Author Topic: Doc_Brown's Review Thread  (Read 7333 times)

Offline Doc_Brown

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Doc_Brown's Review Thread
« on: August 08, 2007, 11:31:16 PM »
Seeing as I don't like pimping my reviews to the general masses but enjoy providing a thread for commentary by staff and forum members, I've decided to create a single thread to announce each new review as it comes out.  This obviates the need for Starfox to do so as well, while still allowing him to post the news on the main page as he sees fit.

So, for the official ribbon cutting ceremony, I give you my review of...

Quake 4

 :o
« Last Edit: February 28, 2008, 11:40:39 AM by Starfox »
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Offline Joshua-kun

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Re: Doc_Brown's Review Thread
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2007, 07:16:31 AM »
D'oh! And here I was working on my rework of that very same review! Beat me to it, Doc!
Jya-shu-a-kuun

Offline bobdog

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Re: Doc_Brown's Review Thread
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2007, 09:08:13 AM »
No, "I" was working on it!  :smoking:

Good job Doc. Whereas I was one degree above hate for Doom 3, I really enjoyed Q4, so you encapsulated all my likes and dislikes.

Offline Doc_Brown

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Re: Doc_Brown's Review Thread
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2007, 09:18:56 PM »
What?!  Am I reading this right?  Two more Quake 4 reviews in progress?  By all means, gentlemen, continue!   :onethumb:

[none-too-gentle ribbing of Starfox and Silver to commence in 3... 2... 1...]

Why, I'd like nothing better than to see more reviews being posted.   :lol:
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Offline Silver Sorrow

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Re: Doc_Brown's Review Thread
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2007, 11:43:54 PM »
Imperfection takes time, doggone it! You gotta get it perfect first: you have to do (at least some) research, you need to play the game itself (something I still find somewhat necessary to the reviewing process), and you have to write everything in a clear, concise manner that is informative and relevant.

Next is editing. Rip it to shreds. Rewrite it six times, if necessary. Rewrite it six times even if it isn't necessary. Make sure the re-re-re-re-re-revision conveys absolutely nothing in regards to your original intent for reviewing it (which might be a variation upon: "I sorta liked it. You might like it too. Here's why.")

Then comes the gratuitous deployment of the "obvious" jokes. Since I'm trying to prove that I'm WAY smarter than everyone else, these are painstakingly reworked into confusing references to pop culture phenomena that no one remembers, and for good reason.

Most importantly, take out everything that might be informative. This is key. Never let your audience -- i.e., "the enemy" -- feel any sort of comfort whatsoever, be it in regard to facts, useful information, or reality itself. Be opaque, be vague, be inscrutable, and for the love of all that's unholy, NEVER be clear on any given point. If you like something about the game, couch your opinion in confusing non-sequiturs and "witty" wordplay that will leave those poor stupid bastards bleeding in the dirt and crying for their mommies.

That is to say, the Overlord review is almost finished.  ;D

Anyway, enough about that. A few points:

The silent protagonist phenomenon bothers me in games with a more interactive design. F.E.A.R. and the HL games are a good example of how this can be done right (and even poking a little fun at Gordon's silence), but when I'm asked questions and I cannot answer, then what is the point of them asking the questions in the first place? It's something of a disappointment when everyone around me has distinct personalities, but I'm painted as the static, stoic Everyman who says nothing and has no hope of character development. Granted, none of the characters in an FPS are candidates for development either (usually they're ripped to shreds early on just because it's cool), but I'd like to see more personalities.

If games are going to start being recognized as an art form by the mainstream (and by "art form," I am thinking in terms of legitimate entertainment, as opposed to "silly kid games"), these designers have to stop catering to the lowest common denominator ("i juts PWNED u!") and start putting some writers to work. I think Half Life (for example) is going in that direction, but Gordon will likely never change; he'll still be the silent guy in the orange suit.

This is probably a good time for the more personal touches of an RPG to be put to use. If a person can design their character from the ground up, it makes the experience a little more (and I hate using this term) immersive. However, with many games, it's essential that the player is placed into a static role for the story to work. But if the devs can manage it, they can still interject some sort of personalization into the process. I mean, sure: sometimes it's fun to grab a rocket launcher and blast the crap outta something...but if you're going for depth...

[A Side Note: someone described Oblivion's NPCs as "walking information kiosks," which is *somewhat* correct; however, they usually have no useful information to impart. Obviously we shouldn't be looking to Bethesda if we wish to make three-dimensional NPCs.]

That's why I like the hybridization of RPGs and FPSes: I thoroughly *loathe* turn-based combat, and I also dislike the infuriating anonymity of the typical FPS bonehead; this is why games such as Deus Ex and Oblivion work for me...real-time action, a chance to personalize my avatar's path, and real choices to make along the way. Okay, maybe Oblivion doesn't give you choices. You're on rails for the entire Main Quest, but...never mind that. Maybe Jade Empire is a better example of what I mean, since when I say "FPS" I really mean that as a generic term encompassing all real-time games, whether first or third person.

But I digress. Back to Q4:

Ever shoot one of the organic "pipes" when in the later part of the game? Something howls in pain. That was a nice touch.

Staring into space the other day (I do this a lot), I thought: "id makes good games--no, id makes good *engines*. Raven makes good games." I certainly hope that id starts farming out their games to Raven.

Okay, I'm tired of thinking. Back to the games.  :lol:
« Last Edit: August 10, 2007, 11:50:11 PM by Silver Sorrow »
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline Joshua-kun

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Re: Doc_Brown's Review Thread
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2007, 05:57:03 PM »
What?!  Am I reading this right?  Two more Quake 4 reviews in progress?  By all means, gentlemen, continue!   :onethumb:


Welll....assuming I didn't lose my document went the hard drive went up in smoke...I shall, I shall!  :lol:
Jya-shu-a-kuun

Offline Silver Sorrow

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Re: Doc_Brown's Review Thread
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2007, 09:07:58 PM »
Funny you should mention it! I found the original .doc you sent me, just the other day (Burn all my clutter to one DVD and you might say that's normal...but burn *six* DVDs and still need to find another eight blanks to completely clean house? Well, I may have something of a problem). If you don't feel like searching for it, I can send it to you, free of charge, with no obligation...well...other than pledging your very life to a dangerous whim of my choosing.  :evil1:
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline Doc_Brown

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Re: Doc_Brown's Review Thread
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2008, 06:01:06 PM »
Your eyes do not deceive you:
I've finally gotten around to putting together my review of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines!

Besides, I can't have Starfox and bobdog usurping my throne, not after finally deposing Silver...  :purplelaugh:
« Last Edit: February 28, 2008, 11:11:06 AM by Starfox »
Roads?  Where we're going we don't need roads.

Offline Starfox

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Re: Doc_Brown's Review Thread
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2008, 11:49:03 PM »
Ah crap... Doc discovered that I was  staging a coup  :realconfused:  Too bad  :purplelaugh:

Well good review here  :ok:

I will just change one thing to your review though (and since we have European readers) because VTMB is one of the games about which the ESRB and PEGI have a different opinion. Although the game is rated Mature in the US, it is actually rated Adult (PEGI 18+) in Europe. Sexual themes have nothing to do with it since they are not even mentioned in the PEGI rating. Violence was the real culprit there (particularly because of references to mental and physical torture, cannibalism, dismemberment and other stuff).

As a general rule, I noticed that the European PEGI board is rather cool with sexual content (not looked at the same way on both sides of the Atlantic) but they go much harder on violence than the ESRB does. Several ESRB Mature titles are rated 18+ in Europe because of violence while several PEGI 16+ titles are rated ESRB Adult Only because of sexual content.

For example we can mention Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit) - Director's Cut (the version with all the sexual content included) that is ESRB Adult but PEGI 16+ (even 15+ in Greece) -- in Europe the full uncensored version (called "Director's Cut" in the USA) was the only one released.

That reminds me I must add this to your review of Indigo too.

As for the bad timing, that shouldn't be too disturbing since the site will be put offline sometime this morning -- for me which correspond to the night in the US so that should be OK). Although when the site is online again, you'll have to change the link in your post  :lol:

Update: well I changed the link in your post myself... Now I'm a nice guy  :purplelaugh:
« Last Edit: February 28, 2008, 11:12:35 AM by Starfox »


Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. -- A. Einstein

Offline Doc_Brown

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Re: Doc_Brown's Review Thread
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2008, 06:37:09 PM »
Condemned: Criminal Origins review is now online!

And with that, I can now swap Condemned and Bloodlines with Josh for Call of Cthulhu.  Yessss, everything is coming together...
Roads?  Where we're going we don't need roads.

Offline Joshua-kun

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Re: Doc_Brown's Review Thread
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2008, 08:18:44 PM »
Haha, sorry, Doc.  I've been meaning to get that back to you.

And I suppose I should get Overlord back to Silver, too. Shame on me.  ::)
Jya-shu-a-kuun

Offline bobdog

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Re: Doc_Brown's Review Thread
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2008, 11:45:41 AM »
Great review Doc (even though CCO is actually MINE!!  ;D  But certainly Josh needs to play it too!). I have Condemned on my scariest games list and sounds like it had the same impact on you.

Offline Doc_Brown

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Re: Doc_Brown's Review Thread
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2009, 09:51:06 PM »
Roads?  Where we're going we don't need roads.

Offline Doc_Brown

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Re: Doc_Brown's Review Thread
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2010, 04:55:11 AM »
Left 4 Dead 2 review now posted!  Hopefully this means I can actually get back to playing the game with you rather than just writing about it...
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Offline The Rogue Wolf

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Re: Doc_Brown's Review Thread
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2010, 11:48:12 AM »
Good review, Doc. I'm still a bit fumed that they couldn't have transferred some of these improvements to L4D1 (and that they put 2 on sale about two weeks after release, when I'd gone and bought it on release day :redhot: ), but I'm not at all sorry I got the game.

The new job I'm at has a bit of a wonky schedule that makes it a little harder to get my game on in the evenings, but still, I wouldn't mind gettin' the Foxhole 4Saken back together again for a little shooty fun sometime.
"Choice one: we flank them using what military men called tactics, and what religious men call divine inspiration. Or, we charge at them head on screaming various obscenities, in what military men call bravery and religious men also call divine inspiration."