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ZP on Silent Hill 2

By Shamus
on Wednesday Aug 19, 2009
Filed under:


I would just like to point at this movie and say that you should listen to this guy, because everything he says in the following movie is brilliant.

(Full disclosure: It always sounds brilliant when people articulate opinions with which you emphatically agree.)

(The usual Zero Punctuation profanity disclaimers apply.)

Comments (26)

  1. JagyrEbonwood says:

    Here is a link to the video for people who, like myself, watch the Twenty Sided RSS through a program that doesn’t display embedded videos.

  2. JohnW says:

    F%$king a burning dolphin?!!

    The rest of my life will now devolve into a quest to somehow work this brilliantly demented phrase into a conversation.

  3. Otters34 says:

    I bloody hate that guy’s act. Why’s he so popular when the sole new thing he does for comedy is talkreallyfastliketheFlashpreppinganInfiniteMassPunch?

    Seriously, that is a real question, non-rhetorical.

  4. Seneschul says:

    Because he is good at articulating a stream of speech that derides things at a fast and snappy pace.
    Many people like seeing derision, pain, and problems flung at someone/thing else they have no positive emotional attachment to.

    Why was carlos mencia popular? he made racism his running gag – did you like, or hate him?
    Chappelle I hated, he chose skits that where just too far out for me to empathize with, or skits that where too disgusting and revolted me because I could empathize with them. What did you think of him?

    It’s a matter of taste – and ZP wouldn’t be ZP without profanity, or at least strongly inferred profanity because the patter pattern he applies would lose it’s oomph.

  5. Magnus says:

    I didn’t enjoy this as often as I would usually, mostly because I find Yahtzee more useful as entertainment rather than as a reviewer.

    I much prefer it when he really rips into a game.

    On another note, I thought it was an interesting choice of game. I’d quite like to play it, but I expect there is a lack of a PC or PSP version… I will have to do a little search I think.

  6. Carra says:

    I also see the clips for entertainment values and not to get a good review of a game.

    And I suppose he is one of those guys you either love or hate. Me, I love his clips. It’s not just the rambling. It has nicely drawn graphics. And his sense of humor is unique. There’s also a lot of easter eggs to find. Fun to see his attention to details.

  7. Rutskarn says:

    Yeah. His accelerated pace is just part of his schtick–there’s also a lot of good quips, funny metaphors, and nice visuals.

  8. Crazy Merry says:

    His Britishness helps as well for those in Blighty. Those across the pond will never know of the glories of Branston Pickle, Bitter or Marmite (an edible yeast-based industrial lubricant).

  9. Sean Riley says:

    I dunno. He touched on what makes Silent Hill so great: The use of symbolism, the designed imprecision of combat, etc. But I would have preferred that he got into specifics a bit more. I know he’s only got a couple of minutes to do this, but usually Yahtze’s excellent at pulling out a key moment or two to illustrate what the game is about. Here he didn’t.

    (As an aside, I do value Yahtze as a critic. He has a very firm, coherent set of values in game design that inform his critical framework. It’s why Extra Punctuation, not Zero Punctuation, is quickly becoming his best work.)

  10. Nihil says:

    Half of comedy is rhythm*, and ZP nails that excellently. It’s a difficult aspect to master, and his doing so more than compensates for his jokes, which aren’t exactly of Shaw quality.

    * Applies to every sequential medium: voice, video, writing, comics.

  11. Corsair says:

    Why do people like that Shamus guy so much? All he does is gripe about DRM and Neverwinter Nights 2, then make procedural stuff. It doesn’t make sense.

  12. Magnus says:

    Shamus, you’re already that famous to us here!

    I know all of us commenters only come here to bask in your wisdom and glory.

  13. HeadHunter says:

    The comment about the burning dolphin illustrates so wonderfully why Yahtzee is so popular. He’s capable of articulating a point using evocative and strangely appropriate imagery.

  14. Otters34 says:

    Seeing as you have no easily discernible flaws in judgment or a desire to shock the bourgeoisie, Mr. Young, such questions are seriously unlikely to be asked.

    Yes, I know he isn’t a real critic and thus has no shackle of Objectivity to deal with, but would it cause any more than a few seconds of lost time to consider that ultra-violence and gratuitous obscenity aren’t the sole fixations of video game players?

    Take his laughable ‘review’ of inFAMOUS and [Prototype]. He declared them equals, which makes not one iota of sense when you look at their individual mechanics. One is essentially a Third-Person Shooter while the other is a more standard beat-em-up. That alone puts them in completely different classes and requires very divergent criteria to judge their respective quality. And that’s just the basic mechanics behind them, we’re not even taking into account their different ways of relaying information to the player or the character dissimilarities.

    (Blast, now I’ve gone and sounded like an annoying and verbose troll. Ah well, it goes remarkably smoothly with my actual personality, at least)

    But that isn’t all, another highly annoying aspect is his comedic work is the truly insufferable level of pride that it exudes. By pride, I mean a sense of importance that transcends the actual value of what you’re proud of. In this case, it is his unflappable assumption that he is always right, and any who disagree with him are practically sub-human. Then again, this comment does prove him right…

  15. B.J. says:

    I don’t know, I thought Yahtzee glossed over just how terrible the combat and controls in the old Silent Hill games really were. I’ve never bought the “ur a normal guy zo teh combat should bee bad” argument. There’s no reason for the spastic, drunk camera or the tank-like controls. I am not an athletic person but I know from experience I can swing a board at someone, dodge, and evade the counter attack faster than any Silent Hill character, except maybe Harry with his magic gliding katana…

  16. SatansBestBuddy says:

    I take it from these comments here that I’m one of the few people who value his input as an actual critic instead of just a funny voice.

    For one thing, he’s very honest about his opinions, openly admitting bias for entire genres and isn’t the least bit afraid to call a game bad when everyone else is praising it left and right, possibly because he’s one of the only people in the entire games industry that can avoid getting on the hype train. (think GTA4, which he was able to point out a number of problems that everybody else was too busy gushing about the game to comment on until months later)

    He plays and comments on games from his own perspective, rather than worry about having to review every from top to bottom and comment on how every single part works with each other and compare it to every other game on the same platform and on other platforms and how this game compares to the current gold standard and holy god does being a game reviewer sound like a tough job now.

    So, yeah, I like his reviews as, you know, means of deciding what I should and should not spend money on. (for example, his recent Conduit review convinced me not to buy the game, something I was on the fence about before watching it)

  17. lebkin says:

    Yahtzee’s work is prideful, loud, obnoxious, inconsistent and dismissive. He is a massive internet jerk, throwing his internet weight at any and every target available. So why do people like him?

    Because he’s their jerk. Much like mainstream blowhards, be they Bill O’Reilly or Michael Moore, Yahtzee is beloved because his abrasive nature creates an atmosphere of “us vs them.” Yahtzee is on the side of “true gamers” fighting against the evils of “casual” and “stupid hardcore” gamers alike. He insinuates that any who like different things than himself are wrong, thus insuring those who agree with him feel superior. His fame has the reached the point now that, much like O’Reilly and Moore, fans willingly put up with him bashing games they love because they want to be part of his “in” crowd.

    All that said, there are some people who just like to listen to a British man in Australia swear a lot. And there is nothing wrong with that either.

  18. Draco says:

    Um, he did go into the first couple minutes of his rant going into his discussion of the ‘bad’ controls (which were actually better than other Survival Horror games at the time, Resident Evil, et al) or the jerky camera angles (an artistic choice for sure, look at the various works of horror and thrillers that have informed this game and say they too do not use this technique).

    The idea isn’t that the game is a perfect play that you sit down and master. This isn’t a ‘skills’ game, it’s an interactive story filled with creepiness and gloom. You’re not supposed to walk away feeling like supermacho man cause you mastered the rocketjump… you’re supposed to feel unease and unsure of whether to view James with pity or contempt.

    It’s a deep, psychological game that challenges the player not on a game-skills level, but on a deeper intellectual level, and it does a -great- job at it.

    That’s why people like it so much, that’s why it’s considered such a great game.

  19. Draco says:

    —–Take his laughable “Ëśreview' of inFAMOUS and [Prototype]. He declared them equals, which makes not one iota of sense when you look at their individual mechanics. (cut for brevity)——-

    You didn’t get the joke.

    See, tons of people noted that you had two ‘superhero’ games come out one after the other, so you’d have people ask ‘What should I get?’ when the clear answer is ‘I dunno, what game sounds more fun?’ Look at all the game threads that are ‘I’m torn, should I get Fallout 3 or Resident Evil 5?’. How do you even begin to answer that question objectively?

    So, he made fun of the entire idea. One week after giving InFAMOUS a positive review, he decided to take on Prototype by simply answering the above stupid question.

    And he did so using stupid criteria.

    And in the end, decided to establish the stupidest criterion to settle the score.

    The point you’re supposed to get from it is that -both- games are pretty good and have their advantages and disadvantages, but are different games completely so you really can’t make a bad choice.

  20. John Callaghan says:

    Fans of Yahtzee – such as myself – will very probably enjoy Charlie Brooker’s work, seen on such BBC4 programmes as ‘Screen Wipe’ and ‘News Wipe’. (These shows can be found on YouTube.)

    They both provide witty and thoughtful analysis while maintaining a sense of humour alternating between self-aggrandisement, self-deprecation and the plain absurd.

  21. Chris says:

    @#21: No, they won’t. Charlie Brooker is the sort of facile not-as-smart-as-he-thinks-he-is cynic we all know and despise from sixth form/high school. His analyses are sophomoric; his (BBC standard issue soft left) prejudices obvious and boring. He is just “Tarrant on TV” with extra sneering.

    I made the mistake of watching his “Screenwipe” show on advertising the other night. Bill Hicks did the “If you work in marketing or advertising, kill yourself!” gag first and better, and Brooker even made a point of pride out of his own failure to understand the purpose of advertising in a capitalist economy.

    Yahtzee is a big name fan who wants better games made.
    Charlie Brooker is a hack who went to school with the BBC3 commissioning editor.

  22. Old_Geek says:

    Yahtzee is so popular because most mainstream reviews are positive, no matter how bad the game is, and he is extremely not positive. Its refreshing to hear how truly dreadful and unplayable a game is instead of some listening to a mainstream reviewer dodge the issue and find a way to give at least an average score to a big name game. Like listening to an insult comedian saying the opposite of what’s politically correct.

  23. Maldeus says:

    I get the feeling from Extra Punctuation that Yahtzee is not as much of a jerk as he appears to be in Zero Punctuation. First off, he openly admits that he’s self-obsessed and he doesn’t pretend to report facts, only to give an opinion. He’s implied before that when it comes to games like, for example, inFamous and Prototype, if someone disagrees with his opinion his response is usually something along the lines of “Okay, whatever.”

    On the other hand, there are some games which he believes to be simply bad, and he doesn’t respect the opinions of people who like them, and that’s a perfectly valid belief to hold. For example, I haven’t played the original Red Faction, but it’s undeniable fact that it advertised itself on destructible environments that you weren’t allowed to actually be in after the first twenty minutes of gameplay, and that’s simply a poor game design choice. To take this to its extreme, Big Rigs Racing is a bad game, period.

    Besides, Yahtzee is, unlike O’Reilly or Moore, perfectly honest with himself. He regularly admits he’s self-absorbed, that he’s biased against certain genres for shaky reasons, and he’s explicitly referred to himself as a greasy foreigner who’s never done an honest day’s work in his life. His honesty about himself validates his honesty about the games he critiques. I find it thoroughly refreshing because honesty is something the world in general is remarkably short on these days, especially game critics.

    Also, concerning Silent Hill 2 itself, I find it less likely that the town itself is simply letting James screw himself over as a neutral entity. I find it far more likely that it’s attempting to devour James’ soul by crushing his will to live and forcing him to either give up entirely (suicide ending) or else come to serve the dark forces that have seized control of him (creepy bonus ending with summonings and such). The truth and the guilt it brings can be as useful to a malevolent entity as to a benign one.

    Of course, the inverse is also true, which means Silent Hill runs the risk of accidentally healing the people it’s trying to consume, which basically means that whatever energy it invested in sucking the victim in and projecting his/her nightmares onto the landscape (assuming said energy is finite) has been wasted.

    Personally, I like to think that Silent Hill devours people’s souls by destroying their hope for the future and their belief in their own value as human beings, and that at times it then dominates the leftover shell of a human being to further its nefarious work (see: Walter Sullivan and, in one ending, James Sunderland). Thus, Silent Hill 2 is a peek into what is basically business as usual for the town, whereas the other Silent Hills deal with special events like the dark forces being unleashed and bound to the landscape (Silent Hill 1, though Origins would also fit here if it weren’t an evil clone of the real Silent Hill Origins pulled from the Bizzarro world to plague the real Silent Hill series), Silent Hill attempting to restore itself to god-like power and take over the world (Silent Hill 3), and Silent Hill making use of a human lackey to draw in even more human suffering than it could on its own (Silent Hill 4), and whatever it is that it’s doing in Silent Hill 5, a game I haven’t actually played yet.

    Of course, the above paragraph is basically just a big Epileptic Tree and may well be impossible given some minor detail of the Silent Hill mythos that I forgot, seeing as how I haven’t played any of the games for quite a while now.

  24. Lord of Rapture says:

    @19: Yes, he did spend the first minutes detailing the flaws in the gameplay elements, and then he talked about the interactive story durpy durpy doo that you mentioned. Like he said, if he didn’t furiously pick nits like an obsessive compulsive, he wouldn’t be the critic he think he is.

    I’m sorry if it comes across as obnoxious, but I just wanted to point out that he did address that issue in the video.

    Like Old_Geek, I watch Yahtzee because there’s absolutely no other big name reviewer or site I can trust besides him to give a game anything other than glowing praise. Yes, he might be, okay, he usually is, excessive, but it’s nice to hear both the good and bad views of a product to give a true overall impression of it.

    Gamespot really shot itself in the foot with the Kane and Lynch incident.

  25. jubuttib says:

    I like Yahtzee because he reminds me of the greatest game journalist I’ve ever read, anywhere: Nnirvi (a finnish journalist for the Pelit magazine). They’re both funny, have mastered comedic timing and are honest about their opinions, and don’t hesitate to give games a bad review if they don’t like them. Pelit has a few times send him a new, high hype game to review, and when he gave it a bad review, they thought “Damn, we need a second opinion.” and gave the job to someone else. Though they make up for it by including a blurb from Nnirvi and other reviewers if they have something important to say (some games have had up to six different scores, all from different reviewers). Though Pelit doesn’t do the kind of contracts some other magazines do (“Front page, 8 page review and a score above 90 or you ain’t getting it” stuff) they still need to keep the advertisers happy.

    Oh dear, I seen to have gone of on a tangent… Well anyway, about Silent Hill 2. I haven’t actually played any of the Silent Hill games, but I do like the stories a lot and have either watched a friend play or seen a (blind, if possible) Let’s Play of them on youtube. And from the perspective of a bystander, Silent Hill 2 is the worst of the original three (purely IMHO). Compared to Heather and especially the late, great HARRY MASON, James just doesn’t cut it as a “hero”.

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