OK, so last night I read Jeff's (quality) review of Halo: Reach, and this morning I read the comments. As you probably know, they were pretty gosh darn stupid. Like, stupid amounts of stupid. Lots of people were questioning the validity of the rating scale on this site, and another cute little user felt that it was crazy for "niche" games like Flower, Limbo, Trine, StarCraft 2, and Bowser's Inside Story to be 5-star games if Reach was not. Before I talk about the scale situation, I'm going to give my opinion on why that user's opinions on Giant Bomb's (well, actually Brad's) opinions are not the correct opinions. First, every game is niche depending on your point of view, so let's instantly discredit that point. On to the games. Brad liked the first two for their sense of style and atmosphere they provided. Also they were cheap and unique. I don't know much about Trine... but I hear it's great and also it's only $20. StarCraft 2 is widely accepted as the best RTS since StarCraft. Bowser's Inside Story is a competent RPG with a good sense of humor, which is not common on a handheld. That's all I have to say about that.
So about that rating scale... I dig it, others don't because they can't translate it to the 20 pt scale of GS and IGN. I like it because of its openness, and feel it is the best way to give an opinion. Speaking of opinions, I decided that, in my opinion, I should opinion-ate below on how I think the Bomb Squad's opinions are represented.
1 star- The enjoyment you will get from this game is equal to that of sniffing the anal cavity of a dog. Avoid this game at all costs. It is completely broken and unplayable, and is not enjoyable whatsoever to any age bracket, even ironically, no matter the price.
2 stars- This game has some serious issues that get in the way of enjoying the game. Despite being boring or partially broken, the game is somewhat playable and may be enjoyed by children or extremely casual players of games. Most ironically entertaining games lie within this category.
3 stars-This game is downright mediocre or generic. Not much more than a feature or two really jump out at you in this middling experience. If you if a certain affinity for the game's source material, you may be into it. If not, it won't be a bad bargain bin pick up.
4 stars- This is a quality product. Most of its features are well realized and the production values are solid. There are a few noticeable bugs or issues but they barely inhibit your enjoyment of the game. If you are a fan of the genre, chances are you will like this game.
5 stars- This game is excellent, and is at the top of its genre. Sure it's not perfect, but there is no such thing as a flawless title. Also, just because a game gets this score doesn't mean that everyone will love it, especially if it is a part of a genre disliked by the reader.
Alright, that's that. However, as you may be thinking, that in fact is not that. I realized while I was halfway through writing this that the GB staff already did this, official style. Below, you will see a spoiler tag that contains what the GB crew considers to be a 1-5 star game. Let's you can post what the stars mean to you and then compare it to what they're supposed to represent.
While we don't believe any game is perfect, we recommend this game without reservation.
Still very good and easy to recommend, though it doesn't quite live up to its full potential.
The halfway point. An inherent appreciation of this game's specific gameplay style, characters, subject matter, and so on may play as big a role in your enjoyment as the actual quality of the game.
This game's problems outweigh its good qualities.
This game will make you wish you had died in a fire moments before turning it on.
Also, feel free to air your grievances over comments that have particularly infuriated you, both in thus case and others.
EDIT: NOt sure if this is getting across or not, but I was fine with Reach's review and score, and I too believe that the actual review is more important than the number tied to it. HOwever, since so many people care only about the number, I feel that it too has to be addressed.
So, I've been playing this game, Starcraft Brood War, for about a week, struggling against the AI about twice a day until rage-quitting. "Dude," you're probably thinking. " Why aren't you playing SC2?" Because I'm not sure if my computer can run it with just a single core 2.4 GHz AMD Athlon processor and on board GeForce 6150 LE graphics tech. Sadly, there's no demo for me to find out with. But whatever, today, spoiler alert, I finally broke through and was able to achieve my first ever victory in SC1
I chose the smallest map I could, 96x96, and chose to play as Protoss, my new favorite race. I decided, screw it, and built hella tons (hehe) of probes and pylons, then made five gateways. After having scouted the enemy base with a worker, my next move was to send in forty un-upgraded zealots. With this force, I was able to massacre a whole bunch of Zerg soldiers and structures, and built up some hope, something I had lacked while playing the game the last few days.
Anyway, I continued to building up small armies of zealots and sending them off to murder the Zerg until I began to run low on minerals to mine. At this point, I tried to move to a corner of the map where I knew I could find more of the precious resource, but was stricken down by a squad of zerglings defending the spot. After that failed attempt, I was down to just over 400 minerals, and desperately needed a new source of income. After that short scare, I came across some more minerals and set up camps, but was left with little production for a short time. After the new base was established, and mining was back on track, I continued to pump out zealots and run them across the small map to my new base. Every time i piled up 20 units, I'd ship them off to take out the new Zerg base south of my position. After that base was done with, I proceeded to demolish the enemy's main base, and was congratulated with a victory message.
"Cool story bro." Beat you. I'm still pretty pumped up about this, so don't bring me down, kthxbye.
Oh wait, if you've got a NA guest pass for SC2, and nothing to do with it, I'll be your doormat while you try to adjust to the new game. Just sayin'.
So, for the last few days, I've been all hyped up for Starcraft 2, strictly out of foolishness. "Why is this foolish?" you may ask, since the game looks very promising. First off, I don't have a computer that can competently run games from 2002, let alone new releases. On top of that, the only RTS experience I have is watching my brother play Starcraft one with my neighbors when I was about 5 or 6, leaving me with little skill or literacy in the genre.
Despite all that, I had been desperately searching for my brother's old copy of the game for the past few days, and finally stumbled upon a copy of Brood War deep inside my closet earlier today. Excitedly, I threw the disc into my HP Slimline, and was able to boot up the expansion's campaign, but not the original one since I failed to find the corresponding CD-ROM. And so, I jumped into the fourth, Protossian (?), chapter of Starcraft. The first mission was simple, press A and click where I wanted my selected units to go. After breezing through the first mission, I proceeded to the second and was completely and utterly lost. The mission presented me with four basic soldier dudes and four of the builder-type guys. I immediately came across some minerals, and began gathering them when I realized that I had nowhere to deposit my harvest. I continued to wander, and shortly ran into some angry zerglings and some sort of tower that tore my squad into pieces. With the very little patience I've inherited from my mother, I rage-quitted from the campaign and set up a custom game that I planned to practice in before returning to the story mode.
After whipping up a 1v1, Terran v. Terran with the computer, I relaxed and began to mine, this time with a place for my SCVs to dump their gatherings. After a short time, I managed to build up a small army of basic soldiers and a firebat, along with a few medics and many SCVs. I sent a pack and a half of my troops (all units but the SCVs) to the South end of the map while my SCVs continued building supply depots and gathering resources. When my army got about halfway down the map, I noticed they were being attacked and took a peek at the action. What I saw was horrifying. There a huge enemy force rushing towards mine, complete with more than double the amount of units I had. That pesky computer's brown Terrans swept through my squad with ease, and went on to obliterate my small base and fleeing command center.
So yeah, that's my experience with Starcraft. I'll probably continue to play some more, because I really like the idea of the game, but just DO NOT have the skillset required to compete at all. Maybe there's a difficulty slider in those menus somewhere that I didn't see, I guess I'll investigate that next time I try to play the game. If there's anyone else out there completely clueless like me who has access to the game who wants to try and figure it out with me, or If there's someone who wants to boost their self esteem before they buy the second one, I wouldn't mind playing with you.