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Pro-G gets a do-over on EU3

February 2nd, 2007 by Troy Goodfellow · 6 Comments · Media, Paradox, Review

A few days ago, I linked to the Pro-G review of Europa Universalis III – a review that was unsatisfactory for its bare understanding of the game. After Paradox PR applied pressure to the editor, they got a new review with a more positive impression to be a “second opinion”. Then both reviews were averaged to get a final score.

The earlier review is still there, so this isn’t an editorial pull on the scale of 1up’s removal of the original review of Neverwinter Nights 2, but it does demonstrate that somebody recognized that there were problems with the initial opinion – not that the opinion was wrong, but that it was poorly argued and didn’t demonstrate that the reviewer understood the game and the context it was positioned in.

But you know what? The subsequent review isn’t that much better. Almost the entire thing is taken up with describing how you play the game and items pulled from a feature list. How often have you read a review that took up words explaining how often you could auto-save? Or which button you can click to get details on your empire? Even if this was Mr. Kinnebrew’s first Paradox game (which it likely was, given his comparisons to Civ IV and Dominions 3) this sort of manual language is a little out of place.

The response of the Paradox fan community will be interesting. Will they note how this positive review is just as unhelpful an evaluation of the game as the negative review was? Or will they just be happy that the new score is closer to validating the opinion they have already formed?


6 Comments so far ↓

  • required name

    “After Paradox PR applied pressure to the editor,”

    Like Kerberos was so heavily criticised for doing earlier this year?

  • Troy

    “Like Kerberos was so heavily criticised for doing earlier this year?”

    Which Kerberos case are you talking about? There’s more than one, I think.

    Pro-G would have been well within its rights to tell Paradox to go to hell if they believed that their original review was accurate. It is the job of PR to defend their products, even the bad ones.

    But there is good pressure and there is bad pressure. Anything that compromises the ethics of either party is bad, as are baseless accusations that the reviewer is biased or didn’t play a game long enough – standard complaints on message boards, but bigger companies know better than to throw these accusations around without any backing,

    Unfortunately, PR is never going to go after a 9/10 that doesn’t reflect what the game is about – only after the slags that are poorly put together. And often PR won’t even bother with those.

    When the publication thinks it has screwed up (like 1up) it should correct it. And I think Jeff Green did a great service by explaining what has happened. Pro-G should do that, too, I think.

  • Bruce

    Initial posts in that thread:

    “I got the feeling reading that it was written by the same guy, under orders to “make nice.” Still not a very good review (quality wise, not game scoring wise).”

    “Even though the first review was really poorly made, I feel awful knowing that the review got altered after Paradox complained over it. It’s just not right.”

  • Troy

    Yeah, but I doubt this thread will hit more than two pages. Or that the Pro-G forums will be invaded by EU3 fans attacking the reviewer. Good start, but we’ll see.

  • required name

    “Which Kerberos case are you talking about? There’s more than one, I think.”

    I’m aware of two, Worthplaying and 1UP, and in my opinion both complaints were justified. The WP case is obviously the one most similar to this situation, but it’s with the 1UP review I felt their complaint was most justified. What 1UP did was so unprofessional it hurts.

    The actual relationship between their reviewer and Stardock (or if he really was biased or not) is not really that important, but the fact is that there was one, and that made it pretty obvious that he should not have been the person to review SOTS in the first place.

  • baby arm

    “and that made it pretty obvious that he should not have been the person to review SOTS in the first place.”

    Yes, what were they thinking letting such an experienced, well-qualified writer review that game?! The nerve!

    By required name’s logic, Troy cannot ever review a historical grand strategy title (like EU3 perhaps) for the rest of his career due to that Civ Chronicles book. And Bruce better think twice about touching another fantasy strategy game after his shameless Dom3 affair. Don’t worry, guys, Maelstrom is coming out soon. Maybe someone will let you review that, provided you never came near a C&C game.