Review Content Matters

I want to address something regarding how people interpret reviews. I have had no problems with my reviews and this deals more with the reviews written for professional sites such as Gamespot and IGN.

Why is it that so many people ignore the body of a review, the content, and only focus on the number at the end? As a review writer myself, I can say that the number is no more important than the body itself. In fact, the body of the review is more important because it tells you about the game.

So many times I see IGN reviewers being criticized for their reviews, and the people who are putting them down are only focusing on the review scores. Here is what I frequently see online on various forums.

“Did you see what IGN gave Blood Chickens 4? Only 8.8 out of 10! Are they saying that the game SUCKS? It deserves at least a 9 out of 10!”

These days, if a game that somebody is looking forward to receives anything lower than 9/10, they freak out. They ignore the body of the article that paints a wonderful, glowing picture for the game, and instead focus on the review score that is only 0.2 points away from being what they wanted it to be.

And since when did anything between 7 and 9 become bad? I see a lot of people trying to justify that 8 is only average now. What are these people on? 5 out of 10 is average. When you are halfway up the scale, you are in the middle. Middle is an average point. Above halfway is good. This is how it has always been. The same applies to when you are going somewhere. If you reach the halfway point, you are more than halfway there.

People whine that their favourite games don’t get at least a 9. They throw childish hissy fits if their games score 8.5 or below. They neglect to realize that the score isn’t some universally accepted number that all people must abide by. It is one person’s opinion. To disagree and say that you would score a game higher is okay, but to get upset and declare that the reviewer should have scored a game higher or lower is ridiculous. They are scoring it according to how much they enjoyed it, not how much you did. The score is not the entire review, so read reviews from start to finish and focus on what the reviewer is saying, not what numbers they are pulling out of the air! This includes my reviews. They are my own opinion. Don’t like the numerical scores I give them? Fine, don’t. They don’t even have as much weight as large sites since I’m not a professional reviewer. If you want to know how a game works though, then READ the BODIES of my review! I guarantee that, even if I like a game immensely, I’ll nit pick if I’m able to.

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Super Street Fighter IV (Review)

“The best Street Fighter game. Ever.”

Let me just start by saying that Street Fighter isn’t my favourite fighting game series (that honour goes to Tekken) and I’ve never been “good” at it, just kind of passably average. Just because I would be crushed in a real life or online tournament does not mean that my opinion of the game is not valid though. I may not be Daigo Umehara, but I still know the game.

Super Street Fighter IV is, of course, the upgraded version of the original vanilla SF4. Super takes the original and rebalances a few characters while adding many new features, such as ten new characters, four additional stages, the return of bonus stages, and several online features.

For the uneducated, Super Street Fighter IV is fully 3D but played on a 2D plane. People like to call this 2.5D, but I prefer to just call it 3D. If it’s rendered in 3D, then it’s 3D to me.

I am not going to get into what the original SF4 added to the series, because this review is all about what Super adds. If you want to know what focus attacks are or who Crimson Viper is, then go to 1UP or IGN since I am assuming that you already played the original SF4.

First off, Super Street Fighter IV bolsters the original roster (which I found slightly lacking) by adding ten new characters, four from Street Fighter 3, two from the Street Fighter 2 series, and then two from the Alpha series. For the curious (and making my review appear longer) the new characters are Adon, Cody, Dee Jay, Dudley, Guy, Ibuki, Juri, Hakan, Makoto, and T. Hawk.

As a casual Street Fighter fan, I found that the controls in SSF4 were better, and specials were easier to pull off. Zangief’s ultra even became fairly easy for me to pull off when it had been next to impossible in the original SF4.

Trials were also made easier, and I found myself plowing through a few of them fairly easily and enjoying it, which is a sharp contrast to how much I hated the trials in the original SF4.

Sound effects aren’t anything special, nor are they anything that you haven’t heard before. The only thing that is well above average are a few voices. Hakan’s English voice actor steals the show for me, but I still like the English voices of Cammy and Zangief the most while Chun Li’s Japanese voice fits her character perfectly.

Super Street Fighter IV looks pretty good, and the new stages are a step ahead of anything in the original SF4. Solar Eclipse has proven to be a huge hit, as a lot of people opt to go to that stage online rather than selecting random.

Overall, SSF4 is basically the same package that we received last year, only more content has been added. It almost feels like an entirely new game in the franchise with the new additions, which is hardly a bad thing. It just goes to show you that the fourth game in the series is going to age very well. If you’re a Street Fighter fan or even just a fighting game fan in general, then you should definitely check this one out.

Final Score

8.8/10

Tropico 3 (Review)

“Who knew that being a dictator was this much fun?”

“Good morning Tropico!” I should really have that set as my alarm in the morning after hearing it so many times in the game I am about to review, Tropico 3.

It wasn’t until April of this year that I even knew about the Tropico series, which is surprising considering that the first game came out a decade ago. As a fan of games such as SimCity, I’m really upset that it took me until the third game of this series to even know that it exists.

Tropico 3 is all about ruling over a Caribbean island known as Tropico. The game begins in the 1950s when you first seize power of the island. It is up to you to decide how your dictator did so, as you are presented with a character creator that allows you to choose your dictator’s appearance, background history, and character flaws. I opted to make my dictator a balding alcoholic Russian who was put in power by the USSR.

Tropico’s gameplay was quite interesting. The game started out slow and demanding like the Caesar game in which you have to micro-manage several small details in order for your city to get off the ground, but after that happened it just played mostly like a SimCity game thanks to messages always popping up and telling me what was going on in Tropico.

You basically start with nothing more than your presidential palace, a dock, some shacks, and a few businesses with terrible wages. You have to turn this around, so the first step is to make a good source of income that your populace will work at for little money. Cigars turned out to be a fantastic way to go about doing this, as all I had to do was first plant a farm and direct them to grow tobacco, and then build a cigar factory beside it. For a few ingame months, this did absolutely nothing for me financially until the tobacco began to grow at a good rate, allowing the nearby factory to begin manufacturing cigars and then sending them to the dock to be exported.

Once you start getting some decent money in and the quality of life starts to improve in Tropico, you’ll want to bring in tourists by building another dock or an airport. As I did this, I found that it was also imperative to remove shacks from the city, due to them being unpleasant to look at and they brought down the appearance of the neighborhoods that they popped up in. A good way for me to discourage many shacks from popping up was to increase the wages of many jobs.

Of course, there is more to Tropico 3 than just expanding your city and aiming for a higher population and bigger bank accounts. Unlike in games such as SimCity, your approval rating actually means something in the Tropico games. If it dips too low, you had better expect some serious consequences. The last thing any good dictator wants are riots and assassination attempts!

To make sure that your people respect you, it is important to make sure that Tropico has everything that your people need to survive, or even just have fun. When the city itself is just fine but your people are showing discontent, you can use edicts to sway their loyalty. Edicts are things such as introducing tax cats, bringing the Pope to your country for a visit, or declaring Mardi Gras. Some edicts, such as Mardi Gras, are wonderful for Tropico’s economy.

The game has a lot of content in it, ranging from campaigns to individual mission-style maps. If you don’t like being told to aim for a specific goal, there is also the sandbox mode in which you are free to just develop Tropico however you wish to.

I find myself really enjoying the visuals of Tropico 3. It is perhaps the best looking city management game that I’ve ever played. The buildings and terrain are loaded with detail, and all pedestrians are rendered in real time as they walk to work or just find things to do in the city. Animals, freighters, and more are also all visible most of the time, and many shacks like to pop up on vacant land as well. I expected Tropico to run slowly with so many things going on, but the game was silky smooth for me even on the highest display settings.

The sounds of Tropico 3 are magnificent. Even though there are only a few music tracks in the game and they play over and over again, they are all very fun to listen to and set the mood extremely well as they are all very Latin-based. Sound effects and voice acting are also great, and I never tire of hearing “Good morning Tropico!” from the ingame radio announcer who tells you what’s going on in Tropico, which is very helpful to you.

Overall, Tropico 3 is a lot of fun. Your cities are different each time you play, and the realism in Tropico 3 blows SimCity out of the water. If you’re looking for an enjoyable city game to spend time playing until the next big one comes along, then Tropico 3 is for you.

Final Score

8.5/10