The ŌHow Not to Write a Game ReviewĶ Panel by Dan Amrich
PAX Prime 2012 – September 1, 2012

Example 2 of 3: DanÕs edit


Rock Fight III: Tournament Edition

Developer: Bedrock

Publisher: Smash Hits

Platform: Xbox 360


Not since Cain brained Ablel[DA1]  has there been a game that has been[D2]  more anticipated than Rock Fight III3. Everyone expected Rock Fight 7 3[DA3]  to continue in the long and much accoladed[DA4]  footsteps of Rock Fight 1 and II-6.  [D5] The demos[DA6] , which showcased new weapons and updated graphics, had me frothing at the mouth[DA7] . But after getting my hands on the final product, I find myself disappointed. Something is missing—sure, there are new gadgets, and some old favorites—[DA8] but braining [DA9] your opponent with a fist- sized hunk of marble doesnÕt fill me with the sense of joy that it used to inspire[D10] . 


DonÕt get me wrong, [DA11] the granite looks incredible—itÕs oblivious [DA12] that theire new game engine ŌLlimestoneĶ [DA13] can render delicate marbelingmarbling better thenthan ever before[DA14] . And the sound is good too. [DA15] But the controls feel a little clunky, and the throw calibration meter isnÕt as nuanced as it has been in previous incarnations[D16] . Kinect support has been added, probably because Microsoft made them do it[DA17] , and you'd think that would make it easy to control a game like this but it doesn't.  And dDuring boss battles, enemies can always manage to throw sand in my eyes, but I can never get it to work on them.  How is that balanced gameplay?[DA18] 


There are some good parts, though.  The tournament ladder system works pretty well[DA19] , but you need to have at least 16 people on youÕre friends list playing the game[DA20] .  If you donÕt you have to play with strangers[DA21] , and it doesnÕt skill match very well. In the single player campaign, the enemies are pretty cool, except for the cheesy corner trapping ones[DA22] .  But there are only 17 battles—I beat that in three hours[DA23] .


Overall, this is an okay games, but really not worth the title Rock Fight. There are better fighting games out there for your money[D24] , so you should buy one of those instead[DA25] , though this might be worth a rental if you are a big Rock Fight fan[DA26] .  Sigh.[DA27]  Maybe the inevitable Rock Fight 4 will be better.


-- Missing Byline


Score: 7.0[DA28] 



This still would require a major rewrite.


Is there a story to the game, or is it just ladder battles?

Does it have any specific gameplay improvements or new features over earlier Rock Fight games?

What is the gameplay like? Can you describe a typical encounter the player would face?

New weapons and new gadgets are mentioned; what are they, how do they work?  

I get no sense of what it is like to play this game; there are no vivid examples of gameplay, or what drew the author into the game world or even kept them at bay. It's all surface observerations



 [DA1]Tacky; Biblical

 [D2]Ōhas there beenĶ and Ōhas beenĶ are not only similar, but passive -- poor choices for a lead statement. Change or rewrite in active voice.

 [DA3]3 or III? Mismatch with header; check your facts

 [DA4]Is this a word? I don't believe this is a word. Don't overwrite or try to impress with too much fancy vocabulary. Write with clarity first; you can always go back and selectively upgrade adjectives and adverbs later.

 [D5]One space after a period. Always.

 [DA6]Was there a retail demo or was this an in-person press demo?  

 [DA7]ClichŽd and distasteful

 [DA8]Not the best use of M-dashes


 [D10]Personal insight, but not useful in this location, since we do not have a good basis for the game experience itself.

 [DA11]This is conversational but puts the focus on the reviewer rather than the game

 [DA12]Wrong word – don't overwrite

 [DA13]Is this the name of the engine? If so it's capitalized

 [DA14]What in the game is made out of rock?

 [DA15]Needs more detail. Don't just note mention something to mark a box off a checklist; if you are going to mention it, discuss it and offer some value to your statement.

 [D16]This needs more detail; as a new reader, I donÕt know what the earlier control scheme was or what it did better than this gameÕs controls.

 [DA17]Don't really need the biased conjecture here. This suggests you have an anti-Microsoft agenda and it weakens your whole review. Review the game, not the hardware or the politics of the business.

 [DA18]A valid criticism, but phrased as an angry rhetorical, it feels unprofessional

 [DA19]You need to be more specific here -- explain the ladder system

 [DA20]Why? What is the structure of this tournament system and what does it entail? Does the game really require you to play with 16 friends at one time? Or can you play with strangers as you can with so many other fighting games?

 [DA21]This is the reality of online gaming and is not a criticsm of what you are playing, but of the entire online gaming social system and/or the fact that the author has no friends.

 [DA22]You have to be able to give us more detail about the characters in the game.

 [DA23]Good insight that the game is short and may not be worth its price, but phrasing it as a brag about your skills pulls focus again.

 [D24]You can name names here, if the example is relevant. Naming other games in the genre helps the reader put it into perspective; similarities and differences can be weighed more easily that way sometimes.  

 [DA25]Which one?

 [DA26]Useless advice, nothing the reader would not naturally do without you telling them. If they are a fan of the franchise, they are probably already planning to rent it.

 [DA27]Too personal -- this reads like an internet forum drama. Your criticisms will tell the world you are disappointed in the game with you having to put on an emotional show.

 [DA28]Score too high for such a negative review. This feels lower; most of the review is spent discussing the game's problems.