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Forums > Submission Feedback > Lewis's Birth of America II: Wars in America 1750-1815 review

This thread is in response to a review for Birth of America II: Wars in America 1750-1815 on the Miscellaneous. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: September 01, 2008 (09:19 AM)
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Hahaha. I love how the European cover art, which I submitted because the US cover art on GFs was too small, shows a completely different picture. Haha.

Anyway, there was a time, about three weeks ago, when EmP offered this one to me, but we decided against it because by the time it got here, I'd be back at school, I'd have very little time to get through it before deadline, and I wasn't even sure it'd work on my laptop. Haha.

Now for the feedback.

This is an honest effort for a genre that's extremely difficult to cover. You're informative, which is great, but your writing seems a bit inflexible... By which I mean you're basically following the same sentence structures over and over again. This sort of makes the review a bit dry and less entertaining as it may have been otherwise. Also, some of your sentences could probably do with a bit of polishing up - cutting down, rephrasing, and the like. But overall, this is a decent attempt at, from the sound of it, a difficult game to cover. The important thing is that you were informative, though. With a game like that, and especially if you want to appeal to TBS/RTS fans like me, that's extremely important. Really, your reviews (of the ones I've read) sound like you're just trying to come into yourself. I'm sure you'll get much better at it as time progresses.

Which reminds me, I should read your Vampire review... I heard that one was pretty good.

Also, some things I found. If you don't want these kinds of catches pointed out in topics like this, say so and I'll HG mail them to you next time.

it's refreshing to discover that it's to no real detriment to the game

Typo. Should be omitted.

and in the campaigns that last up to a decade this

Comma after decade


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: Lewis
Posted: September 01, 2008 (10:38 AM)
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Cheers for your feedback. You hear the Bloodlines review is good? Christ, you mean people actually talk about my work behind my back?

I've been working as a freelance journo, doing a bit of paid but mainly unpaid stuff, for about five years now, and I have to say this is one of the trickiest titles I've covered yet. It falls into that category of being so specific that it's difficult to write an emotion-based review on it, as the target audience will likely not be affected in the same way. I'll confess that, while I've played a good few strategy games in my time, this level of historical accuracy isn't something that massively appeals to me. As such, it seemed best - as you say - to write an information-based review as to how the thing actually works, while pointing out that, despite technical shortcomings, it's actually quite good fun.

As for the grammatical errors... well, I'm in the middle of a linguistics degree, so perhaps I should brush up - but they're up to the editors to pick up on, not me! I tend to think stuff like that is fairly malleable, anyway. Too many commas make me cry.

Thanks for reading and commenting!


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Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: September 01, 2008 (11:05 AM)
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Bloody slacker freelancers, shifting their blame onto me...

Nothing but overly-complex strats for you from now on, me lad.


For us. For them. For you.


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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: September 01, 2008 (12:56 PM)
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People said your Bloodlines review is good... Mainly I speak of EmP and boo who posted in your feedback topic, which I'm sure you saw, as you posted in it. I'm pretty sure they liked it - otherwise they wouldn't have said it made them want to play it, but then again, I could've just been making assumptions. I'll leave you feedback there, since I just read it, even though the topic's over a month old.

Anyway, I forgot you'd been doing this for a while... I keep thinking you're a rookie - probably because you haven't been arund HG that long - but really you're not. So sorry if anything I say/will say ever sound(ed) patronizing or anything. Still, I notice that a lot of your writing follows the same sort of format... Maybe you'll do something a bit different or exciting in one paragraph/sentence or another, but not enough to make the review as a whole exciting. Honestly, I think you let the formality of journalism soak into you too much... I'm not sure how diverse you can be with your paid job or what you do at school (are you still at school?), but with my experiences, I found journalism to be very restrictive. And it's showing here in your reviewing at this site.

I guess what I'm trying to say is don't be afraid to change things up a little - Felix gave me this advice some time ago, and I'm glad I listened. I think it made my writing a lot better in the end, and that reflected in later achievements. I'm sure the same will happen to you if you try.

You should try joinnig a tourney at some point or something - see what everyone else thinks.

Anyway, that's just my general advice. This game, as I said before, sounds extremely difficult to cover. And you seemed to do the best you could with what you had. It's a decent effort, and really, I think anyone would be hard-pressed to write an absolutely AMAZING review for this game.


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: Lewis
Posted: September 01, 2008 (02:41 PM)
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Absolutely. I don't want you to think I'm going into defensive mode. I'm always more than happy to receive feedback, and apply it to my work.

"School" in the UK sense at least is but a memory for me... I'm currently half way through a Linguistics degree at Leeds University, so that's probably where my over-analytical style comes from at times: my academic writing. I make my little bits of money out of this, music and web design. It also might be worth mentioning I'd still consider myself primarily a music journalist rather than a videogame one... I'm generally of the opinion that music reviews are often more entertaining to read, while games stuff is more fun to write than to read. I'm here, therefore, for purely selfish reasons ;)

Good to meet you :)


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: September 01, 2008 (02:52 PM)
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For what it's worth, I like to have a diversity in styles on the site, so that people don't come to expect just ONE type of review. Reviewers should feel free to express themselves as individuals, provided they write professional-level reviews of games.

The typical Lewis review is written quite well and the level of analysis is actually a strong point for me. As a gamer, I'll take in-depth analysis over vague but entertaining any day, and it's really quite difficult to go into serious depth without reading like a textbook at times. As long as the writing is interesting--and what Lewis writes is--then I don't think there's a huge change needed in writing style.

More dynamic sentence structure and so forth is always great, but I personally wouldn't ask to see Lewis make changes beyond that. Certainly, there's room for improvement and I encourage him to continue pushing himself (as I do all reviewers on the site).

I'm glad to see constructive feedback topics like these popping up on the site and I hope that more people will get involved in them. These site forums were once a treasure trove for writers intent on improving their craft, and they can be that way function again!


"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: Lewis
Posted: September 01, 2008 (03:10 PM)
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Funnily enough, the pieces I've had either rejected or seriously scrutinized in my writing history have largely been 'entertaining but a little vague'. The only exception is a Manhunt piece I wrote for PC Gamer UK a few years back, rejected for being 'too checklisty'. Hopefully I'll get the balance just right more and more in the future. Cheers for all the feedback!


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Author: WilltheGreat
Posted: September 03, 2008 (03:06 PM)
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Knocking the French because they got hit first in WW2 = classy.

L2History, nub.


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


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