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GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 25: Myths of Game Criticism – Part 2

We continue debunking The Myths of Game Criticism in the second half of our two-part series. Do we live in constant fear of Twitter putting us out of business? Are games so spectacular now that the average score really is 8 out of 10? Do publishers send strike teams to our homes and force us to change scores? We set the record straight. With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim "Five Point Scale" Spaeth.

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For your reference, the eight myths we discuss are:

  1. Critics should be required to finish games before writing a review.
  2. The goal of a "proper" game review should be to inform the reader as to whether they should or should not buy a game.
  3. Those who write about games are not journalists, rather, should be considered "enthusiast press" or simply "games writer."
  4. There is no difference between a "review" and a "critique".
  5. The explosion of blogs, podcasts, and Twitter has rendered formal game reviews obsolete.
  6. Individual game critics and review sites are under constant, unrelenting pressure from publishers to change scores.
  7. Game scores are often purposefully tweaked to either generate controversy or avoid it.
  8. A reader should not need to be familiar with the author of a review in order to derive value from it.
  9. NINE? There's a ninth myth?! Listen and find out!!

Topic and Game References:

Please send feedback and mailbag questions to podcast (at) gamecritics (dot) com.

Dragon Age: Origins impressions

Dragon Age: Origins impressions

So, now that it's here I've been able to log some hours with it and at this point all I'll say is that despite some of the big talk BioWare was putting out, Dragon Age = KOTOR/Jade Empire/Mass Effect in a Medieval-ish/Lord of the Rings skin. Frankly, it's the same game they've put out a couple times now, so everyone's mileage may vary. In my case, this is one of my favorite game types and BioWare does them best, so I'm digging it. However, I'm under no illusions that the game pushes any boundaries or explores new territory. This is firmly-established boilerplate.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Review

The Style Is In The Details

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Screenshot

HIGH Finally glimpsing the lost city of Shambhala.

LOW Quickly dying ten times during a chase sequence before getting a hint as to what I should be doing.

WTF "Don't you love how the water makes your jeans all squidgy?"

Marvel not so Ultimate Alliance 2, Trine and missing out on Dragon Age

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, Trine and missing out on Dragon Age

Playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 with the wife right now, doing co-op throughout the entire campaign. I didn't expect much more than a complete rehash of the first game, but I have to admit I'm a little surprised at how lackluster it feels. It's basically there, but needs more polish to really make it pop. We've stumbled across more than a handful of bugs and glitches which always detracts from the experience, and parts of the game just don't feel very well-thought-out. The boss fight with Yellowjacket was a complete mess, and it really drives me up the wall the way the game is so capricious with the team you’ve selected.

GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 24 Transcript

Transcript of GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 24: Myths of Game Criticism

GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 24: Myths of Game Criticism

This week we challenge commonly held assumptions about criticism, writers, review scores, finishing games and much more. So much more, in fact, we had to split the episode in half. Plus, if you're a Borderlands fan, get ready to hate us. Our quick hit is less than flattering. Featuring Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim Spaeth.

Download: Right click here and select "Save Target As..."
Subscribe: iTunes | Zune | RSS
Read: Transcript

For your reference, the eight myths we discuss are:

  1. Critics should be required to finish games before writing a review.
  2. The goal of a "proper" game review should be to inform the reader as to whether they should or should not buy a game.
  3. Those who write about games are not journalists, rather, should be considered "enthusiast press" or simply "games writer."
  4. There is no difference between a "review" and a "critique".
  5. The explosion of blogs, podcasts, and Twitter has rendered formal game reviews obsolete.
  6. Individual game critics and review sites are under constant, unrelenting pressure from publishers to change scores.
  7. Game scores are often purposefully tweaked to either generate controversy or avoid it.
  8. A reader should not need to be familiar with the author of a review in order to derive value from it.

Topic and Game References:

X-Play's Guitar Hero: Smash Hits review explanation:

Please send feedback and mailbag questions to podcast (at) gamecritics (dot) com.

Waiting for the backlash

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Screenshot

The Brainy Gamer blog featured a terrific post today directed at Infinity Ward's questionable "FAGS" advertising campaign, in which Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels decries grenade spam.  It's covert advertising for Modern Warfare 2, of course, although the acronym with which said message is provided is obviously the source of the most worry.

Modern Warfare 2 controversy, Demon's Souls Halloween goodness and Half-Minute Hero

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Screenshot

So the word is basically out, and the level that has been causing all the commotion has been revealed to be used as a scene-setting device—basically establishing some context for the player's actions in the rest of the game. That was pretty much what I expected, but… it was also relayed that wherever this scene appears in the final retail version, it will be preceded by a warning about "graphic content" and the option to simply skip it and jump right into the part where the player goes back to being a "good guy".

Brütal Legend Review

Sometimes Even An Umlaut Isn't Enough

Brütal Legend Screenshot

HIGH The world is metal.

LOW Almost everything else isn't.

WTF "Everybody thinks I'll betray them someday. Now gasp as I betray you!"

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