News: Reviewers Cannot Be Trusted

Games are hell...
I want you to get down and pen me a review, maggot!

Most of the Game Review Sites to Publish a Metal Gear Solid V Review Had No Right to Do So

Metal Gear is pretty much a known quantity at this point. By now gamers have had decades to determine whether or not Hideo Kojima’s work is for them, and so the people who were going to buy this game along with the people who were not were pretty much determined from the outset. After all, nobody bases their purchasing decisions on blog reviews anymore – and for good reason! There has been many blindingly positive reviews for Metal Gear Solid V published this week. It currently holds a 95% metarating on Metacritic, the lowest individual score given to the game has been 8/10, and of the twenty-five reviews currently available for it: only three of them have given Metal Gear Solid V less than a 9/10. Metal Gear Solid V is undoubtedly the biggest gaming release of the year, and for shonky game blogs [and the frauds who write for them] getting that review posted on time likely represents one of their biggest pay days of the year. Yet not all of the bloggers who attended the Konami review event elected to post their review when the embargo lifted. A brave few opted to delay their review owing to the fact that Konami did not actually give them enough time to complete the game in a meaningful way.

In the vast majority of reviews one will hear absolutely nothing about this, but reviewers were not afforded enough time to do their jobs properly – and this is a fact confirmed by both Gamesradar and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. At the bare minimum Metal Gear Solid V has been estimated to take thirty-five hours to complete, though realistically this figure will be higher for most first time players. Depending on which ‘camp’ they attended, reviewers were given either thirty-two or forty hours in which to complete the game – though this of course did not take into account food and toilet breaks. This set-up would have been perfectly fine for prior entries in the Metal Gear series, but none of those games have the distinction of being massive open world experiences with many dozens of hours of gameplay.

For fear of spoilers, Konami invited journalists to review the game at five-day ‘boot camps’ tied to strict NDAs (non-disclosure agreements). We played between 9am to 5pm, with no unsupervised play outside these hours. That’s a maximum play time of 40 hours, assuming no stoppages for eating, drinking, stretching… or reality. So you’re trying to complete a 35-50 hour game (or longer, depending on your play style and the nature of your ‘completion’… I can’t say more), that you’ve been anticipating for five years, in a realistic window of 30-35 hours.

Basically, game bloggers intent on filing that review have been placed in the situation where realistically they could either play the game properly and write their review without having seen the ending, else rush through the story missions while experiencing very little of what the game actually has to offer. In fact, many reviewers chose to do the latter – racing through the game’s story missions wearing the chicken hat [a garment which makes Snake invisible to enemy soldiers]. Any reviewer who feels that they can write an informed assessment of a stealth-based game whilst wearing a cheat item that grants invisibility is, quite frankly, sickening.

Based on the UK boot camp, I know of only one reviewer (who was able to play for six days) who has seen enough of the game to deliver a meaningful perspective… and I can’t even explain why for fear of spoilers. In my boot camp, reviewers were charging through missions wearing the chicken hat (which makes you invisible) almost completely ignoring Mother Base and all the side-ops in a race for the ‘end’. Will it score high? I mean, duh, but I don’t feel the boot camp was sufficient basis to offer my views on Kojima’s intentions and MGS5’s abiding legacy.

At times, the boot camp felt like being gifted a bottle of Macallan 1946 whiskey in a frat house and being told to chug, chug, chug.

Metal Gear Solid V might be a great game. Failing all else, it will certainly be a Hideo Kojima game. People who want the game are not overly worried about reviews anyway. That being said, if anyone truly was looking to review blogs in order to inform their opinion, then they have just been done a grave disservice. The actual considered opinions on this game will come after its release – once people can actually play through its many features at their leisure and experience the ‘in-app purchase’ maligned FOB multiplayer component [which was unavailable to reviewers]. As it stands Metal Gear Solid V‘s reviews are a joke and a travesty, but probably no more so then the universally glowing reviews heaped at the feet of Metal Gear Solid 4. Ultimately it just goes to show how little ‘professional’ game bloggers care about doing their jobs well.

Square Enix don't know if they're on the highway to hell or the road to nowhere.
Expect it to be drab and full of bad combat.

[CONFIRMED]: The Final Fantasy VII Remake Is a Lost Cause readers who never came to love Final Fantasy VII in the way that we do might be beginning to get a little sick of this particular rolling calamity, but new details on the Final Fantasy VII remake’s battle system dropped this week, and they basically confirm that Square Enix is looking to butcher the game. The game’s producer, Yoshinori Kitase, this week told Famitsu that the project is apparently now actively underway, and that the game’s visual were starting to come together but that the game’s combat system was still in the trial and error phase. Apparently a command-based battle system cannot work today on account of the no-good millennials and their action RPG expectations, and so Kitase is looking to surprise these players!

We’re starting to see the visual direction. On the other hand, we’re currently working out the battle system and such through trial-and-error

Since there’s a possibility that the command battle system of the old days might not work today, we’re thinking hard about what kind of direction we can take it.

Normally, when you do a remake, it becomes somewhere along the lines of a familiar action RPG, so we’re looking at how we can put out something like Final Fantasy VII while still surprising players.

This game is shaping up to be an object lesson in being careful of what one wishes for [because it may just be remade as a mediocre JRPG]. Naturally a certain amount of change is incumbent to remaking something completely from scratch, yet difference comes in degrees. It is easy to accept rebalanced mechanics or perhaps a change in the tempo of battles, but fans of a game do not wish to have it remade in a way that is wholly unrecognisable to them. Ever since Squaresoft merged with Enix, the studio has abandoned the traditional way of making Final Fantasy, instead chasing after half-understood market trends and focus testing – and the net result of this has been that the Final Fantasy series has become increasingly unpopular. Square Enix would do well to ask themselves why there is in fact such persistent demand for them to remake Final Fantasy VII, because gamers did not simply latch on to that particular entry because they like the number seven.

... But their next console might have no discs at all!
Nintendo has tried big discs, and they’ve tried small discs…

Nintendo Patents Home Console with No Disc Drive

What would be a week of disappointing industry news without a little something from Nintendo? Just this week a Nintendo patent has surfaced which details a home console which lacks an optical disc drive, which would be required for the playback of physical disc-based media. Of course the requisite pinches of salt are required in this instance, as console manufacturers tend to patent many oddities which they never go on to produce, but then Nintendo has always seemed pretty keen to follow Apple, so this may be their Apple TV.

Of course it is entirely possible that this is the patent for Nintendo’s planned NX console, but that people are not taking into account other forms of physical media. It is feasible that the system could use gamecards like the 3DS and Vita, only it seems like it would be cost prohibitive to manufacture game cards with enough memory to hold console games, which often push fifty gigabytes in size. Alternately, Nintendo might be hard at work figuring out how to store an entire game’s data on an Amiibo figure, which would no doubt lead to all sorts of fun [read: chronic] game shortages at launch! If indeed this patent is as it seems, and Nintendo actually does want to do away with physical game media, then the NX might be an even bigger disaster than the Wii U. Sony and Microsoft’s consoles are already well entrenched in the market, so it is hard to see how Nintendo games could possibly compete if they are not even sharing shelf space with Nintendo’s rivals.

[SPOILER]: The show still features several lolis.
The readership is completely despondent as Crunchyroll’s newest anime replaces lolis with dragons.

Anime Spotlight: Gate

Something a little different this week, or at least one is unable to discern anything overtly lewd from this anime’s premise. Gate is a new fantasy anime being shown on Crunchyroll, and one that actually looks quite interesting. When the titular gate to another world opens up in the middle of Tokyo, monsters, medieval knights, and a host of other high fantasy creatures emerge to attack the city, yet are quickly driven back by the more advanced armaments of the JSDF. The JSDF quickly establishes a forward base on the other side of the portal where they find themselves negotiating for peace with a Roman style empire. Enter the protagonist, Yōji Itami, a thirty-three year old JSDF ranger [and Otaku] sent to investigate the situation on the other side of the gate and negotiate on behalf of Japan. He uses the knowledge gleaned from fantasy stories to negotiate the perils of this strange new land.

Just to be clear, there do not seem to be any class presidents in this series! Gate has been put together by A-1 Pictures, of Black Butler fame, so if nothing else it is bound to look absolutely gorgeous. Gate began its run on the third of July and is being simulcast on Crunchyroll. There are nine episodes available as of writing.


  1. I think there must be a class president in Gate. I think you haven’t looked hard enough. It is a requirement that every programme in Japan must include a powerful class president.

    My rage about the FF7 Remake routinely results in earthquake warnings from the US Geographical Survey.

  2. It’s so frustrating that the game has hardly even begun production but already I know how much it’s going to suck [and in what ways]! :(

  3. Re: Nintendo: No physical, no purchase. I make an exception on rare occasions, but a platform with no physical content is not for me. If we are indeed en route to an all-digital future, I will play far less games and likely read far more paperbacks.

    Re: FFVII: I must profess that despite completing the game back in the 90s, complete with Knights of the Round, I do not share the affinity for it that most do. The action combat idea doesn’t personally bother me, but it’s out of place in a remake of a game with this kind of legacy. You wouldn’t take Zelda and turn it into a turn-based RPG. You don’t take FFVII and turn it into Kingdom Hearts.

    Re: Game Reviews: Reviews mean nothing today. Gamers are mostly interested in them only when they want to point at a number or grade as justification of their tastes. Any serious gamer puts no stock in them.

    Re: Gate: Saw this concept done in Outbreak Company a little while back. I guess this is a Sword Art Online vs Log Horizon scenario.

    Also Lusi, if you want a powerful class rep story, they don’t come much stronger than Gainax-animated Medaka Box on Crunchyroll and Hulu.

  4. MGS5– I find it unethical to review anything but a finished copy of the game. The black out on the FOB system till a day one purchase, and also the online pvp portion of the game being pushed out a month further than the release, and a marathon session to review this essentially incomplete game while not having enough time to flesh out the game with the time given, regardless of how good it might be, it just seems gross. I enjoy the Metal Gear series, but this kind of strategy not only makes Konami seem even more suspect, but it further diminishes the credibility of a lot of these reviewers. I just don’t see other forms of media getting this kind of promotional praise, while being denied the full experience. Why would I write a review of a movie I only got to see three quarters of? “Yeah, it was great! …I think. I mean, I walked out of the theatre and ran around in the parking lot during the middle, and went to the bathroom and missed the ending, but it was for sure the best movie I’ve seen all year!”

    FFVII– They seem to forget who was asking for the remake. I might be making a sweeping generalization, but the people who love and want a remake, grew up on the turn based system. Not to mention, the whole materia system, which is also a part of the game’s story, would have to be limited in order to be integrated into an action RPG. It would probably lose a lot of depth.

    There are ways to keep the turned based fighting system interesting. Square could look back in their own catalog with Super Mario RPG, or other games such as Lost Odysee or the Persona series for inspiration. They act like they’ve already proven their action RPG chops, but FFXV was pretty underwhelming, particularly because of it’s half baked battle system, and I’m sure nobody wants FFVII to play like Kingdom Hearts. Squeenix forgets that it is walking on thin ice, having only barely redeemed themselves with 14. The further they drift from their former golden age, the more they rely on Micheal Bay-esque theatrics and desperate measures to appeal to gamers who don’t care for JRPG’s to begin with. They need to make their fans happy, not appeal to people who wouldn’t enjoy playing the original game. They weren’t the ones asking for a remake.

  5. @Fumunshu: I agree with you 100% on all points!

    Both situations are completely unacceptable.

  6. @Fumunshu: They need to make their fans happy, not appeal to people who wouldn’t enjoy playing the original game. They weren’t the ones asking for a remake.

    YES, YES, YES.

    Best MGS update time: the install disc for the physical release is just an 8MB steam installer on a DVD. HA HA HA.

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