Darren is a scientist and an educator by day, and a writer and reviewer by night. While he enjoys shooters, RPGs, platformers, strategy, and rhythm games, he takes particular interest in independent games. Additionally, he produces the Zero Cool Podcast, and he plays board games quite a bit.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Darren Nakamura knows several people in the videogame industry, most of whom are Destructoid alumni. These include:
Anthony Burch, writer for Gearbox Software
Ashly Burch, notable voice actor
Nick Chester, publicist for Harmonix Music Systems
Chad Concelmo, writer for Golin Harris
Aaron Linde, writer for Gearbox Software
Jayson Napolitano, publicist for Scarlet Moon Productions
Brad Nicholson, publicist for Uber Entertainment
Alex Ryan, publicist for Kalypso Media
Jim Sterling, notable voice actor
As an application for a writing job elsewhere, I was tasked with playing some free-to-play, pay-for-premium-items games, and then writing up reviews on them. However, in a strange twist, (spurred by, I assume, the potential employer's desire not to spend hours and hours reading reviews) each review was limited to a hundred words.
As it turns out, writing a hundred-word review is tough! For instance, that opening paragraph is already over half the limit. Is it even possible to say everything that needs to be said in a game review in fewer than one hundred words? Read on to see how things turned out.
Pangya Delight Pangya Delight is the free online version of the popular Japanese golf franchise that marries traditional golf video game timing gameplay with fantastic settings and RPG elements such as character progression, item creation, and guild functionality. It uses the relatively new free-to-play, pay-for-upgrades business model of games popularized by RPGs like Maple Story. As a golf game, it is only slightly more engaging than a more traditional game, where the bizarre courses and obstacles add a bit to the appeal. The most addictive element is definitely the character progression, and for completionists, Pangya Delight would provide hours of play.
Tales of Pirates Tales of Pirates is a pretty standard MMORPG whose best thing going for it is its relatively unique setting. Rather than the usual knights and wizards, the characters are sailors and pirates. In practice, this doesnít change much gameplay-wise. Players still click on enemies, watch attacking animations, and collect loot. Tales of Pirates does little to ease the new player into the game. Where other MMORPGs give clear goals, Tales of Pirates presents a very confusing, cluttered HUD, and doesnít make the tutorial quests obvious. For an MMORPG fan, this game is okay, but for others, itís not worth it.
Galaxy Online Galaxy Online is an MMORTS that is simultaneously overly complicated and slow moving. Like the other IGG games, it lacks an intuitive tutorial system for new players, with difficult to find quests and unclear goals. Instructions are very text-heavy and are largely meaningless to anybody but experienced players. Luckily, the online community is relatively strong, and many existing players are willing to help. Regardless, one of the tutorial quests could not be completed, whether due to a bug or user error. The strategy gameplay moves more slowly than more mainstream RTSs, mostly due to the nature of its persistent world.
So as you can see, the answer is no. It's not possible to convey to the reader everything he needs to know about a game. I'll use this space as a bit of an addendum. If you are going to try any of these three games, definitely make it Pangya Delight, unless you are a hardcore MMO fan who is willing to wade through extremely user-unfriendly systems in order to get to the meat of either Tales of Pirates or Galaxy Online. But then, you can't go terribly wrong with any of them, given that they are free. Your only sacrifice for any of the three is download time and hard drive space.
As one final note, isn't it hilarious that apparently the only viable way to advertise your free-to-play online game is with scantily clad anime girls?