Sick of the game media talking about everything except games? Wish there was a better way to find out about new indie games without visiting dumps like Kotaku and RockPaperShotgun? Me too, and that’s why I created @GreenlightRview on Twitter!
Follow me and you’ll see concise but thoughtful critiques on as many Steam Greenlight projects as I can find. Already I’ve seen some hilariously bad projects, and some amazingly good ones — like, stuff that I’m actually going to fund on Kickstarter.
Greenlight is one of the biggest forces for change in the history of games, but it needs intelligent people to pay attention and weigh in on the process. We all know that it’s not perfect, and we know that even Valve is working on replacing it, but in the meantime there are thousands of games waiting to be seen and judged, with hopeful teams whose dreams of game development depend on you and me. @GreenlightRview is a way for you to share my enthusiasm for upcoming indie projects, discuss game design with me, and help the cream rise to the top.
If you ever felt like there was a lack of game discussion and reviews on this site, you’ll definitely want to follow me there, because I’m going to have the same standards as I would if I was publishing it on this site, with the same wit and sharpness.
Thank you, and I look forward to discussing countless new games with you all!
I got an email from a polite reader about how I wasn’t qualified to review a game without finishing the entire thing. Specifically, my Spec Ops: The Line review. I didn’t even play long enough to experience the “twist”, and yet I gave it a harsh judgment. Is that unfair?
Below is my reply, without the original email I was sent. I think this is a fair question, and I know that plenty of readers would agree that you need to experience the full game in order to appreciate it, so it might be worth sharing my defense.
I got started writing my opinions in a community with some of the biggest assholes and trolls out there, so don’t worry about offending me, I’m way beyond that. I’m glad to defend what I write.
I reviewed Spec Ops: The Line because I had enough spent money and time in order to experience the core gameplay features, difficulty, pacing, and “game design”, and I reached a conclusion. It’s not like I pretended that I finished the story. But by your logic nobody should be able to review World of Warcraft until they personally reach the “level cap”, do everything there is to do in the “end-game”, and see the credits. At some point, you make a judgment about quality along the way. If a game can’t hook me within the first six hours, it’s shitty no matter what it holds in store.
Even if the story twist is mindblowing to some people, I’m perfectly justified in evaluating how much that story twist is worth. To me, it’s worth almost nothing. I don’t respect games designed badly, and a cheap gimmick at the end doesn’t do anything for me. “Pulling out the rug” only works if you’re invested in the mindless killing to begin with, which intelligent people wouldn’t be. Therefore, it’s a game that only stupid people can enjoy.
Knowing how the game ends, I still saw these problems:
- No compulsion to move forward and experience more (bad design)
- No investment in the characters or scenario (bad writing/concepts)
- No interest in the Call of Duty formula or fanbase (irrelevant twist)
I understood everything I needed to understand to evaluate what mattered to me. I did research on the remaining parts, and was equally unimpressed.
To me it’s a lot like those who say I shouldn’t review a game unless I’m able to master its gameplay systems. Only expert who can get a high score should be able to say whether Metal Gear Rising is a good game, because “understanding” the game is a prerequisite for “judging” a game, right? And I don’t understand a game unless I master it!
One of the main pillars of my reviewing process is that I don’t allow publishers, developers, or the community around a game to control the discourse around it. I don’t have to judge a game by its own standards, or anyone else’s. My own standard is what matters to me, and my review is the explanation of why I feel the way I do. It’s idiotic to pretend that there’s any “objective” or unbiased point of view, so it would be pretentious to act like I’m giving a “fair” score by some universal score card.
Shocking, underwhelming, and confusing at the same time, where does one begin to discuss Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes? I’m not sure, so I’ve decided to divide my commentary into a few different aspects. This part discusses the game’s iconic main menu screen.
< This article contains no spoilers >
Yep, I’m giving Yoshi’s New an approximate rating already, based on over an hour of direct gameplay footage. It’s somewhere between -3 and -4, I just don’t know where yet. Because you don’t do this to Yoshi’s Island, and you don’t call it Yoshi’s New Island either. That’s a retarded naming convention which Nintendo never should have used. They can’t keep track of their own numbers, want to “reboot” it for a new generation, or don’t want to find some new story theme to use as a subtitle? Fine then, add the console name afterward like you did with “64” in the N64 days, or “Super” with the “Super Nintendo”. Don’t add “new”, because that’s extremely shortsighted and confusing. “New Super Mario World Land Bros 2”, which system is that for, again?
As you can see, everything about the game is soulless, pointless, and lullaby-boring. Every character, animation, and sound effect is either recycled in an uglier form from the original or just “who cares”. Concepts are about as weak and predictable as you can get, too. Remember those cool transformation bubbles that turned Yoshi into a helicopter or subterranean mole tank? Now you can jump into the binoculars transformation bubble to… pause the game and look at the surrounding area more clearly… because they don’t know how to fit the puzzle in the screen or create an intuitive way of giving you the hint, so they’ll just force you to scan around the area. Weeeeeeee!
The original Yoshi’s Island is one of the best games ever created, and it’s N64 sequel was a steaming load of garbage too, which is why I hope this one burns and fails. I dare you to watch 20 minutes of this gameplay and then try to remember what happened afterward. You won’t be able to, because it’s the very definition of bland and unmemorable:
http://youtu.be/U7MFpAgZaZM [Nintendo removed the video, sadly.]
Compare it to this masterpiece, where ever piece of music and every frame of animation is contagiously memorable 20 years later, even while some jerkoff is talking over it:
Nintendo keeps taking a hot whiz on our nostalgia, instead of reinvigorating it. The 2D “New Super Mario Bros” games are crappy, uninspired, and formulaic. They obviously want to keep the property rights to these franchises, so they pump out something lame without thinking too much about it. The music especially is a big giveaway that they’re not trying, since Yoshi’s Island is known for being full of god-tier melodies, and this one doesn’t have a single tune that I could hum along with if I tried.
I won’t be paying for this game in order to properly review it, but this will suffice.
RATING: ABOMINATION LEAGUE
Bottom Line: Nordic undertakes an epic journey with only a handful of supplies, making every little bit count.
John Teti is not a widely known personality or a “respected voice” in the gaming community, but I find him far more intelligent than the familiar talking heads. This review of the Xbox One is all the evidence you need.