Not Recommended for Children Under 5

Not Recommended for Children Under 5

imageThis one could be filed under Editorial, Rant or Filling the Quota, but for now we'll call it Highfalutin Theory of Reviewing Games, and I'll save you the trouble of speculating: Yes, it is directly in response to a number of comments we've received regarding a certain review of a certain game.

"Multiplayer" used to mean "sitting huddled around the Atari 2600." Back then, as today, the best multiplayer games were the sports titles, and Summer Games was the king of that castle. In-between doing actual things in the sunshine, we'd get together with a few other guys and crowd around the TV while one or two of us whacked the joystick rapidly up-and-down or from side-to-side. From a distance, this looked just like it sounds like it looked, and the fact that none of us were aware of that at the time explains a great deal about why gamers often have trouble mating.

Multiplayer has come a long way since then, and we can now sit huddled over our machines in the comfort of our own, private homes, whacking our joysticks without opening ourselves to such embarrassing analysis. It's called progress people, but it's also, oddly, created a bit of retrograde movement in game design; away from games that can be enjoyed without a bevy of fellow joystick-humpers.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Today, as before, some of the best games are played with others, and it'd be a shallow sort indeed who eschewed all social activity, even in digital form. I have to believe that the same applies in reverse. Moderation, in other words, in all things - even multiplayer.

Allow me to suggest that it is ridiculously absurd it is to consider a game lacking a multiplayer component a "lacking game," or, on the other hand, to consider a game, like Gears of War or Chromehounds, which purports to contain a single-player component and a multiplayer component in the same game, but which, in fact, only contains one and (at best) a half-assed attempt at the other a "good game."

Similarly, there are a number of games guilty of the opposite: offering strong single-player modes with a completely worthless multiplayer game tacked on. Gun I'm looking at you. Gun, Chromehounds and Gears all fall short because they try to do too much, but even that would be forgivable if it weren't for the fact that they "promised" to be more than they are.

Allow me to explain.

Have you ever tried to play poker without a second player? Or solitaire with a table full of them? Some games are made to be played with others and some aren't. Baseball, for example, can be played with as many as 18 players (or more), but as few as about five, realistically. Football? Let's call it 4-22. Pac-Man? One. It sucks if you've got eight guys wanting to all play Pac-Man at the same time (and no quarters to stack on top of the cabinet), or one who just really wants to throw some pigskin around (protip: dogs make poor receivers), but those are the breaks. If you've got too many for Pac-Man, throw on Halo. Too few for poker? Solitaire.

We base our choices on known quantities and experience and when we're misled about what kind of game we're buying, it makes it awfully hard to make good choices. When we're sold a game claiming to have a "rich single-player campaign," which then turns out to be little more then 6-8 hours of training for the online multiplayer mode, we've been lied to, and that blows.

Let me spell this out so that there's no misunderstanding: Chromehounds, Gears of War are not good games. That's not to say that their multiplayer components aren't good - they are. Quite good, in fact. Multiplayer gamers will (and do) have a great deal of fun playing those games online. But for gamers who do not intend to use the game thus, they are a complete rip off. Not because what's inside the package is lacking, but because it is lacking what's been suggested is inside the package.

A game maker's worst fear is to spend millions developing a title and have it sit on the shelves for lack of interest. And I feel for them. Game making is a rough racket, and many a talented developer has broken his will against the rocks of consumer demand. But that doesn't excuse lying or misdirection.

A game designed to be played in online multiplayer should be marketed as an online multiplayer game. And vice-versa. In fact, some of my favorite games from this year have made no pretension to being other than what they are: either a good, rich single-player game, or a frenetic, fun-filled online game. Very few are both. Let's stop pretending, shall we? If Milton Bradley can stoop to slapping a "For 2-4 Players" sticker on the side of the Hungry Hippo box, game makers can do so as well, and I don't think they'd lose a cent in sales.

And gamers, you can help us all out a little by being a bit more discriminating. You don't have to buy every game. Not even when all of your friends are doing it.

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Good Read Fletcher and a very valid point.

this is an issue thats kinda got me down right now i am never sure what im getting when i buy a game, i scour reviews and mags and try to be informed to the best of my ability but i find that most sources are lacking information beyond critical hype, for instance with gears of war your review of the game was the only one that in my opinion gave it a valid review and docked it for its short comings, bringing the game back into reality and i commend you for it. your is the only review indicative of what the game is actually.

i hate being lied to merely so they can sell copies, i still remember the faq for fable on lionheads web page claiming a 100 hour game and expansive rpg and all that and it wasn't removed until just before launch. if i had know that it was little more then an 8 hour action game i wouldn't have preorder it and i would have bought it, its even more upsetting when they rerelease it with additional content and expect you to buy it again, i didn't. im certainly going to more discriminating against its sequel.

overall the whole hype combined with lies and misdirection is disheartening especially when your talking $50 plus per game with no way to recoup cost from buying a lemon, thats perhaps why im so down on games right now cause i have made some bad buys in the last few years and im uncertain how to gauge what i want to play when sources of information are unreliable.

did anyone buy magna carta? lol man what a waste.

you know i find it offensive when a nintendo exec like reggie comes out and batters the press for being hyper critical when certainly there are valid criticisms to be made, i think i am becoming more and more cynical in regards to these companies, i don't trust anything they say about anything.

i wished someone would have been more critical of oblivion too, i wonder if countless awards then deserves a patch to fix something as rudimentary has the ability to delete spells so you don't have to spend minutes scrolling through useless spells. todd though is a master of the dodge and ignore maneuver.

i hope you keep up the valid critiquing though, i do not necessarily agree with all your opinions and i don't have to but i do like that you seem to be more critical of games when everyone else opinion gives way to hype.

Fletcher:
And gamers, you can help us all out a little by being a bit more discriminating. You don't have to buy every game. Not even when all of your friends are doing it.

Dude, you forget the [/troll] tag on that line. :)

Oh, I helped trigger a rant. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside now.

To single out one specific part of your rant (I so love to employ logical fallacies), every single game is marketed as a "rich single-player campaign" or "rich multi-player campaign" or something similar. That's what marketing is for - convince you that it's an awesome game so you'll go and buy it. They all promise you superb gaming experiences.

A game reviewer's role, imo, is not to judge how accurate a game's marketing is. On the contrary, a game reviewer should ignore the marketing entirely when judging the value of a game. That's why independent reviews are so important - they (should) give an honest, thorough look at a game, devoid of the marketing hype and sales propaganda the not-so-independent reviews serve up.

And that puts a game reviewer in a position of some responsibility. At least, if he wants to do a good job. A reviewer must look at all aspects of the game, see how good or bad they are, and base the review on that. Ignoring part of a game's features, or focusing too much on another part, because that's how the game is marketed, is what company-paid reviewers do. It's not good reviewing.

I'm gonna disagree here Adamus, the game reviewer isn't truly helping his audience in their decision whether or not to buy the game if he isn't explaining what the game is with relation to what the game is marketed as. Saying Gears of War has the most amazing multiplayer he's ever played doesn't stop him from saying he found the single player campaign to be lacking and not living up to what the marketers had led him to believe. I think that if the reviewer is ignoring the marketing's suggested thrust "We are selling this game as the best singleplayer and multiplayer experience evar!!1!1" or some other such nonsense then he's doing his readers a disservice.

I wouldn't mind knowing where my reviewers were coming from either. If the reviewer only plays multiplayer in his free time, perhaps he's not the best judge of single player games. That sort of thing can be built up over time through honest opinionated reviews unlike the ones we find on gamespot or other major sites. One with a voice if you will.

- Tom

TomBeraha:
Saying Gears of War has the most amazing multiplayer he's ever played doesn't stop him from saying he found the single player campaign to be lacking and not living up to what the marketers had led him to believe.

I think what Adamus is saying is that that sentence should stop after the word "lacking." That is, he's saying that the game should be reviewed without reference to the marketing. The reviewer should certainly still say -- as Fletcher did -- that they found the single-player lacking, if that's the case. The reviewer should also give an opinion on the co-op and multiplayer.

I think the issue is that many reviews -- Fletcher's Gears review included -- are more like op-ed columns than formal reviews or critiques. Adamus seems to be saying that that's a bad thing, but I'm not sure I agree. While I'm not much for op-ed demagoguery in the political sphere, blog-style reviews (where the reviewer elaborates a bit on their taste in games and where they're coming from with their opinion on a particular game) do appeal to me. I also like those kinds of reviews in music.

do any of you people who criticize game reviewers actually review games or just dislike the reviewers opinion based on "nu uh this game is the bestest ever"?

this thread and the gears of war thread look like response written into game mag about you guys suck cause you didn't tell everyone this game was the greatest ever made to massage my fragile ego.

i dunno whatever, fletcher's review is the only one that didn't bow down to all of your opinions, i hate the idea that a game shouldn't be criticized for its short comings but that the reviewer should merely praise whatever marketing stick is popular to further support the deception of the consumer.

maybe you would all be happy if they did like over at 1up with the never winter nights 2 review, pull it and have it rewritten to appease the likes of short sided fanboys as if you cant read more then one review and that all reviews should litter praise to a game even if undeserving and never take into account that what you as a gamer might think a good game may not necessarily fit another gamers personality.

gears of war is not a great game even though every publication seemly hailed it as such, apparently cliffy and a million dollar marketing campaign is all you need to subvert human intelligence and sell poo to a monkey.

LordCancer:
i hate the idea that a game shouldn't be criticized for its short comings but that the reviewer should merely praise whatever marketing stick is popular to further support the deception of the consumer.

Nobody has made that suggestion in this thread. I specifically went out of my way to say that I liked the op-ed style Fletcher took, and that I appreciated reading his opinion.

However, it's just that: an opinion. You're writing as though there is some single Platonic Form, the Video Game, that all games can be judged against absolutely -- that is, the perfect 10. I don't agree. I do think Fletcher's got a point in this particular rant; I'm not a big fan of false advertising either. On the other hand, I don't agree that not living up to the hype inherently makes a game bad. I think the question of whether a game is good or bad should be mostly (though not necessarily completely, as Adamus is suggesting) independent of whatever hype may surround it. Failing to live up to created expectations may well merit some criticism, but that failure alone doesn't mean a game isn't a good game, or that people won't enjoy it.

The question of what makes a given game "good" is complex, and I think you're doing it a disservice by oversimplifying.

how is it complex? either a game flows or it hangs, gears hangs the story and voice acting is a distraction and the one button tries to do everything but fails to be intuitive or function and can lead you to die because you can't control your character, the game overall feels incomplete.

theres more substance in the hype then in this game.

the perception of gears of war though is that its more then it is and that its flagship must own title for xbox 360, i disagree it feels average but you can't escape being told by every publication how great it is.

the hype generated by this game i think comes from Microsoft, epic games and game outlets of news, when they generate hype that eclipse's the reality of what a game is and even in there final reviews still leave you with the impression that the game is a master piece you then feel as its a good buy so you take the leap bring it home plug it in and a few hours in your left with the feeling that you've been sold an average game that you might of otherwise skipped or waited for said game to hit the bargain bin.

my funds are limited so i try to pick and choose the games i will enjoy the most its difficult to do when reviews are misleading, quite often i buy a game like fable that overall left me wanting more halfway through the game and disappointed when it ends about 9 hours in.

so take a game like gears of war that is hailed as a great gaming master piece and break it down, the story is lacking, voice acting is corny, broken hobby and other multiplayer features that seem outdated by other multiplayer interface standards and controls that seem to have a mind of there own.

maybe the game is good overall, but it feels average good it doesn't feel even close to being as great as its been sold as.

isn't that what triggered fletcher's rant?

i haven't actually bought gears of war, don't even have a 360 yet but what concerns me is when the industry decides to evangelize a video game it dictates what kinda games publishers are willing to bring to the market.

like flether said "And gamers, you can help us all out a little by being a bit more discriminating. You don't have to buy every game. Not even when all of your friends are doing it."

i gave up writing to publishers and designers cause i didn't feel my opinions made an impact, they say money speaks so i try to be more discerning about what i buy but that goes out the door when marketing campaigns dictate which games are bought.

so im left with a market of cheap nock offs and incomplete games because they can sell anything and gamers will buy it, theres no real message being sent to anyone in the game industry because of it.

if reviewers don't critize games more effectively then what defense is there from the continuation of poor marketing practices in regards to game development and the kinds of games we play?

a game doesn't half to be perfect to enjoy it, neither should the impression of such be given, you can have a good single player game or a good multiplayer games but don't tell us its both don't promise more then you can deliver and don't disregard valid criticism just be cause you can.

LordCancer:
maybe you would all be happy if they did like over at 1up with the never winter nights 2 review, pull it and have it rewritten to appease the likes of short sided fanboys as if you cant read more then one review and that all reviews should litter praise to a game even if undeserving and never take into account that what you as a gamer might think a good game may not necessarily fit another gamers personality.

The original 1up review for NWN2 was poorly written (and I mean, really bad) and read like a rant against the current state of RPGs (clearly not the place to do so in a review about a specific game). They also originally scored it 5/10. The updated review was a much better read and scored the game 6/10. There was no "pleasing the fanboys", in your example... just saving face on a published piece that didn't reflect quality.

Speaking of single-player vs. multi-player qualities and NWN2, the original NWN was always designed to be a multi-player online game (arguably, the core of pen and paper D&D is a group scenario), but a marketing analysis told them to include a stronger single-player campaign. Now we have NWN2 which offers a supposedly better single-player campaign, but a lack-luster (and questionable) multi-player aspect. The only reason people are playing the original NWN today is because of the online scene. The majority of reviewers scored this game high, but never took the time to test it online... a huge disservice to existing fans of NWN and ultimately the biggest complaint against the game (other that the game-stopping bugs, questionable GUI, poor system performance, and unattractive character designs, etc).

In the recent news of Sony's viral marketing failure (desperate times call for desperate measures, I suppose), I'm reminded of a person who posted on a persistent role-playing server I was a part of. He praised NWN2, said our multi-player concerns were not an issue, said that he had inside access to the game and even claimed to be a part of the development of NWN2. When questioned about his role with Obsidian and Atari, he mysteriously faded from the community. He was clearly a shill... and a poor one at that. It's not surprising, as Atari was in serious financial trouble prior to NWN2's release. It was in their best interest to lie to gamers and boost initial sales. They even had a short initial run of boxes with listed features (that NWN fans wanted) that weren't in the game. Scary stuff!

well i only heard the fallout, i don't read 1up anyway but its still a scary proposition to have reader out cry determining what the content of a review should be, it was good enough to print in the first place and maybe the rant was more then valid if the game sucks.

LordCancer:
do any of you people who criticize game reviewers actually review games or just dislike the reviewers opinion based on "nu uh this game is the bestest ever"?

Is it a binary option? Do you need to be either a game reviewer or a stupid 10-year-old?

P.S. Punctuation is your friend. Or at least, it wants to be.

I find lately that game reviews have become more and more meaningless and scoring is ridiculously inconsistent. I can read a review that gave a game a 9 and another that gave it a 6 and see that both had the same criticisms, but one reviewer was willing to overlook the flaws for some reason. Not only that, but I have played several highly regarded games that I just did not enjoy. Thus, I have come to realize that we all must take all reviews with a grain of salt, be they positive or negative. For example, if I am looking at reviews of a shooter, I am easier to please. So, a game like Gears of War does not need to deliver on its pre-release hype for me to warrant a buy. As long as it is a good third-person shooter with good multiplayer and co-op I am sold. I think all of Fletcher's criticisms were valid, but for me they are not deal breakers.

Take, for instance, Fletcher's criticism regarding the graphics. They certainly are gorgeous graphics, as every reviewer has pointed out, but the art concept is very unoriginal. Their art design concepts are pretty standard post-apocalyptic scenery. The Gears of War team was certainly successful in achieving their initial vision of "destroyed beauty," but maybe they should have rethought their initial vision. I go crazy for gorgeous graphics, but if the art team is not going to even make an attempt at coming up with something I have not seen before, they should be taken to task for it. It is lazy uninspired visual design.

In many aspects, not just art design, Gears of War is very conventional game, but it is, in my opinion, a very good game. It does not break any new ground, really, but it is a well executed game that feels comfortable and somewhat familiar. Is it worth a buy? I think so and people will likely have many hours of fun playing it. When it comes down to it, that is what is important. Not whether the game lives up to the hype. I give it an 8. No wait! I give a 6. Well...how about a 7.327. Yeah, that sounds good.

I think in part LordCancer's reaction stems from the sheer size of the hype juggernaut that Microsoft and Epic created for Gears. Fletcher mentioned in the other thread that he actually felt pressured to like the game, which really took me aback -- I went over my previous posts to make sure I'd been explicit that I liked his review even though I had a different opinion, and that the handful of comments I offered were intended to be constructive and general, and in no way suggesting that he should like the game, or that he's wrong to dislike it. He isn't. My posts in this thread haven't even been about Gears, though this one will have to touch on the game since LordCancer brought it up directly in a reply to me.

Personally, I didn't notice the Gears hype machine. I watched a couple of trailers on Live, which I do for any game I'm at least moderately interested in, and that was the extent of it. I read some reviews when it was released, looking specifically for information about the co-op play because that was what interested me the most. Everything I read about the co-op play was positive, so I bought the game. I had no idea just how huge the hype machine was until well after the fact. Because I ignored the hype, I had pretty low expectations for Gears. I figured I'd get a fun co-op experience and not much else. I had misgivings about the game before buying it, but was very impressed when I played it; I posted about both of those things here. I've since played a lot of it -- Act One solo, close to two complete parallel co-op run-throughs, and countless multiplayer matches with a small group of people from another forum.

LordCancer:
i haven't actually bought gears of war, don't even have a 360 yet but what concerns me is when the industry decides to evangelize a video game it dictates what kinda games publishers are willing to bring to the market.

Have you played it at all? If not I'm kind of surprised, given the number of absolute pronouncements you've been making about it.

I actually think Gears of War is a bit more subtle than most people (including those who sing its praises) have given it credit for. The over-the-top machismo in the dialogue and stylized burliness of the male human character models belie the characters' desperation and fear, which become increasingly obvious as the game progresses. They put on a brave face because it's that or death. They aren't even fighting for anything anymore, they're just fighting because they'd be dead if they stopped. Note the "No Blood for Imulsion" posters scattered throughout the city -- they're clearly old, suggesting that when the war began there was dissent and protest. That's past. What few civilians remain in the city -- the "stranded" -- are embittered and hostile toward the Gears. The only time any quantity of "imulsion" has any effect on the Gears, or anyone, is when they descend underground and discover a vast lake of it. Short of that, they just don't care about imulsion anymore, despite the fact that it appears to be part of the reason why the war was being fought, at least in the beginning. From a story standpoint, it certainly isn't Marathon, or even Halo, but it also isn't Doom.

I agree with heavyfeul in that this stuff isn't at all original, but I actually liked that Gears wore its sci-fi tropes on its sleeve right along with its other influences. I think there's something to be said for building a game from existing narrative, art, and gameplay blocks, if it's done well. Having said that, though, how well Gears accomplishes it is clearly open to debate. I'm not saying all of this to change anyone's mind about the game, because it's mostly down to taste.

Interesting tidbit: Marcus Fenix is voiced by John DiMaggio, who also voices Bender on Futurama.

LordCancer:
like flether said "And gamers, you can help us all out a little by being a bit more discriminating. You don't have to buy every game. Not even when all of your friends are doing it."

That was one part of his rant I disagreed with. I agree fully with the last two sentences; where I disagree is the first one. Specifically, the implication that because Gears of War wasn't to his taste, anyone who bought it and likes it not "discerning." That was why I specifically raised the issue of this Platonic ideal of the "Good Video Game" against which all games should be measured. I don't think that's how it works, but when you and Fletcher throw absolutes around like this, it makes me think that you guys do look at it that way.

I read his original review like an op-ed column, as I've already noted. I liked it for that reason. While I agree with the thrust of his point in this rant as well, and have said so several times already, I disagree with the absolute language he's used to couch it.

Also, you and Fletcher have avoided defining the term "good game" other than by giving examples of them and examples of what they are not (Gun, Gears, Chromehounds). Like the Platonic forms, then, we're expected to know them when we see them, and those whose opinions differ are not "discerning."

To be perfectly clear, I disagree with Plato, too. :P

That's part of why I liked Fletcher's original review. I think this kind of "opinion review" -- which is the kind of review I write myself, actually, for both music and games -- is very useful, because it gives you an opinion filtered through the lens of the reviewer's taste. For example, I look closely at games Tycho posts about on Penny Arcade, because over the years I've learned that his taste and mine are somewhat similar. I put more weight on a passing comment from him than I do on most of the major review sites. I bought Chromehounds largely on the strength of what he wrote about it, and, as with Gears, was not disappointed.

heavyfeul:
I find lately that game reviews have become more and more meaningless and scoring is ridiculously inconsistent. I can read a review that gave a game a 9 and another that gave it a 6 and see that both had the same criticisms, but one reviewer was willing to overlook the flaws for some reason. Not only that, but I have played several highly regarded games that I just did not enjoy. Thus, I have come to realize that we all must take all reviews with a grain of salt, be they positive or negative.

Yeah, I was glad to see Fletcher didn't give it a score. I'd rather read a meaty review, complete with the reviewer's biases, than a bullet-point feature list taken from the back of the box and a numerical score.

If I had one sentence to sum up this entire post, I'd say this: I think Adamus' point merits consideration, but I don't completely agree with it.

Ian Dorsch:

LordCancer:
do any of you people who criticize game reviewers actually review games or just dislike the reviewers opinion based on "nu uh this game is the bestest ever"?

Is it a binary option? Do you need to be either a game reviewer or a stupid 10-year-old?

P.S. Punctuation is your friend. Or at least, it wants to be.

Ha, funny, teach me! lmfao

oh yes its definitely binary you stupid ten year old!...*wink*

EDIT: damn ajar.

LordCancer:
Fletcher SAVE me!

You're on your own, kid.

And watch the tone. We can disagree without disrespect. (In theory at least.)

image

/mod

ha,i was kidding on both accounts, geeze.

how many mods does it take to ban a cancer?

LordCancer:
how many mods does it take to ban a cancer?

Let's not find out ;)

Ajar:
Have you played it at all? If not I'm kind of surprised, given the number of absolute pronouncements you've been making about it.

yes i played it.

Ajar:

LordCancer:
like flether said "And gamers, you can help us all out a little by being a bit more discriminating. You don't have to buy every game. Not even when all of your friends are doing it."

That was one part of his rant I disagreed with. I agree fully with the last two sentences; where I disagree is the first one. Specifically, the implication that because Gears of War wasn't to his taste, anyone who bought it and likes it not "discerning." That was why I specifically raised the issue of this Platonic ideal of the "Good Video Game" against which all games should be measured. I don't think that's how it works, but when you and Fletcher throw absolutes around like this, it makes me think that you guys do look at it that way.

i thought the statement was meant in larger reference to video games in general and not specifically just gears of war, he felt it necessary to post a rant and i agreed, not gonna try to explain his point of view.

but i imagine if gamers were more discerning, then game developers/publishers would try harder to deliver a better, stable product and not just push it out to counter a competitors launch or because some publishers time line demands release.

if gamers demanded a more diverse palette from there games or even basic high quality standards i.e. stable frame rates, expansive stories and control schemes that don't hamper game play, then you might get them. you see few games in my opinion especially in shooters that do anything to advance whats possible in a shooter in my opinion gears of war is little more then mash of winback and a prettied up doom.

its kinda pointless to debate because they don't all you need to become the next greatest game is have the prettiest fps and a marketing campaign or a number 2 attached to the previous i.e. halo 2...

Ajar:
I disagree with the absolute language he's used to couch it.

Also, you and Fletcher have avoided defining the term "good game" other than by giving examples of them and examples of what they are not (Gun, Gears, Chromehounds). Like the Platonic forms, then, we're expected to know them when we see them, and those whose opinions differ are not "discerning."

your gonna make me define a good game? fine i will try (but my english is not too good forgive me ian....dusch...err...all in good spirits right? or maybe not whatever.)

i think some basic quality standards have to be achieved for one, anything that visually detracts from you enjoying and playing the game should be considered when heaping praise on a game.

for instance unsteady frame rates annoy me and in some cases can make me sick, i want frames to be locked and an unnoticeable rate whatever that is 30 or 60, when games drop below 30 its noticeable and i don't like it at all. another visual annoyance i've been over looking is pop in, its distracting and irritating.

also color pallets or other visual impairment's, when you can't tell the difference between and enemy or an ally your always question whether to pull the trigger or an issue in with rainbow six ba, i can't tell if that little dot is the top of a barrel or a guys head poking around until he shoots me and im dead.

load times need to be minimal, load times can kill a game for me, i usually doodle or draw in a note pad while games load and sometimes even after a game loads i've lost interest and keep drawing. i don't feel i should spend anytime on a load screen and if it takes longer to load then the time it take to pick up on pen and paper im quite possible gone at that point.

these are issues that are in many highly reviewed games, people have come to expect and overlook them and i don't think thats right and a game should be criticized for it.

i guess to describe actual game content i would say that i like strong stories and character development, a variety of things to do that don't merely consist of shoot your way from point a to b in generic maps repeatedly for 8 hours.

intelligent plot lines and narratives that don't treat you like your a child.

i like game mechanics that don't have me fighting them, i think the input shouldn't be a means of distraction or frustration, one button that tries to do everything and does every poorly, when you have to struggle to perform in game acts i think that detracts from a good game experience.

i suppose its kinda hard to define a good game (specially when your ability to communicate in the enlgish language is poor....) but i think a game you enjoy is a good game. i think your ability to enjoy a game can be effected negatively or positively by the amount of money you spend to play it and the opinions and reasons that lead you to purchase it. if your mislead into thinking a game is more then it is, even if that game is good, it can leave a distaste.

i don't really think gears of war is a good game, its just kinda average middle of the road could have been better more fleshed out but wasn't.

Ajar:
To be perfectly clear, I disagree with Plato, too. :P

im sure he won't argue back.

Ajar:
That's part of why I liked Fletcher's original review. I think this kind of "opinion review" -- which is the kind of review I write myself, actually, for both music and games -- is very useful, because it gives you an opinion filtered through the lens of the reviewer's taste. For example, I look closely at games Tycho posts about on Penny Arcade, because over the years I've learned that his taste and mine are somewhat similar. I put more weight on a passing comment from him than I do on most of the major review sites. I bought Chromehounds largely on the strength of what he wrote about it, and, as with Gears, was not disappointed.

i liked that he had a dissenting view point, when i felt all other opinions of the game ignored its short comings and heaped praise on an average game. i didn't think fletcher trashed the game in his review, but gave what i felt was an honest view of the game.

i don't think gears of war is worth $60, especially if you like single player campaigns or games, i don't think its a great multiplayer game either. people should be more discerning, i think this game is more hype then substance and i think they have sold it under the premise that its more then it is.

im not saying a person can not enjoy it, but i don't see it as a must own game merely because its been billed as such, thats what im trying to say and i think thats what fletcher might have been trying to say i dunno.

P.S. Fletcher i am not a kid, you turn coat.

all further inquiries should be made too fletcher as i will be out of the office from now till forever....lol

LordCancer:
P.S. Fletcher i am not a kid, you turn coat.

I made the mistake of calling a younger person a "kid" as well... apparently, they prefer to be called "young adults". ;-)

Echolocating:

LordCancer:
P.S. Fletcher i am not a kid, you turn coat.

I made the mistake of calling a younger person a "kid" as well... apparently, they prefer to be called "young adults". ;-)

lmfao i'm 22 and i was joking sorry if my humor is lost on you all....i prefer to be called cancer or an asshole either way, i don't appreciate being talked down to.

i suppose that still makes me young, i imagine your all old gaming farts.....im a troll i don't care they insult my english and my maturity so i therefore have to oblige them with slight ribbing in return.

what are they gonna do?

im just trying to see the soccer guys in low cut shorts once more! wheres my red card, ill go sit on the bench with zidane!

Touche, Fletch. I didn't really read what they all were saying above, seemed riotus. But, again, touche.

I still want that co-op match of Gears though. I think it'd be a fun, good way to get out your agression. None of this writing silliness. So boarish.

Chromehounds was an embarassment of a single player game. I'm not coming to its defense any time soon.

About the "buying every new game" bit. We have this same problem with democracy. Was it Franklin or Jefferson that said "The masses are asses"? Prolly neither. But it was somebody important.

I can't leave a thread I've posted in for a day, can I? All this juicy debate and I've missed out on it! My inner pundit is feeling deprived.

To answer a few points and sort-of questions brought up:

- I agree with Ajar that (and I should have included this in my first reply) yes, a reviewer should refer to how a game is marketed to see if the game does stand up to how it's positioned. But the reviewer should also look beyond that and see what else the game has in store. A game's verdict should thus be based mostly on its own merits, independent of what the marketing brainwashers have tried to shove down our throats.

- I do write game reviews myself, semi-professionally (which means it's not my day job or even a significant part of my income, but I dabble in it occasionally). And as I said in the thread that sparked this one, I too have made the error of not looking at a game's full spectrum of qualities before handing down my verdict.

Thanks for the detailed reply, LordCancer. I think I have a better understanding of your (and Fletcher's?) position, now. You seem to be saying that in order for a game to be good, the components it implements should all be implemented well and executed well. That's less absolutist than I took your stance to be originally. I appreciate the clarification. :)

Basically, there's a difference between saying "I don't like X" or "I think X isn't very good," and saying "X is bad." The first two are clearly statements of opinion.

As I've already noted, I do agree to an extent with what you're saying. I love games with great stories as much as the next guy -- it warmed my heart to see Planescape: Torment on the Escapists' story-driven games list, and I'm looking forward to both BioShock and Mass Effect. I'm also looking forward to playing Half-Life 2 on the 360, since it never came to the Mac and I don't have a PC.

Just like I enjoy straightforward action movies, I don't mind games with shallow stories. I agree, though, that games with detailed and complex narratives are extremely uncommon and I'd like to see more of them. I'd also like to see more games that do a lot with a little, like Shadow of the Colossus, which I loved.

By the way, I'm 25. You won't catch me calling you (or anyone else around these parts) "kid." :P

I agree with your follow-up, Adamus. :)

I don't know much about Gears of War. I'm going to say that up-front and now. That said, I've heard a few things about it, including the original review on this site.

I do follow console gaming, but even then, Gears of War seemed to come out of nowhere. For a while, I thought it was just another FPS, so I didn't really pay too much attention to it. Then I saw some videos. It looked like a well-made TPS, somewhat similar to Kill Switch. It still didn't really seem too much more than typical, but there was so much hype to this, I thought I'd just follow this for a bit to see what it's all about. I saw one of the trailers, and with the gameplay sections I saw, it seemed to have a large focus on single-player, with alot of characterization and story. That appealed to me. The graphics struck me as a little odd, as I knew it was very technically impressive, but I kept on getting the feeling of "so what"? My eyes seemed to ignore much of the visuals even though my brain kept on telling me that "hey, this is top-of-the-line stuff".

I really have no intentions of getting an Xbox360 or PS3 until at least next year, but I was looking towards games I could get once I get one. Considering the hype surrounding it, Gears of War doesn't seem too bad, but, well, as I said earlier, I don't know too much about it.

I don't really care about Epic or their Unreal engines. I'm pretty used to seeing games using their own unique engine, and Unreal engine seems to be a bit… too "high-tech" for me to really enjoy.

In any case, I just read a review of it on IGN just so that I can know more about it, and I left without really knowing much more than I did before. I don't really like online play too much, and the review didn't say anything about its off-line multiplayer features other than that it exists. The "good story and characterisation" impression is entirely gone.

Oddly enough, I was thinking of getting this game should I get a 360 based on hype alone. Reading the IGN review really does show that it was being advertised as being more than it is. It was advertised as have a deep storyline, and an expansive single-player experience. I'm not seeing that in this review. I'm just not interested in the game anymore.

…and I was hoping to find a game to justify buying a 360.

Meophist:
...and I was hoping to find a game to justify buying a 360.

For me, I might consider getting a 360 for Bioware's Mass Effect. Halo-who? ;-)

 

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