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Forums > Contributor Zone > Week three results!

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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: July 19, 2010 (08:08 PM)
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~~~ Team Battle: Overdrive v Leroux ~~~

Overdrive?? versus Jerec??
Overdrive: Batman: Arkham Asylum
Jerec: Tales of Vesperia


ASchultz:
Overdrive--I think this is clearly your best review so far. The standard joke about Batman needing to keep busy worked with me and I know I called you out about jokes before. I'll give you a mulligan for the 4th wall reference too. I feel dreadfully Victorian for saying this but I'm glad you kept this review's jokes under control. The conclusion feels right, and if you had fun with other parts, it's easy to picture why you walked away feeling disappointed. I can think of other games like that. This is not fancy stuff but it doesn't have to be fancy to be very good.

Oh. You mention the Joker is everywhere, then you mention the big Ripper side quest. Inconsistency. I think you mean everywhere in the main game. I'd also say, psychological warfare is not guerilla warfare. And six sets of ellipses = overkill. Pedantic though.

Jerec--I thought I'd seen this review before, then I clicked on the critique topic. It's a good read, but I still don't know if you have it under control. You have a knack for good straightforward introductions I thought I heard before but didn't. I saw some regressions to week 1--"but they don't seem cliched or"--just say "but there's no overdone amnesiac with a forgotten past." Stuff like comparing Yuri with Shadow Hearts takes too long & doesn't get the hoped for mileage. And you wind up leaving the more interesting Rita at the back.

I'd be interested in reading how/why stuff like high-fives (admittedly cheesy) works later. Or about how you didn't expect character X to bring things together. I may revisit the critique topic to point out what other stuff is reorganizeable or what I find works/didn't. This review works well, but it doesn't flow as well as Overdrive's. That's a risk with big RPGs, that you lose a reader and even when you get him back, he may think, if you liked the game--why didn't you get your tribute to it straight? From my original critique topic comment and what I see, you made improvements. Enough that I want to write more details/suggestions where it's appropriate but not enough to take a point.

WINNER: OVERDRIVE

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CoarseDragon:
Overdrive – Batman: Arkham Asylum: A lot of Batman’s stock-in-trade would be the gadgets he uses to foil criminals. We get a good sense of that in this review. But how does Batman increase the power of his weapons? Is there a workshop in the Asylum or can Batman leave Arkham island? No mention of Robin so we assume he is not in the game, it would have been nice to know for sure however.

Jerec - Tales of Vesperia: The characters in a story are very important because they tell us the story. It was nice to see this review told us some details about the characters. That is often missing in RPG reviews. Seemingly full and complete descriptions of the games combat and weapon synthesis were nice to see in a review of a game in such a difficult genre.

Overdrive vs. Jerec: Jerec is the winner

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Zigfried:
Overdrive (Batman: Arkham Asylum) : One thing I really appreciate in a good action game is a strong villain. Obviously, through the magic of licensing, the Joker is already such a character -- but Overdrive's first few paragraphs do a nice job of illustrating that the Joker would have been a strong villain even if had been completely new. That's what more of these licensed games need -- smart structures that don't rely on preconceptions. In the combat section, you've got an ambiguous sentence: In the comic books, Batman rarely was remotely tested by the average generic criminal. This could mean that either Batman trounced average criminals repeatedly, or that Batman was such a weakling that average criminals rarely provided a remote test (implying they provided a SUBSTANTIAL test). Your meaning is clear from context, but the sentence also sounds a bit odd when read aloud. You do make the combat fun, although I wonder how it compares in your mind to other games (Riddick, Splinter Cell, etc). More significant is this next passage: Detective Mode is useful...VERY useful (especially if you're relatively new to the game). And so, the overall excellence of the graphics were blunted greatly for me. The piece you've left out is that Detective Mode was so useful that you left it on 95% of the time. I only knew that because I've read other reviews that said the same thing. Without that knowledge, the part about the game being "blue" wouldn't have made sense. It's definitely a good review, and one that I read through quickly. As always, I appreciate your complete lack of pretension in your writing. Eleven paragraphs would be scary from some people, but not from you. I do question the final score, though -- especially after that concluding sentence.

Jerec's review for Tales of Vesperia hits one of my RPG pet peeves early in: Yuri does some surprising things that you would not normally expect from the lead character in an RPG, but it would be unfair of me to spoil it for you. When describing a game (or in this case, a character) appeal, I want a bit of it to be spoiled. Otherwise I don't really believe it -- RPG reviewers write "this time the character is different, really he is" all the time, and they're usually wrong. The only reason I believe it here is because you're the one writing it. I do like the contrast between chaotic good and lawful good, but providing at least one example would have helped a lot. As an aside, the cast of characters you've described here totally rips off the Berserk manga -- from the chaotic good hero, to the lawful good companion, the kid who's learning, and the genius mage who learns to appreciate her companions. I only bring it up because I think you might like that story, too. There are some flow issues in this one that weren't present in your previous two reviews -- but I won't go into all of them or else it would sound like I was slagging your review, which I'm not. I liked it. The one thing that I'll point out is that the sound and graphics did seem to be crammed in at the end. If you can work those descriptions into other paragraphs and just cut those paragraphs entirely, I think it would read more naturally.

Tough match. I'm giving Overdrive the win here.

Ultimate Victor: Overdrive (2-1)

*****************************************

Zippdementia?? versus Venter??
Zippdementia: Tournament of Legends
Venter: The Last Remnant


ASchultz:
Zipp: Snark is dangerous, to me, but I think you have it about right. ToL sounds like it could've been really something, but the amusing parallels of how it's derivative (Roman names) make up for the lulls (ping me about a critique topic if you want it) and things get hit or miss after a strong start. The ending feels more like a blog post than a serious review, but you've already done a lot right with the game balance, annoying controls etc. The only problem? Too many bashes may mean that I feel I'm rereading the same stuff again. You're good at bashing and you seem in your element, but on the other hand, every writer has that weakness where if a judge sees it week after week, he may see patterns that may make him wonder what new has been said. Also, another review which takes a more nuanced view can defeat it.

And I think that's what's happened with Venter's review. I like when a reviewer admits he is looking for something different, draws the lines out, and explains why, yes, he's right and they're wrong, without pretense. It's wonderful to see a game that might suck and realize there's a less advertised part that works, and works wonderfully, and that's what happens here. This review makes me think of games I plowed through and wondered what the fuss was about--or games I discovered more about the second time through. It's good to read about a game that offers more than just a new cut-scene for an ending and how a gamer can work to get that alternate sense of achievement. I had a list of minor stylistic stuff but at the moment I just don't want to think about that. This review takes an angle I haven't seen yet at this tournament & I can picture a good writer like Zipp maybe bashing Last Remnant fairly and well, before Venter makes a counter point that feels like a trump card.

WINNER: VENTER

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CoarseDragon:
Zippdementia – Tournament of Legends: Uniqueness in a fighting game must be hard to come by these days. The review was written well and told us what was bad about the game and even went so far as to describe a strategy for us to use should we ever want to play this game. If there is such a thing as a good review of a bad game I guess this fills the bill.

Venter - The Last Remnant: A fairly decent balance between the good and the evil of this game. I find it difficult to judge a review for a game that I am so familiar with. I think I know at least three different ways to invoke Fatal Eclipse, Whiteout and Blackout. I can tell the reviewer enjoyed the game and I get a sense of why the reviewer enjoyed the game but I felt it was not necessary to spend so much of the review explaining why people did not enjoy the game. I think that time could have been better spent explaining in more detail why the reviewer like the game or even given us more details on the game itself – was the word union even mentioned in the review?

Zippdementia vs. Venter: Zippdementia is the winner

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Zigfried:
Zippdementia (Tournament of Legends) : I disagree with your note about the Greek fad. I can't think of many recent Greek-themed games, and I certainly can't think of any Greek-themed fighting games -- the closest is Soul Calibur, and that really isn't the same. Spartans taking on medusae in a one-on-one fighter sounds thematically awesome and original to me, so I really can't identify with your introduction at all. You also say that the inclusion of armor is uninspired, but that's not really true. The inclusion of armor is a pretty darn good idea, considering the theme, and it's an element that has rarely been used elsewhere. You do, however, explain why the implementation of armor is uninspired; changing that one word would make a big difference. It sounds like armor is just a nifty visual touch. So I think the idea to include armor was good, but they dropped the ball somewhere along the way. You do hit some significant points in the second half of the review -- such as lack of balance and unresponsive controls -- but I still can't shake the feeling that you aren't familiar with fighting games. For example, character-specific taunts are fairly common now. Perhaps this game has more of them? I'm not really sure. In the end, I believe the game is poor, but that belief is mainly based on the developer's name.

Venter (The Last Remnant)
I like this review. It's a case example demonstrating why the sacred wall of opinion is not impenetrable. I also like that you specified exactly which brick in that wall is the weak one. You managed to tread a careful line by revealing what others did not see, without degrading them... because honestly, if someone spends 30 hours on the game and didn't enjoy it, why would any sane person keep playing? Hell, after the first half of the review, I was wondering why you kept playing the game. But it really isn't important. What's important is you saw something other people didn't see, and you've written a review so that prospective buyers can enter the purchase informed... and possibly enjoy the game that much more because of it. Well done.

My pick here is Venter.

Ultimate Victor: Venter (2-1)

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True?? versus Leroux??
True: Pocket Racers
Leroux: Asteroids


ASchultz:
True--Wow, some guts calling out a judge at the end. This is a lot more fun than your last review. Some errors with commas and my/your pop up. I think the switch from "this is going to be awesome" to showing why PR is a shadow of MM is effective if not too fancy and the bashing jokes make sense. The trick is to find inconsistencies without nitpicking or using what's already there and I like what you do. Well, OK, blind guy in a strip club can go. I think you may have forgotten to describe why you get a 10 second head start and if it's enough, too. I do think describing how racing's more fun when you come from behind--there are lots of ways to do this--might've made the review more fun. It's something everyone knows, but we like to see it new and different ways, you know? It's weird, but a bash that throws reasonably funny insults around is, in a way, a conservative bet. Don't be too cliched, and see if the other guy overreaches.

Leroux--I like reviews about the history of video games, etc., and the introduction is interesting. However, I think you drop that tack--of course, you have to describe the game ITSELF--but you never wind up mentioning other later vector, or vector-ish, games. Defender, Stargate, Star Wars. Asteroids Deluxe, even. You name dropped, but given your discussion of the controls it'd be interesting to hear what you thought of, say, Tempest's knob or Defender/Stargate's ship-like controls or Star Wars's throttle. Maybe compare the game to the 2600 port where the joystick worked really well. Given that you take the history angle, I'd like to read more. Asteroids is slim enough that you need to do more than just say "thrust, rotate, fire, hyperspace."

I'd also argue that calculating probabilities (eg statistics) was more important in Asteroids than anything like equations, like for learning to shoot the small UFO--which would just get a direct hit sometimes--or seeing how to work things to get 12k points per life with lives every 10k. Also Asteroids was the first game that let you slow things down, take a break and re-position. Do you feel this got tedious? I didn't have the patience to reset and reload for the next level. I spent a lot of time panicking and thrusting all over the place. I learned about physics that way. I remembered the lesson in high school physics.

Also--in math--the playfield simply wraps off the screen. A toroid is a donut & while it could be topologically equivalent, it doesn't need to be. You overreached with your vocabulary & don't need to. And then, "as nice a feather for the..." Is that really necessary? More history please! Even if I've heard it, when you talk about the outer space theme--that's GOOD stuff. Or how long did it take you to get the feel for the thrusters and how they died down? Or for when to use hyperspace? That's simple basic stuff that lasts.

And oh yes--polygons/vector thingies still get drawn. They're sometimes still effective. It's just much easier to fill them in these days.

This essay tries to do more than review, which is commendable, but has some style and word choice and ommision errors, which is not. True's get the job done.

WINNER: TRUE

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CoarseDragon:
True - Pocket Racers: I think this game proves you can’t mix dark magic and racing successfully. I guess even worse is that Blade Interactive thought they could take Room Zoom add some sort of fantasy magic and end up with a better game. Well apparently they were very wrong.

Leroux – Asteroids: I think every gamer knows Asteroids but if they don’t just do a search and see how many sites there are where you can play the game. How difficult it must be to review a game that is as simple as a shuttle spinning around in a circle and shooting at white objects? I liked the angle of the review but I think the old school charm of the game got lost in the MOS-6502 CPU.

True vs. Leroux: True is the winner

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Zigfried:
True inexplicably ends his Pocket Racers review by saying that he hates one of the judges. That's kind a of a weird thing to do in a tournament. But anyway... the review kicks off mightily with a description of Satan rolling up to a random houseparty in an 18-wheeler and turning everyone into tiny cars. Your description of the obstacles is also well done; they don't make any internal sense, and there really isn't anything notable to separate one from another. The part about lives lost me, though. Why don't lives make sense in a racing game? What's wrong with giving someone 5 chances to clear a stage? I really just don't get your beef. I understand the frustration with how badly executed the game is, but you spend a couple paragraphs trashing the concept of lives. You never explain why it's a bad idea -- you just assume we'll agree. And I don't. But that first half of the review is still pretty ace.

Leroux (Asteroids) : I went into this review with trepidation, but instead I got a lesson in graphical processing -- which was oddly coincidental, as I was reading about raster versus vector routines just last night. It's so coincidental that it almost feels unfair, but it's quite fair. You wrote something uncommonly interesting, and you deserve credit for that. I also recently watched a "history of shooters" video that went from Space Invaders to Galaga, skipping Asteroids entirely. And that's not the only time the game has been, as you pointed out, marginalized. For those of us who grew up in American arcades, this review's slant seems obvious. But presented to a world that doesn't even look in the game's direction, it's a challenge to the status quo -- and one that's appropriately focused on what matters (the graphics). Making such points appear retrospectively obvious is a sign of talent. I liked True's review, but this is an unexpected delight.

I pick Leroux.

Ultimate Victor: True (2-1)

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

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: July 19, 2010 (08:28 PM)
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~~~ Team Battle: JANUS vs Wolfqueen ~~~

Bluberry?? versus Suskie??
Bluberry: Metroid Fusion
Suskie: Just Cause 2


ASchultz:
Bluberry--a very acidic review, but it doesn't waste a lot of words. I like that. There are some great lines here, about illusion of discovery and solitude, and yes, any game can have them. Some awkward transitions, like P1 to P2 or "Everything comes together..." which feels like it could be sorted easily as the writer's attention was elsewhere. Like to the next two paragraphs, which hook around nicely and sucker me into a question that's well answered. I like the description of the expected fight collapsing--and becoming something far more interesting.

Suskie--this review works well, but perhaps some of the sentences need to catch their breath. A sandbox sort of game seems well suited to these, but in my opinion, there may be too much, even though it makes good sense to try for that sort of effect. I'm also a bit confused why you didn't read up on the game plot on the official site that said how big the game was. I can see why you might not have wanted to, caught up in the game. However, between the unnecessary italics, conversational bits and stuff like "with just a tinge of regret" it feels like there's a bit of emotinal overload that isn't needed with the descriptions. I think it can go. I also think you may've crowned another game as a king of the sandbox genre in another review, too, or maybe the ending feels a bit too frenzied. Enthusiasm is good, but it came across like hard-selling in several places and didn't seem as controlled as Bluberry's. I feel like Franz Josef in Amadeus--"Too many notes. But still, a fine, fine effort." This does not make Bluberry Salieri, but it does make him...

WINNER: BLUBERRY

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CoarseDragon:
Bluberry - Metroid Fusion: I got two different impressions of the game. At first I thought we were told the game had no exploration but then at the end of the review we are told we do have exploration. Perhaps that was only at the end but if so it was not clear enough in the review. Parts of this review needed to be cleaned up. This needed explaining "Challenging! The graphics are nice, if a bit too colorful. A-. If only." "If only" what? What was so challenging about the game if you are told what to do all the time?

Suskie – Just Cause 2: This review did a really good job of getting us into the feeling game or perhaps what the developers wanted us to fell about the game. Rarely are sandbox games put together well but here we get the sense that this game was very well thought out. I wanted to buy this game if for no other reason than to see the huge island that had been described.

Bluberry vs. Suskie: Suskie is the winner

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Zigfried:
Bluberry uses a review for Metroid Fusion that beat me in last year's team tourney. I had actually forgotten about that until someone brought it up in the forum -- and then I remembered Bluberry's comment that he had thrown it together in about 15 minutes. Fortunately, I know you were lying. The first half of this review is written pretty wonderfully, painting a picture of tense action greatness. The second half of the review isn't as tight, which is a shame, because you're completely right. I think some reorganization would help. For example, the Half-Life 2 example feels out of place. It's worth keeping in the review, it's just in the wrong spot. For example: the preceding paragraph talks about being "a sequence of rooms", then there's the bit about telling instead of showing, then it goes back to the point about being a sequence of rooms. The final part regarding what the game could have been was great. And nice observation that linearity alone doesn't kill a game.

Suskie (Just Cause 2) : The descriptions of Panau were vivid and effective. After your gushing praise of the scenery and fun missions, the less impressive combat didn't seem like a big deal -- which was your point. I'd heard some good things about the game already, but I'd never bothered to look into it, so I'm glad I read this review.

My pick: Suskie

Ultimate Victor: Suskie (2-1)

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Janus?? versus Genj??
Janus: The Beatles: Rock Band
Genj: Jet Grind Radio


ASchultz:
Janus--this review stake things out with a good joke and a good example in the first paragraph, like some stupid Toastmasters guide says but can't help you DO. I'd forgotten "Do You Want to Know a Secret" and ups to Janus and Harmonix for remembering. I leave this very much interested in a game in a genre I don't know much about or might not care to play. It leaves me feeling, yeah, I'd like this or that from a game.

Too many exclamation points though. They seem unnecessary.

Genj--this was a big reviewable from GameFAQs and I think we've all grown up since then. I like the comment of combining genres and showing why JGR is still unique, and I can offer no structural suggestions. I walk away wth a respect for both reviews and both games.

It's interesting to read the battle of Something that Should Last vs Something that Lasted in the Hearts of Those that Played it. It's at times like this, though, it's good to have a cop-out, one which I may exercise by pointing out that Janus's is a bit more polished, with fewer mistakes Genj will probably bang his head for not catching. It would seem tawdry to post them here. Critique topic time...

WINNER: JANUS

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CoarseDragon:
Janus - The Beatles: Rock Band: This review is very well written and tells us exactly what the game is about. I looked at the length and at first thought it may be too long for such a simple sounding game but there were no fillers here. Each section hit on something different and exciting about the game. There was no doubt in my mind as to why the game received a 9.

Genj - Jet Grind Radio: I really felt the intensity of the game in this review. The vivid descriptions of the things you can do in the game made the review come to life. The police helicopters, the tanks and SWAT in riot gear really let the reader know what dangers lie in wait. The descriptions of the other gangs were nicely detailed and told us a lot about the overall design.

Janus vs. Genj: Janus is the winner by the slimmest of margins

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Zigfried:
Janus (The Beatles: Rock Band) : I hate the Beatles, and I'm not going to buy their game. But even I have to admit this was a great review. I was a bit thrown at the beginning, when you referred to Activision as "the makers of Guitar Hero". It sounded like you didn't know Harmonix's history (although I suspect this was just a case of unfortunate phrasing). As I read the review, pretending that it was for a band that I actually care about, I found myself nodding along with the bits that you chose to highlight. The songs matching the locations. The play mechanics matching the musicians' style. The celebration of a band instead of the exploitation. This really sounds like the kind of transcendental game that people will file on their shelves to pull out in years to come, pulling it out -- instead of grabbing CDs -- whenever they want to share memories with their family.

Genj (Jet Grind Radio) : Hell yeah, the Dreamcast was hardcore! I once wore my Dreamcast T-shirt to Cold Stone Creamery, and when I ordered a chocolate shake, they squeezed out some extra fudge in a spiral on top. So uh, anyway. The review follows a nice progression, from basic details leading up to an insane -- but awesome -- fourth paragraph. And then Onishima starts calling in the helicopters. F***. Some people would have just dropped it there and moved on to their next point, but I think it was a smart move to keep going... the part about spray-painting the copters' windshields just makes the game sound even better! Some of the lines in the first two paragraphs sound a bit stilted, but you really hit a nice stride. By the end I was hooked, and the review concludes very nicely. It's a little bit different from any JGR review I've ever read before, and in a good way.

I really wish I could vote for both, but I pick Genj.

Ultimate Victor: Janus (2-1)

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Asherdeus?? versus Wolfqueen??
Asherdeus: Left 4 Dead 2
Wolfqueen: Ys


ASchultz:
Asher--1 1/2 paragraphs? Really? To describe the boycott of the game? There are some zingers and one-offs, which don't add much to the game or the canon of insults I like/know, so really, I'd be more interested in some contrast about how usually a game takes too long. You make a good point about maybe seeing L4D2 as an expansion pack, but it's in the conclusion. By then, the bit about fanboys is burned in my mind.

Then there's the switch from "it is in every measure a substantial improvement over the original" vs the ending "It isn't a remarkable leap forward for the franchise." What's in the middle is a lot better, thankfully, and if it feels formulaically laid out, it's GOOD formulated. I'd be interested in hearing more about Versus mode than that it is a good combination etc. and that's where wiping the 1st paragraph would give the reader more in his tank to pay attention to when you really get down to business.

Wolfqueen--sometimes your essays feel like they are just trying to reach a word count. I think you haven't quite separated storytelling from putting together sentences we don't mind reading but that could be cut down. I think immediately getting to the angle of lesser graphics than the Turbo version vs the same mechanics to do damage would be good. You'd figure a lot would be kept, etc., and it seemed to surprise you that it wasn't just the constant story that you really liked.

There's other stuff where I think you meant to say something different: "its shortness allows for greater variation." Do you mean that it doesn't pad anything with adventures you saw earlier in the game but with different palettes? I mean, you seem to make the point again later, after a detour about listening to the TCD music--again, I feel this BELONGS but you haven't found the right place to put it.

This is another one of those essays that leave me feeling like I'm watching a chess game where I desperately want to kibitz. DO contrast the sameyness of the boss music with how different they are. DO mention earlier that you could listen to TCD clips and yeah, they're better than the NES, but the game doesn't need bells and whistles. I like this sort of contrast, I imagine, because it reminds the reader of what's really important, and to me, it shows how retro games are effective--they concentrate on one thing, and you forget the rough graphical/sound details. I'd be interested if you thought playing the NES + listening to TCD clips/seeing graphics was good enough.

This review does seem to jump around, then focus on something a bit too obvious, and up against Asher's, which has the strong middle bit, it doesn't quite hold up.

Winner: ASHERDEUS

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CoarseDragon:
Asherdeus - Left for Dead 2: The online play was very well explained with enough details to understand the play mechanics. It is a shame that online play turns out to be unbalanced. While the new zombies were well documented the actual game play was not very well laid out in the review. I would like to have had a description of realism mode.

Wolfqueen – Ys: This review was fairly short and got right to the point which made reading it easy. Tactics and game play were well explained and the tactics of some of the bosses were a very nice touch.

Asherdeus vs. Wolfqueen: Wolfqueen is the winner

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Zigfried:
Asherdeus (Left for Dead 2) : The opening about the boycott was very amusing. While the rest of the review was worthwhile, it felt a bit too "by the numbers" to really grab me. I think that you've written towards an audience that is already familiar with the first game -- an audience that I'm not part of. So while it's a sensible approach, the straightforward monsters/characters/weapons/modes format isn't going to make me leap out of my seat and run to Gamestop. While I know what the game is about (killing zombies) you never quite covered what it's like to play the game. But it was a credible review that will help me believe the praise if a friend recommends it in the future.

Wolfqueen's review of Ys doesn't open as strongly as Asherdeus's review, but it gives a clear picture of what it's like to play the game. Through some well-chosen examples and apt descriptions, you've thoroughly covered this version of Ys. Even though the writing style itself is appropriately casual, the review somehow feels like it's missing your personality. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I feel that although you've done a nice job at describing the game, you could dig a little deeper into why you liked it enough to give it an 8. The score fits; I just think you sometimes moved too quickly where you could have dwelled a bit longer.

My pick: Wolfqueen

Ultimate Victor: Wolfqueen (2-1)

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

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: bluberry
Posted: July 19, 2010 (08:47 PM)
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good observation zig. I edited the middle bit to be a lot shorter and read better, and it doesn't flow well now as is.

congrats to the... people tied for 1st.


Oh no, it's a Goomba!


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Author: True
Posted: July 19, 2010 (08:48 PM)
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Wooo! Scrapped by on that one, didn't I? Good match, Leroux. And thank you again to the judges for the quick and courteous comments on all the work this week. I hope none of you (mainly Zig) took offense to my last line. I had made the challenge that I would review something a judge had already done, and I let Zig pick the game. He chose Pocket Racers and gave me the "don't say I didn't warn you" on it. And I told him it couldn't possibly be that bad, but I let him know I would give him a definitive answer on whether or not I hated him later.

That was my response, but seemed a little too lengthy to put in the actual review.

So no malicious intent.

Thanks again for judging guys. Give me a good score next week too, okay?


If I Offended You, You Needed It.


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Author: Suskie
Posted: July 19, 2010 (08:56 PM)
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Thanks to the judges, and kudos to whoever I went up against this week. Congrats to my team for their hard-earned victory. They certainly deserve it more than I do.

Edit: Schultz, I can only think of one other review I've written that says anything like that: Infamous, which I wrote before Just Cause 2 was even released.


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


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: July 19, 2010 (09:13 PM)
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My thanks to the judges for their critiques-n-stuff. You mentioned a few minor glitchy sentences that I'll get around to improve some day.

ASchultz: RE: JOKES -- You see! I do actually pay attention to critiques and stuff from time to time. You aren't the first person who's noticed that (particularly in pure bash reviews) I can get over-the-top in trying to be funny. RE: RIDDLER -- Yeah, that was all just stuff you'd do backtracking through areas and taking tiny dead-end deviations from the main paths. Could have made it more clear.

CD: My drug-fuzzied mind seems to think Robin had NO role in the game. I didn't even think about that, considering how while that character is very prominent in comic books and animated cartoons, he really hasn't been all that noticeable in recent movies. Good point, though. He is a major player in Batman lore, so I'll have to see if I can find a way to put the Tails to Batman's Sonic in the review. As for upgrades, you get experience for beating enemies and stuff. When you "gain a level", you can pick an upgrade. Occasionally something really convoluted like Batman summoning the Batplane (or whatever it's called) to slam into a building in order to give him a necessary item to travel to the next part of the current region he's exploring happens.

Zig: Yeah...I could have been a bit more clear about how significant Detective Mode is. Actually, I haven't played either Riddick or ANY Splinter Cell game (that damn J-RPG addiction I have). The only reason I played this one was because my friend and I wanted a game to play together, this got very good reviews and we both have been comic book geeks off and on through our lives. Yeah, my last line was a bit harsh. I basically took the concept that I played the game, liked it, it had some flaws and since I do like writing new reviews, I likely wouldn't make it a regular part of my gaming diet...and made it sound like the game was an okay deal for a boring rainy day, but not worth playing ever again.


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


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: July 19, 2010 (10:22 PM)
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Wow, this week's matches were really close! I don't think anyone won 3-0...?

Ashcultz: prepare to see another bash next week. What can I say? I play shitty games.


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


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Author: jerec
Posted: July 20, 2010 (01:49 AM)
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nicely done, overdrive! I wish I'd had time to write something new, though this is probably my strongest 2009 review. Some useful advice from the judges too... To be honest, i used this because schultz had already given advice which i'd taken way back then. Wasn't expecting there to be more.. But now i have a good idea how i can make this one on par with my 2 most recent. Thanks!

Forgive grammar. Posting this from my phone. New review next week i hope


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: Genj
Posted: July 20, 2010 (10:07 AM)
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Well it's nice that our team finally won a match, but it kind of sucks to be the only person yet to win an individual match. But hey, I've had a tough schedule so far (two 1st round picks and a captain for the guy drafted 2nd to last) and my match with Janus seemed to be pretty close, so I think I'll avoid wallowing in self-pity. Thanks to the judges for their continued hard work. All three of you have voted for me at one point, so hopefully you will all do so again but during the same match.


_


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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: July 20, 2010 (11:46 AM)
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Thanks, as always, for the feedback. I'm glad to finally win one, as I'm sure the rest of us are, too. I'd say it was pretty close, so I wouldn't worry too much about it. I'm sure you'll win a match soon, genj.

Anyway, congrats to the winners and all who participated, especially those who could get new stuff written that week. I still wish I could have. Heheh.


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: CoarseDragon
Posted: July 20, 2010 (01:05 PM)
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Congratulations to the winners and the non-winners. We had some very good reviews this week. All of you are getting better and better and it is getting tougher to pick winners.


Age is a condition not a state of mind.


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Author: aschultz
Posted: July 20, 2010 (03:17 PM)
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Genj, it's hard to believe you're 0-3. Your reviews have deserved more than that. Sometimes you just get bad matchups. I really liked all 3 reviews you faced.

P.S. no sympathy points next week.

Jerec, I remember holding off on minor annoying stuff because it was your first review in a while and I didn't want to kneecap someone getting back into things. Plus minds change in 9 months, or maybe I wasn't able to verbalize the stuff I really would've made suggestions for. It looks like you took care of the big stuff, and given you didn't have the chance to write something new, the refurbishing was a good strategy. You just faced a strong review.

Suskie, I'll look at things again. I'm frustrated I didn't come up with an example. That was probably one of the least specific complaints I wrote. Unfortunately, it was rather late when I wrote that. The only thing I can do to avoid that in the future is, well, get started on things earlier. It's the least everyone deserves.


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: Leroux
Posted: July 20, 2010 (04:33 PM)
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Thanks judges. Tough week to swallow with the comments showing a lot of contempt for something I thought would be a unique entry, but I'll live.

Apologies to Venter and Jerec -- pin this one on me too.


When the hammer falls...


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Author: CoarseDragon
Posted: July 20, 2010 (04:43 PM)
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Pong is lionized. Space Invaders is romanticized. Asteroids is marginalized. I thought this was a really good opening and I thought you were going to follow that direction but you lost me in the middle. The review was well writen but I didn't just didn't get feeling I think you were aiming to get across.


Age is a condition not a state of mind.


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Author: aschultz
Posted: July 21, 2010 (09:41 PM)
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Let's see how this works:



I can back-port week 2 if anyone wants, too. Sorry for the delay.

ETA: formatting suggestions are welcome. While team losses can be figured out from wins, it probably should be in there, for instance. Also, other stats you might want to see--now that I'm back in my photobucket account, I can twiddle all this.


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: CoarseDragon
Posted: July 23, 2010 (01:17 PM)
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Your columns (under indivuduals)are:

Wins, number of -- Matches Lost -- Votes Won (aquired) -- (and) ??

What is the last column? Votes Lost?


Age is a condition not a state of mind.


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Author: bluberry
Posted: July 30, 2010 (10:46 PM)
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toroid is a donut & while it could be topologically equivalent, it doesn't need to be

i'm sorry schultz but topological equivalence is, surprisingly enough, an equivalence relation. if X1, X2, and X3 are three topological spaces then:

1.) reflexivity: the identity map from X1 to X1 is a homeomorphism
2.) transitivity: if f and g are the given homeomorphisms from X1 to X2 and X2 to X3 respectively then g(f) is the desired homeomorphism
3.) symmetry: if X1 is topologically equivalent to X2 and we have a homeomorphism f, then f^{-1}: X2 --> X1 is also a homeomorphism

in conclusion please shut up. asteroid's playing field is a certain quotient map (gluing, if you will) of the plane, which by definition IS the torus. there is no could here.


Oh no, it's a Goomba!


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Author: Leroux
Posted: July 31, 2010 (02:20 PM)
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Before I used the word toroid, I made sure it made sense. The first rule when using words you come across and want to use, I think. When X-mapped around to X and Y mapped around to Y, I was absolutely sure standing on the surface would be a toroid. Ideally, I guess, and I was pre-disposed to a pre-Columbus-like map of things (because the world is still often perceived as flat).

The uniformity in the Asteroids playing field does not make sense, however, because for a true toroid perspective, everything would be uniform (and from an overhead perspective as in Asteroids, then, curved). In Asteroids the middle and top/bottom of the same screen utilize the same overhead physics, but there is almost a warp connecting X- to X+ and Y- to Y+. I took this as Schultz's issue: the topology is actually defined by the player.

I'm not a huge fan of everything that was said, but this was a really good point I thought. From the perspective of the player, it's not a toroid, and when describing a game to the prospective player that perspective is important. This was really good feedback, I thought.


When the hammer falls...


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Author: bluberry
Posted: July 31, 2010 (03:06 PM)
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there is likely distortion (which if you want to nitpick the critique isn't a topological issue), but even from the player's perspective and the paths you'll want to take you're still playing on a torus. if you're in the upper left corner, what's the fastest way to the lower right? asteroids may look like the plane but it's still not simply connected.

it's actually not as distorted as you'd think - the torus admits a plane geometry anyway.


Oh no, it's a Goomba!


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Author: aschultz
Posted: August 01, 2010 (08:40 PM)
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I appreciate the correction. I still feel the word is overkill. The screen wraps. Isn't that more effective? Isn't it something that will take less than 10 days to sort out?

Reasonably educated people see toroid, they think torus, then doughnut. Reviews for old games like Asteroids can make people think. They should. But that is the wrong sort of making people think. Especially when you are saying the appeal is the simplicity.


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


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