Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

>Conduit 2 Gets Amazon-Bombed – Immaturity Abounds

May 23, 2011

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Coffee Beans:
     Early last week I posted, “Sega’s Advertising Failure – Conduit 2?”  In that post I showed the Amazon.com sales ranks for Conduit 2 from April 19 though April 30.  I also provided the “professional” review score average for Conduit 2 from GameRankings.com, and I provided the review scores and review score average from customers on Amazon.com.
     Just one day after my post, drama broke-out between High Voltage Software(HVS) and Joystiq.com’s “reviewer” of Conduit 2.  An internal HVS email was leaked, showing that HVS employees were encouraged to read/rate Joystiq.com’s Conduit 2 reviewer’s book he had written and had available for purchase on Amazon.com.  The email did not specify what rating to give the book, but considering the review score was 1 out of 5 Stars from Joystiq.com for Conduit 2, I would assume that is what was hoped for in retaliation reviews as well.
     Initially after the email was sent internally, negative reviews started appearing on the “reviewer’s” book on Amazon.com.  After the email was made public by MaroonersRock.com, some of those negative reviews started disappearing.

     As for Conduit 2, the game had a customer review score average of 4.5 out of 5 Stars on Amazon.com, based on 13 customer reviews as of 12:30AM on May 17, 2011.  Conduit 2’s customer review score average was 87.69%, based on 13 customer reviews from Tuesday.

     It appears the news of the internal email at HVS has caused more negative reviews to pop up on Conduit 2 though, than the “reviewer’s” own book.  Let’s take a look.

Filtered Thoughts(sort of):
     Again, my post was published early Tuesday morning and Conduit 2 only had 13 Amazon.com customer reviews at the time, with a 4.5 out of 5 Stars rating, and an average of 87.69% when the reviews were converted to a 100% review scale.
      I just checked Conduit 2’s review score average on Amazon.com, around 6:00PM on May 23, 2011 and the game now has a 2.5 out of 5 Stars rating based on 31 customer reviews.  Conduit 2’s current customer review score average is now 51.61%, based on the 31 customer reviews.
     Here are two images showing the review scores from last Tuesday, and today:

Reviews recorded around 12:30AM on May 17, 2011.
Reviews recorded around 6:00PM on May 23, 2011.

     Here’s a timeline of events that led up to the rating drop for Conduit 2:
     May 3 – Joystiq.com’s editors allowed a “review” for Conduit 2 to be published that trashed the game basically on every front, and contained major spoilers.  The “reviewer” also admitted that he barely even played the game’s multi-player with no mention of how the local multi-player and online varied.  The “review” proved Joystiq has no standards for their reviewers, which is the case for most sites these days.  An internal HVS email was sent to employees about returning the favor and “reviewing” the “reviewer’s” book on Amazon.com, even providing a link to the book’s Amazon.com page in the email.
     May 17 – Conduit 2 has 13 Amazon.com customer reviews = 4.5 out of 5 Stars, and/or a 87.69% on a 100% review scale
     May 18Marooners’ Rock published a post with an email picture showing an internal HVS email suggesting HVS employees rate the Joystiq.com reviewer’s book 1 star in retaliation.
     May 18-23 – HVS issues apology about the Amazon.com review issue, but the “reviewer” still clings to his ignorance acting like nothing was wrong with his review, and Joystiq editors and staff allow the trash review to still be on the site.
     May 23 – Conduit 2 has 31 Amazon.com customer reviews, and/or a 51.61% on a 100% review scale.

     What do I think about the situation?  I think HVS, the “reviewer”, AND Joystiq are all at fault.  HVS and Matt Corso(the HVS employee that sent the email) are at fault for sending the email and apparently acting on it(and not stopping it from starting).  The “reviewer” Michael Murdoc is at fault for writing such a piece of trash “review”; but considering his review was somehow published, it should give hope to those of you looking at getting some freelance work with sites like Joystiq…because evidently they do not proofread reviews, and they do not have any review standards.  Last, I believe Joystiq.com’s editor(s) are at fault for having no standards and for allowing such a trash review to be posted; but not only to allow it to be posted, but also for it to remain posted.

     The fact that HVS was so worried about one “review”, really baffles me.  In my opinion, HVS should have been sending around a collection bucket to try and raise funds for some Conduit 2 advertising, instead of sending an immature email, about an immature “reviewer’s” “review” on evidently an immaturely run website.
     If Joystiq.com’s editor(s) allowed(or allows) a Killzone 3, Resistance 3, or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 “review” to be published without the “reviewer” playing the multi-player at length, I think the outcry would be loud and clear, and justifiable.  In this situation, I guess because Conduit 2 is only a Wii game…it was okay to allow an immature and not very complete, or informative, review to be published on the site?

     In my post last Tuesday, I showed the lowest recorded sale rank for Conduit 2 from April 19 though April 30 had been #1,138 on April 30; as of this posting, around 6:00PM on May 23, 2011 Conduit 2 has an Amazon.com sale rank of #2,022.  I think Conduit 2 has no hope at this point to reach the sales of the original game, The Conduit, and this situation is definitely not a good way to help promote the game.

     If you have not seen any footage of Conduit 2, the trailer below should give you a brief idea about the game, without spoiling the ending(as some people don’t seem to mind doing):

Questions:
     What do you think?  Is HVS only at fault, or does this “reviewer” also have some blame to bear?  Do you think Joystiq.com’s editor(s) have any blame to bear in this situation for allowing such a “review” to be published?
     If you have played Conduit 2, what do you think the game deserves review score wise?  Also, do you think there should be game review standards of some sort?

If you are interested in Conduit 2, you can see prices linked on Amazon.com below:
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=coffeew-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B003GB4UXI&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr  

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Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Review

August 28, 2010

The Blend:
     Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was released in North America on August 27, 2007, with a retail sale price of $49.99.  Metroid Prime 3 was developed by Retro Studios and published by Nintendo.  It was the third console entry in the Metroid Prime series, and the first Metroid Prime game to be on the Wii.
     Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was re-released on the Wii in 2009, as part of the Metroid Prime Trilogy pack, which also included Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.
     I first reported back in January, after looking at Amazon.com data and statements from Nintendo, it appears that Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and Metroid Prime Trilogy on the Wii are no long being published.

The Brew:
     Controls – The controls in Metroid Prime 3 are really good, for the most part.  You move forward and backward using the joystick on the Nunchuk and you turn left/right and look up/down by pointing the Wii Remote’s IR reticule in those directions.
     You can increase or decrease how fast you turn under the options menu, and from my experience, I suggest setting the look sensitivity to “Advanced”, as it allows you to turn and look around the fastest.  You jump by pressing the B button, and shoot with the A button.
     The Nunchuk’s C button changes you into the morph ball, and the Z button is used for targeting and grappling enemies; or for using the grapple to swing in certain locations.
     The -(minus) button is used to bring up Samus’ visors screen, while the +(plus) button is used to go into Hypermode.  If you press the 1 button, it will open your map screen and allow you to change control settings, as well as see your inventory and current objectives.
     One little control issue I had with Metroid Prime 3 was jumping when as the morph ball.  The game has it set up where you do a quick flick of the Wii Remote UP, causing you to jump when in the morph ball phase.  This works most of the time, but occasionally I would flick the Wii Remote and it wouldn’t register in the game.  It’s not a huge issue, but you may find it a little aggravating if you miss a jump.
     Another slight control issue I had, was when trying to grapple onto either enemies or items, occasionally it wouldn’t register my motions in time; sometimes allowing a boss to get back up, which was aggravating.

     Overall, I really think the controls helped to immerse me more into the game.  Though I had slight issues with the grappling and jumping in Morph Ball form, the use of motion controls in the game I feel helped make it a more engaging experience.

     Graphics/Animations – I have played many Wii games, and I think Metroid Prime 3’s graphics are really great, and the art style/direction for the game was a great choice.
     As for the animations in the game, I think Retro did a good job with the transition of going into the Morph Ball, and coming out of it, helping to make it really believable.  I also thought the death animations of the different bosses were done really well.

     Game-Play & Level Design – I classify Metroid Prime 3: Corruption as a first-person adventure/shooter.
     If you aren’t familiar with the Metroid Prime games, when you are in the first-person perspective, the view appears as though you are looking through the front of a helmet with a visor down.  I think an interesting part of the game-play, is the ability to use a few different visors for different elements of game-play.  An example of one visor in the game, is the Scan Visor.  When you switch to the Scan Visor, you can use it to scan objects and creatures in the environments, and it will store the information in a logbook for future reference, if you need it.
     The enemies in Corruption are varied.  Some enemies walk/jump around, other enemies are clinging to walls/ceilings; and other enemies fly around.  The variety of enemies in Metroid Prime 3 really allows the player to experience the capabilities of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk controls in a first-person shooter setting.

     Each planet has at least one “main boss” to defeat.  The boss battles are one area I think the game could have been improved upon.  The strategies to defeat the bosses are almost identical for every boss, with the strategy being mainly: move and shoot, move and shoot, move and shoot.  While I would have liked to have seen different ways to defeat the bosses, the boss battles do a great job in keeping you on the offense and defense the entire time.  I found the the boss battles made me concentrate on what I was doing, and where I was aiming.

     There are several planets in Metroid Prime 3, where the game-play happens.  You travel to the different planets to stop the spread of the enemy, and sometimes you will find out you can’t accomplish certain goals without a proper suit/weapon upgrade; and that upgrade may be on a planet you visited earlier in the game, which will require you to visit it again.

     Revisiting planets to search for suit/weapon upgrades is where I think Metroid Prime 3 is more of an adventure/exploration type game, than a first-person shooter.  The game encourages you to explore different sections of each planet, where you may find suit/weapon upgrades, or tokens to unlock items.
     I think the game is well paced between the adventure and shooting aspects though, as many times you will work your way through an area on the map, find a suit/weapon upgrade, and then almost immediately find yourself in a situation to use the new upgrade in a battle of some sort.

     I thought the levels in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption were designed well, especially Elysia and Bryyo.  Elysia is a sky town, kind of like Cloud City from Star Wars, but more open.
     Bryyo had several puzzles that I enjoyed, and one of the puzzles was extremely difficult to figure out when I was trying to get 100% of the items in the game.  I enjoyed the puzzles though, because they made me think in the levels; and I appreciate how much effort Retro put into making the game with quality play-time.
     A minor complaint I have with the level designs, are the boss battles.  Nearly all of the boss battles are set up and designed the same way:

  • Enter into a large open circular/square shaped room
  • Boss enters and stays towards the middle
  • Boss attacks outward, away from the middle; then repositions back in the middle again  

     As I said earlier, I found the boss battles to be a lot of, “move and shoot, move and shoot, move and shoot”.  Because of the room designs of the boss battles, I often found myself running and jumping around the outside edges of the boss arenas, while concentrating weapon fire at the boss in the middle.
     Here’s a picture to hopefully explain what I’m talking about with the boss arenas.

     While I found the boss arenas, and strategies for defeating them, were a little repetitive, I thought the boss designs themselves were nicely varied.
     Sound – Metroid Prime 3: Corruption has a nice assortment of music and sound effects.  I really enjoyed how the game’s music changed according to what parts of the planets I would be on.  I thought the music really helped to set a great atmosphere in the game.
     The voice acting in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was good, but limited.  You shouldn’t find yourself stuck on cut-scenes wishing you could skip them, or the dialogue.
     I think the sound effects of your ship, weapons, and enemies were all done properly; not being annoying or distracting in any way, and helped add to the overall game-play experience.

     Replay Value – Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was my first Metroid Prime game to play.  My first time I played Metroid Prime 3 on the “Normal” difficulty setting, I logged right over 25 hours of game-play, on the game clock.
     Before I purchased and played Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, I thought I would play through the game once, and then put it away like I had done with many games before it; this was not the case with Metroid Prime 3 though.
     The game-play really did draw me in, and I had so much fun playing the game, that as soon as I beat it on Normal, I started another game on the Veteran difficulty setting.  I logged right over 16 hours of game-play on the Veteran difficulty setting.
     When I completed it on Veteran, I decided just to try the game on the Hyper Mode difficulty, because I had heard how hard it was and wanted to see if what I heard was true(sounds a lot like my Call of Duty: World at War Wii experience).  After seeing how much harder the enemies were on just the first level Hyper Mode, I wanted to try and beat the entire game on the Hyper Mode difficulty setting.  Just over 14 hours of game-play later, I completed Metroid Prime 3: Corruption on Hyper Mode.
     Initially, my total game-play time for all three play-throughs on each difficulty setting was 55 hours; since then, my total game-play hours for Metroid Prime 3: Corruption has been multiplied by almost four, and it’s my fourth third most-played Wii game to date.
     Adding to the replay value of Metroid Prime 3 is the fact that Retro included two bonus endings.  If you beat the game with less than 75% of the pickups, you will see just the normal ending.  If you beat the game with more than 75% of the pickups, you will see the normal ending, plus one bonus ending.  If you beat the game with 100% of the pickups, you see the normal ending, plus two bonus endings.
     The game also includes different unlockable items you obtain by spending “tokens” you collect while playing.  You can get tokens a variety of ways: scanning items with your visor, beating bosses, getting different numbers of enemy kills, killing enemies in certain ways, etc.
     Also, Retro included something called “Friend Vouchers” in the game.  The difference between Friend Vouchers and tokens, is that you can’t spend the Friend Vouchers.  The only way to unlock everything is to have another person that has played Metroid Prime 3: Corruption send you their very own Friend Vouchers.  When you receive their Friend Vouchers, they are then converted to Friend Tokens, and can be spent on some unlockable items.
Aftertaste:
     Issues/Problems – I have already listed a few small complaints, here is a more complete list of issues/problems I had with the game, that you may find annoying yourself:
  1. Almost identical boss arenas and strategies to defeat bosses
  2. Jumping while in Samus’ Morph Ball form did not always seem to register
  3. When trying to use the Grapple Beam on enemies, sometimes it would not register my motions in time.  On boss battles I found this aggravating if it failed to grapple correctly, because it would sometimes allow the boss to recover and get back into the battle.
  4. Load times.  Metroid Prime 3: Corruption disguises load times in different ways, as you won’t see the word, “Loading” appear on the screen.  You may walk up to a door though, shoot it to open it; then have to wait 10-20 seconds for the door to actually open.  During my first time playing the game, it wasn’t a big issue.  After I knew where items were and what I was supposed to be doing in the levels, I would grow impatient sometimes waiting on a door to open.
          Also, when traveling between planets the game uses in-game cut scenes to disguise load times between 
          the planets.  This isn’t something I see as a HUGE issue, but it is something some people may find 
          aggravating.

     Enjoyment & Money’s Worth – Is Metroid Prime 3: Corruption worth your money?  Well, I had 50+ hours on just my first three play-throughs of the game.  You may be skeptical to play Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, because you have never played a Metroid Prime game; DON’T BE!
     Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was my first Metroid Prime game to play in the series, and I HIGHLY recommend Wii owners that enjoy FPS games and even think they may enjoy the Metroid Prime 3, to give the game a try.
     From the game’s graphics and art style, to the music and level designs, then topping it off with what were the best FPS controls on the Wii at the time, the game really surprised me and I enjoyed it far more than I expected I would.
     I have played and beaten The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii, but my experience with Metroid Prime 3: Corruption far surpassed both of those games for me.

     Overall – When I first published this review, on another site, 2+ years ago, I gave each section a different score, based out of 10.  I then averaged those sections giving the game an overall average score. I will keep the same score I gave it then, for this review, and show the original breakdown of it as well:
Controsl: 9 out of 10
Game-Play: 10 out of 10
Graphics: 10 out of 10
Level Design: 9 out of 10
Sound: 10 out of 10
Replay Value: 10 out of 10
Money’s Worth: 10 out of 10
Score Average 9.7 out of 10

Questions:
     If you have played Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, what did you think about it?  Do you agree with my overall thoughts on each section?  If not, let me and the other readers know what you don’t agree with.  If you have any questions about the game, or a certain portion of my review, please leave a comment or send me an email at Scott@CoffeewithGames.com.