As others have pointed out, the bastion of journalistic integrity, Eurogamer, has another DarkFall review up. It seems since release, DarkFall is now 100% better in the ever-virtuous eyes of EG, funny how that works…
To quickly summerize the four page review: DarkFall is a good game for it’s audience, but makes a poor WoW clone. Thanks EG.
But just as with the last go-around, there is comedy to be found in this review, starting up front with the author claiming he never read the initial review. Barry Bonds also never did steroids kids, he swears. It makes sense to deny reading the initial piece though, as it gets you out of the odd position of having to confirm, to the same employer, that the first piece they not only published but defended was/is indeed garbage. Yet while no direct ‘he got this wrong’ statements are made, reading the two reviews makes it rather clear who actually played the game, and who spent a few minutes on a forum gathering ‘facts’ while trying to get past character creation.
For instance, odd that in the first review, that ‘professional journalist’ Ed Zitron had major issues with the basics of the UI, to the point that he found them crippling to do even basic tasks such as NPC interaction or looting.
Unbelievably, to do anything that involves any interaction at all, you have to stop still – this includes any and all inventory management, looting, chatting – anything interactive.
The above sounds rather major to me, and certainly something I myself would point out if I was to write a review. Yet the second time EG takes a look at the game, they are somehow able to not only get past these major issues, but never even mention them. Either they are trying to keep a positive spin on DarkFall and hide the truth, or perhaps the forums got some facts wrong the first time around. Yes, how odd indeed, and certainly not the only example.
Perhaps even more telling is that the review itself is positive in the spots that count, like the combat system, PvP, and even PvE:
Even better is the actual player-versus-player combat. The first time I was hunted was absolutely thrilling.
Most of all, when something goes wrong, it’s often a case of you realizing entirely you were pushing it too far. Losing a couple of hours’ worth of random loot when I stop to wipe out some goblins on the final length home, letting my health deplete and then getting jumped by some opportunistic bastard… well, it’s annoying. But it’s also my fault. I’m annoyed with myself more than the game. Bad play. I was punished for it.
In my time in Darkfall, when going player-versus-environment, I fought far fewer enemy types than I would in any other major recent MMO… but I didn’t care. The variety in the conflict based around situational elements – luring people out with arrow-fire, using the terrain to separate members from the pack, whatever – kept it as entertaining.
Now if I’m looking for an MMO, and I’m going for the one with the best PvP, how exactly does the above go hand and hand with 2/10 and: “…every little thing Darkfall does is tragic… any attempt to glean joy from this torrid husk of an entertainment product is met with disdain.”
If I’m looking at the scale right, a 2/10 game has no business being ‘thrilling’ or ‘entertaining’. But hey, EG stands behind the first review, and Ed is a really honest guy. But do tell EG, is “every little thing tragic”, or is it “thrilling”? Is it a “torrid husk of entertainment”, or is it “entertaining”?
The final score (the original non-issue that gaming journalism can’t seem to stop harping on) the second time around is also telling, not because it’s low/high at 4/10, but because it had no other place to go. Higher than that, and EG might as well call themselves garbage for backing the initial 2/10, and it would be hard to match up anything lower than 4/10 with what was actually written in the review.
As with any score on a review, it’s also meaningless. If you are a WoW player happily running your daily quests, DF is far below a 4/10 for you. If you are an MMO gamer from the UO/AC days, or just someone who likes a little player-skill over hotbar mashing, DarkFall is far above a 4/10. And since Aventurine is not aiming to capture all 11 million WoW players (or even one, for that matter), so long as the niche crowd supporting the game is happy (and the recent ‘expansion’ did a lot for that), EG can keep entertaining everyone with their high standards and hard-hitting ‘journalism’.
Now excuse me, I’m off to join the rest of the miserable and play my tragic husk of a game.