The Games Casters review: Borderlands 2 (video review)

Here is The Games Casters first ever video review, it's of Borderlands 2, I hope you enjoy it.

Mod edit: Please embed your video next time.

Apologies, I wasn't sure how.

Vagon123123:
Here is The Games Casters first ever video review, it's of Borderlands 2, I hope you enjoy it.

Mod edit: Please embed your video next time.

Apologies, I wasn't sure how.

Decent, but I think there are some improvements to be made.

Introduction:
Jumping stright to the critique is a bit jarring, so I'd advise you to start with an introduction that tells us things like: Who made the game? What else have they made? What genre is this game in? Any other noteworthy things?
I know these things are bogstandard and pretty boring, but they ease us in a bit and give us some background info on the game. Also, since you are a youtube reviewer, you should keep the wadsworth constant in mind.(not religiously of course, but, you know, just in the back of your head)

In essence, it's a formality you shouldn't skip, because it feels weird.

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Story: You reduced the story to it's bare minimum, "protagonist wants to find a mcguffin and the antagonist wants to prevent you from getting it". This is good, since it tells us which of the seven basic plots we are dealing with here. You also mention that the story is forgettable and has hardly any impact on the gameplay. But you didn't tell us *why* the story is so forgettable/ has so little impact.

Was it the pacing? The way it was told? The way the environment/characters/gameplay changes as the story changes(or fail to in this case)? What impact does the player have on the story?

For example:
From what I heard, the main antagonist basically just calls you every now and then to insult you and establish that he is an asshole(and maybe send mooks after you ala "meet my X")and this is about as far as story impact goes.

In New Vegas, things are a bit different. As you go through the game you learn more about the factions and characters in the mojave, their faults, ideologies, motivations, etc..
Also, as you approach the end, more and more powerful enemies start to show up, like veteran Legionaires and Rangers.
What factions side with determines what enemies you fight, like the Legion, NCR, Powder Gangers, Khans etc., has a big impact on the quests you can take and the endings you get. Although one point often criticized was that going against the Legion didn't make much of an impact, since they had few quests and hardly any presence on the map.

These are things you should analyze and mention to in your review.

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Graphics: I personally find this pretty pointless and wouldn't mind if you ditched it entirely, but I'll give you some advice anyway.

This is one of the strengths of video reviews. You don't have to *tell* us about the graphics, you can just *show* them to us.

More generally, mentioning the artstyle was pretty pointless, since we can see that by just looking at screenshots. It would have been better if you told us if the artstyle was *consistent* and show us any "breaks", if they occur and how often.
What we also need to know is this:
How is the visual variety? Do we get to see different things like jungle, city, volacanic, beach, sewer, swamp, cave and tomb environments like in Dark Souls or do we just get the same brown corridor/green woods/blue tundra for the whole game?
Are the individual environments themselves well designed or do they have just a simple colour filter over them(which often makes them very monotonous)?
How often does the scenery change? Does it take too long for a scenery change before it gets boring?
Are there any graphical glitches(you mentioned this) and if yes, how frequent and how severe are they?(you didn't specify much here)

Mentioning little details like the elaborate container design is nice and gave your review a bit of personal flavour. I liked that, because it tells me that it's not just a robot reading lines from script but an actual person doing a review ;) (Although the gushing was a bit over the top, but that's just my opinion)

Again, *showing* us all of this stuff is best, so try doing that if you can. It's obviously a lot of work to record, so you have to judge for yourself how much you need to get your point across.

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Gameplay Mechanics:
(Here is where I let out my inner grognard, so don't take things personally.)
This is the most important part of any review, since this is about games after all. You give us an overview of... nothing in particular and don't tell us anything substantial about anything. It's basically the same problem that IGN, Gamespot and who-gives-a-crap all have in common:
A lot of *talking* without saying *anything* and not a single critical bone in their bodies. Although I have to say, you have one thing over those other sites. You kept it short and while that still didn't tell me anything, I didn't have the feeling that you were wasting my time or tring to bullshit me into buying this game with a lot of empty rhetoric.

Now for the content. This is what we need to know:
You mentioned that this is an FPS/RPG. So, how much of an RPG or FPS is it? Do your skills/attributes determine how accurate you are? Do they just affect spread and/or jittering of your gun or do they determine whether you can hit something at all? Do they effect the damage of your weapons?
What about the classes? How different are they from each other? Are there class restrictions for certain types of guns? What do their skills do? Are they more active abilities or passive boni? How much of a difference do they make?
In essence, this is analyzing the RPG system itself and finding out what impact all those numbers have on the gameplay.

What types of weapons are available? How do they differ? What kind of variations are within those types? You mention different types of damage like fire and acid. I also saw some rifles with differences like multiple barrels, bolt action, semi-automic, fully-automatic etc.. What difference do these modifications make? Can certain types of guns, like pistols, have all of these (multiple barrels etc.) or are they restricted to others?
What do the different types of damage do? Are acid and fire both damage over time effects, does fire spread from one enemy to the other or is fire just a simple bonus to the base damage itself?
Do enemies have resistances to these damage types or do they all work the same? Do enemies/does the player have damage threshold and/or damage reduction values or is it just HP?
Do different weapons/ammo have armor penetration boni/penalties?
Is it necessary/useful to use different types of weapons/ammo against different enemies or is it enough to just shoot your way through with a single weapon?

What types of enemies are you facing? Are you up against multiple types of enemies at once or just a single one?
Are you fighting the same or different group compositions?
Do all enemiy types appear throughout the entire game or are they restricted to their respective zones(i.e. can I ditch my fire based weapon after the snow level)?

How is the Inventory system? Is it grid, weight and/or volume based or do you just have a cap of items you can carry? Is it a combination of those?
How is comparing, sorting and selling/dropping items managed? Does it require a lot of effort or is it quick and easy to do?

In general: Does the game give me all the information I need/want about it's system or do I have to wiki things (like rate of fire or penetration etc.)? Again, what do the numbers mean and how do they affect the game?(<- this is important, just in case you couldn't tell)

I'm going to skip the last two parts, because I'm too lazy don't thinl they were that important.
Although I'd suggest to drop the score at the end, because it is unnecessary. If your viewer can't tell what you think about a game after watching your review, something went terribly wrong. You'll also avoid getting a lot of shitheads arguing with you over the score (and nothing else!), but that's just my opinion again.

**************

Whew, glad that's over.

Another note on the Gameplay analysis: This is the hardest part of a game review to get right (which is why most so called "reviewers" at IGN et al don't). You obviously can't cover *everything* in detail, but the most important mechanics (like how how your attributes/skills affect the game in an RPG) should be covered in greater detail. (Again don't take the things I said personal, I'm just fed up with most of the so-called game "journalism")

For a few pointers on how to do this properly, I suggest reading a few articles by this guy. He also posts on other sites like rpgcodex, shamusyoung.com/twentysided, Gamebanshee as "sea".(He is basically my main inspiration on how to analyze games and their mechanics and writing things like this here whole shebang)

And since I've already spent so much time on this: if you want/need some help for future reviews in terms of editing or analysis I'd be happy to help. Just send me a pm or something. (Answers could take some time however, I don't check things like these daily)

Woah... when I asked for comments on how to improve I expected perhaps a sentance or two... thank you very much for your feedback Hargrimm I will be sure to take it into account. Thanks again.

 

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