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Forums > Submission Feedback > psychopenguin's Shadow Hearts review

This thread is in response to a review for Shadow Hearts on the PlayStation 2. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: drella
Posted: December 18, 2008 (04:52 PM)
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Some pointers:

-Watch how you use detail. When you say dungeon designs are "perfect" I don't know what your idea of perfection is. I don't know what my idea of perfection is. So claims like that need a little more substance or description. Also, you say some of the areas are "freaky" in design; that sounds awesome, and I'd like to hear more about it. Just what is freaky? Telling me the backgrounds "were pretty well done" is cliched and does little to engage me.

-You spend a good chunk of the beginning trying to make Shadow Hearts sound different only to make some poor concessions in the end. Might want to avoid saying that the story isn't that original (it follows a good/evil plot, but everything does) or that there are typical RPG cliches like having to equip an item to avoid one-hit kills. Because of the lack of captivating detail mentioned above, these hurt a lot more than you think. This doesn't sound especially fun or captivating based on the descriptions, and these are really pushing me away.

-You talk about how great the story is, mention it's a wild ride, et. al. without even mentioning the names of any characters until the tenth paragraph, after already discussing the battle system. Give an example of the great dialogue. Provide evidence it's well-paced. How is this a dark game? It's mentioned at the beginning, but it doesn't come up again. I don't see what is going to grip me here.

-A few too many "I" statements; the audience already knows it's what you think, so the beginning of many lines are wasteful and redundant (hence why this ended up so long yet without much detail).

-Still ending reviews with graphics, sound, replay value, challenge, conclusion? Bleh. If you make a game sound great, replay value is implied. If you describe a setting, that covers the graphics (which are best described in terms of setting, not general "goods" or "bads" or "pretty wells"). Challenge is easily worked into discussing game play if relevant; here, it doesn't seem so, since nothing is too hard or too easy.

And sound is especially generic. Watch this:

"I did not know what to expect from the game's soundtrack, as I usually like a few songs in a game, but rarely will I like the entire soundtrack. That was not the case with Ys, as I found it to have one of the better soundtracks I have heard. Each song fits the mood of the area perfectly, from the happiness of some towns, to the dark, brooding dungeons."

I changed one word and it now applies to a different game. Word choices and conventions need to be more game specific. This applies elsewhere too, but here is a real good example.

This post ended up being an unsolicited critique, but I hope it helps. It's good work and I get the sense you care about this game. It's probably a good review for people that already played the game, since I bet they'll agree. But for someone that hasn't played it, your target audience, I think it needs more focus and description to get the points across.


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Author: psychopenguin
Posted: December 18, 2008 (05:22 PM)
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Wow, thanks for the great critique. I'm trying to get back into the reviewing "flow" and it's difficult. I think I did a good job of explaining how the game destroys RPG conventions with the battle system. I probably should have mentioned that the game doesn't do EVERYTHING original, but then again, most games don't totally reinvent the wheel. Thanks for the very useful input, it is much appreciated and I was hoping I'd get a feedback topic as it's one of my rare reviews and I am trying to improve.


http://backloggery.com/main.php?user=psycho_penguin


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Author: drella
Posted: December 18, 2008 (05:24 PM)
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The battle system part was well done; I just played through Paper Mario, and was able to think "hey, that sounds similar in concept." So while I may have sounded overly negative, that part was good, and really what I was getting at with game specific detail.


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Author: psychopenguin
Posted: December 18, 2008 (06:06 PM)
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You're right and after reading over it again, I edited it quite poorly. I added in the "dark stuff" to the intro last and forgot to explain it in great detail. I will need to edit this review. Thanks for the very useful critique again.


http://backloggery.com/main.php?user=psycho_penguin


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