Archive for the ‘IGN’ Category

Critics vs. Customers! ZombiU reviews, or zombie reviewers?

December 18, 2012

Coffee Beans
Do you like zombies? Do you not like zombies? Do you feel like a zombie when you wake up, and generally throughout the day?

ZombiU released for (and with) the Wii U on November 18, 2012, basically as a brand new IP. The game was developed and published by Ubisoft, and received an ESRB rating of “MATURE” with “Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language” listed as content for gamers and parents to be aware of. It released with a MSRP of $59.99 in the United States, and can be purchased either via a physical retail copy from stores, or a digital “copy” through the Wii U’s eShop.

With a full month of “professional” critic reviews and customer reviews for ZombiU to look at now, and having completed the game myself, is ZombiU a Wii U title you should play (if, you are of age)? Have Wii U owners agreed with the “professional” reviewers on ZombiU? Brew yourself some coffee, and let’s take a look!

How a zombie smiles, before reading reviews of ZombiU?

The Brew
While reviews for the game were under an embargo, GameSpot “leaked” their ZombiU review in a professional fashion (see: sarcasm) a few days early by publishing it on their site, then removing it. The damage was already done though, and their review score quickly spread around different message boards and video game websites.

The first “professional” review scores for ZombiU started being published on November 18th, the day the Wii U launched and the day the ZombiU review embargo was lifted. ZombiU currently has a “professional” review score average of 77.09%, based on 43 reviews on GameRankings.com. Its MetaCritic.com Metascore is currently 77 out of 100, based on 61 critic reviews.

What about customers though? What have gamers, perhaps like myself that ignored the early reviews, who have played the game thought about it? ZombiU currently has a review score average of 92.77%, based on 36 customer reviews from Amazon.com. The game had a review score average of 88.43%, based on 2,149 gamer reviews directly from the Wii U’s eShop rating.

ZombiU’s eShop ratings.

Note: All of the review scores for ZombiU were captured around 4:00PM EST on December 18, 2012.

Caffeinated Thoughts
I chose to not read most ZombiU reviews, until I finished the game. I didn’t want to see “problems” with the game before playing it for myself, and I was also afraid some of the reviews might have contained spoilers, so I didn’t want to read or see anything that might have given something away in the game.

One average is a C, one an A, depending on the grading scale.

After I completed the game, I decided to read the “reviews” of the game and see what some of the problems were, and what did I discover? Apparently, the problem many early “reviewers” of ZombiU had is they were too busy to finish the game (see: complete it), before slapping a score on it. Apparently, the proper way to “review” games these days is to watch a few trailers, read a few impressions of it, play it for maybe an hour; then decide if you want to go positive or negative in the “review” and stick with it.

What “reviews” of ZombiU contain either outright incorrect information, or show the “reviewers” apparently didn’t finish the game? Here’s my short list, for now. IGN. Nintendo Life. Game Informer. Then there is Game Spot’s reviewer, who went into the game knowing (I guess) it is a survival horror title, but thinks it should have been an action game instead? GameSpot’s reviewer though, and many others, did seem to like ZombiU’s multiplayer options, which Mrs. Coffee and I did try out one evening together.

Here’s a video of Mrs. Coffee and I playing ZombiU’s local multiplayer. Mrs. Coffee was using the Wii U GamePad to place zombies around the map, and I was the survivor running around with the weapons, trying to survive for as long as possible:

Is the audio synced up correctly? It seems off on YouTube, but right in my player. Feedback?

I just don’t understand reviews having incorrect information, as two of them above do, and leaving that incorrect information published. Perhaps the sites were taken over by zombies? I contacted both sites with reviews containing incorrect information. One site didn’t want to address a larger problem with their “review”, and chose to leave incorrect information published; the other site apparently didn’t care their “review” contained bad information and has left it published as well. Then, one of the reviewers hasn’t answered a simple question about the game that he was asked, “How long did it take you to complete it so I have an idea?

ZombiU gives you that information. The game tells you how many hours (and minutes and seconds) it takes you to finish the game, and how many survivors it takes you to finish the game as well. Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo is the only reviewer of ZombiU I am currently aware of that provided the number of hours it took him to complete the game, and the number of survivors it took him to get through it. His review of ZombiU is HERE.

My “Playtime” and survivor count.

As for myself, I completed ZombiU in 24 hours, 40 minutes, and 10 seconds according to my game’s “Playtime”, and it took me 34 survivors to complete the game. I have many ex-survivors wandering the streets, sewers, and general areas of London still, so please add my Nintendo Network ID of Coffees to your Wii U friend list if you want more zombies wandering around your ZombiU game.

Should you play ZombiU, if you are above the recommended age? I recommend giving the game a try. Whether that is buying it, renting it, or borrowing it from a friend (my copy is currently loaned out right now actually). I think you will enjoy the game if you don’t go in expecting a FPS game, or an action game, and understand that the melee combat is designed, I believe, to keep you on your toes. You shouldn’t expect to get 100 hit zombie combos in the game, and understand that ammunition for guns is scarce. Many of my hours playing were spent exploring different areas in the game. There are small alternate paths in a few areas that you may miss if you are just running through the game, and sometimes those areas contain weapons and ammunition, and even story pieces. I believe exploration is encouraged in the game.

So, based on the review averages for the game so far, I side more with the “customer reviews” averages than the “critic reviews”. I think ZombiU is another perfect example of why there should be basic video game review standards on sites, as I have written about in the past.

Questions
Did any of you perhaps not purchase ZombiU, because of the early reviews on the game? If you have played ZombiU, what do you think about the game?

If you have played and beaten ZombiU, how many hours and survivors did it take you? Also, have any of you attempted to beat Survival Mode yet, and possibly completed it?

You can purchase ZombiU below from Amazon.com, and find out how long you will survive!

Read other Critics vs. Customers pieces here and here.

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What Red Steel 2 should keep from the original Red Steel: Part 1

February 1, 2010

The original Red Steel on the Wii was released more than 3 years ago.  It was available as one of the Wii’s release titles, and the game seemed to have a lot going for it from hands-on previews leading up to its release.
Matt Casamassina, of IGN, said during a preview in October 2006, before Red Steel released, “As it turns out, the latest build of Ubisoft’s shooter plays much better than the game did in New York — to the point, in fact, where many of our former concerns have been cast aside. And yet, the control is still not as sensitive or as responsive as we would like. Strangely enough, however, Red Steel is somehow still fun — still engaging and enjoyable — despite its shortcomings.”

A month later, after Red Steel released, Matt “reviewed” Red Steel and gave it a 6.0 out of 10.  He cited the game’s controls as the biggest reason for his score.  I definitely don’t agree with his score on the game, and most IGN.com readers don’t either.  Red Steel has a 7.7 out of 10 average, from 192 IGN.com reader reviews.
I don’t consider Matt’s opinion of the game a “review”, as much as I consider it lazy.  After reading his review again, I doubt he even finished the single-player campaign for Red Steel.  He didn’t mention how long it took him to beat, which the game provides you with when you finish.  He also failed to mention the levels have ranking systems, that judge your accuracy and give you a grade for each level when they’re completed.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, Red Steel 2 is due to be released on the Wii in North America on March 23, and Europe on March 26.
I’ve played through the original Red Steel twice, and I enjoyed the game.  I admit Red Steel is not a perfect game, but there are some things that I hope Red Steel 2 will retain and improve upon from the original game.

What is the first thing I hope Red Steel 2 keeps and improves upon?

Explosions!

Did you notice the poor guy in the explosion around 1:14 in the video?  He comes into the top left of the shot, at the top of the stairs.  You may have missed it, it happens so fast!
I think the explosions in the original Red Steel look great and I hope that the explosions in Red Steel 2 look awesome as well.  I know Red Steel 2 has a different graphical style, so I’m really interested to see how the explosions look in the game.

Questions:
Have you played the original Red Steel, if so, what do you think about the game?  Is there anything you hope that Red Steel 2 does like the original game?

If you’re interested in either game, you can take a look at them on Amazon.com right below.  Red Steel 2 requires the Wii Motion Plus accessory to play the game, so the bundle showing for Red Steel 2 includes WM+.

What Red Steel 2 should keep from the original Red Steel: Part 1

February 1, 2010

The original Red Steel on the Wii was released more than 3 years ago.  It was available as one of the Wii’s release titles, and the game seemed to have a lot going for it from hands-on previews leading up to its release.
Matt Casamassina, of IGN, said during a preview in October 2006, before Red Steel released, “As it turns out, the latest build of Ubisoft’s shooter plays much better than the game did in New York — to the point, in fact, where many of our former concerns have been cast aside. And yet, the control is still not as sensitive or as responsive as we would like. Strangely enough, however, Red Steel is somehow still fun — still engaging and enjoyable — despite its shortcomings.”

A month later, after Red Steel released, Matt “reviewed” Red Steel and gave it a 6.0 out of 10.  He cited the game’s controls as the biggest reason for his score.  I definitely don’t agree with his score on the game, and most IGN.com readers don’t either.  Red Steel has a 7.7 out of 10 average, from 192 IGN.com reader reviews.
I don’t consider Matt’s opinion of the game a “review”, as much as I consider it lazy.  After reading his review again, I doubt he even finished the single-player campaign for Red Steel.  He didn’t mention how long it took him to beat, which the game provides you with when you finish.  He also failed to mention the levels have ranking systems, that judge your accuracy and give you a grade for each level when they’re completed.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, Red Steel 2 is due to be released on the Wii in North America on March 23, and Europe on March 26.
I’ve played through the original Red Steel twice, and I enjoyed the game.  I admit Red Steel is not a perfect game, but there are some things that I hope Red Steel 2 will retain and improve upon from the original game.

What is the first thing I hope Red Steel 2 keeps and improves upon?

Explosions!

Did you notice the poor guy in the explosion around 1:14 in the video?  He comes into the top left of the shot, at the top of the stairs.  You may have missed it, it happens so fast!
I think the explosions in the original Red Steel look great and I hope that the explosions in Red Steel 2 look awesome as well.  I know Red Steel 2 has a different graphical style, so I’m really interested to see how the explosions look in the game.

Questions:
Have you played the original Red Steel, if so, what do you think about the game?  Is there anything you hope that Red Steel 2 does like the original game?

If you’re interested in either game, you can take a look at them on Amazon.com right below.  Red Steel 2 requires the Wii Motion Plus accessory to play the game, so the bundle showing for Red Steel 2 includes WM+.