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Author Topic: GT Worms 2 DS review [rant warning]  (Read 1851 times)
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Misguided
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« on: October 25, 2007, 01:24:23 PM »

I looked on the front page today, which I'm trying to do more often,
since so much work goes into it by the staff.
I was surprised to a Worms review, both because it is a somewhat niche title
and because the game has been out for perhaps 6 weeks or so.
The surprise quickly turned into disappointment.

Review is here

Mitch opens his review of Worms 2 for DS with:

"I donít get it."

Mitch is absolutely correct on this point, because clearly, he doesn't.

Mitch opens the gameplay portion of the review with:

"This game sucks."

Here, Mitch is absolutely wrong, because it's his review that falls into this category.
You see, Mitch has struck upon a pet peeve of mine where reviews are concerned.
He makes it quite clear from the very start of the review that he doesn't understand
the series nor does he like the series.

So I must ask the question: Why then, Mitch, did you review the series?
You know what...it sounds like I'm trying to be clever here, and I'm really not.
I'm cheesed because a great game was dragged through the mud by someone
that had no interest in liking it regardless of how good it might have been.

Open Warfare 2 is the best incarnation of the Worms series in a long time,
which is quite an accomplishment given that the original Open Warfare was so
frustrating. I've had a lot of fun with the game, as have my son and the customers
I've spoken with.

Is OW2 liable to convert people that don't like the series? No, as is painfully clear
from Mitch's review. However, Mitch fails to take into account that some of us
love the Worms games, tell us that this one is far superior to the last, or generally
give any indication as to whether people that actually like games like this should get it.

Metacritic currently has the game at an 81, including Mitch's review.
Drop that score and it goes up over half a point.
The original Open Warfare on DS has a combined score of 64.
That does a pretty good job of speaking to the quality of the game.

Mitch is entitled to his opinion of the game. However, I believe it should
be the duty of the reviewer to indicate who might like or might not like
a title. Furthermore, it would have been nice to expound on what improvements
had been made from the previous entry (e.g. a multi-cart play mode)
rather than spend time insulting long-standing conventions of the series
(e.g. he calls the end of a turn when a worm takes damage "incredibly stupid").

A game should be reviewed for what it is, not what the reviewer wants it to be.
If that isn't possible, then have someone else conduct the review.

One last thing I'd like to address is Mitch's reference to "hidden pixels".
I'm honestly not sure what he is referencing here. I haven't seen any
issues with this when I was playing. Maybe he's referring to the fact that terrain
hangs in the air as the surrounding terrain is destroyed. Sure that can be
a challenge at times, but he makes it sound like there is invisible terrain.
If that were true, it would be a MAJOR problem. However, I haven't seen mention
of this in other reviews and am forced to conclude that this is simply another case
of Mitch not liking the conventions of the series.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2007, 01:40:53 PM by Misguided » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2007, 02:11:48 PM »

Quote
So I must ask the question: Why then, Mitch, did you review the series?

Quote
A game should be reviewed for what it is, not what the reviewer wants it to be.
If that isn't possible, then have someone else conduct the review.

I can speak to both of these.  Mitch did this review as I assigned it to him.  In the last two weeks I've shipped no less than 3 dozen titles, and sometimes we don't have people free that 'fit' the particular game.  While it is unfortunate that Mitch didn't like this title, it is clear that you did.  Post-Launch of the new site you'll be able to express your opinion and post your own review.  In the mean time, perhaps posting one here counter to his?  We all don't have to agree for all of us to be right, from our own perspective. smile

To conceed your point, this is why I didn't review NBA 07 on the PS3.  I simply do not enjoy basketball and I really don't get the nuiances except to say that I found the game painfully easy.  To that end, Devil will have his review up today or tomorrow at the latest so we can get an expert opinion on it. smile
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« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2007, 02:30:33 PM »

I can absolutely get that you folks are extremely busy.
I know you guys put a ton of work into the reviews and news.
I really, truly hope that the original post didn't sound unappreciative of that,
because I am (heck...as I said, I'm trying to go to the front page more
after that derailed thread the other day, because I don't want your effort
to be wasted). That thought crossed my mind as I was posting, and I chastised
myself saying "Not like you wrote a review yourself, genius."

And the truth is (which comes back to your point) that I don't feel
qualified to review it because I haven't played it enough.
I've put several hours into it, enough to know it is a far
superior entry to the oringinal DS title. But my own play time has
been sucked away by Phantom Hourglass, Eternal Sonata, WoW, etc.
Perhaps a quick-hit type of thing would be doable.

I think that in this particular instance, it might have been better
to not have a review of the title. This would be preferable to a review
that might lead some readers, who might have otherwise considered a purchase,
to another decision. It's a good Worms game, for all that entails.
If you like the series or have been considering trying it, this is a must-have.
If you don't like the core gameplay, this won't do anything to change your mind.
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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2007, 02:37:08 PM »

I have no problem with people reviewing games that aren't in their favored genre.  In fact, I think it's somewhat refreshing and can alleviate "fanboy" reviews that we see so often.  That being said, just as bad as having an unabashed fanboy review a game is having an unabashed hater review it.

Quote
I donít get it. Maybe itís all the expansion packs, maybe itís the endless recycling of gameplay, or maybe itís a combination of the two plus something else. Any way you look at it, the enduring popularity of the Worms franchise eludes me. THQ has built a franchise upon what is little more than one step removed from a Flash game, then charges $30 to $40 a pop for it.

If I may offer some (hopefully) constructive criticism to Mitch.  You may not want to display such a blatant bias against the game or franchise right off the bat.  After reading that opening paragraph, I can only assume that you did not really gave it a fair shake.   As such, I won't put any stock into this review at all, and will probably question the validity of future reviews you write  (i.e. "Does he hate this genre too?").   I actually thought the review itself was pretty good.  You outline some of the issues you have and did a good job describing why you didn't like it.  Unfortunately, it was all called into question by your opening statements.

By the way, I haven't played this particular game, so I have no idea how good or bad it actually is.

« Last Edit: October 25, 2007, 02:41:35 PM by Gratch » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2007, 02:39:37 PM »

Quote from: Misguided on October 25, 2007, 02:30:33 PM

I can absolutely get that you folks are extremely busy.
I know you guys put a ton of work into the reviews and news.
I really, truly hope that the original post didn't sound unappreciative of that,
because I am (heck...as I said, I'm trying to go to the front page more
after that derailed thread the other day, because I don't want your effort
to be wasted). That thought crossed my mind as I was posting, and I chastised
myself saying "Not like you wrote a review yourself, genius."

And the truth is (which comes back to your point) that I don't feel
qualified to review it because I haven't played it enough.
I've put several hours into it, enough to know it is a far
superior entry to the oringinal DS title. But my own play time has
been sucked away by Phantom Hourglass, Eternal Sonata, WoW, etc.
Perhaps a quick-hit type of thing would be doable.

I think that in this particular instance, it might have been better
to not have a review of the title. This would be preferable to a review
that might lead some readers, who might have otherwise considered a purchase,
to another decision. It's a good Worms game, for all that entails.
If you like the series or have been considering trying it, this is a must-have.
If you don't like the core gameplay, this won't do anything to change your mind.

Your poem doesn't make any sense-there aren't enough rhymes in there.  Or are you trying to be Shakesperian?
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« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2007, 02:43:00 PM »

This is why I take all individual reviews with a grain of salt. I happen to love Worms 2 on the DS and think it  might actually crack my top 5 of the year.
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« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2007, 02:43:45 PM »

Quote from: Canuck on October 25, 2007, 02:39:37 PM

Your poem doesn't make any sense-there aren't enough rhymes in there.  Or are you trying to be Shakesperian?

Nah, I prefer a more free-form style.
Maybe I should change my name to PoemGuyô

CC and Gratch make good points.
I shouldn't get so uptight about it, and I unfairly unloaded my feelings
about a broader issue at Mitch. It just gets to me when hatred of a genre
causes a poor review, such as some of the early reviews of Puzzle Quest
that blasted it for being a Bejeweled clone.  Wuh?  icon_confused
« Last Edit: October 25, 2007, 02:46:21 PM by Misguided » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2007, 06:21:53 PM »

If Mitch doesn't "get" Worms then I bet he's never played it against other people.

I agree that Open Warfare for the DS is a very good game. I also agree with Misguided's main point. As an extreme just to illustrate the point, imagine a review that started, "I donít get it. The enduring popularity of video games eludes me."

"I enjoy eating, but I'm a vegetarian and steak disgusts me. I can't stomach the stuff. The rib-eye at Smith & Wolensky's Steak House is incredibly disappointing. I rate it a D-"

I recognize that not every game is going to find a good fit with a reviewer, especially during the holiday crunch. But better to post no review at all than something like this.
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« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2007, 06:36:40 PM »

I'm a believer that there is no such thing as objective video game reviews.  I want a reviewer to tell me what they thought of a game and, more importantly, why, so I can see if I share the same considerations and concerns.  Tell me what *you* think, not what you guess that I might think. 

That said, I also don't see the point in giving someone a title in a series or genre that they don't care for.  Gratch's point about getting a fresh perspective is a good one but I think that should be reserved for something like a second opinion or alternate take. 
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« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2007, 07:05:24 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on October 25, 2007, 06:36:40 PM

I'm a believer that there is no such thing as objective video game reviews.  I want a reviewer to tell me what they thought of a game and, more importantly, why, so I can see if I share the same considerations and concerns.  Tell me what *you* think, not what you guess that I might think. 

That said, I also don't see the point in giving someone a title in a series or genre that they don't care for.  Gratch's point about getting a fresh perspective is a good one but I think that should be reserved for something like a second opinion or alternate take. 

Riddle me this - what if he'd never played any of them before?  Should I skip him for that?  What about me reviewing the Tony Hawk games - I'm probably pretty seasoned on the controls by now, does that make it more biased against the 'average' gamer?  I think with rapidly approaching 1000 titles reviewed (that is $50,000 worth of software for those playing the home game) I think we can all see the faults and strengths in any game.  While I see your point that Mitch probably should have kept the bias against the series in check, this is his honest opinion of the game.  I personally detest the Dynasty Warriors series, but I don't recall catching any flack on my review of the game. (http://gamingtrend.com/Reviews/review/review.php?ReviewID=574
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« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2007, 07:15:43 PM »

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on October 25, 2007, 07:05:24 PM

Riddle me this - what if he'd never played any of them before?  Should I skip him for that?

Nope.  I specifically stated when someone flat out doesn't like a series or genre, not that they hadn't been exposed to it.  If they had never played one then presumably they aren't bring a host of baggage into the review so there should be no issue.

However, never having played something is sticky too. If you don't have the full context of a genre then how do you know what features are innovative, regressions, or are just missing compared to the genre norm? 

I understand that it can't always be a perfect fit but I do think that the optimal reviewer of any game is someone who is at least familiar with the genre if not the series. 
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« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2007, 11:46:29 AM »

That's a great question, and a hard one to answer. How the game comes
across to a new player is important. The hardcore veteran may feel differently about things.
This has happened on many occasions to me. One great example for me was Enchanted Arms.
I absolutely loved EA, finished thew whole thing (rare for me, esp. when finished means > 15 hours).
Many reviews panned the game for being derivative, but since it was my first jRPG I didn't know or care.

In this particular case, I do think that having a context for a long running series is helpful, in order
to let veterans know what has changed and what hasn't. But then those folks may really only need
a list of stuff to know if it has what they want, rather than a full write up. Still, having the fresh
insight of someone new to the series could be really inciteful provided we know that's what we
are reading.

I think if I were to go about trying to write a review of a game from a long series such as this,
I'd first try to summarize the basic gameplay, giving pros and cons of the basic game format.
Then, I'd delve into the specifics of that particular entry into the series. Mitch mixed in complaints
about the series as a whole with comments on the specific title, which contributed to what seemed like
an unfair bias. Does that make sense? Judge the title within the context of the series on it's relative merits,
rather than knock a title for conventions established long ago.
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« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2007, 12:36:18 PM »

Quote
Does that make sense? Judge the title within the context of the series on it's relative merits,
rather than knock a title for conventions established long ago.
Indeed it does.  I will disagree on knocking established conventions though - the aformentioned Dynasty Warriors hasn't done anything new in the last 5 games.  I can't just ignore that fact when reviewing it.  Again, I do agree that we could have focused more on those conventions - we should then look at what new things are brought to the table. 

Don't take my back and forth as anything but wanting to get as much out of constructive criticism as possible.  I appreciate it when you guys give us feedback - it helps us grow as writers as well as ensuring we are giving the information that you want. 
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« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2007, 12:42:37 PM »

After reading the review I feel it was panned, and for lack of interest in the title. There was no attempt at multiplayer, nor was he aware that this IS the meat-and-potatoes of worms.

When it comes to a "Fresh look" you wouldn't ask a first-year med student to remove a tumor, right? I would have liked to see Mitch's take on it, but when I look at reviewers, I expect them to "know the lay of the land" not just be new to it and go "yuck" at something that is otherwise commonplace.

New to a genre or *newer* to a genre... I think Mitch should have played some of Worms contemporaries first (as an example, I don't want to seem like this is a Lynch Mitch thread). He is a seasoned reviewer, but he should know what the competition has to offer (and perhaps a flavor of the previous version) to "get" what it's about and how it stands. He still doesn't have to like the genre, and can state that, but it needs to be couterbalanced with "I've checked out X, Y and Z and although I'll be the first to admit that this is not a genre that I would gravitate to, this title falls short/shows merit in/blah blah blah."

As to the mystery pixels ... he's talking about feeling like his shot should have arc'ed over a ledge and instead hits it... that is part of classic worms controls. I can't tell you how many times I go to shoot someone on a lower ledge and either due to wind and direction or whathaveyou that I blow a crater RIGHT in front of me (because I 'supposedly' hit the ledge). He isn't wrong there on the Worms front. Its a nuance in the games that seasoned players look past, where a new person gets to point it out and say "Uhm, guys? This here? This is ghey.".

Basically, Ron you were not wrong in giving this to Mitch. Mitch was not wrong in not liking it, but he could have done some research on the other worms titles. If he knows there is a loyal fanbase and he doesn't get it, try to find IT before posting a heavyhanded review of a game you don't understand. A game buyer can pan it the way Mitch has with no fault, but as a reviewer who is aware that this is a popular title, he should strive to find the missing piece of the puzzle, or even post a question in the forums stating he's reviewing the title and not "Getting it".

We'd be more than happy to do some legwork for him. biggrin
« Last Edit: October 26, 2007, 12:48:58 PM by Purge » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2007, 01:00:06 PM »

Quote
I think Mitch should have played some of Worms contemporaries first (as an example)
I have these guys so busy right now, I think that would be an unrealistic and unfair thing to expect of any of my reviewers.  Right now we have 25+ games in the hands of the team and I have another 15 or so shipping out this weekend.  It is that time of year...



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« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2007, 01:10:23 PM »

<checks mailbox>

waaaahhh! slywink
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« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2007, 01:36:29 PM »

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on October 26, 2007, 01:00:06 PM

Right now we have 25+ games in the hands of the team and I have another 15 or so shipping out this weekend.  It is that time of year...

Perhaps this is a topic for another thread, but it seems completely ridiculous for publishers to release basically every AAA title for the year within the same 2 month span.  Do they not realize people have a finite amount of $$, and these games are going to cannibalize each other?  I understand the desire to make a game available for X-mas, but I can't help but wonder if some of these game would do significantly better if there wasn't the absolute ridiculous amount of competition.   This has always been a big pet peeve of mine.

Anyways, back to your regularly scheduled thread...
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« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2007, 02:54:46 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on October 26, 2007, 01:36:29 PM

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on October 26, 2007, 01:00:06 PM

Right now we have 25+ games in the hands of the team and I have another 15 or so shipping out this weekend.  It is that time of year...

Perhaps this is a topic for another thread, but it seems completely ridiculous for publishers to release basically every AAA title for the year within the same 2 month span.  Do they not realize people have a finite amount of $$, and these games are going to cannibalize each other?  I understand the desire to make a game available for X-mas, but I can't help but wonder if some of these game would do significantly better if there wasn't the absolute ridiculous amount of competition.   This has always been a big pet peeve of mine.

Anyways, back to your regularly scheduled thread...

Heh, no argument here.  The numbers I've quoted will become invalid at about 12:30 when FedEx arrives at my house, and again at 1:30 when UPS and DHL show up.  At this point we get new stuff in the door near daily. 

Funny story - the FedEx guy finally asked what I was doing in there that required so many packages.  I told him I was building a cybernetic army to take over the world Terminator-style.  He looked at me rather blankly.  I love messing with people...
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« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2007, 02:57:01 PM »

as far as questionable reviews go, you can't beat the recent panning of r&c by gamespot, where the reviewer actually deducted points for variety of gameplay:

the bad:
there's some good humor in it, but the story isn't very interesting, and the ending is a letdown
so many different, often unnecessary gameplay mechanics that the game lacks an identity
difficulty is too easy and only the last hour or so is remotely challenging

maybe someone could tell this guy that lots of different, unnecessary(?!) gameplay mechanics is the goddamn identity of r&c games!...
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« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2007, 03:01:53 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on October 26, 2007, 01:36:29 PM

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on October 26, 2007, 01:00:06 PM

Right now we have 25+ games in the hands of the team and I have another 15 or so shipping out this weekend.  It is that time of year...

Perhaps this is a topic for another thread, but it seems completely ridiculous for publishers to release basically every AAA title for the year within the same 2 month span.  Do they not realize people have a finite amount of $$, and these games are going to cannibalize each other?  I understand the desire to make a game available for X-mas, but I can't help but wonder if some of these game would do significantly better if there wasn't the absolute ridiculous amount of competition.   This has always been a big pet peeve of mine.

Anyways, back to your regularly scheduled thread...

Same complaints every year.  However, it seems like Nintendo, at least, is finally listening to the complaints.  They've said that the entire reason the new Smash Bros is getting moved into next year is to get it away from their other big releases.  As a plus they'll do more tweaking and make it even better, but I think it's interesting that it's starting to sink in.

Frankly, I'm surprised that no one has noticed that a majority of gamers are teenagers and most of that group is blissfully free during a three month period each year.  Why the hell isn't there a bigger summer release push?  The summer is usually dead, but that's when these kids can play most.  Movies marketed to the teen set have been doing this for decades.
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« Reply #20 on: October 26, 2007, 03:37:42 PM »

Hah, as if Nintendo needed a reason to delay another game. 
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« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2007, 03:52:02 PM »

Quote from: EngineNo9 on October 26, 2007, 03:37:42 PM

Hah, as if Nintendo needed a reason to delay another game. 

While decorating my house for a Halloween party this Saturday I was putting up cobwebs.  I was surprised to see that my Wii already had its own...  :/
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« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2007, 08:46:32 PM »

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on October 26, 2007, 12:36:18 PM

Quote
Does that make sense? Judge the title within the context of the series on it's relative merits,
rather than knock a title for conventions established long ago.
Indeed it does.  I will disagree on knocking established conventions though - the aformentioned Dynasty Warriors hasn't done anything new in the last 5 games.  I can't just ignore that fact when reviewing it.  Again, I do agree that we could have focused more on those conventions - we should then look at what new things are brought to the table. 

Allow me to clarify: It's perfectly valid to knock the conventions of a series,
and I was suggesting that within the context of the review it should be just that,
a criticism of the series as a whole, then get into specifics of an individual title.
That is, Worms is great because ____  and it sucks because  ____ .
Now let's talk about Worms Open Warfare 37....

In a case like that, I think it's helpful for those unfamiliar with the series to
understand that what you're knocking isn't the specific subject of the review,
but the series as a whole.

To take a different example, I think it would be kind of goofy in a review
of Dynasty Warriors Gundam to slam DWG because the enemies stand there and
don't attack me. That's a valid criticism, but it is misdirected at the game
and not the series, which makes it look like I know nothing about the series.
The reader familiar with the series is thinking "Well duh, they are all like that."

Hope that made sense.

You guys do a great job, and I expect a high level of quality from the reviews,
which is probably why this one chaffed so much and I would have just ignored it elsewhere.
A reputation for excellence can be a two-edged sword  icon_wink
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