saying since it’s mostly about drinking blood and slicing off appendages. Bloomer makes BloodRayne sound fantastic, and that’s surprising to me since I absolutely hate the game. He makes the game’s combat sound so gruesome and entertaining. I also like how he brings up legitimate concerns with the game and explains why they don’t bother him. In a way it allows the reader to judge for myself whether they’d bother them, while also informing that there’s more to the game. It also allows him to respond to criticism others have brought up in the past. I started losing interest near the end when I began reading about Rayne in Playboy (PC clocking etc), but fortunately there wasn’t much left to read. – 95
Horror Bonus: I had a very difficult time trying to decide what to do for this and Left 4 Dead. BloodRayne may have zombies and vampires, but I don’t really think of it as a horror game. It’s an action game with a slutty half-vampire “tough chick” who hacks up Nazis. I feel like calling this a horror game would be like calling Underworld a horror movie. -1
Final Score: 94

BLOOMER SCORE: 259/300




WolfQueen and Resident Evil: Code Veronica

Zipp says...
WolfQueen really nails what Resident Evil: CV was all about. She highlights that OCD feeling that the player gets when they use ANYTHING in that game. She doesn’t leave out the Bandersnatch, either, which is one of the scariest Resident Evil monsters of all time. Code Veronica is a game where you constantly feel like you want to reload from your last save because you used one too many bullets. It was the most tense of the Resident Evils, alongside REmake and Resident Evil 0... but Resident Evil 0 had an opera-singing scientist and midget baboons, so it loses some respect points.

In any case, I digress. What I was saying was that WQ nails what makes the game tense. My favorite section of this review comes near the end when a series of paragraphs are laid out in such a manner as to perfectly highlight the feeling one gets when playing the game. She starts with the Bandersnatch thing and then moves through a series of I tried this... it wasn’t right... but I was okay so I kept moving and did this... it wasn’t right... but I was okay...

That feeling is what makes Code Veronica so great. It’s exactly like WQ says at the end: “If you’re not afraid, you die. If you’re too afraid you die. However, once you reach your goals with confidence, you can win, and that’s what makes the game truly rewarding.”

The downside to this review is that it doesn’t deliver these points with much conviction and a lot of tired statements, like “dread is the ultimate terror here” or “experience the true meaning of horror.” There’s a sense that, stylistically, WolfQueen is going through the motions here, with the writing feeling surprisingly bland for the cleverness with which she has constructed the overal review. It feels a little bit like reading a book report... in the sense that it feels like WQ wrote it almost out of obligation.

Structure: 5/5 (amazing structure that takes us through the points in a very deliberate fashion)
Substance: 5/5 (I can’t think of anywhere that the feeling of Code Veronica has been better captured)
Style: 1/5 (not a memorable style and somewhat formulaic)
+5% for what I think is the scariest game pick of the tournament

78%

Overdrive says...
This is an interesting review, as it primarily focus on the necessity of proper item/weapon use and conservation. Which, of course, is probably the most important aspect of those old-school survival horror games. A novice player would likely find themselves screwed due to inept management of goods, while a seasoned pro knows what enemies are easy to simply run past and ignore and which ones should probably be dispatched. Which is why my best friend went through a period of time where he, at will, would get the highest ranking on RE2. He learned the game, wasn't affected by the horror/dread effect and mastered it...a far cry from when we were first playing this game together, trading off every half hour or so, when panicked "WHAT THE....AAAAHHHHH!!!!!" sorts of yelling and recklessness was the main thing going on. I think you do a good job of describing that sensation of fear and impending doom you could get playing one of these games for the first time...where you can only hold so much, making your choice of weaponry all the more important. I'd say the problem here is that you start out saying Code Veronica fits in all the staples and adds its own nuances, but remain pretty vague as to that. I've never played this installment in the series, but have spent time with old-school ones like 2 and Nemesis. While some names/descriptions (ie: bandersnatch and weird amphibian lizard thing that shoots electricity) might not have been familiar to me, I could easily apply most of this review to those two previous old-school REs, leaving me unaware of what makes this game different from any other RE title. It's well written, but could have used more Code Veronica detail. 75 (+3, for effort, as you interspersed feelings of dread and horror throughout the review) = 78

Genj says...
I am sorry to say I was not a fan of this one. It is a technically sound review, but the approach did not work with me unfortunately. This review read like a book report (video game report?) on things that happened to wolfqueen when she played the game. I felt like a lot of the key points she praised the game for could easily be interchanged with a lot of the other Resident Evil games as well. Parts of this review are really awkward too. “the Resident Evil franchise inspired fear not just through horrifying monsters and startling scenes, but also through mere existence” – What does this even mean? - 65
Horror Bonus: Resident Evil master of “monster jumps from window” scare tactics. +3
Final Score: 68

WOLFQUEEN SCORE: 224/300




Nightmare and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

Zipp says...
Wow, a review without coloured text, pictures, or even italics! There’s no bells and whistles here, just a solid voice that leads us through one man’s disappointing experience with a game he thought to give a chance. Nightmare captures the feeling of a rant without any of the over-exuberant silliness of a rant. One expects RAGE but what one gets is a more sympathetic treatment of the game. Despite the casual tone, this is a true critique of the game, not a bash, and it serves Nightmare well.

The grammar suffers at time. Mistakes like “remember that you’re ability” or bulky lines like “how can a game’s one aspect be so flawless, so brilliant, so fascinating and then have a complete lack of effort on others?” can throw the reader out of the flow of the piece.

I also think there’s some missing substance here. For instance, Nightmare doesn’t cover the motion controled puzzles at all. I know things got downsized a bit from the Wii version, but some time spent discussing at least whether or not the puzzles add or detract from things seems appropriate. After all, they make up one third of the game. There’s also no concrete mention of the game’s major selling point, which was the changes to the game based on player responses in the psychology section. This was the big advertisement for the game. When it’s not even discussed, I feel a little cheated.

Especially because I’d like to hear Nightmare talk about these things in his “sitting room” manner. The conversational tone really carries the piece. There’s an underlying honesty to everything Nightmare says that makes bells and whistles unneccesary.

Structure: 4/5 (sometimes the lines make it difficult to follow what Nightmare is trying to say)
Substance: 3/5 (Some key details are missing)
Style: 5/5 (It’s refreshingly casual and conversational without trying too hard)
+1% for a horror game

81%

Overdrive says...
As a big fan of the first two SH games, I have to say that the combination of you and EmP have left me depressed and broken. Two SH game reviews and two less-than-flattering portrayals. Really bums me out. You do a great job of explaining how this game, on one hand, is inventive and intelligent with its mystery that you're attempting to solve -- while on the other hand, removes combat, but keeps the monsters...AND puts you in maze-like Nightmare World scenes where you apparently have to make like Pac-Man and find the path out before being overwhelmed. It seems like the sort of game where you're loving things...and then hating them because you got thrown in some place that seems tacked on just to add time to the game's quest. Compared to many of the other pieces involved in this competition, though, I'd say the writing here feels a bit awkward. Like the sentence: "Harry with more of a dark side, and a fragmented personality and perhaps shimmer of instability" feels sort of fragmented and definitely could be improved. Like, "Harry has more of a dark side, with a fragmented personality that shows the occasional glimpse of instability" or something like that. There are a few punctuation errors where a comma should have (or shouldn't have been) used. The foundation of a great review is here, but I think it could use a vigorous proofreading to reach that potential. 70 (+5, trying to solve a mystery while receiving hints as to the dubious nature of my sanity and having to deal with bloodthirsty monsters while unarmed...now that's scary!) = 75

Genj says...
I really liked this review. As I mentioned in EmP’s critique, I liked how Nightmare’s recap on Silent Hill is much more succinct because then I’m able to read more about the game that’s actually being reviewed sooner. Arguments are easy to follow and the game sounds genuinely frustrating. I really don’t have anything negative to say about this review, but I have to somehow transform my enjoyment of reading it into a number to compare it to my enjoyment of the other seven reviews. Unfortunately I just have to give you a lower score than a couple of the other entries for things that just made me like them better, such as Bloomer’s exquisite descriptions of Rayne’s brute force or Suskie’s exciting descriptions of Left 4 Dead. This is still an excellent write up on Shattered Memories, and I enjoyed your FF13 review as well. I hope you contribute more to the site. - 88
Horror Bonus: Again Silent Hill. And in this one you aren’t an unstoppable killing machine! +4
Final Score: 92

NIGHTMARE SCORE: 248/300




Zigfried and Cotton

Zipp says...
Oh, Zigfried. You nutball.

You can’t say no to a Zigfried review. He’s easily one of the most exuberant and stylistic writers on the site and his reviews are instantly recognizable for his unique voice. I’m more-than-somewhat in awe of Zigfried’s ability to take any game, regardless of its substance, and write a review on it that makes it sound intriguing.

Lately, Zigfried seems to have a thing for the shooters. Felix made a great point in his blog about the pointlessness of trying to do an in-depth review on a shooter. Shooters simply don’t have that many mechanics to discuss and few differences exist between games. I still am curious about a few things, though... what the hell is Silk good for? Are power ups interesting or are they just variations on the regular shots? I think Zigfried is talented enough that he could have covered these things without losing stride.

That said, a shooter is really more about its setting than anything else, and Zigfried has obviously caught on to that. All the same, the descriptions are a bit over the top here. This is best highlighted by the pictures. After Zigfried’s awesome depiction of the plant man, I was highly dissapointed to see the graphic that actually went along with it. It took away from the authenticity of the review. I come away not sure that the experience Zigfried just described is at all the one I would have if I played Cotton.

I guess a picture can’t live up to a thousand of Zigfried’s words.

Structure: 5/5 (insert electronic guitar solo)
Substance: 2/5 (accuracy feels like it suffers because of a possible misrepresentation of the game)
Style: 5/5 (while the style is probably a bit over the top here, it’s still a review I’ll remember and will probably come back to at some point to read again. Zigfried tells a good story.)
-2% for a game that isn’t horror, though I appreciate the effort

78%


Overdrive says...
I got a few good chuckles out of this review. I'm guessing you either had a great deal of fun writing it...or you are completely and totally insane. I'm flipping a coin right now to determine which of the two it is. Oops! Thomas Jefferson's grim face said you're insane. Anyway, this is a very well-written review. And it made me thing that I could have entered this contest if I'd just had the foresight to re-review Gynoug (another shmup with a dark fantasy setting). One thing I've always liked about your writing is your ability to weave a sort of convincing web with words. Not only did you pack a good deal of information in a short review, you give a great effort to convince readers that "horror" truly is macabrely cartoonish plant monsters and cartoonishly malevolent purple rock monsters with a dragon sprouting from its head. And you put the effort into it to make me think, "By jove! He's right! Child-eating trees! Living statues that ONLY EXIST to murder little girls! Explode like blood sausages!!!! Terrifying!!!" It's hard to say much more. This is a fun little review with some over-the-top writing used to humorous effect. 87 (-3, unfortunately, due to my amazing powers of perception, I gather this is a cutesy shooter with a dark fantasy setting...I am not horrified and will not be unless you can deliver an in-game picture of a child becoming an exploding blood sausage) = 84

Genj says...
Zig is really good at reviewing shooters because he knows exactly what’s important to talk about. Cotton is a pretty straightforward shooter but its art-direction is imaginative and worth describing. Zig’s Cotton review tells you everything you need to know with some very vivid descriptions that are fun to read. Unfortunately I don’t really like the horror approach this review goes for. I could be wrong, but I don’t think this is the approach Zig would have taken for a game like Cotton had it not been for the contest. It feels forced, and I think that hurts the review. At least I was impressed with your knowledge of ancient legends concerning giant plant men. – 85
Horror Bonus: I’ve played Cotton and I don’t consider it a horror game at all. At least it’s not Barbie. -4
Final Score: 81

ZIGFRIED SCORE: 243/300




Duo and Resident Evil

Zipp says...
I really like the opening line. You really do well by this argument for the entire opening of the review. You cover what made Resident Evil scary, even giving the fixed camera angles their due and explaining nicely why they worked in favor of the game. Then there’s a great transition where you suddenly turn on the game and explain just why all these things don’t work any more. Wonderful switch around and one that would be easy to lose people in transition. You don’t lose me, and you keep on going strong until the ending, where you unexpectedly work in rotting flesh into a strong conclusion. Great final line.

Then there’s lines like this, “they failed to guess that a corpse beneath their feet must spring to life and tear off their ankles so they panicked and flailed” or this, “I remember when I could walk past a large window without readying a firearm for the obligatory zombie mutts who were obviously going to jump through it.” These kind of lines are sprinkled throughout the review and really kick me out of the experience with their bulkiness. They might read better if cut down a bit, to something like, “I remember when a zombie mutt jumping through a window was original, not obligatory.”

I still think the “12 people owned a gamecube” line and the subsequent argument that REmake is under-acknolwedged distracts from the point of the review as a whole. But overal, this is a great review, and I’m happy that you decided to do a retrospective rather than a straight-up review. We all know Resident Evil... we don’t need a description of how the game plays or a detailed description of the plot. Cheers for avoiding that trap. Maybe the historical view has been done before, but mostly with just showing how the genre has aged and how it compares to newer games... rarely has it been done with the game being compared to itself.

Structure: 3/5 (some sentences really throw off the whole effect)
Substance: 5/5 (you took a classic game and examined it historically in a clever way)
Style: 5/5 (the voice is strong and sincere with a lot of variation on phrasing and implied intonations that kept it moving)
-1% for the game choice being a little obvious, doncha think?

86%


Overdrive says...
Some very effective stuff here. You did a good job of comparing/contrasting how a game like this was super-effective when it first was released, but now its flaws are more noticeable. A lot of this review is very effective in describing the atmosphere of this game as it seemed back in the day, but some things did fall a bit short, though. Like how the line about being fatal to even the most hardy of rose-tinted glasses comes shortly before you describe how the game still does survival well. The term "fatal" winds up feeling misleading, as the remainder of the review makes it seem more "damaging" than "fatal". It seems at tiimes that you're saying, "It's not what it used to be, but still is fun" and at other times, the message is that it's completely outdated. At least that's what I read into this review. It felt to me like you were trying to balance between respect for what this game once was and scorn for how outdated it is now. Like if you look at the end of the review, take the next-to-last paragraph (and preceding line). That's a very nice illustration of the ammo conservation factor in these games. If you kill everything, you'll be in BIG trouble ammo-wise as the game progresses and more powerful foes enter the fray. But if you conserve ammo, well, you do have to backtrack a lot and, so those enemies could wind up being thorns in your side later. But then, you follow that up with a conclusion that mentions how the game is marred in mistakes and hasn't aged well. Which is true, but kind of feels jarring and abrupt coming right after a complementary paragraph. Maybe a bit different organization will be of help. Like where you mention how the game still has "survival" earlier in the review, so all of your points about how poorly the game has aged are right with the conclusion, so your views flow together better. 77 (+2, as you said, while this is a horror game, through the ravages of time, much of the horror has faded into things that are expected) = 79

Genj says...
Looking back on Resident Evil and pointing out its flaws isn’t the most original review to write for a contest, but this is a solid piece. The arguments and gameplay discussion are sound, but I’m not the biggest fan of how you presented them. It’s a bit weird how the first half of the review is all in the past tense account of the beginning of the game and then it quickly switches over to present tense general gameplay discussion. It’s also a bit awkward how the review begins by addressing us (“you ran away, you died”) and then switches to the third person (“They [the player] armed themselves as best they could, and moved on.”). I think it would have been better to stay consistent. The typos seemed to have been fixed, but that line or possible joke about the remake is still a bit odd (and not really accurate considering the Wii userbase). This is a solid review but it could use a bit of editing. – 75
Horror Bonus: The most terrifying thing in Resident Evil is the lust in Barry’s voice when he says “Jill Sandwich” +3
Final Score: 78

DUO SCORE: 243/300




FINAL SCORES:
EmP: 280 (7 horror points)
Suskie: 261 (4 horror points)
Bloomer: 259 (-2 horror points)
Nightmare: 248 (10 horror points)
Duo: 243 (4 horror points)
Zigfried: 243 (-9 horror points)
WolfQueen: 224 (11 horror points)
Dark Eternal: 222 (7 horror points)

There was a fair amount of variance in the scores for this one, which makes it all the more telling that all three judges gave EmP’s review a score over 90. That shows a true versatility and appeal to the review, so first place is well deserved.

WolfQueen nabbed the most horror points though, showing a great decision in her choice of game. It was an all-around clever choice. Everyone associates Resident Evil with horror, but Code Veronica is one of the least talked about games in the main series, which may have lent it a “fresh” feeling for the tournament.

Thanks to everyone who participated and to my fellow judges for taking the time to write reviews/critiques. Really good reviews this time around and a fairly good turn out! On that note, thanks to EmP for suggesting the contest and garnering interest in it. It feels a bit odd to congratulate him on winning his own contest, but as we can see with the Alpha-lympics... he likes to do that.

So, congratulations, EmP! May you live long and prosper and gloat appropriately (but not overmuch) in your victory!


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


board icon
Author: darketernal
Posted: May 21, 2010 (04:34 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Thanks for the fairly quick results.


Idemo do dna....tugo ti i ja.


board icon
Author: Masters (Mod)
Posted: May 21, 2010 (09:43 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Congrats, Emp. Had Suskie not lost points for his lack of creativity, it would have been even tighter at the top.


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


board icon
Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: May 21, 2010 (09:57 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Thanks for the comments. I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that, stylistically, I just can't seem to muster what used to make me 'good', in the few instances where that actually applies to me. I could blame all the writing I do for college, and I will, but I won't leave that as the soul blame. I can only hope that, as I try to get back into this, I can somehow even myself out and meet my own standards once more.

To OD, I'll say that as far as anything 'new' goes, I mainly meant to refer to some of the new monsters as well as the plot line. Some of those new monsters I did cover, but the story I wanted to leave out because I didn't want to spoil anything. I always seem to have this problem with reviews. I suppose I would've been better just leaving out any such tantalizing introductory statements so that the reader wouldn't really think too much into it. But, on the other hand, I wanted to say something that would separate the game from the rest of the genre, even if there isn't really a whole lot there. I mean, I liked it after all, and sometimes I feel that I can't justify liking something, especially if it's something so old, without trying to make it sound unique in some way. That's probably a mistake of mine that I have a hard time resolving.

Anyway, congrats to everyone else, and especially EmP for winning. I myself really enjoyed that review, so it's always nice to see such work pay off. Though I will agree with Masters' sentiments on Suskie's review.


What espiga does in his free time
[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


board icon
Author: zippdementia
Posted: May 21, 2010 (11:37 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

I don't think Suskie's review was uncreative. Left 4 Dead is a tough game because it is so well known and everyone's got their history with it. For two of the judges, that worked in Suskie's favour. Ironically, I think it was because both Overdrive and Genj had reason to not like Left 4 Dead (OD doesn't do online much and Genj says he doesn't like Left 4 Dead) so when Suskie made it sound amazing, they were very much impressed.

I, on the other hand, already really like Left 4 Dead and have covered this ground with friends and other reviewers dozens of times, so the review didn't create as much passion in me as it did for the others.

But it is by no means a poorly written review. In a normal feedback thread I probably would've only negatively commented on the openings of some of the paragraphs and otherwise praised its vibrancy and voice. In the tournament-comparative setting, it just didn't do it for me like some of the other reviews did.

I just wanted to be clear on that, lest we head towards another "Zipp is stupid and mean" style-thread.


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


board icon
Author: Genj
Posted: May 21, 2010 (01:02 PM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

I am pretty surprised. I expected Suskie to win, but second with a 72 on your scorecard is pretty impressive.

Was not expecting to see Underworld mentioned twice.


_


board icon
Author: zippdementia
Posted: May 21, 2010 (02:41 PM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

I think Uwe Boll was also mentioned twice, which is odd because I was watching House of the Dead the night that I posted this.


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


board icon
Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: May 21, 2010 (02:43 PM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

It is also nice when he reviews games that are interesting to read about rather than Jurassic Park strategy games

You just wait until next time you're stuck with judging something..... It's going to be wall-to-wall dinosaur parks and safari rides.

Many thanks to the judges for jumping in and getting these results done (and extra thanks for the win -- even if it probably made OD die a little more inside). But huge thanks to the people who showed up for this and contributed a fantastic slew of reviews. I especially dug Duo's, who produced a review I both agree with perfectly and disagree with completely. Manly hugs to Zig for bing so Ziggly.


For us. For them. For you.


board icon
Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: May 21, 2010 (03:19 PM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Both Uwe Boll references were by me. That was intentional.


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


board icon
Author: zippdementia
Posted: May 21, 2010 (03:23 PM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Hey, and Genj, there's also two lines about book reports. This time it's from me and you so, unless he's more incredibly brilliant than even I thought, not an evil plot by OD.


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


board icon
Author: Nightmare
Posted: May 21, 2010 (03:40 PM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Thank you Genj, OD and Zipp for judging this. I appreciate the comments given from all three, and found them incredibly beneficial. I can't believe I made such a foolish mistake by transposing your/you're. And I agree with the "Harry" sentence as well. Once I read over it again, I winced somewhat.

But such is life, and you learn from these contests and I'm glad that we have good judges who can help us do so. Again--thank you.

I was also curious about Zipp's comments in regards to the psychology aspect. More than likely I missed them, because I only played the game once and saw only subtle changes--like the color of the house matching my earlier drawing, or some small character reactions. I thought it wasn't really worth mentioning, but I'm sure there were more.

In your opinion is it worth playing again to get a better feel for it?


I believe in Fate.


board icon
Author: Halon
Posted: May 21, 2010 (04:43 PM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

I didn't know this contest existed until 5 minutes ago, but archived it on time for once!

By the way is this going to be a multiple part contest? Or a one time thing that sounds like something different?


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


board icon
Author: jerec
Posted: May 21, 2010 (04:48 PM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

What genre is next? I don't play much horror, or read or watch it so I didn't even offer to be a judge. But I might try to get involved in future chapters of this WACKY GENRE TOURNAMENT!


I can avoid death by not having a life.


board icon
Author: zippdementia
Posted: May 21, 2010 (05:00 PM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

I think science fiction might be a cool genre. Like horror, it transcends game-genres and we might see a nice range of game selections! Metroid, Dead Space, Xenosaga, and Gaurdian Legend are all sci-fi, for instance, and all different game styles.

Nightmare: I don't think Silent Hill SH is worth playing twice, but the game ending and the feel of the relationship between Cheryl and her father changes dramatically based on your decisions. I don't know what ending you got, but mine was incredibly sad, while I know my friend got an ending that made him hate Harry. I kind of messed up in my own SH review by not disucssing how profound the effect is, because it took me several weeks of thinking about it before I realized what exactly the game was doing.

But no, I agree that SH kind've sucks and isn't worth a second play. A first play... yes. But I sold my copy because I realized I'd never play it again. The maze sections are stupid, especially near the end when it's just a series of identical rooms. I could NOT figure out what I was doing and ran for over forty minutes before making it out of that section by pure luck. Even the faq I checked just said "get lucky."


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


board icon
Author: Nightmare
Posted: May 21, 2010 (07:32 PM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

To avoid any spoilers, I won't mention the ending I got, but will say it didn't make me hate Harry, nor did it strike me as all that sad. More a shocking realization.

And while it should be common knowledge for any Silent Hill fan that the endings can change--and it's even cooler that those endings are based on several varying factors you have control over--they make it really difficult to achieve that. The story I would go through three or four times, but can't stomach the thought of doing the Nightmare world ever again.


I believe in Fate.


board icon
Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: May 21, 2010 (09:47 PM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Nightmare
The different SH endings are a big draw. I remember watching the utterly sad and defeated expression on my friend's face when we beat SH2 together and watched the "Harry drowning in his car" ending.

EmP
It does hurt to give you that high ranking, but I can justify it due to the valuable service you've done me. I'd been considering buying Homecoming for some time, but after reading your review, I think I'll put my money towards something different and if I want to play that game, I'll just rent it.

WQ
I see what you mean. I think the flaw with that sentence then would be twofold. First, if you feel it inappropriate to give away storyline dealies, you shouldn't hint at it in such a vague way. Second, it seems that a couple of new monsters get introduced in about every RE game as a change of pace from what you expect. I've played a few RE games, but not this one, so to me, the bandersnatch was a new enemy, but I didn't readily associate it with the "adding new things" line.

I wouldn't say you're not able to write as well now as before. I think a lot of it is more rust from doing this sort of writing style, as you haven't written much here recently. I'd call that review sort of a forced eloquence, where you had good ideas and stuff, but went a bit overboard being flowery with the speech at times. It's more a matter of getting comfortable again with a more freeflowing style of writing than what I'd guess you were doing with college papers and whatnot.


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


board icon
Author: zippdementia
Posted: May 21, 2010 (10:03 PM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

If it's any consolation, WQ, I've had the same issue before and it's laid up my writing for months. I think my Steambots review came during that period. I was trying so damn hard to make my reviews good... I don't know if they are any better now, but I'm more comfortable with them. I just say what I think and let my voice take over.

Nightmare: the thing with SH:SM is that the endings ARENT tough to get since they are all based on choices you are openly asked to make rather than in the old games, where the choices were either hard to notice or it was based on things like looking at things a certain amount of time or walking to rooms in a certain order.


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


board icon
Author: Nightmare
Posted: May 21, 2010 (10:13 PM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

I think it was part two where you had the knife as an item, and if you looked at it and noticed the blood you automatically received the bad ending--even though it was really early in the game--and there was no way to change it.

I preferred Shattered Memories method of doing it, as it added a lot more variety, just wish that they would address the mechanics issue, and work to fix it.


I believe in Fate.


board icon
Author: bloomer
Posted: May 21, 2010 (11:44 PM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Thanks guys.

My first comment is about Zigfried. He reviewed a game at the very last minute that was in no way horror at all. And beat two people who did review horror games. My interpretation of his last minute choice of basically reviewing anything he wanted to, then telling you judges it was horror in the review, was that it was extremely amusing, and it helped inspire participation in a more-the-merrier way, but you seemed to accept what he told you.

If I was running this comp, I would have dunked him to last place immediately for not being in genre at all, and at bare minimum awarded him the max possible horror penalty, which you didn't. Otherwise what's the point of even telling people to review in a genre? The person who reviewed the game you interpreted as most horror (WQ) came below Zigfried!

On my choice of game: I started out trying to re-do my decade old RE2 review, but it wasn't working at all, so I quickly switched to a game I knew I could review entertainingly and before the deadline.

On the comments - the only thing I have issue with is '(the opening segments read slowly; they don’t illustrate the purpose of the review)'. I believe the intro is on mission, does point out what is coming, and of whatever length it needed to be.

Congrats to Emp and Susk, and also especial congrats to the new guys on the site for jumping right into this. Cheers.


Not sure how to make a sig? While logged into your account, you can edit it and your other public and private information from the Settings page.


board icon
Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: May 22, 2010 (05:33 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Did you use the dictate approuch to your review in the end, Bloomer?


For us. For them. For you.


board icon
Author: bloomer
Posted: May 22, 2010 (05:52 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Yep. 100% spoken aloud and edited by my melodious but highly variable voice.


Not sure how to make a sig? While logged into your account, you can edit it and your other public and private information from the Settings page.


board icon
Author: zippdementia
Posted: May 22, 2010 (08:20 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

I don't really care to get into an argument over justifying judge decisions, because it NEVER ends well. I will say that my comment there wasn't as clear as it could've been. For me, what happened with your opening was that you say the same thing about the game several times in a row, which is focused on how the game is centered around violence and ridiculousness, and it's unnecessary to say it so many times. I think the overstatement muddled it for me. It doesn't smoothly lead into a discussion of this violence and ridiculousness, either, but instead you start talking about the third person perspective and the tutorial level.

You might still disagree with me about that, but those were my thoughts on how the review reflected me. Hopefully it's a bit clearer now.

The Zigfried comment is an interesting one. I didn't give Zigfried a particularly high score myself, because I felt like he over-stylized a game in order to make it fit the tournament, but I think you're right that there should be a greater point loss for straying from the genre.

At the same time, he put such ridiculous effort into justifying, even if it is kind've spoofy, his game choice that it's hard not to acknowledge the effort.


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


board icon
Author: Genj
Posted: May 22, 2010 (08:27 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Bloomer, I ultimately decided to go with how EmP wrote the rules for the contest rather than back-peddle and rewrite them myself after the deadline. Personally I felt determining the whole horror bonus was kind of stupid because I had noticed the same flaw as Zig a couple days before the deadline. I figured that if I had to rate how unscary a game like Cotton was, then it'd be one point ahead of Barbie, the -5 I was given for my scale. Likely in a more traditional contest approach Zig's review wouldn't have even been accepted and I wouldn't have been asked to judge it. Obviously revisions to the rules would be necessary for future contests, though I don't see how a bonus would work with other genres (rate how much of a science fiction game this is!).

It's important to remember however that it's not uncommon to get these problems involving whether games should be accepted or not because occasionally you get someone who wants to review something on the fence between two genres. And that's why we've had long discussions on whether Viewtiful Joe is a beat 'em up and Deus Ex an RPG. Really the only options are to have everyone announce what they want to do and have it okay'd or just have faith people will choose something that fits.

I assure you had Zig reviewed a fake game or an anime series, I would have given him a zero. For each entry I rated them solely of whether I thought it was a good review and then deducted or added points based on the scale I was given.


_


board icon
Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: May 22, 2010 (08:58 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

The scoring scale is still a work in progress. It's not the first time I've busted it out in a tourney, but it seems to work much better for its original role (that being in the obscure tourney). I plan to do more WGT events during the year, so I'll have to go away and think about the best way to use the scale, oe if I shold perhaps just drop it altogether. If anyone has any thoughts on the scale -- or just thinks it's a dumb idea that should be scrapped at once -- I'd really like to hear them.


For us. For them. For you.


board icon
Author: Genj
Posted: May 22, 2010 (09:20 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

It may be helpful to extend the range of negative scores so you can be more harshly penalized for trying to bend the rules like for example subtracting 10 or 15 points from someone who tries to review GTA4 in an obscure games contest.

edit - and yes it definitely works better with some things than others. Some of the horror bonus scores were really different among the judges. Something like obscurity is a bit less subjective.


_


Additional Messages (Groups of 25)

[01] [02]


Info | Help | Privacy Policy | Contact | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party.Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors.