Battlezone Review – Tanks For Nothing

Maybe I just don’t “get” it. It’d be nice if Battlezone cared to let its players in on the big secret.

02

Developer: Rebellion
Publisher: Rebellion
Format: PlayStation VR
Released: October 13, 2016
Copy provided by publisher

Battlezone is being praised as a fantastic introduction to PlayStation VR, but while the tank combat may be mechanically suited for virtual reality, its mission structure and obtuse gameplay is an unwelcoming kick in the genitals to anybody who wanders in unprepared.

There appears to be no balance whatsoever. My introduction to the game involved jumping into an online match with three random players and losing within literal seconds. This would come to typify my experience – entering one of the game’s randomly provided arenas and getting overwhelmed almost instantly.

The worst missions are ones where you must defend a static base or escort CPU-controlled allies. Enemies spawn almost directly on top of the objective in masses too large for even four players to deal with and are able to destroy it in moments. I really do mean moments, too – those “protect the allied base” objectives can be failed in under a minute.

Everything about Battlezone is overly harsh. It tries to emulate roguelikes with its randomized missions, upgrade paths, and permadeath conditions, but the team at Rebellion seem to believe that “difficult” and “discouragingly vicious” are the same thing.

Even in the heavy tank, it takes only a few shots to die. Tanks start with two weapons, each carrying a pitiful amount of ammunition and taking an exorbitant amount of time to cycle through. Enemies are powerful, plentiful, and can rapidly outpace the player team since they’ll upgrade between missions regardless of whether or not you can.

05

Battlezone deliberately fails to tell players vital things. There’s no warning that using a boost to move faster drains shields and makes tanks even more of a glass cannon than they already are. It’s not stated that using the emergency blaster gun will always cause enemies to drop ammo for the real weapons. It doesn’t even tell you that you can heal allies by staying near them.

Despite an overly chatty A.I. mission giver, the game’s remarkably subtle with its important information. How to switch to the blaster, how to perform certain tasks, they’re relegated to tiny text pop-ups that are easy to miss since you’re looking all over the place trying to keep a bead on enemy positions, maps, and reload prompts.

I’m yet to join a team that isn’t pummelled out of lives and unceremoniously booted from the game within a handful of maps. That’s how the game treats you when you lose, by the way – you’re kicked out of the game and dumped back to the main menu, discarded like trash.

The common thread running through these failed teams is, of course, me. Am I to blame? Considering I’m consistently the higher scoring player out of the handful of players I’ve seen online so far (I’m bumping into recognizable usernames fairly regularly), I’m not so sure.

Near as I can tell, I’m doing what I supposed to do. I’m killing enemies as efficiently as I can, I’m hacking buildings whenever I see them, I’m sticking near bases when they need defending, I’m reviving allies (as long as that fucking takes). It all ends up for naught.

If Battlezone is designed with roguelike sensibilities in mind, then taking it slow and building up one’s power should be the way to go. Currency is earned by destroying enemies and picking up the data they drop, but the amount gained is barely enough to keep up with everything it’s needed for.

Weapon upgrades are super expensive and only available at supply points that may never be discovered. Upgrading the tank is absolutely ludicrous – you can improve your shields, but only on one side of your vehicle at a time. Every time a tank upgrade is purchased, the next one is considerable more expensive. If you want an evenly protected tank you’ll be needing to spend thousands of data before you’ve even covered every side.

The same currency required for weapons and tank upgrades is also needed to buy extra lives – a crucial resource considering how fragile these alleged “tanks” are – and those lives are shared among the whole team. The fact lives are shared is another thing Battlezone players will have to just figure out on their own.

In short, there’s too much to buy and not enough to buy it with.

04

Since the game’s random difficulty spikes can create near-unbeatable odds as early as the first fight, every attempt to cleave forward is a frustrating uphill battle.

And it isn’t fun.

Other critics have said similar things but breezed past it, focusing instead on how “immersive” it all is. Yeah, it’s immersive, but I don’t want to be immersed in a game that treats its players with utter contempt.

At the risk of being mocked by the “git gud” crowd, I’ve got to say I find nothing rewarding or entertaining about Battlezone‘s cheap, poorly explained, disadvantaging, unbalanced structure. Or the fact it’s a clunky mess with huge unwieldy machines bumping into each other like neon dodgems.

It’s also worth noting a lot of early reviewers were able to play with Rebellion and had the advantage of developer knowledge.

Playing with public allies, hearing their in-game chat between each other, I’ve noticed very few of them seem to know what in Christ’s name is going on. It’s hard to blame them, either – if you join a game, there’s a good chance you’ll miss the tutorial mission, and even if you have played it, you’ll only get the bare basic mechanics explained.

Combat itself isn’t particularly thrilling either, due in part to how slow the weapons are. Rate-of-fire on most guns is sluggish at best, reloading is ludicrously frequent and takes a long time – as is weapon switching – and enemies can soak enough fire to drain ammunition almost as soon as you’ve spawned.

Enemy fire is downright unavoidable much of the time. They’re good shots, and even if you swerve out of the way of a projectile, the splash damage will almost always hit.

I understand you’re in a tank. Things are going to be slower and more methodical than other shooters. That doesn’t make it anymore enjoyable.

03

There’s potential with Battlezone. I can see why it’s dazzling those new to virtual reality, as it runs smoothly (when not lagging online), and it really does feel like you’re inside a fancy computerized tank. Homages to the original Battlezone are cute and clever, and there’s a simple style to it that should appeal to fans of 1980s Lawnmower Man aesthetics.

Hell, I want to like the thing. I love games with roguelike elements and I enjoy the way the campaign is laid out with random encounters and occasional adventure game-style choices. Campaigns can be surprisingly flavorful, and it’s fun to find surprise rewards while navigating the hexagonal map between battles.

These glimmers of entertainment, however, are not frequent enough to make up for the number of times I’m left shaking my head at another “Failure” screen, wondering exactly what the hell just happened.

What absolutely tore it for me was the one campaign where things were actually going somewhat well. I’d started solo, which just makes the game far more easier, and had gotten lucky with the missions (none of that escort/defense crap). I even stumbled upon 5,000 data for free and was able to get some decent upgrades.

Competent players joined, we’d managed to claw ourselves a few spaces forward on the map.

Then we lost.

01

We lost not because of challenge, not because of failure, but because we had run into two unwinnable missions that screwed us thoroughly over. Literally unwinnable missions.

We’re talking about a mission where all the enemies had to be defeated but one of the flying opponents landed itself outside of the combat area and was stuck behind a wall, frozen and untouchable. We’re talking about a mission where you had to sit at a certain location until the time ran down… but the timer froze and we were stuck clueless.

Both times I had to retreat to the main map, left with zero other recourse. Both times I was punished for it.

The third time, we were overwhelmed in typical Battlezone fashion, got annihilated, and that was it. Game over. When we should have only ever “lost” one, we were counted as having lost multiple times and the game was through. Back to the main menu, goodbye, and fuck you very much.

Welp, I’d like to return the favor and send back the exact same message…

Fuck you, Battlezone. Fuck you very much.

At least it didn’t make me sick. That was nice.

2.5/10
Bad

Neil Martin
Guest
Neil Martin

This game is incredibly EASY… Whoever wrote this must suffer from some kind of learning disability :-/

Logibear
Guest
Logibear

Im guessing that reviewer just plain sucks at this game. I’ve played plenty and never lost a game in moments. Not once. And all the information you need is right there in the Hud. If you can’t figure it out, you’re a moron.

BoxCar042
Guest
BoxCar042
Personally Battlezone is a great game. All it needs is a option to buy data at the PS store and a option to save your game so when you do die you don’t lose all your upgrades. This is actually fixable with a patch, plain and simple. It’s cool you can stop where you left off and go back to the game later, but when you go back to the game and die, all that work was really for nothing, but just to start all over again. I understand that they wanted BZ to be like a arcade game but… Read more »
Michael Wolfe
Member

Personally my only experience with Battlezone as a franchise is Battlezone: Rise of the Black Dogs on the N64. An absolute wonderful experience with lots of functionality and versatility. Yes there were overwhelming odds in some cases, but that taught you to strategize rather than brute force things. This sounds like someone thought BZ was about brute forcing those challenges, which was never the point.

polysix
Guest
polysix
No way is this 2.5/10. I guess if someone can’t play or can’t be bothered to play they won’t see how fun something can be. I’m no noob to VR (Had DK2 and VIVE) but Battlezone is in the top 10 VR experiences I’ve had, and top 5 for games. It’s also one of the best on PSVR right now. It’s tough, sure, but just like old games were tough, I love how you’ll always get a different challenge through the game. Dying gives experience (and cash) to use on your next go for upgrades etc. That’s all part of… Read more »
Michael Wolfe
Member

Great! Become an accredited journalist for video game media and publish your review and start making money off it!

P.S: May want to go into objective details about all your points; not just subjective “I liked it!” opinions, or ambiguous recounts of your glory days as a gamer born in the early 80s. 🙂

CloudyWolf
Guest
CloudyWolf

Yeah, after watching Angry Joe live streaming this I have to agree with you. Then again these are the guys who made the 1st Aliens vs Predator PC FPS, which was a decent game but also infamously & almost unfairly hard.

Donald Milliken
Guest
Donald Milliken

I just noticed on the PS Store that they want $60 for this. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha…. no.

Sanjuro
Member

The original is still the best.

E.G.
Guest
E.G.
Jim, what you need is a buddy to play with coop. Me and a friend played this for 4 hours today. IT is very much in the FTL vein. You start on “easy” and you earn unlocks that will make it easier with better stuff to buy later on. It’s a pretty great and deep game that wants you to carefully employ strategy. I personally love the balance. This game wouldnt’ be half as interesting if it were easy and didn’t demand something of the player. I’m not mocking you with ‘git gud.” I’m saying that this game’s curve is… Read more »
CloudyWolf
Guest
CloudyWolf

From the looks of things you are gonna need 3 other skilled friends with lots of practice to get a good game going. And from what I saw from people playing, the single player campaign gets way too difficult way too early on. It’s a shame as I really like the art style & the in-game interface. It looks badass.

biddybalboa
Guest
biddybalboa

Thank God For You Jim Sterling.
I’m thoroughly enjoying my PSVR but I see this game getting a lot of unwarranted praise. it’s oh so boring.

derek tomek
Member

Well, you called it Jim, and while I haven’t played it myself this sure does sound like a git gud rant of a review. I’m assuming you’ve played zero tank games before this? Most of these “problems” sound like tanks being tanks. Uneven armor? Tank. Easily squashed by other tanks? Tank. Tons of people not understanding tanks? Tank.

BAH!
Member
BAH!

Except I’m *pretty* sure this game is in no way trying to be a “realistic experience”. It’s cyber-tanks is Tronland, for fuck’s sake.

Besides, your explanations still don’t take into account Jim’s examples of cheap AI, terrible enemy spawning, and poorly-designed roguelike elements. So even for a person who “understands” tanks, this sounds like a terrible time.

Alax Beck
Guest
Alax Beck

Being in a tank on a WWII battlefield is an immersive”tank” experience (A.K.A “tanks being tanks”) but I sure as hell don’t want to be inside of one, because it is not fun, no matter how realistic it is.

Sanjuro
Member

Tanks for that.

Remus
Guest
Remus

IS this a remake of the old battlezone pc game? Because that is one of the first games I played so I have a huge set of nostalgia goggles for it.

Zoë Blade
Guest
Zoë Blade

Both are remakes of the original 1980 Battlezone arcade game.

Jason Rayes
Member

No. There IS a remake of the Battlezone PC game that was an RTS/FPS hybrid, but this is not that game.

Remus
Guest
Remus

yeah I need to look that up because that game was rad

BAH!
Member
BAH!

Well now you’re going to need a huge set up VR goggles for it!

Remus
Guest
Remus

O snap

jason1040
Guest
jason1040

I have 5 of the titles for the PlayStation VR (Arkham VR, Battlezone, EVE: Valkyrie, DriveClub VR, VR Worlds) and I’ve spent more time playing Battlezone than any of the others, although EVE Valkyrie is a close second. A lot of the never video games to me felt tedious and while they looked great this gen, it seems like they weren’t as fun. Battlezone is nothing but fun, well worth every dime I paid for it.

biddybalboa
Guest
biddybalboa

Was the opposite for me. All you do is slowly move around and shoot things.

polysix
Guest
polysix

That’s not ‘all’ you do, there’s such a thing as soak up the challenge, live in the atmosphere of a game you know. I agree battlezone is def one of the best launch games and it’s especially good because of its challenge. Most modern games are extremely linear and hand-holding these days but this feels like good old fashioned gaming in the best way, in a new format. Most millennials need not apply but Gen X’s like myself will lap it up (we’re tougher) 😉

David Gil
Guest
David Gil
-Rolls eyes- Well I’m gonna let that hopefully playful line of generalization of generations slide. Anyways you seem off the mark imo. Games back then were indeed non-linear cause of less space and less tech to slap down a bunch of story and cutscenes and such. The PS2 era was probably one of the more linear ones, they could put a pretty long story in there, stuff it full of cutscenes and this was something devs couldn’t do quite as freely as before so naturally they all jumped on it. Before I get into elaborating what I have seen to… Read more »
Ryan
Guest
Ryan

It made me sick as hell plus Driveclub VR couldn’t stand them for more than 10 min,also anyone suffering from chronic flatus after spending more than hour on PSVR,My room stinks and i’m not the farty type of guy!!

missmolotov
Guest

Why would you jump straight into online mode with strangers, when it’s co-op and you have no idea what you’re doing? Of course you’re going to get your arse handed to you. There would be something majorly wrong if you didn’t.

It tells you right at the start that boosting drains your shield also. Well done on getting your review out on the day after launch though, glad you see you gave it some thought and time.

Marshall West
Member

It doesn’t sound like he didn’t know what he was doing, it sounds like the gameplay is unfair and frustrating. But hey, as he said “At the risk of being mocked by the “git gud” crowd, I’ve got to say I find nothing rewarding or entertaining about Battlezone‘s cheap, poorly explained, disadvantaging, unbalanced structure.”

I guess you didn’t read that part though.

Well done on getting your comment posted as soon as you saw something you didn’t like though, glad to see you gave it some thought and time.

derek tomek
Member

Jim’s definition of “unfair” has always been pretty dang tight. If a game doesn’t hold his hand to the bitter end, it’s gonna get called out for it. He’s eloquent with his words, not so much with his abilities. Anyway, fantastic reviewer, but if you enjoy a challenge in your games, keep in mind that Jim very much does not.

Marshall West
Member

You are correct, his definition of “unfair” is tight. And usually, he’ll admit if a game is just tougher than his skill curve. This VERY MUCH sounds like it’s just brutal, unavoidable failure. It sounds like the game’s difficulty can just utterly destroy your butthole with no option or ability to respond. Yea, it’s hard, but not in a fair or balanced way. MAYBE you can “git gud”, but the process to do so would be more frustrating than satisfying.

Imperial Quinn
Guest
Imperial Quinn

This is something Jim does he jumps into a game blind then labels it as shit even DH complained that misrepresents the game
But Jim has never been a good place to get good reviews.

To be honest as much as people slam it metacritic is a good place for feedback just read more than one review.

As Jim does two things he never takes price into account and the need to make the review entertaining that sometimes over shadows facts that need to be shown.

FireroseNekowolf
Member

What’s wrong with that? If the game is shit, then it’s shit. Jumping in blind is for the sake of a first impression, and if a game cannot give that good first impression, that’s its fault, not the player.

And actually, he does take price into account; there’s been plenty where he berates something for being overly priced, and then there’s also his stand of microtransactions in games that have to be purchased beforehand, which by its very nature accounts for price as well.

Imperial Quinn
Guest
Imperial Quinn

I counter that with dark souls on first impressions it is the worst game ever made its slow, clunky and controls badly with overpowered enemies.
it’s one the reasons demons souls was so misunderstood watch Yahtzee video one demons and souls .
But people took the time to learn and understand it .
Now it’s a much loved series

missmolotov
Guest

That’s just not been my experience of it. My first few missions were pretty instant deaths. By my second hour it was a completely different story.

Marshall West
Member

Well, I’m glad that your experience with it was only dying frustrating, cheap, unfair deaths for the first few missions. I know that for me, that would be pretty off-putting, and I wouldn’t want to continue. The complaint sounds reasonable. I don’t mind a hard game, I DO mind a game that claims to be hard, when it’s just cheap.

FireroseNekowolf
Member

First, way to miss the point about balance. Two, I never played it, but HOW does it tell you? Is it one of those “tips” during a loading menu that is one of out of random selection of many, or it is up-front in some kind of tutorial message? Plus it sounds like it’s still a shitty mechanic either way. And three, get the fuck over yourself.

Christ I’m sick of stupid assholes today.

Neon Samurai
Guest
Neon Samurai

What I don’t get at all is, why did the bother remaking that old arcade game, when they could have made a sequel to battlezone 98.

Weasel Biggs
Member

Because HARDWARE GIMMICKS, my friend!

Hardware gimmicks and money!

Imperial Quinn
Guest
Imperial Quinn

I but Sony are thinking why the hell did we give Jim a PS VR ?
Lol

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

Don’t know he seems pretty fair with many PSVR titles

Imperial Quinn
Guest
Imperial Quinn

He seem to be fair but I’m not sure if he takes the price of the game into account and I wish he would list it .
For example duke forever deserved its bad scores if you paid full price but I rate it higher as I got it for a fiver second hand a year down the line which I think was worth it .
I’ve noticed most PSVR games are cheap .
And jim does not reflects the price valve .
Would these games be better if they where cheaper to buy?

La Chica Incognita
Guest
La Chica Incognita

Huh, being such a big fan I didn’t know you loved games with roguelike elements. Seems in every game that has it you mention it with contempt and sarcasm that I thought you were just totally sick of the whole thing.

Then again I suppose when it’s in a game that’s shit, it just adds another whole lot of variations of how shit the game could be.

Anton
Member
Anton

The thing with rogue likes is that they, above other games, must be fair. Combining permadeath with unwinnable scenarios makes for one bad experience.

Weasel Biggs
Member

Which I’m starting to think even Darkest Dungeon fell for. I’m down to my sixth estate and can barely step out of the Ruins in one piece.

Jpkurihara
Guest
Jpkurihara

Yeah, Darkest Dungeon got to a point where I was completely unable to finish dungeons due to the sheer amount of enemy criticals destroying my recruits.
Thus my gold reserves whittled down to nothing, to the point I couldn’t buy anything at the shop anymore, and had to make a new save.

Weasel Biggs
Member

Which makes me think they could’ve throttled the RNG a tad, maybe with a more in-depth choice of difficulty settings.

I mean, props to Red Hook for really making Lovecraftian dread concrete, but there’s a difference between narrative-appropriate despair and getting to a point where you’re stuck using a trainer to make any sort of headway.

Telling me RNGsus wasn’t on my side and that my next save’s going to work out well – as is so often the case on the Steam forums – doesn’t help much, either.

Billy Bissette
Guest
Billy Bissette
I’d guess the issue Darkest Dungeon ran into was a vocal group of fans who complained that the game was too easy, and begged for it to be made harder. So Red Hook made it harder. The problem with that group is that as long as a game is even remotely close to fair, there will be people who will find strategies, min-maxes, and exploits that give them relatively easy victories. Even if you listen to them and make your game harder, with a few weeks or even a few days, they’ll have figured out how to manipulate the new… Read more »
FireroseNekowolf
Member

As far as I’m concerned, devs just should not even fucking bother listening to people on Steam. Mostly just whiny pissants who wants to scream till their lungs hurt about fucking bullshit.

It’s like reading Youtube comments.

BAH!
Member
BAH!

Certainly, at least, not while you’re still developing your game.

Weasel Biggs
Member

I remember thinking “Jeeze, if difficulty matters that much to you, go through a low Soul Level-playthrough of any SoulsBorne game or go ahead and purposefully hobble any damn game you’d please by, I dunno, handling the controller with your pinky fingers exclusively! Just don’t tell me or anyone else how I’m supposed to be playing!”

FireroseNekowolf
Member

Another EA game, 7 Days to Die, has the 7th Day Horde and zombies can stunlock you. And it’s like… this shit is so damn unbalanced, it’s ridiculous. On top of the fact you’re punished for dying through the Wellness system, so you lose -10 max health and stamina (though it’s now min-capped to 70).

And people are like “just use ranged weapons, won’t get stunned!” Or “the hordes make it ‘fun’ cause it’s too easy without them!”

FUCK YOU! It’s total, unbalanced shit that should either be completely reworked or scrapped altogether, you freaking assholes!

FireroseNekowolf
Member
Just take Starbound for an example. There was tons of topic about it being abandoned and shit, screaming about how the devs “got their money and ran,” and generally just being assholes. When on the main site, you got a weekly development blog that often talked about the changes they were making. Oh but of course that’s not good enough, cause I remember “it doesn’t count until it’s in the game.” Yes. They’re going to go through all the effort to develop these content updates, and push them through their beta build, and simply not release it on main build… Read more »
Mark Davenport
Guest

I bet Sony’s real happy they spend all their effort on this.

CaitSeith
Guest
CaitSeith

They will if it sells.

The outlaw Jesse McCree
Guest
The outlaw Jesse McCree

VR is going to TANK. Sorry, sorry.

Benj
Member
Benj

Never apologise for a quality pun.

Martijn Fiering
Guest
Martijn Fiering

These tank puns are starting to tread on thin ice.

Weasel Biggs
Member

Is it high noon?

Yes, this is seriously going to be my contribution to this discussion – at least for now. Maybe I’ll have more brain cells to spare a few coffee cups later.

RT
Member

Hmmm, a game about tanks, what could possibly go wrong?
>VR
Oh.

Weasel Biggs
Member

I can see why Rebellion could *think* this would have made for a good pairing, seeing as the original Battlezone was the same basic Tron-esque setup; but clearly the execution isn’t up to par.

Drake Warnock
Guest
Drake Warnock

The vr aspects were actually really nice, from the sounds of it. Just the overall design was terrible.

Scott Andrews
Guest
Scott Andrews

yet another slap in the face to vr early adopters. I don’t even know how Jim finds the face under those rigs but he’s gone and done it again.

Stormbringer
Member

Sometimes, Jim, I wish you could color code at least a third of the paragraphs as nonessential reading. Maybe make them more gray then black? Sorry the reviews are too long for casual reading. Most readers aren’t THAT invested in Battlezone.

saintalex
Guest
saintalex

You should edit your comment again to remove all the words. I really can’t waste the seconds it takes to read your idiotic arrogant perspective. Actually I think it’s reasonable to speak for the entire audience here and say most of us are not THAT invested in the badly thought through opinions of people with the attention span of the average lemon. I would go onto parodying your telling someone tremendously successful in their field how to be successful in their field but I doubt you’ve had much success so unfortunately I’ll have to end this here.

Stormbringer
Member

Why do you think you (and so many others here–although by no means a representative sample of anything) feel the need to be mean to random strangers (people you don’t even know) for no reason?

saintalex
Guest
saintalex

Why do you feel the need to tell a successful person to do their job differently to particularly satisfy you?

EDITED: I don’t need permission to hold up a mirror to someone’s anti-intellectual arrogant commentary.

Stormbringer
Member

Because this is the commentary section of the website. That’s what it’s for. Jim is successful, therefore he doesn’t need YOU to defend him from ghosts.

saintalex
Guest
saintalex
That bit up there is the journalism section of the website, if you wish to offer a perspective on the writing more power to you. However if you simply wish to tell the journalist he wrote too many words you’re an arrogant dullard; particularly when you have no credibility on the matter. Jim doesn’t need me for anything, although I doubt he’d be overly pleased with being told to write less by a self professed gargantuan fan… I simply chose to gently mock you by holding up a mirror to your self-importance. The bruises will fade, the scars will heal,… Read more »
Stormbringer
Member

You’re wrong.

Esben Ring Mølgård
Guest
Esben Ring Mølgård

The fact that Jim is succesfull in his field does not make suggestions “wrong”. What is however wrong, is, without reason to be aggressive, attacking someone who politely presented a suggestions and viewpoint

saintalex
Guest
saintalex

Firstly, don’t use quotation marks as if referencing what I wrote when using terms I didn’t, as it’s “wrong” and makes you look moronic. Secondly the original comment wasn’t polite.

Stormbringer
Member

It was.

CaitSeith
Guest
CaitSeith

But how would he define the what’s essential and what isn’t? What could be a deal-breaker for some can be no big deal to others.

Stormbringer
Member

Basically anything wonky is nonessential. Especially if it’s an extended spiel. You want to try to get to the essence of the thing. Journalism is more than words on a page. So much more. What’s essential is what has the greatest reach and application to the most people. It’s the gestalt.

Mike Hoyer
Guest
Mike Hoyer
This review runs about 1,400 words, right in the zone of most feature articles which, given the format, is what this is. Roughly three pages. Copied into Word along with pictures it runs about six which, fair enough, would definitely be broken up in a “dead trees” magazine. But then a lot of other things about the layout would also be altered and the magazine wouldn’t run one issue with one article every day so… Online magazines primarily break up features for (no judgement here) the purposes of advertising, not readability, and even that is becoming a less and less… Read more »
Stormbringer
Member

PS: What I mean by sections, is a second title midway in, in bold. Unless it’s a book like article (e.g. The New Yorker) or a special edition, long articles are broken up into digestible subsections with a directed focus on an express topic.

Stormbringer
Member

You don’t find articles that long about any piece of media, much less individual video games, much less ones that there isn’t much to say about outside of a blow by blow stream of conscious retracing of your time with the game, as this article reads. More than a column is practically unheard of for media reviews. Jim easily runs several times longer, but it’s a site dedicated to video games, so it gets a lot of rope.

Aria DiMezzo
Guest
You’ll want to stay away from my reviews and editorials at Cubed3–yes, an actually aggregated gaming site for which I am a writer and editor. 1400 words is hardly long, and most professional writers will struggle to get anything of value said in under 1000, a reality I struggled with when eBuyer requested an article from me regarding social media, with a cap of 1000 words. But keep making up facts as you go, I suppose. I’m just a professional author and Jim just a professional game reviewer, so what do we know about how to write? Plus, Gamefaqs considers… Read more »
Stormbringer
Member

That’s just not so. For a general audience, if a review is long, then the reader has to decide whether to read the review or not, and that defeats the purpose of having a review, since the whole reason it exists is to gain exposure.

Media are just not important. It shouldn’t be. If media is important, then something is wrong with your life. A review is an introduction, not a long form essay. In theory you’d read a review for every single piece of media. If they are long, that’s impossible to do.

Anton
Member
Anton

This took me less than five minutes to read. If you would like more concise Jim content, you should know he has a twitter.

saintalex
Guest
saintalex

He can’t use twitter he keeps accidentally retweeting things with his massive fandom.

Stormbringer
Member

In a magazine this would be broken down into two sections. It runs long, given the subject matter. Too long. This is what editors are for. It’s not the piece in isolation. It’s when you get to the middle and think, I am not going to finish this. It doesn’t give you enough reason to finish. A deep cut now and then is fine, an extra long piece now and then is fine, but not for a “2.5” and not for nothing special.

FireroseNekowolf
Member

I guess it’s a good thing we’re not on a magazine then, now is it?

Sharadufobash
Guest
Sharadufobash

I completely disagree. Hey, I’m about to start work on my Saturday but even I can find the time to read a review of that length. How pressed for time are you?

I just find Jim’s reviews entertaining, he has a gift for being interesting about things I hardly care about (I doubt I’ll ever get a VR set), and find the length of the reviews justified by the arguments and explanations made in them.

I know I’m just doing the sycophantic-Jim-Sterling-fan thing here, but I just don’t get where you’re coming from.

The reviews aren’t even that long.

Stormbringer
Member

I am a bigger fan than you are. If you just want volume Jim has no shortage of podcasts and live play sessions for you. Editing for time is as important as anything. If the Jimquisition was 30mins long, Jim would lose a lot of viewers. Reviews are no different.

Probably the reason the reviews are sometimes so long, is Jim doesn’t have time to edit them properly.

CaitSeith
Guest
CaitSeith

TotalBiscuit does much longer videos (even when talking about the same topics than Jimquisition does), and yet he has millions of viewers. It’s more about preference really. But ok; TB doesn’t plan to make his videos shorter, but Jim may make his reviews shorter if enough people give legit reasons for it.

Stormbringer
Member
That will shape the audience that’s willing to sit with them for that long; and they will either have to spread their effort thin, or do a lot more work, or do a lot less editing for brevity. Concision is king pretty much. It’s not a one size fits all thing. It really depends on the material and the format. I don’t have facts and figures, I just know how I feel. Jim is an entertainer. You should feel propelled through anything he publishes, like a wild ride. If you get off in the middle, something is wrong. If you… Read more »
FireroseNekowolf
Member

“I’m a bigger fan than you are.” Okay. Now go fuck yourself.

Weasel Biggs
Member

I don’t mean to be vindictive, but you pretty much lost all credibility when mentioning the size of your, erm, fanhood.

What is this, recess hall?

saintalex
Guest
saintalex

I think you’re just jealous of his big swollen eye-popping fandom… The ladies say he puts the dom into fandom. He is the FANDOMINATOR! As evidenced by his comments the only person whose length he considers a threat is Jim’s…

Anton
Member
Anton
Stormbringer
Member

It’s rhetorical. My sincerity was called into question.

Weasel Biggs
Member
Fair enough. Considering, I think your argument regarding the article’s length remains subjective. The Escapist, for instance, pumps out occasional six or seven-page editorials that require a few scrolls per page and that take about five to ten thousand words. Maybe I’m more used to reading on-screen material, but that takes me ten to fifteen minutes. Battlezone’s review took me about five. No matter how sincere you are, some articles can be a slog – and that’s regardless of who wrote them. There’s some Escapist or Polygon editorials I skip past because they’re of tertiary interest to me, despite the… Read more »
Stormbringer
Member
All decisions in publishing are based on means. (I don’t think I got a notification for this response.) Even if you are super excited about Battlezone, it doesn’t seem appropriate for Jim to recount his experience in detail, almost like a play-by-play. He’s kind of phoning it in, and I don’t mind that, if it was just much shorter. Even if Battlezone is a “10” I don’t think a longer review is appropriate, unless it has something substantial to say, that goes above and beyond typical video game fare. Jim occasionally puts out a snoozer, slog review like this, and… Read more »
Weasel Biggs
Member
Why am I tempted to view your inferrence as a personal one? The review isn’t much to me because I read a lot, more or less professionally. Downing a 300-page master’s thesis for proofreading in four days is common for me. Jim’s output is part of my light, personal reading. To wit, I’ll use the same device you used to illustrate your attachment to Sterling’s output. Ahem. I’m a bigger reader than you. Metaphorically speaking, that is, because I don’t have access to your own metrics and can make no inferrences as to what constitutes an average reading workload for… Read more »
Stormbringer
Member
What I am saying is that Jim’s format can sometimes be more professional (to wit: Jim’s pieces can appear unprofessional, i.e. bad for readership) in order to reach a wider audience (presumably comprised of normals.) It has nothing to do with any of these things you’ve trotted out. I don’t know why people insist on drawing this out frankly. There’s a stark difference between a review and a strategy guide. Jim’s pieces are sometimes more strategy guide like than your standard media review, if you get out and read other media, you’d know this. It’s not an endurance challenge. It’s… Read more »
Anton
Member
Anton

I would love to know the metric by which you judge the size of your fanhood.

Kev' Bryant
Guest
Kev' Bryant

We need a fan-off!

Also; always measure from the base….

Stormbringer
Member

I dunno Jim is pretty brilliant. He startles me with the words that come out of his mouth on a regular basis. Not the content, just the poetics. He reminds me of Lou Reed. A brilliant mind. I’m jealous of his command of language.

Sharadufobash
Guest
Sharadufobash

Hey, man, looking back at it it looks like I opened the door to a lot of hassle for you.

Sorry about that.

You could see how I was trying to make myself sound reasonable by putting the word “just” in 3 times, while at the same time bristling with indignation that YOU DON’T WANT MORE JIM STERLING?

Stormbringer
Member

No it’s fine. Talking about what’s a reasonable length for an article is interesting. I opened the door myself. Jim probably doesn’t have an editor. And he’s a one man operation more or less. I just want to encourage him to put more effort into the written pieces than with the “live streams” and podcasts, which are more off the cuff. And barring that, to consider novel ways to compromise. Jim is a writer (obviously) so he’s aware of these issues and the trade-offs here.

Anton
Member
Anton

Complaining about having to read for five minutes doesn’t sound very avid to me.

Stormbringer
Member

Different formats and subject matters have different levels of commitment. If you think for two seconds you can figure that out. Why is a feature length movie not 15 minutes or 3 hours? I am straining to be polite. Much of this discussion borders on illiterate. That’s clearly not what I had in mind when I broached the topic 🙂

FireroseNekowolf
Member

Yeah? So why the shit should we listen to you? According to you, you know what you’re talking about. And Donald fucking Trump is the best at everything, because he says so.

Cocky arrogance doesn’t make you right. It makes you a prick.

Jpkurihara
Guest
Jpkurihara

So, why did this game feel the need to go down the Dark Souls route?

CaitSeith
Guest
CaitSeith

Damn! Such a shame. I had a lot of fun with the demo. Is it multiplayer only?

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