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  3. How do you guys review stories of direct sequels?

User Info: FishOfPain

FishOfPain
5 months ago#1
I'm throwing this out here to get some suggestions, since I've run into something I'm not really sure how to handle.

Currently I'm playing through Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, and it's the last part of the LoS trilogy and basically all that's happening in this game and all motivations for the characters are due to things happening in the earlier games. How do you guys work with it when you want to describe a story in-depth (I always do pretty in-depth reviews) while still keeping it spoiler-free for the earlier games in the series? I usually won't have this problem, but I remember having to rewrite a my FFXIII: Lightning Returns review because it got rejected for spoilers for the previous games, and here I can't really figure out where to even begin without spoiling at least some part of the previous games.
"You're a jerk, Dent"
Wowbagger from The hitchhikers guide to the galaxy

User Info: 16-BITTER

16-BITTER
5 months ago#2
There's definitely an art to it. I don't do a lot of story-heavy games, so I'm no expert on the finer points of dancing around the spoilers. But my two cents is that you basically have to gloss over deeper analysis with more abstract descriptions, like referring to why the plot/characterization is good or bad relative to the previous games or critiquing the characters' dialogue/acting/motivations without actually describing anything too specific. Making a note that understanding the plot properly requires having played the other games might give you some leeway to skimp a bit. At best, stuff revealed in the trailers or in the opening moments of the game are usually considered fair play, so you may be able to have enough of a base to build off of from those.

Might be helpful to check out some book or movie reviews and see how those reviewers handle it, since those are much more plot-heavy mediums.
10/429
(edited 5 months ago)

User Info: Rin-Coconut

Rin-Coconut
5 months ago#3
Hi there, I want to give my two cents on this too. First, there is no universal rules when reviewing; something that might work for one game wont work for another. Part of reviewing is being able to see the situation and determine the best option that appeases you, GameFAQs staff, and your readers. Also, don't be scared to put notes for the readers, I do this all the time, it can help a lot when there is a complicated issue like this. Here are some various tips I can give, will be in bullet points as that is easiest for me.

  • Everything 16-BITTER said is true and is solid advice
  • Judge the game you're playing. GameFAQs seems to care far less the more obscure, short, and mediocre the game is. The bigger the title, or the longer the game, the more restricted you'll have to be.
  • I honestly suggest avoiding super deep analysis of story for GameFAQs reviews. GameFAQs focuses on reviews written for those who have not yet played the games, its not like YouTuber movie reviews where they assume you've seen the movie and want their take on it. Basically, our goal here is to document information and to educate potential buyers.
  • There are some very simple ways to talk about the story of a multi-game series where it makes sense and seems to be allowed here. 1. You can just say upfront that the game is part x of a series and the game AND review is for people who have played the previous games. You can also do this for games based on pre-existing media, I do it all the time when an anime gets a game made; but that's mostly so I don't need to over explain every detail. 2. Don't ever say spoiler/spoil in a review, it sets off their red flags. 3. Don't spoil, even the previous game, don't go into major plot points and stuff, if you're reviewing a sequel, they already played the first one, just assume they know and put a friendly reminder that the review (and game) are for already existent fans of the series.
  • As 16-BITTER said, is an art, you can analyze without going deep. For example. Lets say a game has a girl named Amanda, and she has horrible character development, but another girl named Emily is not as bad (but still bad). You can say like "The character development was really lacking, both of the girls were bad, but especially Amanda. Neither of the two had any noticeable changes in their character and outlook, even after major events in the story." Instead of saying "When their Dad is murdered halfway through the game the characters show zero change from this experience". Like, you can explain something where the reader fully understands it without ever saying what it actually is.


User Info: Rin-Coconut

Rin-Coconut
5 months ago#4
Also should say, as 16-BITTER said; stuff like trailers is usually fine to pull from. Back when rules were listed they said something like "the first 15 minutes of the game" and "anything on the box" were also fine. But please know, these are not hard rules. I got a review rejected before because I talked about a new character the series added, and that character was plastered everywhere in trailers. You sometimes need to resubmit and use submission notes to explain something.

User Info: FishOfPain

FishOfPain
3 months ago#5
Aw, shucks, I forgot to update and thank you guys.
I hardly remember it now, but I remember being pretty satisfied with the end result when I was finished with it, managing to get around the most spoileriffic parts of things.

I also remember that thing from the review guidelines of it being ok to put in stuff from the trailer/box/first part of the game. But in this particular case the problem came from how the end of the first game is spoiled in the trailer for the second; making the GameFAQs rules say it's both ok and not ok.

Rin your advice is really good on a general level, though this case was a bit more special. To take your example of the girls; in the first game Emily and Amanda are sisters who get along well. At the very end of the game, it turns out that Amanda was the one who killed their dad and she has now fled. If the whole premise of the sequel is for Emily to track down Amanda to get revenge, then that puts me in the situation I was in. No worries about spoiling the second game (which I'm actually reviewing), but in just mentioning the premise of the game the end of the first game is spoiled; mostly so for someone who is halfway through the first game and KNOWS their dad is alive at that point in time.

So it really is a kinda tough situation, but I'd say I managed to find a path that worked in being somewhat vague and felt pretty satisfied with it.
"You're a jerk, Dent"
Wowbagger from The hitchhikers guide to the galaxy
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