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Roundtable: Has GTA IV lived up to the hype?
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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 11:00 pm Post subject: Roundtable: Has GTA IV lived up to the hype? Reply with quote

Roundtable: Has GTA IV lived up to the hype? by Luke
PALGN Feature: Our staff and readers deliver their verdict.
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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 11:36 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

Surely a verdict on any connection between reality and the hype can't be delivered until the hype has died down, which it clearly hasn't yet.
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 1:07 am Post subject: Reply with quote

Dead on Spanca. I'd put it to everybody in that article, have you actually finished the game yet?

The game rocks and the amount, effort and polish that Rockstar put into the game clearly shines through. I'm not sure I'm happy with it taking the number one game of all time though.

GTA is GTA though. It's like Zelda for Nintendo fanboys. Put anything in front of them and they'll lap it up regardless.
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 1:17 am Post subject: Reply with quote

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Passa
mayo
Lord Haart
Loved what Harry had to say personally, he put it very well.
Congrats to Passa and Capoiea on making it in.
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 2:28 am Post subject: Reply with quote

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My verdict:

It's no San Andreas. Which itself was no GTA1. It's sitting rather nicely as "third favourite GTA game" right now.
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 3:43 am Post subject: Reply with quote

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mikezilla2
I guess I find myself in the same position as Passa; new to the series, not 100% comfortable with sandbox gameplay yet (mainly the fact that I find the objectives don't seem very important, but maybe that's just me), yet I'm blown away by the sheer amount of stuff on the disc.

I can only assume that Euphoria really is the engine it's hyped up to be, because there's clearly no room for animations left of the disc, yet the game feels more real than any game to date. It's not like havoc - havoc is merely bringing inanimate objects to life. Euphoria makes everything in this game breathe. The cutscenes are excellent, the missions inventive, and the gameplay varied. While I know I'll have to work on getting myself comfortable with the style of gameplay, I know it will be worth the effort.

My issue really boils down to the fact that I am a perfectionist, and I don't want to do the same missions over and over again in an attempt to perfect them (or to finish then in the first place; sometimes the controls have made it pretty hard for me). That said, once I start to "live a little", I'm sure I'll be sucked right in and will probably devote FAR too much time to this offering from R*.

Oh, and in the end I got the 18+ version through ebay. Arrived on friday, so no complaints there. icon_biggrin.gif
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 3:57 am Post subject: Reply with quote

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Great game, but certainly not perfect. No game could be labelled as such.
TIP: Don't play on an CRT SDTV, you'll get headaches from trying to see through the shadows and reading the tiny text!
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 1:51 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

GTAIV in my opinion, is one of those rarities - that reviewers should not become too hyper-critical about the flaws because they can develop a mentality that the game is much less than it is. My opinion? I've probably never had more fun in a game than I have in GTAIV. Sure, it's not technically perfect, and I acknowledge its flaws, but it wouldn't stop me labelling it 10/10.

This is the one time where I will say to the Gamespots and the IGNs (and PALGNs, even) to sit back, lap it up, and don't be afraid to follow the hype and give the game a perfect score. The success of GTA lies in the fact that it is constantly entertaining, but still actually a long game. For every 5 minutes of perfection in Final Fantasy VII, there's always 55 minutes of annoying drudgery. Who said there was anything wrong with refining a formula most thought was already perfect?
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 2:03 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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NismoR34
samiboi
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Buttmouth
The Brett wrote:
This is the one time where I will say to the Gamespots and the IGNs (and PALGNs, even) to sit back, lap it up, and don't be afraid to follow the hype and give the game a perfect score. The success of GTA lies in the fact that it is constantly entertaining, but still actually a long game. For every 5 minutes of perfection in Final Fantasy VII, there's always 55 minutes of annoying drudgery. Who said there was anything wrong with refining a formula most thought was already perfect?

Took the words right out of my mouth. If you're reviewing GTA as a piece of entertainment (which it is) then it's near perfect IMO. If you're being a nasty pedant determined to pick apart flaws for the sake of it, then it may not be perfect, but that's not what it intended to do. It's not the product of a bunch of personality-devoid engineers.
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 2:04 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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Spanca wrote:
Surely a verdict on any connection between reality and the hype can't be delivered until the hype has died down, which it clearly hasn't yet.

I was thinking this exact same thing actually but if the question is being asked right now, you answer with what you've got icon_wink.gif

Regardless of the timing, this game has legs. I could boot up San Andreas right now and still have fun with it. What's it been now? 4 years since it came out? And GTA IV is clearly a better game than any of it's predecessors so I've got the same high hopes that four years down the track, I'll still fondly look back on it.
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 2:12 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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Spanca wrote:
The Brett wrote:
This is the one time where I will say to the Gamespots and the IGNs (and PALGNs, even) to sit back, lap it up, and don't be afraid to follow the hype and give the game a perfect score. The success of GTA lies in the fact that it is constantly entertaining, but still actually a long game. For every 5 minutes of perfection in Final Fantasy VII, there's always 55 minutes of annoying drudgery. Who said there was anything wrong with refining a formula most thought was already perfect?

Took the words right out of my mouth. If you're reviewing GTA as a piece of entertainment (which it is) then it's near perfect IMO. If you're being a nasty pedant determined to pick apart flaws for the sake of it, then it may not be perfect, but that's not what it intended to do. It's not the product of a bunch of personality-devoid engineers.

Then every game should be treated the same. Get rid of the 1000 word reviews and scores. All you need is a check box: "Is this game entertaining? Yes [] No []".
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 2:14 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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Spanca wrote:
The Brett wrote:
This is the one time where I will say to the Gamespots and the IGNs (and PALGNs, even) to sit back, lap it up, and don't be afraid to follow the hype and give the game a perfect score. The success of GTA lies in the fact that it is constantly entertaining, but still actually a long game. For every 5 minutes of perfection in Final Fantasy VII, there's always 55 minutes of annoying drudgery. Who said there was anything wrong with refining a formula most thought was already perfect?

Took the words right out of my mouth. If you're reviewing GTA as a piece of entertainment (which it is) then it's near perfect IMO. If you're being a nasty pedant determined to pick apart flaws for the sake of it, then it may not be perfect, but that's not what it intended to do. It's not the product of a bunch of personality-devoid engineers.


Harry's piece particularly irritated me. I've loved PALGN for years because it's always been the most partial, most hype-avoiding, most accurate and most unbiased review source. I've based countless purchases on the back of this site's praise. The only thing worse than being IGN is trying to be the anti-IGN for the sake of it. It's important for reviewers to be critical, but it HAS TO be in the context of the overall experience. The GTA series has always been more than the sum of its parts; if you break it down too much you're only doing yourself an injustice.
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 2:27 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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Buttmouth
James
^ I liked the irony of Harry's piece, bemoaning the hype surrounding this (or any) game, within an article that was rushed out to pander to that very hype.

nikack wrote:
Spanca wrote:
The Brett wrote:
This is the one time where I will say to the Gamespots and the IGNs (and PALGNs, even) to sit back, lap it up, and don't be afraid to follow the hype and give the game a perfect score. The success of GTA lies in the fact that it is constantly entertaining, but still actually a long game. For every 5 minutes of perfection in Final Fantasy VII, there's always 55 minutes of annoying drudgery. Who said there was anything wrong with refining a formula most thought was already perfect?

Took the words right out of my mouth. If you're reviewing GTA as a piece of entertainment (which it is) then it's near perfect IMO. If you're being a nasty pedant determined to pick apart flaws for the sake of it, then it may not be perfect, but that's not what it intended to do. It's not the product of a bunch of personality-devoid engineers.

Then every game should be treated the same. Get rid of the 1000 word reviews and scores. All you need is a check box: "Is this game entertaining? Yes [] No []".

Well no, there's varying degrees of entertainment. I would have thought that much was obvious. This is the exact thing I was talking about in another thread last week (Arbok's, on reviews, marketing and PR) about the lack of subjective appraisal in a review. Reviews of games are so often by numbers, evaluating how it looks in a quantitative manner, or how it sounds, or how long it lasts. How many film reviews do you read like that?
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 2:53 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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Buttmouth
Spanca wrote:
This is the exact thing I was talking about in another thread last week (Arbok's, on reviews, marketing and PR) about the lack of subjective appraisal in a review. Reviews of games are so often by numbers, evaluating how it looks in a quantitative manner, or how it sounds, or how long it lasts. How many film reviews do you read like that?


Whoa, best point i've read in a while.I think spanca is right here, it's the small things like this unwritten law that games must be broken down into categories and percentages and digits rather then having an objective across the board analysis.

It seems to serve the lowest common denominator, by providing a visual cue for whether or not the game is worth playing, by rating it in potatoes or thumbs up or some shit.With a more professional take on reviewing a game a more professional view of the medium might be taken by outsiders.

Ooh, and err........gta is great but, shock horror, is not the second coming of jesus that some sites will lead you to believe.It's a bit second rate to give a game like gta a perfect score, when another game, saints row, has done certain things that much better.While gta easily trumps SR in many areas, SE provided simple answers to problems that have plagued the gta series for a while now.Whether rockstar didn't believe their problems were so glaring they needed fixing or that they didn't want to acknowledge that saints row did so many things right by incorporating them into their own game, we'll never know.

I still believe zelda oot, at the time, to be a perfect example of a ten, it did everything right for it's time, and while with the benefit of hindsight we can look back at it now and pick it to pieces in comparison to other games that may have improved upon it's gameplay since, the point still remains these games came 'after' zelda, rather then the case with SR and gta, where SR came out before, and gta has stubbornly refused to incorporate certain gameplay evolutions into it's own game.It's hard to then in turn justify giving a game a perfect score, as good as it is, when obvious flaws are left unchecked.
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 3:04 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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Spanca wrote:
^ I liked the irony of Harry's piece, bemoaning the hype surrounding this (or any) game, within an article that was rushed out to pander to that very hype.


I must take the blame for the rushed out part - I suggested to Luke that we needed something like this to keep the GTA coverage going over the weekend while the review was still being authored.

I totally understood the irony of dissecting the hype while feeding on it ourselves. It's not necessarily a bad thing thing, though. It captures the sentiment at the time of release. While we can look back on the event 6 months down the track, we need something to look back on.
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 3:35 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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James wrote:
Spanca wrote:
^ I liked the irony of Harry's piece, bemoaning the hype surrounding this (or any) game, within an article that was rushed out to pander to that very hype.

I must take the blame for the rushed out part - I suggested to Luke that we needed something like this to keep the GTA coverage going over the weekend while the review was still being authored.

I totally understood the irony of dissecting the hype while feeding on it ourselves. It's not necessarily a bad thing thing, though. It captures the sentiment at the time of release. While we can look back on the event 6 months down the track, we need something to look back on.

tbh, i thought the timing was perfect for a piece "living up to the hype" - in a way.

i mean, i think "living up to the hype" is all in the initial impressions, which is what most of us here are still running on (i'd hazard a guess that even 15 hours in, it's still the honeymoon period for the game). i guess i'm really drawing from the other hyped game: Halo 3. the hype was there, the initial impressions were pretty "meh".

however, i do think the actual "dissecting" can't be done right now, as it is, as Spanca said, a little too early to do so.

perhaps "Hype vs. First Impressions" would've been a better topic/definition for the piece.

still: good article.
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 3:44 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

The Brett wrote:
Spanca wrote:
The Brett wrote:
This is the one time where I will say to the Gamespots and the IGNs (and PALGNs, even) to sit back, lap it up, and don't be afraid to follow the hype and give the game a perfect score. The success of GTA lies in the fact that it is constantly entertaining, but still actually a long game. For every 5 minutes of perfection in Final Fantasy VII, there's always 55 minutes of annoying drudgery. Who said there was anything wrong with refining a formula most thought was already perfect?

Took the words right out of my mouth. If you're reviewing GTA as a piece of entertainment (which it is) then it's near perfect IMO. If you're being a nasty pedant determined to pick apart flaws for the sake of it, then it may not be perfect, but that's not what it intended to do. It's not the product of a bunch of personality-devoid engineers.


Harry's piece particularly irritated me. I've loved PALGN for years because it's always been the most partial, most hype-avoiding, most accurate and most unbiased review source. I've based countless purchases on the back of this site's praise. The only thing worse than being IGN is trying to be the anti-IGN for the sake of it. It's important for reviewers to be critical, but it HAS TO be in the context of the overall experience. The GTA series has always been more than the sum of its parts; if you break it down too much you're only doing yourself an injustice.


I found it painful to read all the other pieces, yet Harry had the balls to say what needed to be said. No one is saying that the game is bad here, so don't run down PALGN for giving your new favourite game a few crosses. The argument is has GTAIV lived up to the hype, not is it a good game.

There's hype, and there's marketing.: this game was heavily marketed, the trailers awe inspiring, the tid bits of information made anyone squeal with anticipation. But did it live up to the hype? That's based on ones opinion. I'm not sure if the people answering the question for the article actually understood the question and thought about it. They answered with propaganda, give us a break, we have read enough praise for the game. Can we at least stand aside and answer the question without being bias?

I didn't let myself get hyped - the only thing I had really seen were the initial trailers showcasing the graphics. I avoided any news about the upcoming game, because I wanted the story to be fresh, new gameplay additions to be make me wow. I imagined that this game would be San Andreas x 100, being on next-gen consoles and what not.

I was not hyped by the outside. I had anticipated in my mind that the game was going to be so much better than San Andreas and it's predecessors.

In that respect I was disappointed. It went on a different tangent. There was no 'rise the ranks' or 'build an empire' aim to the game, it was a revenge story. Oh well, big deal. But It took things out of the previous games that had been slowly built up. In VC and SA money had a purpose, with the ability to buy buildings and what not. This time the most expensive outing you will have is a trip to Perveus for a suit. All the while, the story is telling you that Niko is doing his missions for money. The revenge side of things with tracking down Florian and Darko was extremely anti-climactic. The story was based on money earning and revenge, but I believe there was no purpose to any of it. I'd be sitting there having a riot of a time one minute, and the next shaking my head at the ridiculous plot.

I was at first not happy about the new driving physics, with a pretty steep learning curve. But once I got over that I think it just suits the game perfectly. The 'hide behind anything' was a nice addition. However I think once again they didn't quite get the shooting right. It seemed that every time an enemy hid, they would come out of cover at the same interval every time. You could almost kill them with your eyes shut if you timed their spurts of shooting correctly and waited for them to jump out every 3 seconds or whatever it was.

The AI is atrocious and anyone who disagrees is a fool. Standing still shooting spurts of 5 bullets then reloading is absurd, and hiding behind a crate and shooting at regular intervals is hardly groundbreaking. There are dozens and dozens of games with far better 'battle' AI than this. I mean, having 30 gangsters staggered in and around a dilapidated warehouse, just standing still is, was done way back in the original GTA days. Yet it seemed like every other mission this was pretty much the formula. But at the same time, that's what you expect. I didn't get the game for a dating sim, I wanted to kill, and kill a lot.

The story was great, but could have been better. For instance having more alternate storylines based on who you did or did not kill. Having a non-linear sandbox game would be pretty badass, you can't disagree with that.

The gameplay was great but there's always room for improvement with the AI and shooting system. Can you disagree with that?

Don't get me wrong, I have a lot praise for this game. I was engaged to it for the last week and couldn't put it down. I love it when blockbusters come along to keep me entertained for a long time, not these 'casual' games that seem to be the craze.

Where was I? Oh yeah, did it live up to the hype? Fuck no. Is it a good game? Hell yeah.
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 3:46 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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Buttmouth
Spanca wrote:
If you're being a nasty pedant determined to pick apart flaws for the sake of it, then it may not be perfect, but that's not what it intended to do. It's not the product of a bunch of personality-devoid engineers.


Spanca wrote:
Reviews of games are so often by numbers, evaluating how it looks in a quantitative manner, or how it sounds, or how long it lasts. How many film reviews do you read like that?


I'm not sure if I'm missing your point here, Spanca, but these comments seem contradictory. You want game reviews to be less by-the-numbers, less 'consumer guide'-ish, yet picking apart the flaws of the game is being a 'nasty pedant'? I may have taken the second comment slightly out-of-context, and for that I apologise, but I think it's still illustrative of the bind that reviewers often seem to find themselves in.

The great Pauline Kael once wrote:

Pauline Kael wrote:
The role of the critic is to help people see what is in the work, what is in it that shouldn't be, what is not in it that could be. He is a good critic if he helps people understand more about the work than they could see for themselves; he is a great critic, if by his understanding and feeling for the work, by his passion, he can excite people so that they want to experience more of the art that is there, waiting to be siezed.


Being content to analyse GTA IV as having a great open world mechanic, a great gunplay/cover system, a great living, breathing world alone is lazy criticism. Anyone who buys the game and plays it for more than ten minutes will immediately come to the same conclusions.

This is not to say we should be 'pedants' and pull apart an otherwise perfect game, looking for criticisms. I've heard some justify the possibility of extreme, sadistic, misogynist violence in GTA with the quite eloquent argument that the decision not to commit such violence only means anything if you have the possibility of actually doing the opposite. It's the same here. We must necessarily examine what the game doesn't do well in order to fully appreciate what it does do brilliantly. We must look beyond simple consumer-advice analysis in order to fully illustrate why the game is that good, and that necessarily requires a more-than-the-greatness analysis.

Anyway Spanca, I'm not sure I'm actually disagreeing with you here (in fact, I suspect we agree), but I thought this was something worth pointing out, while we are on the argument of the role of game criticism.
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 3:57 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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samiboi
Passa
Buttmouth
I agree with what Passa wrote - I'm constantly finding something new that just makes me love this game even more - For example, browsing the net in-game and finding a website about Eunux, the GTA equivalent of Linux, and pissing myself laughing reading about why they chose 'Sux the Sea Cucumber' as their mascot. The formula of the game itself is nothing new, but its all the new additions and updated graphics that are making me love this game more and more as I keep playing. It's certainly not a perfect game, but it's damn close to it.
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 4:30 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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NismoR34
Daniel Golding
Daniel Golding wrote:
*wall of text*

The two positions you've attributed to me are essentially the same. Reviewing games from a quantitative approach, by the numbers, in a pedantic fashion to come up with a total score at the end of the day is not what I think we should be getting from 'professional' games journalists.

My favourite games 'reviews' are those done by the guys on the Totally Rad Show. They're far from 'pro' reviewers, but I find them to be the most reliable. They do them in exactly the same way as their movie reviews, with the 3 guys just sitting there discussing the game, what they did or didn't like, and the overall entertainment value of the game. Whilst there are discussions and comparisons of graphics and the like, there's no numbers or scores involved.
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 4:31 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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Personally I thought Super Mario Galaxy had more hype.
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 5:18 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe you should start going to more sites than just Vooks then.
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 5:38 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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lol ... I didn't even know what vooks was prior to going there today icon_smile.gif

I just think Galaxy was hyped more probably because it was hinted at being a launch title, then delayed a few months etc
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 7:39 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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I think they were pretty evenly Hyped on a whole, but for one reason or another you were exposed to SMG hype more than GTA hype. Outside of the internet though SMG and GTA I haven't heard talked about much and Halo 3's hype from what I experienced between irl and the internet was far larger than SMG or GTA combined. Once again though everyone does not live the same lives so we could never aggree on what was really most hyped. But I think a few people atleast would aggree that none of the 3 mentioned above lived up to the hype. For me though Hype means not how much I anticipate it but how crazy the media goes over it, as I try to avoid over anticipation for anything. Having said that I may have been a tiny bit over anticipating Halo 3.
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Harry Milonas




Status: Offline
Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 229
$poons: 82.80
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 8:04 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

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The Brett wrote:
Harry's piece particularly irritated me. I've loved PALGN for years because it's always been the most partial, most hype-avoiding, most accurate and most unbiased review source. I've based countless purchases on the back of this site's praise. The only thing worse than being IGN is trying to be the anti-IGN for the sake of it. It's important for reviewers to be critical, but it HAS TO be in the context of the overall experience. The GTA series has always been more than the sum of its parts; if you break it down too much you're only doing yourself an injustice.

In the context of the hubbub surrounding GTA IV's reviews, I can understand how some of my comments (lawl, "EXCLUSIVEly") may be seen as a direct jab at certain websites. I can only try and assure you Brett, they weren't meant as such. On the contrary, they were directed at the industry as a whole.

Look at almost any BIG NAME, heavily marketed videogame. Then look at the relation to our so-called 'games journalism' industry. Aside from the facts that a) we're crazy about numbers, thereby b) we're more often than not seen as extensions of the PR mouthpiece -- there's always an inherent rush of consumer-directed content that is almost always coupled with a quantitative over qualitative syndrome. Indeed, the very same 'breaking it down too much' mentality you decry.

So why does this happen? Because a publisher's PR wing isn't doing its job with bullet-point press releases? Because the people who have already decided on purchasing GTA IV aren't going to until they receive their day one dose of validation? Because the people oblivious and/or never fans of GTA in the first place are somehow going to change their tone after summarily reading "it's GTA, but with this and this but not this and this. So, PERFECT"? Because in a week's/month's/year's time all the copies of GTA IV will have grown legs and left the residence of your local games emporium?

Much like videogame design versus narratology, the writing and reporting aspect of this enthusiast industry has quite some balancing and maturing to do. Something I don't think will ever be fully achieved anytime soon, if ever. That said...

Spanca wrote:
Reviews of games are so often by numbers, evaluating how it looks in a quantitative manner, or how it sounds, or how long it lasts. How many film reviews do you read like that?

Jibbs wrote:
Whoa, best point i've read in a while.I think spanca is right here, it's the small things like this unwritten law that games must be broken down into categories and percentages and digits rather then having an objective across the board analysis.

I have a dream, Spanca and Jibbs. I have a dream. Then again, god help any publication's advertising revenue should I ever be given an executive editor's position.

In any case, cheers for the varied feedback on my particular piece in this roundtable folks.

Spanca wrote:
^ I liked the irony of Harry's piece, bemoaning the hype surrounding this (or any) game, within an article that was rushed out to pander to that very hype.

Bitchacho wrote:
I found it painful to read all the other pieces, yet Harry had the balls to say what needed to be said. No one is saying that the game is bad here, so don't run down PALGN for giving your new favourite game a few crosses. The argument is has GTAIV lived up to the hype, not is it a good game.

Actually, I'm both slightly surprised and relieved it went through the editing process untouched. Admittedly though, there was at least one part of it that understandably didn't make the director's cut. An image suggestion for the article, to be precise. If you know who GTA IV's Lola is -- along with her somewhat infamous lollypop-licking promotional artwork -- imagine an appropriately topical comment* placed below said image, for what I had in mind.

*Oooh, I just thought of another one! 'How many reviewer's licks does it take to get to the centre of a hypepop?' Eh? EH? Eh. Be keeping that one for Halo 4.
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