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Forums > Contributor Zone > RotW: May 31 to June 6, 2021 -- The quartet of quality.

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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: June 09, 2021 (12:38 PM)
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At long last, I've gotten through a busy few weeks at work and can relax a bit, giving me more time to do things like write reviews (been about a month since I've had time to do that) and play games. Watched a lot of movies over the past few weeks -- too many to post here unless I want to spend all day typing the stuff before the review-judging. But they were all of the giallo persuasion and some of them were really good (Death Walks at Midnight, Suspicious Death of a Minor), while Amuck was a pretty fun ride due to all the nudity and Deadly Inheritance was pretty enjoyable with a very nice twist at the end. Oh, I also watched Mario Bava's classic horror anthology Black Sabbath. That was a lot of fun, too, especially the Wurdelak part.

Due to being incredibly unfocused when it comes to gaming, I got back into racing games. Due to it becoming free via PS Now, I downloaded Team Sonic Racing, but Mario Kart-type games don't really have the depth to satisfy me, so I simultaneously re-started Gran Turismo 3 and downloaded and started Project Cars 2. GT is the king of simulation racing games, but Project Cars 2 has a huge career mode, a ton of series and tracks and enough sliders that I can make it as in-depth or "arcade-like" as I want. Using the low-tier introductory series to help gauge the difficulty I want to play at. The Kart races are kind of loose-handling and I had to really lower it to do well there, but then I moved to the Ginella Junior series, which is more traditional cars, and utterly dominated the first race, so I'm gradually raising the difficulty until I'm getting a quality challenge that doesn't stretch into being frustrating. Oh, and of course, I turned off penalties. Not so into real-life racing that I want to lose 37 seconds due to running off the road or ramming other cars or whatever. That kind of detracts from the fun factor!

Now, off to judge you people! And maybe your reviews, too!

It wasn't easy to determine placements and whatnot, as all four reviews had a lot of strengths and few weaknesses. It's almost a travesty that one of you won't be placing, especially since if I did this yesterday or tomorrow, there's a good chance the order would be different.

Which brings us to EmP, who has finally tired of making cracks about me forgetting his hold-overs because I haven't done so in a year or two or three. All of which reminds me I've been doing these things for one hell of a long time and now I'm sad…

Anyway, this was a really good review with your general "touch of sarcasm" personality shining through in your overview of the sort of ARPG this one is. Being that I'm struggling my way through Trails of Cold Steel, I can relate to the whole "military gives up; sends in the teens to solve everything" attitude. And I also can relate to how the game actually works despite being so reliant on tropes, as I've played my share of games where I could offer the same sort of description. This is a good review that covers all the bases of a game I could have bought from Venter, but chose not to because I do need to be somewhat selective when constantly adding to my damn backlog that'll never get completed because every damn time I make real progress in it, I "celebrate" by adding a few more games and then I'm back to where I began, damnit!


Anyway, when it comes to why this was the odd review out of placing, I'd say it comes down to how this is a very solid review, but just has the "reviewing guy reviews game" vibe where everything is solid, but I didn't get that "moment" that I got with the other three. Joe and Mariner had big flaws that they unpacked and explained with great success and Dagoss' passion for his game made his review really energetic to me. This was just a really good review where I enjoyed reading your insights on a game that, like I said, I came close to buying -- it just didn't hit that sweet spot in my brain that the others did.


Dagoss' The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (DS)

I'd offer one real bit of criticism about this review and that is that it does run long, with the more blog-style musings about the more finite nature of this game as compared to others due to the lifespan of the DS/3DS and how emulation won't preserve it like it would the average SNES or TG-16 game being the main thing that could possibly be cut for brevity's sake. But overall, I really dug this one. You entered the review with the goal of making a more-maligned entry into the Zelda series seem like it's been criminally underrated and you did a great job of accomplishing that. You were really enthusiastic about the subject matter and you did a great job of describing all the way it improved on the previous DS Zelda, while doing a good job of praising the system's mechanics and how they tied into the game, with some strong descriptions illustrating how well stylus commands work to add depth to this game and make it stand out from the Zelda pack. You also added a bunch of neat tidbits. While I would have preferred a shorter review, I can't deny that there is great value (to me, at least) in factoids such as rejected Japanese titles or the description of the children's book that served as inspiration for the concept.


Joe's Armored Kitten (PC)

As a testament to my maturity, I didn't dock you for that cringe-worthy pun in the tagline. Or as a testament to my lack of maturity, I did and am lying to you right now. I think the main strength of this and my top placer were how well they tackled the game's biggest flaw. In your case, you played a simplistic game that went on and on far longer than it should have. And you did a great job of proving that point, both by bringing up the game's duration and also by mentioning how many of those time-padding challenges weren't exactly great fun. I kind of winced a bit at your description of the "kill 400 zombie soldiers" one, as it seems to be designed in a way that not only drags out the amount of time it'd take to do so, but does it in a way that would really detract from any enjoyment such a quest could provide. Good stuff.

REVIEW OF THE WEEK (aka: Overdrive Place)

Mariner's Celeste (Switch)

Of all four of these reviews, this is the one that had me nodding my head in agreement with your points the most. Possibly because I've played Super Meat Boy and other sorts of challenging platformers and definitely am on your side about how those games are at their best with a minimal story and having everything focused around the game's mechanics. You did a good job of illustrating the issues with compatibility as far as "tough precision-based platforming" and "deep story", from the long chapters with few stopping points to the exploration-based stuff to how the ending is anticlimactic due to the character overcoming her issues and moving on and that apparently being reflected in diminished challenge. Made worse by how the story seems to be a let-down! You also do a good job of explaining that the game itself is legit good, with some good examples of how it's fun to play and has diverse challenges. I really got into this review as a result of all that, so kudos on your win and all the site perks that will provide, whatever they may be.

Cool, done with this; off to go VROOM VROOM on the PS4. Or get drunk. Or both.

I'm not afraid to die because I am invincible
Viva la muerte, that's my goddamn principle

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Author: dagoss
Posted: June 09, 2021 (04:40 PM)
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Thanks for the kind words. My sincere apology that it was your week that my review was in. It wouldn't surprise me if this was one of the longer reviews on the site. I asked myself if it was too long, then shrugged and added more. It's probably more of a retrospective than a review, but meh if you guys accept these things I've been writing as reviews I'll keep submitting them.

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Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: June 12, 2021 (12:28 PM)
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I suspect you'd quite like Tokyo Xanadu eX+; I certainly did. I've not been a JRPG player for a long time now when it used to be my genre of choice, but maybe I'm leaning back into it. I'm currently playing through a really high value indie JRPG called Edge of Eternity, and I'm having an absolute blast.

Props to my betters this week. If Marc was still around, he'd be going spare that someone didn;t rate his favourite precision platformer. It;s also nice to see Joe manage to get some time to himself. Hang in there, dude! Final kudos to dagoss, who killed it with that review formatting. Excellent stuff.

For us. For them. For you.

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Author: mariner
Posted: June 12, 2021 (05:31 PM)
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Thank you, kind sir! It's always hard to tell how some of my reviews that focus so much on one specific aspect will be seen (who writes a review that's all about the structure anyway?), so it's nice to know at least one person liked it. I see Celeste the way I see Firefly: I know it's good and I know I like it, but I also know it's overrated and thus my opinions end up being overly negative because of it...

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