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ASK ANDREW
Fool Me Twice May 8th, 2009

Andrew Long - 12:44 EST

OKAY THEN. I know I said this would be appearing on Monday but I ran into some unforeseen scheduling difficulties (read: my partner in crime has once again vanished) so here we are on Friday. Apparently you guys all took the previous column to mean you should send mail to castomel@, because I only have one new piece of mail. As such, be prepared for a pretty brief column. There is certainly plenty to talk about, though, if you do care to send in mail for next time. The FFXIII demo has been turning heads left and right, and if you're a fan of NISA's particular interpretation of the term "Sisyphean", they've announced three more iterations in the form of a port of Disgaea 2, some game involving Badman, and a title called Last Rebellion, which is showing early signs of actually not being the same game they've repackaged over a dozen times.

So don't leave me hanging here, I'm apt to do terrible things when left without mail.




L E T T E R S
How alarming o_O


A)ttack, I)tem, M)agic, C)ycling Superstar Lance Armstrong?
Andrew

C, but only if he comes with sweet, delicious steroids. Well, as someone who has to take steroids daily to live, I can tell you they're actually pretty bitter-tasting, but you get the point.

...Anyways. I've been reading the Q&A off and on for years and years blah-freaking-blah, long story short, it's nice to see you back, Andrew. You've definitely been one of my favorites over the years. Blah blah etc.
Andrew

Blah blah blah thanks blah I guess?

In regards to your question about vacationing in a game world...I'm not sure I'd want to do it at all. With my luck I'd end up like some poor sap vacationing in indonesia during a tsunami. Except with some sort of crazy Armageddon bullcrap perpetrated by some loony bishonen type.
Andrew

That does sound dire, but you have to remember, those loony bishounen always tend to overlook some sort of fatal flaw in their scheme, like the power of Christmas, so just remember to bring a trusty aphorism and possibly a sword that's twice the length of your body, and you'll be fine!

As for E3, I'm not entirely certain I give much of a crap about the format change. I've never been, probably never will, but I guess it's all well and good for those who actually are frothing at their nerdy lips to go, right? I don't foresee anything earth shattering coming out of this E3, but perhaps we'll hear of some new RPGS on the horizon that will be worth a crap.

My question for you: what delicious flavor of Law and Order was it? The original? Criminal Intent? Or my personal favorite, Special Victims Unit?

New RPG idea - Law and Order: THE RPG!
Okay, terrible idea.
BAI
EL TOMMO

Andrew

Various, actually. I refuse to watch CI because it's the devil, but there were plenty of vanilla and SVUs to go around. I dunno much about this USA Network of yours, but I think we in Canada need more of it if it means non-stop Law & Order. As to E3, that's a bleak assessment... Haven't you once wanted to be stuck in Atlus's booth with the power out in 100 degree weather, at the same time as a mountainous individual who based upon the rank stink emanating from his general direction, hasn't bathed since his christening? There's nothing like it! Plus there are plushies, and if you don't like plushies then I'm afraid I can no longer accept letters from you.



These long letters will disguise the fact that there are only 3 of them!


What's up Castomel? Long time writer, long time reader. Love the column, love it. Oh yeah, how you doin?
Andrew

Ehhh! How you doin'!?

I do have a couple of questions, but I must address the topic. Playstation 3. Simple. If you want to go out and buy a console you know is eventually going to give up on you and become unplayable, then by all means, grab an Xbox 360. Though I am dissapointed in Sony for quitting the backwards PS2 compatibility, the PS3 still rules. I've left it on for two days before, and it's never ever given me any trouble. MGS4, Uncharted, Killzone, VC. It has some very respectable exclusives these days as well. Grab a Wii too though man, NiGHTS rules all! Well, Mario too.
Andrew

It's true, Sony seems to have finally figured out how to produce a first run of a console without half of them breaking within the next year. I was under the impression, though, that MS has also managed to work through the RRoD issues it had been having. Either way I am definitely still in love with the Wii, and that would definitely be the first choice.

I love digital downloads! I love seeing more games in my games Xbar! Though I do too love the smelling of the manual. ;P
Andrew

Yech. You people are all sickos.

I know you probably don't know for sure, but just tell me what you think you know. Is the new Star Ocean going to come to the PS3? Blue Dragon, and Lost Oddysee I can let slide...but not playing a SO title, for me, is completely un-acceptable. I will never own an Xbox. I'm sorry, but no. It's ugly, it breaks, the pad sucks. So what do you think? The tag doesn't say, "Only on Xbox!" do you think MS paid for the whole "6 months exclusivity" and then it's coming to the PS3?
Andrew

I think that your apparent Sony fanboyism is clouding your better judgment. The game has been in release now for over two months, and there has been nary a word about it coming to the PS3. With this being the case, I would be very surprised to see a port announced at this point, as the majority of games that end up multiplatform are announced as such well before release. Beyond not really making economic sense, as most people who are interested in the game already have it, it also doesn't strike me as a game with enough wide-ranging appeal to warrant a port to the PS3. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not jumping into Adriaan's boat and saying the game is bad - I wouldn't do that about a game I haven't played unless there was a preponderance of evidence suggesting as much - I'm just saying that at this point in time the available market - RPG lovers with PS3s - simply isn't large enough for this to make any sort of sense.

So I'm afraid if you want to play SO4 you're going to have to choke down your silly revulsion and grab a 360. And ugly? Who cares what a console looks like, that's not a valid argument against owning one! If it's such a big deal to you, I'm sure you can track down a PS3 skin, as last I checked the 360 does allow for skinning for some reason. And if that still isn't good enough for you, stick it in a drawer and pretend it's a PS3. What you can't see won't hurt you!

I hope you're fairing well in the scores of emails you probably recieved due to your lack of love for Skies. I liked the game, but don't understand the cult of it. It's fame is exactly laid out as you said. A nugget, in a nugget-less game market at the time.

Well, word up man. Hope you're enjoying life.
ENWB

Andrew

Heh, scores of mail about anything would be appreciated at this point, YOU SLACKERS.



Unfit for Print


Andrew,

It seems that you and your team have had the most contact with Studio Archcraft and their soon to be released game, Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled. Nintendo Powerís recent rating of 5.0/10.0 seems low (http://gonintendo.com/?p=80815). Why do you think the score is so low and do you think that the game will sell well in this market? Black Sigil will be reviewed in the June Nintendo Power Magazine.

Jesse

Andrew

Ok kids, it's time for another lesson in videogame reviewing. While most sources are generally reliable in their tendency to give everything 10/10, there is another unwritten rule that governs which games typically get trashed. In order to give the appearance of objectivity, even in the face of insurmountable evidence that most game reviews are complete and utter propaganda financed by developers, media sources will often give bargain bin titles terrible scores in an effort to bring down their overall average score and make it seem like they're hard-hitting or something. I don't know exactly who they think they're fooling, but apparently it's you, because the corrolary to this is that niche titles, such as the abovementioned Black Sigil, particularly those produced by gaming houses with questionable financial backing and little sway, are also apt to get smacked down. Why? Because they can be, with relatively little threat to the reviewer of ever having to answer for his score in lost advertising dollars or reputation. In all probability, that Nintendo Power review will serve as the final nail in the coffin of Graffiti Entertainment, which is already struggling to place the title on shelves. Sure, it might sell a hundred thousand copies or two, but in the end, that 5/10 will ensure that it doesn't find an audience wider than what you might find here at RPGamer.

So what can you do about this? Well for one thing, never base a decision to buy a game on a review. Ever. If you absolutely must do things that other people tell you to, and you should because I am smart, read at least five reviews, and of those five make sure at least one disagrees with your preconceptions so that you can gain insight into why exactly you might suddenly realize that what you're playing is a steaming heap of dog turd after blowing 40 hours on it - hello, Legend of Dragoon - and save yourself the time.

In the meantime, there is the slight probability that Black Sigil will triumph in spite of its niche appeal and that NP review. If that ends up being the case, you can bet its next title will get tens across the board, and Graffiti will find itself with an appelation such as "groundbreaking" or "edgy" or "innovative", while that NP reviewer takes credit for discovering them when they still had street cred. Finally, please note that I'm not saying I want this game to fail; anything but, I find the way in which game reviews are conducted to be repugnant and wish that there was some way to make the oeuvre more legitimate, in the vein of film review. It's just I've seen this situation play out before and it will likely play out again.





C L O S I N G
BLAH BLAH BLAH BLING BLING BLAH:

Ahem. You should probably avoid getting me started on reviews, I'm like an old man who's been told that kids today are a-ok. For next time, I leave the topic open to you, although I would certainly love to bitch and moan about reviews some more, so feel free to give me an opportunity to do so. Also for next time, I'm going to be moving over to the new template so that I can finally kiss this ugly old one goodbye. Until then, as always, may all your difficulties be creamsicle-related and I'm off to enjoy this weather.

qna@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long is totally gonna jump a shark!


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