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Jim's Heavy Rain review, Criticosm, and why you can't review the reviewer...


I know, I know.

This isn't a music blog. What the fuck Xzyliac?

Well in between listening to music you might want to know that I'm actually trying to get a journalism degree. Yes I write things other than list in various places across the internet and in paper. So in the spirit of schweet, schweet, journalism I've done some investigating. And I am angry.

If you haven't heard (and you have) resident Britain Jim Sterling reviewed Heavy Rain and people were not happy. The score? A 7. What's a 7 here on Destructoid?

Score: 7.0 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)

Nevermind the actual content of the review. Nevermind that the summary ends with "the experience is fun." Fact is it's not a 10 and Jim Sterling is biased because I said so because I disagree.

And of course you have the 596 comments which are entertaining as always but what is most interesting is what one user Cinda spammed us for. A little site called Criticosm. Criticosm is a site, mostly community run, that allows users to "critique the critics." Now I always thought that's what comments did but apparently some group decided that that's not enough. Apparently running a small site no one has ever heard of will get the point across much clearer so that critics can stop ruining reviews with their disgusting opinions and start saying what we want while slowly petting our heads to reassure us everything is okay. This way our opinions are right and we have been justified.

I went in to investigate.

Within hours of posting the link Criticosm didn't even have Heavy Rain in their database. By that evening it was up with one review from some dude. By the next day Jim's was up and the disapproving numbers came in by the buckets. Curious I started an account and just to see how many people really use this thing I gave Jim a big ol' 10 to see how long until that balance was disrupted. 'Bout a week later the numbers have finally tipped in favor of the haters. Which is cool. I mean some nice constructive criticism of critics. Maybe things they could work on like how to see something from a different perspective. Let's see what we've got...

"Jim Sterling is one of, if not the worst, reviewer of video games on the internet. And many times he scores a game that he doesn't even finish playing. Halo Wars being the most recent one. He makes tabloid reporters look like Pulitzer prize winning journalists. His reviews reek with whatever biased agenda he pulls out of his ass that week. Any review he "writes" should come with an asterisk indicating that it should not be taken seriously."

If you can't tell by now I'm a big Sterling defender. Not because I agree with Jim but because Jim's done nothing to get the flack he gets from morons everyday. This little diddy from JimboSparkles (I give that name a 10 by the way)? I did a little digging and Sparkles was right. Jim did in fact review a game he didn't finish last year. And he apologized and he wrote a new review. "All the time," Mr. Sparkles? Surely you exageratre for the sake of whatever biased agenda you pulled out of your ass.

But surely there must be something constructive in here...

"Jim Sterling is doing [the] gaming industry a disservice. He obviously wants a steady diet of no-brainer cookie-cutter games that follow every conceivable cliche. When a new and innovative game like Heavy Rain comes up, which by the way happens very rarely, he kicks it in the shin, and when gaming companies evaluate financial performance, they are discouraged to try anything new and we get our next portion of bland and generic games ..."

Ummm...but Jim gave the game a good review. But I'll take the bait and educate Mr. Zx (if that is your real name). Innovative, and new, do not a good game make. I suppose Jim should apologize for not handing out brownie points based on how "new" or "fresh" or "innovative" or whatever bullshit buzzword you wanna pull out of your ass the game claims to be.

Let's try again...

"Another horrible Sterling review. Let's take a look at it. Jim says, "If you're interested in blowing up Nazis and looking at endless breasts, then you really want to check this out." Apparently Jim's a breast man. Jim says, "The opening cutscene seems forced and uninspired, attempting to explain the premise far too quickly and unbelievably." This isn't looking too good for The Saboteur. Jim says, "The climbing system in The Saboteur is actually quite well crafted. While getting up a building is not as fast as it is in parkour-based games like Assassin's Creed, it's easily the least frustrating and well-crafted climbing system I've ever seen." Things are looking up now. Jim says, "The climbing is a bit too slow and the stealth seems horribly broken..." Huh?!?!?! WTF??? Make up your mind dude! Jim says, "...the control is incredibly stiff in the game..." Not good. Jim says, "The game's automatic cover system is also rather loose and could do with some work there..." Not good either. Jim says, "...there are plenty of sexy ladies to keep things ticking as well." And the sexy ladies save the day and Jim gives The Saboteur an 8.5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Priceless."

So we copypasta the bits of the review we find distasteful and use that too predict the score? M'kay. Let me try:

*"So why is Pandemic's The Saboteur so bloody good?"
*"The opening cutscene seems forced and uninspired, attempting to explain the premise far too quickly and unbelievably. However, the game's narrative swiftly becomes intriguing and finds its groove almost immediately after the first mission, helped along by the extremely likable Sean and his detestable nemesis, Kurt Dierker.
*"The climbing and the stealth are nice thoughts, but in practice they simply don't compare to kicking the door in and shooting everything in sight."
*"Despite its humble promotion, the lament that it was sent out to die, and the death of developer Pandemic, The Saboteur is a terrific experience deserving of more accolades and attention that it will ever receive. It looks terrific, it has a fun story with a wonderful main character, and addictive gameplay that allows you to explode Nazis again and again and again."

Wow. From my copypasta'd review it was heading to 9+ St. What does this prove? That you can copypasta a review bend it to your liking however you want. You can't use that as a basis for ANYTHING. That's bullshit Mr. Sparkles. In fact in a previous review above this one I'm pretty sure you blame Sterling for having an agenda. What the fuck is this right here? And this is all without even delving into the fact that you posted a review of Jim's Saboteur review in the Heavy Rain section.

I feel good about this one...

"Jim seems more interested in his own theater then actually reviewing the game."

This is up there on my list of big reasons why reviewing the reviewer is a bad idea. This guy isn't reviewing shit. He's making baseless claims because he just doesn't like Jim. That's not a review. That's a knee jerk reaction. That's some douche trying to justify why someone else might be of a different opinion than himself.

Cut me a break guys...

"Worst review I have ever read."

Again. Baseless claim. Umm....Pepsi. Worst cola I ever drank. According to Criticosm I just wrote a review.

And now the big issue with ALL of these is universal: not a single thing in here is written for constructive purposes to benefit the reviewer. Everything here is written to take a shit on the reviewer and call for his ultimate undoing. Why? Because they disagreed with the review. That is all. That is it. Because these "critics" decided prematurely that they loved this game that they've NEVER PLAYED and for that reason it should score the highest of the high.

Fact is if you're going to always cheer for the reviewers who agree with you you've defeated the point of the review. You might as well just buy whatever fucking game looks good to you (what a revolutionary concept) instead of sitting around hands sweating and chest beating for the approval of some guy on the other side of the internet.

Wait Xzyliac! You only pointed out the negative reviews for Jim on Criticosm.

Wrong! I pointed all but one of the reviews. That one I'll show you in a bit but I want to point out something. Something that should shock no one. Every review on that site that has scored higher than Jim's? Yeah those reviewers have NOTHING written about them. Absolutely nothing negative was said about those reviewers and to that same extent nothing positive was said about them either.

You wanna get a little paranoid? You wanna get a little dose of conspiracy in your ranting blog? Okay. I submitted a review to Criticosm that gave the exact same score Jim gave. A 7. For the little review snippet you see before clicking the link I submitted the most scathing part of the entire review. This part right here:

Because instead of eliminating the traditional evils of and excuses for video game storytelling, Heavy Rain simply repeats them in a classier-looking way. And despite its gloss, style, genuinely affecting moments and pervasively dense atmosphere – actually because of them – those failings become more obvious than they’ve ever been.
-David Houghton of GamesRadar

You want to know what score Criticosm gives Mr. Houghton? A little green N/A.

The absolute irony that the site to avoid bias is the site with a bias is pathetic. What's pathetic even more is this idea that there can even be a completely bias-less review because there can't be. If Criticosm is proof of anything it's that humans naturally form a bias. If you strip out bias you strip out opinion and at that point you might as well just decide whether you want to buy something based on the description on the back of the box.

Again a revolutionary concept for sure. Buying something because you want it without the approval of someone else. That takes about as much balls as it does to walk out your front door. Then again that may explain a lot.

Am I a Sterling defender? You bet your fucking ass I am. Where is the first comment I ever made here? It's on a Jim Sterling article. I remember like it was yesterday. How Microsoft ruined fun for everybody. I expected complete bullshit and what I got was a well written and well argued point that I disagreed with. So I can see where those who disagree with Sterling are coming from. I am on your fucking side. However there comes a point where you're just an anti-fanboy. You're just instantly against one person or thing for whatever stupid reason and nothing that person does or that thing has can be right in your eyes. I remember seeing that...in bloody high school. When all the girls would find someone they'd just, like, ya know, not like because they didn't belong. If it wasn't the same music or ideals they'd consider it "wrong." Well wouldn't you know those pricks and cumwads have gotten into my videogames.

And my schweet, schweet, journalism.

In closing I'd like to leave with this wonderful piece someone wrote on Criticosm. I assume it was written by a fellow DToider but part of me hopes it wasn't just because that would be oh so sweet of them.

Jim Sterling is fat and therefore wrong about everything. He is stupid because he gave assassin's creed a low mark when it was clearly a good game. Also, he has bias against playstation. I give this review the lowest concievable score known to man, a 7/10.

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About Xzyliacone of us since 1:14 PM on 06.13.2007














Why everyone should at least lurk on the DToid forums.

I Review Them In Stereo:
Joanna Newsom's Have One On Me
Two Door Cinema Club's Tourist History
Tunng's ...And Then We Saw Land

Things people say I like:

I can't fully enjoy the PS3 without an ample supply of hookers and blow. How does that figure into your Reaganomics? - MegaStryker

I can't explain myself, I'm afraid, Sir, because I'm not myself you see. - Alice from Alice in Wonderland; the greatest book ever written

Best thing about those cards are how bad the pun/product writing is. "I only have Snake Eyes for you." "You've Duke'd it out with my heart and now I'm yours to command." "I have a Cobra Commander in my pants." - sheppy

How to read a review without being pissed off:
1. Decide prematurely whether the game is balls, or the second coming of flying spaghetti monster.
2. Go to www.metacritic.com and search for the game.
3. If flying spaghetti monster, click on first link. If balls, scroll to the end and click on the last link.
4. You should now be sitting and staring at a review you agree with.
5. Complement reviewer on such a well thought out and non biased review.

That's because WWI was a pretty low-budget project, it was mostly about the story of soldiers in trenches and lay-low tactics, the sequel WWII, was really the bomb, with millions of dollars invested on it and top notch action sequences. - adrianboy

I think booze is a pretty cool guy. eh keeps me from doing the recaps on time and doesn't afraid of anything. - Pendleton21

Everyone else tolerates it because you're an attractive woman, I find that quite shallow. - Mousse420

*NOTE: I like that quote because at least I know if everyone is going to assume I'm female at least I'm attractive. Call me.

I was able to cause my child to fall into a well of depression after shattering his tailbone by horribly failing the see-saw QTE at the park three times in a row. Then I tried to cheer him up by buying him candy, but picked the one flavor he didn't like. It was like reliving my own childhood.


- SuitcoatAvenger -

Xzyliac: @punisher898 Score! I wonder if Cyndi Lauper and Lady GaGa hang out together. #ponders
punisher898 (aka Occams Electric Toothbrush): @Xzyliac: I bet if they do its like the best Folger's coffee commercial ever.

That's awesome. Hollywood writers are the best! I had one make me an iced latte the other day. It was totally adequate!

Uno just brings out the animals in all of us. It's just too sexy of a game.

Xzyliac, shut up, you\'re not cool.
-Fear No Darkness

*NOTE: I would like to note that later on I explained myself to Fear No Darkness and he totally sent me an apologetic PM. He's a classy fella whom I'd love to share a drink with sometime.

If you've never had promiscuous thoughts about a Dreamcast then you're not a gamer.
Xbox LIVE:Xzyliac
Steam ID:Xzyliac
Mii code:6357-9967-6745-0063


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