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Forums > Contributor Zone > RotW: June 8-14, 2020 -- Animals cross; animals place highly

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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: June 18, 2020 (01:50 PM)
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We have six reviews this week, two for the same game. However, for this week, we have six different people because Joe's blog post about being out of sight for a bit due to moving apparently meant he wasn't able to contribute five of his own in his bid to write more reviews in a calendar year than everyone else on the site put together.

As for me, I'm still mainly binging on PS Now stuff. So, in the future, you can expect to see me writing about super-exciting games such as Mahjong Tales. That one should break the site's all-time record for most hits, I'd expect.

Ah well, enough small talk. I'm not feeling that motivated. Be lucky if I have the work ethic to actually say anything beyond "You wrote something; it was good." Except for EmP. I'll spend my commentary there talking about myself because he loves it when I make my critiques of his work all about me!

BONUS ADDENDUM: There would be seven reviews this week, but one of them is mine. So whomever of the HG/Joe RotW tandem that has the assignment for next week needs to remember to NEVER FORGET ME AGAIN.

CRB had another decent review, this time for King of Fighters '97. If I were to point out one specific issue, in your caption for the bottom picture, you allude to a glitch that making the CPU choose random fighters, which I'm guessing a fan of the series could tell by looking at the character pics at the top of the screen. However, for me, I didn't exactly understand it and, with said glitch seemingly never mentioned in the review, I wound up feeling a bit clueless about what may or may not be something important. So, in short, I thought this review was decent, but it could have used a bit of fleshing out -- something to maybe add a bit more text to the pictures, as there are five pics and seven paragraphs. Nothing wrong with a bunch of pics, but it's always nice to get more as far as your personal insights on the game.

EmP had a good, if a bit confusing, review for some long-titled anime adventure deal that makes me fondly remember the days when I was griping about his love for saving up all his Telltale reviews for me weeks, as I seem to be getting a lot of anime-type games now. I totally dug your gripes about how the game is a bit incomplete because of the stuff removed due to boobs or whatever, although I've personally found Polygon even more insufferable than Kotaku about those things. Which might be because, after downloading Super Mega Baseball on PS Now due to missing that sport, I was looking up info on which sort of team was best to get into the game and found an article from that place talking in-depth on the game…because of how "inclusive" it is because the designers when for fun-n-arcade over super-realistic and as part of that, teams are composed of both genders. Some random dude gushing over a sports game being inclusive because both men and women are represented wasn't what I was looking for and got me to spend a few minutes thinking about how miserable I'd find the whole gaming thing to be if I had to look for angles like that whenever I did a review. Heh, looks like I did turn this about myself. Self-fulfilling prophecy! Where, to me, this one falters a bit can probably be summed up by your intro where you mention this game is a sequel/loose remake of another game, which is a western localization of the original game. Because while you do a good job of explaining a decent bit about characters and plot and stuff, there are just so many references back to those previous games that this feels like a review designed for someone who has some degree of familiarity with the series. For me, there was a bit of re-reading paragraphs and squinting at the screen in a befuddled fashion. By about the third time through, I pretty much got a grasp on things, but at the least, I got the idea things would have been easier if I had any familiarity with the subject matter.

Mariner's review was really strong. The beginning was a bit weird -- not because of how out there the concept of muscle memory and a different way of unpausing a game is, but because I was expecting it to set up a laundry list of little things adding up during the course of what would be a really frustrating experience. Instead, you were reviewing a good game that had one disconcerting element that you tied into that pause screen intro because how you felt the controls should work wasn't necessarily the case. That aside, I found this to be a nice review for a game that does seem interesting. Graphically and with the concepts of rescuing janitors and manipulating various sorts of liquid-like substances, it even reminds me somewhat of PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate, which is a game I'm playing now. Different genre (platformer vs. twin-stick puzzle shooter), but with enough similarities that I am intrigued (ex-Rayman people on it doesn't hurt). Unfortunately, this was a really strong week for reviews and this was barely on the outside. Even if it easily ranks #1 for "game I might actually play" out of the six I'm going through.


Pickhut's No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle (Wii)

Very good review that does a great job of illustrating this game's flaws. You do a great job of describing it's zany premise and characters with that paragraph concerning those two boss fights that's under the first pic. And you do a great job of showing the negatives. In particular, I LOVED your paragraph about those encounters that were cool in theory, but overly simplistic in reality. In a lot of weeks, this would have probably won and possibly done so without me even needing to put all that much thought into it. But this was apparently "Raise Your Game For Rob" week on the site and, somehow, it's only third place despite being really good, both as a fun and engaging read and as something that told me exactly what I needed to know about this game's quality.


So, my first instinct was to groan in misery when I saw both Jason and Jerec penned reviews for the same newish Animal Crossing game. Both because it was two reviews for the same game and because this sort of casual game fits right up there with whatever off-beat genre EmP is writing about at a given time as far as things I'm not likely to hold much interest in. And then I read Jason's review and felt bad for Jerec, because Jason wrote something really good and there was no way I'd like another review for this game as much. I mean, I LOVED the comparison to Last of Us 2 and felt that was a perfect comparison, especially in this time with all the stress we have in America due to the pandemic and the current police/race relations strife. To me personally, I've often felt a lot of big-name prominent-site critics are, for lack of a better way of phrasing things, people so intent on proving they're legitimate critics of legitimate entertainment that they fall over themselves in praising anything that attempts to tell a weighty story or has an "IMPORTANT" message. And right now, with all that's going on, we have those guys giving "BEST GAME EVAR!!!!" talk to what seems to be this really bleak and pessimistic title while I think a lot of us gamers really want something that's fun, engaging and serves to not remind us that we live in a world that feels more and more like a giant minefield that we're trying to cross blindly. You did a great job of that and I never can complain about a tossed-in Dark Souls reference. I mean, I do it all that time nowadays!

And then I read Jerec's and it was just as awesome and maybe more so. He also tied in the pandemic to this game and did so in a very personal way, basically calling it a lifeline in a time when out of work and having to stay home alone in a smallish apartment. Reading both of these reviews together even made me feel more critical about my own writing. I've regularly tossed in current event tidbits into them, but usually as throwaway lines to get me to where I start talking about the game (hell, I did that with Hollow Knight in regards to COVID). Reading these reviews actually made me feel like what I do with the current event stuff to be super frivolous, while you two did it in ways that had an actual impact on me while reading in that "this is what a good game can do for people in hard times" sort of way. After reading these two, I knew it would basically be a week to pick third place, write about that and the three-non-placers and then puzzle out which of these two gets the win.

Jason had the neat little framing story of giving a present to some random NPC and how little things like that, while outwardly frivolous, do have this cool effect on making it a legit "lived-in" world. And also has this brisk style when he gets around to talking about the game where brevity is used really nicely, giving a good run-down of the game without taking too much time. Jerec's review requires more of an investment to get through, but is really worth it. As someone who has played Skyrim twice and logged between 600 and 800 hours with that game, I can appreciate just how in-depth you go with talking about the minor issues and things you wish would be improved, while also pointing out that it's still an amazing game. You've put hundreds of hours into it and have found yourself annoyed by flaws due to being that familiar with it, but don't let those detract from minor details such as how you had played it for 6-8 hours a day and now are still putting in an hour or two a day and are eagerly awaiting some new update that'll bring back the full-on Animal Crossing addiction. Personally, I loved both reviews, but the level of detail you had here gives you a slight nod. But kudos to both of you. Doing RotW as long as I have (in lieu of doing much of anything else site-related while still being staff!) does make it so I can get a bit jaded and apathetic about having to read some number of reviews and find things to say about them at times. And then I read a couple like this and wish I had more of them or I had more time to write more about how much I enjoyed reading them.


Jason's Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)

REVIEW OF THE WEEK (aka: Overdrive Place)

Jerec's Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)

Next month, we'll see what sort of insanity can come from my fingers through a keyboard into this site as part of my ongoing attempts to write about what people write about.

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: June 18, 2020 (02:38 PM)
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Thank you, sir! This is one of the longest RotW topics I've seen in a while. As someone who did the job myself for ages (and got jaded and apathetic), I can appreciate when you get something that gives you something to talk about.

Kudos to Jason, too.

I wasn't always a fan of writing about personal life events in video game reviews, but you certainly need to work out if the story is interesting or it impacts your enjoyment of a game in a certain way. Lifeline in a lockdown during a global pandemic fit this game (though I felt more confident going down this path as I've seen a lot of people sharing similar sentiments), but I certainly wouldn't write that in another review even though I did play FF7 Remake and Persona 5 Royal during this time.

Still, I can remember being 15 and writing how I bought a game from a shop at the start of a review.

I can avoid death by not having a life.

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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: June 19, 2020 (10:39 PM)
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Thanks for the topic and detailed comments, overdrive. I'm glad you enjoyed the review. It was definitely a bit different than what I might usually write, so I was anxious to find out whether it worked for people and it sounds like it did (or at least, it worked for YOU). Congrats to Jerec on narrowly defeating me, and good job to all who participated this 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: pickhut
Posted: June 20, 2020 (03:54 PM)
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Thanks for the third placement. After playing the first game, NMH2 has been lingering in my backlog for 2 years because I didn't want to go through something similar so soon, if at all. Finally got around to it, hoping for an improvement, and... well, there's the review. Glad you liked reading it.

Congrats to Jerec!

I head spaceshit noises.

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