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Forums > Contributor Zone > RotW: Feb. 26 - Mar. 4, 2018 -- The "I'm STILL fighting poor health!" edition

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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: March 08, 2018 (09:21 PM)
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Yeah, so anyway, it's basically a month since my last topic and I'm still fighting mild illness. That's two aggressive and persistent colds in a four-week period, with a nice dash of allergies to go along with them. This time of year is the absolute worst, and not helped by the fact I work at retail and will be fired if I call in sick again... which makes it harder to recover. But here's some good news: I've finally read through the week's reviews (and some holdovers) and now I'm ready to share my thoughts on them and name the week's winner. Will wonders never cease?

There were holdover reviews from TWO authors this week, and one of those even won top honors. Before I get to the top three, though, here are my comments on the ones that didn't quite place (listed below in no particular order). Also, I should also mention that there were no bad reviews. Don't feel even remotely bad if you didn't place.

Dragoneer's Aria (PSP) by darketernal

This review, though entertainingly written and delightfully clean from a grammatical perspective, ventures a little too far into the realm of exaggeration for me to appreciate it as much as I do your other reviews I've read. The chief issue is that you don't make the game sound bad enough to suit the extreme intro. I say that even as someone who has suffered through other projects from the developer (the inappropriately named "Hitmaker," which had no post-SEGA successes I know of), and who therefore knows that their JRPGs for PSP started as underwhelming and only got worse from there. However, outside factors speak in the development team's defense. Most teams--even some really good ones--struggled to get good performance out of the wimpy PSP, for instance. So the slow battles you cite are a consequence of that, and fairly typical of the era and the UMD (thanks for nothing, Sony). You mention the good visuals and music and say they don't matter because the plot is too typical of the genre, which just seems like an odd claim to make. Overall, this feels like a textbook 2/5 review, aside from the bit about a woman expelling her bowels into a bucket while listening to a CD she doesn't like... which you state near the start of your review would be too extreme a reaction to the game. You simply haven't sold me on the game being essentially without merit and devoid of any quality, as the 1/5 score suggests. You've instead described what reads to me like a game that is on the poor side of bland and average. I believe it's not worth my time to play the game today, but not that it's actually one of the worst ones ever made.

Space Invaders Extreme (PC) by EmP

This one is immediately disqualified from a top-three finish because you placed a quote from Masters ahead of a quote from me... though including quotes from those other reviews and admitting that you were wrong to ignore them was a neat way to frame a review that was also solid for plenty of other reasons.

Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS) by overdrive

Your review made me want to play through this game again, even though I already spent something like 120 hours with it back in the day. What a fantastic game! So, obviously, your text had the unenviable task of persuading me that one of my favorite 3DS games is actually so bland and uninspiring as to be difficult to play for more than an hour every month or so. You didn't quite succeed in that, but your review still did a commendable job of describing some fairly complex systems without being dull in the process. As a side note that you may recall, I completely stumbled onto the neutral path completely by accident when I was playing through the game for review ahead of its North American release. There weren't any FAQs I could consult when I got stuck on that path due to a character I had to meet in an out-of-the-way location, even though the game had been available to parts of the world for months by that point, because not a lot of people could get to the neutral path. In other words, you weren't alone. Anyway, I probably won't ever play this one again because it IS really long, in addition to being (in my opinion) very good, and there also is a direct sequel I still haven't touched. I'll probably just play that instead, or one of the other SMT games coming soon to 3DS or Switch. As for your review, you did a good job writing it but this was a tough week.

Cross Hearts Arcadia (Android) by overdrive

I liked this review more than some of your other Kemco pieces because you were quicker to get to the point. You also described some interesting mechanics along the way, and I appreciate how difficult it must be to come up with new ways to write about the endless parade of Kemco titles. Thanks for doing that. I'm sure your backlog of Kemco reviews will continue to help people you never hear from, perhaps especially now that more and more of the games are coming to a wider variety of platforms. Keep up the good work!

Third Place: Star Trek 25th Anniversary (PC) by willthegreat

It's good to see you're still alive, will! It's also good to see a great review from you, which this was. I hadn't ever really paid attention to the game, but now you've let me know my disinterest caused me to miss playing something that sounds pretty darn sweet. Your use of italicized lines from the show's opening normally would irritate me a bit, but here it really works well and does a beautiful job of blending with your dissection of the game. Your description of one puzzle in the game was intriguing, and you did a good job of bringing up the flaws in space combat segments while also making it clear they didn't diminish the game's impact. Great job!

Second Place: Orcs (PC) by Masters

I may have to purchase Orcs. Your review certainly makes the case for doing so, with the mention of a $1 price tag and a description of a game that sounds like it gets the important details right. I'm admittedly a sucker for high-quality atmosphere, so it's disappointing this game lacks that, but you're right in pointing out how the other stuff is more important and rarely done properly by other teams with more resources. I don't have a lot else to say about this review, because it's well written and effective and doesn't waste the reader's time. Your authority shines through beautifully.

Review of the Week: Q-YO Blaster (PC) by EmP

I think I copy edited this one, so now I have to apologize for this line: "Especially when it’s trying to explain how a mechanic or perks works." That should be "perk" in the singular, without the 's' on the end. My bad, probably. Otherwise, though, it's a great review and really fun to read. There was also a reference to some food (in the form of a cake), which you know I always feel elevates a review. The ladybug description at the start was very good, because it nicely established up front what sort of shooter Q-YO Blaster would be. That sort of technique, handled properly as you do, gets the reader invested in the review for at least a few more paragraphs, and your text included enough similar hooks throughout its remainder to keep my interest piqued. So good job on a great review for an indie shooter!

Well, that's it from me. Thanks for the contributions and have a great week!

"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: EmP (Mod)
Posted: March 10, 2018 (08:39 AM)
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I was going to make a jokey little dig at Rob for forgetting to include my review again, but I instead will follow his lead and SNUB any mention of him from this point onwards. Take that, [REDACTED]

Appreciate the topic and the feedback on the everything, Jason. Cheers for the top spot in a Team EmP dominated week; I enjoyed writing Q-YO and it's been a few years since I busted out the moving image gimmick. It's funny you should complain about Marc's Space Invaders Extreme getting a better billing than yours (I merely put them in game release order, for the record); he was furious I was mentioning you in the same breath as him. Oh, that Marc!

Props to Marc and welcome back to Will. It'll be fun to see who tapers out first between he and DE.

For us. For them. For you.

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Author: Masters (Mod)
Posted: March 10, 2018 (11:09 AM)
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Thanks for doing this, Jason, and thanks for the second place finish. I tend to agree with your choice for winner; I was singing that review's praises for a few weeks now. Good to see it get some love.

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

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