Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Welcome to the Criticism Industry

My first review is up over at Game Positive. I have to tell you that I'm very proud to be a part of the site. I think they do an excellent job generating quality content.

When I played Penny Arcade Adventures, I was taken aback by the incredibly high quality of art that this game represents. And I'm not talking about "ooh these environments are pretty," I'm talking about the artform that is game design—the feat that is creating a seamless, compelling, and elegant game experience.

I can tell you right now who will not enjoy this game: people who are offended by vulgarity, people who expect engrossing adventure puzzles, and people who want high action. But what happens when someone creates a game that doesn't mesh with your taste, despite achieving its goals with perfect execution? The problem with the Penny Arcade game is that hard core gamers are disappointed by the simplicity of the gameplay. And a lot of casual gamers can't stomach the game's humor.

This is a complicated issue, so I'll only say this: I think a reviewer's job is to tell you whether a game succeeds at what it is attempting to do and whether what the game attempts is something that you might like. The Penny Arcade game is not for everyone. But if you read my review and it sounds interesting to you, I think you will find that this game deserves higher than an 8.4. It may be a "niche game" in terms of humor and gameplay, but the niche is served flawlessly.

Lost Odyssey got mediocre scores because the industry is no longer impressed by turn-based combat. Viva Pinata received a tepid response because it looked like a kids' game and was actually a complicated affair. The Penny Arcade game features vulgar, dry wit and uncomplicated action and adventuring. But all three of these are brilliantly executed pieces of art. How do you put a numerical score on such a feat?

Excerpt from the review:
The artist/writer/industry-satirizing duo of Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins have finally taken the designer seats to create a game based on Penny Arcade - the phenomenally successful web comic and blog that you probably already know about if you're reading this review. Enter Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness: an action-adventure hybrid that combines clever writing and a brilliant comic art vibe with world exploration, quasi-turn-based combat, and saving mankind.

Continued at Game Positive...


At 12:23 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

Congrats Kaitlyn! Nice review!

At 6:03 PM, Blogger Ari said...

Blog post of possible interest


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