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In the spirit of bringing you all the fun and wonder on my review's plate, I proclaim news from my corner of the GameSpot offices, where a wall of windows shines upon me and I can bother Stanley Lin by simply turning my head and complaining.
I plan to take some time to speak to some of the more general questions that arise in the weeks to come, as well as to provide some insight into the process of actually writing a review. For now, however, I'd like to talk about the games sitting on my desk, and some quick behind-the-scenes flashes.
Assassin's Creed (PC)
Expect to see this review published today. There is a bit of backstory to share, however. We received code last week, though it was provided on a standard DVD, rather than in a retail box. When installing it, I encountered an installation error that I was able to bypass; however, the corrupted file caused the game to lock up when I tried to enter Jerusalem. I talked to Ricardo, and Ubi rushed over a retail copy, which caused the same error on a different file. As it turns out, my Phillips DVD drive has problems with certain games, including Turning Point, Lord of the Rings, and other titles. Installation on another work machine as well as my home PC was flawless.
It's important to note that reviews editors never have direct contact with developers and publishers about games we are reviewing. Whenever circumstances like this arise, my superiors are the ones that handle it. I've had other issues crop up, and even had publishers and developers contact me directly about reviews. In turn, I always hand these over to Ricardo. It's shielding in its most necessary form, because it ensures that I can play the game without any kind of undue feedback or pressure.
The PlayStation 2 Quartet: Silent Hill 0rigins, Heavenly Guardian, Persona: FES, and Mana Khemia
Yesterday, a user sent me his concerns regarding the lack of PlayStation 2 coverage, which he took to mean as a slight against the platform and an unspoken decree that we plan to ignore PS2 games. Far from it! We're short staffed, which means priorities have to be shuffled, but no one should take this to mean that we're dismissing the PlayStation 2 as a living and breathing platform.
Silent Hill 0rigins (or, as I spell it, Origins, with an "O" and not a zero; our policy is not to cater to contrived naming conventions, such as with SH: 0rigins, Driv3r, and skate.) for the PS2 will post today as well. My weekend was spent mainly with Assassin's Creed and Origins, and I think it will mark the first time I have written two reviews that post on the same day. Heavenly Guardian and FES are both on my desk, yet to be unwrapped. We're not yet sure how we will handle FES, though it is possible it will see a full review. Mana Khemia is part of the Atelier series, and we don't even have a copy in house. Justin has requested someone to pick it up on our daily GameStop run.
We're fortunate enough to have a pre-release copy of Okami. Depending on how efficiently I can handle the other games on my plate, we should be able to have a review up for release day.
I am not sure how this Nunchuk-controlled RPG turned out, but Lord knows I can't wait to find out.
Obscure: The Aftermath (Wii)
Actually, there are PS2 and PC versions of this game as well, though we were only sent the Wii version. I will play as soon as I can, and follow up on the other platforms with Justin and Ricardo.
So six games are in my current review rotation. Time to spin the roulette wheel and see where the ball lands!
Welcome to Under Review, GameSpot's new reviews blog. If you're wondering what kind of posts you can expect to find here in the coming weeks and months we have something in common. Truth is, we're not entirely sure how this blog will evolve over time, but in short, we'll be talking about GameSpot's reviews and how we go about writing them.
If you think we're late posting a review, there's a good chance that this blog will be the place where we tell you why. It won't be because we're unaware of the game's existence or because we're too lazy to write about it, but maybe it'll be because we never received a finished copy before it arrived in stores, or because we want to test the game's multiplayer features against the same players that you'll be encountering online rather than under controlled conditions against developers and testers.
We might also decide to offer a running commentary of sorts as we play through some of the games that we're reviewing, though we'll still be reserving our final judgment on those games for the reviews proper. We'll be updating Under Review regularly, so don't be a stranger.
Justin Calvert, Senior Editor