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Forums > Contributor Zone > BRACKET: ROUND ONE STAGE TWO

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Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: August 13, 2008 (03:31 PM)
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Voting is still open on Stage One, but itís time to start the ball rolling on the second phase. The match-ups are as follows:








Janus vs. Dagoss









Ben vs. Suskie









WQ vs. Boo





You all have 24 hours to pick your review.


For us. For them. For you.


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Author: bluberry
Posted: August 13, 2008 (04:35 PM)
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better read Janus' review now before he pulls it, people! that really makes me, well,

PO'ed


Oh no, it's a Goomba!


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Author: JANUS2
Posted: August 13, 2008 (04:43 PM)
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I'm going to be old school and pretend you can't hyperlink.

[Link deleted because it was fucking up the page.]


"fuck yeah oblivion" - Jihad


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Author: dagoss
Posted: August 13, 2008 (06:56 PM)
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A competent person would pick a review that won RotW or something.

Since I'm not competent, here's Etrian Odyssey!


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Author: Ben
Posted: August 13, 2008 (08:49 PM)
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Author: Suskie
Posted: August 13, 2008 (10:00 PM)
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Okay, so I'm looking through my backlog and... yeah, I hate all of my reviews. I'm working on one right now that should be done in time and may be good enough to put to use here, but just in case, I'm using Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare as a placeholder. It's one of the few reviews of mine I'm actually happy with.

Edit: Ugh. I was at Six Flags all day, and I'm very tired now. I thought I'd be able to work up the energy to finish my Portal review, but it seems I'm burned out. CoD4 it is.


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


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Author: dagoss
Posted: August 14, 2008 (07:56 AM)
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I just revised my review substantially. It probably won't save it though.


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: August 14, 2008 (10:18 AM)
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QUESTION: I might have missed this, but how long is the voting period for each round/stage/whatnot? Just so I know if I have to get my verdicts up as soon as possible after the reviews are all up or if I can take a day or two if I'm busy, which I will be for the next week or so because of a work project.


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


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Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: August 14, 2008 (10:30 AM)
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It's more or less when I think we're not going to gather more feedback without an abnormal wait. But I'm keen to keep things running smoothly.

EDIT: Voting is open now on Janus/Dagoss and Suskie/Ben


For us. For them. For you.


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Author: Genj
Posted: August 14, 2008 (12:32 PM)
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JANUS over dagoss:

My synapses were really firing in this one (yes, that's a nod to Bloomer). Two positive reviews for DS games I want to play. Janus' was packed with exquisite description of the action and enemies as well as intelligent observation on how the stylus is handled by developers. Dagoss makes me want to play Etrian Odyssey, but the silly letter gimmick kinda ruins it for me. I got a good enough explanation of the game, but reading all the "will feature," "we put" and so on was too awkward compared to Janus' smooth descriptions.


Suskie over Ben

I'm personally a little glad Suskie didn't finish his Portal review because I'm sick of hearing about Portal. Suskie knows how to make games sound cool or especially sucky. His COD4 is an interesting enough read in why the game deserves its hype, though I'm skeptical that plot twists stay with you for a long time (maybe I'm just a heartless bastard who doesn't care about polygonal men). I judged Ben's review last year. I'm tempted to just copy and paste what I wrote last time but that would be evil. It's an interesting enough review but goes a little too quick after the horror elements are over and done with. I found myself liking suskie's thorough descriptions of war a lot more.


_


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Author: Felix_Arabia
Posted: August 14, 2008 (02:15 PM)
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Janus vs. Dagoss
Winner: Janus

Fun fact: this is Janusí first new review in nearly 2 years! The guy still has it. Hopefully he wonít delete this one after a week. With that said, Iím not voting for him just because heís finally decided to write something new. In fact, Iím pretty sure Iíve read similar introductions for other DS games comparing the usefulness of the handheldís gimmicky stylus to the easy way out that so many developers seem to take. While that may not be the most original approach in the world, the writing was pretty good, the descriptions were nice, and I got a good understanding that this is a special game on a system I loathe. With Dagoss, weíve seen so much better from him. While his Etrian Odyssey review isnít bad per se, the tone got annoying for me. Iíve seen darkfact write truly amazing dungeon crawler reviews for Dragon Knight II and Madou Monogatari Ė both of them definitely aim to tug at your emotions as they certainly had an effect on his. The writing style doesnít get in the way of actual review in those cases. Here, unfortunately, it does. The love letter gimmick could certainly work, and I think Dagoss has the ability to make it work. It just didnít happen for me.

Ben vs. Suskie
Winner: Suskie

Whoever subbed the cover art for Benís game should be shot. And no, it wasnít me who added it, grumble grumble. Anyway, I never noticed Ben much prior to reading his BWHY review, and I was once again pleasantly surprised with this effort. His Sherlock Holmes review is nicely written. It also gets in and gets out, but it also does a good job at making its points. The game has great ideas but poor execution. I can dig that. I hope he finds more time to write reviews, assuming he enjoys doing it. The kidís got talent that Iíve only recently come to realize. Donít let me down. Suskieís review, on the other hand, is so marvelous that I nearly passed out after reading the political correctness of his opening sentence. I spell it ĎJeddahí. This debacle almost made me want to give the review a 3/100 (even though we arenít giving scores)! Alas, I didnít. I love reading about games where America kills terrorists/Nazis and Suskie describes it exceptionally well. Both reviews were very good, but Iím giving my nod to Suskie because his review was the more ambitious of the two, I felt.

Wolfqueen vs. Booberry
Winner:Booberry

It's unfortunate that WQ wasn't able to choose her own review, and that EmP's ranpicking skils didn't choose her best review in her stead. This LotR piece is fine and all, but it's not her best effort and it's certainly nowhere near as colorful as Booberry's, uh, whatever you want to call it. I remember giving his PO'ed review the top rank in some competition I judged. It's just as hilarious now as it was then. It's nevertheless a very silly effort that admits its own incredulity. A more serious piece should get the nod over that -- after all, WQ put more effort into playing (and perhaps writing) about her game than Boo did. But his review is just so ridiculous and more enjoyable for me to read, I unfortunately have to pick the little fatty for the win.


I don't have to boost my review resume because I have a real resume.


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Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: August 14, 2008 (05:24 PM)
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WQ has been RANPICK'd. All rounds now open for votes.


For us. For them. For you.


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Author: Suskie
Posted: August 14, 2008 (08:20 PM)
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Didn't Ben used to be Hobunn?

By the way, Genj, you're right about there being too much talk about Portal. I actually sort of play off the game's overpopularity in my review, but yeah, it's probably not a good idea to cover an over-covered game for a tournament. Luckily, the game I'll hopefully review for the next round (if I make it, that is) doesn't currently have any reviews on HG at the moment.

Janus vs. Dagoss

I agree that Janus's intro is very cliched; this kind of thing was used to open DS reviews years ago, we get it by now. Thankfully, he recovers very quickly, as his love for NGDS propels the review to a lightning pace that never wavers, nor suggests a dent in Janus's enthusiasm for the subject. His unique way of describing things hits its peak labels the game as Itagaki's way of boasting. Very effective and convincing -- I'd pick up this game in a second if I hadn't already. As far as gimmicks go, structuring your review like a letter isn't very original and is also quite difficult, as it typically makes the delivery feel more forced. A more experienced writer may have been able to make this work (in fact, I've seen it done), but Dagoss's just felt too awkward. I got all the information I needed, but the same can be said about Janus, who presented his review in a far more straightforward, reader-friendly manner. Winner: Janus

WolfQueen vs. Boo

WQ's review is perfectly fine but doesn't flow very smoothly -- you jump into mechanics a little too quickly, I think, and there's little in the way of transitioning from one paragraph to the other -- and isn't particularly polished from a writing standpoint. I feel a massive tone shift, too. This game sounds terrible from the get-go, and then gradually evolves into praise by the end as it gets a 7/10. Sometimes this move from bad to good is intentional, but here, I don't think it is -- it doesn't feel natural. Boo's may not be very ambitious, but that's explained in a surprisingly appropriate anecdote at the beginning. Boo has a talent for making funny things funnier, and his writing voice here seems to imply that he went into this thing with the confidence that he'd treat it like more than just a simple bash. This is why you need to be here to pick your tourney entries, because there's no contest here. Winner: Boo


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


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Author: drella
Posted: August 15, 2008 (09:21 AM)
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dagoss d Janus -- It's wonderful to see Janus back and Ninja Gaiden DS is reminiscent of the Janus of old. The focus is on the implementation of the stylus and Janus establishes without a doubt that Dragon Sword is incredible at its innovative combat system. I don't own a DS, but of all it's titles I'd probably be most interested in seeing this one in action, because a classic series like this with this kind of implementation sounds great on paper. Janus convinces it's even better in action. I suppose one of my few complaints is that I read some of this before with Suskie's NG: DS, and his piece stuck in my mind as a great review, and going only from memory I don't think this tops it. I'm pretty sure I would have given dagoss the win anyway simply because he nails his game. It's a beautifully charming breezy read with a creative approach that speaks directly to it's target audience. Moreover, most complaints about this game a person would raise are justified as homages or quirks -- it's target audience would likely see them as such. In a lot of praise reviews they'd go unrecognized, yet here they're convincingly argued to make the game better. And yet this is such an easy going piece no one is arguing at all. Atlus couldn't promote this game better. Even when the review sounds somewhat awkward, it only comes across as more charming. This is the kind of spirited review an author only comes up with once in a while, and dagoss is at the most impressive I've seen him here. Really good match.

Suskie d. Ben -- This is a Sherlock Holmes game and Ben is complaining that Watson isn't providing helpful advice? Have you read the books? But the review itself is okay -- not a huge fan of tentacle equipped killer vaginas, and the goofiness of stuff like this takes away from the serious, gruesome theme the review otherwise tries to present. Also, it's not as ambitious a title. Suskie's Call of Duty 4 is great, probably one of the best FPS reviews I've read. Starting by describing the opening was somewhat of a tired device but it leads well into the rest of the review, which makes strong points and makes the game seem very appealing for its deviations from standard fair.

(more here later)


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Author: espiga
Posted: August 15, 2008 (10:29 AM)
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Going to keep this short; I'm hella tired.

JANUS2 vs.Dagoss

Dagoss' love letter review felt like some of the gimmicky trite I normally use, with the exception that this review didn't make me feel any real passion toward the game. If you write a love letter you gotta use love, and I just wasn't feelin' it.

And now I can't decide if my critique makes me sound like an emo or like a hippie.

Despite the shitty intro, I felt a lot more from Janus' review. You can very clearly tell that this man loved his game and the solid writing only serves his points even stronger. Both of you are talented writers but what should have been this round's hardest bout to pick became one of the easiest.

Winner: JANUS2

Ben vs. Soos-kee

I've admired Suskie as a writer ever since we fought alongside Zig in last year's TT, and this review is a stunning example of why. While Ben's attempts to make humour by calling a demon a big green vagina, Suskie wastes no time whipping out example after example to detail the experience he had. FPS has never been my favourite genre and it's very hard to sell me on one but Suskie manages to. Excellent work, old chap.

Winner: Soos-kee

Tired now... Will do queenie vs. Boo later. Night.


Your girlfriend's name ends in .jpg


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: August 15, 2008 (11:11 AM)
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JANUS vs. DAGOSS
Tough one to start out with. For a while, I really liked Dagoss' unique reviewing style here, as the love letter concept was a neat way to emphasize how first-person dungeon crawlers are a RPG sub-genre that's only for the hardcore RPGer (hell, I'm an RPG junkie and I can only stomach doing one of these every so often!). And you did a great job of effortlessly putting tons of factual info in with the more "cutesy" writing style. But, as the review went on, the appeal seemed to dissapate a bit and some of the "lovey" comments seemed a bit forced and awkward. Janus doesn't have any real weaknesses in his review. I loved how you came right out and mentioned how many developers haven't figured out how to do anything useful with the stylus, but this game is different and then you go on to explain just how you're expected to use it in this game. And you do a very nice job of explaining how the shortness of the game could actually be a positive, instead of a negative. Very good review that gets my vote by a slim margin.
WINNER: JANUS

BEN vs. SUSKIE
Ben's review starts out very strong, with the decapitated body w/ serpents coming out paragraph having me hooked. But after you mentioned that was a highlight of the game and things went downhill from there in the game, they also seemed to go downhill in your review. Maybe it was the adventure game subject matter that didn't interest me or maybe it was just that you didn't have the same enthusiasm for that subject matter when it came time to talk about its failings, but the second half of this one just didn't live up to the first half. And "Mainstream" probably wasn't the opponent to have that problem with because that was one hell of a Call of Duty review. I could probably go on for a while with all sorts of adjectives praising this one. A quick, energetic read that left no doubt in my mind this game kicks all kinds of ass. I really liked how you cleverly dismissed the possible concerns about the game being short (by saying it gave more thrills than most 50 hour games) and linear (by noting it's so intense you don't even think about the barriers preventing you from "exploring" because you have a job to do). Just an excellent review, in my mind.
WINNER: SUSKIE

WOLFQUEEN vs. BLU
The perils of random picks. Sometimes they work out really well for you (YOU ACCURSED SON OF A CAMEL, BELISARIOS!!!!! I WILL GET REVENGE!!!!!) and sometimes they don't. I was actually surprised to see you'd done this review only a couple months ago as it didn't seem to have the same flow that your reviews I've read and liked do. Sportsman once mentioned to me something along the lines that when I'm on, my reviews are as good as anyone's, but I also have a lot where it's obvious that I'm just writing to write something and it shows in the quality. And that's almost the impression I got here. You wanted to write about the game, but nothing really clicked. Like, for example, you mention the stealth segment with Frodo and the Ringwraith's is the toughest part of the game, but are really vague on exactly why that's so hard. Is it a long stealth level? Is it really unforgiving? As for Blu, I critiqued this one for MY COMPETITION, which you won. I gave you a 91. My comments still stand. Funny review for a horrible game.
WINNER: BLU


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


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Author: Ben
Posted: August 15, 2008 (12:23 PM)
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Dagoss beats Janus:

I was interested in both games before reading the reviews. By the end, I wanted to play Etrian Odyssey more than Ninja Gaiden on the DS. Janus' was fine and he did sound like he loves his game, but I felt Dagoss tackled his better. He addresses who the target audience is, and explains why this is so with a number of fine points, some of which invalidates nuisances a non-dungeon crawler fan would point out. I wasn't too fussed with the gimmicky love letter setup like others were.

(Suskie vs. Ben)

To answer your question, Suskie, yeah, that's me. I also just read your review, and thought it was fantastic, and don't believe I have anything in my backlog that tops that. Honestly. I was very much on the fence with CoD4, but pretty much all of the points were made in a highly convincing and gripping manner that the sum of all parts makes the game sound like one that I have really been missing out on. Best review this round so far.

Boo beats WQ:

I've not read much of WQ's work, so I was a bit disappointed with this ranpicked entry. I blame EmP for that. It was a rather jumpy review, in that it didn't flow very well, and I didn't think the bad to good was all that effective; those sour first impressions were still with me when I was reading the concluding paragraph. Boo's, on the other hand, was amusing and... well, read what everyone else has said. Great review.


...


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Author: Suskie
Posted: August 15, 2008 (02:20 PM)
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Thanks! For what it's worth, I liked your review a lot as well which is why I was so careful in choosing my entry.


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


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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: August 15, 2008 (02:32 PM)
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Ugh. Well, there's that then. I'd've picked a different review, but at least you didn't pick one of my abominatoins. Regardless, I have no hope of winning this at all, which would be fine if I had my own say in it. Curse you and your impatience. And I'd intended on leaving feedback for the last round, too! And damn me for being too busy/distracted to pay that much attention. Though for Christ's sake, I was here two days ago....

Thanks for the comments, those who voted. It's more than most of me and Felix's thing. So that's something.

Suffice to say, while I wasn't really fond to this review in the first place, since it was one of the first where I didn't ask for outside help (see where that leads me?), I still didn't think it was as bad as you all say. Though that's not really surprising when the only real comment received on it until now was from EmP saying it was good and that it somehow inspired him to try and finish an LotR review of his own. Still, I'm glad he said that. As long as he meant it.


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: JANUS2
Posted: August 15, 2008 (03:19 PM)
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WINNER: SUSKIE
I didn't really care for the intro, and then I was like 6 hours?? I think what this review did really well was to stir my FPS-playing impulse, though. I could really go for some Veteran CoD4 action right now, which is a testament to the energy of Suskie's writing as it describes and praises the game. For me CoD 2 on Vet was pretty much perfect, but Suskie makes 4 sound like a whole different level. Ben's review started better and integrated the screenshot well, but it faded after that. The criticism about having to look for stuff seemed to contradict the whole point of the adventure genre (especially when you then praise the more obscure puzzles).

I'll do the other one tomorrow.


"fuck yeah oblivion" - Jihad


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Author: dagoss
Posted: August 15, 2008 (04:55 PM)
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Dagoss vs. Janus
Winner: n/a

Clearly I took a risk using this review. Perhaps I should have played it safer. Or maybe used more sexual inuendo. At least I got feedback for it now.

Ben vs Suskie
Winner: Suskie

Ben's review actually starts out a lot better. Suskie's first paragraph utilizes a tatctic that is really beneath him, and his second paragraph prattles on about the obvious, which happened in a couple other places too. Another problem Suskie's review has is that it almost completely ignores the actual game in favor of talking about the experience and his reaction to it. That said, Suskie's prose is incredibly well put together. When the writing is of this high of a quality, the content is almost a mute point. Ben's review starts out well enough, but it feels like he's getting bored about halfway through. Also, I had to stare at the picture for a moment before I finally saw a vagina.

Wolfqueen vs Boo
Winner: Boo

I really want to give Wolfqueen a pity vote. You have several reviews that could have stood up to Boo, if only you had been able to pick one of them! Boo's review is very funny, which is considerably difficult to pull off given how humour varies from person to person. It informed me, was interesting, and kept me entertained. This was such a landslide victory that I feel obliged to offer condolences rather than justifications. I hope there is a losers bracket so WQ can exact some revenge, because we all know that this is not representative of your work.


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Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: August 16, 2008 (09:30 AM)
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JANUS vs. DAGOSS

I donít mind Janusí intro as much as everyone else; in fact, I think itís a point that, even now, still needs to be made. A lot of games really do seem to shoehorn in a touch screen gimmick just because, and I want to know when a game does this. It probably tops the list of things I look for in a DS review, and Iím convinced that itís more innovation than gimmick here. If feel this way, because Janus goes to great lengths to sell the entire game to you with solid cut-outs of the game and clever examples. I best not find this deleted in a few days, Janus -- I know where you live, now! I made this tourney for Dagoss, so Iím glad he came out swinging with a heartfelt review. If I had one complaint from my HG chums, itís that no one really tries to write outside the box as much as they used to, so I appreciate it, even when they donít work, when authors try to do something new. Dagossí effort does work. Itís clever, the complaints are mixed in with the strengths, which shows the reviewer understands the flaws, but saw them overwritten in pros and isnít afraid to commit that to paper -- something thatís not easy to do. Just as I start to think the letter might be overbearing, a clever line like the naming of characters or the last line about the potions draw me back in. This is the toughest call Iíve made this tourney, but I feel the need to reward Dagossí irregular efforts. Both of you have made me head right to Ebay to buy two games I have neither the fund to purchase nor the time to play. Bastards,

WINNER: DAGOSS

BEN vs. SUSKIE

Ben knows how much I like his review; I remember helping him with it last yearís TT while I was holidaying in Ibiza. Síright, even when surrounded with intense heat and topless girls, I make time for my buds. Iím pretty sad Ben stopped reviewing for the most part because it was around the time he penned Awakened that he starting writing some frankly fantastic reviews, and this one tops the heap. The intro is great, the discrediting of the title strong and the brevity of the entire piece refreshingly light while still managing to leave no stones unturned. It could probably beat most of the reviews penned this round. Suskieís, on the other hand, starts off clumsy, switching tenses while seemingly wanting to keep things in the harder-to-pull-off past tense. Thereís numerous little quirks that poked out to bother me, like a ĎThere isí where a Ďthereísí would have been a better call. From a technical stand-point, Benís review bulldozes Suskieís. But Iím giving Suskie a very tight win, and hereís why. He spells out that CoD4 doesnít really do a great deal differently from your standard FPS, it just does the same thing much, much better, and then he tells you why. The examples are poignant; the flashback, the difficulty, the locations -- itís all fantastic until a depressingly weak first line in the conclusion comes along and says ďI wasnít really sure how to transition into this great idea I had to close this review, so thisíll do!Ē Iíd say this is one of the best FPS reviews on the site, but I write FPS reviews and I donít like to admit to being upstaged. (needs more Tank Beats Communists)

WINNER: SUSKIE

WQ vs. Boo

Iíll tell you why I like WQís review. She approaches everything like itís a tourney piece and she wants it to be her very best, and I appreciate it. While my RANPICK wasnít as kind to her as it was to Beliís (sorry!), itís still a competent review, and one that really did make me want to re-draft a review that Venterís coding nuked from the face of the earth (coming soon!) This review isnít one of her best, and Iím sure sheíd have picked a different one if she was able, but itís very competent. Thereís parts where it gets a little listy (such as the run-down of the characterís abilities) but you justify your score and you tell us what works and what does not. But, Iíll tell you, too, why I like Boo reviews; because he steals all my lines and passes them off as his own writes the reviews Jason wonít let me. I may not have bought POíed like his intro tells you I was meant to, but I know exactly why I would think it sucks, and heís squeezed all that in between some funny writing that drips with personality. Itís a wonderful review in a tone I demand he uses more often.

WINNER: BOO


For us. For them. For you.


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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: August 16, 2008 (02:03 PM)
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Thanks dagoss, but as humiliated as I feel right now, I'd rather not receive pity votes. I appreciate honesty more than sympathy when deciding whose is better.

Thanks, EmP. Maybe I'll stop sulking now, hut really, when you (meaning me) get hammered twice in a row like this (contest wise, I mean), it really takes a toll on your confidence. I started doubting whether my recent stuff was really all that great after all, despite what RotW and other commentary might say. And despite knowing full well that this piece is old(er) and nothing really special to begin with and that it might not represent me the way I wanted it to. Ugh.


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: August 16, 2008 (02:48 PM)
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Seriously, don't think too much of it. I haven't got a single vote, either, and that was with a review that I chose.

Like I said, I knew that review wasn't an accurate representation of your best work, and I knew that you were unlucky with your ranpick. Why not look at how much you've progressed within those few months instead. You've even won RotW for the first time recently, and that's something I've never achieved.


...


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Author: disco1960
Posted: August 16, 2008 (02:56 PM)
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If we're talking about humiliation and the stink of failure, I too can understand.

We should start, like... a club.


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