278: Opinions for Sale or Trade

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Evil Tim:

obliviondoll:
And as for Rise of the Robots, I actually don't think it's that bad a game. As an arcade-style fighting game, it was AWFUL, yes. But that's because it WASN'T an arcade-style fighting game. The problem was that they targeted the wrong market.

Yes, the jumping backwards into a corner and pressing kick market would have lapped it up if correctly targeted, I'm sure.

obliviondoll:
Of course, it was the first 2D beat-em-up style game I played with a realistic feel to the combat (no over-the-top special moves or jumping 8 feet high just to make the gameplay work).

Why in God's name would you want a game about robots hitting each other to have a "realistic" feel to the fighting? If you're going to go that route, you need to present your game as such; when your enemy is a powerloader or a mechanical gorilla, you expect things to be over the top. When they're not, you're disappointed; more so when the AI is too stupid to put up a fight and there's exactly one selectable character in singleplayer.

I'm sorry. I don't see how a powerloader is going to be any good at jumping twice its height in the air, and I don't have a problem with the gameplay reflecting that. They promoted the game blatantly towards Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat fans. If they'd targeted people who were going to enjoy a more down-to-earth feel, the game would have probably done better. A large portion of the market One Must Fall: 2097 won over would have quite enjoyed it, and that game probably would have been better promoted toward the hardcore fighting game fanbase. Also, something I still find funny about Rise: it made record sales during the first week after release because of how heavy-handed the hype was, and during the following week had record numbers of returns.

Agree with you on the possibility of winning through the jump backwards and kick every fight, but that was a bug, not a feature. As for the lack of choice of character, you forgot to mention that in two player, one person had to be the guy from single-player. That was a deliberate design choice to allow them to direct the story. Unfortunately, it was also a stupid one. So yes, I agree, there were issues. I think I already mentioned that though.

obliviondoll:
It had enough issues to keep it from reaching 8/10

Guess so.

Jim Sterling... on the escapist? No fucking way!
Dudes got too much integrity dammit!

Anyway, I do love that you can admit to being wrong however you are still one of the very few reviewers I actually trust. Not that your word is law but that you are happy to point out both the good and the bad of games.
You pan FF XIII because it was a shitty game, a big name, big budget, big hype shitty game.
Then give a nothing game like Deadly Premonition 10/10 because even though every part of it sucked it still amused you.

Oh and lets not forget Heavy Rain. True I have not read every review from everywhere but have a few and Destructoid is the only one that went out of their way to point out the overwhelming story flaws. Going so far as to devote a entire podtoid to it while every other site just babbled on about how its the "future of video game story telling"

obliviondoll:
I'm sorry. I don't see how a powerloader is going to be any good at jumping twice its height in the air, and I don't have a problem with the gameplay reflecting that.

Hell, a powerloader shouldn't realistically be any good at fighting at all, so they got that aspect nailed down too with the AI.

If they'd wanted to market a realistic fighting game, they should have just bitten the bullet and made a wrestling game with people. When you're up against a military robot (and at very least the red one was supposed to be a soldier bot, if I recall rightly), you expect some wacky shit to go down. Just having him throw punches and kicks is lame.

Evil Tim:
Hell, a powerloader shouldn't realistically be any good at fighting at all, so they got that aspect nailed down too with the AI.

If they'd wanted to market a realistic fighting game, they should have just bitten the bullet and made a wrestling game with people. When you're up against a military robot (and at very least the red one was supposed to be a soldier bot, if I recall rightly), you expect some wacky shit to go down. Just having him throw punches and kicks is lame.

I guess we'll have to leave it there then.

I don't think the game was terrible, but I'll admit it was flawed. I thought the soldier robot should have had some form of projectile attack though, so you have legitimate points about at least some of the problems with the game. I still enjoyed it, even though I admit it could have been better. And OMF:2097 was an example of much better. But then, it's my favourite 2D fighter, so I would say that.

Irridium:
A big example of this is the Gerstmann incident over on Gamespot about Kane and Lynch. Gerstmann game the game a pretty bad review, because the game itself was pretty bad. But since it was also advertised on the site a lot, its assumed that the Publisher didn't like the review, and put on pressure to fire him. Well whatever happened, he got fired, and his review was replaced with a more favorable review.

Agreed with everything, except the fact that I liked Kane & Lynch and the fact that his review is actually still there.
http://www.gamespot.com/xbox360/action/kanelynchdeadmen/review.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=gssummary&tag=summary%3Bread-review

PT: It's hard to trust any reviews whatsoever since Rise of The Robots (one of the worst, most repetitive, unbalanced games ever), since Underworld or since any AAA-title games.

Of course, world exclusive reviews can't be trusted. Even if a "reviewer" isn't bought, he's still somewhat grateful that he's getting the game early.

Now, most problems I've had with reviews were with the negative ones, yet, it's a shady business and it's really hard to defend.

My views on video game reviews changed after the "Kane & Lynch" Fiasco on GameSpot. It was a sad day in journalism when you're out of a job because you thought a game made by a big sponsor of the said company was a horrid piece of trash

Lord_Gremlin:
I just read http://www.ag.ru/

Unbiased and cruel. Usually a bit late, but hell - even Halo 3 and Killzone 2 got torn to sheds.
As for exclusive reviews - check gametrailers, they're in Microsoft's pocket.

Nooo. No. Sorry.

Those guys are our Eurogamer. Don't even mention them. They have sold their souls multiple times (The Sims 3, EA), been caught in piracy to get out reviews and their main guy I've had the misfortune to talk with is quite an unpleasant person.

They all are.

yeah i hate it when videogame reviewers create a "look" like some hybridation of a pimppornstar of gaming...

I've been doing this job for two years, how come no one has offered me a bribe yet?
Oh crap. It's because I called Modern Warfare 2 a graphical upgrade of Doom and said Medal of Honor was a worthy yet more limited successor to Virtua Cop, isn't it?

Welcome to the Escapist, Jim!
Very good article. I say it all the time, if you actually read a review, you can easily sort out the author's biases. Hyperbolic language, hazy description or no description of important elements of the game, saying the game is a "_______ killer", and other things can cue you in that the reviewer may be at least a blinded fan (example: You wouldn't want me to review a Bioware game professionally. I love them too much) and at worst just plain dishonest. That review score to me exists more as a useful indexing tool than a recommendation. I see a high score and that makes me research the game to see why it is so loved, but I'm not going to buy it on spot.

I do want to shake everyone at Destructoid's hand for not being afraid to not gush over the latest Fable game. I still can't believe that pretty much every reviewer listed on Metacritic gave Fable II at least a pretty good review, especially since it divided the gamer community so much.

That's all well and good but I still don't know anyone who trusts game reviewer's "opinions" anyway. The all have terrible taste and just aren't very critical.

When I'm looking at a review, I'm not looking for some basment-living mouth-breather's personal opinion, I'm just looking for some facts about the game. Except with Zero Punctuation, that I just watch for a laugh.

Irridium:
A big example of this is the Gerstmann incident over on Gamespot about Kane and Lynch. Gerstmann game the game a pretty bad review, because the game itself was pretty bad. But since it was also advertised on the site a lot, its assumed that the Publisher didn't like the review, and put on pressure to fire him. Well whatever happened, he got fired, and his review was replaced with a more favorable review.

Gamespot lost any and all credibility after that day.

Ah, I remember that. Although, luckily he and Shoemaker have moved to Giantbomb.com and seem a lot happier there.

OT: These publisher/reviewer situations always seem so harsh. Sure, sometimes the publisher will really pay the reviewer to make a good review, but in most of my experiences the publisher relies on advertising for the website. If the game gets a bad review, then the publisher pulls the advertising.

In that case, it's a little bit of blame for the publisher and reviewer, the publisher is sort of implying that the reviewer should review the game well or else, and the reviewer knows that. Incidents (like the one above) have taken place when the unwritten, unspoken deals don't turn out well, and they both lose money.

JourneyThroughHell:

Lord_Gremlin:
I just read http://www.ag.ru/

Unbiased and cruel. Usually a bit late, but hell - even Halo 3 and Killzone 2 got torn to sheds.
As for exclusive reviews - check gametrailers, they're in Microsoft's pocket.

Nooo. No. Sorry.

Those guys are our Eurogamer. Don't even mention them. They have sold their souls multiple times (The Sims 3, EA), been caught in piracy to get out reviews and their main guy I've had the misfortune to talk with is quite an unpleasant person.

They all are.

"Main guy"? The "undead" one or the one that robs caravans? They both are kinda douchebags, still, many mainstream games get exactly what they deserve. Although that Sims 3 review by infamous caravan robber is kinda suspicious.
Generally, you take AG.ru and Eurogamer, merge them and get the "true" score.

JourneyThroughHell:

Irridium:
A big example of this is the Gerstmann incident over on Gamespot about Kane and Lynch. Gerstmann game the game a pretty bad review, because the game itself was pretty bad. But since it was also advertised on the site a lot, its assumed that the Publisher didn't like the review, and put on pressure to fire him. Well whatever happened, he got fired, and his review was replaced with a more favorable review.

Agreed with everything, except the fact that I liked Kane & Lynch and the fact that his review is actually still there.
http://www.gamespot.com/xbox360/action/kanelynchdeadmen/review.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=gssummary&tag=summary%3Bread-review

It is there. Now. But back when it was first reviewed, his review was taken down and replaced with a more favorable one.

Lord_Gremlin:

JourneyThroughHell:

Lord_Gremlin:
I just read http://www.ag.ru/

Unbiased and cruel. Usually a bit late, but hell - even Halo 3 and Killzone 2 got torn to sheds.
As for exclusive reviews - check gametrailers, they're in Microsoft's pocket.

Nooo. No. Sorry.

Those guys are our Eurogamer. Don't even mention them. They have sold their souls multiple times (The Sims 3, EA), been caught in piracy to get out reviews and their main guy I've had the misfortune to talk with is quite an unpleasant person.

They all are.

"Main guy"? The "undead" one or the one that robs caravans? They both are kinda douchebags, still, many mainstream games get exactly what they deserve. Although that Sims 3 review by infamous caravan robber is kinda suspicious.
Generally, you take AG.ru and Eurogamer, merge them and get the "true" score.

I meant the caravan robber.

I still hate the guts of that site.

EDIT: I'll rephrase that, I hate the people who run it.

The reviews for Russian games on there are actually pretty damn good.

I love how the Escapist casts some light on previous Articles. Really helps me to catch on fast on any missed content.

Reading it now!

To be honest despite all that's said here I don't believe most reviewers because of scores that don't ever fit games. The more believable reviewers are the ones who don't give scores in numbers or letters.

It's not about a single reviewer most of the time but the site they're on, I don't believe any review off IGN or Gamespot or any site LIKE that because of just how stupid some of the scores they give are. Hell 90% of the articles have people calling out the reviewer on IGNs comment sections. A lot of the games they gave decent reviews I found amazing and the ones they threw perfect 10s at I called bullshit on because they were NOT 10/10 material.

VondeVon:
What freaks me out is that Game Informer is owned and published by GameStop.

What sane person buys a magazine filled with game reviews from the people who sell those games?
Isn't that like paying the company to look at their ads?

That said, it's apparently the #1 magazine in Australia now. Sigh.

In the states (at least) GI subscriptions get bundled with their discount card. And, yeah, 99% of it is either full page ads or full page ads written by the staff. There's usually some mildly amusing bits or interviews, but it's definitely a fluff mag.

SpiderJerusalem:
I was interested in the subject and immediately browsed over to read the article, until I saw the name Jim Sterling attached to it - who to my mind had always come across as the Armond White of game critics. Needlessly controversial for the sake of being so.

But I admit, the points are there, it's just that the person saying them is suspect in my books in the first place.

Agreed. Same thing happened to me. Shame, as there was indeed some good points.

I don't pay attention to any reviews. Usually when I do watch or read a review, I've already decided beforehand whether I'm going to buy it. Not to mention a lot of the games who do get 9s or 10s are games I care little for, like Halo Reach or Modern Warfare 2.

It's not different then political media, its now about news it's about access and unfortunately it's spilling over into all other media forms. Most journalists these days have zero integrity and write biased articles based off what they hope to gain in the future, whether it scoring a new job to just scoring free copies of the latest games.

Man, this was nearly as good as your Geddy Lee joke Jim!

Amen! When these deals do go down the reviewer is usually shooting themselves in the foot. I've picked up a game before based on some stellar early reviews only to find out it was a well dressed turd. Once that happens though I never trust that reviewer again. Perhaps as an overcompensation I actually tend be suspect of any game that is highly rated by that reviewer afterwards, almost as though their approval becomes an instant black mark against a game. Time and experience helps to weed out some of the crap.

I do think its important not to fall into the rut of believing all reviews are contrived on the basis of pandering to the various publishers. I have bought a few games that were highly rated that I just didn't like. I was disappointed but I went back and read review to see if they points they made about the game valid. If they were and didn't overlook any blatant issues I try to chalk it up to simple difference of opinion.

If you follow a persons reviews for very long you can get a feeling for what kinds of games they like (FPS, RPG, RTS, etc). I think this is very important because there can be an inherent bias simply based on a familiarity for the genre or the personal appeal of the subject matter. I don't think that bias is a bad thing. We are able to speak more knowledgeably about the things we like. As a reader though sometimes its important to recognize this and take that into account when your looking at the review.

In the end I apply my time honored rule of: "Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me".

unacomn:
Oh crap. It's because I called Modern Warfare 2 a graphical upgrade of Doom and said Medal of Honor was a worthy yet more limited successor to Virtua Cop, isn't it?

Erm...Modern Warfare is not a graphical upgrade of Doom. Doom had a selection of weapons designed for specific roles in combat (ie, every weapon was there because it was useful, not just because they wanted 50+ weapons even if 40 of them were minor variations on the same thing) and monsters which did different things to each other, for a start. Do not drag the good name of Doom through the mud with such a comparison.

I like to read reviews but more often than not I already know if a game is a day one purchase for me, through things like previous games by the same team or if the multiplayer is a core component (hate being late to the party!).

With my student gaming budget I'm probably about 6-12 months "behind" and get most games preowned, in this instance I find reader reviews helpful (and hilarious) and look at all the lowest scored ones. If I know I can put up with the things they moan about in CAPS then I'm generally ok.

Why the fuck is Jim writing now?
Oh, god, whatever; as long as I don't have to see his mug everywhere.

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