Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Top 10 boss fights, and why writing reviews is hard.

A while ago (of course) I wrote a list of the top 10 Boss Fights for GodisaGeek. I'm very pleased with it, and you can find it here. Or by clicking on the picture of handsome loner Kanji, below.

I also wrote a review of the mind-bogglingly epic Skyrim. For some reason I can't quite put my finger on, I'm not so happy with this. I suppose I shouldn't say that about something that appears on another site, but it's true. Normally when I write a review, I avoid reading too much about the game itself, preferring to focus my research on background knowledge, the series' history, its influences and the aims on the design and development team. With Skyrim, I had to read quite a lot about the game itself because it's so massive that it's hard to get a handle on it with just 10 days' play. This meant that I found it very hard to say something original.

Not that being original should be the aim of a review, of course. It's good if you can offer something, a new perspective that no other reviewer can, but really, you should try to convey the experience of playing the game to someone who is wondering whether they should play it. Mentioning specific points of interest such as particularly effective (or not) elements of gameplay is important, but it's most important to express the feeling you get from playing the game. If the reader is after that kind of feeling, they'll want to play it too. If not, they'll go after something else.

I'm not sure I managed that with the Skyrim review. Everyone knows it's huge, it's epic, it's Tolkeinesque, and it will keep you immersed for months. I don't think I really contributed anything new. Never mind. It's functional, and will hopefully help jaded Oblivion players make up their mind whether to play it.

Plus, you know, it's on GodisaGeek, which automatically makes it at least 64.5% better.

1 comment:

  1. Very precise statistics there Mary!!!

    I think reviews should be a mix of the factual and the feelings. I want to know what the gameplay is like, what is good and bad about it, what the graphics are like etc. But I also want to know if it is enjoyable to play, if it just feels as though the developer has made a stock standard game, or if there is more to it with a back story, and whether it draws you in or not.

    Speaking of which I am just now finishing up the original Halo which I have never been able to play before now. And I have to say... I've been really disappointed. I'm sure that for the time it was great, but compared to games now it just doesn't measure up. The encounters are all very scripted, like a lot of shooters you just kill a bunch of enemies, move along a little bit, trigger the next set etc etc. The story doesn't suck you in the way the latter games did, and it just doesn't feel as good as I thought it would.

    It probably doesn't help that the latter Halo's were among the first games I ever played and that there has been so much more back story and more developed characters in those games, but it just hasn't felt anywhere near as fun to play as the other games.