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GS's Army of Two Review: Unprofessionalism at its finest?

Captain Pants

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May 1, 2007
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SnakeswithLasers said:
You don't want to be discouraged from thinking about games, but when a reviewer writes about a game's subject matter, it offends you.
I'm not offended at all. If you go to GS's review page, the blurb for Army of Two says this:

Gamespot said:
This better than average shooter is fun to play with a friend, but it's best not to think about the subject matter.
That is my issue. Even if you guys disagree with me, and it seems there are plenty who do, it seems like this is an issue worth discussing. The review basically says, "this game insults the army, so you shouldn't pay attention to it".
 

dionysus

Yaldog
May 12, 2007
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eXxy said:
Outside of technical achievement, what are the "objective strengths and weaknesses" to a game?
While I agree with you exxy, I do think that political commentary should be kept to a minimum in a review. If the game has political overtones, it should obviously be mentioned in the review. But this reviewer is clearly taking a side in the political debate.
 

JdFoX187

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May 17, 2006
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I read the review today and my jaw was on my desk at the shere bitch-fest that it was. Sure, my opinions are anecdotal at best, but the co-op nature seems to be the best out of any co-op shooter, including Gears of War. The graphics are very sharp and the lighting is spectacular. The gameplay itself is iffy, a little above average, just like the reviewer states. But he slags the game for no other reason than the subject matter?

Where in this game does it make fun of the U.S. military? The opening mission? Maybe. If anything, it's poking fun and satirising everything. The quality of satire is questionable. But the guy really seems to be on a soapbox complaining about how much it disrespects the soldiers and the military. Stupid review for a decent game.
 

Death_Born

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Oct 15, 2006
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AltogetherAndrews said:
This "critical thinker" is dogging on a developer for not being a sissy wuss and play it safe in a fictional land. I'm not sure how that could possibly be a good thing.
No, the developer chose to portray the two main characters, who happen to be stone-cold killers, as PMCs. Considering they don't get punished for killing civvies, I don't really see the problem with the reviewer's views, but it's a pretty stupid thing to add to a GAME review. If anything, it should be in the story summary: "this game's blunt approach to killing seems woefully out of place" or something like that.
 

arne

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AltogetherAndrews said:
This "critical thinker" is dogging on a developer for not being a sissy wuss and play it safe in a fictional land. I'm not sure how that could possibly be a good thing.

Reading the review I see it more like Dodson is questioning the glamorizing of a real life moral grey area in a video game without any substance (or context) that informs the player. Dodson provides one example on how to get around it without fundamentally changing the game (which is basically about just being violent) and that's to place it into a fictional setting -- that may not be the best solution, but it is one of many.
 

Madman

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Mar 9, 2007
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arne said:
so wait, some game reviewer actually bothers to write something more insightful and deep than a rote review, you know, actually inject some critical thinking that journalists should have and now it's a bad thing?

make up your goddamn f'n mind gaf. do you want video game journalism to be equated with the bush league or do you want critical thinking and an actual opinion on all aspects of the game (beyond gameplay and technical)?
They can write all the drivel about the war that they want. Just keep it out of a game review that is supposed to focus on the game itself. It would be like writing a GTA review and talking about how bad gangs and organized crime are in today's society.

Game reviews should focus on gameplay mechanics, depth of story, graphics, ect. If they want to write an opinion piece about how Army of Two, which from what I have seen is not meant to be taken seriously in the first place, presents itself and how it connects with the war in Iraq then go ahead. But keep political and personal viewpoints out of reviews.
 

Patrick Klepek

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dionysus said:
While I agree with you exxy, I do think that political commentary should be kept to a minimum in a review. If the game has political overtones, it should obviously be mentioned in the review. But this reviewer is clearly taking a side in the political debate.
I just don't understand how you comment without taking a side in some fashion.
 

arne

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Death_Born said:
No, the developer chose to portray the two main characters, who happen to be stone-cold killers, as PMCs. Considering they don't get punished for killing civvies, I don't really see the problem with the reviewer's views, but it's a pretty stupid thing to add to a GAME review. If anything, it should be in the story summary: "this game's blunt approach to killing seems woefully out of place" or something like that.

oh, so a reviewer is only allowed to review certain aspects but not others? that's not exactly how movie reviews work... well, unless you're only reading roper and ebert and shit.
 

FlyinJ

Douchebag. Yes, me.
Sep 22, 2005
12,696
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I got this from Gamefly last night.

I'm not the most PC guy around, but I was pretty disgusted with the dialog overall. Poorly written trying-to-be-funny "Xtreme" Poochie quality stuff.

Couple that with the fact that it takes place in Afghanistan and Iraq added to the lameness. It was basically jingoistic Rambo bullshit.

And, the game really sucked... even in co-op. The mechanics felt contrived and very poorly thought out (the back-to-back parts were particularly stupid). I had a lot more fun playing Gears of War co-op.

Overall, it felt like a game made by a bunch of frat boy semi-literates, for redneck illiterates.
 

Vrolokus

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I've sworn off Gamespot and am amazed people still go there, but just the same: I have to admit I'm a little impressed they actually went there with their review. The game concept is a bit tasteless and tacky in lieu of current events and real PMCs. Sure, they could have written a straight review like every other goddamned website and magazine on planet Earth (are the graphics good, how are the controls, what's co-op like, yadda yadda), but instead they talked about the content.

I thought some of you complainers cared about a game's theme and story. They are talking about it and objecting to it, so now you'd rather they stuck to Consumer Reports-style reviewing?

Film critics panned The Kingdom for being jingoistic horseshit, and that was legit, but we can't do that with game criticism?
 

Zer0

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Jun 9, 2004
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this is ridiculous,i have seen worse cutscenes on COD4 when a sas soldier EXECUTES in cold blood a prisioner and no one seems to notice,and now army of two a game who uses mercenaries ( like a lot of games before) and its nothing more than a Ea take on the buddy action movies
 

Evlar

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The excerpt in the OP (I won't go to Gamespot to read the whole thing) actually reads like a real review as seen in other media: discussing the plot, setting, and characters in terms of real-world social commentary, responsible exercise of speech, and the moral impact on viewers/players. Is the presentation of the exploits of mercenaries in a real warzone meant to be ironic or just exploitive? Is this war propaganda, deliberative commentary, or just stupid?

Criticism of the review is justified but for another reason than GAF is screaming about. Read film criticism of a particularly dumb movie that dabbles in "current issues"- something like Day After Tomorrow- and you'll see plenty of examples of major critics lambasting the work for exploiting and distorting hot-button topics for a quick buck. This game deserves that criticism (and more). The problem with this review is that the conclusion wimps out. It follows the standard weak GS formula of "If you like XXX buy this game, if you don't then you shouldn't!" In this case it's "If you're the type of person who would rather shoot first and ask questions never, by all means, pick up Army of Two." I don't know why they feel the need assume their audience is full of psychopaths.

Just man up and recommend your readers to buy a game that doesn't make a mockery of terrorism and the Iraq war.
 

Captain Pants

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May 1, 2007
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Here is another way to look at it... so Army of Two glamorizes PMCs and "makes fun of the army". If that is reprehensible, where is the outcry about GTA glamorizing the life of crime, and making fun of the police? Hell, in GTA there are many situations where you even kill cops. Why is this any better?

Taking that into account, if you read a review for GTA4 that spent the whole time whining about how the game was a slap in the face to the police, and that it allowed you to kill cops, wouldn't you start to think, "hmm... this would make a better blog post than a review?"

I'm all for game journalists analyzing the morality of the games we play. Lord knows that is better than hearing politicians and lawyers spouting off about it... I just think that a review isn't the time to do it. Maybe I'm wrong.



Edit: Before I edited this post, the phrase 'public cops' was in my post... at one point I was going to call them public servants instead of cops, and I simply forgot to delete the public. I'm dumb. :p
 

drakesfortune

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God forbid someone defends the people who have sacrificed stable family life, put their lives at risk to protect us, and get paid so little to do such a horrifically difficult job. I don't give a crap what people think about Bush or the war, I can understand hating both of those things, but most of these people didn't sign up to fight in Iraq, or to do Bush's bidding, they signed up to defend the country, democracy, and freedom. Those are the things that they care about, I know because I know quite a few service members, including several cousins in the military. I also know they give up more than any of us who don't serve will ever have to give up to do that thankless and absolutely necessary job.

These people are in the military to do what our elected government tells them to do. If you have a problem with what they're doing, then you have a problem with the government, not them. They didn't ask to go to war in Iraq, they are just doing what we the people have asked them to do through our elected officials. Hating them is like hating the garbage man for driving a big truck, when it's the elected officials that make the decision on which truck to buy.

Oh and to call our military slow and ill-equipped is absolutely laughable. Show me a faster more well equipped army. There isn't one. Just because they are not invincible does not mean they are not well equipped.
 

Salazar

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I do wonder if reviewers will find Mercenaries 2 as morally problematic as this game. I sort of doubt there'll be a comparably disgusted response, however strong the case for one.
 

probune

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Captain Pants said:
Here is another way to look at it... so Army of Two glamorizes PMCs and "makes fun of the army". If that is reprehensible, where is the outcry about GTA glamorizing the life of crime, and making fun of the police? Hell, in GTA there are many situations where you even kill cops. Why is this any better?
I'd love to see that kind of review for a GTA game. It's a shame no one has ever done it.
 

Vrolokus

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The Sphinx said:
The excerpt in the OP (I won't go to Gamespot to read the whole thing) actually reads like a real review as seen in other media: discussing the plot, setting, and characters in terms of real-world social commentary, responsible exercise of speech, and the moral impact on viewers/players. Is the presentation of the exploits of mercenaries in a real warzone meant to be ironic or just exploitive? Is this war propaganda, deliberative commentary, or just stupid?
Precisely. With the regular "When will we get our version of Lester Bangs/Roger Ebert/etc. in video game journalism?" topics, I'd think there'd be more appreciation for this.
 

Brak

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Captain Pants said:
That is my issue. Even if you guys disagree with me, and it seems there are plenty who do, it seems like this is an issue worth discussing. The review basically says, "this game insults the army, so you shouldn't pay attention to it".
No, it's saying "If you want to enjoy this game, then you will have to ignore the story in the game since it's insulting and stupid."

I don't know if that's true or not, since I haven't played the game, but reviewers should certainly be bringing up any issues that they have with a game.
 

Dali

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Captain Pants said:
That is my issue. Even if you guys disagree with me, and it seems there are plenty who do, it seems like this is an issue worth discussing. The review basically says, "this game insults the army, so you shouldn't pay attention to it".
See I read that as the whole premise of the game is either stupid or offensive, but the gameplay itself is ok.

Like the whole premise of this thread is stupid - a reviewer shouldn't comment on one part of a game he doesn't like - but the comments are ok.
 

arne

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Captain Pants said:
Here is another way to look at it... so Army of Two glamorizes PMCs and "makes fun of the army". If that is reprehensible, where is the outcry about GTA glamorizing the life of crime, and making fun of the police? Hell, in GTA there are many situations where you even kill cops. Why is this any better?

Taking that into account, if you read a review for GTA4 that spent the whole time whining about how the game was a slap in the face to the police, and that it allowed you to kill public cops, wouldn't you start to think, "hmm... this would make a better blog post than a review?"

I'm all for game journalists analyzing the morality of the games we play. Lord knows that is better than hearing politicians and lawyers spouting off about it... I just think that a review isn't the time to do it. Maybe I'm wrong.

in GTA there are consequences to your life of crime and killing cops. I think the point is, there aren't any consequences in Army of Two.


For all of you that say that a review should focus on the game -- these opinon related pieces are only 10 sentences out of 53. That leaves you with 43 sentences (81%) of pure gameplay-only related opinons in the review.



Vrolokus said:
Precisely. With the regular "When will we get our version of Lester Bangs/Roger Ebert/etc. in video game journalism?" topics, I'd think there'd be more appreciation for this.

exactly. here's my j. hoberman of game reviews? :p
 

drakesfortune

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Nov 30, 2007
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Captain Pants said:
Taking that into account, if you read a review for GTA4 that spent the whole time whining about how the game was a slap in the face to the police, and that it allowed you to kill public cops, wouldn't you start to think, "hmm... this would make a better blog post than a review?"
The difference is that amongst the far left in this country and around the world the military is considered pure evil, see Berkeley Marine Corp recruitment center. Meaning there is political motive for the dislike of the military, and that changes the tone of the discussion.

On the other hand everyone realizes that we need the police and there isn't a political affiliation that dislikes the police force because of the policies set forth by the law. They may hate the law, but everyone pretty much agrees that we like and need the actual police to uphold the law. Meaning the GTA stuff is more satirical, and the military stuff is more political.
 

Zer0

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Salazar said:
I do wonder if reviewers will find Mercenaries 2 as morally problematic as this game. I sort of doubt there'll be a comparably disgusted response, however strong the case for one.
i doubt it,in mercenaries 2 u will kill ppl from venezuela,aka no american involvement like irak of afganistan,sounds depressing,but its like real life
 

-tetsuo-

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I actually read that yesterday, one of the worst reviews ive read. Its blatantly obvious that the game offended him in the way it handled the american military subject matter. On top of all of his soap box non-sense, i remember at one point he complained that you couldnt run and shoot your "pimped out AK" accurately, forcing you to rely on your team mate. Really, i wonder why that is? :rolleyes:
 

chubigans

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I can somewhat see objecting to the story...the game makes no apologies for living in a somewhat real timeline (heck, the main character wakes up to 9/11 on the TV).

I think the reviewer needs some lessons in objectivity ("if you're smart, you'll agree that...") but what he's saying does actually make some sense.

That said, I hope I never get as anal as that reviewer is.
 
Its like movie reviews. You got the high class reviewsers that throw dog shit at every action movie ever made that doesn't have the deepest or most serious plot but kick ass action and imagery. Does everything have to be written so serious to be enjoyable now adays? Granted I like my serious movies, but just as much as I love a good popcorn flick.

Take any of Micheal Bays movies. They fucking suck at telling a story or having anything that is even remotely good written in them. But they have some of the most bad ass action sequences I've ever seen. If thats whats your going for then you see his movies, nuff said.

So lets take this idea with Army of Two, you want a fast action, co-op, in your face violent shooter/experience? Pick it up. For everyone else that wants another emotionally charged game with serious overtones, maybe try out Vegas 2 for your more serious kicks?
 

Kabouter

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AppleMIX said:
Nobody should take Army of Two's plot seriously.
I think that's a large part of the problem with reviewers. They take a game that features goldplated miniguns, iron masks with tiki prints on them and playing AIR GUITAR with your partner seriously.
 

soco

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as games themselves get more political, it's only natural and expected for the reviewers to get more political and vocal about their issues as well.

the only real option is to side-step the issue entirely.

movies, and even a few albums, have had reviews similar to this one, so it's certainly not a one-off.
 

Captain Pants

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May 1, 2007
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You guys bring up great points. I can admit when I'm wrong. This might be a weak response to some well thought out posts, but there are way too many to address individually, I'm not used to game reviewers expounding on their own political ideals when I read a review. There is a part of me that reads a review and just wants to know if it is fun, and doesn't care what the reviewer's thinks about the army... but I'm probably wrong in saying that there are certain things a reviewer should, and should not discuss when the game deals with the same issues he is discussing.
 

JDSN

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AlStrong said:
Get with the times, the new Rage is an anonymous country in the Middle-East.
I stand corrected , EA should have gone the Tom Clancy route and avoid any kind of irreverent comments towards the army, that war (and only that war) and PMCs. Its really interesting to hear journalists making arguments about this (beats reading another top 10), I just hope they remain consistent and ignore the subject when other games like Mercs 2 are out.
 
soco said:
as games themselves get more political, it's only natural and expected for the reviewers to get more political and vocal about their issues as well.

the only real option is to side-step the issue entirely.

movies, and even a few albums, have had reviews similar to this one, so it's certainly not a one-off.
Whats ironic about the whole thing is that people in the US army are eating this up. Live near a base and Gamestops can't seem to keep them in stock. My friends told me so many GI's purchase it.
 

DangerStepp

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Interesting thoughts on the subject, though I can't say I felt the same way nor did these types of questions come to me while playing. Despite that, it is kinda weird to see this type of thing in a review. Perhaps an editorial or blog is a better place to express these concerns. In other news...I bought the game, played it, and will be selling it very soon. It wasn't all that great.
 

Salazar

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Zer0 said:
i doubt it,in mercenaries 2 u will kill ppl from venezuela,aka no american involvement like irak of afganistan,sounds depressing,but its like real life
America may not be deployed in Venezuela, but it's unquestionably 'involved'. People will also be moved to criticism on behalf of that ass Chavez.
 

Kabouter

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slasher_thrasher21 said:
Whats ironic about the whole thing is that people in the US army are eating this up. Live near a base and Gamestops can't seem to keep them in stock. My friends told me so many GI's purchase it.
Maybe they wanna blow $10k on the racetrack too :lol
 

Vrolokus

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slasher_thrasher21 said:
Whats ironic about the whole thing is that people in the US army are eating this up. Live near a base and Gamestops can't seem to keep them in stock. My friends told me so many GI's purchase it.
They're 18 year old kids.

Just saying.
 
SummaGGL said:
Was there this same political outcry for games like Contra? NARC? Mercenaries, even? When did videogames stop becoming videogames?
Good point. I think you will find the only thing people will have to say AoT does over those games is put a more satire view on the whole situation. So basically, its just people getting their panties in a bundle and their feelings hurt over a games view on the theme.

*man I'm having big flasbacks of the whole hot coffee issue that happened. "OMG we left something in the game that has to be unlocked with modification of the gamecode... HOLY CRAP... KILL, KILL!!! But hey dont forget to check out God of War with its interactive sex minigame plus boobies!!! Its not even an hour into the game, and the kids will love it. "*
 

Vrolokus

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SummaGGL said:
Was there this same political outcry for games like Contra? NARC? Mercenaries, even? When did videogames stop becoming videogames?
Contra, really? That's an example to fold in there? Who would object - people sensitive to our black op campaigns against invading extraterrestrials?

Videogames never stopped being videogames; what happened is some games have content that's controversial because of real world issues they draw on. PMCs have no oversight, make up probably (by some estimates) half of the war effort in Iraq, and have been involved in some of the most horrific crimes that've taken place there.

And Army of Two makes it all fun.

It's amazing to me some people here are saying, essentially, "why are people getting so excited?" Um, do you read the newspaper? It's like the Seinfeld where Kramer gets fired from his job as a department store Santa for telling the kids about how great communism is. His reaction: "I didn't realize it was such a sensitive subject!", to which his friend replies "You didn't realize communism was a sensitive subject? Where have you been the last 50 years?"