dirigiblebill Comments

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  • Yakuza 0 review

  • dirigiblebill 21/01/2017

    @shehzaanshazabdulla It's true that you didn't actually write "the critic should always defer to the maker". But when you style the writer "dense" and immature for disregarding the developer's "expectation", castigate him for "flagrantly ignoring" it and enjoin him to "improve his craft", etc, it's reasonable to infer that interpreting the game as its creators would wish is what's fundamentally at stake. Or rather, "what its creators would wish" as defined by you, a fellow third-party with, I am sure, no underlying socio-political biases whatsoever ;)

    PS. This was written in response to your original reply, which you've now added to. Sorry, got stuff to attend to now, but briefly, sure - presenting an argument in context is important. I think Chris has managed that here, though - he does touch on the split between the main narrative and side activities, albeit in passing, and the preemptive rebutting of the argument that the game's sexual politics are true to the period is useful - it was my immediate objection on reading that paragraph.
    Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 21/01/2017

    @shehzaanshazabdulla "Does the author realise that the game compartmentalises the ridiculous and the serious? Yes, you'll see silly antics like the wrestling and glowing characters in battle, but you'll never see those aspects cross the divide into the story."

    So in other words - part of the game sits behind a giant "not serious guyz" sign and we should simply take it at its word? I've yet to play Yakuza 0 but I think this is rather naive, if not disingenuous. The job of a critic isn't to withhold comment where the creator implicitly or explicitly encourages them to - it's to analyse the work in itself. Authorial intent may of course have a bearing on that analysis, but if it dictates your reaction then you're writing promotional copy, not criticism.
    Reply +1
  • Overwatch has become my favourite tawdry soap opera

  • dirigiblebill 26/12/2016

    "Farah/Pharah"

    Gah. That's going to haunt me till New Year.

    I should probably note, btw, that this was written before the recent announcements about Tracer's sexuality - as revolting as elements of the backlash have been, the continued tension between fan interpretations of characters and their official backstories is interesting. I wonder whether we're heading for a Mass Effect 3 ending-style bust-up.
    Reply -4
  • Dead Rising 4 outsold The Last Guardian

  • dirigiblebill 12/12/2016

    @frazzl @frazzl "All of them play largely identically to me" is an observation so broad it defies a response. I genuinely wouldn't know where to start. Can you really see no difference between, say, BO3 and Modern Warfare 3?

    It's true that I made a similarly off-the-cuff remark with regard to DR4 and comparable games, but in my case, I'm adding to/summarising a 2000 word review, linked in the piece above. You suggest that I'm a hypocrite for preferring one series instalment over another on the grounds of over-familiarity, but that claim only holds up if you disregard what I actually wrote in the reviews you cite.

    Anyhoo, I feel that we're going in circles here, so I might duck out at this stage. Thanks for the comments.
    Reply +2
  • dirigiblebill 12/12/2016

    @frazzl Well, until you do "open that can of worms" and dig into the specifics of the reviews/games in question, it's hard to know what to make of your feedback. I liked Blops 3 and found DR4 to be middling for a number of quite different reasons - all I'm getting from you is that various games should/shouldn't have been recommended, and I should be less "snarky", whatever that means in practice. Which is fine - I don't expect you to make time for a point-by-point rebuttal! Happy to draw a line under the conversation here if you have other things to do. But if you're genuinely after a discussion this isn't the best way to start one. Reply +6
  • dirigiblebill 12/12/2016

    @frazzl I found Blops 3 to be gripping if flawed - a decent advance over AW for the MP, plus one of COD's more self-aware and hectic campaigns. It got a lot wrong but to my mind it's a much more interesting, complex piece of work than DR4. Or, for that matter, this year's Infinite Warfare, which I didn't recommend either. Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 12/12/2016

    Feel moved to add (this is Edwin btw) that I don't actively hate Dead Rising 4 - I just can't think of a pressing reason for it to exist. It's a softer, simpler and more accessible version of a once-intriguing formula which is enjoyable enough in bursts but lacks for a noteworthy feature. There are a bajillion open world games with item-crafting and either zombies or zombie-type foes in which you trot around at whim, hoovering up the #content - I don't begrudge anybody getting a kick out of this, the bajillionth and one example, but I certainly wouldn't give anybody a nudge in its direction. Reply +9
  • Capcom Vancouver defends Dead Rising 4's "super-polarising" changes

  • dirigiblebill 24/11/2016

    @Frosty840 Honestly, I haven't seen enough to pass a judgement, but yeah, I think the unrelenting passage of time added something vital - it made the world feel like more of a world, rather than just a big old bowl of content, and gave you an incentive to plan. Tom's write-up is worth revisiting.

    As for how the campaign progresses - it's broken into chapters but you can always rove around doing open worldy secondary stuff if preferred.
    Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 24/11/2016

    @Frosty840 I'm aware that the timer mechanic was dialled down in DR3, but it's still there in various ways - here, it's gone entirely. And I'm aware that combo vehicles are a returning feature. Fair play about the crafting tables, though - clean forgot that they'd already done away with them. Reply +1
  • Dishonored 2 review

  • dirigiblebill 16/11/2016

    @Return-of-Jafar "Using the chain domino effect as a metaphor for destruction of rank and equality in death stops being about the game and it's creators' intent and all about the reviewers philosophical musings."

    I'm not sure it's going to repay me to join this discussion, but - the point about Domino draws on a chat about characterisation through ability design with Harvey Smith, Arkane's creative director. (It's published in an old issue of OXM, I think.)

    I'm sorry if you'd have preferred a more functional analysis, but there *is* an awful lot in the review about things like how upgrades work, level layouts/obstacles, etc. Believe me, if I were writing a "philosophical deepdive" there would have been a lot more mind-numbing theory in the piece, and a lot less "you can use X to do Y" ;)
    Reply +2
  • Mafia 3 review

  • dirigiblebill 12/10/2016

    @LittleBigDave Well, I guess we'll have to disagree as to the extent of white privilege and whether talking about it is counterproductive. Personally, I don't see discussions of this sort as an exercise in "constant guilt and acknowledgement" - it's about making life better for all concerned, by highlighting the flaws in a partisan system that, ultimately, hurts everybody regardless of origin. Reply -1
  • dirigiblebill 12/10/2016

    @LittleBigDave Don't you think you're jumping to conclusions a little? Acknowledging that I and other white men have enjoyed and continue to enjoy immense privilege does not mean I think that all white men are "playing through life on easy mode" - that we don't suffer hardship, or that we aren't subject to prejudice. I've had plenty of brushes with depression myself. And referencing my own possible racial bias in regard to a game so devoted to the subject of race relations isn't "self-flagellation", it's just the responsible thing to do. In any case, the intro is partly just designed to show that even a technical flaw can resonate with a narrative theme in the right circumstances. Reply +4
  • dirigiblebill 12/10/2016

    @Tjam84 Honestly, I think the review tells you everything you really need to know about how the game plays, but sorry to hear you (and assorted upvoters) were after something more granular - I'll be sure to keep that in mind next time. Reply +7
  • Gears of War 4 review

  • dirigiblebill 12/10/2016

    @pleshy Hey, thanks for the thoughts. I'm external, so don't really have any say on EG's approach to release impressions/review verdicts, but will bear all this in mind for the future. I think reviewing games based on what you think people buy them for is risky - it's speculation based on anecdotal evidence - but sure, it's best to cover all aspects of the work in one piece where possible. Reply +2
  • dirigiblebill 11/10/2016

    @jabberwoky You're welcome! Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 11/10/2016

    @pleshy Hey up - again, the early impressions piece is basically Part 1 of the review. It covers the campaign based on a full playthrough on retail code. Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 11/10/2016

    @chucklepie The campaign impressions piece was based on review code, not an unfinished version - "once we've had experience of the full game" equals "once we've covered every aspect of the game".

    As for this approach being "lazy" - mate, you must be off your rocker. One article is easier to write than two! I'd have happily spent all of 6th October playing the game rather than rushing to get a piece written for the embargo.
    Reply +3
  • dirigiblebill 11/10/2016

    Hey all (specifically @jabberwoky and @chucklepie). Sorry for the confusion about single player - it's discussed at length in my first impressions piece, which is based on a full playthrough on Hardcore. Click the link that reads "exquisitely imagined and paced". Reply +13
  • 'We came in a little tentative' - the Coalition talks life after Gears of War 4

  • dirigiblebill 09/10/2016

    @Pasco There's subtlety, and then there's declining to really discuss, or build upon, the political dimensions of your work. Don't get me wrong, I'm not asking for massive signs everywhere reading "global warming is happening guyz", but I think it would have been fascinating if they'd taken that side of the universe further, rather than settling back into a more familiar us-vs-munsters storyline.

    As regards the MGS/LG references - that's just a couple of parallels off the top of my head, not a direct comparison.
    Reply 0
  • Our Mafia 3 review will be late - here's why

  • dirigiblebill 07/10/2016

    @sizu_sizu Glad to hear it. I was promised a copy yesterday, too, before they decided not to send out review code at all. Again, I'd have made alternative plans had there been more notice. Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 07/10/2016

    @sizu_sizu And it not being available before release. I bought a copy for review today. I'm occasionally able to source my own code before release in these situations, but in this instance they told me about the delay at the last minute. Reply 0
  • Gears of War 4 is smarter than it is sensational

  • dirigiblebill 06/10/2016

    @Dismiss I'm interested to find out how people get on with the first two acts, yeah - the DBs are fun visually but not especially exotic in practice. Having played some of the early game for preview, I wasn't sure how much of that was just down to me revisiting the same material. Reply +1
  • dirigiblebill 06/10/2016

    @AgentDaleCooper I'll do my best not to repeat myself, don't worry. As with last year's Blops 3 review, the "full review" will probably be more of a part two. Reply +10
  • Pirates of the airwaves: How Sega won the hearts and minds of a generation

  • dirigiblebill 25/09/2016

    Hah, I remember when Pirate TV appeared as a strip in Sonic the Comic. I'd never seen the ads for some strange reason and was all like "WTF". Not that we had "WTF" in those days. Anyway, great feature. Reply +1
  • BioShock's fascinating but inescapable failure

  • dirigiblebill 17/09/2016

    Thanks for the comments all. I won't reply to them all individually or at great length, but a point I think several of you are perhaps missing is that I'm not merely branding the game a failure for being linear.

    "Bioshock's failure" isn't just that it fails to allow meaningful choice within a closed system - as some have noted, you could argue the same of many or most games - but that it consciously and explicitly performs that failure. It fails deliberately, in other words, in order to make a statement about itself and its peers. In that regard it's actually a bit of a triumph, albeit a deflating one, and I hope the paragraphs on the execution of the twist demonstrate this. The problem is that neither its successors nor other games in the genre have come up with convincing responses to the internal contradictions it poses.

    I feel the headline (which is more or less the same one I pitched) could have made this clearer, so sorry about that. It sounds like I'm just bashing the game, when what I really wanted to do was analyse how it bashes itself, so to speak :)

    PS. Oh, and as ever with more theoretically-minded analyses of this sort, it is perfectly fine to enjoy the game without dwelling on these things. I trust you all to know your own minds on the subject.
    Reply +1
  • Deus Ex Mankind Divided review

  • dirigiblebill 23/08/2016

    @Krychek

    "We're so distracted by old demons and petty superficial differences that we're simply not addressing planetary issues that will end future generations."

    I don't think it has to be an either/or thing. We have the ability to do both - address the impending destruction of our habitat, and tackle the prejudices that lead to inequality and oppression. Indeed, you can argue that the two problems are inextricably intertwined - that the same economic and social structures which ensure some groups prosper at the expense of others are also responsible for our present ecological plight. But that's perhaps a topic for another thread.
    Reply +2
  • dirigiblebill 23/08/2016

    @marcustenghult They could have done it better by, for instance, fashioning some kind of proper storyline around BLM/ALM, or at least a dialogue exchange, rather than drop-kicking a really awkward reference into the game and refusing to build on it. Of course, talking about BLM directly and explicitly would have broken the fourth wall, but if you're going to bring up the topic in such an obvious way, you need to actually follow through and elaborate on the ramifications. Because that's the socially responsible thing to do, given the depth of feeling around BLM, and because the result is a smarter, more engaging story.

    As regards your own personal feelings about BLM's supposed "negative influence" - I don't agree at all, you probably won't be surprised to hear. In BLM I see a group of frustrated but largely non-violent people campaigning against institutional oppression. Happy to discuss that with you further, preferably by PM to avoid hijacking the thread, though I can't promise to reply immediately - I need to get back to work!

    PS - last thought on the second para of your previous comment. Again, I feel like you're reacting to something I haven't said. I'm not trying to claim that the game takes sides on the aug/anti-aug thing, that it subjects one of those groups to unfair scrutiny, only that it talks about this particular conflict rather than any of the other, older social tensions that would surely play a part in the story/world-building.
    Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 23/08/2016

    @marcustenghult You misunderstand me, dude - I'm not saying the game is anti-aug, I'm saying bias against augmented people is the focus of its discussion, to the point that it declines to discuss other kinds of prejudice. And BLM/ALM is in the game, not just the marketing - you'll find it on magazine covers and billboards. Fair enough that the project has been in dev for years and the references may have been added before the violence of 2015/2016, but BLM has always been a charged political movement, and to riff on it so casually smacks, again, of laziness and topicality for topicality's sake. If developers are going to incorporate this kind of thing, the onus is on them to do so intelligently. The frustrating thing is that they almost get there, in places - the chat with the doctor when you first arrive in Golem, for example. Reply +1
  • dirigiblebill 23/08/2016

    @marcustenghult I can sympathise with the argument that aug/non-aug is a no-strings-attached way of examining prejudice, but the problem is that Deus Ex takes place in a future version of our world, not some utterly dissociated alternate reality - it inherits our social and racial conflicts (Prague, for example, has a ripe old history of ethnic tension and oppression). It simply isn't very convincing, or for that matter constructive, that the plot and writing choose to ignore all that in favour of anti-augmented bias. And trotting out thinly-veiled nods to Black Lives Matter just smacks of clumsy opportunism. Don't get me wrong, I think they've done some interesting things with the binary in places, but it's a very flawed effort. Reply +1
  • dirigiblebill 19/08/2016

    @AboutHalfaStevas Hah! You, sir, sound like this one crazy dude I used to know. I trust your Ubisoft-chuffing days are behind you. Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 19/08/2016

    @Das_Ginge Ah, my bad then. The new one is built into your arm. Reply +1
  • Putting the magic back into magic in fantasy games

  • dirigiblebill 14/08/2016

    @pomi I adore the Farseer books (well, the six or so that I've read, anyway) and yeah, her treatment of magic as a sort of function of social class/court politics is brilliant. Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 13/08/2016

    Hey up, just a quick thank you for all the extended comments - always great to find people digging into the topic. Cheers for giving me some books/games to follow up on, too. My fantasy fiction knowledge is probably a bit dated - I just don't have the time for lore-stuffed tomes these days.

    Something else I didn't cover in the piece, but wanted to: Dragon's Dogma's magic is terrific. Draws on everything they've learned about making every little action feel good from SF and Monster Hunter.
    Reply +4
  • Fru review

  • dirigiblebill 13/07/2016

    @Samael_Blackwing "Does the game detect that you're the one holding the pad? Or can you totally cheat by having a second player control the girl while you do a contortion act on-screen?"

    You can! I mentioned this in a caption somewhere, I think.
    Reply +2
  • dirigiblebill 13/07/2016

    @Dingbot_Frog_13 Heh. I wouldn't say it's worth buying a Kinect for, but it's certainly worth a try if you own one already. Reply +3
  • How to fix the shooter campaign? Dig in

  • dirigiblebill 08/07/2016

    @elchongo Yeah, I was thinking more of linear, cutscene and chapter-driven fare. Open world is a whole other kettle of fish. Reply +1
  • dirigiblebill 08/07/2016

    @VotesForCows Thank you! I wrote this after a mostly sleepless night, so good to hear it makes some kind of sense. Reply +4
  • Trials of the Blood Dragon review

  • dirigiblebill 21/06/2016

    @Mar27w Haha, I stand corrected. That movie is too crazy to be bad. Reply +1
  • dirigiblebill 21/06/2016

    @northy666 I'm aware of the difference! I use both but not interchangeably. Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 21/06/2016

    @Vordred There are '90s references in there, yes, but the overarching action movie stylings are pure 80s - mix of Predator, Aliens and the Rambo series. Reply 0
  • All hail Wario

  • dirigiblebill 19/06/2016

    @Rodimus-Prime But I could have had both! :( Reply +1
  • Far Cry Primal review

  • dirigiblebill 23/02/2016

    @Silverflash Hey up! Story doesn't limit exploration, but you'll need to recruit certain characters to bag certain weapons and ability trees. And yes, you can ride mammoths, bears and sabretooths. Glad the review was entertaining. Reply +1
  • Unravel review

  • dirigiblebill 09/02/2016

    Also - there's loads of praise in the review, guys! I'm not sure calling it "beautiful", "restful", "touching", etc really translates to "sh***** all over it" ;) Reply +3
  • dirigiblebill 09/02/2016

    @BigPrimeNumbers

    I haven't had the chance to play the Xbox One version, I'm afraid. Glad you found the review useful.

    @several

    The "emotional blackmail" line is quite throwaway, I agree, but then it isn't supposed to be a major component of the review. To elaborate a bit, the problem for me is that bookending the game in such an emotive way feels like asking the reviewer for a pass, because the work is just so gosh-darned personal and heartfelt. I don't doubt that huge effort and passion went into its creation but at the end of the day, it's not my role to hand out marks for effort or passion in themselves. And it's absolutely a criticism I'd level at other games, yes.
    Reply +2
  • Gone Home console review

  • dirigiblebill 18/01/2016

    @SnoppleMonster "Also, speaking as a gay man who was 16 in 1993 I think this is a brilliant story, your criticism at the end speaks of a false notion that every story must be incredibly true to life."

    That isn't quite what I'm arguing - my point is that Gone Home itself works too well as realist fiction for the ending to feel plausible, and I have friends and peers who've expressed misgivings about this based on personal experience. That said, I'm sorry if those concluding remarks sound overbearing. It's all about what you bring to it, for sure.
    Reply +2
  • dirigiblebill 18/01/2016

    @Sunjammer "Orgy of evidence" is a great phrase. Might have to steal it. Reply +2
  • Eurogamer says farewell to Dan Whitehead

  • dirigiblebill 18/12/2015

    Pleasure reading your stuff, Dan! Reply +6
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is a world at war with itself

  • dirigiblebill 05/12/2015

    @CR I'm sorry to hear you think I'm being inane! And I agree that a self-consciously broken story & world aren't a good thing in themselves - I'm not trying to make the claim here that Treyarch's attempt at self-critique is a complete success, and as I write at some length in the piece, in more mundane terms the campaign is incredibly flawed (the MP, predictably, is what saves the game on the whole). But I find this far more engaging than I do the more literal-minded, flag-waving plots you get in some of the other Duties. It takes a certain amount of wit to turn a revelation of creative inertia into a playable environment. Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 03/12/2015

    @CR For my money, Blops 3 is self-conscious and conflicted in a way no other COD really is. The previous entries lampoon themselves at intervals, but none do it this consistently and with such an overpowering sense of futility. It's hard to go into more detail without giving things away, but suffice to say that the nature of your antagonist is instrumental. Have you played it through? Reply 0
  • dirigiblebill 03/12/2015

    @dogmanstaruk Oh come on, dude. This is a game that references Nietzsche, transhumanism and the prospect of artificial intelligence. To insist that it's just the usual popcorn fluff is to do it, and the developer, a disservice. My analysis is entirely appropriate to the subject matter. Reply 0