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Forums > Contributor Zone > BRACKET: ROUND ONE, STAGE THREE

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Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: August 18, 2008 (04:35 PM)
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Voting is still open on Stage Two, but itís time to start the ball rolling on the third phase. The match-ups are as follows:








Felix vs. DE









Will vs. EmP









HG vs. Cairo





I will go over the 24hour rule a little as weekends tend to be deader time on HG for posts, but not by a great deal. Do no test my patience!


For us. For them. For you.


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Author: WilltheGreat
Posted: August 18, 2008 (05:01 PM)
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Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance


"Either, sir, you're an ass or you're masquerading as one."
- Nero Wolfe


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: August 18, 2008 (05:04 PM)
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My review: The Bourne Conspiracy


"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: Felix_Arabia
Posted: August 18, 2008 (08:17 PM)
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. . .


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


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Author: darketernal
Posted: August 19, 2008 (05:30 AM)
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I can't hyperlink


Idemo do dna....tugo ti i ja.


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Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: August 19, 2008 (06:05 AM)
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The first two matches are open to votes now. The third will be as soon as Cario posts or exceeds his time limit.


For us. For them. For you.


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Author: Suskie
Posted: August 19, 2008 (09:18 AM)
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Felix vs. DE

"D W," eh? Anyway. These are both good reviews from a couple of writers whose work I've consistently enjoyed in the short time I've been here. Felix finds the right thesis and gets off to a smooth start, but I think it's interesting that his main selling point for the game is its wealth of gorgeous cinematics, yet I know virtually nothing about the story now that I've read the review. That's why I'm giving the very slight edge to DE on this one. His Indy review manages to appeal to someone who isn't even interested in this type of game (i.e. me), and the whole thing reads a little more smoothly and makes all of the necessary points without dragging on for too long. An ever-so-slightly more accessible read. Winner: DE

Will vs. EmP

This is a tough one because, honestly, I wasn't a fan of either of these reviews. Will makes me nervous early on with a wholly unnecessary opening paragraph telling us how much of an RTS expert he is and how excited he was to get Jason's copy of Supreme Commander. Then he follows it up with the biggest cringe-inducer of the tourney so far: "Onto the review." Argh! That's one of the worst amateur GameFAQs cliches I can think of. From there, I found the extensive SupCom vocabulary (too many proper nouns!) a bit overwhelming, though I admit you certainly do seem to know what you're talking about, and how to relay that information onto the reader for their benefit. (Like mentioning how SupCom is the alleged successor to Total Annihilation. THAT got my attention.) On the other hand, I felt EmP's review was completely overblown. He's usually a fantastic writer, but this felt like someone imitating EmP, with pretentious lines like this: "Bloody shrines run red with fresh liquid while a swirling vortex of water takes centre stage." Ugh. It felt like you were more focused on enticing us with your writing abilty than informing us about Dracula: Origin, and even that didn't work, since the language is often so thick and muddled that there were a few paragraphs I had to read two or three times. I'm giving the very slight edge to Will on this one, if only because I actually got something from his. Winner: Will


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


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Author: JANUS2
Posted: August 19, 2008 (09:16 AM)
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WINNER: FELIX
This wasn't an easy decision, because I had issues with both reviews. felix made some strange word choices throughout his review, with the epochs and promulgates, etc. This was excessive and detracted from the writing. However, his introduction was thought-provoking and provided a neat structure for the review. Although I'm not convinced that Basted is particularly good, his enthusiasm won me over and made this the more entertaining read. For all the hyperbolic writing, he brought a personal touch to the review that was lacking in DE's effort. Dark Eternal's review was also good, but it felt like reviewing-by-numbers. DE seemed to dodge his opportunities to make Indiana Jones sound unique. I would've liked to learn more about the more thought-provoking puzzles and about how your choices affect the adventure. As it is Indiana Jones sounds like your average adventure game, whereas Basted is at least made to sound unique.

WINNER: EMP
I feel a bit bad for voting against Will Roy. His review was very good, but I was just baffled at times by the turtling and the farming and all the other RTS terms. I can understand why the Honest Gamer sent you the RTS game. I can't think of a reviewer who could deliver a more thorough or knowledgeable review of a RTS expansion pack. The writing is excellent too. The tone is authoritative and informative, without becoming too dry or monotonous. My one complaint is that it finishes very abruptly. The reason I've picked Emp is that I found his review easier to read. Straight away I'm more familiar with the subject matter and so, unlike with Will's review, there were no moments of confusion. The crocodiles twist was funny and justified the extended gothic build-up because it gave us the game at its best and worst. It was a succinct and descriptive (if a little overwhelming) effort that did what it set out to do: make Origin sound like a compelling adventure let down by moments of madness.

WINNER: CAIRO
I liked the way Jason's review dealt with the issue of longevity. Too many people are happy to dismiss a 6 hour adventure as too short, but here the brevity of the game is shown to be a good thing. Venter explains and justifies the adrenaline-pumped gameplay very well and comes to the convincing conclusion that The Bourne Conspiracy is a short action-packed thriller. However, I think one thing the writing fails to do is engage the reader. For example, the 'parking garage' description explained how missions are brief but filled with action, yet it wasn't particularly exciting. For a 9/10 game, I was never really given the impression that The Bourne Conspiracy is all that special and it does feel at times as if Jason is going through the motions. Cairo's bash review, on the other hand, is extremely engaging. Assassin's Creed is dissected in a very effective and witty manner. It helps that I agree with every point, but even if I didn't then it would be hard to fault Cairo's argument as he exposes the tedium of the missions and the ridiculous plot. I was wondering if he would praise the free-running (as it's actually quite fun), and he did without undermining his criticism of the game.


"fuck yeah oblivion" - Jihad


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Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: August 19, 2008 (09:30 AM)
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I should point out, as it's been bought to my attention that people have overlooked it, that my pick was auto fed into the first post via hyperlink rather tha selected in a standalone post. It seemed silly to tell myself I had choosen.

Click on the EmP!


For us. For them. For you.


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Author: Felix_Arabia
Posted: August 19, 2008 (09:52 AM)
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willthegreat vs. EmPleh
Winner: EmP

I couldnít get into Willís review. Besides containing portions that were off-limits to a guy like me who isnít too knowledgeable with RTS games (combonerf? turtling? Aeon Illuminate?), the review used the taboo phrase ďOn with the review.Ē This isnít a pay-per-view wrestling match. While someone interested in Star Commander: Forged Alliance may find this review useful (seeing as how they would be interested in the expansion, and therefore be familiar to the discussion), a review like this doesnít work in a competition because itís not interesting if you donít have a clue as to whatís going on, and the material isnít that informative since itís jumbled and a little vague. EmPís review, on the other hand, was pretty good and I remember telling him this back when he first wrote it. Iím also glad he changed his concluding line, because there are indeed crocodiles in Egypt. Anyway, looking at these two reviews, I see one written buy a guy who enjoys his hobby at writing while the other appears to be written by someone whoís just doing it for the sake of getting a free game that was up for ďgrabskis.Ē This match wasnít close at all.

Venter vs. Cairo
Winner: Cairo

This was such a difficult match. Venter provides a strong-if-standard review for The Bourne Conspiracy. Cairo destroys one of my more favorite 360 games. Let me first discuss Venter's. The guy is consistent, but at times, and this is one of those times, I feel that he's just writing the review because he has to. I didn't feel the charge that I usually can sense when I read one of his works. I can't say I'm disappointed or surprised, though, seeing as how the guy writes a lot of stuff. I write a bunch of reviews and get tired, too. And while this Bourne review may be nice, it's a little too by-the-book for my taste. Cairo's review is very well written, and even though I agree with it, I still like it a ton more than he does. Also, modern-day Syria and Israel (where the game takes place) isn't Mesopotamia, which is Iraq. It's a small error, but one I nevertheless noticed. That region of the Middle East is usually called the Levant. Anyway, I'm giving my vote to Cairo because his review felt more alive than Jason's did despite the over-use of the word "douche" and the 3/10 score.


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


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Author: JANUS2
Posted: August 19, 2008 (09:55 AM)
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I was getting to your match!


"fuck yeah oblivion" - Jihad


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Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: August 19, 2008 (09:58 AM)
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Blame DE! He was asking why I'd not picked yet.

Crazy foreigner.


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Author: johnny_cairo
Posted: August 19, 2008 (12:28 PM)
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Didn't realize voting started so early.

My pick


A man talking sense to himself is no madder than a man talking nonsense not to himself. -Tom Stoppard


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Author: Genj
Posted: August 19, 2008 (07:56 PM)
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Felix over DE

Ugh, bad match to be brutally honest. I too had issues with both reviews. The message to Felix's intro was interesting, but it was too long. You basically spent 3 paragraphs just to say the game had a lot of cutscenes. Felix's writing is tight and his apparently enthusiasm is infectious, but when you sit back and think about it, the game doesn't sound too appealing. So basically there's very little combat and mostly a lot of story that I won't be able to understand. Ok. DE, didn't you have anything newer to choose? We got a 2005er here - one I'm sure I had to judge last TT even. It feels like a rough, by-the-book effort too. I'll give the nod to the fresher, more enthusiastic Basted review.


Will over EmP

Hi, my name is Mike. I'm 6'2" 140lbs, starting my Masters this fall and I like long walks on the beach while listening to Japanese harsh noise music. Will, your intro stinks like my ass after I eat a whole pepperoni pizza. From there it was a very technical piece detailing the game it's an expansion to. All the RTS stuff was pretty over my head for JRPG nerd like me, though it's a workable review giving a lot of good information. EmP's review sometimes reads like fan fiction. It felt overblown and overwritten spending most of the time describing game environments and a crocodile. Puzzles then get pigeonholed into a brief paragraph at the end making it feel more like an afterthought.

Venter vs Cairo will come later. Both reviews were fantastic enough that I need to mull things over.


_


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Author: johnny_cairo
Posted: August 19, 2008 (09:45 PM)
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Felix vs. DE

Both reviews had gauzy, nostalgic intros that bandy about the term Golden Age; DE's appraisal of Last Crusade as "remarkable" trumps Mr. Arabia's clumsy reminiscing opening paragraph.

Felix may have damned himself by reviewing a story-intensive import with no translation to speak of. His enthusiastic descriptions don't hide the fact that the gameplay sounds pretty routine and boring. The mention of Final Fantasy in the intro did pay off abstractly, since it sounds like Basted may have pioneered the whole "cinema sequences interrupted by bits of hack & slash and item collecting" genre that passes for most modern RPGs. "Old school" is a phrase that annoys me to no end.

DE's review, although a bit old and creaky, did bring back memories of playing IJatFoA on my old VGA Pentium I machine. There is much praise heaped on the puzzles yet no examples are given. "You actually control Indy's punches" during fights? Elaborate, please. Still, it made me think about the sad state of the adventure genre, and the sadder state of LucasArts and George Lucas' sheer insanity in general. Then I thought about Ziro the Hutt and cracked up laughing.

A WINNER IS D.E.

Will vs. EmP

Again there were commonalities in angle. Both require some degree of familiarity with source material and genre. The intros make it clear enough: EmP thrusts you into Stoker's universe of gothic horror and establishes how the game distorts that vision; Will leaps atop his soap box and proclaims "HAY GUYS I'M THE RTS GUY" before laying down a barrage of dry technical information.

EmP doesn't bash you over the head with info, and describes gameplay in an organic fashion (I really dig the "with a triumphant click" sentence) without becoming self-aware or even referring to D:O as a "game" more than a few times. Will goes into digressions and uses the hated phrase "on with the review" at one point. Plus it's almost impossible to understand what all the verbage is about without prior familiarity with Supreme Commander. At the very least, there could have been epic battle descriptions instead of saying "here's a new unit and here's what they do" over and over again.

EmP's piece was more compact and felt like a lot more was conveyed in about 2/3 the time. Proving once and for all the old adage "It's not the size, it's what you do with it."

A WINNER IS EmP


A man talking sense to himself is no madder than a man talking nonsense not to himself. -Tom Stoppard


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Author: dagoss
Posted: August 20, 2008 (09:42 AM)
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Felix vs Darketernal
Winner: Felix
Felix wins because, to be perfectly honest, I thought Darketernal's was poorly written. There were several setences with a structure that forced me to stop and reread. In general, this review read awkwardly up until the very last sentence. I mean, "blushes?" Who uses that the describe marks from a whip? It was moments like this that really hurt this review. He or she (I hate gender pronouns!!) also claims that the way puzzles are executed are "timeless and [have] managed to age well," but considering that this is a genre notorious for aging poorly, you're going to need to be a lot more convincing.

I don't know if Felix can read Japanese, but the impression this review gave me was that he cannot. If that is the case, claims like "if there is one thing that Basted excels in, that would be its storytelling" are rather suspicious. I think if the reviewer has such a handicap, it is his or her duty to explicitly make that clear rather than leaving it ambiguious. I also had a problem wih the way he frames the review. You seem to be saying "Basted is part of those lost golden days," "games today have too much 'gliz!'" and "Basted is interesting because it has glitz," and some of those are not compatible. I think the sweeping generalizations at the beginning were overlong without contributing enough, though I can understand why you felt they were necessary. Your prose is still imecible nonetheless, and you seemed genuinely interested in your game, which is enough for me.

Will vs EmP
Winner: EmP

Will's opening paragraph reads like the type of thing one would find in a GameFAQs review. So did the brief rant in the 3rd paragraph. Once he actually gets "on with the review," I had a lot of trouble understanding what the heck he was talking about. That's probably because I never played Supreme Commander and know very little about RTS games, and I suppose this review is for people that are really into RTS titles, but that doesn't change the fact that I kept drifting off. Anway, "to wrap up," this review was too casual in tone and too esoteric in the details.

I don't really like reviews that begin with the whole present tense, right-in-the-action narrative thing, but that is usually because it is tacked on as the first paragraph before the tone awkwardly shifts to be more review-like. EmP should really be commended for staying consistent with the present tense throughout. I'm not sure I got as much as I could have about the way the game plays, but it is well-written and entertaining enough that it doesn't really matter that much.

I still don't know what the difference is between alligators and crocodiles.

Venter vs Cairo
Winner: Cairo

I think this is the hottest contention this bracket-tournament-thing has managed to create.

Cairo wins because he made an off-hand reference to Shakespeare this review made me laugh my ass off. The excessive embellishment might not be entirely fair to the game, but it is certainly fair to my sense of humor. Even if it was unrealistically negative at times, it never seemed like it was trying to take itself too seriously, a problem that many reviews suffer from when they give a popular game a low score. While I think it could flow better in some places, for the most part this nailed how one should write a bash review.

I think the problem with Venter's review is that it actually tries to sell the game too much. Any licensed game for a popular film is going to be greeted with skepticism, and the fact that the only complaint you could seem to muster was its shortness (and even that you tried to spin in the game's favor!) and this made me suspicious. It came off like someone who was trying to oversell a breakfast at Dennie's or something else that really doesn't need lavish praise, even if it is immediately satisfying. I think you did the exact opposite of Cairo in that you embellished to make the game seem more exciting than it probably is.

The fact that I'm differentiating these reviews on such subjective ground shows just how good they are, and just how close this match is. Maybe if I come back to it in a different mood, I'll be like "Hooray Venter for trying to prove that licensed games don't have to blow; Shame on Cairo for exaggerating negativity for the sake of entertainment!" Right now though, Cairo's cynicism wins the day.


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Author: JANUS2
Posted: August 20, 2008 (09:58 AM)
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I think the blushes line was part of an extended innuendo about people using whips for sexual purposes. But I might be horribly wrong about that.


"fuck yeah oblivion" - Jihad


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Author: Felix_Arabia
Posted: August 20, 2008 (10:57 AM)
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I'm glad that the complaints against my Basted review are mostly homogenous. Dagoss, I do not speak Japanese, but I still understood what was going on. Anyway, just for everyone to know, after this round is over, win or lose, I'm going to edit this review to elucidate on the ambiguity that you've all be kind enough to point out!


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


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Author: dagoss
Posted: August 20, 2008 (12:05 PM)
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I hope you didn't take offense to my comments, Felix. I was reading over my feedback and realized that it was decidedly negative for your review even though I liked it. That's my fault.


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Author: Felix_Arabia
Posted: August 20, 2008 (12:28 PM)
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I didn't take any offense to your comments. They, along with everyone else's, are very helpful.


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


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: August 20, 2008 (02:39 PM)
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This stage is not allowed to end until either tomorrow night or Friday. The Overdrive is swamped with a work project. He will be unable to give verdicts until one of those days. Any attempt to prevent him from doing so will be met with wrath and other stuff. Bad other stuff. Like messing with my stage so that I wind up beating Belisarios because three people that voted for him mysteriously disappear. Yeah....Overdrive will go there.


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


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Author: Genj
Posted: August 20, 2008 (02:59 PM)
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Genj wants to know what's the deal with referring to yourself in the 3rd person.

Cairo over Venter

I loved both of these reviews. Venter gave a good case for Bourne being a great game. One of the things I like about Venter's reviews is it feels like he knows exactly what's important enough to mention and does so as concisely as he can. This one was no exception, and I chuckled at his intro comparing himself to Jason Bourne (though I'm sorry to say this but as much as you wish it were true, you're not as hot as Matt Damon, Venter). Cairo's review was a detailed, humorous and scathing look into Assassin's Creed. I was a bit worried when I saw long, bulky paragraphs, but I pretty much forgot about them once I started reading. Cairo's writing has sort of lively tone that grabs your attention, whereas honestly I found my mind wondering occasionally while reading Venter's review. This is a close match and I would have picked Venter's review over any of the other entries this round.


_


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Author: Masters (Mod)
Posted: August 21, 2008 (10:10 AM)
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Emp vs Will

Will's review was well written, but inaccessible, crowded with tall tales and rammed with jargon.

Emp's review was overwritten, wrought with overfed clauses, but ultimately, engaging.

Emp gets the nod from me.

Incidentally, what the hell is it with the cliche police around here? Everyone uses cliches. We try not to (really we do), but it seems as if some of us are reading reviews as cliche Easter Egg hunts. Finding one doesn't devalue the entire rest of the work.

If I saw "on with the review" in a shit review, I'd groan. It would be the STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMEL'S BACK. But seeing it in Will's review actually elicited no response from me at all. It's about context.

Cliches are supposed to be indications of a lazy mind and pedestrian writing. And sentence fragments constitute poor English (but they're everywhere, even in the best writing). Same thing with run-on sentences (someone tell Ernest--wait, he's not around).

Cliches are FROWNED UPON on because they're overly familiar. We've heard them a MILLION TIMES before. Sometimes familiar flows. Sometimes the usual works.


I don't have to prove I'm refined - that's what makes me refined!


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Author: Felix_Arabia
Posted: August 21, 2008 (10:34 AM)
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Well, Masters, I'm glad that a little cliche like "on with the review" doesn't detract from an inaccessible review in your opinion.

A cliche like that does detract from an inaccessible review for me, though.


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


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Author: Genj
Posted: August 21, 2008 (12:07 PM)
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Incidentally, what the hell is it with the cliche police around here?

Because it's been mentioned so many times since the GameFAQs days that it's become a very safe, easy thing to pick on? That's my guess.


_


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