I feel like there ought to be some serious skill testing questions before anyone can post comments anywhere on the web. Like, fuck Captcha; I’m talking some strong word problems that would be the IQ equivalent to those “you must be so tall to ride” at Disneyland. True, we might get a few more comments created by ‘bots,’ but wouldn’t it still be an improvement?
A few weeks back, SONY’s PlayStation Store launched their 2015 PLAY sale campaign. A bonus feature to gaining access to some good games at a good price was a 10% discount on a future purchase if two of the the four games offered were pre-ordered.
Always looking for something different and working to make my gaming bucks go their farthest, I checked out the offers. The first two titles held little interest, as Journey was just a port of the same game from PS3 to the current console, and n++ appeared to be too much of a twitcher for my personal tastes. But the others showed a lot of promise.
Galak-z (here, up in Canada it’s properly pronounced Galak – zed) from 17 bit, is a top down Mech shooter slash 80’s anime sim that reminds elder gamers and geeks of Voltron, Macross, and other titles featuring VFs (variable fightercraft). While I find the degree of difficulty quite high (compounded by a lack of difficulty toggles) and the Rogue-like system (the pilot must complete five consecutive missions or episodes — although luckily not in a single sitting — before the next season of procedurally generated levels unlock a save point) hard to defeat I can’t stop trying to push through. It’s been, for me, one of the best preorders I’ve made for a non-sequel game.
So, with that success, I had pretty high hopes on the second pre-order. I thought there was little risk with Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. According to reviews and pre-release videos, EGTTR is supposed to be a game where you explore the countryside and village in England as you work to solve the mystery at hand. Seemed like a no brainer. My nephew said, with an unknown precision, that this game would be dissapointing unless there was some connection to BioShock.
But once Rapture actually launched and I spent time trying to engage the surroundings, it became clear that this wasnt the game I was expecting. I decided to retrace some of the places I had researched the game and was stunned to see many high scoring reviews that ignored major flaws.
So I thought that if SONY decided polluting the web with what appear to be solicited reviews, then I would spam my own review to try to return sanity to the situation.
The following is a review I posted in the comments of several online gaming site reviews.
Imaginative Sedation. Interactive Anaesthesia. IGN gave this game 8.0 out of 10 even though the development team admits “the only fail state in the game is if the player doesn’t care.” Well, I’m here to say caring will only get you so far in completing the Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture experience. You will also need stimulants.
In order to get this title to the point where I would feel comfortable actually calling it a game, the developers would’ve been wise to offer some concrete objectives and other conventional gaming aspects. By design, EGTTR is more like a “walking sim” with an abundance of emotional baggage. It plays out more like a very, very slow paced e-novel with only minor differences in play through depending on the order that you choose to progress across the town and countryside.
In Dear Esther, the Chinese Room’s glitchy previous title, they offered flag collection tasks as well as other standard game play conventions like object manipulation and problem solving. Some structures like this to assist in solving the mystery of Rapture or a real presence of danger to the player would have added greatly.
That said, I’ve given 2 out of 5 stars because the environments are beautifully constructed and the story is enhanced by a haunting soundtrack.
I sincerely hope this studio is able to continue together. I feel, in spite of the troubled titles so far, it’s clear to see the potential for this small crew. With a solid game idea built around their obvious skills, they could be the independent crew that gives us the next Dishonored or Portal.
As explained below, I did make one change to the comment to correct an error, but to be perfectly accurate, I’d need to note that IGN actually bumped up their score to 8.5 after developers revealed that they left a “trot” button active (certainly not a sprint or run, but maybe like that fake jog the last person on a crosswalk does when the red hand starts flashing). To counter their bump, I lowered my initial 2 out of 5 score to 3 out of 10.
Today, I’m not sure what I was expecting. I guess I hoped that one or two of the sites’ reviewers might provide some discussion of the points I had. MAYBE, on the long-shot edge of things I would loved to have gotten an admission that the reviews were really just advertisements bought and paid for by SONY.
Mostly, though, I just got grief.
Here’s a cut-up of the hilarity that has ensued….
First off, I got some replies regarding Dear Esther.
@rh0bus: I don’t remember any of that in Dear Esther, only walking, lots of walking. I still have no idea what that game was about exactly :)).
@scottgnial: I remember no flag collection tasks, problem solving or object manipulation on Dear Esther. Don’t remember a single glitch of remark either, and I played it through three times.
Are you sure you’re thinking of the same game?
So, I double checked, and no. I was NOT thinking of the same game.
I apologized for the mistake and moved the paragraph that references to it from my original comments, replacing it with the comparison to Ether One, the game I’d had in mind of writing the original review.
Meanwhile, consider Ether One from White Paper Studios, which is a very similar type of experience. To keep players moving through the game they offered flag collection tasks as well as other standard game play conventions like object manipulation and problem solving. Just some small additions like this to assist in solving the mystery of Rapture or a real presence of danger to the player would have greatly benefited the title.
Well, that initially garnered some upvotes and I even got a nice little edit from the previous EUROGAMER commentator
EDIT: Negged by some small children for correcting someone, which he later thanked me for. Small children on the internet really are hilariously pathetic 😀
One commentary said claiming EGTTR as slower or more boring than Ethan One wasn’t even possible.
@rh0bus: So you say this game is even more boring than ether one? i’m inclined to believe you, but sorry, i can’t. ether one was the highest Point of boredom i ever reached in my life. It is simply not possible that anything is more boring. (this is my personal opinion)
I did my best to reassure him…
Like granny used to say, “the proof is in the payload.” Check it out and let me know… by comparison, I feel Ether One is like riding into oncoming freeway traffic on a Bull named Bodacious while xenomorphs dressed in cheerleader outfits try to convince you to attend their Time Square ‘dance review’ just as Tom Cruise pulls up in a Harrier jump-jet with a recently killed Cthulhu strapped to the top, shouting that L. Ron Hubbard couldn’t find “his own arse in a snowstorm using two hands and an annotated copy of Grey’s Anatomy.”
I’d naively hoped that was to be the end of it
It was around then when I started to get a rash of inquiries about my same comment being posted on several different sites from the polite:
@rh0bus: lol, is this you from Metacritic, or are you stealing people’s reviews?
to the insane posing as Sherlock Holmes:
@scottgnial: Your original post was a copy and paste that I have seen on numerous sites regarding this game. It astonishes me that you thought no one would notice.
This makes your second post even more silly, as you weren’t getting Dear Esther confused with Ether One – because you never actually wrote it in the first place. Then you go on to mention how silly you would have looked for making that mistake. Well guess what…?
So to summarise: Stop bashing a game that you simply don’t like. It’s obviously not for you, it requires a bit of thought, and you can’t even be bothered to think up an original comment.
I’ll point out here that this Eurogamer commentary didn’t come from the same pathetic small child on the internet as before. If you really want to know more about the biggest dumb-ass in Europe – at least English speaking (I’m talking about you, Putin) – you’ll need to search through the comments on EUROGAMER’s EGTTR reviews, but by his screen name it’s easy to figure out that he came from somewhere in Britain.
Obviously, I had a pair of responses.
For GAMESPOT I took the high road:
Yes, I posted it on IGN, Metacritic, Trusted Reviews, PSN, and EUROGAMER. If SONY is going to spam the web with obviously paid out reviews, then I figured this would be my way to combat it. But thanks for checking!
Whereas, for Lord Whack-a-doodle on EUROGAMER I bypassed the low and went off road.
Wow, someone’s daddy must work for SONY.
As you were SO clever to find that I did in fact post a review on other sites (legally, just so you know, I’m allowed to do that for several reasons, the most important being that nobody from SONY or their affiliates actually paid me to produce my review, which is quite different from most of the reviews out there).
At this point the only thing I regret over the situation is that you, after acting like some super sleuth Man from UNCLE in order to track down said copied reviews, instead of choosing to go on and actually read the other sites similar line of questioning to get your answers, decided you might rather try rubbing up the two brain cells the gods left you in a weak attempt to appear clever.
Well, that, and the time I’m going to lose re-watching Fawlty Towers in order to restore my belief in British intelligence and wit.
I’ll admit I could have gone softer, but as Uncle Bill used to say, “Do not proffer sympathy to the mentally ill. It is a bottomless pit. Tell them firmly, ‘I am not paid to listen to this drivel. You are a terminal fool.'”
But, clearly I overestimated Earl Git’s intelligence and instincts of self-preservation, because he decided to initiate a second round:
@scottgnial: Ok then, say I give you the benefit of the doubt here and believe that you wrote that review, that means you opened an account with EG (that was your first ever post after all) just to review this game. Why? Are they all new accounts on all the other sites too? You must understand that makes you look a bit odd. Or just anti SONY.
I suspect it’s the latter as you keep mentioning SONY in a negative light in each of of your posts. Also the fact you seem to think all the positive reviews of this game are paid for by them.
Anyway, its all to (sic) easy these days when one sees a particularly long comment, on numerous sites (under different usernames I might add) to assume it’s a copy & paste. If that is your review then fair enough, but I suggest you make it a little more obvious in future.
It was clear… I had to put him down.
Is there a foundation or charity to which I can make a donation that will be of benefit to you and anyone else unable to grasp the glaringly obvious?
Of course I don’t like this game, hence the 2 of 5 score I offered. And the reasons for that are still noted clearly in my unbiased (ie unsolicited) review that’s posted here, Gamespot, ign and some other gaming websites (I see SONY isn’t willing to accept criticism either, as the original post on PSN appears to be removed).
Yes, I felt duped on the $15 (PS+ preorder price), so I decided to write and share my opinions when it became obvious that the review articles from the aforementioned gaming sites were failing to address flaws that are obvious to someone that has actually played the game for more than a few minutes!
What makes me most disappointed is how you think your opinion should be worth more than mine, or mine worth more than yours. If you love the game that much, then why don’t you spend your effort playing with it or writing a review of your own rather than manufacturing discord.
From this point I’m not going to waste anymore time on trying to explain it to you.
It appears I broke his spirit, because he stopped posting.
In hindsight, I suppose I owe a small debt of gratitude since this series of comments was the initial reason I decided to start blogging again.
As for the rest of you, your only hope is they’ll take my advice and insert some seriously hard requirements to keep idiots off the web.