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Old 04-04-2013, 07:52 PM
Lost_Deputy Lost_Deputy is offline
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Default Is PocketGamer feeling Ok?

PG is one of my fav sites. Mainly due to their sharp writing and often refreshing take on the industry. However, lately their reviews are seeming more and more lost and inconsistent.

I don't really want to go into the philosophical argument over objective valuation over art or media as it has to be in context. An excited gamer listing a pretty new gesture based fighter "best fighting game on ios" an hour after its release may be misguided but they have less weight in their comments. Many forum members given their history DO carry a profound influence in their opinions on games for other members and rightfully so. Given their history of objective opinions they have almost become a official voice on the genre or brand. A step up from an expert voice is an official publicated opinion.

A site offering a "Buyers Guide" based off their reviews and has a direct influence on Metacritic unarguably carries significant weight in its assessment. It has a responsibility to at least follow a constructive and consistent review process. Subjectivity will be a factor but by looking at the variables of game design and implementation then at least an honest assessment will be in the ballpark.

Sometimes it seems like they are either not playing the game for long enough, taking preconceptions about what the game would've been or are just plain tired and disinterested.

Super Hexagon raised a flag for me in only getting a 7/10 but on reflection I thought that it's probably just subjective even though many list it as a classic.
This year though it has been just flat out strange!

Alien vs Predator got 3/10 (it was obvious to anyone that read the review and played the game for over two hours that they hadn't played it for long.)

Badlands just got a 6/10 (saying it was bland and the random physics made it feel like you weren't in control)

The Other Brothers 5/10 (Saying the nostalgia will only get you so far without good controls yet He-man got 9/10 with controls that the reviewer liked ((but many didn't)) in addition to great nostalgia)

Sorry for the rant but I feel bad for some of the indy devs not getting a fair go. They are stacked against many large companies who directly aim for solid metareview scores and reviews. While they're game might not have the same production values as the other big guys they should be entitled to be reviewed fairly and consistantly on their games merits.
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  #2  
Old 04-04-2013, 08:10 PM
Echoseven Echoseven is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost_Deputy View Post
While they're game might not have the same production values as the other big guys they should be entitled to be reviewed fairly and consistantly on their games merits.
The quoted part is the one I'm going to directly respond to first:

You say their reviews are inconsistent.
You say that indie games don't have the same amount of polish and production as the higher-budgeted big publisher games.
And yet you want them to be reviewed to the same scale? A universal measuring stick is exactly what puts the indie developers at a disadvantage.

What you should ask for is to allow more leeway to the indie developers due to the limitations they face - but that's not fair to the big publishers AND it implies that less effort is okay, as long as you "did your best".

But everyone does the best they can - and you can't expect reviews to tell you that a game is good or bad. You will only ever find that out for yourself, as everyone has different tastes and preferences. Reviewers are people too and their reviews are barely anything more than a recounting of their experience with the game.

For argument's sake I just read through both the Badlands and The Other Brothers reviews - and I agree with everything they had to say. I don't know if you focused more on the score that they gave rather than the text, but the reviews I felt were spot-on.
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:19 PM
Lost_Deputy Lost_Deputy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Echoseven View Post
The quoted part is the one I'm going to directly respond to first:

You say their reviews are inconsistent.
You say that indie games don't have the same amount of polish and production as the higher-budgeted big publisher games.
And yet you want them to be reviewed to the same scale? A universal measuring stick is exactly what puts the indie developers at a disadvantage.

What you should ask for is to allow more leeway to the indie developers due to the limitations they face - but that's not fair to the big publishers AND it implies that less effort is okay, as long as you "did your best".

But everyone does the best they can - and you can't expect reviews to tell you that a game is good or bad. You will only ever find that out for yourself, as everyone has different tastes and preferences. Reviewers are people too and their reviews are barely anything more than a recounting of their experience with the game.

For argument's sake I just read through both the Badlands and The Other Brothers reviews - and I agree with everything they had to say. I don't know if you focused more on the score that they gave rather than the text, but the reviews I felt were spot-on.
I disagree that a universal measuring stick would put them at a disadvantage. You take off the shiny coat of paint and whats left is gameplay. If this was looked at objectively then there is no reason why a indy gem can't go toe to toe with any EA game. Yet with inconsistent scoring they cannot.

The score is what people check on Metacritic and influences PGs best list. Based off looking at the gaming and development components objectively if Badlands is a 6/10 game then I must be experiencing a different game.
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:39 PM
SimianSquared SimianSquared is offline
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Badlands just got a 6/10 (saying it was bland and the random physics made it feel like you weren't in control)
Personally I feel indie has to be judged on the same merits as AAA, but with a little slack in terms of if they make an easily fixable mistake (like our lack of dpad options which is getting updated for soon).

But I'm sorry, badlands is a class act and our guys admire that title greatly. I feel personally as a gamer it could be a little cheaper, but that might be because I don't actually have a lot of money.

But 6/10? that's... a little harsh I feel... I would have rated that a fair bit higher. And I won't mention how demoralized the team felt when we read 5/10... it crushed us. But heed my warning: without us little indies plugging away, everyone would be spending $40 per app on their mobile devices, crammed with extra IAP

By contrast, Touch Arcade has been around since time began so they have had time to mature and get a system going. I like the TA guys personally and it's why I post here.

Last edited by SimianSquared; 04-04-2013 at 08:45 PM..
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  #5  
Old 04-04-2013, 08:41 PM
awp69 awp69 is online now
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I never go by just a review or really any review....but I did think the 6/10 for Badland was pretty harsh. 148apps gave it a 9/10 and AppSpy gave it a 5/5.

I actually usually have more respect for Pocketgamer because they do tend to be more critical and not just hand out 9s and 10s all the time. I just disagree with them on this one. I know there's others that don't feel the same, and I respect that, but I honestly am feeling like Badland is one of the best games I have played on iOS this year. It just feels like nothing else and I mentioned in the thread it's one of the few games that strangely seems to be both relaxing and challenging to play.

To me when God of Blades was getting great reviews (particularly from TA), I was kind of wondering why because it seemed to be all looks and not all that when it came to gameplay.

Badland to me has the whole package - the beauty, sounds and gameplay. But there are probably others that feel the way I thought of God of Blades.

A review is just one person's opinion. Your own opinion is really what counts.

All that said, it does seem like PG has been a little more critical than usual this week. PMS?

Last edited by awp69; 04-04-2013 at 08:44 PM..
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  #6  
Old 04-04-2013, 08:54 PM
Lost_Deputy Lost_Deputy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awp69 View Post
I never go by just a review or really any review....but I did think the 6/10 for Badland was pretty harsh. 148apps gave it a 9/10 and AppSpy gave it a 5/5.

I actually usually have more respect for Pocketgamer because they do tend to be more critical and not just hand out 9s and 10s all the time. I just disagree with them on this one. I know there's others that don't feel the same, and I respect that, but I honestly am feeling like Badland is one of the best games I have played on iOS this year. It just feels like nothing else and I mentioned in the thread it's one of the few games that strangely seems to be both relaxing and challenging to play.

To me when God of Blades was getting great reviews (particularly from TA), I was kind of wondering why because it seemed to be all looks and not all that when it came to gameplay.

Badland to me has the whole package - the beauty, sounds and gameplay. But there are probably others that feel the way I thought of God of Blades.

A review is just one person's opinion. Your own opinion is really what counts.

All that said, it does seem like PG has been a little more critical than usual this week. PMS?
I don't think there are too many people on TA will buy a game just off a review but sadly we are (as EA is more than happy to point out) a vocal minority. Many people do use scores to decide on their purchases orrrr they just go freemium titles.

I agree Simian that TA do seem to take a more considered approach which is cool. I too was gutted by seeing The Other Brothers getting a 5/10. Especially considering the game controls fine for me. Its my fav game of the week The control issue has obviously been highly subjective though and hopefully the word will get out sooner rather than later
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:03 PM
awp69 awp69 is online now
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Originally Posted by Lost_Deputy View Post
I don't think there are too many people on TA will buy a game just off a review but sadly we are (as EA is more than happy to point out) a vocal minority. Many people do use scores to decide on their purchases orrrr they just go freemium titles.
I think the vast majority of iOS gamers probably don't even look at review sites. The casual crowd probably just sees things like "New and Noteworthy" and crap and buys games just because they seem popular.

As for The Other Brothers, it's on my wish list as it does look like fun. I just, admittedly, saw the back and forth about the controls and figured I'd maybe wait for the update. (And I have a large backlog of games....)
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:05 PM
SimianSquared SimianSquared is offline
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Oh you! You'll make us blush if you carry on lol
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:05 PM
Echoseven Echoseven is offline
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Numbers don't matter and I'm of the opinion that it's unfortunate that sites like Metacritic are popular.

If you think about it, a game with incredible graphics but mediocre gameplay and a game with amazing, fun and thoughtful gameplay but terrible, 20-year old graphics can both have a score of 6/10... That can't be right.

That's what the core of the issue is at - not with the arbitrary number assigned to the score. Like I said - I read the reviews and I agree with everything they had to say. From my point of view, both the reviews are fair. You haven't mentioned the body of the review - do you think what they said (rather than the number at the top) is fair?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SimianSquared View Post

But 6/10? that's... a little harsh I feel... I would have rated that a fair bit higher. And I won't mention how demoralized the team felt when we read 5/10... it crushed us. But heed my warning: without us little indies plugging away, everyone would be spending $40 per app on their mobile devices, crammed with extra IAP
I know 5/10 is obviously demoralizing, but what matters is the review. If they mention a problem that needs to be addressed, if it's an easy fix then you guys have done nothing wrong. Obviously if the reviewer had a tough time with the controls, they're not going ot enjoy the rest of the game.. no matter how good it may be. So, cheer up!


And hey, since when is 5/10 a bad score? It's not great, sure, but to me a 5 means that the game is a decent pick with a small number of issues.

Last edited by Echoseven; 04-04-2013 at 09:20 PM..
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:19 PM
awp69 awp69 is online now
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Originally Posted by Echoseven View Post
If you think about it, a game with incredible graphics but mediocre gameplay and a game with amazing, fun and thoughtful gameplay but terrible, 20-year old graphics can both have a score of 6/10... That can't be right.

That's what the core of the issue is at - not with the arbitrary number assigned to the score. Like I said - I read the reviews and I agree with everything they had to say. From my point of view, both the reviews are fair. You haven't mentioned the body of the review - do you think what they said (rather than the number at the top) is fair?
Well, I read the review of Badland and the only part of the review I really agreed with was that it was gorgeous. Calling it bland and questioning whether you really are in control of the game didn't seem like I played the same game. I'm enjoying the hell out of it and it's actually the physics of the game -- like the clones drifting behind you that makes the game more of a challenge because you have to balance how high or how fast you go to keep them from getting killed.

But, again, it's ONE person's opinion. Obviously there were two other people on other review sites that felt the game was excellent (148apps and AppSpy). But those also are just two people.

That's why I like these forums more than I do reading reviews. I feel like I've gotten to know quite a few people and know if they like similar games. Knowing that, I sometimes will jump on a game for those reasons. There are still games that aren't my type of game and I won't buy them just because people say they're good.

No matter what, there's always going to be a game that you like better than the critics or other forum members. And there's going to be games you hate that critics or other forum members love.

Last edited by Echoseven; 04-04-2013 at 09:20 PM.. Reason: Fixed my own typo in quote... shhhhh! ;)
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