I have been gaming since being pulled from the womb. Literally. I have over 20 decades of gaming in my blood, going all the way back to the Atari 2600. Old school and living it up.
A long time fan of DToid, I finally caved in to make my own profile. Currently I work as a freelance photographer and videographer, but I always have a geek twist to my work. You can view more at my blog: The Geek Spot.
I hope to meet new people here at DToid and share in our love of all things geek, gaming, and gloriousness.
After seeing this miserable attempt by GamePro to review The Old Republic, I went on a mini-rant. I understand that their staff is going through a tough year, with the closing of the magazine tomorrow, laying off a number of employees, and moving it to an internet gaming channel via PCWorld, but this was inexcusable. Iím not saying this as a Star Wars fan girl, but as a concerned gamer. It shows some insight into why the 22 year old magazine may have had a falling out with its customers.
They donít know how to review a game.
Iím not saying that I am an expert. Nor am I saying that there isnít an inherit bias when making game reviews. Does anyone remember that 100% objective review of Final Fantasy XIII on DToid last year? I still laugh about it because itís true. You canít remove bias and predisposition from a review. Thatís part of the review process. Youíre asking someone for their opinion about a product.
But there is a right way and a wrong way to review a game.
So Iím going to do something that might confused and bewilder the senses of the gaming crowd on DToid. I am going to post a review about Ubisoftís Imagine series games, in particular Imagine Fashion Designer to show what I feel is the right way to review a product.
I will not deny that I have personal opinions about this game and the entire Imagine catalog long before I tried to play. It feels like itís trying to bait young girls into gaming by fulfilling stereotypical female roles that society attempts to place on us.
So here are my rules: Play the game start to finish, look at the positive and negatives of the game, be honest about your point of view but be open to trying new things, donít be afraid to say that you like something (itís so easy to be the bad guy on the internet), take your time to formulate your review, and give a fair score.
Note: Games such as RPGís Iím not asking for 100% competition. Rather, finish the primary story and do pieces of the side-quests here and there. 100+ hours to review one game that will take someone 5 minutes to read is a little silly.
I can tell you why I dislike Imagine Fashion Designer, available on the Nintendo DS. Lack of variety. Ignore the fact that itís being marketed to little girls to get them to be something that the rest of the world expects from them. Men are fashion designers too. But what the game tries to promise in creativity it fails to delivery in opportunity. The game gives you preset designs: tops, dresses, pants, etc. You have some control over color and can create your own patterns within the preset designs, but youíre not making clothes with your stylus. Youíre not drawing them onto the paper doll body. Thatís what makes this game fall flat. Itís asking you to be creative and design whatever you wish, within the regulations of whatís be set up in the game. Even scores are based on how you dress your paper doll model. A shirt, pants, dress combo gives you a lower score then if you choose the dress and heels by themselves.
So whatís the stylus used for? To brush on make-up, nail polish, and add highlights to hair styles. Itís really more of a full-dress up game and not one solely focused on clothing designs.
The good side of Imagine Fashion Designer is that it does allow for some minor growth in creativity. If you ignore the scoring system and let yourself go nuts with the options, you can come up with some really neat ideas. On that front I would support this game as a means of creative expression. The bad side, everything else. Youíre limited on whatís available in terms of what you can ďmakeĒ. Between the preset clothing designs, hair, make-up, shoes, accessories, really you can only be free in color choices. Some clothes can be cropped with a scissors tool, such as a long dress into a mini, but thatís about it. Itís misleading from what the game description claims to offer.
Here is how the game works: you are an aspiring female fashion designer that just moved to New York City (like all fashion designers do!). You complete missions to create new fashion lines using the preset designs and giving them new color and patterns. After each mission you collect new clothing pieces to use and unlock more missions. As you progress you can set up photo shoots, pick models, interact with photographers, and share ďfashion cardsĒ with your friends via Wi-Fi to show off your designs. Itís very much about ďin the life ofĒ where you try to live out this fantasy version of yourself as a designer. At one point you get a boyfriend who is a photographer and have the option to move in with him for more points. You rinse and repeat until you become the top fashion designer in NYC.
Itís very obvious from the design of the game and the marketing that this was meant for young girls. In their perspective, I could see an interest in the title. It allows you to express your creativity through clothing that you may not otherwise have. Surprising as it may seem, some public schools do have set uniforms. In that aspect, having this game is a nice creative outlet, even with its limited features.
As a whole, the game is lackluster. It doesnít provide the full range of options as expressed by their website or the game box. But I would recommend this to a young girl over the Imagine Babysitter and Mom games. Iíd rather promote young girls being creative in fashion then to have them sit at home and take care of children all day long.
4/10 on the review scale. Not creative enough to be worth a purchase, but if someone will let you borrow it for an hour or two you might come up with something unexpected.
Ok. Granted I did have a jab at the end about the Imagine series, but on the whole, itís not a bad review. Outright slamming a product doesnít work. Thus my sadness that GamePro is ending the way that it is, by taking a giant dump on TOR for reviewing its Beta for only a few hours of game play, barely making it off of the primary newbie planet. And itís why I have to question their legitimacy as reviewers, because that isnít something you do. Unless they intended to post that p.o.s. as a means of gaining attention, then they did a good job. :/ Not how I would want to go out.
But thatís just my opinion on what makes a good review work. *prepares for the flaming*
Minor Update: I guess what I'm trying to get at is while reviews are a nice way to base perception on a product, ultimately you won't know how you feel about a game until you pick it up and try it for yourself. Explore! Expand your gaming habits. Try new things. You might be surprised at what you find interesting.