Year in Review (Part III)
January 02, 2008

Tortuga: Two Treasures Preview (PC) January 02, 2007
Number of Views: 372

Never let my commitment be called into play! I wrote this still suffering from one hell of a hangover as I once again took on my old foe, New Years Day and lost in spectacular fashion.

Previews are bloody tough. Don't believe me? Download a pre-release demo and try to write one -- I dare you! Most people who have stop at only the one, and I don't blame them. You can't even talk in an assured tone because you have no way of knowing if what you're talking about will even make the final cut of the full game.

Anyway, I quite like how this one came out, although it does drag the points it makes onwards too far. Still, it's a tough job done in tough conditions, so I award myself self-kudos.

Sam & Max 3: The Mole, the Mob and the Meatball. (PC) January 26th, 2007
Number of Views: 834

The hardest thing about this review was trying to say enough about a game I beat in about an hour and a half while still making it different to the last two Sam & Max reviews I'd written. I'm moderately happy with how this one came out, but it still reads a little jaunted and shunty to me. It's also the only review I wrote all January. I don't remember why.

Dreamfall: The Longest Journey (XBox) February 08, 2007
Number of Views: 1251

Now with screenshots built into the body of the review!

This was the first piece I'd written outside of the review codes I'd been swamped with for a while and served as a warm-up for Zig's tourney. I like the first half but feel the second half gets bogged down as it goes on. Adding the screens into the body of the review is something I wanted to avoid at one point, but I'm very happy with how they came out, so all's good. I was worried that this one would get buried under a slew of other works and will quickly become one of those 'lost' reviews that no one remembers, but a few people sent me e-mails saying that they loved it and had bought the game based off what I wrote. Which is about as big a compliment you can achieve for a praise review. Confidence bolstered by both this and Veems labelling it one of the best reviews she'd ever read, I put it in as my pick for the TT semi-finals while on holiday in Ibiza. It lost 2-1.

Happy endings suck, anyway.

Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express (PC) February 16, 2007
Number of Views: 826

After writing for myself with Dreamfall, it was right back to the review codes. This game was a devil to play though, always mocking me with intricately hidden clues that remained just outside my reach. The review as all about letting the reader know what they were getting into, a logical point 'n' click that made no bones about having you re-examine evidence again and again and again. The intro and conclusion may feel cop-out-ish, but I quite like how it frames the less creative meat of the review. I'm happy with how this one turned out, but I'm sure many find it a dull read.

Not that I'll ever know because most people don't even know it exists.

UFO: Afterlight (PC) March 20, 2007
Number of Views: 4576

This thing was a major pain to get write. First we got sent a preview disk with an activation code that wore out after 28 days use. It didn't work on my system or on Ben's who got stuck with it shortly after me. Then we got a review version with the same code that nerfed the game after 28 days and, again, it didn't work on either of our computers. Eventually, I got something working and I played the game non-stop for a few days to try and beat it as quick as I can. Thankfully, it's about as close to a new X-Com game as I'll ever find, so playing it was a lot of fun.

The review got basically written at work between dead spots as my time at home was spent playing it. I HG mailed what I had to myself and used the back-and-forth efforts to mould the review you see today. It does suffer for this, but it turned out okay. It's also racking up a lot of hits, which is somewhat gratifying after all the legwork I poured into this one.

It took my about three or four bits of artwork before I found one that I liked for the focus window. Thank Tur's nagging for that, because every time I posted one, he promptly told me it sucked.

But the biggest source of this review's hits? That would come from it being translated into Russian and hosted on a review site that you can see here. EmP has an international fan-base. Do you have an international fan-base, OD? No, you don't.

Sam & Max: Episode 4 – Abe Lincoln Must Die (PC) February 26, 2007
Feedback topic Number of Views: 809

Before reviewing this one, I got an e-mail from Telltale (because I'm on talking terms with MANY game developers, you see. I'll name drop and show you all!) pointing out several things that had been worked on and explaining the deadlines and such. Pretty normal stuff, but I liked the way they mentioned how the feedback gained from the reviews written on their games had been noted and applied to the later episodes of Sam & Max. And in Episode 4, it does show. I wanted to try and mention that within the review but also wanted to come at it from a different angle than I did with the last 3 episodes. I change my mind constantly if I managed to pull this off or not. This was the first review where I inserted screenshots into the review, and I was happy enough with the result to go back to Dreamfall and do the same to that.

Man, February kept me busy.

Deus Ex (PS2) March 01, 2007
Feedback topic Number of Views: 1428

I'd always wanted to write for Deus Ex, but other reviews always ganged up and got in the way. I managed to squeeze this one in and went with it for Zig's tourney which really gave me the excuse to write (finished with a high-80's score.) Even Veems stopped listening to toneless metal garbage long enough to read this! The intro itself has undergone many, many revisions and edits but the rest of the review is pretty unchanged since first draft side a little editing and tightening here and there. It's so refreshing not to have to slave over a review for once and just have it say what you want to say first time out! Also drew Disco1960 out of hiding, so it receives bonus points for that.

Me and DE originally planned to use both our Dues Ex reviews in our face off on the TT, but we took pity on the judges at the last moment.

Not reading this review is the same as condemning a scabby ho to pimp abuse!

The Mark (PC) July 18, 2007
Feedback topic Number of Views: 645

This was a bad game but one I felt cautious in just ripping into seeing as it was a publisher-sent title. As it was, said publisher sent an e-mail thanking me for the review and labelling it 'fair'. Phew! The game really is poor, though. The screens on site are from the game's official site as the ones I took got accidentally deleted in a snafu and I wasn't about to replay the game enough to re-capture them.

Used in the first round of the TT against Draqq, where it bafflingly lost 2-1 and was slated by Genj. Get used to seeing this phrase.

SkiFree (PC) March 09, 2007
Feedback topic Number of Views: 725

I wrote the majority of this on a slow day at work and e-mailed it to myself to edit when I got back home. Originally, I wasn't going to do anything with it aside from maybe sub it to FAQs or maybe on the b-side account, but after doing a little research and working on it a bit (then finding then adding the yeti .gif) I thought it had turned out well. So it got put up, and owned the focus window for only two days shy of a full week.

PDC World Championship Darts (PS2) March 19, 2007
Feedback topic Number of Views: 884

I've just reviewed a darts game.

It was a fun darts game that I still play quite often against a friend, but it's still a darts game. Writing this was more work than I would have imagined, though. Sports games are a pain to begin with, but when it's such a niche sport.... hard.

Space Hulk: Vengeance of the Blood Angels (PSX) March 30, 2007
Number of Views: 1389

This was a surprisingly tough game to write for. I couldn't decide on the angle to take and the piece suffered many re-drafts, deletions and mass edits. I went with having the primary focus on the dreaded Genestealers in the end and still have mixed feelings on it. It was my entry into the License to Review tourney where it received a pretty mediocre score.

Patriots: A Nation Under Fire (PC) Date Submitted: April 02, 2007
Feedback topic Number of Views: 619

This glitchy little game could and should have been better, but it's more of an unfinished beta than a full game.

I'm torn on the intro. It was supposed to be a play against the media circus the 'States needs endure but it comes out as a tad U.S bashy instead. Despite Genj's claims, I'm not an anti-U.S terrorist! The structure for the review was first born I ranted at DoI over AIM for a fair while about how broken the game sometimes was.

It partnered Veems' awesome NetHack review in the obscure tourney and got a good enough score to help me and my talented sidekick pick up the win. I was over the moon for this because it's the third time we've paired up and we've missed taking the top-spot by a single point in the past.

Sam & Max Episode 5 - Reality 2.0 (PC) April 09, 2007
Number of Views: 739

This is probably my favourite Sam & Max episode yet in terms of script and giggles. The problem I face every month with these is what I'm going to bloody write about so as it's a new review and not a slight edit of the last. So in this one, I used that problem as the tone for the entire review! I walk away happy with what I finished with. Episode six is going to be tough to write...

Spectrobes (DS) April 23, 2007
Number of Views: 1194

This is a pretty bland game. I should have known it would be when Venter shipped it all the way from the US to the UK because no one there was dumb enough to want to cover. Enter EmP. The idiot.

Playing the game was a struggle because it was too grey to hold my attention but the review came with relative ease. The only problems I faced was editing some of the smaller complaints because the review dragged somewhat. Constant reminder to hide away next time Jason offers me a game -- I have enough of my bloody own to cover!

Demolition Racer: No Exit (DC) April 24, 2007
Number of Views: 387

This was actually one of my very first reviews EVER that I was playing around with on a slow day. I dropped a lot of the redundant phrasing, the obligatory graphics and sound paragraph, mixed them into the body and played about with the pacing. It's still not a work of art, but it's solid as is. I was heartened to find that I could use the main frame of something I wrote when I first started off can be converted into something useable!

Runaway: The Dream of the Turtle (PC) May 03, 2007
Number of Views: 399

I love that most of the publisher sent reviews I get are for point and click games. And I loved this one.

I flew through the game and then found the review came pretty easy. Obviously, the little lemur at the start had quite an effect on me, but it also allowed me to not spoil any of the main story by focusing on the alcoholic rodent. Starting to play around more with integrating screenshots into a review's main body, think I pulled this one off pretty well.

Soccer '97 (PSX) May 07, 2007
Number of Views: 408

Pulled this one out of nowhere, but it's a game no one's ever heard of and really deserved some kind of coverage. Even though I wager no one will ever really read it, I always like covering the more obscure stuff. It's nice knowing that you have the best review for a game up on the internet, even if you have to cheat and make sure it's all but the only one.

Sam & Max Episode 6 - The Bright Side of the Moon (PC) May 09, 2007
Number of Views: 413

Season 1 down. Thank God, because I was all kinds of out of things to say. I liked the time I spent playing the new Sam & Max stuff, but writing about them was a real bitch. Knowing that there's going to be a Season Two at some point worries me, but it's a while away.

This was written pretty quickly, which is unlike me, but I'm happy with it.

SBK '07: Superbike World Championship '07 (PS2) May 14th 2007
Feedback topic Number of Views: 536

DAY 1 OF 3

This was a much easier review than I thought it was going to be. The problem with reviewing racing games is that, unless they're awful, you don't have much to talk about and it's very hard to try and talk about them in an interesting way. I've made myself write about sports games in the last few years exactly because they are hard to do and, in covering them, I hope that it adds an element to my writing that wouldn't be there otherwise. I like how this came out, so all was good.

SBK '07 is a fun little game that can't quite decide if it wants to be an arcade racer or a true sim. But it finds a cool middle ground and builds from there. I think I got that across well enough. This was the first review in the three-day review spree.

Alpine Ski Racing 2007 (PC) May 15th 2007
Number of Views: 656

DAY 2 OF 3

This is about as good as I can write a ski review!

I mean, come on, it's not the easiest of games to cover. ASR07 helps me out with some pretty unique ways to slide down snow such as an awesome career mode but I had to cheat a little by padding the review with links to similar reviews and by making a talking point around the skis being waxed when it didn't really deserve such a focus. Still, in the scheme of things, this one turned out well, especially when you consider it was my second review in so many days. Most of you will never read it.

Ankh: Heart of Osiris (PC) May 16th 2007
Number of Views: 777

DAY 3 OF 3

The three-day streak ends with Ankh. This is a good thing because I was all kinds of burnt out by this point.

Ankh's a cool game, but what with covering so many adventure games this year, I was worried I was falling into a rut with the genre. I wanted to try and change out of this, but a lot of the reappearing habits still found their way in. The publisher really liked it, though!

minDStorm May 28th 2007
Number of Views: 445

I hate all this DS 'Brain Training' rubbish; literally hate it. Not only do I not see the fun in doing what is nothing more than glorified secondary school homework, but the interfaces are broken and are the reason for 80% of my wrong answers (because I is smart). MinDStorm suffers from much of the same problems but has slightly more fun mini-games and a much cooler title. Not a fun game to cover, though: how do you write about doing your maths homework? In a very stuffy and listy way, according to this review!

LMA Manager 2007 (Xbox 360) May 29th 2007
Number of Views: 478

I tried to get into the habit of writing one of these a year but didn't do 2006. This stopped me from doing my usually trick of just editing last year's review a little and claiming it was a clever dig at the rehashing of annual titles. But I didn't, so had to write it anew. Bah.

If you call football soccer, you should probably avoid it. It also relies on some prior knowledge.

Dawnspire June 4th 2007
Number of Views: 475

I'm over the moon on how this one turned out. The publishers even went so far as to get in contact and say that they loved the first 70% of the review and I should snip the last 30% away and score their game higher. I honestly wish I could.

Had a few problems getting this one up and written. Originally it went to a freelancer but they had problems running it on their PC, so I had to recall it and do it myself. However, the Post Office screwed up and I still didn't have the review copy back some 10 days later. Luckily, I know someone who bought the game, so camped at her house for a few days and racked up a lot of game time while she made me butterscotch muffins.

It's a hard life reviewing sometimes.

Anyway, I wrote the review mostly on paper while there and typed it up at home that night, making little edits and changes as I went along. It was a quick write and the finished product came out a lot better than I had expected. When the review copy of the game gets here, I'll keep playing this one in the hope that the community picks up.

Used in the first round of the TT against Zig, where it lost 2-1 and was slated by Genj. I think pretty unfairly, but that's what judges are for. Even if 66% of the panel didn't much like it, I still rank it amongst my best work

World Poker Championship 2 (PS2) June 5th 2007
Number of Views: 454

Oxygen doesn't like to make life easy for me. The first game they sent me to review was a darts one, and now, poker!

I held this one for ages, wanting to release it on-site with the PAL release date, but this seems to have been pushed back forever, so it got sent out now. Considering the source material (I know I'm saying that a lot, but I've had some difficult games to cover recently!) I'm pleased with how its come out. I also still find myself playing the game on and off as when I want to play something light. This surprises me.

Pacific Storm: Allies (PC) June 18th 2007
Number of Views: 717

Here's a game that should have been a lot better than it was. The story behind this is that a solid war sim game was made combing three genres in a very clever way and serving the player with a unique way to wage war. Then it was sent to the publishers who thought it would be a super idea to jam in a anti-piracy code on the last day before retail release without any form of testing at all. There's now bugs all over the place including a very annoying one that doesn't show explosions so you have no idea whether or not you hit your target. This only applies to the UK game that I got; the rest of Europe and NTSC will have perfect version without moronic publisher choices.

Rant aside; I'm lukewarm with the review. In an attempt to make the review applicable to all regions, I think the above point was undersold. I also should have maybe deleted the history nerd tangents I kept running off into all together rather than try and make a running joke of them.

Safecracker (PC) June 23rd
Number of Views: 536

There's this bastard puzzle in here where you need to guide a ball bearing through a maze using magnets to attract the ball to up, down, left or right. The aim is to get it to fall in one of the five holes, but it can easily get trapped or roll off the table completely. It took me hours upon hours to do.

That's the kind of game Safecracker is. It's not about plots or characters but all about puzzles. This makes it pretty hard to write about. I hate the intro as it's a blatant cop-out and one of the things I advise other reviewers not to do, but I had nothing in the bag and an incoming publisher deadline to meet. It picks up from there, but I hope to have a sudden burst of inspiration one day so I can come back and edit in a better intro.

Loki [PREVIEW] (PC) June 28th 2007
Number of Views: 277

Loki's preview disk only gave me the chance to play as a Norse warrior out of the four playable classes, but it also came with a really cool glossy book that shows a lot of what the finished game will be. I usually just get a monochrome A4 press release note.

What was on the disk was old-school click-and-die fun. Ignoring this, I got too carried away in writing about the setting to convey this as much as I would hope then proceeded to oversell this point in the latter half of the preview. Looks to be a blast of a game, though; Lisa thought so when I gave her the full build, only to promptly vanish a little time later. I get all the luck with Freelancers.

Return to Mysterious Island (PC) July 3rd 2007
Number of Views: 609

This came in a box-set along with Journey to the Moon (which I got to later!) and was actually a lot of fun. The thing I liked most about RtMI was that each goal can be completed in a differing way. So this is what I focused on whit this review. While I like how that aspect came out, it feels a bit.. samey. Like I'm getting a little too much into a rut. I need a break!

Armored Core 4 (XBOX360) July 4th 2007
Number of Views: 707

My attempt at getting out of my rut failed horribly and this review got lambasted for the fan-fic like cut aways I'd included throughout. Knowing when to cut my losses, the review has since been updated minus the cut-aways. Without them, I don't think it has any real soul to it, but it reads like an actual review and not a bad fan fic.

The biggest pain, finding a new font to put the cut-aways in, vanished with their deletion.

Exit 2 (PSP) July 20th 2007
Number of Views: 333

So, a freelance guy said he had a PSP thus I accepted a PSP review code. Said PSP was promptly sold and I was stuck.

Now I [all but] own a bloody PSP, Exit 2 is the kind of game that makes the purchase seem worthwhile. It's a fun, quirky and unique little game that wouldn't be applicable on the DS or GBA. I played the game and wrote the review mainly from work where I decided to try and find out how much video gaming I could get away with over a slow week. The answer was a lot.

Journey to the Moon (PC) July 30th 2007
Number of Views: 346

There's a real steampunk/sci-fi setting around this one, and how they've managed to bring the books to life is quite the feat. Even if lead character Ancell looks like a deranged killer and not the brilliant explorer he was meant to be. Also, got to love the English accents on the French protagonists.

Like its sister game, Return to Mysterious Island, there's a multi-branch puzzle solutions deal going on, but it's not quite as free-flowing. For atmosphere, JttM destroys RtMI, but roles are reversed for gameplay.

Interesting note: This game is called Voyage: Inspired by Jules Verne in the states. Haha, your title sucks.

Persona (PSX) August 22nd 2007
Number of Views: 334

I've been wanting to review this game for ages (HG already has a staff review for this but it's, to be blunt, awful) and despite it loosing to Boo in the TT (Curse you, tubby!) I'm really happy with how it came out. I threw the discussion points around a bit to take familiarity out of the picture and spent most of the review comparing the JP and NA versions, which are so different, they may as well have been released under different names. Whereas I caught some stick for this in the TT judgement, it's not something I'm going to change.

PS: Mark dances sexy.

Sam & Max: Season One (PC) August 29th 2007
Feedback topic Number of Views: 528

Just when I think I'm done with the bloody series..

The intro isn't just there for comedic effect: I really did launch into a huge spiel about the history of the series that went on for a good four or so paragraphs. Obviously, this was overkill, so I scaled it right back into what you see now.

Big thanks to VM on this one. We had an obligatory fight the day before the TT deadline and proofed each other's reviews still with a very open air of hostility, but we predictably got bored of bickering half-way through. Shame, too; she's always so much quieter when she's sulking. Of course, by the time Ben had finished his review for the week (which, as usual, was late) we were too busy being overworked to remember we were still pissed off at each other.

I must remember to go back and hyperlink the hell out of this later. I didn't review all six episodes separately to not spam them hard in a season sum-up.

WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007 (360) August 31st 2007
Feedback topic Number of Views: 380

Time-killer review penned at work, written from a pretty smarky point of view, but it should find a niche, at least! Not actually played a wrestling game in any depth since the glory days of the N64, so comparisons are rather shallow.

True INSOLENTLY didn't do his obligatory WWE review this year (or, hell, much of anything else), so I figured I'd have to do it for him.

UFO: Aftermath (PC) September 15th 2007
Number of Views: 204

This was an odd title to review retrospectively as I had already played and reviewed the third title in the series and, as you can guess; this one still had a littering of teething problems the later game I played had long ironed out. The biggest problem with writing reviews for games like this is that they may still be fun but later titles have made them obsolete. And that's why it lurks right at the bottom of my hit-counter.

All I wrote all September. Thank two weeks in Ibiza for that. And I still got online to help Ben and Veems for TT stuff without even a thank you between them. I'm such a martyr.

Quake 4 (Xbox 360) October 2nd 2007
Number of Views: 192

This really hasn't been read much. Maybe because it's less a Quake 4 review for the first half and more a chance to bash the crap out of the awful Doom 3. Which, in case I've not said, is awful.

But the review is far too long and really is in need of a good edit. I've already cut a lot of fat off this one, but despite there being some good ideas in here, it still feels like it needs to lose more. I may have to enlist an editor for this one.

Boo had a lot to do with this one as we spent about a week basically saying "Quake 4 is pretty badarse." "Yeah, it is, but Doom 3 sucks." Blame the Boo.

Requital (PC) October 15th 2007
Number of Views: 2318

Requital's an odd game and when I say odd I mean mediocre. It has some good ideas but never takes full advantage of them and remains mostly humdrum. Which makes writing about it pretty hard. Daggnammit.

It's a good game to get covered, though, as not many sites seemed to bother, as the respectable hits on the title seems to suggest.

Halo 3 (Xbox 360) October 18th 2007
Number of Views: 330

I know, odds are you've never heard of this one.

I had no real intentions of covering Halo 3 for the site as I try to shy away from the bigger names, forcing Zig to carry that burden instead. But, much like the Gears or War situation, a certain editor insisted I took it up as soon as he (or she) heard I bought, played and beat it upon release. Which was a pain.

What worked out was the FPS review tourney being announced, allowing me to kill two birds with one plasma grenade. I romped to victory.

I like this one. The intro worked and by the time I got into the less interesting parts in the latter parts, I think I have enough momentum stored to not let it slow things down. Obviously, the internet is flooded with Halo 3 reviews, so it will just have to live with never being read, but that makes me no less proud of it.

Valhalla Knights (PSP) October 24th 2007
Number of Views: 190

Buying a PSP for review codes has almost paid for itself already. Sadly, Valhalla Knights isn't a game I would feel happy dropping cash on to play. While it was nice to get back to penning a bash review (I was starting to feel that I would forever be stuck in the 6-10/10 range!) it came at a super-busy time and there were other games I would have prefer to get played and reviewed, especially since Zig already had a review for the same game up live.

I like to think I made my argument differently to his. But I'm probably kidding myself.

Urban Dead (PC) October 26th 2007
Number of Views: 178

So, I wrote a review on a browser-based zombie MMO for Halloween. Then I forgot it was Halloween based and released it early. Then remembered after I released and swore.

Urban Dead's a tricky little game to cover and I think I maybe used a little too much creative license and not enough cold facts in this one. Still it's a cool game and it's free -- you should all be playing it.

Recently went back to try and expand on stuff I missed, like the MS Paint-like graphics and the real downfall of reaching the point where your character is maxed.

Honeycomb Beat (DS) November 6th 2007
Number of Views: 157

This was purely written on the publisher's request as both Jason and Pup have a review up for this game already. Three staff reviews and no users -- odd. Anyway, this meant that saying something new about it wasn't really going to happen, so I didn't bother checking on the aforementioned pair of reviews and just wrote. It's a puzzle game review, so it's not going to be my best thing ever, but it's adequate.

The jellyfish pic used to be the paragraph that you'd see on the game's data page, but this made Jason uncomfortable. Probably because it alone upstaged the hell out of review.

Sam & Max 201: Ice Station Santa (PC) November 11th
Number of Views: 235

Just when you think you're free from a series.

Don't get me wrong, I love playing the new Sam & Max games, but writing about them gets harder and harder each review and and this is my 8th review! I'm enjoying the games far too much to let some other slacker take the contract, though.

The new series seems to have a few key differences from the last, including an effort to drag in new players, so perhaps I'll have something new to write about. Here's hoping.

Escape from Paradise City (PC) November 18th 2007
Number of Views: 476

Martin was set to review this one, so it was posted to him. He couldn't play it on his laptop. So I offered it to PAJ89, but he was busy with exams. Trying to get Ben to review a PC game (or, hell, anything that isn't bloody Zelda!) means trying to track him down and threaten him with copies of Basketball manager sims, and the boy's a good hider, so I gave up and did it myself. Pretty glad I did. The game's actually a lot more fun that I imagined and is probably the best of its kind since Syndicate back in '93. There are a lot of good ideas within so I'm hopeful to see more from the developers in the future.

Luminious Ark (DS) November 25th 2007
Feedback topic Number of Views: 371

When I originally asked for a review code of this game, I was told I couldn't have one and was sent Valhalla Knights and Honeycomb Beat instead. It was only after the PR firm employed a new guy who actually came out and asked me if I wanted a copy that one arrived. The game then got busy taking over my life.

I took it to my football matches and played it at half time. I took it to the gym to play on the treadmill a few times. Hell, I kept it on my bike and barely resisted the urge to play at red lights. It's a great game and one I'm still playing via the new game + mode.

Best thing I've played on the DS bar none. But the review was tricky because it does have some rather glaring problems that needed to be addressed and not skipped over so I could praise the hell out of it. Everything considered, I'm very happy with how this one came out. I've even got some fan mail over it, once of which I will now share:

Just wanted to thank you
Got Luminous Arc for Christmas and I absolutely freaking love it. I can't even bring myself to go on in the story because I want to progress the intermissions... XD It's exactly what I've needed with my DS, some light hearted strategical fun.

Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS) November 30th 2007
Feedback topicNumber of Views: 190

So, this one was kind of fun. The rambly bit at the front is a real love-it-or-hate-it affair and the powers that be on site decided they hated it. This was quickly downgraded to a user review and then, upon my request, moved to the secondary account. The timing of its releases is either perfect of terrible, what with all the drama revolving around reviewing thanks to Gamespot and CNet's shenanigans, but the review was written long before these events mostly at work on the new blog forums which I have converted into a digital notepad or sorts.

Hourglass is simply a dull game that's only shot on innovation is tied in with the gimmicky system it has been released on. Someone needed to tell the world!

Felix linked it to the GameFaqs message board where it was quickly deleted for trolling. I did likewise with a review of his (Sex Vixens from Space) which was nuked for spamming.

Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS) December 1st 2007
Number of Views: 134

After the last attempt of the review was nuked, it was back to the lab again. It has pretty much the same critical commentary of the last with half the personality and none of the satire. Instead, I decided to pick on how the big Nintendo nerds like to scream about innovation before sitting down to play the newest Mario Party game. Aren't they in double figures by now?

Crackdown (360) December 21, 2007
Feedback topicNumber of Views: 143

I've been threatening to pen this one for months now but never got the chance to do so. However, getting C in the AlphaOlympics was the perfect excuse, so I dusted off and three-month-old intro, edited it, decided I didn't want it anymore, binned it, started anew three times and finally decided on and angle. I came third in the tourney behind a great Suskie review and a Lasty review I may as well have written for him and certainly did enter on his behalf, so I might as well have won it, anyway. Either way, this makes it the third year Team EmP have walked away with the big trophy. Start looking for bets on DE or DoI in 2008.

But, right, review. 272/300 is a great score and the criticisms levelled (same old EmP review, a few distracting errors not fixed and the odd overly-ambitious line here and there) are fair and just.

Reviews aside, I've subbed over 3,000 cheats, worked PR for the entire EU side of the website, recruited, supplied with review code and edited for eight different freelancers (three since vanished, two nicked by the US side!), ran a dozen tourneys including a publisher-sponsored give-away, published hundreds of news storys, threw up five hundred plus cover arts and around a thousand screenshots, updated the site's database more than my sanity would have me recall and still found time to be an arrogant, smug prick. The sooner Venter gives me my paid vacation, the better.

But until then, it's back to the grindstone. Here's to 2008. Here's hoping it doesn't kill me.

Most recent blog posts from Gary Hartley...

Felix_Arabia Felix_Arabia - January 02, 2008 (09:16 PM)
I'm proud of you, EmP. I want a see a 10/10 El Viento review from you this year.
MartinG MartinG - January 03, 2008 (02:36 AM)
That's impressive O_O Do you ever sleep?
EmP EmP - January 03, 2008 (07:49 AM)
Felix: I can say with complete honesty I have very little time to actually play games that I want to these days. Mainly because you have me going back over the majority of the 3,500 scvheats I subbed! I had some vague idea to try and rally a huge Mega Drive reviewing push (and entertained the idea of trying to get a review for each title before reality bitch slapped me), but while EV is a game I wish to play someday, I think it has enough reviews.

Martin: Sleep? I have heard if this. What does it entail?
Felix_Arabia Felix_Arabia - January 03, 2008 (11:38 AM)
Well, as you and I both know, some of those cheats had to get refurbished anyway. :D

Look at all the people who have El Viento reviews up. Who cares if yours doesn't say anything new. Reviewing El Viento and giving it a 10/10 that it deserves is one of the several signs that you're a legendary reviewer. (Reviewing Panzer Dragoon Orta, as you have done, is another example.)
disco1960 disco1960 - January 04, 2008 (12:51 AM)
Oh yeah, I actually got Dreamfall thanks to your review. That, and I saw it for eight dollars on clearance, but still!

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