Games for Windows & NWN2: What the Hell?

Waitaminute, are talking about my review or your post?

If you can be this short and to the point in forum posts, why not in your reviews?

One of the things that consistently impresses me about Ebert’s reviews is his ability to talk about a movie in the context in which it stands. I can’t think of any genre that he rejects absolutely: Action, romance, comedy, drama, whatever it is, he’s willing to take a movie on its own terms and judge it according to its own ambitions.

Furthermore, even when he gives a negative review, he pays attention to what went right. I can read a review of a movie that he disliked and come away from it with a sense of whether I might like it. Your review lacks that. It’s too short, too wrapped up in your own reactions, and just too shallow.

You don’t like the plot, characterization, or dialogue. Where are the examples? Where are the quotes that prove your point, the (non-spoiler) plot elements that fail to please? I have not the slightest idea what the plot of NWN2 is after reading your review.

What fails to work about the game mechanics? Yes, NWN2 is based on D&D rules. Now, either I’m familiar with D&D rules–in which case, I don’t need your commentary on whether they’re any damned good or not–or I’m not, and could use some more explanation.

What about the potential for user-created modules? The most significant portion of NWN1, and it doesn’t get the slightest mention.

What about some sense of where the game stands in the canon of CRPGs?

I have nothing against your review on fanboy grounds. I don’t like D&D, and I suspect I’ll hate NWN2. The problem is, quite simply, that you review isn’t very good.

No, I really don’t see that at all. Ebert, as far as my impressions go, reviews a film for what it is. I’ve seen him give high marks to brainless action movies that are done well and succeed at what they attempt, even though he states that he doesn’t like brainless movies.

Wise man say: “The critic who tries to reflect the views of his audience is not a critic, he’s a ventriloquist.” :)

But why are you being paid instead of any random blogger? If you asked me to write a review for WoW by stating my views and only my personal reactions of it, I’d wipe my ass with it in words. I, personally think the current MMO style of RPG is nothing but a pointless grind and devoid of any chance for good storytelling. Yet that would be stupid and irresponsible because I also can recognize that while I may hate the genre, WoW is clearly the best at what it tries to be. Nobody goes looking for a review if they don’t have the slightest interest in the first place, so pronouncing only my personal view serves no one.

I’m just not understanding what it is that you want to convey. I don’t get what you consider the role of a reviewer. That ought to be something I can gleen from reading any good review.

Wow. Roger Ebert and Tom Chick. Way to lump yourself right in at the drop of a hat there, Chauncey.

Anyway, you missed the part where being articulate counts, something Sir Roger and Missus Chick have that you sorely lack. Your review is so poorly written merely from a grammatical and conceptual standpoint, I seriously doubt you gave much more effort to playing or understanding the game. You just wanted to cry Firsties. That’s groovy, you totally did it Slugger, and now I’ll never read one of your reviews again, because you’re the internet equivalent of a quote whore as far as I’m concerned. Oh, poor sad you, weathering the slings and arrows of mediocritous misfortune. I may faint.

Wise man say: “The critic who tries to reflect the views of his audience is not a critic, he’s a ventriloquist.” :)

Dude, whatever, your lips are moving in either case and I want my money back. Bill say: “He who is deliberately contrarian and a shit writer deserves forceful butthump from Lowtax.”

It’s not that it hews too close to the rules at all, but that obsessing over them ends up being an uncomfortably large slice of the total gameplay. I knew coming out and saying that, I’d be facing a tough crowd (here more than anywhere).

Man, somebody wants an Internet Merit Badge.

But don’t forget that plenty of the other issues have nothing whatsoever to do with the rules, they just exacerbated the alienation I felt (this time, uniquely) making my way through all the D&D chrome.

DUDE PUT DOWN THE AMPERSAND AND BACK AWAY SLOWLY. Game’s too tough for you? Sweet. That means it’s perfect for me, I’m guessing. I’m fucking sick of cheesy action-RPG-lites so obviously pushed out the door in a rush that leave me feeling hollow and unfulfilled, kinda like some online game reviews.

Well, that’s kind of big’un all by itself…

Not really. I won’t call you a comprehensively a shit writer, but that review? Fuckin’ horrible.

Man, I thought Bill was harsh and went and read the review.
Bill’s right. I would have used nicer phrases, but your editor should have demanded a rewrite.

But you do point out that for those who want to play 3,5 ed. D&D done right (like say, that new game, what’s it called… oh yeah, Neverwinter Nights 2) this is an 8 or 9. So that’s fair enough, but you do come of as incredibly biased and contrarian and don’t argue your points with any depth.

You’re totally nuts Bill, but I love you anyway! :)


Seconded. I don’t like D&D rules, but I must agree that this review sucks. When you mention at the tail end of a review of a game based on D&D 3.5 rules that the game would score an 8 or 9 to anyone who likes those rules, you’ve totally fucked up the whole point of reviewing.

If you hate FPS games, you don’t give Half Life 2 a “3” and say “It sucks, but if you like this genre you’d probably give it a 9 or something.”

Yeah, I think we can edit out the slur on 1up/GFW. This has Peckam’s byline, it’s his review, he takes the heat and doesn’t seem to give a crap … whatever.

I do question his editor for assigning him this review if he dislikes D&D this much, though. I wonder how the conversation could have gone:

“Hey Matt, you’ve got the Neverwinter Nights 2 review.”

mutters All right, but …”

“But what? You like Arr Pee Gees. Just make sure the dialogue doesn’t outright suck. Players always want to know about dialogue.”

“… but it’s Dungeons & Dragons …”

“Are we going to have a problem here, Matt?”

“… No, I just think you’d be better off with someone that actually enjoys playing D&D.”

“Well, I’d give you the Dark Messiah one, but Chick already shat all over it. So it’s either Enn Dubya Enn Two or that Reservoir Dogs game.”

“I hate you.”

“Time to make the tappy-tap, Matt-boy.”


I’m not seeing the issues with the review. His review essentially is saying as toolset its great, as a game it’s just ok. I wish someone would have written that about the first neverwinter nights before I bought it.

…and Rome burned…

So I leave P&R for a moment, looking for a quiet game discussion… and find this! That said, D&D is yet another OLD and BORING franchise, like Star Trek and Star Wars, that should be put out of my misery. We need something new, something different, something sex-ay!

He doesn’t even mention the toolset, and barely speaks about the game beyond the level sizes and the fact that it’s based on D&D.

That review was terrible. All it says is that the reviewer doesn’t like the entire subgenre of D&D games, or maybe the statistical aspect of all RGP systems, or maybe his life and his dog. I suppose game journalists are always hard up for money, but if you just plain hate the basic concept of a game (and a completely inoffensive and fairly popular concept at that) the only responsible decision is to decline the assignment.

Come to think of it, the CGW/1up review of Titan Quest was nearly as terrible – pointless kvetching about how the reviewer doesn’t really enjoy Diablo clones due to his midlife crisis or something. Can’t CGW/GFW afford any good RPG reviewers anymore? Or is this a misguided attempt at New Games Journalism?

I just checked my Zinio copy of CGW since I usually associate Matt Peckham with articles of much higher quality. Indeed, besides a few previews he had written the outstanding Silk Road article (games & development in China). Now I’m even more baffled by this review.

This seems to be developing into a trend, as illustrated by the Enchanted Arms comic (a game I loved the heck out of). More recently, I’ve seen it with Touch Detective and Children of Mana reviews, oh…and a patently ridiculous review by Joe Juba of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon in Game Informer wherein he rakes the Mystery Dungeon series across the coals and proceeds to give the game a 3.

Speaking generally, I really think a game should be reviewed with regard to what it set out to be, not what the reviewer wanted it to be.

I don’t get it. In one thread everyone is bitching because in all the new games like WoW and GW the hit always happens unless it’s blocked. Here, in NWN2, you actually have to roll a hit.

WTF Matt? Some of us older gamers actually enjoyed the D&D rule-set because it was more challenging. Things like HP means something in a system like this. NWN2 hits the nail on the head and you ripe it because it doesn’t play like all the other RPG games that are out. It’s not supposed to be the same and you should have realized that when you reviewed it.

That being said, I really don’t feel you took that into account when you wrote that and it does feel like you’re trying to compare apples and oranges. That’s simply an unrealistic approach and makes the review slanted.

Jeff, make him write it again or have Tom do it. We want reviews that are well thought out and actually are un-biased. I don’t feel that was the case here.

And Jeff, now you know why the PR people do this. (podcast related)

Respectfully, Matt, I won’t call this the worst review from a major pub I’ve read all year. That honor goes to Chris Roper’s IGN God Hand review. But this is in the running for #2.

Maybe it’s endemic to the current RPG atmosphere, where everyone wants to compare the games to Oblivion even if they’re from a different side of the genre. Maybe it’s acceptable to think that BG2 or Torment are archaic and best left in fond memories (gotta laugh at that one). Even if I were to grant you those, this is an entire review complaining about the d&d backbone of NWN2 when it could’ve been relegated to a single cliched line (“If you’re not into D&D CRPGs, this won’t change your mind, but if you are, it’ll deliver.”).

It’s unfortunate that you think the genre should become a factory for Diablo and Oblivion clones, but it’s even more unfortunate that some gamers will skip NWN2 after seeing a 5/10 from GFW.

Well considering Oblivion was hands down the best RPG in years, cloning it probably isn’t a bad thing. NW2, I was excited because of who was making it, but being third person and D&D based were rather huge negatives already. With the other problems, its no longer a must buy.