Critic Review Roundup

What do you think of this?

Funny, I already watched that.

I’m honestly amazed at how good his description of the gameplay is. He didn’t do a half bad job there.

Also, daaaaamn, guy does not know how to avoid fatrolling. Also never burned a single bone shard.

What really pisses me off is how he said the animations don’t tween. I left a comment about this:

“The animations DO tween. Tweens are literally how all 3d animation is done. There’s no way they couldn’t tween unless they were animated frame by frame like Guilty Gear Xrd.

You mean Cancel, not tween. And they DO cancel, like say Devil May Cry, God of War, and Bayonetta, unlike say Kingdoms of Amaleur or 2d Castlevania. The endings of the animation, the followthrough, cancel when you input another swing, or a dodge, or a block (though it will only cancel into block if you hit an enemy). The thing is unlike those other games, there are no mid-animation cancels, like jump cancels in DMC, block cancels in God of War, and Dodge cancels in Bayonetta. You are committed to your attacks, and the animations for the attacks have a longer startup and recovery time.”

I’m also sad that he was remarking on set pieces you learn to avoid and he shows the black knight in the expy anor londo room, but doesn’t get hit by the dragonslayer arrow. I tried to backstab that knight and the arrow caught me goooood.

I totally disagree that it’s not about learning the game’s systems. You definitely need to learn how the character controls, how lock-on works, how the various stats and upgrades work. Though given his gameplay, he didn’t do a very good job of that. It’s like he thinks of action game systems as purely muscle memory tricks.

Also, he seriously died to the Abyss Watchers. Come on. I beat that boss first try.

Skipping combat or minimizing it means literally deleting the experience. It’s an unwillingness to engage.

System mastery ISN’T just machismo, Coin-op games had a valid design philosophy.

Also funny how he doesn’t notice the irony in sarcastically saying that there’s a type of integrity in alienating a lot of its potential audience when he’ll defend all sorts of indie games that alienate a much much larger potential audience in the name of their artistic intent, and shit on AAA games going for the largest audience possible in ways he disapproves of.

When you reviewed Campster’s Dark Souls 3 video, you commented that his comment on tweening was wrong. What is tweening? googling took me to the concept as applied to 2d animation, so it’s like interpolation? what function does it have on game animations? Just make it look smoother?

Yes. Tweening is when you manually position one key frame as the starting keyframe, then one keyframe as the ending key frame and have the computer fill in the frames between them. Since it’s the frames “Between” that are filled in they call it a “Tween”.

The thing is, every single animation in all 3d games (except a couple weirdos like Guilty Gear Xrd) are done through tweens. This is how 3d animation is done, period. It’s so ubiquitous that people don’t even refer to 3d animation as tweening, far as I know.

In 2d animation, there are two styles, drawing the frames by hand, or defining a segment of the object to be moved around rigidly. When you do the latter, you can define only the start point and end point of the object and the computer fills in the rest.

Campster’s remark was that the dark souls animations have a high commitment to them because the animations are long and they do not “tween”. Which is incorrect. Obviously the animations tween because there are key frames that are interpolated across, the same as any other 3d game animation. The use of tweens in their creation has no difference in them being long and high commitment. He meant to say that they cannot be canceled, but he probably does not know the proper terminology, so he grabbed a different piece of jargon that doesn’t apply.

As a side note, it is possible to integrate tweens with cancels to achieve a smoother look via a technique called Animation Blending, a feature of most modern 3d game engines. Animation Blending effectively takes two animations, and figures out how to average them together, in greater or lesser proportion. You see this in things like when a character transitions from a walk animation to a run animation in many games. There is a walk animation cycle that is animated, and a run animation cycle, and as the control stick is tilted further forward, it blends more from the walk into the run. In older games the transition is sudden, in newer ones the transition is smooth.

(skip to 54:07 to see in action)

This technique is also used to blend forward movement with strafe movement, to point guns on characters in correspondence with where a player is aiming in FPS games, to match the incline of slopes, and other things.

Dark Souls 3 notably uses animation blending in its new backstab animations to make the transition between normal animations and a guy getting backstabbed more smooth than it’s ever been in the rest of the franchise. Street Fighter V does the same thing, especially noticeable with anti-air throws. This is a new use of the technology, far as I know, to smoothly cancel to a combined animation between characters.

What do you think of this?

Yes there’s a benefit to choosing one class over others. You get playstyle defining weapons much sooner depending on your class choice.

The master key doesn’t do what he said it does. It doesn’t unlock the door he complains about being locked. The tiny being’s ring description is definitely an issue, a bunch of people have complained about it.

Of course, having just started the game, he could have simply made a new character.

There’s a story. If you need the story to enjoy the game, that’s your fault of character. The story is more or less that the legend of the chosen undead was created by the gods of anor londo in order to lure in undead in the hopes of being considered the chosen one that could link the flames, told it would cure the curse of the undead. They weren’t told this meant sacrificing themselves, as gwyn did before them, and that the fires would ultimately fade again in the future. They weren’t told their progenitor, the furtive pygmy, called pygmy because men are smaller than the other races that are giants in comparison, discovered the lord soul known as the dark soul, whose shards are known as humanity. These are connected to the abyss, the darkwraiths, manus, and so on, the enemy of the gods of anor londo. At the end you can choose to betray your destiny and become the dark lord, dooming the world to eternal night as the flames fade, but also ushering in the age of man, undoing the rule of the gods.

His example of parrying is stupid because he’s stupid.

He presented an example of trying to jump where he clearly wasn’t running.

He then blames the game as interpreting his input wrong when he’s clearly doing the wrong input.

Of course you can’t adjust the camera during lock-on. That’s what lock-on is.

You miss because you suck at evaluating space.

He deliberately gets hit during the example of the heavy attack. Yes the combat system is somewhat limited. This is fine because of the emphasis on level design and enemy variety.

His complaint about the combat is stupid because he’s using inefficient tactics for beating enemies.

Look, I don’t want to review this shit any further. This is pointless. He can’t describe his specific criticisms, and a lot of his criticisms are founded on not being a clever person and being bad at the game. He resorts to shit like, “well if I find the combat slow and boring, maybe the combat is just bad.”

What’s really disturbing here is the number of comments agreeing with him and saying they’re amazed someone can be so brutally honest about the game. Please.

Send me something more interesting next time, not just stuff you want me to gawk at how bad it is.

YEP! It’s that time again. The daily thoughts:

Okay, the whole analysis of Dark Souls 1, that’s gold. Print it. I love it. The spaghetti analogy is actually really great, it totally captures exactly what I’ve been trying to describe about metroidvanias for a while now. Noticing the effect of the spirals is also really clever too, and provides a basic working structure for how to design 3d metroidvania games that I honestly hadn’t considered. Exposition is also a neat concept with a neat citation. It’s something I hadn’t totally considered. I’d say it’s a bit looser than storytelling personally, because it’s setting up an experience that can or might happen rather than a deliberate one that will happen.

Dark Souls 2 is on-point up until he slams the multi-enemy combat. Fuck that. That was a step up if you ask me, I love fighting multiple enemies. I thought Shrine of Amana was brilliant with the use of sorceresses. Maybe not enough cover, yeah. Then he strings that into complaining about Immersion. Plz no. Plz stop SBH. You were on a roll. I think having enemies aggro in sets was a great idea, patrol patterns were great, more multi-enemy encounters in general are neat, as long as they’re not those fucking ogres.

The bloodborne analysis is generally on-point like the dark souls 2 analysis was, though not as revelatory as the dark souls 1 statements. It’s funny that he complains about the chalice dungeons while joseph anderson loved them. Worth comparing and contrasting opinions here. I think they’re somewhere between these two guys’ opinions.

I totally disagree that having giant towers shoot things at you doesn’t mesh. I’ve always liked that type of challenge, to have to keep moving, keep the other thing in mind while facing the thing in front of me. I liked it in the dual dragonrider fight in dark souls 2, I liked it in the appropriate areas in anor londo. What I disliked about the giant ballista tower was the way the arrows exploded on hitting the ground, making them a bigger pain to avoid than they needed to be. Also the way the ground could only be broken with a ballista arrow, something I only found out after I shut off the tower, requiring me to make another trip up to turn it back on. In Dark Souls, similarly destructible walls could be broken by all sources of enemy damage, like that wall the manserpent is leaning on in Sen’s. So I tried to use a giant crab to break the ground and was sad when it didn’t work. I agree that the demon ruins are repetitive and a bit hard to keep track of, even for me. Smouldering lake sucks.

Notes on DkS3 are good overall.

what do you think of this?

Agh, right out of the gate he makes a big mistake. He answers that Flow is what makes FPS games so addictive. Flow isn’t related to addiction. Flow isn’t exclusive to FPS games, or even necessarily a property of FPS games. Flow isn’t even the right property to address for why FPS games are good, it’s like putting the carriage before the horse.

“and because FPS games are intrinsically immersive, the opportunity is bigger here than anywhere else.” There’s so many things wrong with this. Flow isn’t aided by the other properties commonly associated with immersion (though Flow is itself a property associated with immersion). The first person perspective does not have a greater potential for flow than any other type of game. Flow is not inherently immersive, it exists completely outside immersive contexts, and is in many cases anti-immersive, because it can occur in contexts that are inherently not immersive, such as when dealing with completely abstract representations, mathematical or visual (which is one of the reasons I think immersion theory is bullshit).

Thank god he at least identified that first person games like The Witness and Dear Esther don’t invoke flow (though The Witness can invoke Flow through it’s puzzles, just the experience doesn’t lend itself to Flow as effectively), or his whole introduction would be wrong.

Rhythm’s a good point. I honestly haven’t thought about rhythm much, and a lot of the data and evidence/examples presented here makes sense. Rhythm isn’t commonly listed as a component in Flow, but I was implicitly considering it with The Witness. Good shit there, I’ll be considering this in the future.

Perceived challenge, I never thought about skill being versus the perceived challenge before, I just went for the actual challenge. It makes sense, because flow is interrupted by repeated failure, and if you aren’t failing then the challenge is only perceived, not realized. I’d normally chalk ghost jumps and the like up to fudging the numbers to make things more forgiving because player perception isn’t perfect, but framing it as a greater perceived challenge versus actual challenge makes sense too.

And then he ties it together with aim assist. Not bad.

Competence motivation is the key cycle in all games. This stuff isn’t unique to shooters.

The remarks on feedback make sense, and match principles known to animators and comic book artists. Show the reaction, ignore the point of contact.

Sounds always provide more immediate feedback than visuals. The reaction time for sounds is 170ms, and visuals is 250ms.

Going over into weapons needing to dominate at only some situations and not all of them is getting away from flow and more into depth. Bad example with assault rifle versus shotgun, because they overlap a bit as hitscan weapons. He’s correct that shotgun versus weaker shotgun is a bad tradeoff though. For the most part Doom actually avoids this more than modern shooters however, so maybe not the best example game.

There’s a word for having weapons be differentiated by variables that are statistically independent, and that is “orthogonal”. Orthogonally designed weapons usually aren’t just separated by variables, but by properties that may have no relation to one another.

Theoretical Weaknesses is a poor term here. The physical limitations of the weapon can be a theoretical weakness of the weapon as much as say a pokemon style type weakness as he seems to be suggesting (though watching further he seems to mean number buffs to particular weapon types?). Lower accuracy is physical, and weapons need to deal more and less damage, he mentioned damage earlier. I’m lost. Overall his language is completely muddled in this part and it’s hard to tell what he even means. Then he turns into the visual/auditory language communicating the gun’s function and the point gets even more muddled. He’s mixed together at least 3 different unrelated points here, the need for orthogonal design, an opposition to slight number buffs, and clear aesthetic communication. End result is he ends up with a really confused definition of physical limitations (Protip: the size and shape of the gun’s viewmodel is not physical).

As a tangent, changing the physical properties of weapons is usually preferable for differentiating weapons over things like type weaknesses. Not just because it’s more real differentiation, but also because physical properties tend to lead to unexpected interactions between mechanics more frequently than purely statistical properties. Stuff like that is why you get the rocket jump or wavedash.

The whole thing about Yomi is complete extrapolation built on nothing with no examples. Everything said after the word Yomi is just nonsense, I can’t even parse it. Yomi is built on double blind interactions with decisions that counter one another, choosing weapons can be a part of this, but without examples there’s nothing to say here. Yomi in online shooters is more frequently about movement than just weapon choice. It’s about the factors leading into the encounter, the decision to engage at this time, rather than weapons. Keeping weapon choice simple additionally has nothing to do with this.

Overall, surprisingly good video. He made a ton of great points throughout the video. Brought up a bunch of things I hadn’t personally considered or run across up to now. He just has a weak opening and ending. I reviewed his channel previously and decided nothing was worth bookmarking, or subscribing to, but this is a significant jump up in quality. Guy just needs to consider all possible cases a little more, and avoid mixing up tons of unrelated points.

Care to spare any thoughts on this?

Okay, dude gets a ton of details wrong.

The dodges on Nero have a bullshit amount of iframes, and he doesn’t realize that you can dodge regardless of style by just pressing jump to get iframes (something I knew on my first playthrough, and I’d expect him to know if DMC3 was really one of his favorite games). Next, look at all the other action games without set cameras. Their cameras suck ass. This game’s camera sucks when it’s not set. You can in fact launch enemies with your sword as Dante by holding back and pressing slash, you do not need to use prop shredder. The Trickster style does a lot more than give you a dodge button, that’s the most useless function it provides. I never use the trickster dodge. C’mon, teleport and air dash.

Beyond that though, he’s right about some things. Nero is designed rather intuitively, which is helpful for learning how the fuck the game works. Dante is designed kinda weird and backwards with all the abilities you want on different weapons/styles so you gotta switch all the time. There’s a rather clear progression with enemies and nero that you don’t get with Dante. You’re thrown into a difficult and time restricted section with Dante immediately.

On the other hand, on my first playthrough, I didn’t find any of this particularly hard or confusing.

And beyond that, sure Dante takes work, but that’s part of why he’s fun. It’s cool to have to switch styles constantly, it’s cool to

So basically, the game was unfinished. It’s not fun on a basic level. It’s the type of thing you need to work at to really understand and appreciate. Play some Bloody Palace. This isn’t really new, it’s predictable by this point.

I assume you already saw it after the fps one, but his video on jumping is also pretty good this seems like a series worth looking out for in the future.

I saw it previously. I didn’t think it was very special. I thought it had less information than my 5 jumps article and was a lot more long winded. Also he’s incorrect in citing castlevania as a game that came before Super Mario Bros.

Also there isn’t a timer that starts when you press the button in Mario. It’s that the gravity is reduced for as long as the button is held, and it increases after it is released or Y speed passes 0. It’s cute that he counted out 29 frames, but this is an absolutely incorrect explanation. Especially because it’s not 29 frames when you jump with momentum. This is a completely normal implementation of gravity, not a timer that proportionally slows mario as a button is held. C’mon.

Also it’s kinda bullshit to say that castlevania doesn’t have variety and interesting challenge, though it is certainly limited by its jumping mechanics in ways that the video clearly demonstrates.

He also uses that word responsive like a buzzword, masking what he actually means. In Mario 3, he should have said that when the button is pressed, the character instantly changes direction in midair, showing that the input is being read. And in Megaman he should have said that the character accelerates in the direction pressed instantly. This creates the sensation of responsivity. You can’t put the conclusion, “This is responsive,” ahead of the reasons for it being so.

Also unlike my 5 jumps article he doesn’t say why that jump style is appropriate, he just says that tone is established by it without a good example.

With super Metroid he should have said that the gravity is low, but the jump force is high. He probably could have compared it to cave story which has low gravity and low jump force and low terminal velocity.

The challenge in pitfall is both the jump and the obstacles. Both act as constraints on the jump timing.

The concept of the jump zone isn’t bad, I hadn’t heard of this concept before. He fails to elaborate on the full implications of the concept though and moves onto the next ramble.

Ghost jumping and liberal hitboxes are important topics to cover, not the worst coverage.

Then he notices that the frames are different on mario’s jump in mario 3 from rise and fall, this is because the gravity is literally different between the rise and fall. He didn’t do the research, so this appears as an anomaly to him. He then makes the incorrect assumption that the lower you jump the slower you fall. What’s actually happening is the higher you jump, the slower you rise. You fall the same speed regardless.

He mentions that everything are just dials, but he fails to mention what those dials actually are. Initial jump force, gravity, terminal velocity. There is a common equation, you can find it in a physics textbook. Velocity = Current Velocity + Gravity.

This is why I’m not subscribed to this guy.


Okay, massive clickbait title almost made me reject this video on sight.

I haven’t played uncharted, I’ve never really wanted to play uncharted, I probably never will play uncharted.

That said, based on what I know of the uncharted franchise and everything everyone has told me about it, this video seems like a really good analysis. The only reason I watched the video is because I immediately forwarded it to a friend when I saw the title, they watched it, they’ve played the games before and they told me it was dead accurate.

I like it. He muddles the word mechanic a lot, and his presentation is kind of all over the place and he isn’t as precise as he perhaps should be, but whatever. I think he has the gist of it.

Do you agree?


Dude needs to stop mucking about and get to the point. He goes off on like 3 random tangents in the opening, talking about dark souls 2, BB, etc.

He is correct in that the world is not interconnected. It’s very much a linear path this time around. He’s incorrect and whiny in pointing out that dark souls 3 levels are not interconnected. Tons of them have a ton of shortcuts, especially cathedral of the deep.

Complaining that the game is familiar because you’re used to the conventions by now is stupid. He even admits here that he doesn’t know why he’s upset.

It’s weird that he then moves on to remark that the covenants were done right.

Then he complains about autosummon covenants, when the only one that people complained about was the blue sentinels for being a gank covenant.

The big problem with the PvP in dark souls 3 is that once you’re invaded, you’re permanently marked off for being invaded again until you summon or use dried knuckles. He didn’t know this, but complaining about fighting multiple people, and multiple enemies, is stupid. He even uses the term “artificial difficulty” here. Please let this meme die.

It’s weirdly inconsistent to complain that you’re getting pulled into gankfests when you invade then to turn around and say you really want to invade instead of duel it out from a soapstone and have an easy time versus one person. Also funny to say, “what if they just want to summon help to get through the level,” then, “I want to halt progress and reap rewards!”

idgaf about the interface complaints. They’re weird and inconsistent complaints. I normally give slightly more of a fuck about the interface, but here I just cannot give a fuck about his whiny tone.

He’s whiny, most of his complaints don’t hold water. He can’t get to the fucking point.

What do you think of this video? I’m getting The Witness review vibes.

I don’t see the comparison to The Witness video. He’s not complaining about the difficulty in any way except that on Nightmare he feels obligated to hunt down all the upgrades.

Perhaps one of the downsides of the new Doom is the Denuvo anti-tamper system, it prevents cheat engine from hacking in an ad hoc NG+ mode.

Otherwise his points sound rather reasonable. It’s a shocking game for the current time period. It’s probably better than other console shooters on the market, hell most other shooters in general on the current market. It’s a shame that it got poo poo’d by outlets like IGN in an attempt to look like they’re authentic when they still give call of duty good scores.

I wish he got more into detail about the enemy designs, weapons, and level designs in comparison to the original. I’m still not decided on buying the game. Waiting for a better deal than the steam sale is currently offering. I tried the demo and it didn’t seem representative. Also seemed like too little ammo, too much enemy damage, too hard to detect enemies moving around you. The original Doom had great distinct sound cues. Also there’s unskippable/interactive cutscenes, what the fuck?

Glad the originally planned doom 4 reboot was canned. I saw a human face. Fuck that shit.

Campster’s review of Doom 4 was also reasonably good. What do you think? What I don’t get is why both bunnyhop and campster say the health and ammo dropping from enemies is good. It kills longer term strategies in favor of a comparatively small benefit.

It’s funny how he say it’s like an Ur-game like tetris or pac man and I don’t get that perception from Doom at all. Rather, I don’t get the sense that it’s been copied a lot. Nearly everything about the game has gone out of style. Doom’s foundation has not survived the modernization of the genre. It’s not what Super Mario Bros was for platformers, nor what Street Fighter 2 was for fighting games.

You can easily retread it’s influences and end up unlike any number of run & gun shooters that have come out since. There haven’t been a lot of run & gun shooters since. Especially since like, 2006 or so. Literally rereleasing Doom by itself is enough to set it apart from all modern shooters. No modern shooter has the same style of weapons, level designs, enemies, or movement. Literally all the rules have changed since then.

It’s weird to say that it modernized each part of doom individually as if this is any different than saying, “they modernized all the parts of doom, instead of 1 part”. Presentation hiccup, makes it look like he’s saying something more deep than he actually is.

Also, he’s not playing on ultra-violence or nightmare. I can tell by how many hits the enemies take to kill. What’s up with that?

I wish he mentioned how some segments of the story are unskippable in Doom 2016 than caring about it hitting some tonal sweetspot.

You don’t need to model and animate a human running at 50 MPH, you need to animate a head bob. You can’t look down and see your feet in this game. It’s not a big deal.

I think he forgets when the last serious sam, pain killer, or hard reset came out. I think he fails to realize the differences between Doom and these games. Also fails to realize these games were always in the minority except during the era Doom itself originally came out.

Okay, honestly. I want to play the game for myself before judging the rest of this. I still don’t own it yet. I’m waiting to see if it goes on a bigger discount this sale.

I have no strong opinion on whether the ammo/health dropping from enemies is good. I think it’s somewhat interesting for the obvious reasons (promotes aggressiveness and has the skill challenge of avoiding overkilling enemies), but I don’t know whether its effect on the game overall is the best thing in the world. It might just be a unique thing, which is kinda good for the sake of being unique. I have a kneejerk reaction to execution animations in a first person shooter as a matter of principle, which also makes it hard to judge.

Why is campster not playing on nightmare/ultra violence a bad thing? Some find lower difficulties challenging enough and higher would be too much.

Lower difficulties emphasize efficient play less. His remark that the weapons all seem valid and therefore samey might be influenced by him only playing on lower difficulties. On higher difficulties correct weapon selection might be more important.

Higher difficulties have a tendency to force you to understand the game. I know I’ve frequently been forced up against the wall by harder difficulties and had to figure out more about the game that way.

In some games, like the Doom series itself, higher difficulties do more than just increase enemy HP and damage, they actually change the enemy compositions, add more enemies. If you’re not playing the original Doom on ultraviolence, I think I have license to say you’re not playing it correctly (and I say ultraviolence as opposed to nightmare because nightmare adds respawning enemies which fucks with the way the levels were intended to be played).

To play below ultraviolence in the new Doom, that’s disgraceful.

Frequently in western games the hardest difficulties are made for no one and tested by no one, so it’s better to step down one from the hardest to get a more fair challenge, but he’s on normal or easy or something in his footage.

If you’re finding the lower difficulties challenging enough, then you’re probably not on the level to figure out how the whole game works or give an accurate remark on the balance or differentiation of various game systems.

Reviewers need to be held to a higher standard.

What do you think of this? To tell you the truth, I’ve never been 100% sold on your ideas of objectivity.

He pronounces finite weird.

The problem with his statement that you cannot say that having a hand is good is that good in that context is undefined. Good can mean a lot of different things according to a lot of different standards. Good is different as the values between people are different.

There are plenty of metrics for proving whether something is good, and how good. How good is a stock that you own? Depends how high the price goes. How good is a stock you’re shorting? Depends how low the price drops. Within the criteria of profit we can be very objective.

How much can you lift? How good are you at lifting? We can be fairly objective about this. You can lift X pounds at Y% consistency.

He says that if you have one painting that you determine is good and say that the techniques used to make it are what defines what is good, then have another that is good by a completely different means that now you need two standards for what is good. I call bullshit. It means you need to update your heuristic so it can include both and predictively judge future artworks. You never break the rules, you only redefine them. Einstein disproved the law of gravity, but we still fall. A new theory needs to encapsulate and recreate everything the old one had.

A review needs to create criteria for evaluating the subject of review. A review needs to describe the subject in such a way that readers can understand the subject. Sure, you could be a prick and say nothing is objective, we know nothing, but following this procedure ensures that less is lost in translation between you and your audience. Reviews should be more than feelings.

Did he consider for even a second that people might mean something when they say Objective Review? Did he ever consider that there might be a qualitative difference in procedure between a hypothetical objective review and a subjective review?

Why do you think I came to the idea of using Depth as a criteria? You need to get to the most fundamental aspects of a medium, that make sense no matter what subject you analyze.

People want reviews that are better able to relate to larger groups of people. They want these reviews to follow procedures that remove less of the reviewer’s personal perception and describe the game in such a way that each individual can more clearly come to an informed opinion.

This video is a load of postmodern bullshit. He’s making up excuses for why he’s a bad reviewer. That’s all I’m going to refer to these types of videos or articles as from now on. They’re bad reviewers trying to lower the standard so people won’t bitch about how bad their reviews are.

Also this video is Objectively Bad.

“We didn’t like Paper Mario because it was Paper Mario, we liked it because it was MARIO STORY”

Arlo plz.

I agree that Paper Mario as a series has been shafted. It originally wasn’t supposed to be about paper in the first place, just a continuation to Super Mario RPG, as this debug room suggests:

And part of the shafting is Miyamoto’s fault. As I heard it, he basically directed the team to remove all the story elements from the game, because if players enjoy paper mario, then they’ll keep coming back for the RPG gameplay. So this means no characters, no partners, no story, nothing.

I think Nintendo misinterpreted the defining character of the paper mario games as being about paper rather than being about RPG combat with unique partners. I didn’t like the premise of Super Paper Mario, even though I ended up buying it, and felt like largely it was worse 2d mario gameplay plus RPG stats and the 3d in 2d mechanic.

I haven’t played any M&L games, but I know that there’s a very different character to those games, in the way they play. It’s about jumping and combinations between mario and luigi.

Getting rid of the story elements lead to a larger shafting. Paper Mario didn’t just lose its story, it ended up losing its whole identity, and Nintendo has no idea anything went wrong.

Thoughts on this, if you haven’t done it already? Personally I reckon it’s on par with Campster for pretentiousness.

I don’t think this video is very pretentious at all. I mean, he emphasizes “Beautiful Sharp Insanity” like they’re his brand words a bit too much, but that’s all. Most of the video is him stating facts outright, without trying to play them up beyond what they are.

The video is a fairly sane case for the success of the first three Crash games. The graphical engine for them was legitimately pretty insane for the PS1. I’ve already heard stories about it. From what I remember, there weren’t very good guides for development on the PS1, and Naughty Dog reportedly programmed their game based on the actual functioning of the device rather than what the guide from Sony told them, from a lot of trial and error presumably. Back then, everyone was still developing games in assembly, so this isn’t totally unreasonable. Compared to Metal Gear Solid, which is perhaps the other nicest looking game on the PS1, Crash is much more cohesive, detailed, and well animated. I think he could have pointed out the way the levels are deliberately designed to swerve left and right in order to prevent too much of the level from being shown at once instead of just saying everything was “strategically placed”.

The points about shape language make basic sense, they are a common design element. The point made in the video about the color palette is a good point too.

I don’t think the video is pretentious overall, I think it points out a reasonable reason for the series’ decline. I could fault it for not involving gameplay more, but I think the comparison to Super Mario 64 actually makes it pretty clear that Crash didn’t succeed for gameplay reasons. Though I will say that Crash probably had help in that its levels were extremely direct in their focus compared to Mario 64’s.

How do you feel about this article featuring Sirlin and Seth Killian?:

Kind of underwhelming. They have some reasonable picks and some weird ones.

Here’s what I think is kinda interesting: God of War using excessive hitslow instead of a little hitstop, Guilty Gear’s universal defense options, soul calibur’s 8 way run and directional controls,

Here’s what I think is blah or average: DMC being DMC (it deserves praise, it was the right game to mention, but no insight into the game in the description), Street Fighter 2 being high damage so rounds are over fast, Bayonetta being pretty, soul calibur having 8 way run and directional controls (only included it the first time because I didn’t know).

Here’s what’s offensive:

Saying SF3 does a combat system wrong. SF3’s parries have design downsides as I’ve gone over before, but you also take extra damage for failed parries, and there’s a lockout window of 19 frames.

As for saying it eliminated zoning, it definitely downplayed it a lot, but look at how often people throw projectiles in these videos:

or this recent tournament:

Sirlin’s an old man who doesn’t like a lot of newer fighters unless it’s Guilty Gear. For the record, SF3 is not the worst balanced street fighter, SF2 is. And there are plenty of other fighting games that are more imbalanced than 3rd Strike, including Garou, Jojo’s Venture, Marvel, and Melee. And of course balance isn’t everything.

Saying Killer Instinct’s combo breaker is just a joke thing that no serious fighting game would have is also silly. Sure, it was dumb in its original iterations, but the most recent game toned it up as far as I know, and games like Skullgirls have bursts too (and so does marvel with team aerial counter). Also doesn’t he know that you can burst bait in these games?

The batman thing is kind of like, “oh, it’s such a big window that it’s easy, but small enough that it’s still fluid” type of thing. The reason why this case is interesting is more about implementation than necessarily because it’s actually good design. Metal Gear Rising did the same thing with a smaller window and by rights would have been a better pick for this. The reason it makes sense in batman’s case is that this is batman’s primary defensive option. They need to give players a defensive option that doesn’t require very good reflexes, like dante’s jump, blocking, the standard dodge roll across various games, and so on, instead of just a pure parry option, then you throw the parry option on top of that. MGR has a really lenient timing on the parry for this purpose basically, because they intended it to be the primary means of defense for the player. However Batman’s combat system is so glaringly bad overall that I don’t think it warrants inclusion unless you want to see this one cute means of implementation.

This video made me mad enough to go update my matthew matosis criticism like I’ve been planning to for a while.

First is a comment on how much work was put into making Samus look pretty, considering it’s a first person game. This is pointless.

He comments on how nice the cinematic is. I would have personally mentioned that, unique for a Nintendo game, YOU CAN SKIP CUTSCENES. MOST OF THE CUTSCENES, INCLUDING THIS ONE. HELL YEAH.

Next up, IT DOESN’T MATTER THAT THE ON-SCREEN TEXT PROMPTS ARE IMMERSION-BREAKING, NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS TO HAVE A PERFECTLY SEEMLESS WORDLESS TUTORIAL. THIS SHOULDN’T BE HELD UP AS THE UNIVERSAL PERFECT EXAMPLE OF TUTORIAL DESIGN. YOU CAN HAVE TEXT PROMPTS, YOU CAN HAVE CHARACTERS SAY THE PHRASE “PRESS THE ACTION BUTTON” OUT LOUD. IT’LL BE FINE. TRUST ME. It’s a way bigger deal that they deliver this information quickly and without stopping you in some way. You can do this section quickly, which is awesome. Immersion isn’t real anyway, remind the player they’re playing a videogame whenever you feel like it, just don’t fuck up user experience, depth, challenge, game feel, etc.

I don’t care about the story of the opening level.

Yeah, the cutscene points to the map room, you don’t need to use it though to continue, and you can’t skip that cutscene which sucks.

Also notice how he totally glosses over the level design after the environmental storytelling part which he went into a fair amount of detail on? “some light combat, weakened space pirates, turrets”. Wow, you can tell he’s biased right off the bat.

The remarks on the parasite queen are just that it’s fairly easy and par for the course for first bosses. No remark on the attacks it has, the arena, etc.

I don’t care that you find it hard to believe in a malfunction. Fuck off. It serves its purpose, deal with it.

“music plays when you regain control on Tallon IV. This is inspiring. Go Explore and blahblah” Wow. Waste of time.

Then worldbuilding information on Tallon IV. Pointless. Waste of time.

“the sense of discovery remains intact” Stop making bullshit claims about player psychology, or citing “sense of discovery” like it’s some attribute a game attempts keep up. Use more evidence. Point out more examples. Demonstrate how the steadily expanding web of items and upgrades is plotted out.

Remarking on the color scheme of the map is the epitome of time wasting. We get it, the visual design of menu elements is pretty alright. This isn’t gameplay. I’d personally remark on how the orthographic rendering of the map can make it difficult to perceive perspective when rotating it.

Then he talks about how nice it is that the scan visor lets them insert a story and free up dev time for the gameplay. And this just makes me cringe, because he’s not going to talk about the gameplay in any significant capacity for the rest of the video.

I’m gonna skip some stuff because I’ve heard this review twice now in writing this and I’m really not happy with it.

His commentary on first person platforming is crazy. He remarks that platforming is generally considered cumbersome, but “metroid prime handles it brilliantly”. This of course has me shouting, “HOW? HOOOOOW?” He elaborates saying, “jumping from platform is smooth, reliable, and responsive.” Which has me screaming, “WHAT DOES ANY OF THAT MEAN?!?” He cites the ability to lock the viewpoint downwards with the trigger, but this is possible, and EASIER in games that don’t have tank controls like Metroid Prime does. How does Metroid Prime, an FPS game with a non-standard control scheme possibly “handle” platforming better than an entire genre full of games with easier to control cameras? This is so fucking stupid.

I find it amazing that he glosses over the first two bosses as being nothing special, then goes on to praise the combat as being “fantastic”. He goes on to say that locking onto enemies and dashing around them is “exciting” and firing the arm cannon is “responsive”. For fuck’s sake, can we please stop using that word, “responsive” to describe things. Sure, in this case the power beam will fire as quickly and rapidly as you can hit the A button, but that’s certainly not true of the jump button, which you also just described as being responsive. Responsive is a buzzword that’s used inconsistently by everyone to describe everything. The only time it’s not applicable is when there is actual input lag, which is in almost no game. I do not understand what “responsive design” is supposed to be. It seems to imply no/low startup times on animations, but that’s also common in many games, and not a reason to fault games like Dark Souls which don’t take that route. If you have “responsive” in your review, PURGE.

Further he goes on to say, that you’re “in complete control of the action” and “most enemies explode with a satisfying crunch”. I hate when reviewers describe things with these vague terms, “fantastic” “exciting” “responsive” “complete control” “satisfying onamonapia” “punchy visceral feel”. These are conclusions that the viewer/player is to be left up to. You need to substantiate your opinion of these conclusions with evidence. Stating that it “feels satisfying” isn’t enough. You gotta break it down.

Also great job just bandying around the word “game feel” because Samus puts her arm on her cannon rather than for all the other things the game does to promote virtual sensation in response to input. Could have actually gone into more detail on the movement or morphball physics.

Cool, okay, not reviewing the rest. This amount made me mad enough. That was most of the gameplay coverage. Fuck all else. Could you talk about this SUPER OLD article that you’ve probably seen before?

He chose the wrong terms with skill vs meta. I would have gone with execution versus knowledge. Meta implies circumstantial usefulness or universal superiority; as in playing a metagame on your opponent or picking the best choice as dictated by the meta. A skilled Denman is more obvious than a skilled medic because of misattribution of cause of death. You think the thing dealing damage is what’s killing you, not the thing keeping that damage dealer alive

On a broader level, this article proposes nothing constructive. It makes a division, but offers no use for this division. Are some of these classes better for beginners? Is the division useful for figuring out situations you might run into? It doesn’t offer the best evidence this division exists on any practical level.

Boring article.

So the criticisms are more or less as follows:

The clouds need a better color palette.

There should be rainbows/mountaintops.

There should be various sizes of clouds that are noninteractable, but you can go into them and out of them with particle effects.

I’m glad he stuck the book game feel on the desk and quoted it, but he should know from reading the book that that is just polish effects. Sure, polish is important for reinforcing the impact of actions and helping to specify extra information about what’s going on, like hitsparks showing where you got hit, but given that clouds don’t have extra interactions, this isn’t solving the base problem, that waiting in the sky has no aspect of problem solving. He remarks on how currently it’s about pointing your wiimote at a pillar of light, then goes “and now that the sky is fun again”, but none of the points up to here had anything to do with making the sky fun. There’s still no reason to do anything beyond point your wiimote at the pillar of light.

Then his idea is to take the clouds away to make people thematically feel unhappy? C’mon.

Then he comments on the sound design. Okay.

Then thematic thing, sky is overcast, but you clear it.

1. Fix Colors. 2. Add Clouds. 3. More Sound Effects.

This isn’t game design. This wouldn’t fix the crazy mess that skyward sword was. This wouldn’t even fix the lameness that was the sky.

Goddamnit Arin (EDIT: Wait, that’s not Arin, it’s just someone who sounds a lot like Arin). Quit fucking up. It makes actual skyward sword critics look bad.

What do you think of this guy’s extremely negative review of Skyward Sword? He’s a bit internet-tough-guy but I enjoyed it.

Half of this is setup, not an actual commentary on Skyward Sword. Only 3 paragraphs out of 12 talk about the game directly.

“Where many franchises struggled with the transition from 2D to 3D, Ocarina of Time is generally considered to be not only true to the Zelda franchise’s concept, but also enough of a change to feel like a fresh, new experience.”
“The problem is that Ocarina of Time was the game which canonized the series”
I’d dispute these two claims. The original Legend of Zelda was what canonized the series. Ocarina captured the thematic half of what fans wanted to see from the series (as did Twilight Princess), it was not a good game.

“Skyward Sword felt like a waste of my time and money from its opening moments. I hated everything about it: […] –and yet, because Zelda has always been this way there’s no need or reason to change it.”
These are a bunch of claims and conclusions. They lack evidence, they lack description.

“If there is a problem with videogame criticism, it is this: Our critics, the people who are paid to be educated about videogames, to have the knowledge to judge what is good or bad about a game, to evaluate these games’ merits–these people are not only telling us that a Big Mac is haute cuisine, they are so unsophisticated that they might actually believe that this is the case.”
I agree with this, but he’s no better.

It’s a fair statement. It’s something worth understanding about games, though it’s not really related to my area of focus.

Not trying to get you to review Youtubers but what are your thoughts on what’s said in this video?

“You can love a bad thing and hate a good thing”

Sure. Why not?

I mean, I coexist with plenty of people I disagree with, even vehemently. Like Richard Terrell, who will eventually read this and leave me a snarky tweet (especially since I insult Naruto later into this).

And as a corollary to the video, sometimes you’re wrong. Sometimes you’re so caught up in the promise of what a game is, that you don’t see it for what it is when it’s staring you in the face. Sometimes you subject yourselves to hours of boredom because it doesn’t occur to you that the moment of joy you partake in the game might not be worth it. Sometimes it’s better to reconsider whether you actually like the game after being told why it’s bad. I mean, I once watched over 300 episodes of Naruto when I was like 13. I didn’t know that I was sick of it. I once thought Mad World was great because it had a pedigree and I liked God Hand, and Mad World is basically forgotten today and I certainly don’t think as highly of it.

I mean, I’ve gone over good games that I dislike and bad games that I like before. I’m not really apologetic for either, it’s my personal taste, but I also try not to demean games or claim they’re bad based on just my personal taste.

What do you think of Digibro’s video “Aesthetic is Narrative.”

So the premise as I read it is, “Critics think what really matters is narrative/story, things like aesthetic or music are just enhancements. This is wrong because Aesthetic IS Narrative, therefore aesthetic is important.”

My remark is that he’s correct to a limited degree. Aesthetics are an element of narrative. Aesthetics and narrative are not necessarily the same thing. The quality of the aesthetics, the factors that make the aesthetics enjoyable, are not necessarily rooted in the narrative.

The way things are drawn can speak to a narrative. It can describe or set up a narrative, however there are many factors in their enjoyability that go beyond narrative, that are information unto themselves, and pleasing unto themselves. For example, the proportions of the characters, the symbol language used to depict the mouth and eyes, the color composition, the rendering style, etc.

Yes, there is meaning in the art style/aesthetic choices, but also it is a thing that can be independently considered. A good art style is something that can be independently appreciated, that can be something worthwhile in its own right. Though a show that tries to carry itself entirely on its art style will fall flat if it doesn’t know what it’s doing (Redline is basically carried entirely on its art and animation, and it doesn’t do much with its plot, but it knows how to keep the show on the road, so it’s interesting all the way through).

But yeah, I do agree with his core point. A show that has amazing artwork can still be pretty fucking sick.

I’m aware of the parallels to games here, but I don’t think the same rules entirely apply. Visual feedback is clearly important from a gameplay perspective, but I don’t think meaning or narrative information is nearly as important to a game in terms of the whole work, or can carry a game like they can an anime.

Though I’m also absolutist on games, so whatever.

haha have you seen this

Yes, it’s funny.

Any thoughts?

I kinda like it. There are some genuinely good thoughts in there. He kind of jumps around from topic to topic though.

It’s a good observation that the assault rifle in halo is obsolete on legendary and that lower difficulties can offer a bit more freedom in how to approach the game, while simultaneously acknowledging that higher difficulties force you to get good through their constraints.

I don’t think it’s right to present difficulty as a sliding scale between total ease and absolute frustration however. Also putting DMC3 on the far right of the scale is silly since I can definitely think of harder games than that, but he did correctly put it above Dark Souls. The depth of these games helps mitigate the frustration of constant failure, by making many smaller points of variable success and varying the actual actions the player takes such as to avoid the stress of pure repetition.

The part with the players pushing back makes almost no sense. Seems more there for humor. The examples he brings up aren’t really of a game just cracking, unless he means to equate directly engaging with a game’s abstractions with the game just breaking.

Then he jumps to a different and worse explained topic of how some games have a single fixed difficulty. He correctly points out that this is a more authoritative and easily relatable form of difficulty, but fails to point out why choosing your own difficulty might be bad. His examples are weird since he cites hard modes as being perfect when they’re harder than the single mode games he cited and he jumps around a lot. He does bring up depth briefly, but I think it plays a more fundamental role here obviously (it’s kinda my thing after all).

Still, even if the message is muddled, I’m mildly impressed.


2 thoughts on “Critic Review Roundup

  1. closelywatchedframes August 17, 2016 / 2:10 pm

    5:05 to 5:22 of the “Overrated?: Dark Souls” video is fucking hysterical. What a moron.


    • Gilgamesh310 November 28, 2016 / 2:41 pm

      The comments are actually worse than the fucking video itself. It’s insane that people can lap up as garbage, as “honest” an “intelligent” critique.


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