Thursday, November 17, 2011

*Editorial* Gamespot gives Skyward Sword a 7.5

Here is some portions of the review, you can read the whole thing at the link below:

About the controls: 

If you decide to be slow and precise rather than quick and efficient, new problems arise that ensure combat does not go smoothly. The Wii Remote has trouble recognizing your different swings. Often, you thrust forward in real life only to watch Link swing feebly in the game or just stand completely motionless. The sensitivity varies wildly so you're never quite sure how much force you need before the game recognizes your actions. As in the aforementioned situation, you may swing you arm while Link ignores you. 

About the new elements to the series:

A few of the new elements introduced in Skyward Sword are positive additions to the series. An upgrade system lets you use collectibles you scrounge up in your quest to improve your tools. For example, you can turn your slingshot into a scattershot that fires three pellets at once or improve the healing powers of your potions. This is a great addition to the franchise because it gives you a purpose for collecting things, with a tangible result when you acquire enough goods. Link is also more agile than in past games. He can now sprint through worlds and shimmy up short walls, and this allows the labyrinthine design to be more robust. A stamina meter ensures you can't abuse this, and there are clever situations where you must run precisely, lest you run out of breath and fail your mission. There's also a motion-controlled segment onboard a minecart, and though it only lasts a few minutes, it's a thrilling detour from the main actions.

Then the contradiction:

There just aren't enough new ideas to separate Skyward Sword from its predecessors, and the few additions come with mixed results. Even with many bright spots, Skyward Sword still feels like a nostalgic retread. Those yearning for something new will be disappointed, but anyone thirsty for another exciting adventure will find plenty to enjoy here.

My take on this:

Now I haven't mentioned this you guys, but I already have Skyward Sword (through a contact) and I can tell you that I completely disagree with this review. I'm not upset by what the reviewer is saying since what is being said is really funny to me actually. 

The controls in Skyward Sword are the very core of the game itself and they have worked for me flawlessly. The amount of love and devotion that has gone into making this game control smoothly and accurately is very much noticed when you play it. Believe me, Nintendo would not have released this new Zelda that requires Wii Motion Plus (I have the Wii Remote Plus and it's godly) and not have the controls work correctly. The game absolutely does not have any trouble recognizing your swings in any direction you move. Yes, the game requires you to make slightly more aggressive swings than just slowly swinging in any direction. This is not because the motion controls are broken or unresponsive, the reason is because the small smooth movements are used for various other interactions with your sword (I won't spoil it for you); besides, what would anyone accomplish with a small slow swipe against a foe? This argument about unresponsive controls in that review is pointless. 

Skyward Sword does not use the IR sensor for the on-screen reticle but motion-plus for exact cursor location. This works very well and I only had to re-center the screen a couple times and one time I did it just to see the effect; it's really nothing big to worry about like the reviewer said. 

The review also talked about how the game really doesn't add enough new things to the series. This is a very poor argument as well. 

Here are some new things Skyward Sword introduces to the series:

-Full motion control with precision swings for amazingly accurate sword fighting
-The brand new weapon/item upgrade system
-The Stamina Gauge
-More random/less predictable ways to collect items
-Newly designed dungeons that you don't even realize are dungeons.  

There is more the game adds but I don't want to spoil it for the faithful fans. Even though I haven't quite finished the game yet, you have to trust me when I say that The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the biggest change the series has ever had, all while keeping to a somewhat faithful path to what you would know a Zelda game to be. All this begs to question what the reviewer at Gamespot was expecting? A game that doesn't resemble Zelda at all? 

The reason why I wrote this explanation is not just because of the low review for Zelda, but the strange habit that keeps repeating itself in the gaming industry. Here you have Gamespot giving Skyward Sword a 7.5 but then just a week earlier gives Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 an 8.5? You could argue that MW3 is the worst game in Call of Duty history based on the poor multiplayer map design alone and for the fact that it truthfully doesn't change anything in the series but repeats and repeats it. This leads to Zelda, which actually tries hard to change the formula and add a lot of new things to the series only for it to still get labeled as too much of the same. I'm amazed by the short shortsightedness of some of those in the gaming industry that still think this way when it comes to Nintendo games but seemingly forget about it for others. It is almost like they are saying: "Well we expect a lot more from Zelda than we do from Call of Duty". 

Gamespot, is that they seem to be in the minority of the reviews so far. Most sites and publications have given Skyward Sword a 10/10 calling it one of the best or the very best Zelda game of all time. We all remember the Gamespot 8.8 review of Twilight Princess and how much of an uproar there was about it. Now it seems that Gamespot could be looking for even more attention with one of the lowest ratings ever given a console Zelda game. 

No one may agree with Gamespot's 7.5 review of Skyward Sword, but rest assured that Gamespot agrees because they are getting a ton of traffic now because of it. Amazing. 


Anonymous said...

this is a site that did a wii to win vs ps3 / x360 SPOOF article even saying it would break all records AS A JOKE AND DIGG AT NINTENDO FANS ,,, only for that exact thing to happen,i remember when tjese guys did a preview of a fps on wii as they asked things the dev spokesperson was wii remote/chuck controlling the game gamespot guy kept saying does it support CORE CONTROLS the dev guy went these are core controls ,games spot guy goes what about the wii remote lag ,dev guy says what lag ,it was pricless watching gamespot try to look core and fail hard....

there saying this because they font want to admit that motion/point = core=advanced=the future they want to pretend for the loyal hardlycore fans PATHETIC!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

its legendery how many outthere are saying its crap because it aint got sony move COUGH COUGH LAG /CAMERAS/LIGHT INTERFERENCE /POOR CALIBRATION AND ONLY 300ºTRACKING PER SECOND VS WII MOTION PLUS 1600ºTRACKING LOL

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to play Skyward Sword without Wii motion plus? If it is (and assuming that its not explicitly stated that the game must be played with motion plus), then...

It's quite possible that Gamespot's reviewer quite stupidly did not use one at all!..

I've read the review and i noticed that 'motion plus' was not refered to at all. And like you said, Gamespot definitely put up hardly any evidence to prove issues with the controls.

I absolutely agree with what you've said in this post!

and thanks, good read.

ECM said...

I think the real problem is that if Zelda is only a 7.5, how the hell is Rage an 8??

This, folks, is why scores mean nothing. They're completely arbitrary and, half the time, the reviewer is merely using the score as a way of making a statement as much as anything else--his statement being (probably) I just don't like the Wii, so ignore the contradictions in my review and accept this number as all-important.

Metaldave said...

At Smaug:

Nice comment and totally agree with you. This is the main problem with gaming sites in general these days. They love sequels and more of the same gameplay in all games across 360/PS3 but when Nintendo releases a game it's labeled as offering nothing really new.

If this were actually true about Zelda and other Nintendo games I wouldn't have any problem with the review they gave, but they would also need to use the same standard for all the other games they review and not just Nintendo.

If that isn't a case of bias then I don't know what is.

Smaug said...

Please delete my original post, as I’ve cleared my spelling mistakes and typos.

It's not so much that he gave a 7.5 to the game, but the fact that he has the nerve to write this

"There just aren't enough new ideas to separate Skyward Sword from its predecessors, and the few additions come with mixed results."

Then he goes and gives Uncharted 3, an entire gaming series with no new ideas and no innovations (in any of its games), 9.0. And yes, the same guy reviewed both games. To me that screams of horrible double standard.

I’d stopped listening to Gamespot long ago. But when I saw their reviews of games like Redsteel 2 (which also scored a 7.5, which I think was a fair score) and saw them amend their score of Prince of Persia SOT for the Wii because of a misunderstanding about the camera, I thought I'd give them a second chance.

Perhaps they're looking to change? I thought, perhaps that business with Kane and Lynch caused them to have a look again, and perhaps actually become a proper critical site. How wrong it seems I am.

Gamespot is about as credible as a tabloid now...

Let me just point out, I don't call them a tabloid because they gave Zelda a 7.5. Full disclosure here. As much as I loved Twilight Princess, I have to confess I thought a lot of sites scored it too highly. The game was solid, but not a ten or a 9.5 or a 5/5. It was at worse 8.0 and at best 9.0. So when Gamespot gave it a 8.8 I thought that was one of the fairer scores I'd seen.

No, the reason I'm annoyed about this, is because of the example I gave at the beginning of this post.

Games like Uncharted offer nothing new, no new mechanics, no new ideas (other than being an original IP) and rip off not only existing games, but movies as well.

Yet this reviewer (who reviewed both Zelda and Uncharted 3) gave Uncharted 3 9.0, despite the fact that the game has done nothing new with its formal, and then accuses Zelda, a game which a single video will prove is doing new things, of not having

"enough new ideas to separate Skyward Sword from its predecessors, and the few additions come with mixed results."

To me that smacks of a double standard and genuine case of bias.

Let’s not forget that Gamespot hasn’t got the best record when it comes to Nintendo and the Wii, offer siding with lazy 3rd part developers, or, when an excellent game is released on the Wii, bemoan how it’s not on 360 or PS3.

Honestly, this review captures a lot of the bad habits currently in the gaming press.

Anonymous said...

a hardcore that cannot wii-play typical cannot gamer who thinks his core like COD classic padders there all retards ,and remember pointing at the screen to these morons is holdingyour arm out str8 lol @ MONG hi u guys freaks,calling them self the core...

Anonymous said...

theres no ir pointing in this game is there!!!!and even if there was how does that change your position, as its the front of a wii remote that needs to face a tv screen, not your whole body or arm!!!again the waggle myth is being used to troll wii

GTV said...

Uncharted is only 3 games in. It doesn't need to drastically change up it's formula because it's a formula that hasn't overstayed it's welcome yet.

Modern Warfare 3 might be an other story, but it wasn't the same reviewer so that comparison is stupid.

I haven't played Skyward Sword yet so I don't how good it is. I'll judge once I've actually played it, but if GameSpot is right about the fact it follows the pattern of: fetch quest, dungeon, fetch quest, dungeon, etc, then that sounds totally boring.

All in all who cares what he thinks? Most of you haven't even played the game yet so you really have no right to say anything until you do. Watching video reviews doesn't give you any credibility.

I love Zelda, so I hope IGN is right about giving it a ten, but in the end who cares? Gamespot still thought it was a "good game" which is what 7.5 means. It's just one mans opinion in the end.

Anonymous said...

The controls really are quite awful, their pretty much exactly how he described them. failing works better then being precise. not to mention the pointer moves so slow in this game when you aim -_-

Smaug said...


As I said in my original post, it’s not because he gave it 7.5 that’s the problem. It’s the double standards that are being employed here. Uncharted, other than having above avenge voice acting (which, in the games industry, isn’t very difficult), and in some cases genuinely exceptional voice acting (also not very difficult in the games industry), is a game that has brought nothing new, yet it gets a 9.0.

I’m not even going to go into the game’s linearity to the point that it offers very little freedom to the player, because it’s so desperate to prove it’s a movie. I’m not even going to explain the problem with the “story” and narrative being at odds with the gameplay (something that’s always been a problem with the Uncharted series).

The major fact I am going to pick on, is that the game is a massive rip off of other and often better games. While I’m not against the idea of taking existing ideas from different sources to create a solid foundation on which you can build your idea – I would at least ask you take the concept into an interesting new direction. If you don’t want to do that, then that’s fine, but if you offer nothing new or interesting, then you shouldn’t be praised – or at least not overly praised.

As much as I dislike Yathzee, I have to concede he’s by and large hit the nail on the head with his thoughts on the Uncharted series. It’s an enjoyable enough series to play when you want to kill time – but wholly forgettable and bland when you get down to it and hold up in the broader context of the medium as a whole.

In many respects, the Uncharted series is much like the Fable series (and Infamous and Alan Wake) – it’s get defended to death but, were it on both 360 and PS3 (like games like Prototype or Dead Space), people probably wouldn’t give a toss about it. Oh sure, they’d probably enjoy it, I enjoyed the second game (unremarkable as it was), but they wouldn’t go all in trying to defend it to the death.

But let’s put the comparison issue aside for minute, let’s forget I even mentioned Uncharted in my original post. That still doesn’t remove the fact that there is a bigger glaring issue with the review, the fact that he lied. He claimed that motion control was done through IR – but from what I’ve gathered and, seems to have been confirmed, it’s not using that. Simply put, he was playing it wrong. People, not just fans, called him out on that.

To their credit, Gamespot responded -

However, the problem is that the “revised” review is still the same – claiming the controls are broken, which a little tacked on disclaimer at the end mention the discrepancy. That’s dishonest journalism and that also displays a total lack of integrity. That alone shoots their creditable, but it become even more embarrassing for Gamespot, when gamers, who have game – make the video like this –

I also own the game and I’ve been playing it and I haven’t encountered any issue - but I’ve not made enough progress through it to make a form final opinion yet.

Smaug said...

part 2

Back to the review, either one of two things has happened. Either, the reviewer misunderstood how to play it and played it wrong, which influenced the overall review or he’s deliberately lied. If it’s a case of former, then fair enough. Mistakes happen and all Gamespot would need to do was hold their hands up and say, sorry we were wrong – we’ll look over the game again (as they did with Prince of Persia SOT for the Wii, when issue of the camera came up). But they refuse to do that here, again a poor show of journalistic integrity.

The other instance that they’re lying. If that is the case, if they are deliberately misleading their viewers, based on bias (and Gamespot hasn’t got the best reputation when it comes to Nintendo, let along games in general – Kane and Lynch anyone?) then that’s even worse.

As for his opinion – this is interesting. Reviewers should genuinely objective in their reviews, and yes, you can be objective in your review. For example –

What’s this game’s genres how well does it stand against other games in that genre?

What are the mechanics of this game? How different are those mechanics from other games? Are they the same as other games, in which case, how well do they compare?

How well are those mechanics represented through game play? How tight or precise is the game play?

What are the levels like? Are they well layout?

Are there puzzles? Are the puzzles engaging? How well put together are the puzzles? Are they even needed?

What’s the artistic style of the game? Does it complement or detract? Does it convey the tone of the game?

Is there a story? What’s story about? How well does it tell the story? Is the story told well through the game play, through the characters? Does the narrative make sense? Are there plot-holes? Is the story interesting and original? Is it taken in a new direction? What is the story exploring? How well is it exploring those elements? Does a game like this even need a story? Is its tone consistent?

Does this game innovate, is this game going to change the landscape? Does it bring anything new to the table? Does it raise the bar of a genre or gaming as a collective whole? Does this game have interesting new ideas or new approaches to existing mechanics?

Those are just some of the basic questions reviewers should be asking themselves. All of those are objective critical questions, there is always a baseline and golden of which to compare. For example, every 3D platform game is going to be measured to Mario – why? Because it’s the gold standard, these are elements within that standard and they are done exceptionally well. Every FPS set in the modern times is going to compared to Call of Duty, regardless of whether you personally like it or not.

I think it would be useful if all reviewers read books like “Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals” just so they have a baseline and grounding in understand some of key principles of games design, in much the same way that a majority of movie critic have high level of understanding movies, its history, its culture, its process, the overall craft, and the overall effect. The games industry could stand to learn a lot from them – and it would help the medium genuinely mature.

There is a horrible double standard in the review of videogames in general, 10 are given out way to easily and with little thought. This wasn’t always the case, but it definitely is now. I will admit this isn’t help by “fans” and their over sense of enticement.

For what it’s worth, I’ve had Skyward Sword since Thursday (17th of Nov), I live the UK and release schedule is different for me. I’ll admit it took a few minutes to learn the nuances with the sword, but once I did, I found the combat to engage and not simply a case of “mash button to win”

I’ve yet to experience anything near to the levels of what this guy is describing.

I’m not going to bore you anymore now, since this has already gone on long enough. If you’ve read all of this, congratulations :0

Anonymous said...

Check out this rebuttal video that came out recently. It totally destroys Tom McShea's claims that Skyward Sword has wonky controls:

Anonymous said...

the problem with peoples opinion is it gets in the way of fact

fact the motion controls work perfectly his OPINION IS B.S.