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IGN botches Alone in the Dark review

Daniel Weissenberger's picture

Panoramic!

I never read video game reviews before playing a game. Since I look at every game I play as a potential title to be reviewed, I attempt to go in as cleanly as possible. No previews, no reviews, no interviews. This leads to an awful lot of surprises, split fifty/fifty nasty and pleasant. Much as I try to be impartial, my opinions can be swayed just as easily as anyone else's by expectation, so I try to avoid information about upcoming games as much as possible. My friends don't follow this same embargo, and I happened to be talking to one of them on the day Alone in the Dark was released. I've been a fan of the series ever since that Armadillo turned 3D and the frog jumped out of the way of Edward Carnby's approaching roadster, and my friend knew I was looking forward to playing the new game. "Dan," he warned me, "it got like a fifty-something on Metacritic. Everybody seems to hate it." He was nice enough to not elaborate on the reviews, but the impression was already made—in a review climate where anything under 80 means "bad," a 50 average means that a game resides well in the "dire" territory.

It's safe to say that my experience with the game was significantly different than everyone else's. While this isn't exactly a new feeling for me, I will admit that finding a game considerably better than everyone else did is a refreshing change. Still, knowing just how widely despised the game was kept shoehorning itself in at the edge of my consciousness, as I played I wondered what other people had seen that I hadn't. After spending the first half hour getting used to the slightly odd controls, I found a game with a masterful sense of design, one that understood just how important setpieces are to creating a thrilling experience, and offered some of the best combat I've ever seen in a survival horror title. As I moved through the game, I kept expecting it to get bad, kept wondering when I was going to hit the part that soured everyone on the experience. Then, finally, it never happened. I reached endgame every bit as impressed with Alone in the Dark as I had been when I first started playing, and seriously considering naming it my game of the year.

Wondering if I had played an entirely different game than every other critic out there, I chose the review that had the absolute worst things to say about the game, Ryan Geddes' 3.5/10 review for IGN.com, and I was shocked. This is IGN, pioneers of the 6-9.999 scoring system. 3.5 means they hated the game. And they did. But not in a sane way. When the review wasn't nitpicky beyond anything I've experienced, it was unbelievably petty. When the reviewer wasn't being unfairly disinterested, he was flat-out wrong. So I decided to take the reader, point-by-point, through why its author was not just wrong, but unprofessional. How unprofessional? I suspect he played very little of the actual game.

Elevator shaft!

Right at the top of the review he announces that it's "Only nominally connected to its genre-spanning predecessors". Given that the first three games were set in the '20s, this would seem to be a logical assumption, if a fairly lengthy cutscene in the middle hadn't referred to specific characters and events from the first two games, and reveal that the main character, Edward Carnby is, despite his appearance, over a hundred years old. This is followed up by the choice announcement that the story is a tired retread because it features "yet another amnesiac fighting demons and carrying around a spooky stone." Geddes, could you name three other games with that premise? If not, don't single it out as especially unoriginal.

Will Alone in the Dark's story be winning any awards? Dear Lord, no. It is, however, perfectly workmanlike. The idea that Central Park is built on top of a giant prison designed to contain an impossibly great evil is kind of an interesting one, more than worth constructing a story around. Is it as deep and multi-tiered as a Silent Hill story? No, but on the other hand, it has the advantage of being coherent in a single playthrough, which is something Silent Hill has yet to manage. It's also far more interesting and ambitious than anything a main-series Resident Evil title has ever attempted.

Geddes goes on to compliment the game's fire effects, and I have to agree with him on that one. The game's central mechanic is all about flammability. The player will constantly be faced with burning items in the environment, and invited to use that fire to battle enemies, clear pathways, or solve environmental puzzles. Fire is the game's greatest technical triumph, as the developers have managed to simulate the physics of spreading flame to a great degree of realism. It does not, however, reach the point where they "behave so realistically that you forget they're an illusion." Perhaps it's just the monitor I'm using, but I never actually thought it was on fire. Maybe Geddes was just using the kind of overblown hyperbole that either reveals the writer to be a moron, or assumes that the reader is.

The achievement for this is actually called "Smart Fighter"

After finally getting something right, Geddes goes off the rails immediately by complaining that fire is the only way to kill enemies, dismissing the gun (of which he incorrectly states there is only one type) and bludgeoning tools entirely. This isn't an entirely accurate description of the situation. The zombies that plague Carnby for the majority of the game can easily be killed with bullets, explosions, or simple clubbing with a sledgehammer. The drawback is that they will come back from the dead unless incinerated. If this mechanic seems at all familiar, it's because it was first featured in the GameCube Resident Evil remake. While it proved a tedious chore in that game, here I found it incredibly fun, because my burning options were always so varied. Corpses can be dragged to fires and thrown in, torched with a spray can flamethrower, or, my personal favorite, doused with gasoline and lit on fire. I've had few more satisfying visceral experiences in recent gaming memory then beating three zombies down with a sledgehammer, unscrewing the cap from a bottle of vodka, pouring a trail linking the three of them, then using a lighter to ignite it. Watching the fire race from body-to-body causing them to flash and explode is the most video game fun I've had in a long while.

Geddes goes on to complain that the whole incineration thing is massively overcomplicated because: "Most of the time, you'll find the access to explosive items severely limited, which means the most effective and consistent way to kill monsters in Alone in the Dark is to touch them with burning chairs. Yawn." Once again I'm going to have to posit the theory that Geddes didn't actually play the game. At first I had no idea what he was talking about—there's barely a single flat horizontal surface in the entire game that doesn't have a couple of bottles of gasoline lying on it. Then I did a little experimenting, and figured out that he almost had a legitimate grievance. This one is actually kind of the developers' fault. It seems that, in a bid to make the game more accessible, the developers decided to break the game into chapters like a DVD, and allow the player to skip forward or backwards at their leisure. Find an area too difficult? Just jump ahead and a television-style "previously on..." clip package will fill in the gaps in the plot. The one drawback is that when a player jumps ahead, their inventories will be reset to just a gun, flashlight, lighter, and some extra ammo. For most players this won't be a problem, since very little of the game is hard enough to warrant skipping, but for a derelict reviewer I see where the difficulty might lie, since in a few of the areas the player is asked to walk up to fifty virtual feet before they start finding explosive bottles and cans.

What the inventory looks like after skipping ahead.

Then it's on to the inventory system, which Geddes believes is too cumbersome and unintuitive, since molotov cocktails have to be assembled by selecting various items from the inside of Carnby's jacket in a specific order, all "in real-time" while monsters are attacking. Like most of Geddes' complaints, this one is based in his own lack of interest in actually playing the game. Yes, items have to be assembled in a specific order. Restrictive? Sure, but it follows a simple rule that's easy to learn: The first item you select is the thing you want to use, the second is the item you want to use it on. All of the game's constructions are based on imagining this simple principle extended to real-world items. Think about this logically—when one makes a molotov cocktail, is the rag being used on the bottle, or is the bottle being used on the rag?

All of these inventory complaints are being made in the context of how awkward it is to go into Edward's jacket and build makeshift weapons in the heat of combat. And it is. Luckily the game never once asks the player to do that. In yet another key element that Geddes seems to have missed, every conceivable combination of items in the game needs to be built only a single time. The first time the player builds a molotov cocktail all they have to do is assign it to one of their four quick-use slots. Thereafter, for the rest of the game, any time the player presses that quick-use button, Edward pulls the desired item out of his jacket, instantly assembled. It's even a fairly intelligent system, and will prefer the components originally used in the construction, but make substitutions seamlessly if they're not available. If the recipe calls for a plastic bottle, but only glass ones are available, it won't prevent the player from having a molotov in their hand, they'll just find themselves carrying one that explodes on impact, rather than exploding after the wick burns down. It's an elegant system that's utterly simple to use, with a single drawback: the player needed to either read the manual or play through the game in linear order, where one of the tutorials explained how to use it.

In my experience, the game's inventory system has a single drawback: Not enough carrying space. Carnby's jacket has room for four large items (sprays and bottles) and five utility items (tape, fuses, ammo). The large item storage is completely sufficient—the player will likely never need more than four explosives to get through a combat encounter, and if they do, there are always more lying around. The problem is with the utility slots. At the beginning it seems like five spaces will be plenty, but over the course of the game Carnby starts to be weighed down with undroppables like a lighter or plot related key item. Add a knife, which proves useful in a number of situations, and suddenly the player is in a position of, at the game's halfway point, having only two utility spaces, which just isn't sufficient. There's no reason the lighter and plot item couldn't be in a separate, dedicated part of the inventory, the way his gun and lighter are. For a game that prides itself on realistic inventory management, the idea that Carnby can't slide his lighter into his jeans is a bit of a stretch.

Wood shatters. See how easy that was?

Then Geddes goes for a really weird complaint, about Carnby's perceived inadequacies in the door-knocking-down department. He's confused about why Carnby can knock some downs down, but others, he can't. Again, extremely simple rules are established for this: Wooden doors can be knocked down, metal doors have to be blown up. Actually, now that I write it down, it looks so obvious that it doesn't even seem like something the game had to spell out. Geddes claims that even that system is inconsistent, and he offers an anecdote about how a bottle he stuck to a door wouldn't blow it open, but one that he threw and shot would. I know the exact door he's talking about, since there's only a single door in the entire sewer area. I'd never encountered this problem because, in the room directly before the door, there's a great big propane tank that serves no other purpose than to be placed in front of the door and blown up dramatically. I decided to see if Geddes had a point, so I went back to the sewer and tried his two methods of taking down the door. Both worked without a hitch. I'm not calling Geddes a liar—he may very well have found a glitch, but believe me when I say glitches aren't a big problem. In my two trips through the game, I encountered only one, and it involved a car crash.

Then Geddes' on to complaints about the game's combat system, a paragraph which, structurally, really feel like it belonged back on the first page, when he was complaining about the fact that all the combat had to be fire-related (an assertion which, if you've been reading carefully, you will remember was wrong). He's annoyed about the fact that the third-person controls move around "like a tank"(because instead of camera-relative movement, the main character has the camera locked behind them, and they have to push forward to move forward, and left or right to turn), and that he has to switch to first-person mode to shoot. Again, if that sounds familiar to any readers, it's because it's the control scheme that was featured in a Resident Evil game. Only this time, it's the Resident Evil game that everyone loved, Resident Evil 4.

Pop quiz: What's the only difference between this game's control scheme and Resident Evil 4's? In this game, the player can actually move while aiming, which makes it quantifiably better than Resident Evil 4's system. The only real hitch in the system is that whenever the player gets to a place where they'll have to move quickly or perform some light platforming, the camera locks down and movement becomes camera-relative. This is a little confusing the first time it happens, but since the player will never be asked to do any fighting in these situations, it's a minor problem at best.

He hasn't locked yet, but he can.

Then he moves on to the melee combat system, which involves the player using the right stick to swing weapons around "as if he has two broken arms". Again, if I can't agree with his simile, I at least understand that he found the controls awkward at first. The combat does take a little getting used to, since almost nothing like it has ever appeared in a game before. For example, I asked a friend (an infrequent gamer) who had never seen the game before to try the hand-to-hand combat, and it took him a good five minutes before he could comfortably beat up groups of enemies with a fire axe. After that, he found the combat just as enjoyable as I did, shifting the thumbstick to one side to prepare an attack, then moving into position and letting the enemy have it with a smack across the face.

The whole thing is made all the more user-friendly by the fact that it features enemy lock-on. Once a zombie is within range, if Edward is holding a melee weapon he'll snap to his opponent, allowing him to circle around them and dodge easily. It's even simple to switch from target to target when fighting up to three enemies at the same time. Just having a workable melee combat engine puts Alone in the Dark above most other entries in the genre, that it's fun to use places it in the neighborhood of a minor triumph.

For the record, here are some of the survival horror games out there with worse melee combat than Alone in the Dark: Every other Alone in the Dark, Nocturne (and the Blair Witch sequels); Every Resident Evil game; Every Clock Tower game (including Haunting Grounds); Dino Crisis 1-3; Obscure 1-2; The Suffering 1-2; Every Silent Hill game; Dead Rising.

Survival horror games with better melee combat include: The Onimusha series, although it's debatable whether Onimusha qualifies as survival horror.

Which brings me to the driving portion of the game, and some of Geddes' most extravagant nit-picking yet. He starts with this sentence, which brings out Geddes-levels of hypercriticism in me: "Moving Carnby around Central Park is a frustrating experience, but putting him behind the wheel is equally bad." Crazy, huh? Here's a tip, Geddes, if you want to use the word "but" to join two related thoughts, the second one had better be in some way a contrast to the first. Such as "but putting him behind the wheel is even worse!," or "but putting him behind the wheel is surprisingly pleasant!." See how that works? If you want to express that it's exactly the same experience, then you should have gone with something like "Sadly, driving Carnby around Central Park is every bit as awkward as navigating by foot." It wouldn't have been true, but it least it would have made logical sense.

Geddes' complaints are simple enough: There aren't enough cars, and they all have floaty handling and physics. Personally, I didn't mind the physics at all: they're no worse than the physics in the first couple of 3D Grand Theft Auto games—definitely skewed more towards fun and simplicity than realism. His biggest problem is the fact that, over the course of the game, there are three timed driving challenges. I'm just going to present his comments here in full, so we can all bask in the dickishness together:

"All are cheap trial-and-error affairs full of scripted events which force you to reload the challenge over and over and over again until you've memorized the software routine. Even if the cars handled like a dream, these levels would be a drag."

Who are you going to believe? Geddes, or the building falling on Central Park West?

This is where the power of the reviewer becomes, if not dangerous, than at least highly annoying. To the average person reading the review, this might suggest that there was something wrong with the game's driving challenges, some kind of design flaw or failure. This statement is so harsh that, even taken out of context of rest of the review, it alone could convince someone not to bother trying the game. The tragedy is that the fictional person he just dissuaded from playing the game would be doing so under entirely false pretenses. That's right, Geddes is wrong here. Exceptionally, heroically, wrong. If he had fallen down drunk on his keyboard and turned in the letter f repeated 4000 times as his review, he could not have been more wrong about the driving challenges in this game.

Reading that passage, it's almost as if Geddes doesn't have the slightest idea what an action driving sequence is. Sure, it's not the most popular subgenre in the racing game world, but they're out there. The basic idea is that the driver, is asked to outrun some sort of cataclysm by speeding down a set path, while amazing things happen in front of the car which the driver must react quickly to avoid being crushed by. There were a couple of them in Half-Life 2. Halo games tend to end with one. A bunch of them appeared in Raw Danger, which, by the way, as games go, was undeniably awesome. The game Stuntman: Ignition was devoted entirely to offering them to players.

I'm confused about how Geddes thinks it would be possible to have an action driving sequence without scripted events. Would you just be racing against a timer? Would the road even have turns? Would you rather just be watching a cutscene?

Sure, things fall into the middle of the road unexpectedly during these sequences, but that's the entire point! The player is being judged on their ability to react quickly to dangerous things happening with a minimal amount of warning. In an interesting note, that's also the premise of 99 percent of every arcade game ever, and maybe 50 percent of all console games.

Yes, crashing into things or going off a cliff can lead to forced restarts. Which would be quite a hassle if the driving challenges were exceptionally long. They're not, though. I timed them. The longest clocked in at 2 minutes and 42 seconds, with the shortest a meager 2:12. Considerably shorter than the average race in any arcade-y racing game, yet it's doubtful you'd ever hear a reviewer complaining about having to restart a whole three-minute race just because they made one mistake.

In his review, Geddes was diligent to avoid spoilers. It can be taken as a polite move by a reviewer not wanting to ruin the experience for anyone who actually wants to try the game. Of course, given how much time and effort he's dedicated to convincing as many people as possible to never play the game, I'm theorizing a more sinister motive. Whatever Geddes' problem with the game is, he was so set on convincing potential gamers that it was terrible that in his review he purposefully avoided mentioned any of the spectacular things that appear in it.

That's the fissure. He's the bad guy.

What am I talking about? I'm talking about setpieces. Beautiful, over the top, film-caliber setpieces. Little sections of gameplay that put the player inside the body of a hardcore action hero for a few minutes at a time. There are moments of this game that are so audacious in their construction and execution that my jaw simply dropped. Whether it's the pull-back of a camera showing off the detailed destruction that an earthquake has torn into the streets of New York, or the breathtaking sequence where Carnby is left dangling from a rope out the side of a crashed helicopter, and the player has to climb up a sheer cliff face while the burning chopper teeters at the edge, Alone in the Dark is literally packed with showstopping extravagances, amazing sights unparalleled in other games.

Chief among these setpieces is the first driving sequence that Geddes found so tedious. What's the challenge? To drive down Central Park West as earthquakes are tearing it apart. You may be wondering how something that sounds so awesome could have been botched so badly that it was used as an example of something wrong with the game. You may be surprised to learn that it wasn't botched at all, and that I count my experiences hitting the accelerator to make the jump across a near-bottomless pit, then swerving to dodge a flaming car before finally weaving back to speed through a building that had just landed on its side as one of the greatest gaming experiences of my life. This level offers better action driving than anything in Stuntman: Ignition which, again, was a game entirely devoted to action driving. Better than almost any game I've ever seen, Alone in the Dark understands how to create a memorable action sequence. Are they scripted as all Hell? Yes. Did I ever feel like I wasn't in control of the character's actions? Not for a second. That's great design.

The cause of most of the game's problems.

Geddes then moves on to actually complimenting the game, although it's more of a backhanded compliment than anything else. He singles out the game's DVD-style fast-forward option as a move towards pleasing customers, but only because gamers will "want to skip large portions of the game". In his now-trademark style of making vague unfounded complaints that he assures us are valid, Geddes all but admits to entirely skipping a "a particularly cheap turn of events near the end of the game" that will have you "be lobbing your controller in exasperation."

I remember the game pretty well, and I have no idea what he's talking about, since there's nothing in the game so difficult that it should hang people up for more than a minute or two. He's probably referring to the series of "trap rooms" that appear in the second-to-last chapter, although that seems more than a little strange, since I found the trap rooms to be a welcome return to classic adventure game design. I'm not going to go to lengths to explaining the existence of the trap rooms, except to say that they fit perfectly within the game's logic and world. Each room tests the player's ability to use the fire mechanics and item control they've been practicing over the length of the game, and I can't explain how happy I was to see the idea of a room full of mechanical deathtraps that have to be avoided or outwitted making a return in something other than a point and click adventure or a flash browser game.

Physics-based puzzles!

I can understand Geddes' frustration though, because he's apparently just not great with puzzles. After announcing that some of them were "buggy" (once again, not in my experience) he talks about a specific forklift-related puzzle that "had several IGN editors...scratching their heads". Here's a little test. I'm going to lay out the elements of the puzzle, and you can see if you can figure out how to solve it.

The Goal: Carnby has to drive a forklift up a ramp.
The Problem: The ramp has collapsed and fallen to the ground.
The Tools: A forklift, and a switch that makes a support bar come out of the wall directly above the shattered ramp.

The Solution: Use the forklift to lift the ramp, then pull the switch so the bar comes out and acts a support, so you can drive the forklift away without the ramp falling back down to the ground.

If you figured it out without any help, congratulations, you're smarter than many of the editors at IGN.

Attempting once more to kill any possible interest in the game, Geddes refers to anyone who could possibly want to finish it as a "glutton for punishment", because the game, right near the end, adds a free-roaming section that he dismisses as a "game-lengthening gimmick". He's referring to the fact that, before Carnby can enter the areas beneath Central Park, he must find and destroy the giant roots that the game's force of evil uses to gain its power. Personally, I couldn't get enough of this sequence, since many of the roots are in isolated locations that require decent puzzle-solving skills to reach, and traveling around the city to find them ensured I'd get into a few more of the fights I loved so well. Of course, if you'd skipped past the majority of the game, and never bothered to learn how to fight or use items properly, I could see how this might seem like a chore, but even then, the player is only asked to destroy half of the power sources to complete the game, and half of them can easily be found just a little off the beaten path, guarded by a couple of zombies.

Geddes also announces that, although he won't give the game's ending away (as if that's something reviewers normally do), it is both a slap in the face to anyone who actually played the game, and one of the most ridiculous endings he's seen in a while. Again, I'm going to plead ignorance as to what he's talking about, since the game's ending is the logical conclusion to the story. Early in the game, the stakes are made clear: Either Carnby must complete an occult ritual that began before the game started, or all of Manhattan will be destroyed. Finishing the ritual is a bad idea, but losing Manhattan is a worse one. This explanation doesn't appear in any of the recaps, though, so I can see why Geddes might be confused if he was skipping levels or not paying attention to the cutscenes, but that's not going to the experience of anyone who actually plays the game all the way through. The worst thing about the game's ending is how obviously it sets up for a planned sequel, but not at the cost of robbing the game of an actual resolution.

Then Geddes closes out his review by recapping just how much he hated the game, going out of his way to end with a simile so labored that I'll quote it here for your entertainment: "There's a certain amount of old-school adventure charm in Alone in the Dark, but it shines only as the dimmest of lights, hemmed in by the darkness of its many failures." See how clever that was? The word "Dark;" is in the game's title, and he just ran with it!

As you can see, driving around Cetnral Park is very dull.

Seriously, though, here's a few wonderful things that Geddes didn't take into account when writing his review, and some theories about why he didn't mention them.

1 - Just how huge and beautiful its depiction of Central Park is. I've only been to Central Park once, but I was stunned to see several locations that I remembered extremely well from my trip. As I guided Carnby into the amphitheater, I thought back to the time I saw a play there, and how I could look over the stage and see Central Park Castle looming just over the water behind. So I spun around and took a look, and there the castle was. I can't say for sure that the game offers a totally accurate 1-1 scale recreation of a destroyed Central Park, but it's easily the largest playing area ever featured in a survival horror game, and the fact that between the driving challenges and the free-roaming sections the game the entire map as a practical location only adds to the accomplishment. This is some of the finest level design and use of environment I've ever encountered.

Why didn't Geddes mention it at all? Because there's nothing to complain about in the depiction of Central Park, and saying something good about the game might have undercut his point that it was universally horrible.

2 - The lack of loading times. When Alone in the Dark is first started, it has to load. Beyond that, there are absolutely no loading times for the entire length of the game. Carnby moves from a huge apartment building down into a car chase, then through sewers, in and out of buildings, across an expansive world, and down into subterranean catacombs without ever pausing to load. Loading times are cleverly covered by cutscenes and phone calls, so the game gives the impression that the story is never stopping, or even taking a break. The consequence of this decision is that the cutscenes cannot be skipped, but I'll take a cutscene over a loading screen any day. How seamless was the effect? Halfway into my first playthrough I suddenly realized that I'd gotten so caught up in the game that I'd forgotten to take notes for my review. Normally I use the breaks offered by loading times to turn to my computer and jot down thoughts, but I was so caught up in the game's momentum that I'd played for nearly three hours without the slightest break.

Why didn't Geddes mention it at all? Because he really leaned on the fast-forward button. Whenever you skip to another chapter, the game has to pause to load the area where it takes place. Not only did this laziness lead to him never learning how to play the game, but he missed out on one of the game's best features, the impeccable pacing.

3 - The setpieces. I know I've already mentioned them, but they deserve more coverage, since Alone in the Dark redefines action/adventure gameplay. Some moments include: scaling the outside of a crumbing building, running through a slanted room as it slides out of the building under your feet, crawling slowly through a car as it dangles from the edge of a cliff, outrunning an earthquake on the streets of New York. Every few minutes this game features an action sequence of unparalleled ambition and tension that any other game would do well to study.

Why didn't Geddes mention it at all? This one's a puzzler. It's possible that he just missed a lot of them with all his rampant game skipping. It's also possible that he's just incapable of loving things that are awesome, and wants to rob as many people as he can of the joy that Alone in the Dark's action scenes would bring them. Kind of like the Grinch, but he wants to ruin people's video game experiences, rather than their Christmases.

Now, and I want to be perfectly clear about this, I don't fault Geddes for disliking the game, that's his opinion. Part of the fault lies with the developers for giving him the opportunity to skip ahead in the game rather than spend the little time it would have taken to get used to its controls. I can't really blame them, though, since they were just trying to put in a feature that allows new or casual gamers to keep from being stymied by the more difficult sections. How could they possibly expect that a reviewer would abuse the feature so thoroughly, and then dismiss the game because he never gave it the chance it deserved?

Yes, I know that other people hated the game as well, and the metacritic average hasn't cracked 60, but every now and then general consensus is flat out wrong. I haven't read any other reviews, but I wouldn't be surprised if a few other critics out there made a lot of Geddes' mistakes. In a world full of ever-encroaching deadlines, I can understand the urge to cut a few corners, but the ironic thing is Alone in the Dark isn't even a long enough game that it requires using shortcuts! Played straight through, it's a 6-8 hour game, not a single sitting title, but not far from it, either.

This is a special, maybe-once-in a generation kind of game. Is it as polished as other games out there? Perhaps not. Is there another game out there as innovative and accomplished? Not even close. I'm not saying this game is going to change the face of survival horror. No, all signs point to Resident Evil continuing along as a fast-action enterprise, while Siren and Fatal Frame go on terrifying their small, dedicated fan bases. As for Silent Hill, well, the less said about that, the better. Alone in the Dark achieves nearly everything it sets out to do, providing a truly cinematic gameplay experience without abandoning the sandbox-style freedom that it offers to the player for the first time in a horror game.

Purchase this game immediately. At worst, you will have spent a little money supporting innovation in game design. At best, you'll enjoy the finest horror game to come out in recent memory. There's really no downside, and no excuse for anyone who's ever enjoyed a survival horror title to avoid checking it out.

Category Tags
Platform(s): Xbox 360   PC  
Developer(s): Eden Studios  
Series: Alone in the Dark  
Genre(s): Horror  
Articles: Editorials  

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Ok then read them

"but every now and then general consensus is flat out wrong. I haven't read any other reviews, but I wouldn't be surprised if a few other critics out there made a lot of Ryan's mistakes."

Why would you make a generalization without at least reading a few of the other reviews? I have to call foul on your own hypocrisy here. Overall, good job on dissecting Ryan's review, now do the same with Lair to make people think that was good.

P.S. There is no contrast in your " I haven't read any other reviews, but" comment. Maybe "i haven't read any other reviews, HOWEVER or THAT BEING SAID, i wouldn't be surprised if..." would work better? See nitpicking arguments is easy

No contrast?

Seriously? The message of the sentence is "I haven't done any research" (BUT) "I'm making a conclusion anyways." You don't see any contrast there?

You guys fail. Period.

I saw this on the gametrailers.com thread. Somebody posted how stupid this review was. I felt like I needed a good laugh on your guys' expense. This whole analysis was utter failure, and only adds to your reviews HORRIBLE track record.

Keep on failing.

Is it too late to say

Is it too late to say "tl;dr?"

You're Right Daniel

I can see your point, BUT i don't think its right.

Yeah,

You should just go ahead and assume anything I write that isn't a review is tl. And if that's the kind of thing that bothers you, I would suggest you dr.

Thanks

Thanks, I'll give it a rent, sounds like it's worth a go.

It's nice to read an article

It's nice to read an article by someone who is passionate about a game they enjoyed and can clearly provide examples why.

It seems like most reviews I read these days are either full of generic shills, or a reviewer trying to show how cool and cynical he is by trashing a game.

I'm not really a fan of survival horror titles, but I'll probably pick this up.

Well, I for one found the

Well, I for one found the (article? review?) wall of text both entertaining and informative. You've convinced me that the game has a lot to offer and I'll certainly be playing it sooner rather than later.

Um, here's the thing.

You just Fisked an...

...an *IGN review*. I mean, there's typically about 100 words of actual human input in an IGN review, and that's written by a disposable teenager. This has been true for the better part of a decade now, and nobody who cares even reads the things. A strawman argument is no less a strawman when the strawman actually exists.

Don't mind the trolls

This was a well-written piece, Daniel, and I'm curious to rent Alone in the Dark now. IGN stopped putting forth any sort of editorial effort long ago.

Well, I'm convinced.

I've never been a big fan of survival horror, so I completely ignored AitD. I didn't even know it was in development, for that matter! Reading this, though, has made me want to give it a try.

I also agree with the opinions expressed by other commenters that IGN reviews are a waste of text. Picking apart IGN is like picking apart the Weekly World News. (Except that WWN was intended to be farcical)

You doesn't actually NEED to

You doesn't actually NEED to read other people's reviews in order to get their scores / opinion. Most / all popular game review sites (and review sites in general) have a big number at the beginning or end of the review.

This would explain why he knows MetaCritic's score, but not necessarily have read the contents of said review.

Thank you for a well thought out and well written counter...

It's definitely a rental now. Sounds great.

I've been watching this game and will pick it up.

It's kind of disappointing to see a game with such potential to be slaughtered, since the general consensus is that anything below an 8 as you stated is a failure and another reason for my hatred of numerical or letter ratings, by the seemingly hatred of this game. Too Human seems to be in the same position and I do have it and see its faults but it's an enjoyable piece of software, that given the turbulent history I have forgiven it a bit.

I was weary about Alone in the Dark after seeing the reviews but I was going to pick it up regardless. Reading this helped cement the idea. Of course it could be that I just wanted to read something that reinforced my ideals. Regardless the game is visually impressive and I'd love to see something else made on the engine. It has a lot of room for potential.

If your going to just go on

If your going to just go on to an article, browse through, realize its too long, and simply leave a comment tl;dr then your time would be better spent sodomizing yourself with rectal baton than simply trying to be an ass about someone's hard work.

thanks for the review

you've convinced me, i'm going to have to check this one out

Sorry guy, I respect your

Sorry guy, I respect your opinion and all, but this is a terrible game. Bringing the game into the present was a HUGE mistake, billing this as an action adventure is as close to downright lying as I've ever seen as there were pretty much no adventure elements (and no, figuring out how to unhook a rope from a wall doesn't count), there were several annoying glitches, including locks that could only be shot open; I didn't want to waste ammo and I had an extinguisher, so I can't smash the lock why exactly?, I found the controls to be clunky and forced and after spending half an hour being dragged around a maze of near identical parking garages by an animated crack in the ground gave the whole thing up as a bad idea and a terrible game.

Hypocee wrote: You just

Hypocee wrote:

You just Fisked an...

... A strawman argument is no less a strawman when the strawman actually exists.

Actually.. that is the very definition of "not-a-strawman".

Drop me a line ...

I commented on this in a thread at Gamers With Jobs. I don't like talking about people behind their backs even on the internet, so just wanted to link as a courtesy. Would love to chat about this.

Julian.

Link: http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/40735?#comment-918311

I have to say that I agree

I have to say that I agree almost 100%. I thoroughly enjoyed this game. However, I can also understand where the IGN reviewer could be coming from. The game has a rather steep learning curve the first hour or so. If you can't make it past that (capped by the first timed driving ssequence, which took me about 20 tries), then it would be easy to write this off as a broken game. The game is fill with interesting and intelligent combat, which should be rewarded.

IGN

IGN has sucked for quite some time. Like most "video game journalists", its all about the money. The developers must not have hooked IGN up with enough free stuff.

You find more integrity from The National Inquirer than you will from most of those fat, basement dwelling mama's boys.

True unprofessionalism in gaming journalism continues...

...but not on IGN's part.

Gaming journalists have become more and more like seething fanboys on a rampage, and less like professionals seeking to share their informed experiences with an audience looking for feedback on a game they might spend their hard-earned money on. Between this article and Kevin Pereira's attack on GameSpot's Too Human review, I fear for the industry. Gaming journalists often speak about the lack of common respect shown to their work, yet with articles like this one, it should come as no surprise that the audience at large cannot distinguish authors from random frothing idiots with an axe to grind.

I can find any number of scathing commentaries on any given review by going to NeoGaf or GameFaqs and reading the forum posts of 14-year-olds. This article is nothing but the same old fanboy rant, dressed up as something more legitimate. I am appalled at this article--and ashamed of the author. Gaming journalists suffer enough at the hands of raging idiots; seeing journalists attack each other, however, is uncalled for. This article is unprofessional and unnecessary, and says more about the immaturity of its own author than to anything in IGN's Alone in the Dark review.

I am a gaming journalist, and this article makes me ashamed to be part of a profession that seems to be represented by whining kindergartners, rather than by respectful professionals that understand the effort each journalist puts into his work. And Daniel should also be ashamed. The best piece of advice I can offer is this: grow up. If you saw your own work excoriated in such a way, you would be shocked, angry, perhaps hurt. Try having some common sense and some respect for your peers next time, because you have just ensured you will never receive the same. By writing this, you have confirmed the content of your character and secured your continued illegitimacy. Appalling.

Not everyones cup of tea

I can see how you may like a game that is slated elsewhere, and how it can fly in the face of some negative reviews (from your perspective), but it does not mean your review is more correct and trumps all other negative opinions.

I give you Earth Defence Force 2017 and Pimp My Ride for the 360 as examples. I could have written glowing comedy reviews for them (and I still recommend both games for a laugh), but I can see why people might think I'm barking mad for saying so.

Reviewers are often wrong!

I worked as a freelance game reviewer through college, and then wound up managing an EB Games later on.

And both experiences taught me that reviewers are quite often wrong in their analysis.

The problem is the question of whether or not a game is "good." What's good to one person is not necessarily good to another. Many reviewers, for example, would say that Halo is a great game. But many gamers HATE Halo, either because they don't like sci-fi shooters or because they don't like shooters at all. Many reviewers would say that the Zelda games are great games, but many gamers think the Zelda games are tedious and derivative of one another.

I learned very quickly that some gamers don't care if a game has the best technical merits as long as they think it's fun. For example, we had a dedicated group of gamers who bought every Dynasty Warriors -style game, even though they were all pretty much the same in the eyes of reviewers. We had people who would buy every military shooter available simply because they enjoyed the genre. We had people who loved Silent Hill and who despised Resident Evil. We had people who thought KOTOR was boring and that Jedi Academy or Obi-Wan was the superior Star Wars game.

Game reviewers have far too much credibility, and it's sad that people aren't more willing to try new games out. But unfortunately, the gaming industry is built very heavily on launch sales, and reviews are needed to keep those sales high. Developers can only score these big reviews by courting the review scene and freebies and junkets, and even then, the reviewers can opt not to help them out.

I think this piece does a good job on calling a reviewer on being lazy and harming sales of a game that has limited appeal, but certainly isn't worth a 3.5 rating.

Thomas, Your little rant

Thomas,

Your little rant above is completely silly. There's nothing wrong with calling a game reviewer on delivering a bad review that's not warranted. "Professional" game reviewers don't have any credentials that make them so -- they're just freelance writers (and often, not very good writers at that!) who are being paid to write reviews about products.

There's no "game review" program at any reputable college, nor is there any certification required to be a game reviewer.

Simply put, it's all about opinions. And Daniel's are as valid as anyone's. At least, unlike the fanboys, he gives specific points and quotes from the piece in question and then challenges them with examples from the game. I thought his piece was pretty spot-on, and I'm certainly not a fan of latest AitD game.

"Unprofessional" conduct would be reviewing a game you haven't completed fairly and trying to pretend that you did when you sit down to write the review. That seems to be the real question here -- did the original IGN reviewer really play through the game, or did he just skip scenes and jot down his "impressions"? Did he play final code, or beta code? Did he have an ax to grind?

Calling him on those points is fair game.

Yes, we know IGN is FOS

That isn't the point. It is great to see someone calling out attention to irresponsible game "journalists", or in that guy's case, unqualified "journalists". Just because IGN is notorious for laz, inaccurate reviews doesn't mean they should be flogged in the public forum for them now and again.

And IGN isn't the only one.

You can write all day long

You can write all day long if you want - But the game was stil dirt.

Sorry.

Nice Article

Well put! The trend of paid-for reviews (GTA 4 = 10!) isn't half as disturbing to me as the "cynical cool guy" review approach, where some slightly illiterate loser trashes games that aren't quite AAA but are still fun and notable. I think 1up popularized the technique.

I'd like to see this treatment of other good games that have been thrown under the bus by petty reviewers (Too Human, Lair, Chromehounds, Superman, Kain & Lynch, Battalion Wars 2, etc).

You probably like that Uwe

You probably like that Uwe Boll atrocity then. Take the game for what its worth. Anything would be better that Alone in the Dark 2 that game was clunky as hell.

Another Game Journalist

The above Game Journalist is correct. Writing this article did nothing but hurt you.

You need to learn to have a little respect for someone else's review. I would have expected that a game reviewer who has been working this job for any length of time would understand that reviews aren't fact and are a statement of one's own personal judgment.

You must understand that when the other journalist told you to "grow up" that he's talking both about personal maturity as well as professional maturity. All this article did was to prove to everyone who read it that you do not possess the class or the respect necessary to work in this field.

I hope that you feel publishing this article was worth the paltry thousand extra hits generated from shock-value on N4G, because the result is pretty much nothing less than career-suicide.

1) You can expect never to be able to work in any capacity at IGN.

2) You will not be hired by any professional editor at any gaming site/mag when they google your name to find your work and this article shows up.

3) Like it or not, your article is becoming very popular amongst game journalists. As we speak it's being bounced around between friends and teams as a shining example of exactly what NOT to do, and your name and face are being circulated right alongside it.

You write about why you thought a game was better than its bad rap, not about why someone else MUST have acted unprofessionally because they didn't agree with you. The reason for this is because you have no clue whether or not he actually did.
--Consider the following:
If you had a great job writing reviews for a huge website like IGN and were getting paid great rates, why in god's name would you EVER jeopardize that position by not actually playing the game? Would you jeopardize that? No, and neither would anyone else.

Don't worry, all these things will make more sense to you when you stop being a kid in his basement with a soapbox, and you actually get into the industry and make friends with your peers. Too bad for you, you may already have sealed your own coffin.

I had a similar experience

I had a similar experience with IGN's Joint Task Force review. The game's a bit buggy but brilliant. The best Commandos-like game since the original Commandos. (i.e. you have a small number of units and you try to find a way through the level without losing any of them. More puzzle-like than traditional strategy)

But the IGN review just kept going on about how it's not Starcraft. No shit, Sherlock.

Honestly, fsck them.

re: Another Game Journalist

lol! I think this author would do well to avoid your "industry" and any fellow "journalists" that support Geddes notably lame style of review. Integrity is a quality sorely lacking in 99% of games criticism today, usually sacrificed to pander to the bloody masses, and I'm glad this guy has challenged it.

I actually want to try Alone in the Dark now...it doesn't sound as bad as the metacritic score would lead me to believe.

Peanut Gallery

That was very refreshing.

Despite the admonitory tone of the "Professional Games Journalists" here in the Peanu...uh...comment section, I'd like to thank you for your meta review. This is the perfect example of why I don't bother reading "mainstream" gaming websites or magazines any longer. The general atmosphere in "games journalism" now lacks integrity pretty much across the board. If I want to listen/read/watch someone lie to me, I'll turn the traditional, big, news media outlets, thank-you-very-much.

Thanks again for going against the tide with this one. I'm actually going to pick this title up and this will be one of the first times I will make it a point to tell them how much I enjoyed their product. Good or Bad.

Keep the reviews coming!

In Daniel's defense

It's not like he was flaming against the guy. He made legitimate points, there were parts of Ryan's review where he CUT CORNERS! Skipping ahead led to him not knowing enough about the Gameplay mechanics to review the game knowledgably. Read Daniel's review carefully instead of through the flames in your eyes.

If you want to circulate something around your game "journalist" circles, circulate this: GAMERS GIVE YOU GAME "JOURNALISTS" NO CREDIBILITY!

We've all read the slurpfest interviews with developers where you let them slide on issues that make games suck. I'll never forget IGN's interview with one of the developers of MLB 2k8, oh the way they talked made the game seem like the greatest baseball game ever made. Then they followed this with an equally perplexing review of a very broken game (7.4 out of 10???). Instead of taking criticism as some sort of affront on your honor, why not try to do some self-examination and see if the critiques are warranted.

Daniel and the other reviewers on this site always give serious reviews. We may not agree with them all the time, but (wink wink Daniel) we at least know their reviews come from a love of games, not exclusive interviews or gifts.

P.S. Just in case you forgot, we live in an age where forums such as these allow for the open exchange of ideas. We aren't slaves to your magazines or sites, we can create our own credible reviews.

"I never read videogame

"I never read videogame reviews before playing a game."

Never? Someone from GAME CRITICS DOT COM never ever read a review before playing a game? Really? Like, really, never? I see. OK.

Peeps love the drama

You guys will find that the magazines care more about the number of people who buy or read an article than the integrity of the reviewer. I personally think that IGN should hire Daniel and then play him and the other guy off as enemies and have them both review the same game and insult each others work. I think it'd be pretty edgy for two guys who don't like each other to have to sit in a room and play the game together. Plus I'd find it compelling to read things like; "Ian is completely wrong and is a cow-brained horse f--ker." Then he could explain why he thinks that way and Ian could rebut by stabbing him or something. It would be much more exciting than the 'hate everything to be edgy cynic' and the 'I have t-ts and play video games so my opinion should be valued' type reviewers.

re: In Daniel's Defense

The problem with this type of action is that several times he makes completely unsubstantiated claims. He says that the reviewer didn't actually play the full game. The problem with saying things like this is that people like you don't seem to realize that he has no possible way of knowing whether or not this is true.

All I'm asking is that you consider what YOU would do if it was your JOB to play these games. You're getting paid to sit down and enjoy a game, so why would you not play the whole thing? You might as well; as soon as you're done you'll end up with other work to do.

When he comes up with a better reason to substantiate that claim than "he thought it was harder than i did," then I will gladly listen and consider the accusation. But to make accusations like this without any modicum of proof hurts not only the reviewer who wrote the original piece, but every single other reviewer in the business, including Mr. Weissenberger.

What you need to understand is that the only reason these articles are published is for shock-value. All they are trying to do is cause enough controversy so they can make their traffic spike for a few days,and they're treating other people's careers as expendable in order to make this happen.

You're right, they can do whatever they want to, and say whatever they want to. I'm not trying to deprive them of that right. I'm just saying that it is extremely unprofessional and it's very likely they have no future in this or any business if that's how they conduct themselves.

Andrew wrote: The above

Andrew wrote:

The above Game Journalist is correct. Writing this article did nothing but hurt you. (...etc.)

Your feeble attempt at 'internet intimidation' is clearly seen. Plainly put - assumptions are for assholes, and to speak as though you have any kind of credibility on a nearly anonymous post, only places you right up there next to all the other folks out there - playing with themselves while they post on comments or boards, trying to make themselves sound so important and authoritative.

Now then, about the above article. First, Don't do the exact thing you criticize the first reviewer of. Hyperbole and apparent dramatic fillers run rampant in a mostly well, thought out piece.

Secondly, acting as the grammar police will only make you look like a clown, when you yourself are not flawless in the usage of grammar yourself. Errors, exist and always will (even with your article), so to stoop so low as to attack the wording or editing of a persons article as a supplementary point, in my opinion, actually detracts from the credibility of the main issue - The game. Was your article a comprehensive review of the game, structured in the form of a dissenting opinion of a peer reviewer. Or were you simply trying to convey that the said peer reviewer was simply an idiot and an asshole.

Lastly, I must also call into question the methodology of reviews and bring to light that all articles, and the internet itself is merely a construction of opinions willed onto others willing or forced to read/listen/watch. Corporate conglomerates such as IGN and the parent companies make more money then most of us can imagine ever having in our lifetimes - so why would they ever care about the dissenting opinions of a (relatively) captive audience.

You must work for or be on

You must work for or be on the payroll of Atari.

Alone in the Dark was the worst game I have played since Red Steel for the Wii, and that's an insult to Red Steel.

Great review

Hi-

I just wanted to tell you I thoroughly enjoyed your re-review of Alone In the Dark. I wasn't that interested in the game until reading your thoughts and think I'll download the demo this evening. I think it was a refreshing way to review the game, by taking another review and seeing how well it held up to closer scrutiny. Granted, not all games are everyone's taste and it's possible if Ryan had played the game through he still wouldn't have enjoyed it, but your thoughtful examination of the game indicates that you took the time to play through the entire game while he simply scanned through it and skipped the bulk of the experience.

reply to Thomas

Have you not read the 3" thick file of Dan's review of Halo? He has received more than enough "ad hominem" attacks for his more than reasonable review of that game. Maybe he shouldn't have called Ryan a moron but that doesn't detract from the fact that either Dan is right (and Ryan skipped a lot of the game) or Ryan is just a bad game player and maybe should be looking for another outlet for his "reviewing". Based on this review - if only to see what Central Park looks like, I'll be playing it shortly.

Said Article

To all of the 'game journalists' shutting this guy down:
You have no right to tell this man Daniel that he is a failure.
I mean, do you guys have any idea how big of asshole you came off as?

Just let this guy do what he wants, because its not like he's hurting you.
The net is full of opinion, and if I wrote an article on how I think quantum mechanics interacts with our universe, I wouldn't like it if some 'professional' hacked at it and listed all the ways he thought I was a dumbass. You say respect your peers? Speak for yourself.

As a member of the Audience

As a member of the Audience at Large and a potential purchaser of the game, I'm grateful to the author for revealing that the IGN review I read was written by someone who had hardly played it. Weissenburger's rebuttal is indeed snarky and fanboyish, but at least he put a trace of effort into doing his job. The only emotion Geddes ought to feel upon seeing his work Excoriated in Such a Fashion is deserved embarrassment.

I've been a consumer of 'gaming journalism' for two decades, so I also find your reference to an industry in decline from a history of professional decorum to be puzzling. Which publications were you reading when I was watching reviewers wage war on usenet and encode nasty notes about their competitors into articles in the print magazines from the NES days onward?

Face facts: they (perhaps including you) collectively depend on the goodwill of the people who create the source of their news and their job is to evaluate the creators' efforts impartially. That permanent conflict of interest means that game reviewers are never going to have any respect as Real Journalists, so they may as well revel in the freedom to be rowdy. Hell, it's half the genre's entertainment value.

Please don't refer to

Please don't refer to yourself as a journalist. Until game reviewers are capable of providing fair and relatively unbiased opinions they most assuredly are NOT journalists.

Money is the driving force behind journalism. That's true of any business. In the realm of motion pictures, for example, directors don't pick and choose which critics see advanced screenings. They don't foot the bill for airline tickets. They don't provide exclusive content.

Kind of makes it difficult to be truthful when your company's survival hinges upon how well you treat the big names in the business, doesn't it? Until a new system is developed, a system in which companies like EA either risk a bad review or get no review at all, your credibility is nil and you have no right to call yourself a journalist.

He can do whatever he wants

He can do whatever he wants sure, but I'm yet another one of those in the industry who only found this after it was bounced to me. Daniel can does what he wants to, but that doesn't change the fact that the number of outlets who will now view him in a negative light in the future is rising.

re: In Daniel's Defense

Well i guess it's up to you guys up there in "game journalism" to correct your problems. The fact that you are here speaking about how bad it was of Daniel to critique Ryan and how mad those in your industry are at his audacity, shows the shallow superficiality that characterizes current mainstream game "journalism".

You need to realize that there is a disconnect between your reviews, and what a lot of gamers think about games. You cite lack of proof as your basis for your concern over Daniel's critique. Well a lot of people can cite many reviews coming from mainstream game review places (magazines and sites) as being sufficient proof for Daniel's claims. Frankly, your standing among a lot of gamers is as low as Daniel's standing within your circle.

I don't understand this hang up with professionalism, perhaps it points to the industry's inherent need to be taken seriously. Professionalism, as i understand, is more than just how you conduct yourself in your field. It includes the quality of your work, as well as the goals you strive for. While you may have a point in terms of how Daniel conducted his critique. His citing of grammar mistakes may have been out of bounds, but what are the editors supposed to be doing? The fact that on a finished product such errors are present shows a lack of professionalism on the part of the IGN staff. Not to single them out, these problems are seen throughout "game journalism".

The fact remains that you are only relevant if you are credible. Recently, the quality of "game journalism's" work has been lacking. Expect more people to judge your work harshly if these mistakes and hyperbolic reviews (seriously, 2 perfect 10's within a month of each other?) continue.

I also work for a major game

I also work for a major game reviewing company, with many connections in the industry amongst whom this article has been bouncing around. However, I have yet to hear a single word of criticism for the way Daniel went about this article. It does as much to call out the state of what some consider to be "professional" game reviewing in the industry today (which, as with any other profession, tends to balance profit and quality of work as loosely as it can get away with) as it does to review the game in question fairly and without bias.

Everyone I've spoken to has been applauding Daniel and discussing how more reviewers should have the balls to actually take a look at Everything a game has to offer, and comment on it, rather than just taking whatever score you're told to give it, and then writing an article that tries to justify that.

So as for you other "Journalists" posting up above about how angry IGN will be with him, and how he shouldn't insult IGN or it's practices, or IGN will never hire him, and may write him a letter explaining how very cross IGN is with him (and leaving very little question as to where you're anonymously posting from in the process) try to figure out exactly where along the line you lost your credibility..

What I like most about what

What I like most about what Daniel has done here is that he's willing to name names. Protecting people with anonymity is a legitimate move for a journalist, gaming or otherwise, but it should only be used when it's absolutely necessary. Daniel could have railed against AotD reviews in general, but instead he picked the one he found most egregious and called it out directly. This is admirable because he has no journalistic reason not to.

And while it's true Daniel could have been more diplomatic, if Ryan and IGN are professionals, they should be confident enough in their own work to take it. They might even look past Daniel's caustic tone (is "a kid in his basement with a soapbox" that big a threat?) and find some useful criticism.

You have singlehandedly

You have singlehandedly gotten me interested in Alone in the Dark. I will at least be renting it, and maybe even buy it, based on how well you dissected the game. You are truly a real reviewer, and I salute you.

If only...

Well, if only such sentences weren't in your review or if only they were put in a more diplomatic/subtle way Daniel, I'd have have no problem with your article. Here are a few examples of some of the sentences that shocked me:

"Maybe Ryan was just using the kind of overblown hyperbole that either reveals the writer to be a moron, or assumes that the reader is."

"If you figured it out without any help, congratulations, you're smarter than many of the editors at IGN."

That's twice you say someone else or a whole group of your fellow journalists is/are stupid, that's twice too many if you ask me.

"Then Ryan closes out his review by recapping just how much he hated the game, going out of his way to end with an simile so labored that I'll quote it here for your entertainment: "There's a certain amount of old-school adventure charm in Alone in the Dark, but it shines only as the dimmest of lights, hemmed in by the darkness of its many failures." See how clever that was? The word ‘Dark; is in the game's title, and he just ran with it!"

Again, too easy.

You see, if one wants to challenge someone else's point of view, one has to be above reproach in the way one criticises the other's point of view. No cheap shot under the belt, otherwise, people will call foul.
If your article had stuck to the facts, even then some people would have attacked you, maybe even called you stupid. But at least you would not have gone to such lowly depths yourself, which would have made it even harder for others to "attack" your article.

That's too bad Daniel. Understand that if you want others to hold high standards, you must do so yourself.

Other than that Daniel, I respect what you're trying to do. Please, you and all your peers over at gamecritics.com do keep on trying to do what you guys are trying to do here.

Whoops, sorry, the name is

Whoops, sorry, the name is chilloowARPC not chilloow, sorry ;)

Another Epic Fail

"sigh", once again.

Ben Yahtzee Croshaw > You

I happen to agree with you

I happen to agree with you on a lot of the game's merits. There are some truly amazing setpieces and a lot of really cool ideas going into this game. The fire effects are great, and the enemies are suitably tough but fair for the sufficiently skilled player. The abundance of items does kinda undermine any limited supply related tension, but clearly that's not what they're going for. And the fissure-based aesthetic for the enemies is both very cool and quite original. I also really liked the puzzle sequences towards the end.

However. This particular review may have been off base, and I think most critics are not really giving the game its full due. But the low scores are not coming out of thin air. The game has decided problems. The control scheme is a bit awkward - I myself never managed to master the melee combat, although you don't actually need to use it much after the first couple of encounters. The car physics are floaty and they handle poorly. This resulted in a friend of mine getting the "mileage traveled" achievement purely on that timed driving sequence in Chapter 2, as he restarted and restarted and restarted. It's a cool sequence, but he was practically seething with rage by the time he finally beat it. The bugs that caused bizarre things like his car shooting twenty feet into the air off hitting a slight bump in the road didn't help, either. The unskippable cutscenes did occasionally cause problems, also. There's a fight on a rooftop that's preceded by a minute or two of talking that he had to keep restarting owing to close quarters, an aggressively powerful opponent, and few options. He felt like he was regularly taking cheap hits from things. The enemies are prone to teleporting atop car roofs whether they should have landed on them or not. And so on.

We both feel that the game's strong points outweigh its issues, some of which will hopefully be fixed in the upcoming PS3 edition (and patches for the PC and 360 versions). But I for one am fairly tolerant of flaws in innovative, spectacular games like this one. I don't have any problem seeing where critics might fairly disagree with me.

I love Raw Danger too, by the way.

Why does no one mention the

Why does no one mention the 'blink' button? It's probably the most innovative feature to hit a horror game in 10 years.

After playing the game I agree that IGN underrated it big time. I was really surprised at the production values and high energy moments.

The controls were very disappointing and confusing just in terms of button layout. Some of the physics puzzles were just rough around the edges...and some halls too narrow for escort missions.

The only other major disappointment was the story...Lucifer?! Really? That's a big, unwelcome leap from the Lovecraft roots of the series.

Still thanks for clearing the air about this game. As a game designer I'm always trying to play the most interesting games, and this one was about to fly under the radar thanks to some db critics.

ryan just got owned

You did a truly good job protecting gamers from uninterested, sequence skipping, miserable pieces of shit like some of those IGN reviewers. They see reviewing as some routine 9 to 5 job involving no such things as passion and emotion. Really, i want to say this to all reviewers; If you aren't interested in a game, pass it on to someone else, don't put it down just because YOU don't like it. Ofcourse, it's a personal opinion, but if you can't give a neutral one, you should go to imdb and do some hating overthere, and don't give your opinion on a site people are likely to see as professional. You bitches did the same to Fahrenheit and Dreamfall: the longest journey, and I can't stand it. IF YOUR TO FUCKING DUMB DONT PLAY A ADVENTURE GODDAMMIT! Miserable pieces of shit like some of those IGN reviewers should either don't review or review a low quality porn or action more

never played this game but,

never played this game but, this review made me want to play it. :D
thanks!

Great story and pretty

Great story and pretty gothic backdrop (if more than a little borrowed from 'End of Days' or "Constantine')
Yes - alot of work went into the look of it, but man, those CONTROLS! Kludgy as f*ck! Up there with Broken Helix. Pass!

Thanks, Dan. I bought the

Thanks, Dan. I bought the PS3 version about a year ago, and am finally going to unwrap and play it this weekend. Can't wait!

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