My latest review is for Rainblood: Town of Death. It's a cool little game, but explaining that proved more challenging than I expected.
I've been working a lot on my approach to reviewing recently, so I feel a bit mixed about my previous reviews going live. I notice things I didn't at the time. Game People are always happy to change things when I ask, but there's a point where I just need to let go and put it down to experience.
I also wrote this before the 'Microcosm Gamer' angle was really pinned down, so that stuff feels a bit tacked on. Or maybe it's just because those bits are not quite my words.
The phrase "pushed all those buttons for me" really stands out because I have almost certainly never said/written that. I have fairly extreme reactions to clichés. My partner reminded me they can be shortcuts to understanding, and I probably don't need to have quite such a violent reaction to them.
I realise avoiding clichés is good writing advice. But recently I've added in a few deliberately here and there as an experiment. Just trying to get a bit more perspective on them before I go back to avoiding them. I guess I have a strange approach to understanding writing.
I am documenting my learning process here, so I can point and laugh at some of the things I am trying to do better. I'll always be my own worst (best?) critic, and little details really stood out on my Rainblood review.
The first paragraph has Rainblood as two words, for one thing. That part wasn't mine, but it's still partly my lack of observation letting things slip through.
My own bad habits really bite on the second paragraph. I begin with genre labelling, which is lazy and I'm training myself out of it. Game genres are pretty unhelpful anyway. On this blog I currently have the tags "action", "action-adventure", and "action-rpg". Which are messy, but damned if I know how to fix them.
Roleplaying game is a particularly fuzzy concept (let alone whatever a "Role Play Game" is). Maybe if I'd specified roleplaying in the sense of old-school console roleplaying games, like classic Final Fantasy, it would have meant something to someone. But even that wouldn't be a very promising beginning.
To me, the only vaguely important ideas in that sentence were that it was indie, Chinese, and recently translated. Indie was edited out at some point without me noticing, and suddenly I'm describing a popular game instead of a popular indie game, which is a pretty big difference. Popular is a subjective term, but potentially sitting Rainblood next to World of Warcraft makes me a tad uncomfortable.
So, I start off with a fuzzy and slightly misleading sentence. Good job, Cha.
If I can get past my fixation with that particular sentence there is still a lot here I found interesting. Particularly what it takes for game violence to retain its emotional impact. I was only touching on the edge of that topic, but it's a big one.