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Forums > Contributor Zone > Ben's Review of the Week: June 27th to July 3rd

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Author: Ben
Posted: July 12, 2010 (04:58 PM)
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Itís strange. Zipp took the week of June 20th and said there wasnít a single user review. Then, in the week of June 27th, one week later, 23 reviews were submitted by 17 different writers. Holy cow. With so many to read through, one could assume that there was a boatload of garbage. However, you would be very much mistaken, because each review Ė from both regulars and newer faces Ė was worth reading. I was extremely impressed by the consistently great quality, and as an added bonus, there was so much variety in the content covered, from dragons to 8-bit girlfriends, Guybrush Threepwood to the Doctor, and board games to 3D stereoscopy.

So, it was no surprise to me that I struggled in deciding my top three. In the end, five reviews were battling hard for third place, and I put off making that final decision until as late as possible. Unfortunately, I didnít get around to writing feedback for everyone. So, if Iíve not left you anything and you want me to summarise my thoughts, please let me know. The same applies to anyone who wants extended feedback.

Itís now time for me to shut up and present the accolades. With so many awesome reviews, it felt only right to also give out a couple of honourable mentions.





Honourable Mention
Starcraft (MAC) by zippdementia

Iíve never played Starcraft. Itís not something that particularly interests me; Iím just not into strategy games. Yet, Zipp writes an entertaining and convincing piece that tells me Iím really missing out. Mentioning his sister in the introduction is clever and a good start Ė I can relate to her, because I know almost nothing about the Starcraftís setting. After the first couple of paragraphs, I immediately come to the conclusion that Iím just as likely to be riveted by the gameworld as she was. And while Zipp doesnít spend much time describing the game mechanics, he makes the strategies and the viable ways of playing the game surprisingly easy to understand. I have no trouble following his thoughts. I donít need to know the specific terms or what each race is like to get the general gist of things. Starcraft sounds like a superb game, and maybe if I were more interested in the genre and had a more competent machine than this slow and lame laptop of mine, Iíd actively seek out a copy of it.


Honourable Mention
Resident Evil 5: Untold Stories (X360) by EmP

Unlike Starcraft, I had already played Resident Evil 5. I thought it was a decent enough game, but I didnít feel like spending cash on its downloadable content. EmP tells me I should reconsider. Both Desperate Escape and Lost in Nightmares sound really fun, despite them being so different from each other. The action of and mayhem in Desperate Escape is described vividly and really well Ė itís easy to picture these scenarios in my head. Lost in Nightmares is perhaps a little harder to picture due to the references towards the earlier Resident Evils (though Iíve dabbled over the years, Resident Evil 5 was the first and only one in the series that Iíve played from start to finish). I still get that the experience is about exploring, conserving ammo, and solving puzzles. The tension and the atmosphere behind it is such a huge contrast to the action-driven Desperate Escape, and the paragraph about waiting for that something to happen was excellently written. Definitely the highlight for me, there. The package does seem a bit pricey, and I probably wonít purchase it for the time being, but thatís more down to my feelings towards Resident Evil 5 than anything else. If I were a bigger fan of the game, Iím absolutely sure I wouldíve parted with 960 MSP after reading this review. Out of the three reviews EmP submitted, this was comfortably my favourite one.





Third Place
Beyond Good & Evil (PS2) by wolfqueen001

This is a great review on a game that Iíve always been curious about, and by the end of it, Wolfqueen makes me regret not picking this one up during the last generation of consoles. Easily my favourite parts of the review are when she talks about Jadeís camera. This is a rather unique part of the game, and the review does brilliantly in making it stand out. I first get the impression that taking pictures of every single species is time-consuming yet really fun and rewarding. Even better, she then emphasises the idea of using the camera to uncover whatís really going on with the invasion. This sounds like such a cool idea that Iím surprised hasnít been done before (at least, to my knowledge), and Wolfqueen does well to make it seem awesome. While the camera is undoubtedly the biggest draw of the game, the rest of it doesnít sound bad, either. Wolfqueen is thorough with the content and succeeds in making mostly everything else appear to be fun. Boss fights seem unique and imaginative, both in design and in combat. Small story hints draw up intrigue without having to resort to spoilers. And the variety of side-activities in the final paragraph is a great way to close the review. ďItíd be a shame to miss it.Ē Itís a shame that I never played Beyond Good & Evil when I had my PlayStation 2.


Second Place
Final Fantasy XIII (PS3) by jerec

I donít recall ever reading a Jerec review before this one, so I hope he doesnít take offence when I say that his piece on Final Fantasy XIII caught me off-guard. Itís an excellent review, and Iíd have no problem awarding it the win on most other weeks. Firstly, Jerec brings up flaws that I didnít give much thought to before and had me going, ďoh yeah, of course!Ē This first happened when he brought up the idea that FF XIII was more of a spectacle than a game. The rollercoaster analogy was nicely executed, as the TT judges already said, but more importantly, this was a perspective that Iíd never considered before. I paused upon reading it and reflected for a little while on my own experience with the game. The same thing happened when I read that the cast of FF XIII were never pushed to their breaking points. By bringing up one of FF Xís more intense moments, itís easy to see one of the reasons why the story of FF XIII fell flat. Jerec also lays down points that I was more familiar with. Even though I found the game more tolerable, I completely understand his point of view. Heís clear with his words, and thereís no reason to doubt them. Iím particularly happy someone else agrees that the cutscenes are hard to follow, even though they look stunning at times. I also donít mind that the gameplay isnít given as much attention. After all, the game is more of an interactive experience, as Jerec claims. Anyway, all in all, this is a successful bash review that justifies the low score and the authorís clear irritation.


Review of the Week
Danteís Inferno (PS3) by Suskie

Despite the top-end being mostly dominated by TT entries, Suskieís Danteís Inferno Ė the last of the 23 entries Ė was my favourite. Sometimes, people get carried away and go into too much detail about the background of a particular game, but Suskie makes his references and analysis not just relevant but also really entertaining to read. Take the second paragraph. I had no idea that the source content had allusions to Greek mythology; an interesting fact, but it also emphasises further that Visceral Games were ripping off from God of War. Take the penultimate paragraph. Earlier, I learnt that Dante was a real poet. When I read how Danteís been unfairly portrayed as a massive dick, I started to dislike the game, even though Iíve never played it before. On the subject of being an entertaining read, this review was the only one to make me laugh this week. In fact, I laughed twice. I had a good giggle in the Luciferís penis paragraph. Finally, the review nails the flaws of the game superbly. From the God of War similarities to the skills to the gameís finale, this is a game that I most definitely have no intention of buying. By the end of the review, I had no further questions. Everything that I wanted to know was answered. A fun yet also thorough review Ė a lethal combination, and one that is extremely tough to beat in my books.





All right, thatís me done for now. Whew. Thanks for contributing!


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: July 12, 2010 (05:08 PM)
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Good news for you, Ben! Starcraft will run on ANYTHING. Seriously. I first played the game on an old PC back in 1998. I recently installed it on an even older PC (1995) and, to my great surprise, it worked. I'm now running it on a 7 year old MAC.


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


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Author: Genj
Posted: July 12, 2010 (05:42 PM)
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Thanks for undertaking this massive ROTW, Ben. Congrats to all who were mentioned.


_


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Author: aschultz
Posted: July 12, 2010 (06:04 PM)
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Wow. Guess I'm next. Nice work. It's interesting to hear a sort of 4th judge's take on some TT reviews.


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 12, 2010 (07:33 PM)
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You had a huge workload this week, Ben, so thanks a lot for stepping up and for giving me the win! I'm pretty flattered to have won during such a competitive week. As you said, we had an unexpectedly large influx of reviews and there were no weak entries among them. I kind of wrote that review as per True's request, but I sort of had this attitude like, "There is no way I'm not submitting anything this week!"

Congrats to everyone else who subbed. Again, really exceptional turnout.


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


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: July 12, 2010 (07:59 PM)
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Hey Suskie, I noticed your win from me isn't featured. Was it decided it wasn't a valid week?


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 12, 2010 (09:12 PM)
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you must have liked The Chasm.

'grats Suskie.


Oh no, it's a Goomba!


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Author: Suskie
Posted: July 12, 2010 (09:49 PM)
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Are you talking about Alpha Protocol, Zipp? It's featured -- it just doesn't show up in the sidebar because it was a freelance review. Click on the plus sign next to Feature User Reviews and you'll see it.


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


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Author: jerec
Posted: July 13, 2010 (01:57 AM)
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One the one hand, I'm incredibly pleased I managed second place out of ALL THOSE REVIEWS, but on the other... Pretty much the best review I ever wrote and will never come close to topping... still couldn't beat Suskie?

Thanks for undertaking that massive task. There were a lot of good reviews that week, I remember reading a bunch. Has Honestgamers ever had a stronger week for content?


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: July 13, 2010 (12:19 PM)
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Yeah, thanks a lot for doing this, Ben. It was a huge undertaking and I'm not sure many would have so willingly and enthusiastically done so. You did a great job here and desserve every bit of praise and credit for it.

As for the actual picks, I'm quite happy with third, especially considering just how many reviews were posted that week. Makes me feel that I'm justified in feeling good about that review and that whatever happened in TT with it can suck it. (no offense to anyone involved reading this). I really don't know why I let that stuff work me up so much sometimes, but there you go. In some ways, though, maybe it's a good thing because I'm actually starting to have confidence in myself (though having that automatically means I have to be wary of getting arrogant.., which may have also shown itself already.)

Congrats to Suskie, Jerec and everyone else who contributed this week.


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: Ben
Posted: July 13, 2010 (06:47 PM)
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Thanks for the thanks, everyone. I really appreciate it. By the way, in case anyone didn't read Suskie's blog post, this was his 25th win, and thus he now has the top Review of the Week milestone.

Zipp, nice to know Starcraft should run on my laptop. Now, all that's left is for me to become a strategy fan!

Jerec, I don't see why you can't at the very least equal your Final Fantasy XIII review in the future. I also dug your Wind Waker review, and if you keep churning out high quality stuff, you're bound to top your Final Fantasy XIII at some point.

WQ, I'm glad you're happy with your review, because I really enjoyed reading it. The only real issue I had was that one sentence I already mentioned in your feedback thread, but even then that was more of a nitpick. You've just got to remember that people look for different things, and that no two people are the same.


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