Dawn of Sorrow was my first Metroidvania, and I've played all of them since then. They're all great. I also never realized just how quickly they get going, you've already done a lot of stuff. The games could really use is a save point radar or something, though, because save points are really easy to skip sometimes.
Circle of the Moon
Harmony of Dissonance
Aria of Sorrow
Dawn of Sorrow
Portrait of Ruin
Order of Ecclesia
I think Greg should adopt it for the entire site.
They've made six since Circle of the Moon? Wow. That's one of the few GBA games I have. And yeah that art style is definitely generic :(
I also support Count Chocola grading.
I really disagree with your opinion on mother 3 being better than Earthbound. I know it's a sequel, but it often felt like they were trying to do something different or original. They failed at this task tremendously. A lot of their music was completely ripped off of Earthbound, and then they made poor versions of those songs and sounds. I say poor as in, my opinion is that they aren't nearly as good as the original versions. In addition, the story line was -horrible-. Absolutely horrible, boxes with farts in them, the return of Porky and the idea that they were in a tiny pseudo civilization are a small number of examples of really poorly done things in mother 3. Something that really irritated me also was the aim to try to and do a quentin tarantino style story flow. Pulp fiction, this game is not.
Earthbound was something of an amazing masterpiece whos music is even something that you can listen to and cherish. Mother 3 was little more than a deformed clone who needed another 6 months in the pot and a new set of cloners. I could go on about things that bothered me about mother 3, but I won't. The game is really lacking in so many ways, but of all the ways it failed, the storyline was the greatest failure.
I love this game, but you really hit the nail on the head with this review. I find myself reluctant to replay it just because I don't want to go through the slow start. I don't think the game really gets going until after you gain full control of your shapeshifting. Still, I think it has the best final boss battle out of any of the Zelda games and, for my money, it ranks just behind LTTP as the second best game in the franchise.
I shelved the game for a few weeks after playing the first couple of hours. One of the slowest starts to a high-profile game ever.
For laughs, rename Link "you dick." I usually go with "Dude" but "you dick" resulted in quite a few humorous moments.
funny page. FUNNY GAME!
I guess I'll not be using your reviews to decide my purchases in the future. ;)
Actually, even within those bounds, I've found that as long as the reviewer recognizes the same things in the game as I do, I can decide if I'll like the game or not based on the review, regardless of whether their assessment is positive or negative. To be honest, I can read your review and tell that I might like the game even though you didn't, which is, to me, indicative of a solid review. In similar cases, I have read reviews of games that the reviewer loved, and because they did a really good job of describing the aspects of the game, I knew that I would not like it despite how much they did.
Reminds me of a movie reviewer in my old home town newspaper. It was a smaller town and only had 1 movie reviewer in the paper (this was before online review sites). This guy and I were polar opposites. I knew...........KNEW......that if he disliked a movie, I would like it and vice versa. I hated the guy, but loved his reviews because they were so helpful, in their own bizarre way. Now that I think about it, this "relationship" was probably somewhat foundational in my taste for video games. Ugg, I hate pop psychology, especially when it's right. Anyway, keep up the good work!
Yeah, it's clear that we played the same game and found the same strengths and weaknesses, the only difference is we have different priorities and/or expectations. That's why I think it's important to find a critic that shares your views when using reviews to trigger your purchase intent.
Reading your review and re-reading mine, they are very close in a lot of respects. But the end result was positive for me and negative for you. It's like we both agree on what the game is and isn't, but those things worked for me. This is the kind of comparison and review I find interesting.
Having finished the game now, I can't say I really enjoyed it. The story and presentation are definitely the game's strong point, and even those have their ups and downs. The final battle really emphasized the game's strengths and weaknesses to me: it was half an hour of button-mashing that ran at ten frames per second and was incredibly hard to tell what was going on...but at least it kind of looked cool.
Nice review. When I did the full review of this a while back, I was curious to hear what someone here might think of the game. It sounds like you aren't enjoying it as much as I did. You do a great job of pointing out the weaknesses, which definitely popped up in the first hour.
So lots of great topics here both in the article and comments, just thought I would defend my use of the 1-10 range again. I did write this up a few months ago and it is still valid in my mind: http://firsthour.net/scores
Basically, I'm very numerically oriented, I like ranking things, ordering them, etc. and scores of 1-10 make that very easy. The scores aren't so unbelievable defined like IGN or Gamespot with 7.9's or whatever, but a reasonable abstraction of my total thoughts. My main problem is that I don't play enough bad games to average out the scale. I have fully intended from the start to use all 10 numbers of the scale, but since I'm not paid to do this, part of me still demands I play games that I know I would enjoy in the first place.
Anyways, I'm fine with reading any scoring system as long as it is reasonable, be it letter grades, stars, EPIC WIN, whatever.
Also, for the record, I've given out scores of 2, 3, and 4 :p
Oh, and don't complain that my scale doesn't have a real middle, the middle is 5, I just haven't found a game that deserves a zero yet!
"I'm not saying 5-star systems are bad, they work fine too and offer immediate concrete and easy-to-understand results. A little more accuracy never hurt things though."
I totally see what you're saying, but for me personally, I would look for the additional accuracy in the text of the review. Accuracy without context and comparison isn't of much use.
But yeah, again, great writeup and ensuing discussion. :)
I think this is an awesome site, with great people (who also happen to be quite talented) and lots of unique content. I'm proud to be among you, even if, currently at incredibly limited capacity. Way to go Greg and everyone.
1-5 feels the same to you because the current scoring is broken where all low scores are pretty much all equally bad, so you'd still have that idea in your mind. If 5 is average, it becomes much easier to designate between below average, bad, and just terrible.
And I'm not sure, but it isn't that hard for me to think of decimal ratings. At least single decimals, not sure if could go to hundredths or thousandths lol. It certainly would make it more difficult to convert the score into words if you're thinking that way; but if you're just thinking relative numbers it can make sense.
Also it could be argued that the American school letter grade system is generally fairly broken and has many of its own problems (including inflation), although I didn't feel like getting into that (despite how it's a good example of the concept).
I'm not saying 5-star systems are bad, they work fine too and offer immediate concrete and easy-to-understand results. A little more accuracy never hurt things though.
I wouldn't summarize those categories with a score, it's just more to talk about them since each can legitimately make-or-break a game for a buyer, based on their personal preferences.
Such a dichotomy could be a problem for someone focused on style, and thus would be stated as such.
This celebration deserves Party Boy.
I've really been wanting to continue this game, but was afraid to because of how badly it went the first time. I might actually give it another go now.
options menu, turn auto save on. retreat when recharging command points. dodge when enemy goes red, barrage/normal attack when enemy green/yellow.
your missing out on a great game.
My thoughts on the subject are kind of a mish mash.
1. I don't think we need scores at all.
2. If we Must have them, I'm all about stars. A 5 star system seems fine to me. If you only have a 4 or 5 star system, aggregate sites become less interesting, which is fine since I think they are a net negative for the industry.
3. The current scoring system REALLY only has 6 possible scores if you think about it.
1-5 is all the same to me. Then we have 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. I generally completely ignore decimals when I read a review. So someone gives a game a 7.8? Really? It's absurd.
Also, keep in mind, the 100 point scale is more or less based on the letter grade system. So averages SHOULD be in the 70s, since that would be a C letter grade. 90s being an A and anything below 60 is simply a (F)ail.
As far as scales of scores, I feel 1up really has the right idea, using letter grades instead of numbers. I don't necessarily know how well this works for international readers, but in the US it's as near unskewed as I've seen.
I don't like the idea of lumping graphics and sound together as style. There are a number of games with a large gap between the two, having technically proficient but uninspired graphics but a fantastic soundtrack, such as Halo. When one is stylistically void but the other is a masterpiece, how can you rate them with a single score?
I also forgot to include a note on longevity. Longevity is not just say, the length of a single-player game or the time it takes to get to an end or finish all the optional dungeons. That means something, but longevity is more the time that the player can stay interested through continual self-improvement or interesting gameplay/story additions (or whatever else the devs can use to keep things fresh). I don't consider a game with a 100 hour 1000 floor near-identical dungeon grind to have very much in terms of longevity.
Yeah the actual score range is difficult and I haven't really thought about that too much. Hard to exactly say since the current inflated system almost requires those decimals near the top to have any separation at all... Right now my current thought is that 0-10 with decimals, 0-10 integer and 1-5 would all be fine. But yes, a 5-point system would be easier to understand but it would also reduce the precision of aggregate and comparative scoring. I think Greg's scoring system makes decent sense as far as adjectives go: http://firsthour.net/scores (although he doesn't have a proper integer midpoint :P)