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Reviews: Now With More Shortness

By Shamus
on Sunday Jul 21, 2013
Filed under:
Video Games


I have realized that I need to change the way I think about “reviewing” games. For years my habit was to buy a AAA game, play through it a bunch of times, digest it, and then write thousands of words over the course of many weeks as I analyzed the experience in exhaustive detail. I didn’t always do that, but it was kind of the ideal. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that this writing style was completely at odds with my playing habits.

It used to be that I’d buy five or six big AAA games a year. I only played a few because they were so expensive, and I played them so deeply because I wanted to wring value out of them to justify the price tag. Damn it, I’m kinda tired of Deus Ex: Invisible War, but I can’t get another game until March so I might as well play through it again.

I don’t play games like that now. Games are cheaper. Games are shorter. I play more indies. I play more games casually, or in short bursts. I’m more picky, and less inclined to stick with a game when I stop having fun. I have gifts, review copies, and Steam sales dropping titles into my queue, so I’ve always got something promising over the horizon. Tomb Raider is the first game in ages where I consumed a game in an absolute sense, exhausting its possibilities and fully exploring it mechanically.

I’ve been clinging to my old review paradigm as I shifted to this new approach to playing games, and the result is that I rarely review games now. I’ve been stuck in this mindset where you can’t review a game unless you’ve beaten it. It’s a natural reaction to the fanboy lineup of defense against critical analysis:


But screw that. I’ve said before that I’m not giving consumer advice. I don’t give review scores. I’m not obligated to finish a game if I’m not having fun. If your friend is talking to you at the proverbial water cooler and they say they’re not enjoying a game, you don’t grab them by the collar and scream that their opinion is COMPLETELY INVALID UNTIL THEY FINISH THE GAME. We play games to have fun and we talk about them to share our experiences. That’s it. Assuming you didn’t pirate it, then you don’t owe the developers anything.

“Journalistic integrity” isn’t slogging through a game whether you’re having fun or not and then trying to guess at what everyone else will think of it. Integrity – journalistic or otherwise – means being open and honest about what you played and what you thought.

I’m currently burning my way through a stack of games. Some games are getting days of attention. Some get a few hours. Some barely survive for five minutes. I’m going to just write what I think of each game, then move on. I don’t know if anyone will find these posts useful or interesting, but they’ll be honest, current, and better than a blank space waiting for the next Tomb Raider to come along.

So I’ll be doing some short reviews, is what I’m getting at.

Comments (92)

  1. Spluckor says:

    This sounds wonderful! You should (if you haven’t already) check out Rogue Legacy at some point in this long list of games I’m sure Steam Summer Sale has back logged for ya (I got way to many to get to now, I’m never gonna finish all of these :(().

    • Hoffenbach says:

      I really hope Shamus tries Rogue Legacy. That game currently has a powerful hold on me, and I’d like to see what he thinks, and also what the comments have to say.

  2. Aldowyn says:

    If you want shorter games, don’t play Kingdom of Amalur. Just a tip. (I JUST finished it, after a good 50 hours or so of slamming through it)

    Anyways, cool! Hopefully this means more general games content. Looking forward to it.

    • chiefnewo says:

      KoA felt like it had way too much filler in it. I sprinted through the last third of the game not bothering to kill any enemies I didn’t have to and it still took forever. That game was great fun at the start but became more of a slog as things went on.

      • Amarsir says:

        I frequently abandon games mid-stride (probably didn’t even get halfway in Spec Ops: The Line), but I finished Amalur. I found that when the game felt like it was slowing down, redoing my build kept it interesting. A change in weapons and focus gave it a different feel even if the content wasn’t that varied.

        It probably helps that I viewed it through the MMO paradigm, meaning that grinding is pretty much accepted. By that standard the combat was above average and the crafting was a nonstandard treatment once you knew the disassembly tricks. There were balance issues and it could have used more creative enemies or something toward the end.

        But if you’re aware of Amalur as “the game that killed 38 Studios”, it’s definitely better than that rap deserves. EA shovels out crap that’s much worse, and it hasn’t put them out of their misery yet.

        • Aldowyn says:

          I’d have to agree that there was a lot of filler. It doesn’t help that you’re ridiculously OP by less than half way through if you try to do even close to everything, probably regardless of build.

          In any case, as far as ‘action RPG’ goes the fighting mechanics themselves were a lot more.. competent than most games I’ve played, especially for a first effort. (technically BigHuge made Rise of Nations, but that’s an RTS and totally different)

          When I finished I noticed that I recognized one of the names, and it turns out the lead designer of Amalur (Not Ken Rolston, the other one, Ian Frazier) is now a lead on the new Mass Effect game at Montreal, so that’s somewhat interesting for those of us not totally given up on Mass Effect/Bioware.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      I played the demo, and didn’t like it one bit.

      Is the full game better than the demo? Or the same, but bigger?

    • Humanoid says:

      If there was a manual on how to make RPGs (for Dummies), the tutorial chapter would walk you through creating a game which would play very much like Kingdom of Amalur.

  3. Andy_Panthro says:

    Life’s too short to waste on bad games, especially after buying a ton of new games for next to nothing in the summer sales.

    • chiefnewo says:

      I’ve found that as I get older and having less time to play games (baby, work, getting too old to stay up all hours and not feel terrible) I’ve taken the same approach Shamus has detailed above. I’ll play a game and if it doesn’t grab me I’ll just uninstall it.

      The result has been that I’ve only spent $9 in this Steam summer sale. Sleeping Dogs has grabbed me so far, but FTL I ran one game on easy, got annihilated by the end boss (as expected from what I’ve heard and seen of the game before) and I’ll probably never open it again. I check the Steam deals every day but I just can’t justify spending the money on a game I probably won’t enjoy, especially when I have so many other games I’ve yet to play and some Kickstarter titles due out later this year.

      • Scampi says:

        So that means you immediately found a game you enjoyed, stayed with it and didn’t bother to buy anything else?
        I wonder if this philosophy of playing might be an incentive to publishers to only publish really sh***y games so people buy more of those instead of wasting weeks with a single AAA game?
        Just a thought.

        • chiefnewo says:

          Yes, how dare I not spend all my money on games I won’t play! Surely those nasty publishers will take advantage of that!

          • Scampi says:

            I'll play a game and if it doesn't grab me I'll just uninstall it.

            I thought about this sentence when typing my comment. I think I might have misinterpreted it. Sorry, my fault.

            • chiefnewo says:

              I apologise for being so snippy as well.

              I thought about your point that just uninstalling a game because it doesn’t grab me quickly would incentivise publishers to put out shit games, but I don’t think it holds up. Continually putting out shit games will probably get you some money, but it doesn’t lead to the really big money you get by leveraging a franchise. GTA and COD rake in scads of cash (a very scientific term), but they got there by putting out good games at the start so they could build a following.
              On the other hand we have Zynga, putting out consistently shitty ripoffs. It worked for them for a while when they were one of the few operations in town, but as soon as competition arrived their stock started to crumble.

  4. Yerushalmi says:

    I fully support this course of action. More reviews! :)

  5. Felix says:

    I fully support you in this, just as long as it doesn’t mean a complete end to long form reviews. Those are one of the things that really drew me to this site.

  6. Weimer says:

    Sounds lovely. If you’d also return to making those funny stolen pixelly comics too, now that would be escapism at it’s finest.

  7. postinternetsyndrome says:

    Sounds great! There hasn’t been a lot of articles about single games on this site for long, would love to some more of that. I’m not fussed about them having to be “reviews” either. Just reading your thoughts about game things is pleasant in itself, no need to force it into some particular format.

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “If your friend is talking to you at the proverbial water cooler and they say they're not enjoying a game, you don't grab them by the collar and scream that their opinion is COMPLETELY INVALID UNTIL THEY FINISH THE GAME.”

    Wait,you dont?So thats why everyone started avoiding me.

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Huzzah,more Shamoose text.Im always looking forward to that.

    Also,what is this “journalistic integrity” you are talking about?I dont think Ive ever encountered that concept before.

    • modus0 says:

      It’s a rarely seen, often touted thing where journalists aren’t actually inserting personal bias into their reporting, and are reporting the truth instead of someone’s agenda.

      Kind of the opposite of the major American media and big website games journalists…


      • Syal says:

        It’s my opinion that anyone who isn’t inserting personal bias is just unwittingly inserting someone else’s bias. Complete neutrality is only possible for people who honestly don’t care at all, and they usually don’t take up journalism.

      • False Prophet says:

        It means something a bit different when it comes to reviews of art and culture, which are always a subjective experience. In this context, I think it means it’s okay to review a game without finishing it, as long as you gave it an honest try and are up front about not finishing it and why. I’d expect a reviewer to have a really good reason for not finishing an 8-hour linear action-platformer (e.g, “It crashed halfway through and I couldn’t get it working” or “I grew to hate it to the point where I made effigies of the developers and burned them”). But I really don’t expect them to finish a 50+ hour RPG before reviewing it.

        • Humanoid says:

          Yeah, I’d be more interested in reading why they didn’t finish it – that is to say, an analysis of why the game had no staying power – rather than the fact that they slogged through it anyway, regardless of projected length of the game.

          “If you’re masochistic enough to torture yourself through the first half of the game, this is what the later parts are like” isn’t particularly broadly useful customer advice anyway…

  10. Lalaland says:

    Excellent more game review content! I think there is something to be said for the ‘bitesize’ review, after all if a game can’t keep you entertained to the finish the why is just as interesting as the why if you’re enthralled to the end. Now we just need to get you a PS3 and a copy of The Last Of Us and I’ll be happy ;)

    • Humanoid says:

      I think there’s something to be said for the bitesized review even as a part of a larger work. Not quite something as fragmented as the Dragon Age Twitter-style review, but still, an evolving review posted during intermissions in play. Three or four semi-independent reviews taken at varying points of the game and the experience with each segment is less likely to be forgotten or neglected.

      Unlike some other media, games tend to be consumed in portions, so why not their reviews?

  11. ehlijen says:

    Quite right. It’s better to write about what you love, or at least love to hate. Uninteresting games are unlikely to yield interesting reviews anyway.

    Also, is that a new A thing about stuff? Yay :)

  12. Knut says:

    I’ve always enjoyed reading your reviews, especially the overly long ones. Been looking for more. That said, I understand you don’t want to play every gme into the ground anymore though, and my playing habits have also shifted the same way.

    I hope writing shorter reviews can make it more fun for you to write reviews again, and that we get more of them to read.

  13. anaphysik says:

    I liked the old long-form “reviews” :/
    Each segment was focused on some aspect or thought you had about the game, without any need for those thoughts to tie into each other (in part because they never needed to tie into some sort of “final score”), but were well-developed enough on their own to be enjoyable and discussable.

    I guess Spoiler Warning kinda took that aspect of the site over, though, huh? (Especially when your write-ups went from ‘simply have words before and/or after video’ to ‘expound upon points made and/or not made in the video.’)

    I mean, you wrote them for a long time, so the process must have been enjoyable… yet now you’re trying to shorten your reviews to the just before the length at which they get good. In the future, you probably won’t even be giving long write-ups a fair chance…

  14. Cuthalion says:

    Awesome. As much as I like your long reviews, I usually haven’t played the game anyway, so I’d probably enjoy shorter ones just as much when I’ve occasionally played something you’re writing about. Plus, short reviews > no reviews.

  15. Humanoid says:

    The five-part analysis of Skyrim’s Thieves’ Guild brought me here originally. Not a review of a full game, nor even half a game – it might be said to be a review of less than 5% of a game.

    I’m a very stop-start player and have always been one. According to this handy-dandy achievement tracker, I played a mission in late October, the next in mid-April, one in early-May, and one just today – and I’m out of momentum again. I expect to be done sometime in the first half of next year, if ever.

    Of other recent-ish (will be stretching the definition as far as I can go) AAA games, I quit Skyrim at the Blades HQ bit, quit Human Revolution at Detroit 2, quit ME3 at Palaven, quit Fallout 3 before even meeting Three Dog, quit SR3 after exploding the tower, and quit Sleeping Dogs after the wedding. So yeah, not a great track record there. Fortunately there’s no water cooler at my office, so no one’s yet assaulted me over it.

    • Ciennas says:

      Of all of those, I think you really missed only one thing.

      Skyrim’s main quest had one area that is otherwise innaccessible. It was a very pretty otherworldly place, with a kickass soundtrack.

      (That’s the part you really missed. if you didn’t care for the game, that song was still beautiful. It’s on youtube somewhere. Look for Sovngarde.)

      Edit: Some of the other titles I hadn’t played, so couldn’t tell you much if anything about them.

  16. X2-Eliah says:

    I approve – this will, hopefully, lead to more written stuff on this blog again.

    Though there is a caveat, several game-people have attempted to transition to this style, and the result is that they are only doing batches of these short, few-paragraph microreviews, without bothering to write about the games ever again. And the new writing style means that a game is rarely even given the opportunity to grow on them.

    So. um. No real point, I just hope we still see ridiculously specific in-depth articles about specific points of these games, too.

    Hopefully in written form, though… A segment in a podcast or a link to an escapist-format article is not quite the same.

  17. MrGuy says:

    First and most importantly, I approve of anything that gets the world more of your interesting take on games and gaming. And playing a terrible game because you feel like you “owe it” to the developers is nonsense. So by all means give this a try.

    That said, I wonder whether (as a writer yourself) this will “work” for you. From what I get from your long reviews, comments on SW, etc., you really like to talk about the writing. And while some of this is easy (you can tell in 10 minutes that Resident Evil’s dialogue will be terrible the whole game…), some of the things I hear you get frustrated by are hard to accurately criticize until you’ve played the whole game. Things like “they build this whole plotline up and then there’s no payoff…” or “there’s no reason why this person is talking to me…” or “everyone seems to completely ignore X…”

    Sometimes that’s legitimately bad writing. Sometimes it’s bad PACING – they DO want to talk about it, but it’s later. Sometimes it’s deliberate (BioShock’s “why do we keep running this guy’s errands?” turns into “oh, because he’s mind controlling us. ). It’s sometimes hard to tell the difference.

    I’m not saying it’s impossible to criticize writing until you’ve seen the whole story and found out. I’m saying it might be hard for YOU, Shamus. Because you recognize the challenges more than most. And, Spoiler Warning snark notwithstanding, you are deep down someone who wants to be fair to people. I worry you’ll take the teeth out of legitimate criticism because “well, maybe they ARE reasons for this….”

    I guess we’ll find out. :)

    • Syal says:

      I got the impression he was saying if the gameplay didn’t interest him he wasn’t going to bother. So we can expect fewer comments on narrative suck and more comments on mechanical suck.

  18. Klay F. says:

    It IS, however, completely okay to declare your opinion of a game invalid if you haven’t even played said game. *cough*Dark Souls*cough*

    Yes I’m joking.

  19. Tobias says:

    One axis of game grading that is usually ignored by critics, but that became important to me is what I call resumeablity.

    If you have to take a break from gaming for a few weeks and then want to resume your savegame, can you do so or are you totally lost.

    It is not the same as the ability to start having fun quickly that is usually equated with casualness.

    Cave story for example has bad resumeablity despite being very accessible casually. Because you need the good jumping reflexes, that you lost in your break and you need to restart the game to retrain. Or die a lot.

    Minecraft or Dwarf fortress are also hard to resume. You bascially need written notes if you want to remember where your house or mine is.

    Syrim has medium resumability. Many quest descriptions are pretty bad, so you probably won’t remember what you were doing. But you can just pick up on a different quest if you want to continue. Unless you saved in a dungeon where you probably won’t remember which way is in or out.

    Angband is an example of a game that is hard to access but easy to resume. Learning the controls and the mechanics can take a long time. But they aren’t skills that you would lose over a break. And because the game’s basic structure is very linear you can always resume where you left of.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      I imagine any game with aspirations to a non-trash story would have terrible resumeability.

      Should we hold it against them, then? Incite games to deliberately have no / crap stories just so they could be more easily resumed whenever?

      I get that being able to pick up with a month in-between is something that would come in handy. But.. is it really that big of a deal when you can’t just start over, after that long?

      • Syal says:

        Hopefully games with complicated stories include notes somewhere that can be reviewed.

      • Tobias says:

        I was mainly thinking of games where this lack of resumeablity is caused by the game mechanics and not the story.

        If the game is strongly story focused you can put in a good journal where you can review what happened lately. Or even a well made quest journal.

        There are even some games that allow you to start a new game+ from every savegame. This reduces the annoyance of replaying the boring parts.

        Or a good chapter structure, if I am reading a book I can resume from the beginning of the current chapter. This could be possible with a game too.

        Even more so, when I resume a book I can skim through the previous parts quickly. If I restart a game on ultra-easy mode for this, I can’t raise it again when I got to the part where I was before.

  20. Mephane says:

    Shamus, you underestimate the value of even a short paragraph of the form “this games sucks because of … so I quit after ten minutes” when it comes from you. :)

  21. Syal says:

    So are we going to get a “Fifty Reviews in Fifty Words” post now? Cause that could be a lot of fun.

  22. Mark says:

    This is the difference between a reviewer and a critic. “It didn’t hold my attention because of reasons X and Y” is very useful for a reader looking for advice about whether to spend their money and time on a piece of media, but disappointing for someone looking to share in deeper insights.

  23. wildweasel says:

    I completely agree with this new review criteria. I am sick and tired of people insisting that I “didn’t get to the good part” if I quit before the end of the game. This got especially irritating with World of Warcraft, where I actually played a character to level 30 before quitting, and had people absolutely demand that I keep up my subscription because “the game starts at level 80.” I’m sorry, but if I didn’t enjoy it at 30, then what is in it for me to keep going another 50 levels?

    I also once got boo’ed out of a spot judging for a game-making competition because I gave a score to a game I hadn’t finished, because it was too difficult for me. I still feel that the game would have gotten a better score from me if it were easier for me, but nobody seemed to agree with my justification.

    • Dave B. says:

      My personal opinion on WoW is that if “the game begins at level 80”, then everything before that is wasting my time and why would I want to play a game that has so little respect for me that it would throw away my time by the bucketful?

      Now, to be fair, I don’t actually buy the idea that the early gameplay has no value or purpose. I just happen to find it rather dull after the first 20 levels.

    • Humanoid says:

      That’s probably one reason they’re granting instant level 80 XP boosts for returning subscribers through the Scroll of Resurrection feature, heh.

    • Aldowyn says:

      From what I’ve heard, that’s a relatively new phenomenon with WoW. Used to be the leveling phase was considered a significant part of the experience. Apparently not any more.

  24. broken_research says:

    >>>>Shamus Young’s Cliffnotes<<<<

    coming soon to a bookstore near you

  25. mostlikelymaybe says:

    I’m sure some people will be sad about your reviews being shorter but like you said, you haven’t had many long reviews for a while besides Tomb Raider. I’ve never really gotten into Let’s Plays but your podcast is perfect for work. I haven’t had as much to read on here with the LPs taking over so I’m looking forward to more words!

  26. somniorum says:

    Good show, looking forward to seeing more reviews!

    I’m generally inclined to agree, though I admit that there are certain games where time radically changed my perception of a game, for the better (Siren) or for the worse (Suikoden V). Nonetheless, it is a definite strike against a game if it takes a ton of time for it to finally “get good”, and… well, if a game suddenly gets *bad*, presumably you’ll be enjoying the earlier bits well enough to impel you to find the awfulness later on, so you’d find out anyway.

  27. guy says:

    I am always up for more writing on things, and was definitely missing having reviews.

  28. Phrozenflame500 says:

    Sorry, but don’t almost all professional reviewers not finish a game completely before reviewing it?

    I mean, there might be exceptions, but having to play through an 8-12 hour campaign for every game they have to review seems like a waste of time considering how you can generally have a good idea of the gameplay if not the plot at the half-way point.

    Not to mention the fact that multiplayer focused games can’t really be completed, so it sort of invalidates the “you have to finish the game!” argument.

    • In my experience, almost all game reviewers finish the game before they write a review. The rare exceptions are usually posted in the review itself, with some explanation of why they didn’t finish. It is possible that the sites I visit are the exception rather than the rule, but it doesn’t seem likely.

  29. Scampi says:

    “Journalistic integrity” isn't slogging through a game whether you're having fun or not…

    Somehow this reminds me of a time when I tried to apply as a game tester for Nintendo and was turned down because I couldn’t promise them absolute and utter enjoyment and enthusiasm while playtesting Barbie games and only promised to work as professionally as possible. It had nothing to do with journalism, but I, until now, fail to see how I wouldn’t be able to quality check a game if I didn’t like it…especially since the QC was only supposed to be spellchecking of the localized version.

  30. harborpirate says:

    Good. More thoughts from someone that actually has something interesting to say cannot be a bad thing.

    I’m looking forward to seeing these “short form” reviews.

  31. Jokerman says:

    Always loved your written reviews, i am glad we will be seeing more of them… even if there not going to be as extensive as before.

  32. Astor says:

    I, too, salute your decision in earnest.

  33. Otters34 says:

    I very much enjoyed your longer-form multi-part reviews because you had so much that was really intriguing and incisive to say. Your reviews of Final Fantasy X and Indigo Prophecy especially, and the thoughts on Silent Hill 2 got me interested in the series.

    Regardless, very much looking forward to more reviews!

  34. Eric says:

    The question is, are you doing reviews or critical analysis? Are you trying to explore interesting things about the games you’re covering or are you giving purchase advise to other people? The two are not the same thing and oftentimes tend to get confused.

  35. Hal says:

    On the one hand, shorter reviews mean more frequent reviews, and I enjoy reading your reviews.

    On the other hand, exhaustive reviews gave us your epic take-down of Fable 2. That was pure gold. The review, I mean; the only thing golden about the game was its Goldan Writur award.

    • Ciennas says:

      I dunno. The game was mechanically sound, if a little buggy under the hood.

      It was the writing that ultimately gutted it. Also, not letting us murder the irritating backstabby jackass through his introduction and the sequels.

      (I stopped after three though. maybe he falls into a vat of jellied balverines or something later.)

      Also, the game really doesn’t net us a whole lot of choices that matter, in any of the games. By the end of each game, we have to follow the plot that’s around us, and we can’t deviate even a little.

      But! A DM Of The Rings (Or Darths and Droids) style majiggy could save them; Since the writing is the problem, why not make that part better?

    • Zekiel says:

      I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a review as much as Shamus’ extended comments on Fable II. I went back and searched it out and re-read it again last year. Haven’t even played the game. Marvellous stuff.

  36. Dev Null says:

    So I'll be doing some short reviews, is what I'm getting at.

    And it only took 500 words to say so!

    (I’m kidding, of course. Its interesting to know why you’re changing your playing and reviewing habits… but sometimes when people set em up you just _gotta_ knock em down.)

    Plus, we got a Thing About Stuff! Haven’t seen one of those in ages!

  37. hborrgg says:

    In the past I’ve generally been a member of the other camp (in fact, I used to get upset about reviewers who only ever played through the game once before reviewing it), but now that I’m beginning to experience my amount of free time shrinking and my disposable income increasing with age I can really start to see the appeal of games that just take less time to play.

    However, whenever the subject comes up just can’t stop thinking about all the games from my youth that only really became fun because I played them long enough to really get a feel for the controls and understand the amount of depth the mechanics really had. There are times when I’ve found myself thinking while playing a game “Gee, this game would be so much better if this mechanic were slightly different” only to figure out why exactly it works that way much, much later. Similarly I’ve occasionally found myself somewhat spoiled by reviews that include some examples of what makes the game so great, only to find that the actual game pretty much ends right there with those examples.

    There’s probably quite the debate to be had about what sorts of critique are the most valuable and how long a reviewer should actually play a game for. It is true that first impressions are pretty important, I know the Extra Credits guys have explained their habit of only playing a game for one hour before moving on to the next one and have stressed how important it is for a game to really sell itself within the first few minutes. However, that’s pretty much just what we got with the rushed openings in dishonored or tom braider, so I don’t think you can argue that it’s really going to help in all circumstances.

    The best thing to do might just be to recognize that there are different audiences out there, some people are looking for a game that will really last, while others are just on the lookout for a source of pure, refined fun that they can instantly inject into their eye sockets.

  38. Paul Spooner says:

    I used to read the entire blog post, and then every comment and post exhaustive responses to everything that looked even remotely interesting. But in keeping with your resolution, I’d just like to say that this sounds like a great idea!

  39. Collin says:

    I enjoy Spoiler Warning but I really like your blog posts on games. Your perspectives are more salient than nearly anyone I read on the subject :)

    I know that your schedule is very full but I hope you post more of them.

  40. Hydralysk says:

    Glad to hear it. I only came here recently and didn’t realize that long form reviews used to be common on this site, but I’m glad to hear you’ll be including interesting indie games with your new short form reviews. There’s so many great indie titles I’d never heard of that I stumbled across purely by accident years after release. I might have never played The Stanley Parable if I didn’t hear Mumbles mention it while watching an earlier season. If these new reviews might end up introducing me to something like that, then I’m a happy camper.

  41. Orthas says:

    Very pleased to hear you will do more reviews. I came to this site some 5 years ago to read your writing, not to watch videos or read writing of your friends.

  42. kdansky says:

    It’s not at all necessary to complete a game to review it, as the countless obvious exceptions prove:

    When have you “completed” a game? Only the typical AAA-movie-like games have a clear “completed” status to begin with. Super Mario World on the SNES, or Yoshi’s Island have more secret levels than what is required to beat it. Super Mario Galaxy 2 has an additional hidden 130 stars to find after you “complete” the game (at 80 stars, I believe). Super Meat Boy requires you to beat 16 levels in five areas each, but has upwards of 40 levels per area, and a hidden area on top of that. At that point, “beating the game” means you’ve seen about 30% of its levels.

    On the other hand, if I play a long game like Final Fantasy 7 or Zelda Twilight Princess, and can’t beat the final boss, I’ve certainly seen enough of it to judge it. And if I beat everything but the final dungeon, I’ve probably also seen enough of it. So, how many dungeons can I exactly skip to make my mind up? It’s a ridiculous argument to begin with, that’s the problem.

  43. Cybron says:

    Kinda makes me sad. Long form reviews have always been pretty rare in the industry. That’s why I never trust standard game reviews; odds are they just played it for an hour or three and called it good. Developers know this and often build their games around it. I’ve always enjoyed the thoroughness of your reviews.

    But, as you said, you’re not doing consumer advice, so I can’t blame you for doing what you find fun. I just wish there was a place to find thorough reviews – most review sites are obsessed with getting exclusive reviews, first looks, and other crap out the door as fast as possible. Which isn’t what I’m looking for as someone who typically doesn’t buy games until they’ve been out for half a year.

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