Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Community: User Comments and Reviews

I've been brainstorming some ways that we can help as players to promote the game and I believe there are some very simple things we can do. There are definately corners of the internet to fill that we would do best. This is also part of that possible project I might have mentioned before. In a way, it pretty much fits in nicely with the 'word of mouth' concept.

The point of this particular post is about user comments and reviews. There are many places that are at a lack of them. Some of you may have already noticed that there are very few reviews out for AotI (much less online). There are many popular sites out there that have sections dedicated to user experiences with these games. There are even many places where you can comment on professional reviews directly. I say that it's our responsibility to use these as a start to tell others about our positive experiences with the game (and how it has changed since the original release). Even a score and a line or two is better than nothing.

Sites like Metacritic and Game Rankings allow you to give a score, some basic comments, or even an extended review of the game. GameFAQs would also be a prime place to hit. The site currently does not have any user submitted reviews for AotI whatsoever. GameSpot actually has a few, but not on every platform. IGN nor 1UP currently have user reviews for AotI. You can also put in some simple scores at these sites. They happen to track activity on certain game pages. More is of course better, but the results depend on the site.

Game Rankings (search Phantasy Star Universe)

These are just a few of the more popular (albeit often American) game information sites. If you manage to browse around some of the reviews on Metacritic and Game Rankings I'm sure you can find a variety of sites that you can put in comments on. You may even find a review here and there with factual (or now factual) errors.

All this even is just scratching the surface of what a game's player base can do to help it get more recognition and properly communicate its high points. On the flip side, if we leave this stuff unused...who will think we are even here playing and enjoying the game?

I'm sure this will probably spur some other thoughts about what can be done. If not, I have a stack of other posts coming up with suggestions. I think though that if you have a bit of free time, you can't really go wrong helping out with this aspect. can feel responsible for writing what might be the only review someone might see on a certain site. Isn't that even better than Sega managing to get some people to review the game that won't necessarily highlight its high points?

Update: I felt I left out a very important category of sites. Retailers (Amazon, Gamestop, etc.) usually also have extensive systems set up for people to make a variety of comments. The only problem is that many sites no longer carry PSU or AotI. This is actually another issue in itself, but keep that in mind. Amazon though in particular would be a good place to hit.


EspioKaos said...

This is an excellent idea. To show our support, we've set up an announcement that appears at the top of each page over at PSUPedia to help promote this and soon I'll be posting an article on the front page of PSOW to spread the word even more. :)

S-T-H said...

Wow thanks, I appreciate it. Hopefully a couple more people can get in on this.

Kaisho said...

I'm with that im going to do my part and hit up some sites right now great idea!

Tink said...

There are several other ways to go about promoting as well:

- under the PSU section. on the PSU forums, or post screenshots of PSU in their Gallery

- in their Screenshots section, or simply posting about the game

- Send in screenshots of PSU, or request that they do a re-review of the game.

Kit said...

Exactamundo. If we the players want a bigger community, we should put forth some effort to promote the game.

PSU has not been well covered by media outlets. Take for example GameSpy. Their site still states "this expansion pack requires the full version of Phantasy Star Universe to play" for the PC and PS2 versions of AotI. If more players send in editorial feedback about this misinformation, fewer gamers will be turned away.

Hunter said...

Don't mean to sound negative, but this is unlikely to help at all. It's too late for this game to ever become popular. No one gave it a chance form the get-go and now that all the awesomeness has been added the game is too old for anyone to care. Dated graphics put off pretty much the entire mainstream market, not to mention the monthly fee. Then, the vast majority of PSO fans either hate becuase they think it's too much like PSO, or not PSO at all.

It's not like the fans haven't been doing this already anyways. Look at IGN and Kudou-Yusaku. Everyone is sick of hearing of PSU from her and no one is going to buy. I run a gaming forum myself, and I KNOW everyone is sick of me mentioning the game. At this point, we just have to hope the next game does better.

Anonymous said...

The funny thing about this that i suggested it about 2 months ago, and it was put into the rant section on PSOW. But w/e i guess now that it is put on the forefront..ppl sorta appreciate the idea.. >.>

Kit said...

@Anonymous - I know how ya feel. I posted the same stuff in the official PSU forums back in Nov/Dec of '07. Response... *crickets*

Just a couple days ago I left a supportive comment on PSOW regarding this post by S-T-H. Where is my comment now? *vanish* Is this some sort of high school popularity contest?

Ant said...

@ Hunter: If PSU has a dated graphics engine, then I question why people pay more to play World of Warcraft with its inferior models. The only excruciating flaw in PSU's code thus far is the lack of antialiasing and unless you're counting every individual pixel down to the millimeter, then I do doubt people would find graphics to be the killer.

The game's a year and a half old. That's never too late to promote anything, but I'm with you when it comes right down to being cynical about it. We can push this thing to the moon and people will ignore it for point-and-click MMOs that simply have more communities due to the higher-ups giving a damn. It's a shame.

-- Mono

kozmo said...

I'm a big fan of PSU but I'm finding myself getting a little annoyed at SEGA not offering more options on the game. I find it hard to believe that these worlds only have one city and one mission counter. They would help themselves out a bunch if they would offer more on each world and allow clans and ruling bodies for the games the ability to either create or buy a area that would allow them to meet as a group and plan missions and group functions.

Cypher said...

Even tho things may be or seem bleak for PSU, that doesn't give the reason for one to give up. Like one above said, this game haven't been out for a long time ... This game has to have the same amount of time as PSO being out and of course when the time goes on then we get better things along the way.. but, for a fact being 2-3 months behind in updates can be a drag... but, I will hope for the better of this game and its legacy just like its predecessor. I will do my part as a player and help with this endeavor.

Bounty Hunters X

Joey Lieu said...

The main problem is that old school players from PSO are not open to change and what hurts it more is that PSU players tend to think of themselves as better than PSO players which in turn hurts the user base and creates a split; it turns off people. Also, certain PSU sites aren't friendly (they need to get off their pedestal). From a business point of view, it's too late in the game to reverse these harmful changes. They should've stuck with the original PSO formula, a lot of good would have came out of it. Good luck anyways.

Hunter said...

@ant. Because it's a PC game. Most people dislike PC gaming because of the strain it puts on their budget. However, less demanding games do well because a larger part of the PC market can play them well. WoW will run on any rig.

However, on consoles there is an absurd expectation that every game that comes out must have equal to or better graphics than any other game on the system or it is branded a failure.

By these standards, PSU was dated the moment it released. Everyone hates and will continue to hate it regardless of how good the game becomes, because they've already poured so much passion into hating it, they would look like morons for backing down now.