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Forums > Contributor Zone > Review of the Week - November 13-19 - Ranting and Rambling

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Author: jerec
Posted: November 23, 2017 (02:56 AM)
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Seven reviews were posted this week. Three of them were from our very own Jason Venter. There's also an Overdrive review from last week I have to consider. Pickhut, Vorty, Zydrate, and Masters round out the list. It's a pretty strong week without going overboard. October was nuts, you guys! I also had a lot of trouble spelling October.

Anyway, my burn out is definitely showing in the words below, so proceed with caution.

Overdrive's Rayman Legends review from last week is a bit on the lengthy side. I know you seem proud of being the drunken master of reviewing, but it looks like you're wanting to add old curmudgeon to that as well. Hating motion controls is a bit old hat, now. You seem to be a bit sour that this was on the Wii U, and you were glad it came to the Xbox 360, yet at the end, the game is "deserving of a spin in whatever system you own." This review seemed very ranty for a 5/5 review. Also, you kept referring to the game as "vanilla" multiple times, before FINALLY explaining what that meant towards the end of the review. I was expecting this to be some UbiSoft DLC Season Pass type deal or something, but I guess this game came out just before that really started being a thing. Anyway, no win for you this week, and it's not even out of spite. This review needs a trim.

The use of "whom" in the intro to Zydrate's review threw me... it sounded so awkward and out of place that I actually tried googling to see if this was actually correct grammatically or not. I then decided I was wasting time and went back to the review. I think who fits the situation better. You admit you're writing this while paused in the game, and it shows. The tone of the review seems distracted, with short sentence fragments and then longer, rambling compound sentences that seem to go nowhere. Also the admission you're not done with the game makes me think this would work better as a blog entry. Parts of this could make a good review - there were some really good lines in there, such as describing the game as vomiting flashbacks. I hope you do turn this into a more polished review down the line. Pick out all the good lines and the points you want to make about the game, and maybe limit yourself to 1500 words or so. People have short attention spans.

Vorty returns with a short bash review of Highlander. It's quick and snappy. It also has a few issues that will be picked up on a re-read. The game does sound laughably bad. I really liked that the whole second half of the review boiled down to various attempts at trying to defeat an armed guard, and how the game (not so much the armed guard) manages to beat you every time.

Moon Hunters by Jason Venter

Venter's Moon Hunters review won the first mini contest of this week, and steps forward to compete with the rest. I think I like positive Venter over bored "why am I playing this?" Venter. To be honest, I almost fell asleep reading the Battle Crashers review. But I'm feeling tired. But yeah, the Moon Hunters review worked for me. I love a good RPG, and this sounded fun. You make it sound like a good multiplayer experience, which I probably won't get, and the load times would put me off, too. But I'm interested enough that if it goes on sale on the Switch store, I may just pick it up. Yes, I bought a Switch (with Mario Odyssey).

Wolfenstein II by pickhut

I remember playing Wolfenstein in the very early 90's and it was quite good for what it was. These new games sound really generic, and I like that you really do give the game hell for having such an interesting premise, full of so many possibilities, but just doing nothing interesting with it. I also found it interesting that the game can have a solid combat structure, that it actually does play well, but the rest of the game just doesn't offer much to do with it.

Boss 101 by Marc Golding

I don't really have much to say, and given my negative slant in this topic, that's probably a good thing. This is a brief review, deftly woven together with a great command of language that I can remember from your reviews fifteen years ago (Man, I feel so old right now). I'm not a genre fan, but you make the Make a Boss feature sound interesting, and you also take the game to task in other areas. This is the last review I read for the week, and just the fact that it was six paragraphs long, with no rambling or oddly construced sentences, made me sigh with relief.

That's it for me this week. Hopefully I ruffled some feathers and create some discussion, since my last RotW topic went largely unnoticed. Not that I'm bitter or anything.

I can avoid death by not having a life.

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Author: Zydrate
Posted: November 23, 2017 (04:18 AM)
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Well thank you for the commentary all the same, that's all I'm really going for these days.

I am damn near done with the game now, my save is in the middle of the finale and only level 33, now sure what else the game has to offer me in terms of leveling except a bunch of fairly irrelevant and quite depressing side quests to barrel through to grind out the remaining few levels.

My opinions haven't changed much despite your commentary that it's fragmented or incomplete. I stand by my words, especially the part where I have the most fun fucking off into the world, nabbing eagle points and just clearing enemy bases and camps. It felt a bit like the Syndicate city takeover, which I liked.

Not sure what I could do to polish it as you say. Not much I can do that's akin to my Cities Skylines review, so it will likely remain as is for some time.

Ah well.

Edit: Apparently I was not on my way to kill the final boss. I have his 'contract' essentially but it does splinter into several other quests so that will probably net me some levels.

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Author: pickhut
Posted: November 23, 2017 (11:10 PM)
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Thanks for the placement.

Yeah, it really sucks that a good combat system is inside a generically-designed game. I really hope it gets used outside something that isn't the current Wolfenstein games. Bethesda, you now have access to a bunch of FPS IPs, make it work.

I was so appalled by the devs' lack of effort with their premise, that I was one step away from just showing Half-Life 2 images and video in the review, a game that came out over 10 years ago and did the premise much better.

I head spaceshit noises.

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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: November 25, 2017 (08:23 AM)
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Well, of course, I'm a grump! Just let EmP tell you -- I'M OLD!!!!!

But yeah, you made some good points and I can't believe I didn't catch some of what you mentioned. I'm glad I'm through a busy part at work, so I can get caught up on review-writing ( theory). I've been really good at beating games recently, but haven't had much writing time for non-work purposes, so it's turning into a situation where I'm reviewing games a good 2-3 weeks after beating them. That probably isn't helping.

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

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Author: jerec
Posted: November 25, 2017 (04:38 PM)
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Zydrate - I guess stick with whatever works for you. I have found that the longer the review is, the better the writing needs to be to keep the reader's attention. Back in the old days, everyone was trying to outdo each other with reviews that just got longer and longer, and I remember judging a tournament with a disclaimer that I was deducting points every time I looked at my PC clock while reading the review. Granted, I have read 3000 or 4000 word reviews which were very good (with a good flow and consistent focus), but they are quite rare.

Overdrive - been there. I find that so much time passes that I don't end up writing the review. My hard drive is full of abandoned false starts. I had a really good Persona 5 review brewing in my mind, but work got hectic, and reading reviews for RotW ended up sucking up a lot of my time... that I just sort of missed my moment. Also having to quickly switch gears for the Alpha tournament, which I kinda just bluffed my way through anyway.

I can avoid death by not having a life.

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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: November 25, 2017 (07:32 PM)
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Thanks for the topic, Jerec, and for the placement and comments on my reviews. Congrats to those who placed ahead of me!

"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 on secret doors to another world

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Author: Masters (Mod)
Posted: November 27, 2017 (08:52 AM)
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Jerec, I understand this may be your last RotW? If so, thank you for your service. I know better than most what a thankless job it is. And it's especially frustrating how most reviewers say they want feedback and then in the feedback topics (and RotW), there's no feedback on the feedback. Often there isn't even a thank you, or any kind of reply at all. (Now I'm speaking mainly of feedback topics.) Anyway, I don't know what Gary's plans are for RotW going forward, but you've played a big part during this current run.

Regarding long reviews: they are definitely a tough sell. It's always the aim (or it should be) to say as much of what's important in the fewest words possible with some personality in the writing to keep readers from nodding off. Where it gets tricky is that some games are more complex than others, and everyone's opinion on what's important is different.

In general, I've noticed that there seems to be more value placed on long reviews, which has always struck me as odd. (In one of these RotW topics, someone actually characterized one of my reviews as short, and used the word as a pejorative.) It's tough to give the impression that you've said everything that is crucial, in a short space -- and perhaps I failed to give that impression -- but when you manage it, it's a far greater accomplishment than droning on, in love with the sound of your own voice.

I remember writing a few 2400 word reviews awhile ago -- certainly I ran the risk of entertaining only myself. I recall that GUTS, and maybe the GUTS 2.0 I believe I sussed out in the latest tourney, would make fun of my frequent indulgences. But therein lies the balance between personality and brevity. Shorter and blander, or longer and laced with anecdotal silliness (I realize this might be false equivalence). Some of that stuff deserved the mockery. But, what can you do? You're just constantly tinkering with that balance.

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

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Author: jerec
Posted: November 27, 2017 (11:31 AM)
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Thanks, Masters. I'm not quite done with RotW yet. Gary did convince me to stick around for the rest of the year, so it looks like I might have two more topics to do in December.

You're right about different games having more to talk about, and it can be tough to find that balance. Back on GameFAQs, the total review ranking was based on KB, so there was a big divide between people who wrote numerous short and quick reviews, and those that got there with a fewer, but much longer reviews.

With your run of shorter reviews for these indie games, that seems fine. This review felt complete, didn't feel like you'd skipped over anything or didn't provide enough detail. I may have encountered another of your reviews a few weeks back which didn't place, but I think there wasn't enough there to stand out against the other reviews.

We have had some pretty full weeks on the site this year, and I think RotW has been a big part of that.

I can avoid death by not having a life.

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Author: Masters (Mod)
Posted: November 29, 2017 (10:57 AM)
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You may well be right, about RotW's impact on submission volume. If that's the case, then scrapping it in the coming year would be a shame.

I've noticed that our view numbers are decent, but that our forums are very quiet. I pointed this out to Emp and he concluded that outside visitors value the site and what it's doing, but that the community here isn't so enthusiastic. That's also a shame.

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

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