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Hate to be the one to say it, but...

  • Ayanin
  • 09/09/2013 06:28 AM
  • 34415 views
Pretty graphics are wonderful things. Original storylines are admirable, too, but when it comes down to it, a game has got to actually be playable. Even a non-gamer should be able to play it, and not be dying frequently. After all, this is not a first person shooter! (A game type where frequent death is anticipated.)

Well, that's what happened here.

Now, it would be one thing if you could traditionally "level grind" ... gain a few extra levels here and there, move on, and be fine... but you can't do that here. The monsters in each new area are pretty overkill, so that you can die more or less at any area you advance to. If you gained a few levels in the last area, you'll hardly even notice it in the next, if at all. Used up the only items that made winning against the last boss possible? Too bad. You'll die frequently in boss fights without serious help from something that isn't you (which you won't get but maybe once or twice, and maybe only then if you checked nearly every tile that you've laid eyes on), but evidently, you're otherwise just plain out of luck. Not what I would call a good gaming experience.

How bad was it?

Well, my experience was (without spending hours level grinding) the average boss fight goes like this:

1) You have approximately one round to use up whatever help you have on you... which you will probably die instantly, without. If you're lucky, you may actually get a WHOLE ROUND to attack! But it won't accomplish anything, even if you do.

2) Then, the boss promptly reduces you to near-death (as in one-hit) state. If not your whole party.

3) Now what?

Yeah... "now what?" is right. Because in the time it takes you to heal everybody (if you have enough MPs or whatever to do that), you've just wasted your next round. At which point, the boss promptly reduces you (all?) to one-hit life status, once again. So for every round that you heal yourself beyond having only one hit left, the boss simply undoes whatever you just did, pretty much the next turn he gets. Okay, you MIGHT get a single round between, sometimes, in which to attempt pathetically to attack... but often not. I say pathetically, because you are basically fleas as far as the bosses are concerned. You do fairly negligable damage to the boss, no matter what you use, while the boss, on the other hand, mops the floor with you every single round.

Basically, it's a viciouis cycle of getting knocked down, healing and then getting knocked down again.

So get ready to waste countless hours level grinding!

Or, you can just do what I did, and uninstall, and hope for another game to come along where you can actually survive long enough without truly ridiculous emounts of effort, in order to see the entire game. Or even the first half of it.

So if you actually like level grinding for hours on end, go for it. Or if you just like looking at the pretty game over screen. Or if you've got a program that allows you to hack save files, maybe. (For the first time, I really, really wished I had that, and normally, I hate even using walkthroughs, because I dislike any kind of "cheating".) But if none of that describes you... I'm afraid you might not have much more fun playing this game than I did, even if it was pretty.

Finally, I felt that in all honesty, I had to give it a pretty bad rating, and not just to be a jerk, or because I personally didn't care for it, but for a pretty striaghtforward and valid reason: like I said... a game should be playable.

Any way you look at it, no matter how beautiful, haunting or grand the music and graphics were, or how original and deep the plot, not much of that is really going to matter if the player faces what feels like literally "mission impossible," from the moment they start. If you're dying almost the moment you set foot outside of the first town, at monsters that are not even bosses, and when fighting bosses boils down to a never ending circle of "die now or die later" choices (see above), chances are, at least some people are never going to stick around long enough to see those beautiful graphics, hear your best music, or enjoy your story. Think about it: how many times does the average person... the AVERAGE person... have to end up dead in an RPG (again, not a first person shooter, or some other game-type where you'd EXPECT to die often, but in an RPG of all things), before they simply go away and find something that actually amuses them, instead of just frusterating them continually?

The cold hard truth is this: no matter how great your game is, if the player quits in frustration before they ever get to see %90 of it, then for that person, none of that remaining %90 really counts for anything. It's the same for that player as if the game ended where they quit. Or you might say, it's almost the same as if the play was somehow "broken" and you simply could not continue (even if it is actually technically possible, by some means involving epic patience, to do so).

Now, a person might object and say that's not fair, because the player COULD have played it, and it's not the game maker's fault that they quit. Oh sure. They could have continued to play... with a ridiculous amount of effort. But in this case, we're not talking about people quitting because they're lazy. We're talking about people quitting because an absurd level of effort is required by the game. In this case, it's the game, not the user, that's unreasonable. The fault, in this case, lies with the game.

For this reason, in trying to give an honest rating, I rated it subpar.

In my book, a game is "not playable," if it's not playable for common people without an insane/ridiculous amount of effort, and if a game is "not playable," then it fails to meet the most fundamental criteria of all games: that to begin with, you can actually play it! It should not just be TECHNICALLY playable, if, for instance, you're willing to frisk every tile on every screen of the game you can physically access, and press up against every inch of wall in every map, and waste days of your life level grinding like you were playing Maple Story (where at least the players would have the option of talking to their friends rather than just dying of boredom or quitting in frustration). It should be playable for anyone willing to put forth a reasonable effort. But a REASONABLE effort, not just for those who are willing to sit up all night with a pot of coffee frisking tiles and level grinding for hours on end. (Definitely not reasonable.)

It would be far better to do a less glorious job with your game, and at least to have a game that everyone can actually play... and dare I say, maybe even enjoy? ... than to have a drop-dead-gorgeous game, that you have to have no life at all (eg, the countless hours for level grinding), and endless patience, in order to play.

And by "play" I do mean without a walkthrough. Cheating should not be a prerequisite to being able to play the game. It should be pretty straightforward and fairly balanced in difficulty, for those who know what to expect in an RPG of this kind (in this case, the mainstream kind, as opposed to, say, puzzle RPGS, where it's taken for granted that you pretty much have to be a genius to play without a walkthrough).

Posts

I wanted to confirm something about my post since it might have had caused some misunderstandings.

#1 I wasn't agreeing with this review since I didn't understand exactly what made it frustrating for him because it's extremely vague.

#2 While this reviewer could've have a legitimate experience, I was telling him/her to elaborate more on his/her review because it's vague as hell.

#3 I compared my early experiences (such as not agreeing with Snowe's personality and the earlier versions of fights) before the final version being of similar vein as this review. Which I think both are not strong enough to warrant a very low star review of the game. Therefore, I don't think it's a valid review until he actually notes what exact strategies/moveset, how his adventure went or whatever the battles did to him that caused an ultimately frustrating experience for him.

That and focusing solely on one part of the game isn't enough to review something. That's it.
author=FG
a) Most people are only commenting on this review because it disagrees with their own opinion. If this was a badly-written review that gave a positive score then I guarantee it wouldn't have 4 pages worth of comments. It irks me that badly-written reviews only get flak when they go against the grain. Most of the reviews on this site wouldn't even get accepted if I was in charge.

I can venture a guess as to why that is - the star rating. That's what a lot of people react to more than even the content. A well-written bad review that brought a popular game's average score down with a low star rating would also be getting a lot of backlash, although the flaws in the writing might not be as obvious. The way the review scores average into an overall rating for the game creates a sense that a bad review has consequences beyond disagreeing with people who liked it. In this case, it only bumped the game's star rating down to 4 but you'd expect a game that was so well-received by most of the community would have a higher rating.

I personally don't think reviews should have numbers, letter grades or stars attached, and I don't use anything like that in the reviews I write for RMW. More often than not, it takes all the attention away from what the reviewer worked harder on - the content. However, in this case, the content was so lacking that it drew a fair amount of attention too.

Also, I apparently spoke too soon about people reviewing toasters. Check out this takedown! http://www.amazon.com/review/R156RCJ6O7I404/ref=cm_cr_pr_viewpnt#R156RCJ6O7I404
author=Sated
You're the guy who tripped all over Ebert's law when commenting on said review; I don't think you're qualified to speak about review standards.

Neither are you, no doubts about that.
Writing a lot of reviews doesn't automatically make you a good reviewer, quality is better than quantity.

Anyway, I'm too busy to argue with someone like you, so I'm off.
Solitayre
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
18257
author=Sated
Fortunately, that was years ago and my reviews have gotten considerably better; they're still underwhelming relative to what could be called a "professional" standard, but they're also better than most of the gutter trash this site allows to be published.

Most of the reviews on this site wouldn't even get accepted if I was in charge.


This is not a site of professionals, it is a site full of amateurs. If this was a site full of professional writers you are right that the standards should be higher. But reviews are the best way to give a developer feedback and having too high a barrier of entry flies in the face of this. This site has always catered to developers first.

Also, a very, very large portion of professional game reviewers are shills. It isn't their fault; the industry doesn't let them be anything else. But you shouldn't trust their ratings or their standards just because they're the professionals.
author=Solitayre
For those saying/thinking that this review shouldn't have been approved; on what grounds should I have denied it? Because I disagree with it? It isn't my place to decide whether someone is playing wrong, or what opinions they are allowed to have.

This review, to me, comes across as expressing genuine frustration at the difficulty of the game. The takeaway is "Hey guys, this game is really hard, it was so hard that I didn't enjoy playing it." That is a completely legitimate criticism to have, and a useful one for potential players to see, even if not everyone agrees.

Similarly, it's okay to dislike a review and not let it affect your perception of the game.

I agree it's fine to have the criticism they have, but HOW is this useful for ANY potential players? HOW can we agree or disagree with this review when we don't know the beginning?

I mean Ayanin never explained to me, or anyone here, WHY they found this game frustrating, WHY they had to do hours of level grinding, WHY they found enemies to overkill, and WHY it became "unplayable" as if we'd ALL have this exact same experience, and that's not the case at all.

From the looks of it, Ayanin should have said
"I'm the type of player that does Y when playing games (or this type of game) and the game gave me X, which I found frustrated and hated. If you're like me and like games where you go with Y this may be one to miss. When you do Y (and this we as the reader assume is a reasonable thing to be doing) so and so happens so I believe the game deserves 2/5".

THAT would've been valuable.

As it stands, I can't understand the Y, the cause. Therefore HOW can this help anyone? For all I know the Y could been he didn't plug in the toaster. I'd like to know if that's the case, as then it's not a good enough reason for a 2/5.

By the end of it I learn nothing on what the reviewer was doing so I can't tell, and without the root causes, no matter what they say the effects were I can't guess his own choices. This makes the review meaningless, vague, and possibly misleading.

It's like reading the 2nd half of a book and missing the first half to know why that's happening.

This was nothing like my experience, had I read this review before downloaded the game I may have taken it seriously. On that grounds I don't feel this is at all useful for any potential players.

From the looks of it, the developer can't take anything of use from this either.

I don't want to sound harsh or mean, but this is honestly how it looks to me.
@Ronove: I want to play that game (Toaster Stealing Prince). Bwahahaha! :D
...I agree that the game was hard, but it was kind of refreshing how every boss battle was like a brick to the face. The brilliant thing is it's balanced so well that in order to win, you need to change your strategy in key ways (usually, yeah, by manipulating status effects, which commercial games tend not even to allow on bosses). It's nice how Ronove makes you think and really understand the system in order to win the fights, rather than just cheaply stacking the boss' stats against you so you had to grind.

I mean, what really caught me was the story and the art and how brilliantly done things were in general, but I thought the battles were on the same level of quality as the rest of the game--meaning, really high.
...I visit the site in my precious few hours with internet to find this?

Alright, here's the thing. I don't personally agree with this review. I also probably wouldn't have passed it myself but not because I didn't agree with it, but because when reviewing a game two things should be kept in mind - all aspects of a game and how far you got in the game in question.

In this case the player didn't get very far at all... and I can understand the frustration because my own first playthrough of the game was hard thanks to not knowing how to defeat the boss. I did, however, find the way eventually, and the game does get more balanced as you go along, gain more characters and skills, and get used to the strategy necessary to win.

Because the player didn't get far, they shouldn't have written a review, though, instead writing a comment to the creator or even asking for some tips on how to beat the boss. That is part of what game pages are for - direct communication between creators and players.

That said, the review passed, and has now met with an unpopular reception. And that's understandable. When you review a game you should keep in mind all parts of the game, not just one. The gameplay tripped you up, yes, but you say precious little about how it did so and just ignored the other parts of the game as extraneous filler. That's my only major issue with the review.


Of course, if people have an issue with this review (which they do) how about reviewing the game yourselves? Let your own voices be heard. Or go talk to Decky in the thread he posted in the forums for feedback and the like.

@Ayanin - don't let the harsh feedback discourage you from making more reviews. Just try to cover all aspects of a game and if you run into problems, perhaps detail them a bit better so the audience and creator know what issues to look out for in particular. (I recommend hide tags, myself, but that's just me.) Good luck on your next review!
Corfaisus
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
7874
author=Sated
"Because the player didn't get far, they shouldn't have written a review"

Wrong.

A restaurant reviewer enters a chinese restaurant to do what he does best. He orders lo mein and finds a seat. When the food comes, his cell phone rings and he feels the need to answer. The person on the other end of the line is a relative who's calling on urgent health issues. The restaurant reviewer, given the circumstances, can't wait around to eat the full meal and instead takes a noodle off the top and eats it just so that he can say that he gave the place a shot before addressing the family matters.

The reviewer attempts to return to the restaurant at a later date only to find that they're closed and that he cannot find time in his busy schedule to come back again, though this now leaves him with the dilemma of meeting his quota. When it comes time to write the review, the reviewer only has that one noodle to use as a point of reference, a dry, bland noodle that may or may not have been an appropriate representative to the overall meal. To cover his own hide, he must say that he gave the food a chance to an appropriate degree but knows only of the one noodle. He gives the restaurant as a whole a mediocre rating, wipes his hands clean and moves on.

The restaurant that was known by the regulars to serve exquisite food now takes a hit as those who may have been curious about a fine chinese restaurant but who are also careful about where they dine and instead depend on the opinion of others end up giving this particular place a miss.
---------------------------

It's on the spot but I hope it illustrates the point that you should write a review of a complete work only if you've put in the time to at least make extensive progress in exploring said work. Your opinion is as valid as anyone else's and deserves to be heard, but the absolute nature of reviews should discourage you from leaving more than a comment.

Then again, if you feel you must write a review, leave it unrated and place a disclaimer at the top stating that you haven't made enough progress to speak of the game in its entirety.
Ronove
More like Misao Stealing Prince
2863
sated
It appears to me that they got further than Max did in his review.

Yeah... his is from the demo so he couldn't really get much farther. The review only goes to the tower before he couldn't figure out where to proceed but he did beat the boss (I think? He did say he'd come back to it but he never updated his comment...) I'm 90% sure this review stopped at.
You absolutely should not require people to have played trough the whole game before writing a review. People who enjoy a game are more likely to fining it than people who don't. By requiring the reviewer to have finished the game, you filter away far more low scores than high scores and therefore add a bias towards a high score. Also, if there is a sizable amount of players who quit rather early, then I don't see why there shouldn't also be a review written by someone who quit early.
author=Corfaisus
author=Sated
"Because the player didn't get far, they shouldn't have written a review"

Wrong.
A restaurant reviewer enters a chinese restaurant to do what he does best. He orders lo mein and finds a seat. When the food comes, his cell phone rings and he feels the need to answer. The person on the other end of the line is a relative who's calling on urgent health issues. The restaurant reviewer, given the circumstances, can't wait around to eat the full meal and instead takes a noodle off the top and eats it just so that he can say that he gave the place a shot before addressing the family matters.

The reviewer attempts to return to the restaurant at a later date only to find that they're closed and that he cannot find time in his busy schedule to come back again, though this now leaves him with the dilemma of meeting his quota. When it comes time to write the review, the reviewer only has that one noodle to use as a point of reference, a dry, bland noodle that may or may not have been an appropriate representative to the overall meal. To cover his own hide, he must say that he gave the food a chance to an appropriate degree but knows only of the one noodle. He gives the restaurant as a whole a mediocre rating, wipes his hands clean and moves on.

The restaurant that was known by the regulars to serve exquisite food now takes a hit as those who may have been curious about a fine chinese restaurant but who are also careful about where they dine and instead depend on the opinion of others end up giving this particular place a miss.
---------------------------

It's on the spot but I hope it illustrates the point that you should write a review of a complete work only if you've put in the time to at least make extensive progress in exploring said work. Your opinion is as valid as anyone else's and deserves to be heard, but the absolute nature of reviews should discourage you from leaving more than a comment.

Then again, if you feel you must write a review, leave it unrated and place a disclaimer at the top stating that you haven't made enough progress to speak of the game in its entirety.
You basically described someone finding the gamepage, downloading the file, unzipping it, but then never actually play it, and THEN write a review. Sated's analogy is more like 'Tried the lo mein, it was so disgusting I barfed. I couldn't finish the meal.' and then writing a review.
author=kentona
Sated's analogy is more like 'Tried the lo mein, it was so disgusting I barfed. I couldn't finish the meal.' and then writing a review.


So now someone's inability to beat a first boss that nobody else has issues with is considered a bad meal that causes one to barf?

If he had a bad experience from start to when he quit playing, that's one thing, but his ONLY complaint is a boss that he couldn't beat even though everyone else could. He had all of the tools necessary to beat the boss, he just didn't know how to use basic strategy. Why should a game be punished by one reviewer's incompetence at play mechanics?

I have no idea - I haven't bothered to read the review or play the game or really read the comments here. I was just bothered by Corfaisus's bad analogy.

EDIT:
wait, are you saying that the barfing man's review isn't valid because other people didn't barf?
Corfaisus
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
7874
author=kentona
author=Corfaisus
author=Sated
his post
my post
You basically described someone finding the gamepage, downloading the file, unzipping it, but then never actually play it, and THEN write a review. Sated's analogy is more like 'Tried the lo mein, it was so disgusting I barfed. I couldn't finish the meal.' and then writing a review.

The problem here is that there's nothing inherently wrong with the lo mein that it would cause someone to barf. You don't barf because it's disgusting, but because your body can't digest it properly. Your analogy would be more along the line of downloaded the game, unzipped it, opened it and the computer crashed.

Like you, I haven't played much of the game, but I still stand by the point Liberty made that you should speak of the full experience in a review, and only if you've taken the time to experience it. There's a thin line between didn't like it to couldn't eat it, and this was clearly a case of using one to an emphasis that it describes the other. I disagree with this because it is inherently bullshit.

I'll speak the truth, when I was planning on writing this, I wasn't exactly having the time of my life. Multiple times I thought about quitting, but decided to push forward. Throughout the rest of the game, it had its ups and downs (mostly downs near the end), but I felt that if I can't complete the game or at least get close, I have no reason to bitch about the entirety of the game in the form of a review. To be honest, I was angry at the amount of grinding and hoopla I had to put up with near the final dungeon, but I still pressed on. It's not that hard to play through a game and still give it a sub-par score.

No one should review Megaman and say "I started it up, selected a stage, and couldn't be assed to wait through the boss display screen. 1/5."
Solitayre
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
18257
If people disagree with this review they should write their own, like I did.

Over twenty people showed up to passionately defend this game but none of them have written a review.

Decky
I'm a dog pirate
19645
author=Solitayre
If people disagree with this review they should write their own, like I did.

Over twenty people showed up to passionately defend this game but none of them have written a review.


This is definitely the most constructive course of action. But in fairness to Ronove, Diedrupo, etc. they made this game so they can't make a review, and they certainly have a right to defend their game however the see fit (for right or wrong, or better or worse). And I definitely understand their frustration, as I have been victim to people writing off my games because they struggle with an early boss. It's possibly unfair, but it seems to be the nature of the beast.

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