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Forums > Contributor Zone > Review of the Week - June 24-30 - Wherein I attempt to find the best gold in a gold mine.

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Author: jerec
Posted: July 06, 2012 (01:06 AM)
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11 reviews were posted this week. 7 of these were staff reviews and 4 reader reviews. Jason Venter and JoeTheDestroyer wrote three reviews each. So, not a dead week for the site, but not a really busy one either. That's fine with me, as I'm replacing Overdrive who is unable to get to the Internet right now. So let's get into it! And this has been pretty tough, actually. Incredible quality all round.



THIRD PLACE
Zipp's Akane the Kunoichi review

I didn't actually look at what system this review was for at first, thinking it was XBLA because that's what you mentioned the game being designed for, and then there's this line - the kicker - "Unless you're playing it on an iphone." I looked up at the top of the screen and saw iPhone/iPod and thought, dayum. This is going to be another review like that vampire game you did (which I see you linked to). This is an interesting review which creates some expectations in my head and then surprises me with a twist, achieving this not once (the console) but twice - the fact that despite dodgy iPhone controls, it's still a decent game. There were funny bits too, like the translation of the heroine's name as boob ninja. I'm starting to wonder if there are decent games to be had on the iPhone that aren't the usual stuff touchscreen stuff like fruit ninja or temple run. Because it doesn't seem to handle platformer/action games so well.



SECOND PLACE
Suskie's Quantum Conundrum review

I think this is one of the most effective intros for describing a game that is so heavily inspired by another game. The comparisons with Portal were helpful in getting an idea of this game, and the descriptions of aspects that try to compete but miss the mark (the voice and that monster thing) were great observations. The mechanics of the game actually sound more varied and interesting than Portal (to be honest, I've never really been a huge fan of Portal - I like the idea but find it too slow and plodding) but is let down by mechanics. I'll just give this a compliment that means something - it's a typically excellent Suskie review. Exactly what you'd expect from a writer who has mastered this reviewing craft.



OVERDRIVE JEREC PLACE
JoeTheDestroyer's Journey review

Journey is a hot-topic game, and though Joe is a bit late to the party, his review is still very effective. I shared a lot of the same reservations regarding Journey's artsy thing and honestly found the 10/10 reviews a little bit much. Joe says it how it is, enjoying his journey through Journey, while remaining honest in what he was expecting from this game, and what it gave him. There's a nice circular theme to the review where it sort of ends where it begins, but with a better understanding of the game, but with those first few levels still lacking some sort of interaction and tension. I truthfully didn't "get" Journey until the dark blue level with the big sentinel monster that Joe describes, and trudging up the hill through the snow, against the fierce winds was particularly memorable. Joe is a man who understands stories and games, and this really comes through in this review. It seems like Journey is a game that really lends itself to excellent reviews because Journey really is what you make of it, so each person who reviews it has a unique story to tell. And this one seemed a little more grounded and honest than most, so even though the site already has a lot of Journey reviews, this one doesn't feel superfluous.




Brandon Thissell wrote about an interesting puzzle game with zombies. While the review was quite good, there were a lot of descriptions that were a bit hazy. I think a screenshot might have helped in this case. Jason brings us three old games. The NES reviews were interesting, but the strongest review of this trio was the Flintstones, which sounded like an odd precursor to Mario Party, but with more platforming. Wolfqueen writes a great freelance review on a hack, slash and time bender, a game that seems to inspire two different opinions, and it was engaging watching WQ try to reconcile them - I'm sure we've all played games that are fun and addictive, but as we play it we know that it could just be so much better. Holdthephone lays into one of those pretentious artistic "games" that has been talked about lately. The argument is incredibly solid, and it makes me believe that this is the side of the fence that I would fall on. I like how he recognises what the developers were trying to do with this, and that there is actual talent there, but it misses the mark in a big way.

And let me just say that any of these reviews could have made the top 3 if my random synapses had fired differently. It was really hard to decide on a ranking this time around, because you're all just so damn good at what you do. Give yourselves a pat on the back.


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: July 06, 2012 (02:18 AM)
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Thanks for tending to this topic when overdrive couldn't, Jerec, and congrats to the winners! I agree that it had to have been a tough week to decide the ranking, which is probably why overdrive conveniently decided to let a blackout prevent him from tending to it. ;-)


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: JoeTheDestroyer
Posted: July 06, 2012 (02:36 AM)
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Thank you, Jerec, for covering this topic! I say that mostly because I won, so you get double the thanks ;)

Congrats as well to the placers, Zipp and Suskie.


The only thing my milkshake brings to the yard is a subpoena.


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Author: holdthephone
Posted: July 06, 2012 (09:51 AM)
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<-- guilty of superfluous Journey opinions =]

Thanks for mentioning me, Jerec. Wasn't sure if it was written well and was looking forward to a yay or nay.

Grats to Joe, HonestGamers now has the holy trinity of Journey reviews.


Mobius 1, engage...


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: July 06, 2012 (04:46 PM)
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Hey, Boob Ninja gets some love! Sure, there are some good platformers on the iphone, Jerec! Like... um... er, wait, no... let me get back to you on that.


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


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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: July 06, 2012 (07:09 PM)
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Thanks for putting this together so quickly, Jerec. And also thanks for the mention. That review took quite a bit of drafting, so I'm glad it warranted some positive response.

Congrats to the winners! Good week all around.


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: Suskie
Posted: July 06, 2012 (09:38 PM)
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For once, I've actually read the winning review and can confirm that it does, in fact, deserve to win. I can't remember the last time a game I've had so little interest in has been so engaging to read about from so many perspectives. Congrats to Joe for continuing the trend.

Thanks for the placement, Jerec, and the kind words.


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


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Author: JoeTheDestroyer
Posted: July 07, 2012 (02:28 AM)
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I was thinking the same thing, htp.

Thank you, everyone! Your words have melted my icy black heart.


The only thing my milkshake brings to the yard is a subpoena.


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