I'm sick of RPG reviewers.

Discussion in 'NDS - Console and Game Discussions' started by sillypatterson, Mar 28, 2008.

  1. sillypatterson
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    sillypatterson GBAtemp Regular

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    It's no fun being a fan of niche videogame genres. It's a fair bit like being a prog fan, flipping through Rolling Stone. On the off-chance that something in your genre is reviewed, it's panned. Not because it's bad, but because it belongs to a genre that isn't a mainstream darling.

    Like when Pitchfork Media (yes, they -are- a mainstream media outlet) gives an overall excellent King Crimson EP a 3.9/10. Or their best record in many years a 6.1. This is really unacceptable, and oftentimes fans of the genre who aren't as research-obsessive may pass on an excellent album because the review they read drove it into the ground as if it were some awful abomination.

    In music, this is bad, but ultimately not the end of the world; there are plenty of online resources like ProgArchives where albums are reviewed for the genre they're in (...usually LOL), rather than against a mainstream-biased agenda.

    In videogame enthusiast media, it's indefensible. It's rare to see a niche game reviewed on its on merits within the genre. Sometimes, the best games will end up with scores comparable to that of an absolutely -broken- game in a more popular genre. I'm a fan of strategic dungeon-crawlers, generally known as Roguelikes. Roguelikes are RPGs with a heavy emphasis on gameplay over story. Common features include heavy item/stat management, randomly-generated levels, extraordinary difficulty, and battle strategy markedly more complex than "do I use a physical attack or magic". To a dedicated fan, the battle systems in your more mainstream Final Fantasies and soforth come across as painfully easy and lacking depth or strategy. To finish one of these games is not a given as it is with more mainstream RPGs, where any blockade can be defeated with a little bit of grinding. No, to complete a Roguelike requires your wits to be about you at all times, where a single misstep can bring about a great struggle or even total defeat. It is at times frustrating, but making progress and eventually obtaining victory is extraordinarily satisfying. In short, playing one of these games can be described as 'hardcore'.

    So how did I end up in this land where 'hardcore' gaming consists of playing button-mashers and 'mature' games (over-the-top swearing and bloodshed is -not- mature in my eyes), and deep, niche games that require true active thought are snubbed and rated incredibly poorly? Scanning recent professional reviews for some of the better games in my preferred genre, I find descriptors like "total garbage" and "appalling". Mystery Dungeon: Shiren The Wanderer, a wonderfully polished gem and -very- accessible to newcomers in the genre, earned the following: "We're also sure the majority of today's gamers will find it nasty, plodding, and archaic," and the reviewer proceeded to give it a disgustingly low score. Sounds a lot like a prog review in a music rag, eh?

    Then they feel no qualms handing out perfect 10s to formulaic, overdone RPGs where the gameplay consists of walking to a town, having a long cutscene, walking to a small cave or tower, fighting a boss, and repeating... where the player is never faced with difficulty beyond trying to stay awake long enough to get to the next part where they can control their character again.

    It's gotten to the point where these niche games aren't even rated -relatively- accurately within each other. The score merely mirrors just how little the reviewer knows about the genre, and you end up with ridiculous aggregates where a poor game in the genre may've scored higher than a jewel, just because the reviewer honestly doesn't understand what it's about. It's like asking an FPS fan to review an RTS. It just doesn't -work-.

    To be honest, I only discovered this genre of gaming a couple of years ago. I passed on all the games because the reviews panned them, and I assumed the reviews were at least a -little- accurate. It wasn't until I played one of the games by accident that I fell in love with the depth and strategy involved, and it took quite a bit of searching to discover that it was even a genre. Kind of like how I discovered prog when I was a young teenager.
     


  2. cutterjohn

    cutterjohn GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Reviews depend upon how much the publisher and/or develop pays the reviewing publication.

    As bad RPG review examples, you should just use (almost) ANY review of Oblivious which (almost) unilaterally got 9x/100, and was typically described as teh bestest RPG evar!!!1!!!1ONE (It's more of an action-adventure game, and a very light one at that deserving really only a 7x/100 score.)

    BTW: IF you want better RPG reviews for the PC, and a few console games by forumites in the forum, go to http://rpgcodex.net

    http://rpgwatch.com also has good PC RPG game reviews, and one of the people there periodically does a roundup of short handheld review (PSP/DS) of all the RPG released since his last article, plus usually a lengthier review of one of the games. (Same guy does reviews for gamerdad.com)

    Best info is usually from people who already own/have the games and are actively playing them -> looking on various forums(see above) and to a lesser extent today, comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.rpg
     
  3. zellthemedic

    zellthemedic Member

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    I agree. I don't trust most reviews, and if I see a game that interests me, I go for it, unless I know the source is trustworthy enough for me to trust.

    (Trust is one of my favourite words)
     
  4. Truliche

    Truliche GBAtemp Regular

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    I agree with you on the light Action-Adventure bit with you but the game got those scores because it's pretty engrossing, immensely fun and infinitely moddable and I agree with them on the 9 scores for those terms.
     
  5. asher

    asher ^ Liar

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    Reviews are opinions not the truth
     
  6. Grimalkin

    Grimalkin Waaaaaaaah!

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  7. Harpuia

    Harpuia GBAtemp Fan

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    When there's an RPG on the horizon, I haven't bothered with reviews in a while. I just get whatever concrete information I can get and try the game out anyway.

    A bit harder before I got flashcarts, but now.. yeah [​IMG]
     
  8. Ruri

    Ruri GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    The review of Shiren you quoted wasn't that bad. They say things like:
    That's simply untrue, and I'm not sure how they could be confused by this. It shows the depth in the rescue list... that's vital information, since you're not allowed to rescue someone who has died deeper than you've ever gone.

    There seem to be plenty of random rescuers to me, too.
     
  9. Bob Evil

    Bob Evil The Department of Home-Made Insecurity

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    I never, ever read reviews anymore ... in fact, I haven't read a review since the mid '80s.
     
  10. sillypatterson
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    sillypatterson GBAtemp Regular

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    What really bothers me about reviews these days isn't so much how they affect me, but how they affect others... I'd like to see more gamers step outside of the mainstream (and therefore bring more money/talent/etc to it), but generally negative reviews by ignorant reviewers is a large obstacle to this.
     
  11. cutterjohn

    cutterjohn GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Daggerfall was infinitely better as an engrossing RPG, and Morrowind while not quite as good as Daggerfall was also infinitely better of an RPG than Oblivious ever will be and just as moddable. (And even looks good today with Morrowind Graphics extender plus some re-texturing packs. Oblivious' problem is that the mechanics are just so borked, and that the game is VERY shallow, or IOW the dumbing down of the RPG mechanics combined with the typical Elder Scrolls plot, is a fail here. Not to mention the tedious console centric GUI.)
     
  12. Bob Evil

    Bob Evil The Department of Home-Made Insecurity

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    Nice to see someone who sees Daggerfall for what it is.

    I have logged many thousands of hours over the past 11 years or so, on Daggerfall, and will probably log many more ... not least of which in it's recreation using the tools that exist.
     
  13. Issac

    Issac oh!

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    First of all, it's called Oblivion. Now, This is exactly what the topic is about, peoples different oppinions.
    I'm a big fan of the elder scrolls games. I find Oblivion to be a lot better than Morrowind, not only for the more appealing graphics (which includes more varied environment) but for the much improved gameplay. In morrowind you had your 6 foot sword, stand 1 inch from the enemy, swing right at him, and miss.... what the fuck? in Oblivion you hit when you hit, and miss when you miss. You can ride a horse, you can drag bodies around, you can throw items around to distract enemies, you can join a lot of guilds with many exciting stories, and different paths for some quests, where you can gain extra stuff from one place, or extras from the other, and a lot of stuff like that.
    And Oblivion is an RPG. No, it's not japanese. No, it's not a main character with pointy hair and a big sword (doesn't have to be atleast). No, there is not a turnbased fight system. Are those the things that determine if it's an RPG or not? You have experience points, leveling up in different areas of skills, weapons etc. You take on the role of a character you customize, you choose his path, you can be good or evil... To me, it feels just like a first / third person Dungeouns and Dragons adventure. and don't tell me that D&D isn't rpg.......

    I do see the point though, because I too hate it when, as an example, a magazine reviews an Envy album. Giving it a low score because "they scream so much, and it's all very hard.. nice melody, but the singing / screaming isn't rockish....". In my mind I think: "Well duh? It's emo, not rock." So I do get your point. comparing something against some other thing, which basicly are uncomparable!
     
  14. Kyuketsuki_M

    Kyuketsuki_M GBAtemp Regular

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    I think they knew that........way to be Oblivious
     
  15. kitetsu

    kitetsu Advanced Member

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    Somedays i'd really love it if RPGs implement a Guilty Gear fighting mechanism in a 3rd person perspective, should it revolve around close-quarters-combat. That way i can finally have my skills dictate how well i'm gonna get out of a boss fight instead of numbers and a wide open space.

    DMC is one example close to what i want, but I just feel that it's too short.


    As for Shiren... I'd give it a 7/10. It lacks originality since i thought that it plays too much like Angband, but it's not that terrible, either.
     
  16. Moots

    Moots The Incredible Sulk

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    Yeah I am gonna go ahead and say I read oblivion reviews before picking it up, as I am sure thousands of others did aswell. I enjoyed the game a hell of alot, I'd give it a 9 outa 10 as I am sure alot of those thousands of people would aswell.

    So thousands and thousands of people loved the game. The reviewers loved the game......

    OH WAIT I KNOW! People only loved it cause the reviewers said it was good!......Piss off. Good games are good games. God only knows how many people enjoy that POS known as Counter Strike which in my humbe opinion sucks mah balls......but hey alot of people liked it so someone did something right.


    People here ragging on oblivion sound like fan boy warriors. MAC KICKS MS' ASS! THE 360 KILLS THE PS3, NUH UH THE WII BEATS EM BOTH INTO THE GROUND WITH A SHIT MALLET! HALO DESTROYS COD 4, OBLIVION SUCKED MORROWINDS ANAL DRIPPINGS!

    Because who are ye who is so mighty as to deem what is fun for others?

    So climb back up on those high horses, here I'll even give you a hand up, and ride the other way. On second thought why do you even ride a horse? You ever smelled a horses shit? You'd think that would be a problem what with you loving the smell of your own, cause as we all know it smells of roses eh? Well in the words of a famous outkast member....those roses....well, they smell like poo poo poo.
     
  17. Sendoh

    Sendoh GBAtemp Regular

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    I guess it would be fair for reviewers to consider how good a game is in its own genre before he/she designates the value of the game by giving it the all important score. However, you have to consider that most people go read reviews to consider if the game is 'good', not whether it's good within certain genres. Sure, some people enjoy roguelikes, but reviewers most likely judge it based on what he/she feels that MOST people would like. In a sense, the score (ideally) reflects what most people would give the game given the predominant genres (OMG HALO!!!111). So the average 'brainless' gamer would peruse a review, find the roguelike not to their tastes, and forgo it entirely. But if he/she reads the review, which gives it a good score, he/she is likely to try it out and regret it since the game was only judged within it's own genre.

    Don't get me wrong, I like roguelikes, and I find it unfair that reviewers give them such low scores, but you have to admit that not everyone likes them.
     
  18. megabug7

    megabug7 Forum Relic

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    I despise the heavy stats strategic 'RPG's (PC RPG's - Be honest the majority are on it)
    I find them extremely tedious to play and avoid them like the plague.

    I find these days it's very hard to distinguish what a true RPG is, as the majority aren't put in the incorrect category. (take a look at some listings)

    J(apanese) RPG - (FF, DQ etc) My favorite type - not enough decent ones on the DS at present.

    A(ction) / A(dventure) RPG - (Zelda, M&L, etc) - a fair few are available.

    S(trategic) RPG - (HoM, Hoshigami, FFXII-RW, etc) my least favorite type.

    A lot of recent reviews have been just pants to read - purely because they nitpick on every little thing. Some of the more noticable issues are rarely given a second thought.

    I would do as other's suggested - word of mouth - if you can't get that - rent it.

    Like reviewers, this post is my unanimous opinion and not necessarily something you should agree with [​IMG]
     
  19. Bob Evil

    Bob Evil The Department of Home-Made Insecurity

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    Angband lacks originality then, as it plays too much like Rogue.

    You have to remember that Shiren is a remake of a 13 year old game, which itself was made in a Rogue style ... Angband was also made in a Rogue style ... that is why they fall into the category of Roguelikes.

    Rogue(1980) itself was modelled on dnd, Adventure, Dungeon & Moria (all released in 1975)

    It's like all the JRPG lovers who are blissfully unaware that all the original JRPGs were based on Western RPGs, in the first place ... which is why I laugh when I see them saying that is a JRPG rip-off, or that without there'd be no RPGs ... all of them are clueless.

    No early Western RPGs = no RPGs at all
     
  20. Hadrian

    Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    Most RPG's nowadays are just retreads of others, the genre has got too stale which I guess is why they don't get that great reviews.



    Yeah these are easy. 3rd picture

    [​IMG]

    Sex on legs isn't he? I hope he becomes supervisor one day.