Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
05 June 2007
IGN Does it Again: 2-for-1 Reviews

I've been getting together some quick first-impressions for the Tomb Raider Anniversary Demo, and figured I'd look at what some others were saying before I posted, particularly about the visuals on PS2. Doing so allowed me to recall just how much careful time and effort game reviewers put into their craft.

IGN's WinPC and PS2 reviews for TRA are [at least as of this writing] exactly the same minus one paragraph and a couple of different screengrabs. That's right, one paragraph. Here it goes.

PS2:
Graphically, Anniversary isn't anything to write home about. It doesn't look bad, but its drab, seam-showing environments can't compare to the prettier games on the PS2. Worse yet it there's [sic] no way to maximize your enjoyment. On a standard-def set the visuals are muted, and on a high-def set they look jagged.


WinPC:
Graphically, Anniversary looks impressive on the PC. After having fooled around with the console version for a few days, I was knocked on my duff by how good Lara and her environments looked. There's detail in the cave walls, Miss Croft's edges are smooth and the whole thing just looks slick.


Then both painfully dovetail into this line from the next paragraph, emphasis mine:
Yet what Anniversary lacks in guns-blazing action and gorgeous graphics, it makes up for with mind-maiming puzzles.


Nice. Well done. Not only are the reviews so painfully undifferentiated as to be functional clones, the parts, sorry, part that was rewritten for the WinPC doesn't even bother to mesh with the balance of the review, and the PS2-specific paragraph can't even bother to get its grammar straight. (For some reason, I'd really like to mix "Good work, but you forgot baby Moses" in here somewhere. Can't fit it.)

Matt's commented on this laziness before, I believe. It's tedious to point it out again. You can blame me (I do) for the reprint, but you should also blame the lazy two-fors these editors are allowing out.

Edit: Okay, I feel badly. I overstated how little new work was done for the two reviews. Here are the score sections for each, with what's different highlighted in bold, red text.

PS2 Scores:
7.5 Presentation
The main menu is the traditional Tomb Raider fare with Lara standing there while you pick your poison. It's easy to use and captures the style of the game.
7.0 Graphics
Obviously they're better than the original, but it's a lose-lose. On a standard-def set it looks bland and on a high-def set it looks jagged.
7.5 Sound
Most of the time it's just Lara's footsteps in an empty room, but when enemies show up, the music kicks up. Your guns always sound good. I guess it's what you'd expect.
8.0 Gameplay
The inclusion of Legend controls make it -- gasp -- fun to navigate the empty corridors and leap from ledges all over again. However, the too-close camera can get irritating.
8.0 Lasting Appeal
If you just sit down and plow through the game, you're looking at a 20-hour affair. Want more? Double back for the hidden relics, cheat codes, unlockable costumes and Croft Manor.
7.8
Good
OVERALL
(out of 10 / not an average)


WinPC Scores:
8.0 Presentation
The main menu is the traditional Tomb Raider fare with Lara standing there while you pick your poison. It's easy to use, looks sharp and captures the style of the game.
8.0 Graphics
Lara and her environments look downright sick running at 1900 x 1200, but there are still a few instances of dead bats jumping around the screen.
7.5 Sound
Most of the time it's just Lara's footsteps in an empty room, but when enemies show up, the music kicks up. Your guns always sound good. I guess it's what you'd expect.
8.0 Gameplay
The inclusion of Legend controls make it -- gasp -- fun to navigate the empty corridors and leap from ledges all over again, but the mouse as a camera is annoying.
8.0 Lasting Appeal
If you just sit down and plow through the game, you're looking at a 20-hour affair. Want more? Double back for the hidden relics, cheat codes, unlockable costumes and Croft Manor.
8.0
Impressive
OVERALL
(out of 10 / not an average)


Enjoy. Remember, always look sharp. It's worth half a point.
--ruffin at 14:06
Comment [ 5 ]

Comments on this post:

I just did basically the same thing for the Windows versus the Linux versions of Defcon (though many months later for the Linux version):

Windows:
http://atomicgamer.com/article.php?id=313

Linux:
http://linuxgames.com/?dataloc=/reviews/defcon/

By Blogger Zachary, at 05 June, 2007 14:36  

Why review it twice when you can review it 1.1 times! Good job on noting this, what would you want to bet that they didn't even play the game through on both platforms, so there could be all kinds of game-breaking bugs in one of the versions that the review never encountered?

Shame you couldn't fit "You forgot Baby Moses" in a bit better. It makes for a striking screenshot though.

By Blogger JohnH, at 05 June, 2007 15:57  

Can you use the 360 controller in TRA for PC?

By Blogger Jeremy, at 05 June, 2007 21:12  

Jeremy: Yes.

By Blogger jvm, at 05 June, 2007 21:17  

Yes, unless you're using Win2k.

johnh: Yeah, I thought that might be too much of a jump to stick in the post proper, but I do worry about the serious bug issue. I mean, we do get that he's "fooled around with the console version for a few days", and though that doesn't preclude him going back and playing more (I assume he did), there's really not much there to suggest a thorough review. Even Matt's comparison of the Colosseum went into more platform specific detail than these reviews. Painful.

I'll add "evidence that you've played the entire game" to my draft of the Rules for Writing a Game Review post.

By Blogger rufbo, at 05 June, 2007 22:29  

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