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KestrelPi

Rate Double Fine Games... in the style of 90s videogame websites/magazines.

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There's something comforting (if somewhat naive) about those more innocent old days where reviewing a game came down to a final verdict examining graphics, sound, gameplay, replayability and boiling it down to a final score. So I'd like to do that for all the Double Fine games I've played (enough of). I chose to summarise each with a sentence, too, but just the ratings will do!

Psychonauts:

Graphics: 9/10 With a great variety of environments and sense of style, there's a timeless quality to this art.

Sound: 10/10 A fantastic score is complemented with some of the finest voice work ever heard in a platformer.

Gameplay: 8/10 Very competent 3D platforming mechanics, although suffers from some camera issues and a few unfortunate difficulty spikes.

Story: 9/10 Some of the most charming storytelling to be found in the genre, this story has wit and heart in equal measure.

Lasting Appeal: 8/10 Collectibles and fun gameplay might keep things interesting for repeat plays, while the world is interesting enough to warrant revisits on its own.

Final Score (not an average): 9/10

Brütal Legend:

Graphics: 9/10 The goal of making a world that looked like heavy metal album covers is very well realised.

Sound:10/10 Heavy metal licensed music with Peter McConnell filling in the blanks suits this game perfectly, and the rest of the audio complements well.

Gameplay: 7/10 Admittedly some poor tutorialising of stage battles made them more frustrating than they needed to be. The 3rd person action is consistently fun.

Story: 8/10 Good as we expect from Tim Schafer, but some story beats felt a little glossed over.

Lasting Appeal: 7/10 Multiplayer adds to the replay value - if you can find an opponent. Otherwise, collectibles give a decent enough reason to keep exploring the open world.

Final Score (not an average): 8/10

Costume Quest:

Graphics: 8/10 A charming visual style, well realised, but perhaps with not enough variety in what you see.

Sound: 8/10 Peter McConnell impresses as usual, and the rest of the sound design is ...well, sound.

Gameplay: 6/10 Great for kids, but anyone seeking more engaging battle mechanics may find the combat tiresome after a while.

Story: 8/10 Funny, well written, and somehow evoking a nostalgia for Halloween that I've never really felt before.

Lasting Appeal: 6/10 Always nice to revisit on a rainy day close to Halloween, and DLC extends the life. Still, I wouldn't want to revisit regularly.

Final Score (not an average): 7/10

Stacking:

Graphics: 7/10 The wonderfully realised russian dolls are the main attraction; the rest of the environments are perfectly functional.

Sound: 8/10 The soundtrack suits the visuals very well, but didn't stay with me in the same way many Double Fine games did. The sound effects are frequently hilarious.

Gameplay: 8/10 Simple puzzles made much more interesting by offering multiple solutions to encourage creativity.

Story: 7/10 I never found myself particularly attached to any of the characters, but the story served the job of framing the puzzles.

Lasting Appeal: 8/10 With multiple ways to solve each puzzle, someone could easily get something new out of multiple play-throughs.

Final Score (not an average): 8/10

Iron Brigade:

Graphics: 7/10 The world didn't quite come alive for me in the same way many Double Fine games have, but they work well. Also, salutes.

Sound: 7/10 Weapon and enemey sounds are suitably meaty, but soundtrack and voice work felt unmemorable compared to your average DF game.

Gameplay: 8/10 It's fun third person shooting mixed in with tower defense that stayed interesting until the end. The only criticism I have is that I found the DLC impossible to solo.

Story: 6/10 The story of Iron Brigade is... there, and it's fine.

Lasting Appeal: 8/10 Some of the most fun mechanics in a Double Fine game mean that I can revisit this game any time and be sure to have a fun time.

Final Score (not an average): 8/10

The Cave:

Graphics: 8/10 Characters and environments are well varied and well realised, animate well and lend the game charm.

Sound: 8/10 I'd have liked characters to have voices of their own, to give them more personality, but this is basically good work.

Gameplay: 4/10 Some fun puzzles are made hard to swallow by being constantly hampered and slowed down by platforming combined with character-switching. Unfortunate.

Story: 6/10 I never found myself particularly attached to any of the characters, but the story served the job of framing the puzzles well enough.

Lasting Appeal: 8/10 Multiple characters mean that the game is worth a few playthroughs if one is more tolerant than me of the mechanics.

Final Score (not an average): 5/10

Broken Age Act 1:

Graphics: 10/10 Full of detail and unique in style, this is exactly the sort of thing I love to see in a Double Fine game.

Sound: 10/10 Wonderful voice acting combines with, well, Peter McConnell does it again.

Gameplay: 7/10 A little too much hinting and some overly simplistic solutions, but this is essentially familiar adventure game territory so far.

Story: 8/10 I'd like to know more about Vella's motivations, and see more from several characters, but this is an intriguing start.

Lasting Appeal: 6/10 Typically for an adventure game, mainly re-playable just to enjoy the story and world again - which I do.

Final Score (not an average): 8/10

Hack 'n' Slash:

Graphics: 7/10 I love the characters, though sometimes the background art feels a little less crisp.

Sound: 9/10 Sadly no voice, but an excellent soundtrack makes up for it.

Gameplay: 9/10 Definitely not for everyone, but I loved the unique, creative puzzle solving of the game, and how much it let me tinker with by the end.

Story: 8/10 Competently written and with a few fun twists on existing tropes. I would have liked to see a few more story beats to flesh things out before the climax.

Lasting Appeal: 7/10 There are sure reasons to jump back in, with secrets and challenges and things to mess-with beyond the critical path

Final Score (not an average): 8/10 says my head, but my heart says 9/10

Costume Quest 2:

Graphics: 9/10 A lovely coat of paint on some already charming graphics. I love the environments, and the animations are superb.

Sound: 9/10 One of my favourite Peter McConnell sountracks, I'd just love to hear these characters voiced, though!

Gameplay: 7/10 Smart tweaks make this a sure step up from the first game, but still simplistic as far as turn-based battles go.

Story: 8/10 What can I say? I'm a sucker for time travel plots.

Lasting Appeal: 4/10 Not a ton of reasons to go back, but that feels okay for a holiday game. Will likely revisit on another Halloween.

Final Score (not an average): 8/10

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Nice reviews! Pretty interesting to read, actually. But shouldn't that be "80s video game magazines"? ;)

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Nice reviews! Pretty interesting to read, actually. But shouldn't that be "80s video game magazines"? ;)

Most of the magazines I read were in the 90s and while some followed that format, I'd say most just tended to put a % score at the end. I distinctly remember 90s websites loving this sort of breakdown, though. But I suppose it could apply to some 80s magazines too!

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Ah, yes, that's true, but I was mostly referring to "websites" over "magazines" in the title :)

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This is an interesting idea. It'll be interesting to see how everyone's reviews stack up for the games. I always find it interesting how different reviews can have such different views of the same thing. Because, ultimately, no matter how objective the reviewer tries to be, they are after all human, and reviews are ultimately just one person's opinion.

For me, I'd rate The Cave much higher as I thought it was one of Double Fine's best games and I enjoyed the platforming and switching between characters (although Maniac Mansion is one of my first and favorite adventure games, and platformers are my second favorite genre after adventure games, so that probably has a lot to do with it). I still have to finish Brutal Legend (I got stuck at the final battle and haven't yet finished it), but I'd likely rank it slightly lower because I thought that the switch between action and strategy was too abrupt and the increase in difficulty in the strategy sections was too steep towards the end. I do like this idea, and I'll do a list of my own up some time (probably after October, as I'm trying to do a review a day on my blog, and I don't want to get sidetracked and burned out on reviews :P).

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This is an interesting idea. It'll be interesting to see how everyone's reviews stack up for the games. I always find it interesting how different reviews can have such different views of the same thing. Because, ultimately, no matter how objective the reviewer tries to be, they are after all human, and reviews are ultimately just one person's opinion.

For me, I'd rate The Cave much higher as I thought it was one of Double Fine's best games and I enjoyed the platforming and switching between characters (although Maniac Mansion is one of my first and favorite adventure games, and platformers are my second favorite genre after adventure games, so that probably has a lot to do with it). I still have to finish Brutal Legend (I got stuck at the final battle and haven't yet finished it), but I'd likely rank it slightly lower because I thought that the switch between action and strategy was too abrupt and the increase in difficulty in the strategy sections was too steep towards the end. I do like this idea, and I'll do a list of my own up some time (probably after October, as I'm trying to do a review a day on my blog, and I don't want to get sidetracked and burned out on reviews :P).

I'm being a little harsh on The Cave. I think it has a lot going for it but I ended up thoroughly frustrated by the platforming. It wasn't good enough to be fun in its own right and so just, for me, provided this layer of molasses between knowing what to do and pulling it off. Also I feel like the game didn't do enough to make me care about the characters which sort of left it as a series of puzzles without motivation.

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Made a change to the title. I'll also be adding ratings for upcoming games once I get to play them. I'll definitely change Broken Age to review the whole game once Act 2 is released, too.

I did play quite a bit of MMOJ too, but I didn't include it here as honestly I just don't know what I think about it. Free to Play games don't seem to be my thing, and it seemed like a competent one, but I don't know. I tried to review it and put it at about 6/10 but I'm honestly not sure if that's fair or not. I also played Dropchord, but not enough to feel comfortable rating it.

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Great thread, but I don't recall 'story' being a rating field in those magazines/websites.

I added it! DF tend to make story driven games with strong writing, so I thought it was worth including. Otherwise it felt like something was missing.

Gamespot used to have the categories of: Gameplay, Graphics, Sound, Value, and Reviewer's Tilt - the latter was, I think, because the review was an average, so sometimes when you rate a game but decide the game was worth more than the sum of its parts, you could bump it up and say 'despite all my feelings about these individual bits, I still like this game more for less-tangible reasons. I decided to leave out 'Value' because it's really difficult for me personally to put a number on that.

IGN had a policy of (from Wikipedia): The score is given according to the "individual aspects of a game, like presentation, graphics, sound, gameplay and lasting appeal." Each game is given a score in each of these categories, but the overall score for the game is an independent evaluation, not an average of the scores in each category.

Thinking about it, 'lasting appeal' is broader than 'replayability' as a category, so I'll switch to that.

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I added it! DF tend to make story driven games with strong writing, so I thought it was worth including. Otherwise it felt like something was missing.

I understand.

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