My trust in GR is waning (DMC4 review)

Discussion in 'Support' started by Victoly, Feb 28, 2008.

  1. Victoly

    Victoly Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have not played Devil May Cry 4, and as such the purpose of this post is not to say that I disagree with the verdict of Mr. Hunt's review. Instead, I want to share my concern that the content of this review gives me no reason to trust that verdict.

    Mr. Hunt starts the review by clearly stating his bias (through talk of his disdain for "animoos" and games of japanese origin), but I recognize that this in itself isn't much of a problem. We all have our opinions and biases and it's best to get those out in the open, though perhaps it would be wise for Mr. Hunt to refrain from being overtly offensive ("animoo") while doing so, and I personally find it strange that a professional reviewer of video games is often "filled with rage" by Japanese games, which have traditionally been a huge and influential part of the video game market. We all better keep him away from Mario and Zelda games, he might go berserk!

    The real problem here, however, is that the reviewer demonstrates quite clearly that he is ignorant about past Devil May Cry titles, which makes me give serious pause as to whether or not I consider his opinion on the fourth game in the title valid. Over the course of the review Mr. Hunt says that the first DMC was "tedious", comparing it to Dynasty Warriors, while Game Revolution previously praised the title as "pure gold for the PS2." He clearly states that he hasn't played the third DMC, but that according to "the rumor-mills of the internet," apparently it was hard. To be frank, I find this unacceptable for a site that once prided itself on giving reviews that praised innovation in a series and faulted games for a lack thereof - this is impossible when a reviewer is so unfamiliar with the series and what it has established. This ignorance made itself known implicitly in a few other areas as well: there was no mention whatsoever of the "style rating" system from previous titles, which was one of the most interesting features of the series and one of the main ways it distinguished itself from other action titles (I suspect that Mr. Hunt is likely unaware of its presence or function in the earlier games in the series, and is thus incapable of making a comparison here); nor is there any mention of the item collection and upgrade system, familiar to players of other games in the series. If these gameplay elements are present in DMC4, I'd expect them to garner a mention; if they were absent I'd expect the same, given their importance in previous titles. In Mr. Hunt's review we get neither - the only feature he seems to recognize from previous titles are awkward camera angles, but I don't think it takes someone paid to review video games to accomplish that.

    In short, I don't really find this review helpful in the least. It does far too much to discredit itself with its ignorance and incongruity with other reviews on the site for me to take it seriously. I'm sure that Mr. Hunt raises valid points about the game in his review, and I'm not saying that he has to like the game or give it a favorable review. What I am saying is that this review comes off much more like a personal opinion than a professional review, and this site claims to present us with the latter.
     
    #1
  2. geoff_hunt

    geoff_hunt Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    My word, an actual, well thought out reply!

    You raise some valid points about how the review was written, Victoly. I was well aware of the style rating system - I omitted it because it's not changed one iota from the previous games, and frankly, I never understood why people thought it was clever. It's a reward for hitting opponents more and varying attacks slightly; almost every action game has something equivalent, and though they did tie orbs to the style rating, it's not the make-or-break for carrying on in the game.

    I didn't mention item upgrades because they weren't the most notable factor in DMC4. They were present, but the game is so grossly linear that you can't progress without them; it's less collection and more automatic upgrades. When I was looking at my original review text, and it was a colossal 1800 words (yes, I am far too verbose) I decided that was one of the paragraphs that could go, since describing a mechanic that didn't actually impact gameplay struck me as unnecessary.

    I do find the DMC games tedious, and I compare them to Dynasty Warriors because that's approximately the amount of tedium I experience playing them. Not playing DMC3 was a completely conscious decision I made before I was reviewing games; I don't feel it impacted my ability to judge DMC4 much. I clearly didn't miss much; DMC4 and DMC2 have an awful lot in common, play-wise.

    Since I'm not the same reviewer of the previous games, I'm unclear what your issue with my review's incongruity is. Is it unsurprising my opinion differs from previous reviewers? I'm not the same man, and this site doesn't exactly have a history of enforcing a standardized viewpoint.

    Hopefully, my position is a bit clearer. If not, well, buy the game and decide for yourself; you might love it. It's certainly not terrible, I just think it falls short of the mark.
     
    #2
  3. Victoly

    Victoly Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the reply, and I'm glad you were able to take my teasing in stride.

    No, you are not the same man who reviewed that game, but you both ought to have been striving towards the same goal: objectivity. I have no problem with people having and sharing their personal opinions, but the function of a review like this is to give a summary that's fair and objective so that consumers can make informed decisions about what games to buy. I understand that no review is going to be perfectly objective and that personal bias always plays a role, but your job as a reviewer is to make your personal bias count for as little as possible in the review.

    Let's use a hypothetical example of two reviews of the same game which use the same criteria and are geared towards the same audience. One review gives the game high praise and gives it a 9 out of 10. The other review gives the game a poor rating of 2 out of 10. It is a fact that one or both of these reviews must be bad. They may both be excellently-written opinion pieces, but if they're both striving towards some objective standard then at least one of them has failed horribly.

    What you've done here certainly isn't as black-and-white as my example, but hopefully you can see how the underlying concept applies. The way your review made use of your view of the first and second DMC games (which are generally viewed as being quite different from each other) casts doubt as to whether or not your current view is objective as is required by the job. It's fine that you didn't like the earlier games, but as a professional reviewer with a highly trained critical eye I would expect that you should be able to recognize why the first game received the high praises that it did and take this into account in your review of DMC4.

    On a somewhat related note, Game Revolution reviews tend to stress the evolution of a series, praising innovation and penalizing titles that rest on the laurels of their predecessors. That you didn't play DMC3 calls into question your ability to take this staple perspective into account.

    Regarding the style rating system, orb collection, and item upgrades:

    I fail to see how the first paragraph of your review is more relevant to the game than its actual gameplay mechanics. As I have stated, I feel it is worth mentioning them regardless of whether or not they have changed as it goes a long way towards giving people familiar with the other titles in the series an idea of what to expect. Maybe you didn't get a kick out of striving for an S-rank in DMC3, but there are a lot of players out there who did, and it's the kind of information that would be nice to get in a review. Instead, we are left with a paragraph describing your rage at Japanese culture. If I was the one editing your review and its length was a concern I would have cut the first paragraph and started the review something like this:

    Though I'm not much for the ridiculously over-the-top style of the series, I did (surprisingly) come to enjoy Devil May Cry 4, albeit in a grudging sort of way.

    While I do think your first paragraph is nicely written from a technical standpoint, it doesn't say anything about the game and, ultimately, your mention of feelings of rage and derisive references to "animoos" come off as more brash and offensive than anything else. I mean, seriously, "animoo"???

    Also, regarding your suggestion that, were I to buy the game, I might like it: Yeah, I might, or I might not. The point is that this review didn't really give me any indication of whether or not I would enjoy the game, and that's my problem.
     
    #3
  4. LinksOcarina

    LinksOcarina Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2005
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    0
    But isen't a review supposed to be both objective like this, and pertain to the fans, in a way to use their judgement on the game?

    I thought Geoff was being nice when he summed it all up. For me, Devil May Cry is a boorish button masher that in all honesty is too tedious. The orb and style system is no longer a functioning way to progress in an action game, although to their credit it is a lot better than the quick time events. The controls are still loose, the gameplay between the levels is not complex; as you go to room after room to kill X amount of monsters and solve silly fetch puzzles that have been around since the Super Nintendo. The game has changed little, with the exception of the graphic quality.

    What is happening here is that the game is becoming a rehash machine it seems, kind of like Halo almost. I think what Geoff was trying to say is that the game will appeal to DMC fans, but for the general public, this is as good as it will get. The grade reflects mainstream gamers, not fans of the genre, the PS3 or the DMC series. He wrote a well thought out review, stressing the fact that it has not changed much at all, but if you like it, you will enjoy it. Whoever reviews a game doesn't have to play the series; in fact it is sometimes more objectable for an outside to note the faults of a game on their own.

    And simply put, if Geoff was not being objective, the game would of been even lower in terms of grade. As I stated, I feel it would probably at best deserve a C or C-. The first DMC was a C, and the second was a resounding D- for me, and I have not played one since. I won't preach that I know much about DMC 4, but judging from this review, and other reviews from various websites and gamers who played it, it's more of the same.

    So in the end, Geoff is being objective in his review, but what you are accusing him of is kind of silly. He is saying the game is for a hardcore audience, and if you truely feel like you do not belong in that category, then you may not like it. It's like a buy at your own risk type of deal.
     
    #4
  5. De-Ting

    De-Ting Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2006
    Messages:
    9,058
    Likes Received:
    0
    How good past titles in a series were does not affect the outcome of any new titles.
     
    #5
  6. geoff_hunt

    geoff_hunt Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    When I was handed DMC4, nobody said to me, "We stress the evolution of a series." Had that been something I'd been told, I could understand taking it into account.

    While I can see referencing past entries in a series as being a sort of credibility builder - I do it all the time in my reviews - a game really needs to stand on its own. If I can't sit down with a game from a series I've never played and enjoy it without the context of prior games, then that game is a failure, period. The one exception to this is the expansion pack; expansion packs, which necessarily exist on top of existing games, can't be critiqued without also critiquing the underlying game.

    'Animoo' is a joking term. I'm only poking fun at a genre. Also, if you're taking the 'terrible rage' comment seriously, then perhaps I was not conveying my tone very well.

    I also disagree entirely about the first paragraph. There's one big point I was making there: Devil May Cry 4 is mostly style, and thin on substance. That was the recurring theme, if you'll pardon the highschool english class terminology, of the entire review.

    One of the benefits of working for GameRev instead of the bigger-business reviewing sites has been that I get a good amount of freedom in how I go about writing up reviews. I tend to have a somewhat more analytical style than my fellow reviewers, but that's just because I'm a stuffy, arrogant prick. Don't let that analytical bent confuse my review for what it is, though; an attempt to, with a touch of humor, describe an opinion of the game in roughly a thousand words.
     
    #6
  7. jc00l

    jc00l Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Messages:
    786
    Likes Received:
    0
    It seems victoly will only be happy when GR has fan boys reviewing their frachise of choice. Him not playing DMC3 has nothing to do with anything, i dont want a halo fanboy reveiwing a halo game, infact i think the fact the he isnt a huge fan of the series makes for a bettew reveiw. he gave an average game and average grade, seems pretty simple to me.
     
    #7
  8. geoff_hunt

    geoff_hunt Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think that would be a mischaracterization, jc. Victoly raised some perfectly reasonable points about my style of writing and the omissions I made; he's operating on a different set of expectations and assumptions than I do.
     
    #8
  9. Odbarc

    Odbarc Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    0
    I find GR reviews usually try and reach every branch of video gamers. It doesn't just take the hack and slash platforming puzzle solving awesome gamers into account, but also gives a point of view for the real time strategy and first person shooter gamers to feel what this kind of game might be like for them.

    A few of the games I really like don't get some very hot reviews by this site. It doesn't make the game less fun. So aside from the grain of salt we can take with some reviews, it should be a good way to guide us into new games we've never played before.
     
    #9
  10. MikeyVassallo

    MikeyVassallo Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Messages:
    14,563
    Likes Received:
    0
    GR REVIEWZ GAMEZ? WUT? WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN!!!!111!?
     
    #10
  11. poochie

    poochie Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    This review irked me enough to register, it completely overlooks the nuanced and in-depth combat system in DMC4. I'm curious whether or not the reviewer played on the Devil Hunter difficulty, as the Human level difficulty dumbs the game down immensely by handicapping the enemies and making combo execution almost automatic.

    The higher you fill up the style meter the more orbs your receive after taking out enemies. It's a pretty simple system that works well enough given that the focus of the game is purely on combat. Also belittling it to merely "a reward for varying your attacks slightly" is just not fair. While that technically is what it is on the simplest level, maintaining an SSS rank while taking on a slew of enemies is a very challenging feat.

    This statement is simply not true. The combat in DMC nips on the heels of fighting games in terms of depth. The game does give you the option to make everything easier(Human difficulty + Automatic switched on) however it does not do the game justice at all. On Devil Hunter and above, enemies feature new attack patterns and are far more aggressive, requiring a strong command of the more advanced techniques in the game such as instant revving and mastery of the buster/snatch commands.

    I also don't understand this babble about how fans of a genre can't be objective. Horseshit, I say. I'm huge fan of action games and I'd only give DMC4 a B tops, the GR review made valid points about the absurd amount of backtracking involved plus the silly puzzle solving which really have no place in a straight-up action game.

    You don't have to like DMC4, hell you can hate if you want. But not recognizing the game's depth and saying that it lacks substance is just a flat-out ignorant statement to make.
     
    #11
  12. madster111

    madster111 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2006
    Messages:
    6,774
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just give up you tard.
    This is your..3rd, or 4th account now?
     
    #12
  13. dUKE

    dUKE Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 1996
    Messages:
    601
    Likes Received:
    0
  14. LinksOcarina

    LinksOcarina Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2005
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    0
    yeah, what that British guy said.
     
    #14
  15. Longo_2_guns

    Longo_2_guns Forum Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2003
    Messages:
    17,191
    Likes Received:
    48
    That was the best Zero Punctuation in a while.
     
    #15
  16. De-Ting

    De-Ting Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2006
    Messages:
    9,058
    Likes Received:
    0
    That was good, but I liked the Mass Effect one better.
     
    #16
  17. Eyebrowsbv31

    Eyebrowsbv31 Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Messages:
    2,972
    Likes Received:
    0
    first time seeing these, holy hell they're funny. Love the orange box one.
     
    #17

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice