Wednesday, March 28, 2012

COWARD changes and Kain's MAMA

Hey guys,

here is a quick post, just to tell you I'm currently scratching my head regarding how to upgrade the COWARD system. I'm not really a big fan of the O for Originality, actually. It's tough to grade, especially considering I'm playing totally different series of games, and I feel it's a bit off. My examples would be for Day of the Tentacle, Final Fantasy VI or Baldur's Gate II. They are not pinnacles of originality, they each play by the rules of the genre, and they're just absolutely fabulous games...

So I was thinking about O for Observation, which would grade how sniffing around and searching around every nook and cranny of the places you explore are rewarding. I thought about this playing Legacy of Kain, where backtracking is fun once you've obtained new abilities, and it applies to a lot of games I intend to play. Everybody loves a good sub quest, or having an item which is not mandatory to complete the game...

What are your thoughts?

On a side note, I forgot to give the MAMA (More Annoying Monster Award) for Legacy of Kain. Considering I haven't seen the whole game, I'm not too sure about this one, and it's especially difficult to discern in a game where mainly every enemy can be a cakewalk or a nightmare, because of the random battle system and controls. But I have one serious guy for the post : The liches in the sewers. The liches in themselves are not bad. They throw at you homing magic missiles that you can repel using the spell.... err... "Repel", and they go down easily. They are a pain before you acquire the spell, but are quite easy afterwards. Considering the vampire is highly allergic to water (in Kain's universe at least), the sewers are dangerous in themselves. However, you can switch to Mist form and cross water without any problem. But here comes the MAMA : you can't have both spells on at the same time. And when you have to cross long sewer tunnels ridden with these liches, it becomes an absolute chore. You get hit by every spell (they don't miss, these liches. ever.), making your character step back and getting hit again by another spell before being able to thrust your sword in one of the liches. Or you choose to cast Repel, and can't get close enough to the Liches to hit them without crossing the deadly water.

So here goes : The MAMA Award goes to the Liches in the Sewers. I know, this MAMA is dependent on a place to work, but hey, I never said anything about this being forbidden, did I? ;)

Please let me know what you think about the COWARD system evolution in the comments!


  1. My thoughts are that having an Originality rating is unlikely to work long term. Generally speaking a game is either original or it's not and it's difficult to objectively grade anything in between. It would pretty much result in just about every sequel getting lower and lower originality ratings, which is going to produce lopsided game ratings.

    I also think trying to come up with a replacement that fits the current "GIMLET" is fraught with danger, as you might just end up with something that doesn't hold much value other than to uphold the original clever word (in your case COWARD). If you don't think Originiality is working, then drop it. You don't have to replace it with anything.

    To be honest, when I read your final rating posts (and Zenic's for that matter), I find it difficult to figure out what each category is actually about. I don't really think of the word Delicacy when thinking about computer games for example.

    I've come up with an example of a GIMLET that I feel better represents the categories you're describing. The readers should immediately know what it is that you're talking about and not have to refer to a GIMLET legend.

    Cleverness becomes Intelligence
    Originality is dropped
    Writing becomes Storytelling
    Appeal remains as Appeal
    Reactivity becomes Controls
    Delicacy becomes Balanace

    So you end up with I S A C B which is an anagram for BASIC.

    This is all just a suggestion however since you asked. :)

  2. Well Trick, thanks a lot for your thoughts and ideas about that. My main problem is, I think, actually rating the games. In the case of your blog, or in the CRPG Addict's, the rating are interesting because you follow the evolution of a genre. Even if you're bound to hit a few hedges during the next months/years of your adventures (how to put a 10 in a category for a game when you know it deserves it, but you know even better has been done four years later, for example), the comparisons between those games still make sense.

    My problem, I think, is about my approach to the chronogaming thing, which is different from you guys. I tackle series, where each installment compare easily to the previous ones, but it doesn't make really sense to compare Resident Evil and The Legend of Zelda. My point in the COWARD system was more to let you know my feelings about the game than rate it in an objective way. I'm not putting on a "reviews" system here (there are excellent websites already doing that), but some way of letting you know how much I enjoyed playing a game, in a subjective way...

    I'll get your advice about changing the names of categories to more understandable ones, but I think I'll keep a category rewarding the side quests / optionnal stuff / post-game content of a game...

    What do u think of something like :

    A for Appeal / Sound
    S for Storytelling / Writing
    P for Pleasure / Enjoyment (I think it's more appropriate than balance, in french at least, tell me if it doesn't really work in english ;)
    I for Intelligence / Cleverness
    C for Controls / Inventory
    S for Side quests / Optional stuff

    Or ASPICS... or if you really feel the Side quests and optional stuff is not as important as the rest, I can always stick to ASPIC... What do u think?