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Humble Indie Bundle 11 Reviewed


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#1 Bosco

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 03:03 PM

Today Jim takes a look at the newly released Humble Indie Bundle # 11.

 

Read his review here:

 

http://www.overclock.../hib_11_review/


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#2 ClayMeow

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 08:06 PM

Jim, I'm sorry to say, but your review of Guacamelee just proves why reviewing HIBs is silly. I've always known this, but up until now there wasn't a game I actually beat in its entirety that has shown without a doubt how much you have "missed."

Understandably, you cannot play games to completion within the time constraint, and you acknowledge that, but as such, you're not actually providing a good indication of whether a game truly is worth it or not. To quote you:

"As the bundle is only available for a limited time, I am not going to take the time to play each game to completion, but instead play until I am confident I can write a review of the gameplay experience. How long that may take depends on the game."

I can tell you with 100% confidence that you surely did NOT play Guacamelee long enough to "write a review of the gameplay experience," as you left out some key aspects of the game, particularly in the combat. Guacamelee is a Metroidvania game - you unlock stuff as you play, so a couple of hours isn't going to show you all the game has to offer.

You make no mention of the special moves used in combat (4+2), with the four being color-coded attacks. Based on your combat video, the amount of time you played (less than 1.5 hrs), and the achievements you attained, you may not even be aware of how those colored attacks come into play later in the game. Not only are they used to break colored blocks to access new areas or secrets, but eventually you encounter enemies with colored shields. You cannot damage them until you break their shields with the same color attack, which can get quite challenging once you start facing multiple shielded enemies. Oh, and there are also white-shields, which simply means you have to deal a decent amount of damage in quick succession to break it, or it regenerates. Now imagine all that with the dimension-swapping, and you can see that combat gets quite complex

The special moves are such a key component of the game, I don't understand how you couldn't mention it, except for the fact that you simply didn't get far enough. If you simply got bored with the game because it's not your cup o' tea, then you should have at least read about it to ensure you did indeed get the essence of the game (or ask me or Nick, as we both mentioned playing it in the Humble Sale thread)...especially considering you said you probably won't play it again, so it's not like it'd matter if you had something spoiled (though I do find it ironic that you say you're not a fan of "this game type", yet you're in love with Dust, which is also a side-scrolling brawler, just with less puzzle elements).

You also mention that health seemed limiting, but you didn't mention that you can actually increase not only your base health, but the amount you gain from killing enemies. Again, maybe you just didn't play enough to realize that, but it's another key component of the game - like most Metroidvania games, you upgrade your character as you progress in the game. Most of this is done by finding hidden chests (which you do casually mention) that either contain health upgrades or stamina upgrades, but there are also upgrades you can purchase with your gold at the save locations (such as the aforementioned greater health regain upon killing upgrade).

I just think you left out way too much critical information on the game, which makes me wonder how much you've left out from all the other games as well.

I get it - you want to help people decide whether the HIBs are worth it, but honestly that can be done in a paragraph. Here, I'll show you:

"Humble Indie Bundle 11 contains four well-received platformers normally priced at $10-15 for a mere $1. If platformers are your thing, this is a must buy. Hell, even if platformers aren't normally your thing, spend the $1 and maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised. As for the BTA, those games offer something a bit different - a first-person puzzle game (Antichamber) and a top-down, co-op heist game (Monaco). If you enjoyed the Portal series, Antichamber makes the BTA worth it, while Monaco is a great game to play with friends."

 

Simple, to the point...doesn't "lie by omission" like yours does.


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#3 Guest_Jim_*

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 10:07 PM

Andrew, honestly your entire post reads to me as, "You didn't review a game I love to the standard I demand, so I'm going to attack your review." Not mentioning special attacks? What game of the style of Guacamelee! doesn't have special attacks that are required to defeat certain enemies? I likely wouldn't bother mentioning that even if I were to do a completely thorough review of the game because that is an expected mechanic. Was my review of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag a lesser review because I did not mention the intricacies of using guns in combat? They are guns, we know how they work. They are special attacks, we know how they work.

 

Asking you or Nick about the 'essence of the game?' Seriously? You think it is a good idea for some one reviewing anything to turn to the notes of someone else? The entire point of someone being a reviewer is that they are the ones writing the reviews with their experiences and their opinions. Mixing opinions and experiences will compromise a review, unless they are separate and clearly labeled. If you had always felt that the bundle reviews were silly because I cannot dedicate the time to complete playthroughs, why did you not volunteer to review that game? It would have saved me some time and, according to you, would have made the review better. I wouldn't have minded. It would just mean that section would be labelled as being written by you and that in the conclusion your summary opinion of that game would have had been given instead of mine.

 

By the way, just because I am not a fan of a specific game type, does not mean I cannot enjoy games of that type. What that means is that I do not seek them out and that some aspects of them will be lost on me, such as challenges to get so many hits in a row. For a fan of that game type, reaching such a high combo may be very enjoyable. That is not the case for me, which is why I stated that I am not a fan of the game type.

 

Now, I must ask how can your "simple, to the point" paragraph-long review not be guilty of lying by omission, when it fails to mention the very things you mention above and used to pronounce my review guilty of such lies? Perhaps I did not supply 100% of the information (by your standards) but at least I spent time with each game in the bundle. You do not even list all of the titles and make it sound like both Dust and Guacamelee! are platformers. I would never describe them as that. Giana Sisters is a platformer. The Swapper is a puzzler. Dust and Guacamelee! are action-adventures. (Also, how much of Dust have you played, considering your declaration that it has fewer puzzle elements than Guacamelee!? Of course I cannot comment much on Guacamelee! but Dust is not lacking in puzzle elements for an action-adventure title.)

 

Further, one could argue that all reviews could be summed up into a single paragraph (that would be the conclusion section of my reviews). But such reviews are incomplete and do not provide the information people may want and find necessary before making a purchase. Is the story good? Are the mechanics well designed and implemented? Is it highly linear or is there exploration? Such substance could be exactly what someone wants before deciding to spend money.

 

For what it's worth, while I was writing the Guacamelee! section of the review, I was anticipating that you would react to it, much like you have, and took special care that I be fair to the game. I still suspected I would not satisfy you, and it looks like I was right.

 

The fact is that I was fair in how I described my experiences and expressed my opinions. If you want to disagree with me, that's fine, but disagree on what I actually said instead of what I did not say. Or better yet, instead of attacking my review, write something that adds to it so those who read your post directly benefit from your greater gameplay experience. Talk about how the many combos you eventually unlock are more than just special attacks. Talk about how eventually health is no longer a limiter as you get more of it, and recover it faster from kills. Don't make those points examples of how you don't like my review, but points for why more people should love it as much as you do. Write something that benefits the reader instead of creating a negative impression of me and my work. For crying out loud, I'm not even sure if someone who reads your post would come away feeling any better about the game.


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#4 ClayMeow

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 07:28 AM

I don't want to get in a pissing match with you, but you're clearly missing my point.

Firstly, nothing I said above is applicable to your "real" game reviews, just the HIB reviews. I thought I made that clear, but I apologize if I didn't.

The point is, what you're calling reviews are not in fact reviews, but rather "first impressions." Look at it this way: under non-HIB circumstances, would you ever even consider writing a game review after only playing 1/10th of a game? Of course not. It has nothing to do with my opinion of any game. There are instances in your real reviews that I don't necessarily agree with, but that's your opinion, which is your right as a reviewer - reviews are inherently subjective. In the instance of HIB reviews, my contention isn't your opinion, it's that you didn't actually play most of the games long enough to have a valid opinion on the games as a whole, only (like I said) first impressions.

Now to address your statement, "You think it is a good idea for some one reviewing anything to turn to the notes of someone else?"...once again, you missed my point. I was not telling you to take our opinions (or anyone else's), I was saying that if you're only going to play an hour of a game, check with someone who played the full game to see if an hour really is enough to write a review. Like I said above, it's not about opinions, it's about presenting the facts. Reviews should be more than just a first impression (unless of course a game is so buggy that you cannot proceed).

Lastly, my point with my "single paragraph" at the end was not that it would be my review, but that it would be what I'd write if someone asked me whether the HIB 11 was worth it, which is after all your whole point of writing these reviews. You end your introduction and start your conclusion by posing that question, so you can't tell me that's not the purpose. Really, your articles should be titled something like, "Humble Indie Bundle 11 - Is it Worth it?" because nothing in the article should be considered a review. You can't tell me you feel any of your HIB11 game write-ups are on the same level as any of your "real" game reviews. They simply can't be, because you don't devote the time to them (which as I originally said, is completely understandable).

In reality, instead of your HIB reviews, you should simply write a news post when a new HIB is unveiled and give brief descriptions of the games with your own opinions where applicable. Otherwise, you're simply shortchanging your own abilities by attempting to review games after just an hour of play. This isn't a criticism of YOU, this is a criticism of the process.


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#5 Guest_Jim_*

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 09:00 AM

It is your opinion that my opinions are not valid. Now I ask you, what game has such a radical shift in gameplay that a full playthrough is required to properly describe the experience? I have yet to find one, and I am confident there is a fundamental reason for that. People do not make games with such inconsistent experiences. Such games would be unenjoyable to play. They want that first impression to grab you, because if it does not then you will stop playing. Once it grabs you, it has to hold you and significantly shifting the experience will weaken that hold. Expanding the experience will strengthen it.

 

Further, it is my opinion that I played enough to get a representative experience of each game. It is not as though I have a timer that tells me to stop playing. And I must say, I find it somewhat hypocritical how it is "completely understandable" that I cannot devote large amounts of time to the games, and yet it is exactly that point you are now arguing as being the problem. What's more, I do clearly state that I have not played the games to completion, thereby leaving it up to the reader to decide just how much weight they want to give what I have written.

 

I am not foolish enough to consider what I write about the individual games in a bundle to be at the same level as what I write about single games I exclusively focus on. However it is a review of the bundle, and not the individual titles, that is being presented.

 

By the way, you were telling me to take someone's opinion because it is an opinion as to how much playtime is needed to fully experience a game. It is an opinion as to when experience is great enough to write a review of that experience.

 

I also am not shortchanging my abilities. It would appear you are by suggesting that it is impossible for me to write a competent review/write-up/whatever without having the full experience, or having to rely upon others to do the same. It is a criticism of me as it is my process and my opinions you are attacking.

 

As I already said, if a more descriptive representation of Guacamelee! is so important to you, then you should have posted that instead of attacking what I wrote, where you only describe the game as examples for the attack. These negative writings of yours I strongly doubt are doing anything to improve anyone's impression of the game (or you, for that matter). Now I recommend you cease this now, as it can only get worse if it continues.


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