Short Wrenchisms today because I did something different with the tiny slice of time I had before work - I wrote a review for Risk of Rain
If you've been following my blogs for the past 3 years, you'll know I don't normally write a lot of review content. To be honest, I'm often conflicted about random user "reviews." While I certainly don't think only super-professional games journalists should be the only people to weight in with an opinion about a game, most armature game reviews come off a little tacky. I always think it is a bit asinine when Joe Blogger arbitrary assigns 3/5 stars to a game's soundtrack, or 18-out-of-30 Nicholas Cage Heads to the "replayability" of some title, whatever that means.
This is especially striking when most blogger reviews come out weeks, or even years, after the game has been released. Its already been reviewed by every major publication and it's not like one amateur review written way after the fact is really informing anyone's purchasing decision. At that point you have to ask yourself why you're even bothering with it. That's one of the big reasons I much prefer to talk about games in a more personal or contextualized way. I like to write about the ways videogames have impacted my life, shaped my viewpoint of the world, the way we play, or just try and have some fun with the craziness of the industry.
But I'm also taking the idea of writing about games professionally more seriously. While it's always been a bit of a fantasy to get paid real cash money to do the thing I love about the stuff I love, I'm coming to a place in my life where I have to start getting my shit together. If I actually want to do this, I should probably start DOING IT. And I've suddenly realized that my pretentious position about amateur reviews is actually a huge liability.
When Jim suddenly left last month, I would have loved to have thrown my hat in the ring as a potential new reviewer for the site. Of course Chris is going to step up to Jim's previous position - review all the big games, hand out all the controversially low scores - but someone has to be there to pick up the scraps right? Who is going to review Barbie Dream House Party
while everyone else is ploughing through Assassin's Creed 4
and Dead Rising 3
But I didn't even have a sample review to send in. Sure, I've written some stuff I'm proud
of. Some funny feature articles about stuff like being a typical OCD hording gamer
, a bit of serious industry criticism looking at the disposable way Namco treats the women in Soul Calibur
, and so on; but no reviews.
So I'm trying to fix that. I took a stab at it a few weeks ago looking at XCOM: Enemy Within
. As an expansion for one of my favourite games, it wasn't exactly a curve ball; more of what I love, plus robots, equals SLAM DUNK. Risk of Rain
on the other hand is a more tricky beast. It's a game I genuinely enjoyed, but is rife with technical issues and foibles that I can see being a real turn off for other players. I tried to express what I found beautiful about the game, while still giving fair warning about its downsides.
If you could, please check it out and give me some feedback. I don't generally beg for comments, but I'm really interested in what you all think since this is uncharted territory for me. Did you get a good sense of what the game is about from the review? Was it helpful for you making a decision to check it out/avoid RoR
? Did I fuck anything up? Is it on fire? Am i burning alive as I type this?
Should I stop being a preening hipster and just give it a "blank-out-of-blank" score at the end?
* - "...VGX returned with a sigh, as Joel continued to chew through the words that the teleprompter was punching in his mouth." This summary is way better than actually watching the VGX.
* - Handy takes some time off from giant asses and flying dicks to talk about the technical, and practical, difficulties of carrying saves over from one game to the next. Goddammit Handy, you can't be BOTH funny and insightful, leave something for the rest of us.
* - A new podcast with Benny, Orwell, and Occams? Hell yea! (Still want to see some more Secret Moon Base, jus' sayin.)
A - Pour one out for all the forgotten games of the past generation. Blur, you were taken from us far too soon.
A - Zombies, so passe.
C - CoilWhine is leaving games for a little bit to focus on that messy RL stuff. Good luck hombre.
T - You know I loves me a good guide! I don't even play Warframe and I still enjoyed this overview of the game and its mechanics.
R - Hey, if you didn't notice me begging for attention in my -ism, I wrote a review for Risk of Rain!
T - SSX, good times, good times.
A - Doom's legacy continues to this day. Check out some of these fantastic artistic renditions of the enemies and madness that made Doom what it was.
C - Well, that was short and sweet?