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How Not To Review A Game

Posted by Josh Fernandes on September 18, 2012 at 7:40 PM


As I waited for Borderlands 2 to be shipped to me from Gamefly, I decided to read some reviews. That's when I came across this review by Adam Najberg over at the Wall Street Journal. It is one of the laziest and most ignorant reviews I have ever read. Let's dive in!


"The sequel to the highly acclaimed 2009 Borderlands game goes on shelves Tuesday in Xbox 360, PS3 and PC versions for around $60."


 

So far so good.


 

"At that price point, the first-person shooter, published by 2K Games, inevitably invites comparisons with..."


 

ut-oh.


 

"...the Halos..."


 

*cringe*


 

"...and Calls of Duty games already out and due to come in the next few weeks and months."


Ok, so the main problem here is that Borderlands 2 isn't all that similar to the Call of Duty franchise or the Halo franchise (call it Halo or the Halo series. Not "the halos" you idiot!). The only thing they really share in common is that they are in first person and there are guns in the game. Borderlands 2 is a real time RPG with a randomized loot mechanic and Call of Duty is a somewhat realistic shooter based on gritty visuals, intense firefights, and quick reflexes. The fact that Adam sees Borderlands 2 as just a "first-person shooter" shows that he doesn't really understand these games he is trying to review. Anyway, let's continue with this crap.


 

"Borderlands 2 falls short because it’s missing several key elements you need to have in a 2012 first-person shooter game – most notably, a rich multiplayer online mode."


 

What!?This sentence just makes my head hurt. In both the Borderlands games, you could play through the entire game by playing with friends online, and it's simple as fuck to connect. What were you expecting?


 

"In comparison, I read on several sites that COD: Black Ops 2 will feature up to six teams, for a total of 18 simultaneous players, in multiplayer mode."


 

Oh.....COD has 18 players....and 18 is bigger than 4. So that's that. 


 

"It’s apparent that Borderlands 2 is going after that testosterone-filled, 18-35-or-so demographic..."


 

It's apparent that Adam heard that the targeted demographic for videogames is 18-35 year old males. So, he had to put that in his review....to show how much he knows about videogames. 


 

"I played the Xbox version of Borderlands 2 for close to a week...I played with my 14-year-old son..."


 

Wait....how much time did his schedule and his son's schedule overlap? Did he put in the 3-4 hours a day necessary to get far enough into Borderlands 2 to write a review after a week? You wouldn't review Skyrim after playing only 6 hours. 


 

"I was reminded a couple of times of the desolate feeling you have on the road while playing Skyrim and struck by how long it took to get from one action point to another."


 

Oh.....maybe he did. 


 

"I had to go back to Wikipedia descriptions of the original game to remember all the intricate twists and turns of the Borderlands backstory..."


 

Don't admit that!....Ugh, what other crap is in this review?


 

"Also back is Claptrap, a droid that’s somewhat of a cross between a snarky, profane C3PO with the body of an R2D2"


 

Fuck you, Adam. Claptrap has different wheels, colors, and a different body shape than R2D2 and he has arms and the ability to talk. C3PO was a protocol droid that was built for etiquette. Claptrap is a dirty little circus carne who shouldn't be allowed around explosives. So yes, he is exactly like C3PO except for everything about him and if you think he looks like R2D2 then you need to sue your lasik surgeon. (Watch Out! Spoiler below!)


"Claptrap acts as your guide, and is a fairly detestable character, who left me cold. When his camera eye got plucked out by an alien on the first mission, I didn’t care."


Spoilers man! I know it's a small one that happens early on, but fuck! That seems like something that would be exciting when it happened.


"Controls are very similar to COD"


Ok, i'm done with this review. I'll leave you with one last little gem.


"As a $30 impulse buy, priced about the same as games like “NASCAR Unleashed,” I wouldn’t have a problem recommending Borderlands 2 as a fun diversion."


There you have it....Borderlands 2 belongs in the same pricing league as NASCAR Unleashed. Hey, why not just throw it on steam for $9.99? Adam, I don't know if you are a troll trying to increase traffic to the Wall Street Journal or if you are actually that lazy and uncommitted to games. Either way....I hate you.

 

Categories: PS3

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42 Comments

Reply NovaDeez
10:47 PM on September 18, 2012 
If you're going to complain about spoilers, you should probably have a warning at the top of your article yourself. It's hypocritical to complain that he just throws spoilers out there, but you do absolutely nothing to give a heads up and thus commit the exact same thing.
Reply Billy Gill
10:48 PM on September 18, 2012 
Wow. As a video-game writer, that WSJ review is an embarrassment...
Reply Josh Fernandes
10:52 PM on September 18, 2012 
NovaDeez says...
If you're going to complain about spoilers, you should probably have a warning at the top of your article yourself. It's hypocritical to complain that he just throws spoilers out there, but you do absolutely nothing to give a heads up and thus commit the exact same thing.


fair point. Added a warning right before.
Reply Writes With Wolves
11:06 PM on September 18, 2012 
I agree with both NovaDeez and Billy Gilly. You could probably add a spoiler warning, and this report on Borderlands 2 is downright laughable-- I mean, really written by somebody who has virtually no experience in video game journalism.

But what really gets me is this: he ADMITTED to scouring WIKIPEDIA for more info on the game's STORY. He might as well have just scrapped that paragraph and written in bold, 100-point typeface "I HAVE NO CREDIBILITY WHATSOEVER".

That said, do you really hate the guy? He's just getting paid to do half the job I could have done. Nice article, though.
Reply Josh Fernandes
11:16 PM on September 18, 2012 
Writes With Wolves says...
That said, do you really hate the guy? He's just getting paid to do half the job I could have done. Nice article, though.


Earlier today when I typed in "borderlands 2 reviews" into google, his review is one of the top ones that showed up in the google news section. Lots of people could have read his review and gotten the wrong impression about the game (he adds a short praise about the first game so people might actually think he is being sincere). If he wanted to give the game an honest review and simply ran out of time (it happens a lot) or he tried to enjoy the game and just couldn't get into it, then I can't fault him for that.....but he just does not care...at all! It's like he immediately distanced himself from the game and would not let himself get involved at all. Being an idiot is one thing, being a lazy, cynical, codger is another.
Reply Writes With Wolves
11:21 PM on September 18, 2012 
Josh Fernandes says...
give the game an honest review and simply ran out of time (it happens a lot)


How early were review copies sent out? Running out of time shouldn't happen at all, really, unless the publisher stiffs ya. I see what you're saying, though. WSJ is too reputable for this kind of work.
Reply Josh Fernandes
11:32 PM on September 18, 2012 
Writes With Wolves says...
How early were review copies sent out? Running out of time shouldn't happen at all, really, unless the publisher stiffs ya. I see what you're saying, though. WSJ is too reputable for this kind of work.


Usually a week or two depending on the game. Some of the bigger games like Uncharted you will get a month before release. Sometimes the publisher or the PR group responsible for sending out review copies drops the ball and doesn't send you a copy or they send you one late. Also, for somewhat-larger sites they will ship the games to the site owner and then he/she will ship them out to staff. For sites that are trying to grow to compete with bigger and bigger sites, then a lot of reviewers could end up with less than a week to review a game.

I'm just speaking from experience. I'm sure bigger sites like ign, giant bomb, 1up, etc. get all the time they want.
Reply widehead
12:06 AM on September 19, 2012 
From the review:

"It?s apparent that Borderlands 2 is going after that testosterone-filled, 18-35-or-so demographic, with its over-the-top marketing verbiage (eg. ?a bazillion weapons just got bazilliondier?), gratuitous cussing in the game and prominent placement of a pre-order advertisement on the ESPN.com homepage."

So, JUSTIFICATION given that you failed to mention.

"Borderlands 2 doesn?t just bill itself as an FPS. It?s a space Western FPS or a role-playing shooter"

So, RECOGNITION of the RPG nature of the game that you failed to mention.

And finally:

"At twice that price, though, I think it?s fair for players to demand the whole magilla ? cutting-edge development, engrossing campaign gameplay, scads of downloadable content, a rich social media/community experience, sharing of loot and gear and online multiplayer modes that keep you and your friends coming back until the next version of the game comes out."

A RATIONALE delivered for the low score.

You, sir have misrepresented a "poor" review of a game you happen to like.
Reply FunWithTreason
1:23 AM on September 19, 2012 
widehead says...
From the review:

"It?s apparent that Borderlands 2 is going after that testosterone-filled, 18-35-or-so demographic, with its over-the-top marketing verbiage (eg. ?a bazillion weapons just got bazilliondier?), gratuitous cussing in the game and prominent placement of a pre-order advertisement on the ESPN.com homepage."

So, JUSTIFICATION given that you failed to mention.


Because only testosterone-filled 18-35 year olds watch ESPN. i've seen most of the adds on YouTube clips, this is called exposure and ADVERTISING you know getting the name out to all possible locations.
widehead says...
"Borderlands 2 doesn?t just bill itself as an FPS. It?s a space Western FPS or a role-playing shooter"

So, RECOGNITION of the RPG nature of the game that you failed to mention.


"Borderlands 2 doesn?t just bill itself as an FPS. It?s a space Western FPS or a role-playing shooter, with the ability to build and customize characters."
is the complete bit of text about the role playing elements, nice to know that major parts of the game can be summarized into a single sentence.

widehead says...
And finally:

"At twice that price, though, I think it?s fair for players to demand the whole magilla ? cutting-edge development, engrossing campaign gameplay, scads of downloadable content, a rich social media/community experience, sharing of loot and gear and online multiplayer modes that keep you and your friends coming back until the next version of the game comes out."

A RATIONALE delivered for the low score.


this is probably the worst nonsence in the whole review, does it have cutting edge development? yes it does. Does it have engrossing campaign gameplay? yes it does.
Does it have scads of downloadable content? Why the smeg should this be a requirement? oh and it will have 4 much like the last one did, or do you mean mappacks at 15 dollars a pop that add nothing to the game, that in itself is seen as taking away from the game only to add it later for a fee.
Does it have a rich social media/community experience? if you mean can you play it on facebook? no, why would want that? This is one of those WTF statements that mean nothing, but sound trendy.
Does it have sharing of loot and gear and online multiplayer modes that keep you and your friends coming back until the next version of the game comes out? seeing that people still play left 4 dead one and two I'd have to say yes.

all in all, its a very poor opinion piece about how Borderlands 2 is not going to CROSSOVER into the Call Of Duty "Mainstream" genre of games.
Reply LaC
3:01 AM on September 19, 2012 
It is one of the laziest and ignorant reviews I have ever read.

You mean "it is one of the laziest and MOST ignorant reviews".
Reply RonPaulus
3:26 AM on September 19, 2012 
what a gay blog post why not be more Beta you faggot you think your a writer please.
Reply restless
4:25 AM on September 19, 2012 
widehead says...
"At twice that price, though, I think it?s fair for players to demand the whole magilla ? cutting-edge development, engrossing campaign gameplay, scads of downloadable content, a rich social media/community experience, sharing of loot and gear and online multiplayer modes that keep you and your friends coming back until the next version of the game comes out."

A RATIONALE delivered for the low score.

You, sir have misrepresented a "poor" review of a game you happen to like.


Lets tick this off shall we?

Cutting Edge Development? What does that really even mean? Its got everything, engine-wise, that I'd expect out of a modern FPS, and then some, when you consider the RPG elements attached. They have a unique look, interesting mechanics, and its pretty as all get out. Even without a satisfying definition of that, I think this hurdle gets cleared easy.

Engrossing campaign play? oh hell yes. much moreso than any other FPS I've seen released since the first borderlands. I mean, compare this to the increasingly generic modern millitary shooters of late, where you find yourself following an AI controlled squad. Rarely, if ever, are YOU personally required to do anything. your team will take care of most of it for you. I find borderlands' campaign way more engrossing than the locked onto the rails theme park ride that we're getting in other shooters.

Scads of downloadable content: I read this as "Players should happily be nickle and dimed to death" Day 1 DLC tends to disgust me. and guess what, DLC is coming for BL2, and I have a season pass just waiting for it. There's a whole new character class, and from the sound of it, around four of what once would have been considered expansion packs. I have no doubt that much like the original game, they'll be a great addition to the game.

"A rich social media/community experience"
"zomg we have to tie everything to facebook." Facebook is no longer cool guys. my MOM is on facebook, and she hardly knows how to work a computer. Nobody on facebook gives a crap whether you've collected 5 bullymong pelts, or found claptrap's porn stash. They dont. Not even the other people who play borderlands 2. I'm glad the developers didn't clog the game up with a bunch of self aggrandizing social media bullshit. Think about it. When was the last time you sat and watched somebody play a videogame. Was it a blast? probably not. Would it be fun if you're the one playing? Sure. But they're not real great entertainment for bystanders. and a social media tie-in is just as boring as sitting there watching it. I consider this absence a feature, not a flaw.

Sharing of loot and gear: Yes. the game has that. in spades.

Well, considering that Ive been up till all hours of the night playing BL2, and that I've got 250 hours or so logged in the first game, I'd say they've got a good formula for keeping me coming back. what I wonder, is if the reviewer in question even touched the game, or just decided to shit all over it.
Reply madam vivian
5:22 AM on September 19, 2012 
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Reply crymoar
5:40 AM on September 19, 2012 
whaaa whaaa whaaa somebody said something different about a video game i like! whaa whaa.

Go fuck yourself, douche. nobody cares.
Reply Carl
6:30 AM on September 19, 2012 
I have a feeling that they are doing the same thing kotaku is. Throwing out an ignorant piece of article hoping a lot of clicks from raging fanboys and other people within the different gaming communities. No need to give them clicks.
Reply Frank Grimes
6:33 AM on September 19, 2012 
WSJ reader aren't gaming enthusiasts so the article is written by a non-gamer. It's pretty funny you'd be mad that he dares criticize Borderlands 2 (which is a fucking turd by the way) and complain at journalistic standards while not saying anything about the gaming "journalists" who have been literally paid to say it was a good game.
Reply cdiddy
7:08 AM on September 19, 2012 
"(Watch Out! Spoiler below!)" Seems like a heads up to spoilers to me!

NovaDeez says...
If you're going to complain about spoilers, you should probably have a warning at the top of your article yourself. It's hypocritical to complain that he just throws spoilers out there, but you do absolutely nothing to give a heads up and thus commit the exact same thing.
Reply Videogames
7:22 AM on September 19, 2012 
Serious business
Reply aaaa
7:26 AM on September 19, 2012 
His main problem is that he sees 2 or 3 similarities and then instantly assumes there's a relation between them. This is akin to comparing Mary Shelly's Frankenstein to Scooby Doo's Frankenstein.
Reply MNaj
7:37 AM on September 19, 2012 
That awkward moment when that's my dad and hes so hated right now, but i do have to say, there is no way I would ever pay as much as Halo or CoD for a shitty game like this. The attempt is nice, but priced at 60$, it does not include a multiplayer mode outside of the story, and it just doesn't draw me in to play more. And REALLY???!!! criticizing my dad because Claptrap has different wheels? you sir need to get a life.