The “How Not to Write a Game Review” Panel by Dan Amrich
PAX Prime 2012 – September 1, 2012

Example 3 of 3: The rewritten raw copy


Rock Fight III: Tournament Edition

Developer: Bedrock

Publisher: Smash Hits

Platform: Xbox 360


In the world of melee combat, scissors beats paper, but for the last two years, nothing beats rock. Unfortunately for fans, that might change with the release of Rock Fight III: Tournament Edition, which contains some key missteps for the surprise-hit fighting franchise.


As the subtitle suggests, the third game offers something that feels a bit like Minecraft meets Mortal Kombat. The new story campaign makes popular pugilist Stone Chin the clear star of the franchise, setting him on a quest to bring honor to his family name. The core gameplay returns – sticks and stones still break your bones – and it's hard not to have fun with new attacks like the Pebble Alliance, which showers enemies in bits of gravel. It makes the revenge on corner-trapping AI enemies all the sweeter.


The upgraded graphics of the Limestone 2.0 engine shine (the detailed textures make the granite look truly photorealistic) and an aggressive dubstep soundtrack keeps things wubbing along, but neither can hide some terrible flaws. The intuitive controls have been a large part of Rock Fight's appeal, but this time around, they feel clunky and lack the nuance of earlier games – and the optional Kinect controls don't offer a better alternative. As a result, braining your opponent with a fist-sized hunk of marble just doesn’t offer the sense of joy that it used to inspire. What's more, when a boss throws sand in your eyes and you can never seem to perform the same move back at them, frustration sets in.


The single-player campaign feels very short; skilled players may fly through the game in an afternoon, which leaves the game's true value to its multiplayer modes. If your friends list is stacked with fellow Rock Fight fans, you can easily set up private multiplayer tournaments, but the wildly lopsided matchmaking made for some unsatisfying blowouts in public lobbies.


Admittedly, the developers at Bedrock face a Sisyphean task of trying to keep their franchise fresh, but Rock Fight III's problematic controls and overall lack of balance simply don't do the series justice. It's a disappointing surprise to see how quickly this game rolls the series back downhill.


— Alan Smithee


Score: 6.0

This is still raw/first final draft copy and would need at least one editor to read and check it for tone, accuracy, and quality.  They might decide the puns are not desired or that the Sisyphus reference is too obscure or maybe even pretentious. Also, the control description still feels like it could be more details. The editor will rework and contact the author as necessary.