Eurogamer says Darkfall is as entertaining as the flu

Doesn't that look fun?!
Doesn't that look fun?!

Well let me tell you, I have the flu and that statement is a bold-faced lie.   The flu is far more… okay sorry I couldn’t resist.

I think I counted six people wanting me to comment on this whole Eurogamer and Darkfall spat.  My gut reaction was “huh? who cares about someone reviewing a game poorly?” because I don’t care how the big gaming sites review games.  My interest in this feud wasn’t piqued until Tasos (the voice of Darkfall) started rebuking Eurogamer’s claims with lines like “our server code says differently so nah nah!”

I read the Eurogamer review and the guy obviously didn’t like the game.  It’s also obvious he didn’t play it much.  By his own admission he played the game for 9 hours.  I think it took me that long to figure out the controls in Darkfall, so I’ll give Ed some credit for being able to write any review in that short amount of time.  In general, his review was too negative.  Had he been less negative he could have said the exact same things but not come off as a hater.  But it’s not my place to tell this guy how or how not to review games that he plays – that’s Eurogamer’s job and they seem just fine with it.

Where I can comment though is in the accuracy of his statements.  A lot of the specific details about the game are twisted to match the author’s dramatic flare of negativity, thus they become exaggerations and blown out of proportion.  Any intelligent reader should be able to pick up on that immediately whether or not they have played the game.  The author deviates from fact to fiction to paint a better picture for his negativity,  but the gist of what he is saying is true.  Darkfall is based on attrition.  There is very little to see and do in Darkfall.  There is no real application of lore to tie anything in the game together.  The skill system is inferior to EVE’s (and every other skill system, imo).   A lot of the game is an incongruous mess of poor code and overlap from features half-developed but now abandoned.

Aventurine made the mistake here.  The mistake was to react to this review in the way they did.  People already know that you either love Darkfall or you absolutely hate it with a passion whose fires could melt the sun.  Why they needed to direct 100x the traffic that the review would have seen to read something obviously twisted (albeit right in many ways) is beyond my ability to comprehend.  But they did.  Now how could they have done a better job refuting the claims?  I would have offered up examples:  Offered up features, examples of things to do in-game, explained some of the clan conflicts that have gone on, shown how sieges are the bread and butter, etc.  Yet, Aventurine has not done any of that.  They’re simply trying to misdirect the review away from the game and onto the fact that this guy played for only a few hours.  It’s either because they feel their game can’t stand up on its own or they’re really that clueless.

Eurogamer is going to review Darkfall again.  This time they’re putting Kieron Gillen on the task.  Aventurine gets what they deserve here because, however irrelevant a second review from the same site may be, they’re still going to get a second negative review (hopefully more constructive) and this time from a more well known reviewer.   My advice to Aventurine is that they simply be quiet and take care of the players they do have while they still have them.

I do think that 2/10 is unfair based on Eurogamer’s scale.  I would have given it a 4/10 after reading the explanation of how they rate games.  Darkfall does have redeeming qualities.  Deciding whether or not they redeem the game to the tune of $15 a month is entirely up to you.

Read the Eurogamer review for yourself here.

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  • Even though I decided to pass on even trying Darkfall, I couldn’t resist a little drama and I’ve been reading the banter going back and forth between reviewer/devs. Good stuff!

  • I would have given it 1/10 . That piece of shit game…( no irony , i really think its pure cow shit)

  • If only the skill system wasn’t a complete piece of shit. I really enjoy the game but the skill grind is just disgusting and soul crushing.

  • I really ALMOST love DarkFall…but the parts it missed on were to much for me to right now. But I am by no means saying I won’t resub in a month or two if they fix some issues.

    That being said you can tell that Aventurine truly loves and cares about their game. That took that review very personal, maybe when they should have taken it in a more business approach.

    But I honestly don’t have any problem with they reacted except with what you mentioned earlier. Why go and make claims that the review was filled with incorrect facts and not go line by line and break it all down. Kinda puzzles me.

    Like I said, I like the game ALMOST a lot…and I may really like in a month or two if they keep improving it.

    The more I play my Squig Herder, the more I miss DF archery.

    On a side note… With the little Mech Warrior comments we had a a week or so ago got me jones’n enough to pick up ChromeHounds on the xbox360 for 9 bucks and am having a blast. Still a lot of folks online.

    If they could mix ChromeHounds into an MMO it would be about as perfect a game for me.

  • After having played it for the last week or so (all solo, mostly just exploring ,mob killing and occasional pk, since I haven’t seen too many players out in the wilderness) and after seeing their mangled launch, game selling debacle,a slew of features promised on their website that aren’t in game (weather effects, for example), a design that encourages macroing, the highest rating I’d give Darkfall, per the Eurogamer scale, is 5. It does have fun elements, but the good is overshadowed by the bad. The game, as a whole, is mediocre at best. It needs work to be good and a lot of work to be great.

    I’m starting to think Aventurine’s definition of “sandbox” is “game that’s not done yet”.

    ~Ripper

  • Why break it down if the best argument is the fact of hours spend in game for doing the a job on reviewing Darkfall.

    By revealing that the reviewer just spend 2 hours in Darkfall the rest of his “review” (hit job) lost every substance.

    He also could have review how aliens hijack miss piggy resulting in the same value of professionalism.

  • Everyone knows Eurogamer is very biased to WoW this has been a given for a long time. Also the Europeans tend to be a lot more opinionated then Americans but we have our moments. As for the rating? I agree with Keen it is to low and should be 4 or 5 but nothing more. The review of MMOs should also be longer than those of regular games but it is all a business so that will not change.

    Tasos did overreact and though I applaud him for sticking up for his game it just gives Aventurine bad PR. Game reviews are just opinions who unfortantely some follow down to the T without ever playing the game.

  • […] Forums Eurogamer Darkfall Review – Darkfall Forums Keen & Graev’s responds to the flame war: Keen and Graev’s Gaming Blog Blog Archive Eurogamer says Darkfall is as entertaining as the fl… Eurogamer is going to do another review by a different person, I wonder what the outcome will […]

  • To start with I honestly don’t know where all this negative crap comes from, Darkfall is a new game and people should of seen bugs and incomplete features coming their way before purchasing.

    In it’s current state Darkfall is a thrill to play and gets my heart pumping every time I go into PvP combat with my buddies.

    The lore as it stands isn’t very impressive but it does set a background which allows players to understand why the world is in it’s current state, (The ruins scattered around the place and small tribes of people/creatures) However it doesn’t break the game at all because the players and Clans of Darkfall are making the history and lore as they go along.
    Since launch the Darkfall Devs have been releasing huge weekly patches addressing the key fundamental issues with the game so far and they have most certainly listened to what the player base wants, the changes themselves are proof of this.

    When you first enter the Darkfall world it can be frustrating and difficult to get yourself going and find your place, this is too much for many people who are used to the ‘safety’ areas and step by step guides in-game to help them.

    The Eurogamer review was very misleading, the person who reviewed it obviously didn’t play the game at all and wasn’t cut out for an open PvP game. His review has no credibility.

    “There is very little to see and do in Darkfall”
    We must be playing different games, I go raiding, gathering to get new and better armour some thing’s always happening around my Clan City and I enjoy chatting to my Clan mates themselves.
    Then you get the sieges which are easily the best large scale PvP experience you’ll get anywhere and being able to lose your gear makes it all the more fun.

  • I just want to say that I played the game for 30 hours and I think the content of the review is spot on. Gfx, UI, controls, excessive ganking, poor skill system, tedious harvesting. All of it is spot on.

    However a score of 2/10 is a bit lower than I would give it, more like 3/10.

  • I’m guessing it’s a game you can’t solo and have a good time…unless you have a lot of patience.

    The reviewer hated it and said so. I don’t see an issue, myself.

    But this dustup is why every game, no matter how much it blows gets at least a 5 or 6 out of 10. Jeff Gerstmann got the chop because he didn’t like Kane and Lynch and had the audacity to be honest about his opinions.

    It’s a no win situation.

  • I agree with the previous poster. Yeah, 2 is a bit harsh, but game reviewing has really gone downhill. His job is to review a game. He hated it. But if he gives it as low a score as he feels it deserves, he is attacked.

    The result is that the new bottom of the scale becomes 5 since you don’t want to offend anyone.

    Like you said yourself, Keen, all his faults are exaggerations but they are rooted in the truth. Darkfall is, at best, a mediocre game, and only gets that high if you are willing to wade through the drek to get there. “Wading through the drek” should NEVER be something you have to do.

    If you don’t like his review? Fine, ignore it. I also agree that if Adventurine had responded point for point in an attempt to refute, with as much proof as possible, all his points they felt were unfair, that would be amazing! I would support them all the way, even though I personally hate the game, because that is a cool thing to do. But they just had the knee-jerk reaction that was silly and blew this whole thing out of proportion.

  • Not many RL people give a game more than 9 hours to grab them. Although for a REVIEW I’d expect a LOT more time on an MMO.

  • Sounds like DF is fine with a bad review, so long as it is fact based. That doesn’t seem like too much for any developer to ask.

  • I still cant even get a freaking account with the game so… No matter how interesting it might be it really seems like the companys hates its player base. More then Micrsoft hates PC gamers 😛

  • I played Darkfall for a month in a rather large guild and by the end of the month I was completely bored with it. The PvP is as lackluster as the PvE…the game is one endless grind with little in the way of real fun, eye candy or even tolerable crafting. Hordes of hacking and exploting, more so than I have ever experienced in other MMO’s combined. 8 YEARS they spent making this piece of crap…total letdown. This game is worth maybe a $19.99 retail price and $4.99 a mont, not what they are charging for it.

    Don’t hate the players…heck don’t hate the game…hate the devs.

  • No such thing as Bad advertising, which in this case works out well for all parties concerned,

    makes you think.

  • I’m a FAN of DFO. I find that response fair and I wouldn’t expect a fan of “theme-park” mmos to rate it above a 5 (I give it a 6.5).

    However I do have two gripes

    1) There is lore to DFO and its actually pretty deep since it doesn’t have multiple games to rely on (EQ, WoW, etc) or decades of growth (DnD, WAR, EQ, etc). You actually have to do a decent amount of quest to get there though and it would be beneficial to DFO to have the lore more upfront. But, as the game is closer to SB, I don’t find it much of an issue.

    2) The skill system itself doesn’t suck, the grind does and just by toning back the amount of “exp” to level up would be a boon. If the skill system sucked, then it would take more than 1 quick change to fix it.

  • One more thing, most people complain that PvP is nothing more than spiting and circling around a person randomly attacking. Well that how sucky players PvP because its “easy.”

  • The issue is not that Ed gave the game a bad review, he didn’t like it and called it like he saw it. The issue is that the things he represented as factual are not. Here is a small list of things that he got wrong:
    Here’s the full context of that list from ZtruK, with each point explained. I’m curious to see your explanation of how the review’s points mentioned are accurate:

    To ‘do’ anything – talk to an NPC, bind yourself to a location, loot a corpse, and so on – you have to click the right mouse button to toggle between interaction or movement mode.

    -Just hit the “f” key.

    Unbelievably, to do anything that involves any interaction at all, you have to stop still – this includes any and all inventory management, looting, chatting – anything interactive.

    -Auto run while interacting with your inv or anything else works just fine, you can also hold shift to sprint while doing these things. Except for looting which is intentional.

    like an FPS, except with little to no reference point.

    -You have a crosshair on your screen

    how slow and floaty the controls tend to be.

    -The controls react just like any other FPS (I have 170 ping)

    The difference in feedback between a sword hitting or missing is negligible-

    -Hearing the sound of the sword hitting, blood splattering and the grunt of whatever race or monster is not negligible compared to “whiff”.

    lack of hit detection

    -If you hit, you hit, if you miss, you miss. Hit detection is spot on.

    Judging the distance that one needs to be at to fight a foe is largely guesswork.

    -Not guesswork, practice; each weapon has a set range and it is the same every time you swing it. There is no guesswork, you hit if you are in range.

    your combat skills affect how often you actually connect.

    -Absolutely untrue, combat skill has nothing to do with hit or miss.

    changing weapon (a ten-second operation – five if you’re particularly nimble)

    -If you use a hotbar (most people do) it takes as long as it takes you to click a key. In no way can you justify saying this, even if it’s hyperbole (I don’t think it is in this case with nothing on his hotbar)

    EverQuest – which was actually graphically superior

    – This is opinion, sort of, but no way 99% of people would agree with this, EQ2 maybe.

    no definition in areas except those where you spawn as a newbie

    – The entire world is hand crafted and looks amazing, no auto generation of terrain or anything.

    It doesn’t even have [snip] some form of tutorial

    -there is a breif tutorial of controls and UI at sigon.

    horrible user interface, and broken combat system.

    -the UI works fine, it’s FPS not MMO Combat is one of the best parts of the game and is far from broken.

    the few Darkfall servers Adventurine is running

    -There is a single server farm called EU1

    You can’t turn off the UI – the game just occasionally forgets to load it.

    -There is a setting to turn off the UI that you can hotkey

    At times you’ll be left waiting to die – for up to a minute.

    -after 15-20 seconds you can hit spacebar and “tapout”.

    In any profession where information is communicated the most important factor is credibility. Ed’s article is not credible, and the anger from Aventurine and the people who play DarkFall comes from knowing that the review is dishonest.

  • I dunno…if i develop a game that gets absolutely pounded on a major gaming website, and that same review is picked up on several other major gaming websites, then i find out the guy writing the review spent around 2 hours total reviewing my mmorpg based on the logs, then i read the review and find out it is completely littered with falsehoods and innacuracies which the reviewer passes off as fact, and also the review itself reads worse than many of the completely clueless hater posts by random no-names on various gaming forums (most of which haven’t even played the game – seemingly much like this reviewer)…i think i’d be a little bit upset and react the same way myself.

    The review really reads like nothing more than a hater post from a self-confessed Wow fanboy. (and Ed is actually a self-confessed Wow-fanboy, go figure). C’mon, when a supposedly non-biased review starts out like this-

    “… any attempt to glean joy from this torrid husk of an entertainment product is met with disdain. It’s almost as if Darkfall doesn’t want you to play. But nevertheless, a job is a job, and play I must.”

    Then we’re to believe you are actually going to give us a fair review of the game? He goes on to explain how “many avid Darkfall fanboys defend the game blah blah blah”…how does trash like this actually get published in a major gaming website? I know Eurogamer has long been known to cater to the WoW/War type crowd but actually publishing a review like this is beyond ridiculous.

    It’s not like this is just about hurt feelings, which some of you seem to be inferring. This will no doubt have a negative financial impact on AV as many people do base their gaming decisions on ratings from these very websites. Also some devs are paid in part based on ratings for their games (not sure if that is the case at AV).

    Other reviews have come out on this game already, some real good, some real bad, and some in between. AV didn’t go after them because 80% of the article wasn’t based on falsehoods about the game. This one was. And to top it off the guy who reviewed the game lied about how long he even played it. Sure, you can argue about who to believe: Tasos or Ed Zitron. But when i can read the article Ed wrote and see for myself how many things he clearly got completely wrong in the article i think i’m going with Tasos and his logs on this one.

    Anyway, i’m not surprised Keen is taking the “AV is wrong” approach here after his flip-flop on the game. But you don’t even have to like the game to side with AV on this if you use a little logic and put yourself in their shoes.

  • Having been a “reviewer” for several years, my opinion is that it’s just impossible for them to give every game a fair shake. Between ’95-’99 I think our average was something like 30 games incoming into our offices per week, or ~1500 games per year. PC games have obviously slowed down a bit since then, but still, that’s an idea of what it’s like for professional game reviews.

    Not every game gets a review, but most do get played to decide which ones are worth writing about. Unfortunately some get skipped entirely and more and more games get played & reviewed based entirely on their ‘buzz’, which isn’t an honest process at all.

    Spending just a few hours with something and claiming to give it a fair shake, you do feel that’s justified and true when you’re in the middle of doing it, but once you’ve stepped back and taken a look at it– I asked if we could focus on game news / interviews and op-eds and just skip reviews, but they’re too much the bread and butter of pro mag / website game journalism. Consumers expect reviews.

    Reviews are bullshit. They just are. They’re opinions based on press-releases and expectations as much as the actual game content. And yeah, I’m dissing myself in my previous full-time paid position. =P

    Blogging IMHO completely supplants reviews. Sure, it’s heavily biased and often it spirals into fanbois dishonesty, but it’s usually not feeding / bleeding off of the industry like pro reviews do.

  • I don’t think a 2/10 is at all to low. I bought the game, played it for 3 weeks, and gave my account away.

    The game TRIED some really neat ideas. The problem is everything is done so piss poorly it isn’t fun. Ya that review had some innaccurate information. I had to google over and over again to find out tips on the UI.

    The few things the reviewer is ignornant of would have been solved by a decent UI or tutorial.

  • @Rog: All I can say is amen to that. Well said.

    @Nobs: Good way to word it. Darkfall has indeed TRIED a lot of really neat ideas, and that’s what I give them the most credit for out of anything. Some of the ideas were actually pulled off early on in the game, but the more you play it the more it becomes apparent that they missed the mark.

  • @Rog

    You mother f@#$er! You’re the one who gave those games 4 out of 5 stars when I was in JR High/High School only to find out the game was utter rubbish!

    I avoid gaming magazine’s like the plague now. After having some insight into a few off road magazines I learned the truth… some reviews are based on ad content. Metascores FTW.

  • Well, I saw this coming from a mile away. If Keen’s giving it a 4, well, that’s all I really have to say. 🙂

  • I’ve never played the game myself, and I’ve gotten some mixed felings from reading on blogs and forums. Some people love it but agrees on that there’s things that needs some work, and other people state that no part of the game is even near to be enjoyable.
    But I know this, if I don’t like the first 9-10 hours of the game, I wouldn’t pick it up again, ever. It’s important for me to feel after 2-3 hours of playing that this game is fun, or atleast have potential to be fun.

  • Squit, i don’t think there are too many people that wouldn’t agree with you. If a game isn’t fun after 9-10 hours then it more than likely never will be. And 99% of the people out there would certainly never even make it that far (i know i wouldn’t).

    For me Darkfall was fun from the beginning. And prior to Darkfall i was strictly a PvE’r…outside of a month-long jaunt in Eve (just wasn’t my thing), so i’m not exactly a die-hard PvPer that was waiting for my salvation. I just got tired of the PvE mmorpgs where challenge and fear were for the most part no longer part of the formula. Darkfall brought those aspects back into mmorpgs for me.

  • The interesting thing about Darkfall is the politics and the alliances. Outside of that, there’s not much to like about the game. The game’s combat is based upon sprint-circling at a dizzying level and the UI is buggy and one of the worst I have ever seen. I hope Tasos lets Eurogamer review it again and that will probably confirm the original review. The game doesn’t get any ‘funner’ between 3 hours and 9 hours of playing time. If you manage to get into a big guild, the game will kinda grow on you, but it’s more like a benign growth that you’ll eventually want to get removed.

  • That’s absolutely correct PeZzy. Darkfall does indeed grow on you to a certain extent over time IF you have good friends playing with you and you can get into the sieging aspect of the game. 5, 10, 15, 20, even 50 hours of play time won’t be enough to adequately “review” Darkfall.

  • You should post a link to this on the VN Darkfall forum…

    Your “counter review” and the “review” of most people who are MMO veterans and who played “real” (well done) sandbox MMOs are similar. Darfall=nice concept, bad realization, and way too many features ditched during development, making it a bugged and very shallow game. The Eurogamer reviewer, while very harsh, is sadly spot on on the majority of the points he made.

  • One thing i don’t get is all the comments about Darkfall being “bugridden”.

    In all of my playtime (i’ve had the game for over a month) i’ve yet to actually experience a single bug. I’ve never fallen through the world, never once crashed to desktop, and every feature i’ve used/encountered has worked exactly as it should. Where does this “bugridden mess” come from…are people playing a different game than me?

    Yes, i know there are exploits in the game, cheats etc. But these are either hacks or people taking advantage of the game design (not a good thing, but not a bug either). I also know there are some bugged mobs although i haven’t seen them. But compared to other games i’ve played this one from launch is about as solid as i’ve seen.

  • “You should post a link to this on the VN Darkfall forum…”

    No…you’d be better off not doing that I think. Fans of DF seem to be less than tolerant of even faint praise.

    Now if you want massive, albeit mostly hostile blog traffic, link away.

  • @Blacknimbus: Agreed. DF fans tend to be…well, like syncaine. We don’t need more than one syncaine posting around here. 😉

  • so what is going to happen is that someone else will review it so Tasos can get at least a 5? pathetic