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Forums > Contributor Zone > TT Week One: results

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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: July 05, 2010 (11:36 AM)
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~~~ Team Battle: Leroux v JANUS ~~~

Pretend that all battles are announced by the Fatal Fury 2 guy.

Leroux?? versus Bluberry??
Leroux: Gang Wars (Arcade)
Bluberry: Final Fight (Arcade)


ASchultz:
So, Leroux mentions a game Bluberry actually likes in his review. Leroux's review, while it has some good moments, misses some proofreading bits (see critique topic) and also puts pictures in the body, which I'm not crazy about. Still, I think the big reason his review comes short of Bluberry's is that Leroux points out what's wrong with your average lousy 80s brawler and throws in the silly bits the programmers hoped were original and gave personality--but they were original because nobody else wanted to bother. Bluberry points out the way around it and while it's still fun to laugh at.

Which will trump a review like Leroux's as I see it, if competently done. And I think Bluberry's is more than competent. It's one of those "how did I miss THIS" reviews. I think we all agree that reviews should be sure to address the game. But also, a review that addresses a game with more in it--unless the other has some hidden observations that switch on some really neat stuff, or if the other organizes or focuses on certain things cleverly--gets a big jump over another game with less.

Both games have some cool descriptions of actions I know I can learn from, but Bluberry really seems to know the game without mentioning it. The segue from $250 an hour to quarter munching to castigating whiners is really well done, and the self-reference (mentioning generic praise) goes overboard enough without going over-overboard. I read it, laughed, and reread without laughing, looking for substance. It was there. The comparison to FPSs is also succinct and clever. He gets me excited about games like this, or imagining how I could have fun becoming less dreadful at them.

Stuff I don't like about Bluberry's review? The lying to create a later effect (re: Cody.) It seems like attitude for attitude's sake, which can blow up in your face. I don't think it quite works, but maybe I'm just jealous because if I tried to pull it off it'd fail badly. Oh, that last line, too. Inside joke I'm missing?

Still, I was completely unsurprised to see this was a featured review when I went to the game page. It felt like Leroux's was wearing goggles, holding a clipboard and checking off violations at times. Knows what it's doing, but...a bit too true to form. (Yes. I've been there too.)

Winner: BLUBERRY

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CoarseDragon:
Bluberry - Final Fight: I don’t suppose you could get anymore brighter or cheerier than this review. “Salivating praise” is not something you see in a review very often, if ever, but it seems to fit the description of the game. This review was fairly short but got across all the information needed to determine if the game was worth checking into.

Leroux – Gang Wars: Well what can you say? When a game is bad it is just bad. Getting that across to the reader is easy but doing it in a way that makes easy reading is another thing entirely. I liked the links added to the review to give the reader some background and comparisons. If I had not had to read this I would have stopped reading in the second paragraph. That is not to say it was not well written but I think it could have been half as long as still made its point.

Leroux vs. bluberry: bluberry is the Winner

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Zigfried:
Leroux writes an enjoyable review that pokes easy fun at an easy target. Some of the sentence structure verges on overly-academic for an arcade beat-em-up bash, but other bits ("T-Rex-reach sparring") succinctly illustrate points that many people would only describe vaguely, if at all. Those choice phrases are the review's greatest strength, and a trend I would highly recommend continuing. Every time you create a new account, I'm never 100% sure if it's really you or if it's some attention-seeking poser, but consider me convinced now. Three spelling errors. (dully, bares, it's)

Bluberry's writing fits the flavor of a beat-em-up, and it's an entertaining read with well-chosen examples. That being said, I already know Final Fight so well by now that none of this is particularly striking or novel. Yes, the arcade is better than SNES because it has more enemies, but why is Final Fight still so revered in comparison to other beat-em-ups (which also have lots of enemies)? I'm certainly not recommending you go all New Games Journalism on us -- the review is perfectly fine -- but when matched against a review for a game I've never read about, this just didn't have enough edge to interest me.

My pick: Leroux

Ultimate Victor: Bluberry (2-1)

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Venter?? versus JANUS??
Venter: 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)
JANUS: Sin & Punishment 2 (Wii)


ASchultz:
Good matchup here. I find Venter hedges about certain things when I would say "just say it!" e.g. the explanation about Miyamoto in Par2--would it be better to say Miyamoto & co could not risk things so much? I think it is tough to describe stuff you want to linger around without lingering too much in your writing, and Venter seems almost there at times. But it doesn't quite work. I think there's a lot of looking for good details--but it stretches for some obscure ones and in the process misses more immediate ones. Like the land being named Dotnia. That's a cool name & would bring a bit more color to the introduction. But it's halfway down the review & I have to say "where's that? Did I miss something?"

It seems like there's a lot of expectation that developers will love the game and learn from their errors, and you have a nice narrative that keeps me interested. But it might be nice to read that, yes, the characters are made of blocks. Like legos or something. And they play neat graphical tricks, as evidenced by the screenshots.

When I go in for details like this, you know the review in general is good. But there's stuff I think you're good enough to iron out and maybe say what you really mean.

I feel that the "no game is perfect" section is a bit loaded, e.g. "some people might not like it, but tough for them." This reminds me of Bill Rancic, Donald Trump's original Apprentice, being interviewed and asking for his faults: "I work too hard." The HR lady smiled and said "come on." Like his small error, though, you can overcome stuff too. It's fun to linger with this sort of game. I bet I would, if I played the game. But for a review, you may need to pick and choose your spots a bit. You probably did in revising this. It's tough to zap something you enjoyed writing--but you should have faith you'll find something succinct you'll like even more.

I think it's safe to say, for instance, you appreciate the unapologetic psuedo-pexillation & it makes the satire affectionate. I'm also not crazy about the end--it's confident, but it doesn't quite work. It's tough to tell what fails, but just when a review is rolling you can throw in a too-generic phrase like "However you slice it." A snappy ending can't afford that.

Janus's review had me a bit baffled at first, with "on-rails" and "Melon Bread." But I think it's reasonable to expect a reader to perform a google or three, and seeing where they pointed--yeah, shooter fans would know about this. I mean, reviews shouldn't just be telling or doing what's already there. You need to take your risks to stand out, and this review does that well, even if the first one--"I'm not sure I could handle any more"--could go either way based on what is written so far.

Showing how you defeat potential enemies and how to plan stuff goes well beyond "the controls are tight" and thus works well. I can see how a puzzle game uses all of its components, or tricks, or surprises me at the end. But sometimes I get a bit snooty and say shooters can't do the same and it's all about reflexes. You do a very good job of showing how these reflexes should be used and I can imagine you having moments of "I bet you can't do that" before realizing you can.

It's interesting to see a review about stuff I like show me something new, and have it match up with a review of a genre I don't care for, and it shows me something new. Venter's is clearly a top-half review from the round. Janus mentions his game does not waste space. Neither does his review. Venter's wants to linger a bit with a few casual phrases, and Janus's doesn't. For Janus's, by the end, I was saying, "Dude. Play the sequel. You know you just need time off." With Venter, I hope he has the chance to dig up another retro-tribute game worth enjoying. It's not quite as intense, though.

WINNER: JANUS

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CoarseDragon:
Venter – 3D Dot Game Heroes: Spinning memories of the past into the future is certainly a good way to give the reader insight into the making of the game and certainly if you played those games you would know exactly what to expect from this game. While the descriptions of the game were pretty good I felt they left me wanting more information and so fell just a bit short.

Janus - Sin and Punishment 2: Janus’ vivid description of the aberrancy of the game is quite exciting. This is a sure sign that the reviewer truly enjoyed the game despite the apparent learning curve eluded to while describing the different tracks in the rail shooter. I felt a few things were missed that might be of interest to others thinking of purchasing the game. The fact that you can play as one of two characters and that you can have second player (though they have no on-screen avatar) join you for some co-op play. Overall a very creative review that was interesting to read.

Venter vs. Janus: Janus is the Winner

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Zigfried:
Venter's Zelda comparisons didn't do much for me, but then you go on to clearly explain why the dungeons are cool -- and you do make them sound cool, but in such a clear way that I'm confident they really will be cool. At its best, the review bleeds enthusiasm in the best way -- through ideas rather than through empty words like "awesome". By the end, it does start to feel like a checklist (phrases such as "also warrants a mention" and "No game is perfect" are reviewer-speak for I'd better talk about this, too) but that wouldn't stop me from recommending this to anyone who wants to learn about 3D Dot Heroes.

Janus gets bonus points for knocking Treasure down a few pegs based on their successes. Anyone can point at their weak links, but it takes a brave man to tackle the original Gunstar Heroes head-on. (Although I somewhat disagree with you.) This is a very good review, and I've no doubt that the game is excellent, but this was an unfortunate match-up. Venter's review takes complex mechanics and describes them very clearly, making his game sound special within its genre. I believe you about S&P2's creativity, and you did good job of supporting your conclusion with a tight review... I just think he took your concept and went further with it.

My pick: Venter

Ultimate Victor: JANUS (2-1)

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Jerec?? versus Asherdeus??
Jerec: Final Fantasy XIII (PS3)
Asherdeus: Dante's Inferno (PS3)


ASchultz:
Jerec vs. Asherdeus: A match between two people it's good to see back and writing. If there's something that irked me about both reviews, it's that they sometimes mentioned how boring and annoying the games were, and unfortunately that's a good way to help the judge/critiquer drift off. Not that I had to take drastic matters to fix either. And I liked comparing how you both didn't realize it wasn't fun until too far through. It's happened to me and is fun to read about.

But going negative early on negativity early (I'd guess that the 1st round of the team tourney, you want to give em something to like, something unique to say "I'm here and I'm going to write about fun stuff") is probably hypocritical. And there was a lot more to say about these reviews than that. So, on to the highlights...

Jerec--good stuff early on comparing the game to a lame amusement park ride. This is good bashing that hasn't been done and that's heartening to see. It's tough to write plain talking that feels new, and yours is as good as any I've seen for a while. I think the review gets tangled trying to describe how the characters aren't pushed too far. A couple more lines of dialogue may work well here--the bit about Sazh really is good. I think you also slap around the cutscenes well (the datalog works better) and at least offer suggestions of what you'd like to see. There are times you seem like you're reaching for what to say, but they generally rebound well. The paragraph on execution wobbles at the start but then hits examples very well. Framing FF13 like big brother--"gives your hands something to do in between the story"--works very well and makes up for other stuff that feels a bit plain.

The bit at the end is good, too. How by the time you finished, the price had dropped drastically. This sort of observation lets me know the game got old quickly for others, too. It seems better than the actual concluding sentence. It tidies things up emotionally as opposed to pulling out a graph that shows Final Fantasy Installment Number versus Fun Had.

Asherdeus--I think the big problem with your review is that you didn't research the book the game was based on. I'm not talking about in-depth research, but, "What -is- the Inferno about?" The Inferno lays out an obvious pattern for levels, and it appears the game avoids that for something with less variety. Also, the game veers so badly--Dante doesn't -rescue- Beatri(ce/x) in the book--that it could be powerful to say "the game doesn't match with a brief description of the book, or even seem like a plausible interpretation from book to game."

The whole review feels rather plain and I think meshing Par4 with Par1--realizing it wasn't fun but realizing it got boring--would be a way to start it off right. That mirrors what hell might be like. Mordant jokes should follow naturally. Yes, your review was organized, but it wasn't organized for anything special to come out. Reading words like "gameplay" kind of counterbalances the neat exasperation about lever puzzles, but I think you get too reductionist talking about how too many games boil down to button mashing. DI never lets you feel you're doing more than that?

This review has some neat observations--like the unholy being too like the holy for you to care, or Lust--but then it drifts back into the technical. These sorts of observations are important, but they're probably best made by the designers and project leads. They'll make a review look competent and good and understandable, but they can also feel a bit isolated. They may need some color, or observation, or comparison to what you expect to fly. Jerec has more of this, and he wins.

WINNER: JEREC

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CoarseDragon:
Jerec – Final Fantasy XIII: I have read a number of FFXIII reviews, several of them right here. I felt this one had an insight that some others (not all from here though) might have missed. This was a very good job of explaining why the reviewer thought the game was bad right along with explaining what the game was about. At one point I thought there was praise for the paradigm system but it turned out to be a ruse.

Asherdeus - Dante's Inferno: Some people know how to bash a game and others know how to bash a game with finesse and style. Unfortunately I already knew that Dante’s Inferno was a bad game so I was skeptical that a review could be written without out and out badmouthing it until we would be sick of reading the review. This review I felt took a small hammer to the game rather than a nuclear bomb. I am not sure I ever enjoyed reading a review of a bad game before this one.

Jerec vs. Asherdeus: Ahserdeus is the Winner

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Zigfried:
Jerec's review wins the "holy shit" award for the round. At the end of the second paragraph, I was thinking that rollercoaster analogy was neat. Then paragraphs three through five nail some really profound concepts about character development, breaking points, and emotional progression. 1) It's annoying when an RPG deals with a character then pushes them to the side. 2) Clumsy developers make their characters over-react to small things because the writers are too scared to put their heroes through the real wringer. 3) When people surmount their obstacles, they should become more interesting, not less. These astute observations show that you really did try to "feel" the characters. Your descriptions of mechanics don't carry the same impact, although your complaints about the battle system sound legitimate. You're clearly a pro at story analysis; concentrate on mechanical analysis and you'll be unstoppable. Damn, FF13 really does seem to be the bane of RPGs. Screw Square-Enix.

I'm glad that Asherdeus didn't try to come across as an expert on The Divine Comedy. Second, I thought you did a nice job raking through every way in which the game could conceivable be good (and explaining why it's not). The review has nice flow and fixates on believably significant flaws (I've not played the game). I did appreciate the description of the Lust level, as now I know what to look up on Youtube if I want to see the best the game has to offer. Similar to your teammates, you just had the misfortune of being up against the wrong review.

My pick: Jerec

Ultimate Victor: Jerec (2-1)

THE FINAL SUMMATION:
JANUS's team wins. ASchultz will be doing the fancy number work.


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: July 05, 2010 (11:36 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

~~~ Team Battle: Overdrive vs Wolfqueen ~~~

Overdrive?? versus Suskie??
Overdrive: Tecmo Secret of the Stars (SNES)
Suskie: Alpha Protocol (Xbox 360)


ASchultz:
Overdrive's review has the usual exasperation with amusing mistranslation. I think the jokes take a bit too long to build up (e.g. the opening paragraph: I love the last line, and the history is good, but I dunno--maybe "into a joke! And no, you can't help them commit seppuku to banish their shame." Still, something needs to be done with a game this flimsy. And while they get the chuckles, the ending joke of Bin Laden and our military left me shaking my head. Making fun of the double-names is good, but discussing the army is a live wire, regardless of political orientation. Otherwise this seems like a pretty standard bash of lazy translations. The part about controlling two parties taking more time may've been the best joke in the whole review, because, well, we can expect translation mistakes. But leaving the player clueless seems to bridge translations. Perhaps it is a more interesting puzzle to figure if the original game forgot this information, too, or if memory constraints crowded out all that English text.

And up against an organized, engaging review like Suskie's, it has big troubles. It establishes what genres the game feeds off in paragraph 1. In the 2nd, it describes what makes it feel differently. Then it hits the paradoxes in the game--a not so stealthy stealth adventure. The story about playing on the wrong difficulty level to start works well, though there's some confusion about if the problems you mention iron themselves out later on. I really enjoy the discussion of how player tones of voice work, too. Too often cut scenes are blown off for bad acting and that's that, and it's good to see that we can expect and hope for more, even in a flawed game. This is very good stuff and if the occasional "I can honestly say that" leaves me temporarily seeing red, I forget it quickly enough and wouldn't have a writer zap something like that if working to hard to avoid that sort of thing crowded out another idea.

WINNER: SUSKIE

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CoarseDragon:
OD – Tecmo Secret of the Stars: I love RPGs I
really do, where else can nobody rise to the level of a god and save his whole planet from some type of evil something-or-other. I am always disheartened when an RPG gets a bad review. In this case it seems it was well deserved and presented in well defined terms. It is good that we were given insight into the game even though it was a below mediocre game.

Suskie – Alpha Protocol: Reviewing a decent spy game is probably not easy especially when the game is well done. There is so much to get across to the reader it must seem like a daunting task. With this review we get to spy on the spy game and it turns out to be pretty fun.

OD vs. Suskie: Suskie is the winner

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Zigfried:
I started Overdrive's review not caring about your game in the least, but I came out of it ready to give T-SOS the "Super High Kwality" award. From PLUM-PLUM to girlish Ringo Brothers to BADBAD to searching the word for a nail, this review amused me greatly. Perhaps I should have known better, but this was not what I was expecting. I laughed. Often.

Suskie's review begins and ends with a promise of "great RPG, mediocre action". You thoroughly and believably elaborate on the mediocre action, but I never believe that it's a great RPG. Things like conversation choices and consequences aren't particularly meaningful unless they're attached to compelling and fluid narrative possibilities. You explain that Alpha Protocol fits that scheme, but I can't feel your emotion without sharing your experience; the lack of spoilers hurts. For any great RPG, there should be something tangible to discuss -- because it wouldn't even happen to every player. As an example, the spoiler of "Megaton's possible fates" convinced me that I had to play Fallout 3 and didn't hurt my experience. (FO3 wasn't a great RPG, just a convenient example.)

My pick: Overdrive

Ultimate Victor: Suskie (2-1)

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True?? versus Wolfqueen??
True: Split/Second (PS3)
Wolfqueen: Beyond Good and Evil (PS2)


ASchultz:
True and Wolfqueen always seem to have interesting ideas and take cool risks, and regardless of technical stuff, they'd leave me with something basic that I wish I could put in my writing.

True--this review shows some things CompanionCube's good effort didn't. It's a smooth read and throws stuff at the reader quickly enough that stuff like "not unlimited" or "that's where it inspired within me a sense of disappointment." Yes, you need to pull things back at certain points, but pulling things back != loose writing. It also seems to end a bit quickly. What's there is good, but I'd be interested in reading about enemy ai or the ability to play against friends. What can you figure out about your rivals despite the game not mentioning it? Can you make it difficult on yourself? I'm not sure if your review got cut off due to lack of stuff in the game,

I may've told you to see about keeping it short, and maybe I am backtracking now, but I think answering a few more questions would've made this a good review. Perhaps you tried to force yourself into a word count. What is there is good.

Wolfqueen--ooh! Contradiction time! "the two use teamwork to overcome an otherwise unstoppable enemy" + "the most important feature: the camera." Now perhaps this means the game is divided into two main parts: having Pey'J and Double H do what you need, beyond combat, so the more peaceful Jade (who I assume is relatively useless?) can take the pictures she needs.
The problem with energetic rich writing is that it can leave itself open to something like this and it's hard to trust what's there after. And stuff like "If you’re like me, you’ll even go to such lengths to be as artistic as possible," is attention grabbing. I think after a good introduction you go into details too quickly, and things start to read quickly like a blog entry--worth reading through, but maybe not so organized. Some clarity on how Jade's friends help Jade photograph things would go a long way.

The storytelling seems like it could be cut down--it seems like you had a lot of fun writing this review, but you often get caught up in it. Paragraphs like "Once you penetrate..." seem condensable, and if it's not easy, it's good practice. After this storytelling, too, the second-last sentence describes stuff I might've wanted to read about earlier. You make the world seem worth saving a bit too late. Put the bit about pearls with the first mention, maybe "Bringing illegal pearls to rhinos in a black market auto shop upgrades the engine." at first. Mention you don't need them all, but it's worth visiting a volcano, etc. It's tough to describe but when a paragraph about stealth is the most sluggish, the irony needs to be worked out. (Also "stealth becomes critical," spending a paragraph and then saying it's a minor part of the game suggests you're not sure of the proper weight to give everything.

I come away saying I wish I had as much fun as you did, and I half see the way you could, because this review had good moments. I get a feeling that this game is one that tries to be about everything and largely succeeds. The review tries for the essay equivalent of a US football spread offense, but with these efforts, it has to be good all the way through. Lots of good stuff is there, but it seems jumbled, and it can be cut down.

True's does what it should and that's enough here, even if I feel Wolfqueen's has more potential.

WINNER: TRUE

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CoarseDragon:
True – Split/Second: Making the dodging of missiles and giant cranes sound fun is sometimes not easy but this review handled that quite well. I suppose one thing a review should not do is leave you wondering “what else is there”. While the mechanics of the game were well explained I was left wondering if there is a career mode. Do you go from track to track on rails or can you pick any track?

Wolfqueen001 - Beyond Good & Evil: I have not seen picture taking in a game since Dark Cloud or Shadow Hearts so it was nice to have WQ expound upon that, apparently important, section of the game. Other than the mentioned stealth mission and photography I got no real insight into the rest of the game play, its difficulty or length. Overall the review is very well done. Since I had never played the game myself the review did peak my interest in the game and that is exactly what a review should do.

True vs. WQ: Wolfqueen001 is the winner.

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Zigfried:
True writes a quick and competent review. The Power Plays do sound cool, although it would have been nice to know that they were player-controlled at the beginning of the paragraph, instead of at the end. At first I thought they were just random environmental obstacles -- and honestly, I kind of wish they were. Dodging that shit sounded cool. But the concept of calling meteors down on opponents has its own appeal. Two quibbles: (1) I question whether it's really possible to be inspired with a sense of disappointment. (2) After reading your review, I think calling the lack of customization a "tragedy" is melodramatic. If there's more wrong with the game, I didn't get that from the review.

I liked Wolfqueen's description of teamwork at the beginning of BG&E; you make it sound important and exciting, and I was surprised to learn that you can actually control your partner. A fighting photographer sounds cool -- a Polaroid Pete for the new generation -- but I totally don't get how we got from apocalyptic invasion to taking pictures of wildlife. Without explaining how the invasion subsided, I'm left thinking the photography was a gimmick shoehorned into an unevenly-paced action game. The second half of the review (stealth + using camera to gather evidence) starts strong, but then you diminish its importance by saying all of that is a small part of the game. Based on the conclusion, I would say the review worries too much about readers' reactions instead of just describing the game clearly.

My pick: True

Ultimate Victor: True (2-1)

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Zippdementia?? versus Genj??
Zippdementia: Starcraft (PC)
Genj: Panzer Dragoon Saga (Saturn)


ASchultz:
Zipp vs Genj: "Oh, good." I said. "Just 2 more reviews to read." Probably the longest of the lot. But not a huge deal. I was on a roll, could decide which I liked better and...

...curses. Teamwork from the opposing competitors. Midseason form and all that sort of thing. Close match. But Team Tournament Thunderdome allows no ties.

I like Zipp bringing his sister into it, because it's a great way to show that, yes, the game dragged him in for being GOOD. You often forget why you liked a game at first, or it seems corny now, and it's great to have that affirmation all the way through. Though I think the narrative gets tracked up in itself--I'd let the story with the sister run out immediately, how she didn't laugh, etc. Perhaps there's wiggle room to describe the 3 races too--we can assume it's Zerglings + Overmind vs the Terran humans/protoss, I think, but perhaps "The Terran protoss and humans have their own rivalries" & does this work into the game?

"Starcraft can raise a lot of questions about what’s really important in a game./Good writing, for example." does give the image of a bore with sweater vest and pipe ready to get down to deconstructionism or whatever. At least, this early in the essay. And I think in general the transitions feel a bit lazy--"She was also greatly intrigued by the individual players in the story, especially Kerrigan./Kerrigan deserves a moment." The description sounds like if one thing were out of place, your sister would jump at the irony and laugh at it. But the game does not allow her. There's also an unnecessarily apologetic tangle about campaign vs online mode.

Still, trivia like the game being a sport in S Korea -fits- and that's not easy to do. I like, too, the options of winning quickly or slowly--I've found that turn up in Risk, for goodness sake. So Starcraft is beatable without risk but it's more fun--and worthwhile--to keep doing things quicker. I'd be curious to know if the quick successes rely some on luck, or even if campaign style players have their own records to track, so even this seemingly anti-social act is, well, social.

Oh yes. Good use of the rating box too. It didn't change my vote, but YEAH.

I enjoyed Genj's review a lot, but it feels a lot less--universal. I'm sorry. I tried to find another word. I really did. Zipp, perhaps with the subject matter, can jump around and discuss various aspects of StarCraft, and it feels fresh and innovative. Compared to Zipp's review, Genj's gets bogged down by the dragon. It's good stuff. I got up, sat down and reread it, without any of that comparison stuff that I agreed to, and I liked it and can't offer any improvements and would be wrong to say it's weak. It just doesn't make me think of what I want my games to be about. I'd say it doesn't quite soar, but I already pushed my luck with "universal." I think Zipp's descriptions of Kerrigan also trump the graphic descriptions here, but again that's not due to any big faults. I left agreeing with the last line of the review--I won't have time to play it, but dammit Panzer Dragoon fans need to get off (or is that on?) their butts and send emails. I expect anyone reading this review would. Or they'd feel appropriately guilty if they didn't.

I feel vaguely guilty too picking a winner. But two men enter, and one man leaves...

WINNER: ZIPP

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CoarseDragon:

Zipp – Starcraft: You must be careful to avoid and the biomass when reading a review of Starcraft. Starcraft is a game that has long been held as the de facto science fiction [war] strategy game. With three expansions under its belt it is indeed difficult to do justice to this game in a mere 1300 words. This review was able bring some of the excitement of the game to life in a very interesting way.

Genji - Panzer Dragoon Saga: It would be fun to imagine riding a Dragon even if it were only for a short time. In many ways this game is reminiscent of Divinity II: Ego Draconis. If you were lucky enough to have played the previous games you could earn extra Dynes (currency) based on the play time of your saved game.

Zipp vs. Genj: Genj is the winner

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Zigfried:
Word error strikes Zippdementia's third sentence -- should be "piqued" instead of "peeked". This review was pretty awesome until you started sticking thoughts in my head. I forgave the first bit about multi-player... but then when you started talking about "turtling" without letting even a paragraph pass, I was actively irritated. You had me in your palm! Then you threw me aside to talk to some skeptical asshole instead! At this point, the review started to feel sloppier (possibly because I was annoyed, possibly because of spelling errors like "micro-manaaging"). The review never really recovers, mainly because the tactical battle descriptions aren't tied back to the storyline's magic; I've read those kinds of descriptions from other people across the years... whereas I had never read anything like your review's first half. The conclusion is strong, but I think the paragraphs leading into it could have been stronger as well.

Genj's intro paragraphs were pretty cool; I didn't stop to make any comments until you started talking about "action bars". I'm fine with detailed battle system discussion when it leads towards engaging conclusions, but this falls more under "description" and doesn't really support the assertion that PDS's battle system is engrossing or unique. There are so many games and battle systems out there that the mechanics of one almost always sound like the mechanics of another... discussing outcomes might be more effective, as the concepts of berserks, basic attacks, and character movement all exist in other games (games with boring combat). The last two paragraphs pick up again -- I like the graphics paragraph in particular -- but I feel you missed your opportunity to make the 10/10 resonate.

My pick: Zippdementia

Ultimate Victor: Zippdementia (2-1)

THE FINAL SUMMATION:
Overdrive's team wins. ASchultz will be doing the fancy number work.


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: July 05, 2010 (11:37 AM)
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As a note, I was very pleased with everyone's submissions. Congratulations to all for a good show, and thank you for giving me something good to read!

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: Genj
Posted: July 05, 2010 (11:53 AM)
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Damn if I had gotten that Schultz vote, we would have won. My thanks to Zipp on giving a good first round match. My thanks again to the judges for their all their work. Zig, you're advice in my commentary is quite good. I'll be keeping what you said in mind.


_


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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: July 05, 2010 (12:24 PM)
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Well, that's certainly not the result I expected on my end. I'm a little surprised that no one else caught any of my clarity issues earlier, but maybe no one else saw them. In any case, I suppose I'll explain what I can here.

Jade is plenty capable of fighting for herself, a fact that I thought I demonstrated clearly enough when describing the opening sequence (though certainly not as well as EmP does in his review... but I did that intentionally because I wrote this review with the intention of emphasizing or elaborating on other aspects of the game that he didn't.) Her partner merely distracts the boss's minions (though he is capable of killing them) while she tackles the Big Kahuna herself. As for the photography, I put a larger emphasis on the wildlife stuff because that's a large part of the game and is really fun to do. However, it's more of a "something to do on the side" thing and a means to make money than something that actually contributes to the story. It's the photographing hardcore evidence that makes up the story element of the photography, and I purposefully didn't go into too much detail on that because doing so would have meant huge spoilers (though I guess I should have anyway, since it didn't explain enough apparently). Furthermore, the invasion is never gone. After that opening sequence, there are plenty more instances of alien attack, though I guess I only touch on that briefly, so maybe that's where the confusion comes in. However, the reason you're taking photographic evidence in the first place is to discover the truth behind the constant barrage of alien attacks and abductions. I know I say that somewhere, but maybe I say it in different words so it doesn't really sound connected or something.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback. I think after I finally got it started I began having fun writing it, but that took forever and I really just had a horrible time with the writer's block for a while. Maybe that's why it turned out the way it did. Man, I knew I should've moved some paragraphs around... but no one else really had an issue with it so I didn't think it was a problem. =/

lol Well, True can have his damn bet now I guess. Curses! I was going to make him review Hello Kitty or something equally silly and submit it as an entry somewhere down the line. haha.

Congrats to the winners and everyone else who participated. Congrats to my other teammates as well. We can't please everyone I guess, so as long as we're happy with each other's stuff, then that's the best way to go with this.


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


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Author: Leroux
Posted: July 05, 2010 (12:31 PM)
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Excellent work judges!

We'll get 'em next week, team. This loss is on me -- outdueled at my beloved genre. For shame. Now I'll have to review even more beat 'em ups to get better.


When the hammer falls...


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Author: CoarseDragon
Posted: July 05, 2010 (12:43 PM)
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Congratulations to all team members. You each did a remarkable job on your reviews. I found a couple of these match-ups to be very close and that made it very difficult to choose a winner.

I was not quite sure how much information to put into the critic of the reviews (I wanted to keep them short) but if you feel you need more I can get verbose in my next analysis.


Age is a condition not a state of mind.


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: July 05, 2010 (02:08 PM)
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Whew! That was a great match up for the entire team! I really wasn't sure who would win the Zipp-Genj match up. I took a gamble with the Starcraft review and tried a lot of things to see how they worked, one of which was assuming the reader would disagree with me on some things (Zigfried gives an excellent discussion of the negative side of this). Genj's review was really strong and passionate and I believe I just squeaked on by, there!

Got a bit of a rush, actually, when I saw the final score.

My other teammates did great! I think we proved we can hold our own. Even against the indomitable Suskie, we managed to pull out a 2-1 scoring (in Suskie's favor, but still). Tough line ups and we came out only slightly scathed. Look forward to next week.


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


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: July 05, 2010 (02:22 PM)
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TEAM OVERDRIVE...and others HAS WON!!!!

Now, the onus is on me to ensure that this will be my only individual loss, as by only winning 2-1, my dream of a perfect season is quashed and this season is already a dismal failure.

But we'll regroup to give Team Janus a good showing! I can guarantee that!!


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


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Author: Genj
Posted: July 05, 2010 (02:29 PM)
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2007 Patriots should have told you that a perfect season isn't very important.


_


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Author: jerec
Posted: July 05, 2010 (02:32 PM)
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Wow, that's some awesome feedback. I think I can make this review better. I think if I didn't have all that to say about the characters, I probably wouldn't have even written the review.


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: July 05, 2010 (02:46 PM)
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One question to Coarse Dragon. What did you mean by this statement?

"You must be careful to avoid and the biomass when reading a review of Starcraft."


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


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Author: aschultz
Posted: July 05, 2010 (02:43 PM)
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Stats--damn. Microsoft Excel's at work, and today's a holiday, what with the 4th being on a Sunday and all. So I'll have to let it ride.

Not that there is much. All 6 matches ended 2-1, which means there's a 6 way tie for first and seventh individually, and ratings can fully be in effect next week once people get more connected. (until someone gets a vote, or loses one, the rating is undefined unless I pretend they lost/won 2.9-.1.)

As for now, the ELO style ratings have:

People who won, 2060
People who lost, 1940.


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


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Author: Suskie
Posted: July 05, 2010 (03:52 PM)
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Good show, good show. Though I'll remind Zipp that there's a difference between defeating my team and defeating me, as I believe OD learned this week. (Please don't interpret that as a hostile challenge. I am being playfully smug.)

Anyway. Thanks to the judges for their results, and hopefully we can pull our act together for round two. Although, damn, there's not a single weak team in this thing this year.

Edit: Interesting how there were no shutouts. Everyone scored at least a point. Good job, everyone. This looks like it's shaping up to be a very competitive season.


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


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Author: CoarseDragon
Posted: July 05, 2010 (04:41 PM)
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One question to Coarse Dragon. What did you mean by this statement?

"You must be careful to avoid and the biomass when reading a review of Starcraft."


I thought you might ask about that. Beleive me it was not a reflection on your review. Knowing the game I had noticed you did not mention how the Zerg (or the Protoss either) built their bases or where their resources come from (biomass is where the Zerg place their bases). I was trying to open with an inside joke there but I should have realized it might come off as a dig to your review, which is not what I intended. It was funny when I wrote it but the writen word can be misinterpreted. I won't do that again or if I do it will be much better.


Age is a condition not a state of mind.


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Author: bluberry
Posted: July 05, 2010 (05:12 PM)
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thanks judges, and congrats to the winners.

good match, leroux. thought you had me.


Oh no, it's a Goomba!


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Author: True
Posted: July 05, 2010 (05:29 PM)
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First off, thanks to all three judges for their comments and having the results so quickly even though it was a holiday weekend. I did want to address a couple things that were mentioned specifically though.

A-Man: I did try and limit myself to a certain word count. I'm glad the review worked, but I as well feel there were a lot more things I could have mentioned about the game. I commend anyone who can write reviews that short each time and make them work.

Zig: Calling something melodramatic is melodramatic. Kidding. Seriously though, looking at it now, I think that opening line was probably overboard. I just wanted a fancy way of "it works, but it doesn't work" and that can sometimes be my downfall, what with "having so many games in my past".

As for the second, I think I wanted to put "instilled" as opposed to "inspired" but realized how odd it sounded a bit too late.

Coarse: Thank you again for stepping into this role. I know you may be kind of new to this thing, so it's even more appreciated. The career mode is somewhat limited. You can pick different races within each season, but you aren't really able to choose any season at any time. You unfortunately have to go down the line for a long time before things open up.

Furry Face: Thank you for the match. I am sorry that I robbed you of the opportunity to force upon me "Hello, Kitty" or something else equally ridiculous. But, if I'm to be honest, this is one of those types of situations--like it would be were I up against A-Man or Rand (if he was still around)--where I could be happy with the results either way, since I was matched with a promising up-and-comer. And I'm a good sport, and was looking to challenge myself this year so I'll still adhere to your stipulation as if you won, so long as you grant my request. I only ask that you limit your choices to my systems: PS3, PSP or Wii.


If I Offended You, You Needed It.


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: July 05, 2010 (06:55 PM)
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Absolutely no offense taken, Coarse! Actually it was the grammar which threw me off (no offense to you, now!) and I thought you might be talking about the Zerg but I wasn't sure.


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


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Author: bluberry
Posted: July 05, 2010 (08:59 PM)
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Schultz: "The lying to create a later effect (re: Cody.)"

it wasn't lying. the second time I mentioned it was sarcasm, haha. Cody sucks.


Oh no, it's a Goomba!


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: July 05, 2010 (09:18 PM)
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CD: In my opinion, verbosity is a matter of how much time you have to take. You can write paragraphs critiquing a review or sentences and as long as you make your point clear, it's all good. My personal opinion is that I'd prefer in-depth critiques (not saying three paragraphs, but more of a "I liked this review more because..." deal).

Like, after reading the critiques, I know exactly why Zig picked me. I know exactly why Schultz picked Suskie. I know you seemed to like both reviews, seemed to praise Suskie's a bit more (but in a vague way) and picked Suskie.

So I'd say a thing to do is (regardless of how many words it takes) let the reviewers know why they won/lost. Personally, I'd love to know what you felt caused you to like Suskie's review more than mine. With any review, my goal is for it to be the best I can write, so any insight on how mine might have been lacking is very welcome. I have very thick skin (I can imagine Leroux and Jerec gagging if they read that line after the TT of a few years back and my Hydlide "pissed off loser mode" debacle...) and would prefer to know what my opponent did better than me.


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


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Author: CoarseDragon
Posted: July 06, 2010 (10:15 AM)
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In my defense (sort of) OD the fourth of July weekend was really busy for me I understand what you are saying and will get better as the competition wears on and as we have more time to write our critics. Starting on a holiday weekend was probably not the best idea. I did the best I could in two days.

I'll tell you this the choice between you and Suskie was the most difficult one for me. To be more specific you did not mention Ray, Tina, Cody or Leona. You also did not tell me what an Aqutallion is. A better approach might have been to play up the fact that Ray's father was murdered and Ray was following in his father's footsteps instead of playing him off as just some kid. Suskie was my winner because I felt that review gave me more information about the game itself.

Note this so you all get a better understanding of me/my decisions. I tried to look at each review as if it were the only source of information I was every going to get about that game. I picked as the winners the reviews that I thought did the better job of telling me about the game, the content of the game, the mechanics of the game and why I either should get it or pass it by. I will also try give each of you better notes on why I picked winners.

In this second week I think we have four days to judge so that will be a bit better for me. I think the reviews are due on Thursday and we submit judgements by Monday?


Age is a condition not a state of mind.


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Author: asherdeus
Posted: July 09, 2010 (01:37 PM)
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ASchultz, I agree with you that it would have made the review more complete had I been familiar with the Divine Comedy. That said, I don't think the average player interested in the game will know a lot about the poem nor will they bother to read it. I don't really see how "From what I understand, the similarities stop after character names and the setting" is really all that different than "the game doesn't match with a brief description of the book, or even seem like a plausible interpretation from book to game" that you suggested I add. I understand that their are many people who have read The Divine Comedy and might be interested in how they compare, but I think my summation of the game's plot and the line mentioned above get the point across that Dante's Inferno is a very loose interpretation, even without having read the poem myself.

Point taken on meshing paragraphs 1 and 4 together. I think you're on to something there. They are similar in what they say.

I know you're probably really busy, and you already did put a lot of time into my review, but can you care to elaborate what you meant by observations that are only fitting for designers and project leads? The most technical aspects that I mention are framerate and the camera, which I feel are important to talk about in a game that I already stated was full of a lot of flashy combat. If you have the time, could you please elaborate?

All that said, thanks to all of the judges for their hardwork. This tournament is going to be a blast!


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