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Forums > Submission Feedback > wolfqueen001's God of War II review

This thread is in response to a review for God of War II on the PlayStation 2. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: JANUS2
Posted: February 27, 2011 (11:33 AM)
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"God of War II’s story isn’t terribly shocking, but it does fit well with a continuation of the myth."

This is a boring sentence to begin with. In fact, although your explanation of the story is eloquent enough, the whole paragraph lacks momentum. You say the game is exciting, but this opening doesn't get that across.

It might be better to start with something similar to the first sentence of the second paragraph: "From the very beginning, Kratos has his work cut out for him." This would be a brilliant opening to a review because straight away a few things are established. Number 1: Kratos is the focus of our attention. Number 2: God of War is hard and action-packed. It also makes me want to read on because now I'm interested in hearing WHY Kratos has his work cut out for him . . . which you then start to answer with the exciting explanation of the first boss.

"Fortunately, Kratos has many new toys with which to destroy his enemies."

This sentence may as well say NOW I'M GOING TO TALK ABOUT KRATOS'S ABILITIES. That's fine and necessary, but it's not very subtle. I don't really have any suggestions about how to make these transitions more subtle (which isn't very helpful), other than to read lots of Zigfried reviews because he's excellent at it. Take his God of War review, for example. As he's describing sections of the game, he inserts select information about Kratos's different abilities. This is more memorable than if he had said, "Kratos has loads of abilities…" and then reeled them off one after the other in one paragraph.

"To keep things even and, therefore, forever challenging, Kratos must also face a host of new creatures"

This sentence is a bit awkward with the fore, fore repetition.

Generally, your writing is really good. It's clear, precise and engaging. Complex scenarios are explained in an understandable way and the structure of the review is very logical, particularly the focus on new aspects that the game brings to the series. If I had played the original and was interested in learning about what the sequel adds I would find this review very useful. What you perhaps could work on is raising the enthusiasm level slightly at the end of the review. While you were describing the Pegasus flight sequences I was thinking OK but doesn't this just detract from the core appeal of the game? I'm not saying pile on the hyperbole, but perhaps in addition to explaining how the Pegasus bits work you could also give an example of a particularly memorable flight section so we can understand how fun it is.

In fact, you already do this when you talk about the enemies. I really enjoyed reading that bit. What you do well is contextualise the battles and fights and explain how they work rather than just opting for loads of empty adjectives (it's INTENSE, CRAZY, THRILLING, etc.). This approach is much more engaging than overdoing the descriptive writing.

So yeah, I would say this is a good review and I did enjoy reading it. I think you are clearly a capable reviewer who knows how to explain games and understands which aspects to focus on. To improve I would say try and think more carefully about the reader. When you're writing an intro, think to yourself: would people find this interesting? Would I find this interesting? Is it what the reader wants to know first? What do I want to tell the reader first? etc. I think that this sort of awareness would help give your writing a bit more finesse and style and make it more consistently engaging and exciting. Of course, you may not want to go down this road, but I think it's probably the next step.

"fuck yeah oblivion" - Jihad

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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: February 27, 2011 (12:44 PM)
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Just want to offer a counter-point to one piece of Janus's detailed and hopefully very helpful critique:

Since this is a "sequel" review, I actually like the inclusion of a paragraph that blatantly lists-and-describes new abilities. People who played the first game already know about epic fights and lush scenery; those two paragraphs in Wolfqueen's review are a very effective way to deliver information on what has changed.

Reviews of sequels/ports are often less stylish than reviews of originals for this very reason. Although it's possible to pull off a perfect blend, describing the mechanical differences between episodes/versions is often at odds with experiential storytelling and wordplay.

So basically, when it comes to "style", I had an advantage because I was reviewing the first game. My method isn't necessarily appropriate for the sequel.


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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: February 27, 2011 (12:45 PM)
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Thanks, Janus! That's quite a lot you had to say, there, and I really appreciate that. I know I've got a huge problem with intros. It's often hard for me to think of a way to make it seem interesting, so I usually end up starting it somehow, even if bland, so that I can at least finish the review and try to make the intro more interesting later. However, this isn't always possible and I often struggle to find unique and fun ideas to open my reviews.

Transitions also tend to be a problem of mine, and I've tried working on better integrating gameplay elements with examples and such so it flows better, but with varying degrees of success. I have read Zig's God of War review, though, and found that to be very well done. I should probably read that again, as well as his other reviews, to try and get ideas for how to improve my own technique in that regard.

In any case, I'm glad you liked the majority of the review. i remember not being too happy with it myself because it didn't feel as good as my first God of War revie (and I still think the first is my better of the two), but I wasn't sure how it stood up in the grand scheme of things. I tend to get down on myself a lot, anyway, so wasn't sure whether I was justified in this case. I'm glad o see that I wasn't, for the most part.

[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: wolfqueen001
Posted: February 27, 2011 (05:31 PM)
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Thanks, Zig. Somewhat ironically, what you say about the nature of sequel reviews is partly why I tend to dislike my own sequel reviews more than my original ones. I feel that the necessary comparisons between the two games sometimes feels formulaic and boring. Ideally, I'd like to get better with that at least to a degree where it's less jarring and smoother, but I also know that such an achievement can't be reached all the time, or even most of the time. Often I write reviews and they come out however they come out... I... don't really know, honestly.

I guess as an example, my Half Life 2 review seems to have overcome this problem quite effectively. Though I also know I focused it differently. I guess it depends on the game I'm playing. Sometimes I like to have this sort of side-by-sdie comparison like you're talking about, because you're right in that players of the first will be familiar with the basics of the second. Other times, though, I like a rather mixed approach... so balancing the two is kind of tricky. I guess for me, the main goal now would just be to make things more interesting... regardless of the style that eventually ends up getting used. I think interest can be generated in both, depending on how you write it.

[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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