Title: The Last Round Up
Posted: January 09, 2011 (06:03 PM)
Ignore the melodramatic title. I felt obligated to do it. But see, it's fitting, because I also felt obligated to give my "year in review" before I check out.
This year was a drop from the last, with only 20 reviews getting submitted (I think last year was 39). Here's my anecdotes for 'em.
Hopefully this helps out everyone who wants to vote for me in Jerec's contest ^_^
More like, Shattered Expectations. This was the review where I taught myself how to use pictures. I'd used them before, sparsely, but this was the one where I sat down and figured it out.
No, I'm not an HTML guy.
I remember wanting this review to get more attention than it did. I was really happy with the way it turned out and still am. I did later decide that it could have used maybe some mention of the ending. If there was one thing that showed how well the psychological profiling worked, it was the customized ending of Shattered Memories. God that ending really affected me. And the game knew it would; that's why it chose it for me.
But the rest of the game was such a chore, maybe no-one else will make it that far.
There were some heated debates about Heavy Rain on this site and on the web in general. It's funny, because I don't feel obligated to defend Heavy Rain. It made a choice in using a particular style to express its gaming style and it doesn't work for everyone.
Mostly, it is a style that is less active and hearkens, if anything, back to the days of Dragon's Lair. If playing a game made entirely of quick time events doesn't appeal, than stay the hell away. That said, I don't think that anyone can deny it is a very well written and beautifully animated game. Anyone who spoils the ending is an ass.
Writing a review for a kid's game is difficult because you're in a catch-22. Try to critically praise it and most of your audience is going to yawn. But say it's bad and people will assume you're just not thinking about it from a kid's perspective.
Hello Kitty was bad. I'm sorry, I love Hello Kitty and I like to believe I have the mind of a three year old and I thought it was terrible. It was cheaply made, quickly programmed, and expensive. Sanrio fans have much better options available to them.
I entered this in some contest and it got mixed feedback; maybe it was Ben who had trouble believing I'd taken the game seriously enough...? I understand where he's coming from. I don't believe that I DO take a gimmicky shopping-trip with a cat and a ninja owl seriously enough. I should have sent him the game as a present.
In any case, someday one other person in the world will play this and see that I'm right.
What Did I do to... yadda yadda...
I still haven't beaten this game. It's harder than Starcraft 2 on brutal difficulty. I even played it while I was at the Nuclear Plant in the hopes that a genetic mutation might cause me to understand what I was doing wrong. All I came away with was a growth under my left armpit.
Biggest Disappointment of the year
Funny how the more complex they try and make this series, the worse it gets. I think it was at its best when it was spawning unlimited aliens in tight dark corridors. The multiplayer is really fun and I'm surprisingly good at it, but I gave up on playing after I found myself sitting for fifteen minutes at a time waiting for a match to begin.
Probably the most controversial review I've written, in that I criticized a game that is universally acclaimed. This spawned a very long discussion (bordering on a heated discussion) about whether the review was accurate.
To be frank, I'd have to play the game again to see if I feel the same way about it now that I did when I wrote this. It's been a while. In rereading the review now, it immediately reminds me of what I didn't like about the game, so it was at least accurate to my experience. And, since that was a real experience, I have to say it's an accurate review. Maybe not the usual review, but not (as I said before) a fake one.
Also, everyone who defended it had first played it ages ago, when it was fresh. I think that says something.
Overall, SOTN is a complex game. Perhaps more complex than I first gave it credit for. If I went back today, I imagine I'd find a way to enjoy it and write a review that reflected that. I think it is the kind of game where you can have a multitude of experiences based on how you approach it.
But I'm glad I approached it the way I did: maybe I was able to see a side of it that most people don't experience.
Myst (part 1)
This was one of the few reviews I wrote in the span of an hour or two. Usually reviews take me several hours, spread out over several days. With this one I got an idea and ran with it while in the bath. Not a good place to bring your laptop.
I like Jason but I was really surprised that he defended this game. FFXIII seems like one of those things that you might call a guilty pleasure, something you like in spite of your better senses. I actually felt that way sometimes while playing it the second time around. But I could never properly defend this one. It's so story driven and its story is such an expository mess that it makes it hard to get behind it in any sort of critical fashion.
Playing this game was one of my favorite experiences of 2010 (aside from producing a major film). I stayed up very late every night playing each chapter and was somehow able to ignore the VERY VERY anime romantic comedy formula that I've seen a million times before. I had a good time, even if it's not an incredible game.
It took two reviews for me to express how I feel about Myst. Really, I am torn into two completely separate halves about the game. Fortunately, I have the original to express my total nostalgia and the shoddy PSP release to express my complete and utter ire.
Half Minute Hero
Yay for letting someone else write most of the review and then just giving an addendum.
This review was shunted from a staff review to freelance because Frima complained. Scoring is tough. I might have been able to squeeze out a 5 or 6 if I really overlooked some issues, but it was painful making my way through this game. The Beat-em-Up genre is dead.
Bizarrely, other critics have all given this a good score but everyone I've talked to in person who has played it also hated it. Something's going on, here.
Tournamnet of Legends
Of course, it didn't help my Young Thor review that I'd just given a poor score to another game. Tournament of Legends is probably the best argument against my Young Thor score because it is undeniably a worse game. You can replace "Young Thor" in that sentence with any game that isn't Hello Kitty and find it to be true, though.
God of War III
I wrote this at a McDonald's. I had a stomache ache for three hours afterwards and it wasn't the review's fault.
Illusion of Gaia
This is my favorite review of everything I've ever written on the site. I think it critically assesses the narrative, has a very natural sounding voice, and it looks really nice on that black background.
I think I wrote this because I had nothing better to do while waiting for Starcraft II to come out. Writing a review of Starcraft was also a goal of mine since joining the site. Writing a Fallout 3 review was another goal, but that went up on Gameroni. I want to adjust some things and bring it over here.
You might think I have a long list of anecdotes to accompany this review, considering I ended up interviewing the maker, but I don't. It's a great game. He's a cool guy. His book rocks.
And this was probably my least favorite review of the year. Reading it now, it's not as bad as I remembered it being. It just doesn't stand out or do anything very interesting.
Similarly, one of my weaker reviews. But serviceable. It was difficult to write because I was playing Left 4 Dead 2 for the first time that day.
Parasite EVE II
This one, on the other hand, I really like. It needs pictures, though.
Title: Re: The Last Round Up
Posted: January 09, 2011 (06:06 PM)
REPEAT: Not an HTML guy. everything is fixed now.
Title: Re: The Last Round Up
Posted: January 09, 2011 (06:44 PM)
Ah yes, it was me who wasn't that fond of your Hello Kitty review. My memory is a bit hazy, so I'd have to re-read my critique for it. But yes, maybe I do need to play the game for myself to fully appreciate how crappy the game really is!
Title: Re: The Last Round Up
Posted: January 09, 2011 (06:51 PM)
I can't wish that on you.