Why did GiantBomb skip Dark Souls? (Review-wise)

#1 Edited by latros (81 posts) -

I've always wondered this. I consider myself a 'game critic' - I know (at least, I think I know) what makes a good game over my 25 odd years of gaming... and Dark Souls is definitely a good - nay, a great game. The vast majority of actual paid critics out there, as well as the general gaming public - agree with me on Dark Souls being a great game.

I recall Jeff Gerstmann making some... pseudo-passive-aggressive remarks about Dark Souls around its release in some video saying something to the degree of 'A game where you die a bunch isn't a good game' without really giving it a chance.

Anyway, to my point; I enjoyed Dark Souls more than any other game from 2011, even moreso than Skyrim... and after I had dumped 110 hours into it (on my first playthrough), I've always had a sort of... nagging bitterness towards Jeff for "shrugging off" Dark Souls without really seeing it for the beautiful game that it is.

So... why did GiantBomb skip Dark Souls? Every other major game review site under the sun gave it a chance - and loved it! 9.0+ across the board... yet GiantBomb seemingly didn't give it a chance because of Jeff? :(

Anywho - this topic came to mind as I once again return to play some Dark Souls, and it once again started bugging me as I played.

Dark Souls lover, out

Edit; Oh, and Brad totally didn't like it in the QuickLook. Vinny liked it and bought+kept playing it post-Quick-Look, but had mixed feelings due to it's difficulty.

TLDR: Based on talk during podcasts and a quick look, giantbomb didn't really like Dark Souls and didn't bother reviewing it. I love dark souls, I think it's a masterpeice and a work of art, damn you!... and they didn't like it. That makes me mad. Why didn't they like it?

#2 Posted by wefwefasdf (6729 posts) -

None of them were interested to review it at the time.

#3 Posted by Kedi2 (255 posts) -

Because all of the crew, other than Vinny, don't like the game and don't think it is worth playing, and since Vinny doesn't review games, the game got no review.

#4 Posted by beeftothetaco (426 posts) -

Who knows. They didn't do a review of Red Dead Redemption either.

#5 Edited by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -

I think they covered it enough (quite a bit more than most games they end up reviewing) to give people a good idea about how the game goes and whether or not it's the type of game for them. In addition to the quicklook they had Ryan play through the opening and at least up to the bridge dragon for his first time while being coached by Vinny and Patrick during some live stream once (archive should be in the subscriber videos section somewhere I think). It did a great job of acting as a tutorial, which new people definitely need. And it told me all I needed to know that I had to at least try it.
 
I also had that bitterness while Jeff shrugged off Red Dead Redemption, but had gotten well past it by the time Dark Souls came around, so it didn't surprise or bother me this time.

#6 Edited by Nottle (1915 posts) -

@Kedi2 said:

Because all of the crew, other than Vinny, don't like the game and don't think it is worth playing, and since Vinny doesn't review games, the game got no review.

To be fair Brad and Patrick did play it and say they "liked" the game.

#7 Posted by Voxus (350 posts) -

You will either love Dark/Demon Souls or you will hate Dark/Demon Souls. Hard to contextualize.

#8 Posted by Vager (1654 posts) -

Rorie was suppose to review it, but was too busy with Screened so he written a long article about it instead. I believe Vinny really enjoyed the game. I think it was in his top 10 list of 2011.

#9 Posted by ez123 (1997 posts) -

He shat on that game many times because of people like you and your reaction to his opinion. You could hear the glee in his voice, there was nothing pseudo-passive-aggressive about it.

#10 Posted by Kedi2 (255 posts) -

@beeftothetaco said:

Who knows. They didn't do a review of Red Dead Redemption either.

If I remember right, Rockstar never sent them a review copy, so by the time they were able to properly review the game it had already become old news.

#11 Posted by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -
@Vager: Yeah I forgot about that article. There was plenty of convincing stuff on the site for those who might be into this type of game.
#12 Posted by MiniPato (2752 posts) -

@Kedi2 said:

Because all of the crew, other than Vinny, don't like the game and don't think it is worth playing, and since Vinny doesn't review games, the game got no review.

Well Vinny has written reviews for games before on Giant Bomb, though infrequent. It's just that he can afford to take his time getting through games and by the time he beat Dark Souls it would be too late for a review.

The closest thing to a review is probably Rorie's write up about his 40 something hours with the game.

#13 Posted by NathHaw (2803 posts) -

Dark Souls is my game of this generation. Jeff is cool, and you're letting his tongue-in-cheek comments about the game bother you too much.

#14 Posted by NathHaw (2803 posts) -

@Anwar: You are coming off as another part of the internet that is bad.

#15 Posted by Shirogane (3581 posts) -

@nrh79 said:

@Anwar: You are coming off as another part of the internet that is bad.

Which part of the internet isn't bad?

I was going to point to Rorie's review, but it turns out that's not a proper review. I guess it's the closest thing though.

#16 Posted by Ragemachine (40 posts) -

Would a review for Dark Souls really matter? When the game hit there was a big following and fan reaction for it pretty much right out the gate, and they took the time to show it off and they all expressed opinions on it; the review doesn't seem necessary to me. From what they showed and the ample amount of fan reaction to it there was more than enough information out there to form your opinion on the game without needing their specific review, especially considering it wasn't a style of game any of the Giant Bomb staff were really all that interested in.

#17 Posted by BisonHero (7068 posts) -

I don't know whether I was meant to keep this on the down-lo, but there's this to consider:

If I had to guess, maybe review duties were passed from Rorie to Kessler (or vice versa), then they both became too busy to write up a proper review of it, so Rorie cranked out his editorial summary of Dark Souls.

#18 Posted by devilzrule27 (1239 posts) -

You played and enjoyed the game, why do you care if they reviewed it or not?

#19 Posted by SaturdayNightSpecials (2446 posts) -

The only editor who wanted to play much of Dark Souls was Vinny, who obviously doesn't have time to review anything because he has other duties. He also probably felt that his take on the game wouldn't be very helpful because he's a casual fan of the series.

There ended up being a lot of Dark Souls coverage even without a review, and it was positive overall. So I'm not sure what the big issue is supposed to be.

#20 Posted by DeF (4979 posts) -

I think what ended up happening is ultimately far better than having a proper review. They have Rorie's long article about it, a 90+(?) minute quick look with Rorie who knows his stuff AND the newbie approach where they had Ryan try the game for about 2 hours with Rorie backseat driving.

#21 Posted by Willin (1285 posts) -

Dark Souls is a trick game to review. Depending on what you came off on you could call it a cheap aggravating piece of shit or the greatest game ever made.

#22 Posted by NathHaw (2803 posts) -

@devilzrule27: I played and enjoyed the game. I'd like to see how one them would have reviewed the game. I care about what the guys at GB think. Sometimes in reviews, they get me to think about my own opinions on things. Sometimes they change my mind or they introduce ideas I hadn't thought of. People like reviews.

#23 Posted by Foghorn6 (36 posts) -

@0blivion said:

You will either love Dark/Demon Souls or you will hate Dark/Demon Souls. Hard to contextualize.

So would you say that Dark Souls and Demon's Souls won't leave you indifferent?

#24 Posted by devilzrule27 (1239 posts) -

@nrh79: Then listen to the podcasts around the time of the games release. Some of them have played it and stated their thoughts on the game. Problem solved.

#25 Posted by NathHaw (2803 posts) -

@devilzrule27: I have listened to their discussions. I like reviews in addition. It's a different kind of information. Take Brad for example. He speaks differently in a review than on a podcast.

#26 Posted by devilzrule27 (1239 posts) -

@nrh79: Then you are just being nit picky and I can't help you. haha They aren't going to review every game, they just don't have the staff to do it. Take what you can get I guess.

#27 Posted by CJduke (800 posts) -

Brad and Patrick both gave the game a fair chance, and I believe it made it into their top 15 for game of the year before they cut it. Jeff doesn't really 'hate' the game, he understands why people like it and accepts that it is good, its just personally not for him. They put up a lot of content about the game during its release and if you were able to read Rorie's write up, you can clearly tell the game would have gotten 5 stars. After spending a few years on Giantbomb now I have come to learn that each person on the site has their own taste in games and you are never going to agree with everything they say. I used to get mad at Jeff when he said a game I liked wasn't good, but I now know Jeff and I don't usually like the same stuff so it is what it is. Its unfair to get mad at him about the situation, it wasn't his fault the game never got a review.

#28 Posted by Milkman (17337 posts) -

Pretty sure the only person in the office to actually finish Dark Souls was Kessler.

#29 Posted by BoOzak (999 posts) -

@Anwar: Giant Bomb isnt a single entity they're allowed to have differing opinions ;p (not saying you disagree you just phrased it kind of weirdly)

But yeah, they talked a ton about what they did and didnt like about the game around the time it came out. So for anyone who wanted their opinion on the game it's out there. All reviews represent is one person's take on the game. Writing a review a month or so after everyone else has already said their piece doesnt really serve any purpose, you dont need any further validation at that point because chances are you've already bought it.

#30 Posted by supamon (1334 posts) -

The one and a half hour long quick look of the game should be more than enough to help anyone decide whether it's a game they might like to try out or not.

The game did well enough being what it is anyway so I'm sure there will be another souls game for Jeff to say negative stuff about.

#31 Posted by ArbitraryWater (12130 posts) -

The unfortunate part of Giant Bomb having as homogenous an editorial staff as it does is that if a game isn't within their purview of tastes it isn't going to be covered, or if it does it's going to be covered with either mockery or indifference (Rorie did do a great write up though). That being said, I wonder why you care. Sure, it was basically snubbed during the GOTY decisions because Jeff and Ryan weren't keen on it and the other 3 weren't willing to push the point, but at the end of the day you don't need a review from them because plenty of other people have vindicated your opinion already. Every single other big website has given it its due, as well as large chunks of the internet at large. I even gave it my GOTY over Skyrim last year.

#32 Posted by Jost1 (2078 posts) -

Giant bomb views reviews as purchasing advice.

It doesn't make a lot of sense to put a review out if it's not gonna be useful as purchasing advice. People kinda already know if they like Dark Souls or not.

#33 Posted by James_Giant_Peach (751 posts) -

You spent 110 hours on your first playthrough? Dude...

#34 Posted by CornBREDX (6059 posts) -

They were pretty clear they were uninterested in it despite the fact that its considered a fantastic game. The way I understood Jeff's comments on it is only people that like games like Dark Souls would play Dark Souls and hes not one of those people. (His words are "crazy people", but he generally uses the word "crazy" to mean "fans" or people way into a specific thing it seems as he also says hes crazy for how much he enjoys Trackmania haha)

Wasn't a big deal as in the end Ryan ended up playing for several hours on a live stream which was great. That was enough coverage of it for me and I'd alrdy been way into it by the quick look anyways.

I'm really tired, so if none of this makes sense or something shoot me later =P

#35 Posted by supamon (1334 posts) -

@James_Giant_Peach said:

You spent 110 hours on your first playthrough? Dude...

What's wrong with that? I spent a hundred hours on my first play through too. I was helping random strangers and friends through areas and explored every single for all the secret treasure.

#36 Posted by Draxyle (1898 posts) -

Dark Souls really didn't need a review, and I wouldn't have wanted one to come from Giantbomb. Everyone who wanted that game knew they were getting in to and knew they were going to buy it. There was tons of coverage of this game too, even if it didn't always come from the main crew (thanks Rorie!). Vinny even talked a lot about it and defended the game for the most part.

And anyways, the more we pressure them into something, the less they want to do it. I think they even go on record to say just that (ie, stop asking for ER's). There was a fanatical base here surrounding Demon's/Dark Souls that wouldn't stop pestering them about it at the time, of course they wouldn't want to go near it (people are doing the same thing with Xenoblade right now, and you can tell that most of them don't really want to go near it, probably because of that).

Basically, let GB do what they wanna do. If we pressure them into things we'll only get exactly what we deserve (unless you're able to ask politely for what you want, without spamming them for it). Dark Souls was my GotY, I don't need Giantbomb to "validate" that for me.

#37 Posted by krazy_kyle (715 posts) -

While I think alot of the game is enjoyable, I also think is so f***ing cheap when it comes to many of the bosses which would greatly lower the overall score for me. The tutorial system is crap too, as in there isn't one!!

#38 Posted by Cincaid (2959 posts) -

@latros: I love Dark Souls as well (even if I ragequit on the final boss and haven't even tried him again), but you have to agree that it's not a game for everyone. Nothing to get upset about really, and it's not like GB reviews every single game that's released out there. If Red Dead Redemption was 2010's "where the hell is the review?"-game, Dark Souls is probably 2011's.

#39 Posted by beej (1674 posts) -
@DeF: Hmm I must have missed the Ryan Video and I can't find it in any of the subscriber stuff any idea what the video is titled?
#40 Edited by DeF (4979 posts) -

@beej said:

@DeF: Hmm I must have missed the Ryan Video and I can't find it in any of the subscriber stuff any idea what the video is titled?

I had to look through everything myself to find it (it's really well hidden, guys ...). It's the 2-part "Welcome Back, Tricaster" video (Nov. 4) where they started off with Jeff going nuts about Skylanders :)

Dark Souls with Ryan and later Rorie (I forgot that Will, Patrick and Vinny hung out on the couch, too) starts in the first video right at the end (like 10 mins before) with character creation and continues all through the end of the second vid. Before that Jeff and Patrick check out Perfect Dark Zero or something lol

#41 Posted by StrikeALight (1114 posts) -

Too long, too hard, too disinterested. Though I think we can all agree that it deserves 5 stars.

#42 Posted by dudeglove (8307 posts) -

@beeftothetaco said:

Who knows. They didn't do a review of Red Dead Redemption either.

That was mostly because they spent far too much time discussing it on podcasts and the QL. By the time they were theoretically meant to review it, it was pretty clear what their opinion was.

Online
#43 Posted by ShadowSkill11 (1783 posts) -

Probably because they never finished the game due to it's time/effort ratio.

#44 Posted by countinhallways (630 posts) -

@Cincaid: You can parry most of his attacks. Once you get the timing down he is actually remarkably easy. Easy but satisfying, as you really feel like a bad-ass brushing aside the sword of this supposed great warrior and making him look like a right numpty.

Use the Hornet ring and a suitable weapon to up your critical hit damage and take him down even quicker if necessary.

Don't give up! ლ(ಠ_ಠლ)

#45 Posted by beej (1674 posts) -
@DeF said:

@beej said:

@DeF: Hmm I must have missed the Ryan Video and I can't find it in any of the subscriber stuff any idea what the video is titled?

I had to look through everything myself to find it (it's really well hidden, guys ...). It's the 2-part "Welcome Back, Tricaster" video (Nov. 4) where they started off with Jeff going nuts about Skylanders :)

Dark Souls with Ryan and later Rorie (I forgot that Will, Patrick and Vinny hung out on the couch, too) starts in the first video right at the end (like 10 mins before) with character creation and continues all through the end of the second vid. Before that Jeff and Patrick check out Perfect Dark Zero or something lol

You're beautiful.
#46 Posted by Jimbo (10004 posts) -
@StrikeALight said:

Too long, too hard, too disinterested.

Pretty much.
#47 Edited by M_Shini (551 posts) -

To be fair i don't use any of Giantbomb reviews as a piece that influence's my purchasing decisions, the Quicklook and discussion they did on the game is more than enough to show someone if they did or didn't want to play the game, Giantbom doesn't need to justifies standout major games existence with a score and a few paragraphs.

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