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Forums > Contributor Zone > RotW: Jan. 27 - Feb. 2, 2020 -- Jason gives this topic a creative subtitle

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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: February 05, 2020 (01:03 PM)
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I have a lot on my plate, so pardon the lack of creativity as I get down to the business of ranking and commenting on the seven eligible reviews this week (which include a holdover from overdrive). First up come the ones that didn't place in the top three...

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Fatal Fury (Genesis) by CptRetroBlue

This review had a tough task ahead of it: describing why the Genesis version of the game is better than its SNES counterpart despite featuring (apparently) fewer characters, no bonus stages and being less faithful in general to the arcade version it was supposed to imitate. It also apparently made some changes that make the gameplay feel cheap. At the end of your review, you say it is twice as fun as the SNES port, and yet you didn't describe in your review body (that I noticed) any reason that might be the case. Instead, you mostly just went into detail on the cuts. I know it's possible for a limited home conversion to make changes and play better than the original. I feel like a few NES ports were more fun than the originals on which they were based, despite grappling with technical limitations. I just don't feel like you've convincingly made the point that Fatal Fury is one such title, or even that it is the superior 16-bit offering.

Gateways (PC) by JoeTheDestroyer

Like your Demon Peak review, this one forced me to conclude that I'll do better to get my fun by playing other, better games. It just feels like this one would frustrate me rather than entertain me, courtesy of its challenging puzzles in the late going. The screenshots also betray an art style that does nothing for me. It's a solid review, although out of the two you contributed this week, I did prefer the Demon Peak one.

Jenny LeClue Detictivu (PC) by Flobknocker

A little cuteness goes a long way, but I think this review would have done better to get out of the way more quickly your story about how the game came to be in your collection. Someone reading about it a few years down the road will likely acquire the game under completely different circumstances, and so your intro takes a bit too long to say "I bought this game for no reason more noble than that it looked cute." In general, I would say you might have the best luck with future reviews if you try writing from an outline and following it closely from point to point, so that things build and you include details that contribute more directly to your arguments. Right now, some of what you included feels rather thrown together. The text is carried by your personable tone, but sometimes that leads to enormous paragraphs that tend to be intimidating to readers. I hope you'll continue to tweak and refine your writing style, because I think the foundation is definitely in place. This just wasn't a top-three performance on this particular week.

Crazy Road (PC) by Jerec

This review has a few sentences that need some attention: "If you hit another car, it's over - it's back to the start of the level." That just feels too repetitive. Also, the last sentence is missing some words or maybe has some extra ones. Otherwise, I have no real complaints. You did a good job describing a game so that I know what I'm missing by never playing it. And that is: not much. I've played--and still need to review--a few similar titles from a developer that was fairly prolific on Wii U and 3DS, so... yeah. Thanks for covering this one, thus satisfying my interest in seeing us continue to cover a broad variety of releases on the site, and also satisfying the requirements EmP mentioned when he suspiciously timed his neat little giveaway so that a lot of the output would potentially come through on my week.

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And now for those top three...

Third Place: The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone (PS4) by overdrive

This review's fortunes are impacted by the fact that I have read (and like) your Blood & Wine review that followed it more, and that other review also needed very little tweaking in The Production Room to reach that elevated status. Your Hearts of Stone review lacks some of that infectious passion and settles instead for a solid description of an expansion pack--an admittedly difficult thing to make terribly interesting if your audience hasn't played the base game, though it happens that I have--that should be a boon to anyone looking for detailed information on what this expansion entails, but isn't necessarily a powerful read beyond that purpose.

Runner Up: Cthulhu Saves Christmas (PC) by EmP

There are a few sentences in your second-to-last paragraph that need your editor's pen, now that you've had a few days to think about what you've done, but otherwise this is an excellent review that was a lot of fun to read while telling me interesting things about a game I kind of want to play. Your self-referential humor usually works, and here it works better than usual, which seemed fitting given the subject matter at hand. You also covered some neat little aspects of the game that definitely make it sound neat to play, to the point where I wouldn't have been terribly surprised to reach the end and find an even higher rating. In summary: fun read of what sounds like a fun game. It was almost, almost, almost enough to get you this week's top spot. But it didn't quite.

Review of the Week: Demon Peak (PC) by JoeTheDestroyer

This review capably analyzes the difference between good and bad difficulty, and applies that to an indie platform that disappointed me even though I've never played it. Of course, it disappointed me because this excellent review made me feel as if I had put the game through its paces (or perhaps, more accurately, that it had put me through mine). There's some nice speculation near the end about why some of the irritating design decisions worked out the way they did, and the review reaches some of the same conclusions I likely would. The end result is one of those wonderful reviews that is evocative and provides enough information that if someone else with different tastes comes across it, they should be able to tell whether they would agree (and should thus also avoid the game) or if they might find something more to match their interests. Great stuff!

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And that's the topic! Thanks to all who contributed to another interesting week, filled with reviews for a pleasingly diverse range of software. Look at the ridiculous sort of ground we covered with only seven reviews. Let's keep it up all year, yes? Yes!


"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: jerec
Posted: February 05, 2020 (02:07 PM)
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Thanks for the feedback, Jason. I'll go over it and see if I can tighten it up. I think I chopped and changed the ending a couple of times so something Might be wrong there.


I can avoid death by not having a life.

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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: February 05, 2020 (03:10 PM)
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That's really how most such errors find their way into writing, I think. When I'm drafting a review, I now spend probably at least half my time just going over it repeatedly to polish rough edges and catch little things like that. But the longer I spend in that effort and the more little tweaks I make, the more likely it is something will happen to produce a sentence with an extra or a missing word, or subject/verb agreement issues or whatever. I usually make around 4 or 5 pretty detailed passes and then another one or two after that, and sometimes something STILL sneaks through. Anyway, it's not like your review was roughly written. It mostly flowed, which is why those two sentences stood out for 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: JoeTheDestroyer (Mod)
Posted: February 08, 2020 (02:47 PM)
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Thank you very much for the win, feedback and the topic! I don't have much to add except things are going good and I only have one more week of leave left (sadly). On the flip side, I've been playing Wild Arms 2 and Space Pioneer, and they're both entertaining time wasters when I get my occasional downtime.


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

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Author: Flobknocker
Posted: February 09, 2020 (12:29 PM)
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Late as ever here, but thanks for the feedback. Writing from an outline sounds like a good idea, and I remember doing the word count on my review and thinking "wooo nellie, that's big."

I'll try to tighten things up in future and add some paragraphs in to avoid intimidating walls of text in future. In the meantime, thanks for putting up with my waffling.


Proudly running a space heater disguised as a PC

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