Criticizing Critics

Thoughts on this Alan Wake video?

Okay, the statement about the flashlight at the beginning. Obviously flashlights don’t work like that, but that’s not a real criticism of the system. So they wanted to make the flashlight a regenerating stun resource, so what?

The statement about regenerating health and low ammo and how it encourages you to run past enemies is more reasonable. Though to be honest, it’s better to run past enemies rather than engage them in most games. He could have been more descriptive with the regen health.

I don’t really understand his description of the ammo system. Wait, I listened to it again and I think it makes sense. A lot of shooter games do ammo like this, where ammo is independent of actual storage space and only the type and limit for that type matters. This seems like another realism complaint, I don’t think having an actual inventory tetris thing really adds or subtracts anything from a game. I don’t like criticisms of “video game logic”, because come on, you know there’s a reason they made it that way.

As for the dodge, it’s a horror game, isn’t it kind of against the point if you can dodge then take a shot? Not to mention, if you dodge early then you’d probably have time to get a shot off. Of course you need to keep your distance, I’m pretty sure that’s the point. They’re scary monsters and shit.

4 weapons, if they’re different in function that’s probably honestly fine, as long as the level design stresses different ways to use them. It is kinda low I suppose, but whether they all work the same is a bit more important than only being 4 of them.

Also lol at the guy mocking a hypothetical detractor, “Oh he’s talking about gameplay, games aren’t about gameplay, they’re about story!” Glad we’re on the same page there.

I really like this video but can come with 2 complaints. Do you have any about it?

After KirbyKid tipped me off to the statement, “…shows the developers put a lot of thought into this” as being a filler statement, appended to filler observations, I’ve been more wary about statements similar to it. He says, “Shows the developers cared a lot about the game,” early on, but whatever, this is extremely minor and doesn’t detract from his point.

“The reason this system of dodging is so tasty is it’s much more organic and interactive than other games”
Bzrrrt! Buzzwords! It’s because each of the dodges has a distinctly different function and are useful in different situations. Weaving is fastest and lets you stay close to enemies and levels you up, but is only invincible for your upper body. Sidesteps are next fastest, and get you out of the way of things, but aren’t as fast and keeps you on top of enemies, and aren’t fully invincible through the whole animation. Backflips are slow, but really invincible, and take the heat off you, but you don’t stay close and get no level benefit. So they all have vulnerabilities in different ways or drawbacks to using them. Weave is obviously the most efficient, but hardest and riskiest to use with the other two moving down in risk versus reward. To be fair, he gives a similar description, but bit less detail. Good on him for mentioning the dodge cancel, that’s obligatory. More obligatory than dodge offset if you ask me. Fairly good description. End of the dodge section is filler fluff, but whatever.

A lot of what he does after this is describe the features of the game rather than what necessarily makes those features interesting. Like, I’m sure we’ve all had this experience of hearing all the features of a game we don’t give two shits about. Even though we know God Hand is a good game, we’ve gotta treat it the same way for the sake of rigorous analysis (and because not everyone has played it/knows it’s a good game). Like, yeah it makes sense to go over the features, but I think you kinda need to describe how they create strategy/depth rather than simply saying they’re there. He could have talked about the enemy cycles and patterns a bit more, the ways you can combine moves and they work together, and tried to describe some of the actual tactics in the game.

Most of the rest of it doesn’t really talk about gameplay. What were your complaints?

1. He frames dodge canceling as an exploit of the system rather than pointing out how it is intentional as you can’t DC every move in the game. 2. He doesn’t point out that the game keeps track of KMS runs or that there is a reward for them and he makes it sound like a self imposed challenge.

1. I don’t really mind that, it’s an easy mistake to make. After all the only moves you can’t DC are ones where you don’t have your feet on the ground.
2. I…. didn’t actually know that. I’ve never completed a KMS challenge. I was working on a KMS, no continues, challenge a long time ago, but I wanted to stream God Hand for some friends and didn’t want them to have to sit through the same level a lot.

You found much better ones than me.

Oh. lol.

Any thoughts? I think it’s probably the worst review I’ve ever seen.

A LOT of G4’s reviews were like this back then. I should know, I watched the channel. I mean, all this says to me is that game reviews were never good. Like, some people opine for an older time, a better time, where reviews were people’s honest opinion. That time never happened. Older reviews were on the right side ostensibly, they picked the right games (except god hand obviously), but they weren’t descriptive enough to make it matter. Even if you hand the right games 10/10s and the wrong games 4s, you’re not doing a credit to the consumer if you can’t explain why.
Here’s an article from a guy I found. When the review covered in this article came out, we were all like, man he stuck it to the EA marketing guys. I admit that I was included in that back then, because fuck EA, fuck marketers, etc. But honestly, both of these are really crappy. I’ll leave it to the article to explain the rest.

The thing I’d like to see from reviews isn’t tacking the correct score on to the end of it, isn’t being positive about good games or negative about bad games in proportion to their actual badness, the thing I’d like to see is better descriptions of the games in question, and hopefully the rest will follow. If the game can adequately be described, then a negative review of a good game is going to make me capable of reading what the game actually has going for it, and more likely to buy the game, and vice versa for a bad game.

If we can get to this state, then we’ll be in a healthier place for journalism. That is the crux of what I described in my tripping on air article.

What do you think of this? Also, I love how buddy fails to mention how dt ups your mobility with trickster and changes the properties on some special moves.

He’s vague, he doesn’t get all the details down, he focuses on story and aesthetic elements a lot, he doesn’t really describe how the gameplay works. He’s a nobody.

Sorry for not going into much detail, but this sounds really like every other layman’s review of DMC4 ever, except this layman misses some stuff. So what? There’s bigger fish to fry.

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