#1 Edited by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

I am a tad worried that we've had two reviews, within relatively close temporal proximity, of games that were not finished by the writer. Specifically I'm referring to Steel Battalion and Scott Tenorman's Revenge. I could deal with the Sotuh Park game because it was pretty clearly a cash-in with no real value, but I was genuinely interested to hear if Steel Battalion eventually got good. What did we actually get out of the review that we didn't get from 2 minutes of the Quick Look?

I remember back in the early days that Jeff Gerstmann was considering doing a write-up without a score of Dark Sector (he eventually finished the game, making it GB's first review). I would rather see a separate category for that type of written content, so that reviews can retain their value and status. I don't think that this is an unreasonable thing to request, as it ultimately serves us the users better by clearly differentiating formats of criticism.

#2 Posted by wemibelec90 (1831 posts) -

Is it really worth a person's time if a game starts out that badly and only gets good after a bunch of pain and effort? I don't think it is. It's a touchy subject for a reason but I think it was an alright decision.

#3 Posted by bslayer (220 posts) -

While I agree that reviews without completing the game are kind of a bummer, they are simply an opinion piece and if you're able to tell if a game is fun or not within a few hours (or minutes) then I see no reason not to post a score. As long as you read the review and maybe check some other sources, then if you're still interested go ahead and play it. Just try not to have your expectations set too high.

#4 Posted by triviaman09 (803 posts) -

It's not a different form of criticism, though. It's still a poor review that marks this thing as not worthy of your time. It would just be one without a score, for some reason. I don't understand why people have this obsession with reviewers finishing games.

#5 Posted by Spoonman671 (4769 posts) -

I can tell you that shit stinks without sticking my nose in a pile.

#6 Posted by criacow (63 posts) -

I'm with -- although I'd add the caveat of "as long as the reviewer admits they didn't finish it and says how much they played/they're covering," which in both cases they did.

#7 Posted by alternate (2720 posts) -

If it is unplayable then what is the point? I am sure they would love to drop the review scores - either occasionally or all together - but the public demands it.

#8 Posted by RandomInternetUser (6789 posts) -

It's not a problem at all. They've actually discussed this topic on a podcast a long time ago and as I remember it they're thoughts were something like as long as you feel like nothing that happens in the rest of the game could possibly change your opinion of that game and you disclose that you didn't finish it in the review, then it's fine. I could be misremembering, but those are also basically my thoughts on it.

#9 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@wemibelec90 said:

Is it really worth a person's time if a game starts out that badly and only gets good after a bunch of pain and effort?

Yes, it is, or at least it's a terrible idea to call a game bad if the first few hours are bad, and there's a lot more to it than the first few hours.

#10 Posted by Phatmac (5727 posts) -

I'm with you in spirit, but not on this occasion. That game looks like garbage to me and many other reviewers. I don't think the rest of it would have saved it.

#11 Posted by natetodamax (19219 posts) -

Steel Batallion is unplayable, so finishing it would require more effort than anyone would be willing to give.

#12 Posted by Viking_Funeral (1896 posts) -

Still no mention of Wolpaw's Law? (Ah, there probably will be by the time I post this).

If a game is so bad that the final parts of the game being the pinnacle of all human achievement up to that point couldn't save the game from getting the absolute lowest score, then there is no point in finishing the game. To add Godwin's Law to this: It's like saying that even if Hitler cured cancer and brought world peace, what he has already done was enough for him to get 1 star (out of 5).

Brad even paraphrased Wolpaw's Law in his closing remarks.

#13 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11393 posts) -

If the game is so bad and un-fun that Brad didn't finish it, doesn't that say it all about the quality of the game? How many people are going to buy it and play past all the garbage to get to the theoretical good parts?

I do agree that a reviewer should do his/her best to finish a game, but in extreme cases, it's not really necessary. At least so long as the reviewer clearly states that the game was not finished (as Brad did).

#14 Edited by Akyho (1698 posts) -

This site was founded on the principle of never having this happen again.

Jeff has said he is glad he can run the site how he wants, and what he wants is not be forced to review realy realy realy shitty games.

#15 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@nintendoeats said:

I was genuinely interested to hear if Steel Battalion eventually got good.

Because bad game design will magically fix itself later in the game? The flaws are in the core of the game. The controls won't let you do jackshit, missions are incredibly short with dull objectives, you can barely adjust to counter attack, what can redeem this? Even playing through a mission he played a bunch of times, Brad could barely do shit. I know i sound like a dick, but Brad played enough of the game. And it was so bad to the point that EVEN IF IT GOT MAGICALLY GOOD, nothing could redeem it. Nothing. There's no need to finish it.
#16 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@MikeGosot said:

Because bad game design will magically fix itself later in the game?

Perhaps they will? If you don't finish the game, you have absolutely no way of knowing.

#17 Posted by Yummylee (22538 posts) -

I... agree, somewhat. It would have befitted an editorial blog or something than an official review, kinda like what Rorie did with Dark Souls. Or at the very least had it left as a discussion piece on the bombcast like so many other games are.

I wouldn't doubt that Steel Battalion is a bad game across the board, but this kinda brings me to my time with Dragon's Dogma. It's a tough game to get into because of the needless lack of a reliable fast-travel/transportation system and its mind numbing narrative. But then the ending itself completely flips everything and it suddenly became excellent. My opinion of Dragon's Dogma took a quick u-turn from me slowly but surely beginning to hate it, to then kinda loving it all because of those few hours.

I think why I especially find this weird is because it's always came across as a rule for the guys to finish the games before the review process, like your example with Dark Sector and of course Ryan and Dante's Inferno. But I guess Steel Battalion could be considered a special case, because of how bloody broken it is.

#18 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8606 posts) -

Only if a game is beyond fucking terrible I think reviewers are honest to put that in their review.
If they say "The controls made certain sections unplayable and even the decent story couldn't keep me hooked because it just didn't work gameplay wise" I'm giving them a pass.
 
If they say stuff like "I couldn't finish a level/the mission was not clear/something didn't work as it should have" I'm usually not convinced its a game fault, more a player fault.
Like how often I see the GB dudes go "OMG WHERE DO I GO/WHAT DO I DO" while its in the upper right corner of the screen (ok, they're filming and gaming, but just to make a point), I've played through a whole shit load of "bad" games because I have a higher tolerance than most people for those kind of things.
 
Movies and books drop the ball too at times ( I just love pointing out errors in books, makes me feel confident I can get my own published ) so videogames can also do that.
Annoying? Yes.
But so are many things in movies that never get explained well and I'm sure there's 'highly praised' movies out there that do such things.
 
But hey, entertainment value is (and should forever be) king.

#19 Posted by believer258 (12186 posts) -

I don't think you can only play five hours of a fifty hour game and declare it shit.

However, if the game in question is only like seven hours long and the first five hours are shit, then you can easily declare it shit. Even if somehow those last two hours become the best two hours in gaming, that doesn't make the other five hours any better and it doesn't make it worth it.

Oh, and I could have told you that Steel Batallion looked shitty just from the Quick Look. Ugh, everything about that game except for the somewhat OK graphics was just bad-looking. The controls were obviously crap, the levels looked boring, the story and writing were obviously no good at all, etc.

The only requirement I can think of is a clarification that the reviewer in question did not, in fact, finish the game.

#20 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -

Is that game going to suddenly fucking redeem itself in the last hour? Come on, dude.

#21 Posted by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@wemibelec90 said:

Is it really worth a person's time if a game starts out that badly and only gets good after a bunch of pain and effort?

Yes, it is, or at least it's a terrible idea to call a game bad if the first few hours are bad, and there's a lot more to it than the first few hours.

It's not like it has a slow opening, or a bad story at the start. The controls are terrible, I don't think he will get to the last act and all of the sudden it works. If they can't even finish it I think the game deserves a 0\5 like screened used to do,

#22 Posted by EndlessLotus (108 posts) -

The game's should always be played through to completion....

#23 Posted by criacow (63 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@MikeGosot said:

Because bad game design will magically fix itself later in the game?

Perhaps they will? If you don't finish the game, you have absolutely no way of knowing.

What, halfway through making the game, the devs read the Kinect developers' guide and were all "OHHHHH, that's how you make this work!"?

#24 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

I don't think he will get to the last act and all of the sudden it works.

But how does he know that without actually playing those parts? You have to get to the end; you have to judge games as a whole.

#25 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@criacow:

Perhaps they do? Some pretty big shit can happen in the middle of a game.

#26 Edited by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

I don't think he will get to the last act and all of the sudden it works.

But how does he know that without actually playing those parts? You have to get to the end; you have to judge games as a whole.

No you don't if the games shit it deserves a 1 star. Stop worrying about the integrity of video game reviews, it's as simple as if you can't bother to finish it because it's so bad = 1 star.

#27 Posted by stubbleman (292 posts) -

I don't think this is an argument anyone is ever going to win. Some people are stupid and dumb in the face, and think that if the game isn't like, the most super fun thing they've played all year within the first two minutes of starting it up, then it's a stupid piece of shit that shouldn't have ever been made or sold for money. Meanwhile, there are the smart and handsome people like me, who realize that sometimes it takes a couple of hours to figure out what a game is trying to do. Then, once we figure the game out, we get to have a really good time. And you know what? We probably had a really good time teasing out what we were supposed to be doing in the first place too. Having a lack of information to successfully complete a challenge isn't always the worst design flaw a game could possibly have. Sometimes it's part of what makes a game fun.

#28 Edited by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -

The points about how games can change drastically at the end reminded me that I just bought Driver: San Francisco. So I think I'll just go play that.

#29 Edited by Akyho (1698 posts) -

@somnambulist said:

I don't think this is an argument anyone is ever going to win. Some people are stupid and dumb in the face, and think that if the game isn't like, the most super fun thing they've played all year within the first two minutes of starting it up, then it's a stupid piece of shit that shouldn't have ever been made or sold for money. Meanwhile, there are the smart and handsome people like me, who realize that sometimes it takes a couple of hours to figure out what a game is trying to do. Then, once we figure the game out, we get to have a really good time. And you know what? We probably had a really good time teasing out what we were supposed to be doing in the first place too. Having a lack of information to successfully complete a challenge isn't always the worst design flaw a game could possibly have. Sometimes it's part of what makes a game fun.

So...what your saying is. There are no bad games? I think Mr Jeff Gerstmann would say something about that.

Clearly you are neither smart or handsome...are you one of those pathological lairs?

#30 Posted by Spoonman671 (4769 posts) -

If you don't trust the Giant Bomb crew to make this call, then why are you reading their reviews in the first place?

#31 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@Video_Game_King said:

@MikeGosot said:

Because bad game design will magically fix itself later in the game?

Perhaps they will? If you don't finish the game, you have absolutely no way of knowing.

I can't believe you're suggesting that the devs suddenly decided to make the game good at the last fucking half of the game. Also, i said at my last post that, the game won't redeem itself. It's that bad. Why should he suffer through bullshit?
#32 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

Stop worrying about the integrity of video game reviews

Why?

@MikeGosot said:

I can't believe you're suggesting that the devs suddenly decided to make the game good at the last fucking half of the game.

Some would say that FF13 did exactly that. Some. Also, this is some pretty dangerous logic, since you could potentially justify any game as being shit if you couldn't bother slogging through some arbitrary amount. Get to the end, damn it!

#33 Posted by nasie (126 posts) -

They're not finished because they're both fundementally broken, in mechanics in one case and in both mechanicly and structurly in steel battalions case. I think it's perfectly fine to review them without finishing them because when the fundementals are that bad it's ruining the whole game. It's not like the kinnect is suddenly going to start work properly 70% into the campaign, kinda doesn't matter if the campaign suddenly becomes good when the controls are broken.

#34 Posted by ez123 (1996 posts) -

I'm not a fan. It gives the feeling of someone trying to make a statement instead of trying to review something.

If people are okay with this, they should be okay with a game getting 5 stars and being half-played.

#35 Edited by XtremePudim (90 posts) -

I just read Brad’s review and watched the quick look of Steel Battalion, and while I believe that finishing games gives you a better overall view of the game, and lets you write a better review, I also believe Brad was totally justified in not finishing this game, but I feel that way because I trust Brad as a reviewer, and while I don’t always agree with him, I’m confident in his judgment to not finish the game and still write the review.

That said I’m going to paraphrase, and I apologize if I get this wrong it was a long time ago, I believe Shawn Elliott in a GFW podcast about the subject of reviewing games without finishing them.

"How much shit one must eat, before he can tell with 100% certainty that he is eating shit."

#36 Edited by Berserk007 (213 posts) -

Look...... if the first bite of a sandwich tastes like shit, do you really need to finish the whole thing before you realize that someone wiped their ass with it? (wow weird timing on this comment: check previous post)

#37 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@Video_Game_King said:

@MikeGosot said:

I can't believe you're suggesting that the devs suddenly decided to make the game good at the last fucking half of the game.

Some would say that FF13 did exactly that. Some. Also, this is some pretty dangerous logic, since you could potentially justify any game as being shit if you couldn't bother slogging through some arbitrary amount. Get to the end, damn it!

FF13 used it's mechanics to make an interesting situation in the later half of the game. Steel Battalion is broken to it's very core, to the point you can't make something worthwhile with the mechanics, because you can't get them to function.
#38 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@MikeGosot:

Perhaps later parts of the game use the level design to make that complaint irrelevant? Again, if you haven't played those parts, you have no goddamn way of knowing.

#39 Posted by DukesT3 (1945 posts) -

I won't even read the review so it won't matter to me.

#40 Posted by Spoonman671 (4769 posts) -
@ez123 said:

I'm not a fan. It gives the feeling of someone trying to make a statement instead of trying to review something.

If people are okay with this, they should be okay with a game getting 5 stars and being half-played.

They've done that.  Everybody was fine with it.
#41 Posted by Encephalon (1334 posts) -

I think it's a judgment call.

There are definitely situations where it's appropriate. There are also, of course, some good slippery slope arguments against it, but I trust the GB crew enough, editorially, that those sorts of extreme scenarios begin to sound ridiculous.

#42 Posted by Berserk007 (213 posts) -

@LooseChange said:

I won't even read the review so it won't matter to me.

wow thanks for contributing to the conversation

#43 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@Video_Game_King said:

@MikeGosot:

Perhaps later parts of the game use the level design to make that complaint irrelevant? Again, if you haven't played those parts, you have no goddamn way of knowing.

What if no later part of the game could redeem the shit of the beggining?
#44 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@Spoonman671 said:

@ez123 said:

If people are okay with this, they should be okay with a game getting 5 stars and being half-played.

They've done that. Everybody was fine with it.

Except that wasn't the case. Brad had already finished the story mode by the time he got around to doing the Quick Look posted a day after the review.

#45 Edited by Dagbiker (6978 posts) -

Maybe in the last level a hooker physically comes to your house to give you a magical blow job( or a Gigiloo, to give you whatever girls get, Im not sexist ), while you watch Doctor Who. That would be the only way for a shit game like that to redeem its self.

#46 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@MikeGosot:

You would only know that if you finished the game. Hell, it could turn into Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu, for all you know. That would be an incredibly strange twist, but it would certainly change the review blurb significantly. "The controls suck and nothing ever works properly...then it becomes a complex tale of political treachery and holy ways, and suddenly, everything is right with the world." My point is that you can only know this if you take the time to see it through to the end.

#47 Edited by Akyho (1698 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@MikeGosot:

You would only know that if you finished the game. Hell, it could turn into Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu, for all you know. That would be an incredibly strange twist, but it would certainly change the review blurb significantly. "The controls suck and nothing ever works properly...then it becomes a complex tale of political treachery and holy ways, and suddenly, everything is right with the world." My point is that you can only know this if you take the time to see it through to the end.

I think we all fully understand your point of veiw. Video Game King. We just dont share the optimism and faith. If the event is true. Then it will come to most of people attentions later.

It happen to games all the time. Look at Fez it was toted as a simple quirky plat former. Then by word of mouth the perception of the game exploded. If it is going to change peoples opinions it will happen.

@ez123 said:

I'm not a fan. It gives the feeling of someone trying to make a statement instead of trying to review something.

If people are okay with this, they should be okay with a game getting 5 stars and being half-played.

I understand your logic. I agree in principle, however In heart I disagree.

I wouldn't like to think that someone who's job requires finishing games for review. Cuts corners and have a strange mindset. I apply this logic and feeling to every other reviewers. Because I dont trust their opinion, I look for the facts in their opinion.

For any of the Giantbomb Crew I trust their opinion, I may not agree in cases. However I trust them, so I trust Brad and side with him in not completing the game. If you gave me a random reviewer from simple youtube poster to the top IGN or Gamespot reviewer. I could probably be a bit miffed.

However I know Brad and the other GB'ers would not do this drastic action unless it was called for. Aswell as Jeff who I realy trust his thoughts and opinions would have had to ok it first.

I know its not legit, however I think its understandable.

#48 Edited by IBurningStar (2190 posts) -

While I believe it is a good idea to always finish a game before reviewing it, that does not mean I believe it should be an absolute rule. In many cases I know what I think of a game before I finish it and very rarely does my opinion change upon completing it. If it does change, then it doesn't change a lot. In the case of Steel Battalion many of Brad's complaints and problems were on a basic functionality level.  The part of the game that interprets user input is not going to magically change and get better in the last 20 minutes of the game.  There is a chance the game balance and level design does improve, but for Brad it was too late. He already hit his threshold and played until he wanted to throw the controller and yell "I can't fucking do this anymore!" He allowed the game enough time to introduce all its major mechanics and everything like that. He played more than enough and reached the point in which he knew exactly how he felt about the game, no matter what happened afterwards he knew his score. 
 
If he didn't finish it because it was kind of bland then that would be a different story. He didn't finish it because it wasn't fun on any level and was causing him mental pain. I feel that illustrated his experience with it well enough for me to accept his opinion. He gave it more than a fair chance.
 
In the end this is Brad's review and his opinion based on his experience.  I respect that and given the circumstances I understand his decision to not finish the game. I don't think this should become a habit, but I am willing to let it slide as long as the reviewer is up front and honest about it and does a good job of explaining way that decision was made.

#49 Posted by The_Nubster (2355 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@MikeGosot said:

I can't believe you're suggesting that the devs suddenly decided to make the game good at the last fucking half of the game.

Some would say that FF13 did exactly that. Some. Also, this is some pretty dangerous logic, since you could potentially justify any game as being shit if you couldn't bother slogging through some arbitrary amount. Get to the end, damn it!

No, FF13 functioned. That's the difference. The mechanics and gameplay of FF13 were present and accounted for, just hampered by silly design choices. The problems with Steel Battalion, if literally every source that isn't From Software is to be trusted, are in the very core of the game itself: the controls simply do not work. Whether or not a game's design can redeem a partially bad game isn't relevant to this discussion, since Steel Battalion didn't work. Did. Not. Work.

#50 Edited by Dallas_Raines (2221 posts) -

@Video_Game_King:

Maybe the plot gets better, but it won't change the fact that the basic design of the game is total dogshit. I played a single level of Drake of the 99 Dragons way back when, and that was more than enough to tell me that the game was a fundamentally broken piece of shit that no one should ever play. How much would you have to play of ET on the Atari to be able to tell people, 'Hey, shit REALLY sucks, don't waste your money on this"?