Steven Wong over at Big Download has written another positive Grimm review. In the review Steven says:
We were also very pleased to find Grimm taking stronger liberties with the story, changing it from a deranged story about fate into a revenge tale. Justifications are provided to help fill in some of the glaring plot holes and leaps of logic. In the end, the daughter gains retribution against her father. It’s not a happy ending, but it’s certainly a satisfying one. As an added bonus, Grimm’s intervention transforms everything into a dark, bloody and truly wicked world. Characters are portrayed with boxy marionettes, but it’s still great to see their heads on pikes while blood rains down.
American McGee’s Grimm is headed in a good direction with its episode-by-episode gameplay adjustments. Even with the added difficulty, the entire game can still be completed in less than thirty minutes.
What I appreciate about Steven’s reviews is that he’s clearly someone who enjoys the game as it was designed and isn’t down on it for not being something different. This is directly opposite the approach of eternally put-upon reviewer Jimmy Thang over at IGN, who approaches weekly reviews of Grimm in hopes that between episodes the engine, genre, play style, graphics, and general “hard-coreness” of the game have been completely overhauled and/or replaced.
He’s yet to realize this is akin to looking for a goat in a bicycle shop.
This contrast in response is one I’m seeing in players and reviewers alike. And I’ve thought about it quite a bit. I think about it because we designed Grimm’s presentation and mechanics to be gradually evolved over the course of episode releases. Listening to user response and feedback is critical to informing the decisions we make about how the game evolves.
Feedback of the “this is great, I love it” sort is nice, but as useless as the “the graphics engine is still the same” type. Neither is quantifiable, objective, or realistic enough for us to utilize in developing future episodes. Still, Jimmy’s approach to review and final judgment suggest a reader should skip a particular episode until it reaches a certain acceptability level in terms of platform gaming, graphics engine sophistication, and power-up distribution. He ignores the fact that the game is a FREE invitation for the audience to be involved in the feedback loop and evolution of the game.
Ultimately, this rigid application of static critique to a medium that is dynamic – interactive! – indicates a lack of awareness about the innovations in our industry, its products, and its audience.
Then again, some people are fond of goats. Bleat.