Saturday, October 01, 2005

Swimming against the critical tide

There is something decidedly disconcerting about finding oneself at odds with every other gaming critic in the world. In my review of Myst V and Indigo Prophecy, I'm pretty much in the mainstream on Myst V (good, but not as good as other Myst games) but I have apparently written the single most negative review in existence of Indigo Prophecy. Not a complete pan, but I complain a lot. But while I've been thinking about my review, and whether I was overly harsh, I really don't think I was. First off, the gameplay isn't that good. The twiddling the joystick thing is overused and not down as well as in Shenmue 2, which did something similar. The stealth sequences are kind of fun but have a rather clunky design. The puzzles are brainless.

This many critics will agree with me on. No one's that impressed with the gameplay. But people are raving about the story. And the story is not very good. It's a formulaic thriller with cardboard characters that would get poor reviews if you were to make it into a movie.

But that's just me. Literally, that's just me. Everyone who plays this loves it. I had a similar experience with Shenmue, a game that people raved about but that I found deeply flawed (liked the sequel though, although it also had its faults).

I really wanted to like Indigo, it tries so hard and it's got a nice score by Angelo Badalamenti, and there are some good ideas in there. But I just can't see why it's getting as much love as it's getting.

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