Saturday, April 28, 2007

MY RESPONSE TO GAMESPOT (and the reviews in general)


The nice thing about having a blog, is I can review the reviews! :)


As of now, here’s what we’re looking at:

IGN: 8/5/10
1UP: 8/10
GAMESPOT: 6.7/10

The first two I can live with, they feel fair and make sense. I am very, very proud of those reviews. Although, I have to say, when I hear the 1up guys on the podcast saying the game is the best on PSN AND saying that it's closing in on being one of the top 3 download games out there, it does seem 8 is a bit low...but what the hell...8 is good in my book, so thank you guys!

I’m not so keen on the GAMESPOT review, and who would be? It simply feels unfair and simply wrong. Granted, why would I not say that? I am the director of the game they are saying is simply ‘fair’. So take my opinion with a grain of salt.

I think tho, much of it has to do with expectations for titles such as this, as well as maybe me not really understanding the review process.

So my thoughts in general on aspects of the reviews:

MAGNET ISSUE- Here was a nice, simple, clean PROBLEM with the game that the reviewer hit on that was pretty black and white. Hard to argue with this one. IGN hit this spot on and we’ve fixed it already! Nice thing about download games is you can see a review and then rush back to the code and do some tweaks :) So while we don’t know if we’ve solved IGN’s issue where the AI seemed to be able to dominate with the magnet weapon, we’ve at least toned it down and increased the amount of time a player needs to be in the magnet ‘cone’ before the criminal is sucked away. We did not touch the multiplayer aspect of this, just the single player where IGN had what we felt was a great point about how the single player was feeling. So thanks IGN!

LACK OF CONTENT: This one just makes no sense to me but I can live with the fact that I may in the minority here. I can also live with the fact that my take on what something should cost (as a guy who gets games for free mostly) is different from the take of a reviewer as to what a game should cost (as people who get paid to play games they usually get for free…but to be fair, the reviewers ARE paid to take the consumer mindset into mind….but then again, so am I…so anyway…). But look, it’s a 10 dollar game. And for that you get: the core game (which in multiplayer- which is the point- EVERYONE says is at least fun, and many say is really, really fucking fun). 4 maps, split screen, internet with voice, and 10 cars to unlock. I fail to see how this is a bad deal, especially since if you like the multiplay- and all of the reviewers have- you can play the game for hours (over time) before you burn out. How is this a bad deal for 10 bucks? I just don’t see it. The gamespot review- I think- didn’t seem to like that you could finish the single player game in 20 minutes. And maybe this is a fault of the game’s presentation but it’s not an adventure game…it’s like a fighting game in that sense: you work thru the single player to learn the game and unlock stuff. And when you get thru one level if you want to get better, up the difficulty. I get thru Tekken and Mortal Kombat single player in 5-15 minutes on default setting. Again, maybe our presentation did not make this clear and it's a fair call that Gamespot would want more from the single player experience. But it's not like I go out and buy Madden or NBA JAM or NBA HOMECOURT cause I'm going to be playing it by myself. But that could just be me and it's Gamespot's job- I assume- to take all gamer's desires into account and I can appreciate that.

But again, this may be the problem. Gamespot was not saying it’s a shit game. They seemed to like aspects of it. So I’m not bashing them or the score so much as just being confused a bit. We set out to make a balls to the wall, trash talking, fun ass multiplayer/party game. From all reviews we did that and from a few of the reviews (IGN and 1up) we did that really, really well. And so really, that’s all I care about. And I can see reviewers are not going to JUST review the game portions I care about. Hell, I guess I could have just taken out the single player so it would have never been an issue. But somehow that would have just felt wrong.

SCORES IN GENERAL: And maybe therein lies the problem. With the exception of the GAMESPOT score- which I really just feel is simply unfair- these scores are good scores and I am happy with them. I am proud of those scores; happy with them and grateful for them. So thanks IGN and 1up! But the issue may be that our goal was to provide a trash talking fun ass time with your buddies. And I feel we did that really well…between an 8 and a 10 depending on all the factors that determine fun that go into any individual game (who is playing; skill level;etc). So to me, I’m like: grade us on THAT because that was what we wanted to do.

But I guess that’s like asking a movie reviewer to grade a horror movie 10/10 that wanted to do nothing more but provide a visceral thrill ride (and did that) while at the same time there may be other movies out there that provide the thrills AND drama and story too? You guys know my shitty analogies....not sure if that makes sense. And I'm rush typing this as I gotta head out for some shit to do today.

CASUAL: Diner Dash got like a 3/10 on a game site the other day. And that game is considered a watershed/masterpiece in the casual space. It may also be that as I get away from hardcore games, some of the reviewers (that have no interest in those sorts of games) that used to love the kind of stuff I did, will simply not find as much in the stuff we do nowadays to love? Could be…and I can understand that.

Or it could be that the game really is a 7/10 and I just WANTED it to be more. I can live with that as an option if that's how- once the game ships and people play it and pass judgement and time passes- that is how it all comes down. Hope that's not the case, but what can you do?

I don’t know…I wanted to get a response to the scores up fast. I will prob. think on this some more and hit you guys back.

But overall, I am so proud of this game and think in many aspects it’s the most fun game I’ve ever worked on. If you want a fun party game, then I think we’ve got something for you. I hope you read the reviews from folks who are into these sorts of titles and THEN make your decision to buy or pass.

Ok gotta run...thanks for indulging me. A more mature designer would say: 'my game is my response' and shut up about it. But come on, this is me :)