Reviewer’s Blues

Without getting into details, I’ve been working on a review of a mediocre game lately. Second time this has happened in as many months. I wanted to have it wrapped up a week or so ago, but I’ve been dragging my feet on it because I simply cannot stand playing it. Which certainly makes it sound as if I’m ready to review it, but the problem is that I know enough to dislike it but not enough to explain why, or be certain that all my complaints are valid. So I really need to log some more time with it.

The problem is that ever since this game bubbled to the top of my priority list, I’ve effectively stopped getting anything done. I’m holding back on other projects to finish this one, but every time I sit down to play this game, I can’t click the icon. I find other stuff to do. Correspondence, cleaning the kitchen, a quick match of Starcraft II, reading recipes, etc.

The problem is that the game doesn’t really have a fixed endpoint. I’ll be ready to review it when I’ve fiddled with it a lot more, but the thought of putting in the several additional hours to do a review fills me with despair. Somehow I need to figure out a way to make this process palatable.

But I don’t have lot of experience reviewing games, and I’m on a streak of bad ones. My first review was Napoleon: Total War, which was a complete milk-run. I got a great game for free, and cheerfully spent thirty or so hours plowing through the campaign. But games like Real Warfare: 1242 and the one I’m working on now just defy my will.

So how does one approach a game where the act of playing it is nearly painful, and the job seems overwhelming? What bargains do I need to make with myself to get my ass in front of the computer to play this game?

    • Spades
    • July 30th, 2010 4:28pm

    I dunno: Get drunk and play that horrible 1242 game? In all seriousness though you should get Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis! THAT is a great game! It is a bit buggy though but you can download a patch pack from the official website and that ought to fix things up!

  1. I’d love to see the metacritic scores for games released within the month surrounding SC2. It seems like everyone would be comparing whatever they’re reviewing to the game they’d rather be playing. Or games released near SC2 are just that much worse…

    I’m really bad about motivating myself to do things I don’t want to. I try to either reward myself by doing something pleasurable while it’s going on, _or_ do something pleasurable after.

    There’s a reason I listen to Three Moves Ahead at the gym. It isn’t because you guys make me wanna get away from my PC…

    • Spades
    • August 1st, 2010 1:17am

    I actually have another suggestion (a serious one). I suggest that you simply turn your brain off Rob. Don’t think about the awfulness of the game just switch your brain off and mindlessly play. It works trust me! For instance I was playing Prince of Persia (2008). While the game itself was very fun and good, the most repetitiive part of it was collecting light seeds. You needed to collect them in order to progress through the game. I was about halfway through and eventually I ceased to care about the light seeds or anything that had to do with the game for that matter. While the game itself was very good I simply hated collecting light seeds in order to progress (I felt that it killed the momentum of the game) so I simply turned my brain off whilst collecting the things. Again just turn off your brain and all will be well.

      • Flitcraft
      • August 1st, 2010 9:22pm

      This has actually kind of worked, although I can’t really switch off if I’m going to be reviewing this game. The bigger problem is that the game has no “flow.” You can’t just zone out and play it. Still, I just kind of went at this weekend and logged enough time to figure it all out.

    • Mithras
    • August 1st, 2010 3:50am

    Find something even less fun to do and convince yourself you need to do that. It’s surprising the unsavioury things you’ll do knowing that you could, nay, should be doing something worse.

    Still it seems like quite a drag, is there any consolation in the fact that you’re right a scathing review and other people might steer away from it?

      • Flitcraft
      • August 1st, 2010 9:33pm

      Neither the game nor the developer are contemptible, unlike a piece of hackery like Real Warfare 1242, so I’m not really jazzed to tee-off on it. Which is another reason this sucks.

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