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Jeremy Jastrzab
10 Feb, 2012

My most memorable PALGN reviews

PALGN Feature | Gamers love nostaligia and lists.
While getting free games (well, not totally free) was one of the most amazing perks to have while being a part of PALGN, it was the opportunity and encouragement to have as wide and diverse a palette as possible that was among the highlights of writing for PALGN. As my days of writing and producing content for PALGN come to a close, here are some of my most memorable reviews that I’ve written for the site, out of roughly 300. Some are good, some are bad, others are milestones. And some are probably just a load of rubbish...

  • Tales of Symphonia: This was the first review that I ever wrote for PALGN. It’s probably a little rough around the edges, and it came after a slow start to my PALGN career, but it remains one of my favourite reviews and JRPGs to this day.


  • Cricket 2005: My first piece of ‘review code’, and my naïve ways had me thinking that it wasn’t as bad as it was. But no, I definitely over rated it at the time… the game was completely broken! Despite this, it's not quite the worst game that I played while at PALGN...


  • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap: I’ve always been a massive fan of the series, and my first review from it was always going to be memorable. It was also an inspiration help for one my proudest pieces of writing – On top of the World.


  • Metal Gear Ac!d: I’ve always been a fan of card games, and it was first time I felt like I went against ‘popular opinion’. If played and understood properly, the game was actually quite brilliant in its execution and application of Metal Gear. The sequel was a bit of a grind though…


  • Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones: Again, the chance to review one of my favourite series was just too good to pass up. I would have loved to have been around to review the 2003 release. It was nice to have a double dip with one of the early HD collections.


  • Dragon Quest VIII: This was the first Dragon Quest game that I’ve played, and it’s a title that I spent the entire 80 hours playing before I actually reviewed, and helped highlight for me how important it is to review a title after playing the full game, as opposed to only a certain number of hours. A beautiful and emotive storybook game too.


  • Rainbow Six Vegas: Even though I’ve never really been a fan of the Rainbow Six series, this somehow ended up being one of my favourite games of 2006, and personally, I found it more enjoyable than Gears of War. It’s one of those situations where things just ‘clicked’.


  • Destroy All Humans 2: The game that taught me that what you hear about a game in its development, and what you hear in previews, doesn’t always turn out how you would like it too. It was an interesting highlight in how many games still haven’t managed to grasp the fundamental idea of bringing together some potentially wonderful background story and making it shine in the actual game. And if Homefront is anything to go by, there is still a long way to go…


  • The Sims 2: Pets: My 100th official review for PALGN… Yay?


  • Lost Planet: The game that, for me, announced the arrival of the HD generation. A supremely beautiful and engaging arcade experience that highlighted for me the benefits of advanced tech, especially in facing the moth and worm. A shame the sequel ruined what could have been a wonderful new franchise.


  • Shadowrun: How often have you read in a preview “well, maybe they’ll fix it in time for the final release”. Well, this was the game that proved to me that once a game is in a playable form during a preview, it’s unlikely to change much… so I never did get to see the potential for improvement to actually happen.


  • Vampire Rain: I challenge ANY reviewer out there to prove to me that they played through the entire game. I did. And I don’t regret it. Well actually no, that’s not quite true… It was 20 hours long…


  • Halo 3: In the middle of a prosperous and golden era for PALGN, my time in retail allowed me to buy this game early (yes, I did buy it), clock it and dig in several multiplayer hours before everyone got to it. Regardless of whether you agree with the score, to me this stands as a proud moment where PALGN was able to provide a review around the same time as the exclusive sites.


  • Stranglehold: A quote from the PALGN preview made it to the cover of the PC version, further highlighting how well things were going for us at the time. It also was a great way to encourage me to actually watch the classic Hong Kong action flick, Hardboiled. The game was awesome arcade fun too, and a shame that it never saw a follow up.


  • Lair: The controls of this game were fine… but there were so many other things to complain about! This title felt to me like one that solidified a certain major sites position as the beacon of popular and influential gaming opinion, where everyone seemed to complain about it with a sheep mentality. It will be nice to see the day that this influence is eroded.


  • Assassin’s Creed: Screw you all, this game was amazing at the time of release and all the complaints that could be levelled at it are the same as many get away with… And yes, I will dig my heels in with this, it’d be stupid to back down at this point. For mine, this was how I imagined the Prince of Persia series to be translated in the HD era, and the game had a lot of ground breaking initiatives at the time. Some worked, others not so much.


  • Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom: A terrible game which I had little consensus to draw by, except one review which I was written by an individual from the time who was quite notorious, but I didn’t know about it. I don’t know what was worse, the fact I let the douche dupe me, or the echoing garbles of the hordes of enemies that I faced. And this game has ruined both Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls for me… these three all play the same!


  • Lost Odyssey: This is probably my favourite JRPG of the current generation, and one that I’d hoped was going to act as a beacon for more. The story was very strong and had an excellent balance that meant you didn’t need to grind your way through the game.


  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: Disagree and call me a tasteless douche or agree and call me ‘aniki’. It doesn’t matter because I loved this game and would have given it a higher score if I could at the time. I enjoyed the ride from start to finish, and there really wasn’t anything that I could call out for. But that’s me. It’s the first and remains only one of three scores that I’ve given of that magnitude.


  • Braid: What in the name of all that is sacred was I thinking when I scored this game? While it is a brilliant mix of puzzler and platformer, it’s also probably the most pretentious title I’ve played during my entire time at PALGN.


  • Gears of War 2: This is probably the biggest reaction that I’ve ever received on a review, which not only spanned PALGN but several other sites. It still amazes me to this day, how passionately some responders were convinced about what the score should have been… even two days before they could have possibly played it. To an extent, I miss how vehemently these things used to be debated…


  • Dead Space: After a long and difficult personal period, it was playing and reviewing this that sparked some life back into me… and probably took a little bit off it too. A genuinely frightening title that still has me thinking about how I didn’t want to go around another corner…


  • Valkyria Chronicles: A title that I am very glad didn’t end up getting lost in the post, as it arrived quite late but as they say, better late than never. It’s unfortunate that there hasn’t been anything like it since, but it was an excellent amalgamation of anime, action and strategy. It just would have been nice if the game wasn’t so harsh on my strategies.


  • Prince of Persia (2008): A grossly underrated title for mine, and some of the most memorable and innovative moments in the medium, and one of the most endearing endings that I’ve seen in a game. It pushed the envelope in a way which I haven’t seen since, and I’m still yearning for a proper follow up.


  • The Godfather 2: Official PALGN review number 200! Better than 100 at least…


  • Afro Samurai: My personal sleeper hit for 2009. It actually was a very well realised licensed title that complements the anime very well. And one day, everyone will look back after playing Metal Gear Solid Rising: Revengeance, and thank this game for allowed that concept to come about.


  • Terminator Salvation: Probably the worst game that I reviewed during my time at PALGN. Thankfully, it only lasted around four hours… which can’t be said about the 20 hour monstrosity that was Vampire Rain. If you bought it for the achievements, you should give yourself an uppercut.


  • Cursed Mountain: Easily my favourite Wii game and a title that highlighted for me what happens when the critics are ‘doing it wrong’. Please learn how to play a game before making bad remarks about it. And it also highlighted to me the potential for applying aspects such as religion to a title, and how well they can possibly be done.


  • Nier: As my life got busier and gaming started to fall into the background, I still managed to find the time to engrossingly trudge through the most under rated title of 2010. Nier ought to be experience by anyone who wants to know just how it’s possible to do things differently in an otherwise stale genre, and the second play through completely flips things around. That, and I managed to get all four endings before Jarrod even had a PS3 and began his clerical journey to spread the word of Cavia.


  • Red Dead Redemption: I’ve never been a fan of GTA or most Rockstar titles. Somehow though, Red Dead Redemption managed to keep me entirely engrossed throughout. That and it’s another case of a title that I have no idea how anyone could have justified reviewing it without reaching the most ‘oh hells yeah!’ ending of 2010.


  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: For mine, the ideal example of how a reboot should be done, as well as a brilliant and reverent marriage of gaming and classical literature. Any game reviewer who compared it to Underworld needs to be taken out the back and shot.


  • Fable III: Singlehandedly, the most disappointing game that I reviewed for PALGN. It had all the makings of a brilliant game, still had its moments but overall, the disappointment felt here was borderline on heartbreaking.


  • Outland: A beautiful and memorable title that more people need to play. A rare title that kept me up to ridiculous hours during a rare period of free and unhindered time. And it harked back to a time when all I did was play high quality platformers.


  • Skyrim: Before this, I have never liked any of the past Elder Scrolls titles, but somehow managed to fall in love with this vast and desolate landscape. It has dragons so that’s cool. But then again, so did Lair.


  • Sonic CD: This is a title that can sum up a lot of my time at PALGN. I’d never played through a Sonic title before this one, but when I did I actually enjoyed it. Had it not been for PALGN, I wouldn’t have had a chance to experience half the titles that I ended up playing and my gaming palette would have been worse off for it. And it goes to show that it’s never too late to try new games and experiences.


  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: This review was meant to be my last, but it didn’t quite work out that way. Still, this was an opportunity to get away from convention, to just play, write and forget about everything that was afflicting the site and regain the vision for why I joined up in the crazy business in the first place. This will definitely go down as one of my favourite games of all time.


  • Soul Calibur V: While this may be officially my last review for PALGN, just like the tale of swords is eternally retold, I hope that the fires of everyone’s gaming passion continue to burn bright into the distant future.


I would like to thank everyone who has read, commented on, disagreed with, loved, hated or was indifferent about anything that I’ve written over the years. It’s been a truly memorable and awesome time. Has there been any particular PALGN review that was memorable for you?

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39 Comments
2 years ago
Man pretty much apart from zelda I've agreed with all of your reviews.
Sad to see you go.

Guess we'll be seeing you over on the rocket page?
2 years ago
A brilliant set of reviews Jeremy, you should be proud. I, and I'm sure all others, hope to see more from you soon.
2 years ago
Tales of Syphonia!?
Fucking hell, you're old!
2 years ago
Well done Bossman! You've certainly had the gamut of fantastic, generation-defining games as well as some true duds, and some interesting commentary on the gaming industry and gaming journalism. Disappointed that you didn't get any reference to Elf Bowling in there somehow though icon_razz.gif

Anyway, to shamelessly rip off the idea, here are some of my own memorable reviews of the top of my head:

*UFC Undisputed 2010: Everyone remembers their first!

*WRC: FIA World Championship: I was probably way too nice to this one in both score and commentary, but it was fun when I did rip into it. Never thought I'd weave a Thelma and Louise reference into anything!

*Cave Story: The first title of mine to get above an 8.5 and my first WiiWare game. It was an outstanding game and I stand by everything I said in that review - plus my original writeup for the Nintendo Store Update had my best ever blurb!

*Okamiden: I had a lot of joy playing the game and it translated into the review. I was also pretty heartened to read the comments afterwards of people who were buying the game because of my writeup.

*National Geographic Challenge: has the distinction of being my lowest score ever. But I somehow managed to make it through!

*The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D: It's not often that a person gets to review a Zelda title and I took the opportunity whole-heartedly. This little gem is also my highest scoring game on PALGN at 9.5.

*Gears of War 3: Probably the most high-profile game I have reviewed and definitely the one with the biggest response in the community. Still disagree with Cian thinking it's worthy of a nine though icon_razz.gif

*Professor Layton and the Last Spectre: My very last review, containing the word last in the title and my last ever score above 8.5. I don't think I could have wanted a better game to finish up on.
2 years ago
Jeremy shut up and kiss me i mean great job over the many many years icon_biggrin.gif
2 years ago
Cody Giunta wrote
*Gears of War 3: Probably the most high-profile game I have reviewed and definitely the one with the biggest response in the community. Still disagree with Cian thinking it's worthy of a nine though icon_razz.gif
CliffyB would like a word with you...

(My own view is that it's an 8)

In other news, I tell people to get Strangehold every time I see it for cheap - or every time they think of picking up Wet. Didn't get the PS3 limited edition though, so I still haven't seen Hardboiled. No R4 DVD to my knowledge either. Sigh.
2 years ago
Nier owns.

Shamelessly copying Jeremy and Cody.

  • No More Heroes: Desperate Strugge: First review, and still my best opener.
  • Metroid: Other M: Liked it more than a lot of people, but I was still challenged to articulate why a franchise I deeply admired and loved failed to live up to it's predecessors.
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns: I had been awake for about 28 hours and wrote this in an insomniac haze (alcohol might have been involved), and had to apologise to Adam afterwards for having to deal with the trainwreck of writing I produced. I love the review but man did it require some cleaning up.
  • White Knight Chronicles II: Fuck this shitty game and fuck every hour I spent with it.
  • Xenoblade: A weaboo RPG that I not only liked, but loved. Got super dooper redonkulously hooked and churned through the entire game and review in a crazy short period of time. Loved every second.
  • Assassin's Creed: Revelations: Jesus fuck my last review was this?! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!
2 years ago
^What, no mention of the highly contentious review you did for Epic Mickey icon_razz.gif ?
2 years ago
OH YEAH

  • Epic Mickey: Because the huge Disney fan in me was forced to find a place between the incredible art and story concept, and the incredibly average and unpolished fetch quest gameplay. Probably my biggest disappointment of all my reviews by a long short, because I was super excited and really wanted to like it. At least the aftermath that followed was worth it.
2 years ago
A great series of reviews indeed Jeremy! You've done some fantastic work over the years, congrats, and I look forward to seeing more from you in the future! icon_smile.gif
2 years ago
Jarrod wrote
At least the aftermath that followed was worth it.[/list]
Tell us more icon_wink.gif
2 years ago
Cyph wrote
Tell us more icon_wink.gif
Not-so-long story cut shorter, we were accidentally among the first (if not the very first) Epic Mickey reviews on the net. Before IGN, before Gamespot, before everywhere. We were first by a couple of hours, which might not seem like much, but in the case of rabid fanboys it is. My review was plastered all over the internet and, in some places, ripped apart by Nintendo fanboys who couldn't hack the concept of their super duper gritty Disney Wii killer app not meeting expectations. It got a lot of hits and a lot of exposure and that's not exactly ideal for some people when the score is 6.5/10.
2 years ago
Ahh. Knowing that, I bet you wished you scored it lower, just to shake the hornets nest.
2 years ago
In a way, yes icon_razz.gif.
2 years ago
Have to say that based on the record, yours is an opinion I can trust. Thanks for sharing your passions and insight.
2 years ago
Shame you won't be adding Kingdoms of Amalur to you're impressive review collection on this site.

Along with all the great games you reviewed, I would more so like to thank you for all the bad games you reviewed. Playing bad games so we don't have to.

I have an idea, you could review the Tales of Symphonia remake on 3DS if you go to another site and have things come full circle.

Im curious, after you leave how many people would still be here that have been with the site since the beginning?
2 years ago
GooberMan wrote
Thanks, glad I wasn't kept out of the loop. I may not be the most frequent poster but I've been a regular (visitor) to this site for 6 years. Of course, the writers of this site lead, I will follow.
2 years ago
You've reviewed some great games Jeremy. Lost Odyssey, Dragon Quest, Tales of Symphonia, Metal Gear, Valkyria Chronicles, OutLand, Zelda and even NIER! Some of your reviews have made me purchase actual games so thanks good sir.

I think I'll tag along with all the other guys above.
2 years ago
I have agreed with pretty much every review I have read of yours during my stay here, look forward to reading many more on thisnew site when it gets up and running. I can honestly say now that I probably wont frequent this site much now there isnt any new news or reviews but look forward to catching up with everyone on greener pastures!
2 years ago
Jeremy, excellent work and an excellent career with PALGN. You got style! icon_clap.gif
2 years ago
Congratulations, Jeremeister! An awesome list of reviews to say the least.

NIER
2 years ago
I AM COPYING. And man it's hard for me to pick - I've done a LOT of really high quality titles.

Killzone 2: One of my first really big titles to review, and one I was very proud of as an article as well. I was full of excitement and still hold it as one of the PS3's finest titles.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves: I played and finished the game on the hardest difficulty available and got a review up in less than 12 hours overall. Not joking. It's also the first 9.5 I ever gave out and was an adrenaline rush to get done and on time against competitive sites. Feelsgoodman.jpg

LittleBigPlanet 2: I pissed people off with this one and it made me laugh lots. This was good times for sure. Andy hates me ehehehe.

Battlefield 3: This games score did not please the publisher, this is for sure. But I felt I justified its score and was happy with how my review panned out for it.

Modern Warfare 2: Showing off my PC pride and doing an entirely seperate review to Anthony's excellent review for console, I took this game down a couple of notches and told it how it was on PC. Felt good at the time to be able to knock it down like that and be honest.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty: This game was so exciting and passion-fueled when it came to its review. Over a decade of anticipating it and replaying SC1 over and over again, and it was finally here. Another very big game for me, as it was my second 9.5.

Demon's Souls: A very difficult game to review as it took hours to complete combined with immense challenge. It was also not even available in Australia at the time, so I was one of the only aussie dudes around that took this one on.

And finally

Dark Souls: The only game I have ever given a 10 to. The only game I will defend to the grave when it comes to its rating, and most importantly it was my most passionate and extensive review. I poured into it after 100+ hours of game time and for me personally, it's my holy grail for reviews.

Good times and great classic hits with PALGN. Hopefully with that new place that I am probably heavily involved in will continue all this.

icon_biggrin.gif
2 years ago
I was just thinking, do you know how many reviews you've written over the years, Jeremy? I'm not sure if you or PALGN keep track of it.
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