Monday, May 19, 2008

Vindication and satisfaction ...

Ahh ... the life of a game journalist.

So, early last week, I had the pleasure of writing the TeamXbox review of Assault Heroes 2. Now, I spent the better part of the weekend before the review playing the game AND the original one, long before I ever typed the first letter for the review. I compared both games and weighed the sequel against the first title and on its own merits. I was wavering between a 7 and a 7.5 before finally settling on a 7 for the final score. In my mind, a 7 isn't a bad score by any stretch of the imagination ... but it just shows that there was plenty that could be better too.

Overall, I simply felt like the game didn't bring anything really different to the table. To me, the game felt more like an expansion than a sequel. And considering that you can get the first game for half the price of the second ... well, it's the better deal. Still, fans looking for more Assault Heroes action would probably enjoy it. So, I settled on my score, wrote the review, and then things went ... "wonky". I won't go into too many details, but no sooner than my review got posted, I started getting flak for it. Apparently TeamXbox had scored the first game an 8.5, and there were people who felt like I scored the sequel too low by comparison.

Now, let me start off by saying that I had nothing to do with the review of the first Assault Heroes game. If I HAD, I'd have probably still scored it at around an 8 ... considering how it stood out at the time. Keep in mind that when AH1 came out roughly a year and a half ago, the Xbox LIVE Arcade library was a lot smaller. These days, though, there's a lot more on the service, and if AH1 came out today, it just wouldn't stand out as much ... especially in the light of other similar games I've played, like 1942: Joint Strike and Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 ... both of which I recently previewed.

So, here I am catching heat from all different sides about the review. In retrospect, maybe I could have explained a couple of things a little better in the piece, but I still stand by the review and stand by the fact that a) a 7 out of 10 ISN'T a bad score, and b) the game WASN'T scored to low. As I've said from the beginning, a review is simply one person's opinion of a given thing at a given time. I don't expect everyone to agree with me when I write a review, but I do my best to explain my opinion and why I think the way I do. My reasoning has always been that, whether you agree or disagree with me, you hopefully understand me.

Having said all of that, and taking the heat like I did for the review, I've gotta say that I felt a little better about everything after taking a new look at Game Rankings ... and found that, despite the initial reaction I got, it looks like I wasn't so far off the mark after all. The Official Xbox Magazine apparently gave Assault Heroes 2 a 7.0 score as well, and GameSpot gave it a 7.5. Neither review took away from the enjoyment of the game, but simply said it could have brought more to the table.

Admittedly, none of this would have changed my thoughts on how I do my job. Hell, if I scored a game at a 4/10 and everyone else scored it as an 8/10, I'd still stand by whatever I wrote. Even so, it's more than a little satisfying to see that I'm not alone in my thoughts ... and that some people out there even decided to stick by me and my work.

Okay ... that's my rant for now.

End of line ...

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