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Forums > Contributor Zone > Review of the Week - December 15 - 21

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Author: jerec
Posted: January 18, 2014 (05:01 PM)
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Welcome to this very standard edition of Review of the Week, a week that is gone, but not quite forgotten. There were only 5 reviews this week, and they were all really good. Look at this week and you can see without a doubt that this site is focused on quality over quantity. Picking a winner was not easy.

Woodle Tree seems like a game of very little substance, and Joe does a good job of telling us why. I got that it's a low budget game that looks good, has no challenge apart from the camera, and... that's about it. Overall, it's a good review that does what it sets out to do, but I had a bit of trouble getting interested in what you had to say here. The mistake in the opening quote should be fixed.

Aliens: Infestation sounds like it could be good - a Metroid-style game in the style of Aliens. Pickhut begins with a hopeful sort of tone. Without scrolling down, I actually thought this was going to be a decent game, somehow. Then the cracks start to show, and you successfully highlight all the problems with the game one by one. Your voice comes through really well as I can just imagine you becoming more and more disappointed the further you go. Your tagline is short and punchy, too.




THIRD PLACE
Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse Ep. 1 - EmP

I have to agree that an industry without these sorts of games would be a darker place. I always loved adventure games such as this, and I lived through their downfall and was overjoyed at their return through Kickstarter projects like this, and the episodic Telltale games. It is difficult to review an incomplete game, and I can see why you don't want to put a score on it.

I think you struck a good balance between describing the game and telling the story of the circumstances behind it. It's a review for fans of the series wanting to know if this is any good, but it's also accessible enough for people with less familiarity with the series to understand an appreciate (I have the first 3 on Steam, but I haven't devoted much time to the games yet - I feel like I should!).

You make good points about the hint system, and the awkwardness of the intro, and I especially liked the line "It's all set-up and no punchline."

SECOND PLACE
Final Fantasy XII - holdthephone

This is an excellent piece. I've struggled to review this game (I'm still not happy with my own attempt) but you make it seem easy. You're a little kinder to the game than I would be. Hindsight shows that a lot of this game's issues get amplified in XIII. You make the programmable battle system actually sound fun, even while pointing out some of the problems, such as the cost of magic and the license grid. You're also right about the sidelining of Vaan and Penelo. Wasn't this because Square-Enix demanded these characters be included, so they just sort of tag along with the party but are mostly ignored?

You do make the game sound beautiful though, and I remember it really was. It was late in the PS2 generation before we all got spoiled by PS3/360 visuals. The best line there was the one you used as your tagline, because that is a perfect description of the different styles this game incorporates.

Even though XII is a 6/10 game for me, you make me want to go back and give it another try. Maybe I will, if they do a HD remaster.

REVIEW OF THE WEEK
Tearaway - Suskie

I like the angle you chose here, Suskie, and I suppose the game made it easy for you by having a lot of interesting mechanics to talk about. I haven't had much experience with the Vita, only playing it briefly on a store demo unit (I wasn't impressed with the load times for Wipeout). I didn't even know it had a touch pad. I think you, me, and most gamers are getting tired of gimmicky controls, and you make a good point that the standard controls are usually adequate. So when you talk about the mechanics of this game, like the fingers (I'd like to see a screenshot of this), I was actually quite interested. If I ever decide to buy a Vita, I'll definitely want to try this game.

Your use of screenshots is also good. I read the paragraph about unique visuals, and then I scroll down and see exactly what you're talking about. I think you also end this review on a strong point about hating your face but grinning whenever you saw it in the game. I think I'd feel the same.

I don't really need to go into how this review is technically well written and structured, because I've read enough of your reviews over the years that I've come to expect this level of polish and skill from you. It flowed well from point to point, made me interested, and now I want to have a closer look at this game. And when I've got a huge backlog of games already, it's an impressive feat.




It really did come down to Suskie, Holdthephone and EmP for me this week, and I don't think there's any real level of difference between them, in terms of quality, readability, style and function. EmP made me want to give Broken Sword another go, Holdthephone made me rethink a game I've got a firm opinion on, and Suskie made me want to play a game on a system I don't have, in a genre I'm fairly ambivalent about.

So there you have it.


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: January 18, 2014 (06:33 PM)
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Thanks for taking care of this, Jerec, and congrats to the winners! It really was a good week, as noted.


"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: EmP (Mod)
Posted: January 18, 2014 (06:39 PM)
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I have Wipeout saved right onto my Vita's memory in the hopes that the load times would speed up. Alas, no; the real crime is how good that game is, making all the waiting doubly annoying.

Thank you for turning this out, Jerec. Suskie's a worthy winner, and I would have long followed his advice on picking his game up if I didn't forget for huge periods of time that I own a Vita. Thank you also for the comments of my review. It was a weird one to write as it obviously wasn't intended to be episodic, yet it kind of had to be that way from the nature of its production, and I wasn't sure how much I should punish the game for that, or even if I should mention it at all. The full game will be out soon, and I can simply write about a completed game. Maybe -- we'll see, I guess.

Congrats to 'phone for writing a review on a game I really hated in a more pleasing light. His continued take on the FF series have been a constant joy to read. Let me know in advance if you're going to do one of these again, Jerec, so I can avoid writing anything for Metal Slug. Avoid. Yes, we'll go with that.


For us. For them. For you.


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Author: Suskie
Posted: January 19, 2014 (01:43 AM)
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Your wish is my command, Jerec:



I probably should've included a screenshot like that in my review, come to think of it. You can see there how you use your fingers to move objects around.

Anyway, thanks a lot for the win! Glad you're interested in Tearaway; it was my second-favorite game of last year after Brothers. I should probably add that I've been getting pretty much nonstop use out of my Vita since I bought it a month or two ago. I adore it and I'd easily recommend it over any of the next-gen consoles, at least right now. Wipeout 2048 has far and away the worst load times of any game I've played on it, though it's easy to overlook since it's currently free. (Having said that, it's been supplanted as my favorite Vita racer by Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed, which is about a thousand times better than it has any right to be.)

Congrats to Holdthephone and EmP (particularly EmP, in fact, because he's constantly holding my attention even when he's reviewing games that I couldn't care less about).


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


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Author: jerec
Posted: January 19, 2014 (03:12 AM)
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No problem at all, guys. I'm always happy to step in and do RotW once in a while.

I'm glad Wipeout is a notoriously slow-loading game and not the norm for the Vita (having that as a store demo must have hurt sales). I'll have to keep my eye out for any good bundles, since I'm not likely to join the next-gen any time soon.


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: pickhut
Posted: January 19, 2014 (02:12 PM)
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Hey, thanks for leaving comments about my review. I figured, since it's made by WayForward, which people seem to talk up all the time, I was expecting it to be a solid game. Nope.

Congrats to Suskie with Tearaway getting RotW, certainly a good, well-written piece!


I head spaceshit noises


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: January 19, 2014 (11:55 PM)
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WayForward is decidedly hit-or-miss, unfortunately. They've made some great games and some stinkers. I enjoyed their first Adventure Time game, for instance--despite some flaws--but I hear that the second one is quite poor. They made an RPG-style Silent Hill game for the Vita, as well, and they were responsible for the decent but definitely not great DuckTales update. You can never tell what they're going to produce next, but I guess that's part of their appeal!


"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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