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Forums > Contributor Zone > Review of the Week: July 23 - 29. Outstanding week!

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Author: JoeTheDestroyer (Mod)
Posted: August 02, 2018 (01:43 PM)
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It's that time again. How's everyone's month been? Since my last ROTW post, I finished both Darksiders games, Lust for Darkness and Alone KW, plus I tore through a significant chunk of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. Both Darksiders titles were a lot of fun, but Crisis Core has left something to be desired. It has a good battle system, despite its awkward luck-based feature (a constantly moving slot machine that determines in-battle advantages, when you level up, when your materia level up, when you cast a summon and when you utilize a limit break). I also plan to play through some more low cost, first-person horror fare as well, namely Grizzly Valley.

A lot of reviews this week, all brimming with quality. I had a hell of a time picking the top three because they were all so good:

Masters reviewed the Switch shooter Dimension Drive, and seemed to think it was okay. That was the same impression I got from the screenshots. This is a pretty technical review, but Masters has a way of making technical reviews roll so smoothly that they're never boring. That's a handy skill, because games like this often don't offer enough standout content that might allow you to formulate strong arguments or intriguing points. Rather than trying to force an interesting narrative into your review, it comes off naturally and flows gracefully.

Mariner took on Letter Quest Remastered, which brings up a wonderful point about scope. The game succeeds within its own limited scope, but it could be so much more than it is. It shoots for a low target and hits the mark, when it should've aimed higher. This is a terrific point to bring up in a lot of modern games, especially of the indie variety. It's difficult to communicate why a game that succeeds at playing it safe isn't necessarily laudable, and you accomplish that mission. I also liked that you went into presentation, which is another aspect that gets tossed aside during reviews. I admit that I don't discuss visuals much, unless they either impress me or repulse me. Bottom line, good piece of work that effectively details why the game is average without relying on "it's plain" or "it's too easy."

MirdBird reviewed KOTOR for PC, though the review is for the Android edition. Just a heads up, we do accept Android reviews here, so let one of us know if you'd like us to add it to the list. The review mostly talked about how the game translated to Android, which is fine, but if I were not all that familiar with the game, I might not be able to form a clear picture of what the game is like. I'm not saying you need to go into anal detail, but some extra info would be nice. You make a good, strong case in favor of its mobile port, and I think a little more flesh would add even more weight to it.

Honestgamer tackled the South African game Semblance. The review goes into a lot of detail, and you feel like you've basically played the game by the end. You should be able to make a fully informed decision on whether or not readers will enjoy this game, regardless of your own rating. You also give great examples regarding how the game stumbles at a few points, which tells me I'm better off waiting for a sale on this one. This piece does get technical in some points, but it's an all around solid offering.

I could've sworn Pickhut already reviewed Sonic the Hedgehog, but maybe that's Mandela Effect talking. Anyway, this review gives a strong analysis of a classic platformer. I'm glad that you addressed stage design and the fact that mindless running kills you. These are better talking points than the usual "it's colorful, it's fun and it's fast" fare that I see for this game. I don't really have anything to pick at. It's just a solidly done take on Sonic.

Freeman delivers a very detailed Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening review. You do a great job of stringing together all of the game's factors and tying them into your thesis, that the game excels in both storytelling and mechanics. All of your factors are carefully considered and very well backed by evidence. There were a couple of points where the review felt long, but it flowed well enough to compensate for that. I also enjoyed the segment about the plot,which gives just enough information to support your claim, but doesn't spoil the events.

Midcore returned with another fantastic history lesson in Blockade, edging out many competitors to take the third place. I'd never heard of this game, but it was interesting to learn about the origins of the snake genre. Your criticisms are definitely fair, and you don't give the game "pity points" for having aged. You brought up a good point that tends to get ignored when reviewing "humble beginnings" type of games: that its ancestors added to its core concept, thus leaving this venerable, but undeniably obsolete, piece in the dust.

Masters takes second place with Super Rad Raygun a platformer that apparently apes Game Boy's presentation. Those first couple of paragraphs gave me a good chuckle. This game sounds like it's definitely up my alley. Like your Dimension Drive review, this one is quite detailed, but this time you had more content to work with. You balanced your point very well, letting us know what works and what doesn't. Your argument against the visuals wasn't just "it's not in color, so boo to that." You draw from older Game Boy games for evidence that with the Game Boy's presentation, sometimes less is more.

"They wanted to pay homage to the Game Boy classics of yore. (I'm just guessing.) And I get that, but it doesn't mean that it's better this way."

This can be said about a lot of throwback games (though substitute "homage to the Game Boy" with some other old timey gimmick), and I completely agree. It needed to be said.

Finally, EmP wins with 1979 Revolution: Black Friday. You take this review on with finesse. It delves into the game without anally laying out all of its features, and naturally flows. However, you don't lean on the "this game is good because it's subject matter is important" argument that some of us around the net do. You show us why it's an average game: where it's strong and where it's equally clumsy, and you do a terrific job of that. I liked that you didn't dish out too much information, either. If I ever decide to play the game (big if), I won't feel like anything has been spoiled.

Just one line crit, though: "...who are enjoying a comfortably life under the Shah’s rule "


I'm out.

The only thing my milkshake brings to the yard is a subpoena.

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Author: pickhut
Posted: August 02, 2018 (02:35 PM)
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Maybe you're thinking of my Sonic 2 and 3 reviews? I use Sonic 1 as a firm example a couple times in those reviews.

But thanks for liking the REAL Sonic 1 review! It's something I've been holding off doing for a very long time. I knew what I wanted to talk about, but it's one of those instances where, if I wasn't 100% committed to writing the review, I just didn't bother. I guess Sonic Mania Plus' release ignited something.

I still need to play that game, too...

Quality week, and congrats to EmP for taking the RotW!

I head spaceshit noises.

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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: August 03, 2018 (07:30 AM)
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I own both Darksiders games! Part of the endless backlog. I did play through the early stages of the second with a friend, which is what inspired me to buy them both. And maybe, just maybe, one day I will play one of them!

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

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Author: Masters (Mod)
Posted: August 03, 2018 (09:29 AM)
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Thanks for a thorough RotW treatment, and for the distinction. Congrats to Emp; I rather liked his review as well.

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

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Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: August 05, 2018 (06:09 AM)
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Could have sworn I posted here. I remember doing it!

Great topic, Joe; above and beyond with the feedback provided. It really shaped up to be a killer week. I didn't expect to do that well with diet Telltale game, so thanks for the props. There's a deeper discussion to be had about *other* sites just awarding it kudos because it tackles a weighty subject matter, and it certainly was the case. Universal praise for a very middling game (though I did laugh in the game's trailer when it uses a press clipping from Buzzfeed of all places). I think a fair few players would have picked 1979 based on those high praise reviews and felt very let down.

Congrats to Midcore, who never writes an uninteresting review, and to Marc who never writes a review without letting me know about it.

For us. For them. For you.

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