[Disclaimer: This blog does not represent the views or opinions of Enkido as he exists in a sane state and he cannot be held responsible for the content expressed in this article. For real, it's been a long time but I'm feeling argumentative. Also, cocks.]
Quick Asside: Hey guys, this isn't really what I had in mind for my first blog in a long while, but this little ditty by Omicron1, combined with my general lack of entusiasm for work today, has me in a writing/arguing mood, so you can thank him for this.
Omicron, buddy, brah, compadre, gezpacho(?), what are you talking about? Yes, Jim is an opinionated man, and the funny thing about that is that he gets paid to be so. As a game reviewer on a video game news site, it is his job to espouse his opinions to the wider gaming public. Furthermore, your comparison to a review of a political speech is disingenuous in its application. It implies that Jim was rating the game on something other than what he was supposed to, which is not true. In the review he states that the game does many things right, but that it also has a number of issues that keep it from being more than just an above average game. Reviewing a game based on your tastes is not dishonest to the reader, it is what a review is meant to do, mainly give a single opinion, and that is all that a reader should expect.
Furthermore, comparing a review score to the average is flabergastingly back assward. An average is informed by its inputs not the other way around. You point out that Jim's score for The Witcher is comparatively lower than the average while his score for MW3 is slightly higher. From here you make the wildly speculative leap that he cannot properly form opinions of these games. Now, I'm no Olympic leaper, my lacking the hips for it, but all that your information says to me is that Jim enjoyed The Withcher comparatively less than others and that he enjoyed MW3 slightly more, which is all that average reveiw scores can objectively tell someone. You seem to fault Jim for not reflecting the average when he contributed to making up the average. He's not unsuitable to review these games, anyone with a basic command of language is suitable to review a game, and often they do (you can see it here in the blogs even). Your question seems to be is he deserving of the audience that he is afforded?
If you will allow me, an odd thing to ask on the internet, because c'mon really, how would you stop me, I'm going to use some similarly flawed processes to prove that the metacritic score is wrong. You say that reviews should reflect what will appeal to a vast majority of others, as evidenced here "If you cannot see through "I like" to "Others will like," what are you doing reviewing games?" (This isn't the flawed part, merely what you said). Well the best way to determine what "Others" liked the most is with sales figures, as people vote with their wallet. For the sake of argument and to give a reference point I'll use the same two games you did, The Witcher and MW3 (this is where there be dragons). Now, according to Metacritic and your own admission, The Witcher and MW3 have exactly the same average, and as a reflection of what "Others" will enjoy they should have sold about the same, as they would appeal to the same number of people. But wait! According to this, The Witcher sold 400,000 copies in its first week, which is impressive, but rather paltry when compared to MW3's 6.5 Million on it's first day. Looking at that I would say that that Metacritic is wildly innacurate and that Jim's assesment seems to be more the palletable, jus sayin'.
"Yes, I said wrong. Not wrong for you, Mr. Sterling, but wrong for a review. Call of Duty isn't a 9.5, no matter how much you liked it. The Witcher 2 is not a 6.0. Not in a context larger than your personal experience."
This quote really bothers me. It says right in the review, just after the 6 even, what exactly that score means, "6s may be slightly above average, or simply inoffensive. Fans of this genre will still thoroughly enjoy them, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled." Based on what Jim wrote that sounds like a pretty apt summation of the review, so there's really no issue with boiling it down to a vector there. If you are suggesting that Jim give the reveiw a number that reflects differently than what is stated in the review in order to be in line with what "Others" will feel, then I would argue that that is significantly more dishonest than his supposed crusade.
This is getting a bit overblown now, so I'll finish with one last example. I have been playing Dark Souls vehemently for the last couple weeks whenever I got the chance. I love the game and were I to give an opinion, it would be no less than glowing. My roommate on the other hand, also a consummate gamer, absoultely despises it. Here on Destructoid, with a different reviewer, the develishly handsome Conrad Zimmerman, it received a 7.
[Disclaimer: This blog does not represent the views or opinions of Enkido as he exists in a sane state and he cannot be held responsible for the content expressed in this article. For real, it's dusty in here. Also, cocks.]
*Cough* Hey guys, long time no see. Its been what, half a year since I've written a blog? I know, it's basically forever in internet time. Not only that, I haven't even commented in almost as long, and to be truthful I just recently started visiting Destructoid again. I got burned out.
I don't just mean the breakneck pace and orotund hype of videogame journalism, but video games in genreal. In all the time of my absence, I have not until very recently played any video games. I don't mean just those jewls of the video game community either. I hadn't even put a surly paw to use in the enjoyment of a smartphone game. Whereas before I had radiated cancerous video game entusiasm, accosting anyone willing to listen with my frothing opinions, everything had now stopped with multi-car pile up abruptness.
So what does this have to do with all of you? I have not the slightest clue actually. I guess maybe just take a break every once in a while to try something different. I'm not saying do it the way I did, I don't really know why that happened, but I will say that I did enjoy my hiatus and I learned a rediculous amount. I retaught myself how to read sheet musc and started parcticing piano with decent results, took up pistol shooting, coerced and broke up with two "girlfriends," learned the BASH command line and played around with Python a bit, kept a full time job as an engineering intern at a jet engine combustor manufacturing plant, read books at the rate of 2-3 a week; everything from "Much Ado About Nothing" to the 28th edition of "Machinery's Handbook," unknowingly commited at least two federal felonies; one of which, looking back was obviously less than kosher, went to the gym just about every day over the summer, and never stopped writing (though not anywhere in particular, to anyone in particular, or on any particular topic). Consequently, that sentence was gramatically entertaining to write.
I'm not trying to brag, I wouln't consider myself anywhere near the proficiency I would want to be in many of those endeavours, but I argue that if you are beginning to feel worn out take a small excursion into something new. You don't have to get every game as it comes out, it can get really expensive really fast and can really lead to buyer's remorse (from what I understand, the Duke can be implicated in this). I've heard it here before and I'm certain more than a few of you have as well; all things in moderation, even this amazing community.
But enough of all that tomfoolery, this place is about vidja gaims, and given my recent abstinace you may wonder how it is I have yet again found myself here. Allow me to paint a picture. It was a dark and dreary night of about three in the afternoon in an adequately lit office. A recent IT error had reallowed me acess to the internet and I was whiling away the hours at my desk sifthing through the affairs of lesser mortals in google news. It was in one of these long hours that I happened upon coverage of EVO in the technology section. What skill. What showmanship. Much company time was spent that day admiring this battle of titans. Back at the Enkido Cave, with much trepidation I placed "Super Street Fighter IV" into my long neglected PS3 and started a network match.
Despite not even so much as a casual glance at a game for months, the skills I had learned before I stopped had stayed with me. And thus an ember was rekindled. The next day saw more productivity, but with bits of the goings on of the video game industry and eventually this very community.
Some things I have noticed:
Elsa wrote a blog and got semi-internet famous for her little polemic. Venomous blogs were written and childinsh behaviour abounded, but here on DToid, there was not but the culmination of some of the best wringing I think Jim has ever done, as well as exceptional editorials by both Elsa and Schmegegge. DRAMA
I have heard wispered that the sensational condensational cloud of noncommon nomenclature, Beyamor, is a resident recapper now, which is just grand. Much love to all the recappers.
Speaking of staff, there are a lot of new faces since I was last here. I mean a lot. I have solved the mystery for CaptainBus at least but I'm still piecing together the real identities of the others.
I look forward to timorously reintergrating myself. I have a couple of topics that I've gotten the itch to write about, so those of you who look forward to that kind of thing feel free to gaze ahead.
Completely unrelated, anyone who likes anime or Jorge Luis Borges should watch Mushishi. It is what anime would be if Borges did anime and it is amazing.
[Disclaimer: This blog does not represent the views or opinions of Enkido as he exists in a sane state and he cannot be held responsible for the content expressed in this article. For real, I love you all. Also, cocks.]
So, some of you may have noticed that I have recently returned from the dead and begun to rejoin the community. It seems that this development has been met with more jubilation than calls for my slow, painful flaying, so I'm gonna call that a win. It is good to know that even on the internet when someone from a close community like ours goes missing that people take notice. Also of comfort was receiving this from Beyamor during my reintegration:
Which then became this:
Quick to riposte, this was produced:
Ending with this:
The moral of the story? It is good to know that the madness will never end.
Well speaking of noticing things, exactly one year ago today I decided to become a part of this loud, vulgar, stubborn, but above all passionate community that is Destructoid. It seems that such an occasion calls for an apology, but instead you guys are going to have to settle for an explanation. So for those interested, I present for your cruel enjoyment my Destructiod origin story.
First of all, I could not tell you what the first story I read on Destructoid was, who wrote it, or how I came across it. I can guess that I happened upon it through the technology section of Google News, where I get most of my information about the goings on of the world around us. I got most of my news from the sites that were better established because that is what was delivered. You can guess the usual, Kotaku, IGN, etc. I can't say that stumbling over Destructoid was a religious experience either. More than likely, it was just well written and entertaining enough to pique my interest and I started looking for the name in the various stories delivered to me. When the name cropped up I took notice and soon found myself poking around in places I aught not be poking around. I soon found myself looking at an article with a curious disclaimer, something about being written by a member of the community. Again, I don't remember which article it was or who wrote it, but the idea of a site offering a place for one to spew their blasphemies was genuinely interesting to me, and so I happened upon the c-blogs.
Like this, but with much less direction and MUCH less divinity.
If ever there was a religious moment to be had for me on Destructiod that was it. The community here had life. It had intelligent people that didn't take themselves to seriously, it had good writers, bad writers, schizophrenics, geniuses, heathens, saints, jackasses, comedians, and all manner of all other things and they all shared a passion for the same thing and were not afraid to express it. It was immediately evident, you people were all nuts, and I was sold. I lurked just long enough to learn that it was a good idea to do an intro post.
I know what your thinking, "great glutes of Godfried you had long hair back then!" Yes, yes I did. Also, looking at it now that corner of my room seems to have been in some kind of time anomaly, as it has not changed since the taking of that photograph at least one year ago. Anyway, I was greeted by an upstanding group of members who made a very compelling argument of why I should run away and never look back. As you all know I am very bad at taking a hint and so here we stand one year later. Thus ends my origin story.
For further reading, see this.
Needless to say it didn't end there. I enjoy writing almost as much as I enjoy having an audience. As such the writing spewed fourth from my fingers like the vomit of a thousand binging sorority girls. I would like to share some of my favorites with you as well as some other moments of special note I don't mind reliving.
One of the things that immediately made Destructoid stand out was that they promoted the writings of their community members. As you can imagine my first(and as of now only) front page article was kind of a big deal for me. As it says in the blog, it is based of another front paged story by Beyamor, who, apart from being a person I genuinely enjoy holding conversation with, is a great muse for some of my finest work (see above Hamsanta madness).
Now before you all accuse me of being some kind of self whoring spam bot here are a few other moments(no particular order) in my Destructoid career that have stood out:
The fourth anniversary of Destructoid, hooray! Keep it classy.
Receiving my Decoder Ring from Occams Electric Toothbrush, now proudly displayed in my sidebar -------->(somewhere that way).
Friday Night Fights. Of special recognition, Elsa and the MAG group, as well as the ardent Fighting game enthusiasts that tried to teach me how to not suck so bad. Lord knows their quest was arduous.
Occasional fumbling in the forums. That place is terrifying, but I enjoy myself every time I build up enough insanity to venture where there be dragons.
Holding intelligent debate on the internet with a group of incredibly passionate people. Take that laws of discord!
That about ends it for what I have to say about my first year here. It's been a hoot the entire time. I know there are some of you that I didn't mention and I apologize for that, but there are so many amazing people here that there is no way I could have covered all of you. Also, if you are reading this and I haven't met you, STOP LURKING! I hope that you enjoyed reading as this was for all of you out there in the community. I understand if you want to call it quits here as this blog has already done a running swan dive over the cliff of the TLDR threshold, but if you want to stick around I have a couple more things I want to say.
I will be in one of these one day.
On to the less important stuff. Oddly enough, my one year anniversary on Destructoid coincides with my Birthday, a fact I attribute to heavy drinking during the festivities. This marks my 21st year on this earth and my entry into the realm of tavern regular, happy times. As you may be able to guess by the (hopefully) organized layout of this blog, I haven't started into it full force, but I have managed to procure a bottle of champagne to share with a lady friend and a bottle of Jack Daniels for myself. Also planned is a four day party for both my birthday and new years, courtesy of my friends, who are all awesome.
Speaking of awesome people, I was informed today that I had received a suspect parcel in the mail.
I will be surprised if it doesn't kill me.
As you can see it was delivered at the behest of a Mr. Andy Dixon.
I immediately recalled, as I am sure that all of you do, the contest he held not more than five months ago, where I was fortunate enough to win one of his fantastical prizes. Being the paragon of responsibility and punctuality that he is, I am certain he set out immediately from his rock candy castle in Candyland on an arduous quest to hand deliver it to my residence himself. I must say I admire his resolve, as the kingdom of Candyland has become a much more dangerous place since heroine was introduced, and wish to express my sincere gratitude for making it just in time for my birthday.
And now, onto the spoils.
[Disclaimer: This blog does not represent the views or opinions of Enkido as he exists in a sane state and he cannot be held responsible for the content expressed in this article. For real, a sack of coal is very effective for mugging the kids that got the good toys. Also, cocks.]
Hey everybody, long time no see. I haven't written anything for a while and I've been really busy. I haven't even had times to play games. Usually when PSN says I'm online, it is in fact some kind of impostor or other masquerading as me, no doubt tarnishing my foul and venom tongued reputation. That is set to get better soon though and I should get back to my video game playin', blog writin' self in short order. I got Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood from my brother so I'll probably be on that after Christmas, for now I am forced to ogle it while I spend time with my family. I guess the main reason I wrote this is to say I miss y'all and Merry Christmas.
[Disclaimer: This blog does not represent the views or opinions of Enkido as he exists in a sane state and he cannot be held responsible for the content expressed in this article. For real, it's been a while, how have you been. Also, cocks.]
Oh, why hello there. I haven't seen you all in a while, a little over a month if I remember correctly. Sorry about that. Well, things have finally slowed down and a thing happened that deserves writing about. I'll go ahead and let you guess what it is...
You guys are smart, I'm sure you've got it by now.That's right Valkyria Chronicles II has been out for two weeks now.
Wait? What do you mean that isn't what you were thinking? Didn't you see it? It's right there plain as day in the bottom left hand corner.
Anyway, if that wasn't the first thing that came to your mind when I said that, allow me to explain why it should have been.
Some of you may remember the first Valkyria Chronicles. It earned an 8.5 here on Destructiod and has an 86 over on metacritic. In my opinion, it's the best game to come out on consoles this generation, bar none. Suffice to say it does a lot of things right. Well, recently a sequal to this amazing game was released for the little brick of UMD that is the PSP. Well for the last two weeks I have been sinking my pernicious claws into the game and the first thing you should know is that it is the first game, with more content, and it's portable. Now, I'm not gonna give a review, as one, it's not really my thing, and two, there is no way I could craft a balanced review rather than just spewing pants pudding everywhere in adoration. That's right, pants pudding, Enkido is back and playing Valkyria Chronicles II.
I guess I should start with a few of the things that were a bit dissapointing, small as they are. First is looks. The first game was absolutely stunning, as would be expected on PS3. Well VC II isn't on PS3, and while the story bits of it are handled tactfully with anime cutscenes and the art style of the first game taking centre stage during character interaction, but during the the actual missions, I miss the canvas engine eye candy. Ultimately it is a small complaint. The other complaint is the removal of the sniper as a starting unit. In the first game I had a sniper that could put a bullet up a guys nose at 2,000 yards in driving rain with her eyes closed and a sever bout of hiccups. Marina Wolfstan is that much of a beast, and I miss not being able to train a sniper from the start. It is still possible to get snipers, but it takes a bit of leg work as they have to be upgraded from scouts. Those are really the only two gripes I have about this game.
Now for the stuff that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. First of all it's portable, whcih means that I can take it anywhere. Nuff said about that. My favorite thing about Valkyria Chronicles II is the characters. The first game did a better job in my opinion of making the player care about the characters than any other game I have played. Not just the main characters either, I cared about my entire squad and all the characters I was commanding. I can say the same for its' successor with confidence. Although I don't like Avan as much as I did Welkin, the rest of the supporting cast is just as charming and interesting as ever. In fact this combination of character development and portability make for a potent reason to ignore your friends in social situations, because, lets face it, none of them are as interesting as the characters in VC II.
I won't spoil any of the character development, but I do want to say how well it is done. At first I was a bit scared, as the game takes place at a military accademy and has that anime style that I mentioned earlier, which had me expecting the game to take the easy route and place the characters in their various school anime stereotpes. In some cases the game does this, but even when it does it does so in a way that still makes you care about what is happening rather than just experiencing the same development you have seen recyled over and over in anime. In other cases, some characters are just nuts, like litterally, from secret stalkers to schizophrenics, insane. It makes the character development a real treat and continues the tradition of the first game. Of special mention is Marion Siegbahn, who makes me begin to understand how some Japanese men can end up marrying their handhelds. Don't judge me, you haven't been through what we have.
So, all the good stuff from the last game is still there, now for the new stuff that adds more to what is already amazing. First, the addition of more advanced RPG elements. In the first game you had your squad types and beyond developing better weapons and leveling them to elite class, you couldn't really do anything more with them. This changes in VC II, where you begin with a few starting classes, which can then be upgraded to more specialized roles such as scouts to snipers as I mentioned. I love this because it allows for more specialized roles, which is always a plus in my book when it comes to strategy games. Also, each individual unit chooses their path through the job tree, so each indidviual character chooses thier own specialty. Also, the game focuses more on how much each individual character does, rewarding those who did more with more credits, which are used to upgrade classes.
Another big part of the first game that changed for the better is the tank. In the first game you were able to modify your tank to fit your needs better. This was a good thing and was expanded upon for this game. For instance, you can choose what kind of tank you want to field, either a light, medium, or heavy tank. Similarly, the weapon and other choices are aslo expanded. My favoirte feature, however, is the ability to field an APC (Armored Personell Carrier for those not up on their military lingo) that can carry around your units. It is not as robust as a full blown tank, but the ability to carry and deploy units make it a great strategic asset.
Now for two things I am not so sure about. The first is that the game removes permanent character death. This was a little disappointing for me, as I am a fan of permanent character death. It makes you think that much harder about the decisions you make, knowing that if you lose a character you don't get them back. In VC II rather than losing a character permenately, when a character goes down and is not evacuated, they are hospitalized for three missions instead. During this time they can not be used, but after the three mission penalty you get them back with no ill effects. Though it isn't as devastating as losing a character in Valkyria Chronicles, I can say that after losing a character (forgive me Marion) I did still feel like shit, so there is still some emotional connection. Also, the game has a special way of twisting that knife as every day, when a character is hospitalized, there is a roll call in class that shows you who is out. It's as if the game is saying, "Hey Enkido, remember how you fucked up? Well you do now."
The other thing I am not sure about is the multiplayer modes. This was one thing I really wanted in the first game, but was nervous to hear about in the second. This is because I do not know how well the system in VC lends itself to multiplayer, so unless it is handled really well I am forced to be cautiously optimistic until I can try it myself. If only there were some person who liked this game as much as I did that could test it with me.
[Disclaimer: This blog does not represent the views or opinions of Enkido as he exists in a sane state and he cannot be held responsible for the content expressed in this article. For real, he doesn't know how to quit while he is woefully behind. Also, cocks.]
Back when Super Street Fighter IV was announced, it generated quite a substantial buzz here on Destructiod. So much so that I believed that I may be missing out on something entirely novel and enjoyable. Well, having none of that, I began my first foray into the fighting game genre. In retrospect, it would have probably been a good idea to have made my entrance quietly and with as little bravado as possible.
Such tact would have given myself time to learn the basic mechanics of a fighter (based on real life experience I would have to go with shouting loudly and grandstanding), learn my play style, pick a character fitting such a style, practice, and generally do what is required to make myself appear more competent than a stroke victim with no thumbs. As you may be able to imagine I would have none of that as well. Instead, I signed up for the PS3 Ranbat, picked a mustachioed English pugilist as my character and slogged through my first couple of arcade matches, failing to make it through the story. I was off to a great start.
Now I begin my second journey into the dark and seedy world of the fighting game constituency. Last Tuesday I picked up BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, which is the next game in the PS3 Ranbat I mentioned above. Now before you ask why I would spend $40 on another fighter when that creepy guy that hangs out behind the supermarket would be more than happy to shatter my kneecaps with a baseball bat for $10, I should say that I did enjoy my last attempt and I did end up learning a few things and in the Ranbat I actually did astronomically better than my crushing optimism and general ignorance would have let me believe; namely, not last (woot). For starters, I learned what a Ranbat was. After that however, I learned the basic mechanics of 2D fighter, when to block, Yojimbo is a jerk, how to press an attack, ect. I also learned how to cancel, a few combos, an perhaps most importantly committed some of the more common button sequences to muscle memory. I even learned that a counter won't stop Ryu from punching me in the mouth so hard that I find blood in my stool for the next week.
Now I'm starting to get into BlazBlue and I must say I am really enjoying it, more so than SSFIV if I'm honest. I recently finished my summer class, which means that I have time to play games after work again. Also, I finally finished my week long hell moonwalk across the broken glass strewn trail of tears that is the final ten levels of Valor in MAG and I'm back in Raven (play with us sometime), so I have time to devote to this drunken stumbling that is my entry into fighting games (and spewing vitriol on Destructoid, which I have neglected this past week and a half).
This brings me to the last part of this blog. I have yet to pick a character for this new fighter. I really enjoy the character designs in this game and I am having trouble picking one that I like. So I figured I'd let you guys decide. These are the characters I'm considering: