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ChestedArmor

How should you review a hard Wad?

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Can you give it a low score, just because you can't beat it

or does this summon Goblins that shred me into pieces, while screeching "GIT GUD"?

 

Jokes aside, I am really unsure what to do.

I am no better than the agitators disguised as reviewers when I call piece of work bad, just because it gives me a dick to eat instead of training wheels,

but on the other side, I feel pretty justified to call out a wad that's not even beatable on the lowest difficulty by someone who can beat Plutonia.

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15 minutes ago, ChestedArmor said:

Can you give it a low score, just because you can't beat it


If you want to post a helpful review that may in someway help the mapmaker improve their design then no. Difficulty, no matter how hard or easy does not affect how well a map is or isn’t designed. It can however, affect the enjoyment any given player may experience from playing it as some players who are quite good at the game will find maps that are too easy boring due to little or no challenge and mediocre players will find extremely difficult maps unplayable because they cannot progress.

 

15 minutes ago, ChestedArmor said:

I feel pretty justified to call out a wad that's not even beatable on the lowest difficulty by someone who can beat Plutonia.


Plutonia is extremely easy in comparison to many newer challenge wads even on the easiest difficulty settings. Plutonia also isn’t really considered a very hard wad anymore due to comparison with many difficult mapsets that have been released since.

 

Sorry if I sound a bit harsh I’m just trying effectively get my point across.

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While I do enjoy assigning scores based on how I enjoyed something or did not enjoy, I believe actual criticism should be above this. A good, professional review is something that critically analyses the piece of art (in this case, a map or a wad) and examines and tells what sort wad is at hand. It being really hard is an observation that is neither good or bad, but reviewer's experience. It's left for the player to make the assessment if they enjoy it or not.

 

A low score would be an indication of wad being hard not by design, but rather the negligence of the mapper, or if it's just a bunch of rectangular startan rooms with 50 cyberdemons you're gonna have to take down with 50 bullets and fists.

 

Personally though, I think scores are best suited for personal comparisons, others would do better with objective observations and how the wad in question compares with other known custom wads or iwads.

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It frankly depends. I couldn't give you my best review on an incidental combat vanilla compat WAD as that's generally not my bag, therefore I try my best to score the other facets of the WAD (aesthetics, general mood, music, etc). Same for extra hard slaughter. Sometimes a thing just isn't your thing, and you should view it through that lens rather than getting mad at it. There's always going to be a WAD you feel is trolling, but in those cases it's important to also do research on the author's history as to what they tend to make and come up with a conclusion from there. I wouldn't expect Sunder to get any easier, for instance!

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The skill ceiling in classic doom is almost infinite and plutonia is well below the bar for wads broadly considered difficult these days.

You can feel as justified as you want in giving feedback, but mappers are just as justified to ignore you.

Make sure your feedback is constructively put forward regardless of how you feel. "Calling out a wad" is a short path to a collective eye roll. Remember you choose the wads you play and the person who made it doesn't owe you anything.

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Me personally i just be honest about it. I mean yes there are people that do get pissed off when someone said "You're wad needs more work on it" and "there this problem i had and there another issue i have with it", Trust me when i posted my first baby wad *please for the love of god, do not play it! and i'm reworking it again for the final time in secret shhh ;)*

 

But i just say be honest and give honest options about the hard maps or megawads, you can't get good at something without criticism and honesty.  

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3 hours ago, ChestedArmor said:

Can you give it a low score, just because you can't beat it [?]

In my opinion, you can. But reviews have two different purpose, one: telling the maker how to improve their craft and two: inform other players what to expect from the wad.

 

So you should factor in the difficulty as it can really effect the amount of fun to be have with a wad, but I'd not zero bomb something just because it's difficult. So... average out the visuals and difficulty and stuff but explain with words what you found good and what bad. Maybe the intention was to make it super hard (I have no idead who would to that... ;) ) or maybe it was on accident. Obviously unplayably hard maps are different, if the difficulty overpowers everything and you literally can't get to the aesthetically pleasing parts... it can have a greater weight in your evaluation.

 

But anyways, you do you. So rate as you please, someone will always find a way to flame you for it so don't worry about it. But if you want to be helpful explain your thought process.

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If it's a wad that is well-liked by its target demographic (which often includes speedrunners or long-time slaughter fans) and I can't beat it, I just wouldn't attempt to give it a serious review, and probably not any kind of review. Some wads are designed with the expectation that most players will hate them. Pick your wads carefully, remember to use difficulty settings, and remember that some wads don't have difficulty settings implemented at all.

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You can give it a low score if you think it relies on cheap gimmicks and tricks to create 'artificial difficulty', lack of settings for lower difficulties, or if you feel like it's excessively mean spirited i guess... But you have to be aware of who the target audience is, what type of player you are/what you're looking for, etc.

 

Some types of challenges can appeal to a niche audience and you shouldn't feel like you're obligated to like it, but i feel like it's important to distinguish between your subjective fun factor and the objective merits of the work overall, and take both into consideration for a review.

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The most fair way to review a wad, in my opinion, is to think of the different parts of a wad as different pieces of a pie that make up the whole experience.

 

Different pieces could be divided into stuff like:

 

- The map layouts

 

- The visuals/atmosphere of a map

 

- How enjoyable combat is

 

- If applicable, how good any custom weapon/monster replacements are (both in terms of fun, and quality of graphics)

 

- Other details like custom music, menu graphics etc that can add the the experience (despite being minor details)

 

So if a wad has crappy unfun fights, BUT the level designs are fun to move around in, look cool, and have good custom songs and cool other details - you can criticise the combat while also remembering to give praise for the things the wad “did right”.

 

If you slam a wad for what it does wrong and give no credit where due, the author is likely to “shut off” while reading your review, and most 3rd parties will think you’re an asshole when reading it. (I learned this first hand in a previous lifetime!)

 

Wads that are “almost universally disliked” are rare as can be, so people tend to give 0 weight to “fully negative” reviews, and rightly so.

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It depends. If you're playing the wad at the lowest difficulty and it still feels impossible, that's something to bring up. If the challenge feels like it stems from an oversight on the mapper rather than something carefully designed that's also something to call out (needlessly tricky maneuvering where it doesn't seem like that's the intent etc.)

 

 If however, you jump into a challenge map on UV and complain it's too difficult than you're the problem, not the mapper. Seriously, all the negative reviews on Megawads like Kama Sutra because asshats can't keep their egos in check is rage inducing.

Edited by whybmonotacrab

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Just remember that at the end of the day, reviewers are just people giving their opinion. While there should be a certain amount of objective observations in a review, ultimately the perception of if it was good or not will come down to "did all those factor combine to make this an enjoyable experience?" If the answer is no, you found the gameplay too challenging even on low skill levels, then say so. "I found the map exceedingly difficult, but more skilled players may find enjoyment in what is otherwise a well constructed map". Something like that. 

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Nine times out of ten the player is at fault if they want to publicly bitch about how a map was too difficult for them. Lots of combat scenarios that are said to be "pure RNG" are truly not. Besides, is it even right to review a wad if it's too far out of your league? Having an awful time with something can impair your judgment anyway, it's just a bad idea. Not to mention this problem wouldn't exist if lowering the difficulty was considered.

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If I try a WAD that I know isn't for me, I usually won't review it. Because it was made for people with different taste.

 

If I'm not a fan of/don't understand opera music, I'm not going to go to the opera and then post a negative review just to say that I don't like opera. I'll leave that to people who actually enjoy and understand opera.

 

If I watch a foreign movie without subtitles, would it be fair to give it 1 star because I didn't understand it?

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7 hours ago, ChestedArmor said:

Can you give it a low score, just because you can't beat it

 

I'm not a huge fan of most of the answers here, but I think they're trying to help.

Long story short, if it's a map/wad that you can't beat, for whatever reason, it's just not aimed at you, and it's more than perfectly valid to provide your opinions on your experience as coherently and evenly as possible, to communicate what it was like. 

I would have a hard time recommending people give any "grade", persay, stars or otherwise, to something they can't finish, and my advice is to just state you couldn't finish it, state why, and explain what your experience was like. If difficulty is part of your reason why you couldn't finish, feel free to say that, but make sure you discuss other aspects of your experience besides the difficulty. Remember, the goal is to communicate what it was like to play the Wad. Lots of things that might be unfair to you now might be a piece of cake at other times in your life, and the progression is not always forwards: People can get worse at games over time too. 

So, to sum, it's okay to talk about the difficulty, and whether your were satisfied with it, but if you can't complete it focus on being descriptive rather than trying to give a grade on that aspect. 

There will probably still be trolls, best to ignore them, as long as you gave your best shot to be fair. 
(I really hope this helps, and am sorry if it doesn't.)

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I don't like to review wads that I haven't beaten.  It's just as much about checking off the box as it is about giving my thoughts. 

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8 hours ago, ChestedArmor said:

I feel pretty justified to call out a wad that's not even beatable on the lowest difficulty by someone who can beat Plutonia.


That's fair, but I think an important question to ask yourself when reviewing a wad is "Does it achieve what the author set out to achieve." If someone can beat the wad, then it's not unbeatable. Obviously there could be outrageous things like mandatory secrets that only the author themselves could ever find. But barring that, I think you can take a step back and still be somewhat objective about wads even if they are far beyond your skill level. (Besides, it's useful to hear about how difficult something is. That's part of why people want to read reviews - to find out if they want to download and play it themselves.)

There's a big difference between just saying "it's bad" and "it's so hard that I couldn't beat it on ITYTD."

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I wouldn't give something a low score just because I couldn't beat it, I've only ever bothered to get up to level 7 or 8 of Sunder but if you asked me about it I'd say it was good. Still, if you thought a WAD's difficulty was so high that you felt like it negatively impacted your enjoyment of it, then that's something which is completely pertinent to a review, and, assuming you've got some actual rationale that extends to why you thought it was too difficult, then there's nothing wrong with it, and you'll probably get some people who disagree with you, some of whom will insist that ur just bad lole, but that's just how reviewing stuff goes, it's your job to provide your own insight into the matter, even when it leads to an unpopular conclusion.

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If I liked it:

 

"I have played this, and I plan to play it again."

 

If I didn't like it:

 

"I have played this, and I don't plan to play it again."

 

 

 

 

That's pretty much my scoring method for all wads.

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If the low difficulties are still crazy then you can give it a negative review.

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Honestly when I review stuff I just say exactly what I think and how I feel about it, if I didn't like it because it was too hard then my review would say yes, "I did not enjoy the difficulty".

 

I don't care if it is considered great, if I didn't like it I will review it as such, if people don't like the review then that's fine they aren't obliged to agree and neither am I.

 

End of the day, reviews are how you felt and not how you should feel.

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The difficulty should not greatly affect the overall score. That's how I do it, unless it's a map that flings bullshit at you and expects you to handle with that. 

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Being able to judge the gameplay from a neutral perspective is certainly hard when it turns out to not be your cup of tea. But I do think there's some merit to criticizing the gameplay even if the author of a review was clearly frustrated by it. If nothing else, it balances out with the praise and gives another perspective. It's when you start calling a wad (or any other product, for that matter) overrated or saying that it doesn't deserve the praise it gets that I start having a problem with the negativity. And I know someone who regularly falls guilty of that.

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54 minutes ago, thiccyosh said:

The difficulty should not greatly affect the overall score. That's how I do it, unless it's a map that flings bullshit at you and expects you to handle with that. 

But there is no clear definition of bullshit to use as a guideline. Even while just modding monsters/weapons it is very easy to fall into the trap of balancing it purely for yourself and then somehow the mod is impossible for the average player. And vice-versa, could be a cake walk for other players while you struggle to beat it.

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The basic guidelines:

 

-always claim it's confirmed 100% impossible without cheats

-or mention Russian Overkill or some other dumbass novelty mod

-talk about how the map lagged too much for Brutal Doom

-cry about platforming and how death pits should never be in any map ever

-make sure to mention how you hate slaughter even if the map has like 50 monsters

 

That's what I learned from idgames reviews anyway.

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5 hours ago, VanaheimRanger said:

If I liked it:

 

"I have played this, and I plan to play it again."

 

If I didn't like it:

 

"I have played this, and I don't plan to play it again."

 

 

 

 

That's pretty much my scoring method for all wads.

That's good for you, but I review maps a little bit longer in the description (usually enough to fill a piece of paper), usually with a fitting 5 star score.

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1 minute ago, BoxY said:

The basic guidelines:

 

-always claim it's confirmed 100% impossible without cheats

-or mention Russian Overkill or some other dumbass novelty mod

-talk about how the map lagged too much for Brutal Doom

-cry about platforming and how death pits should never be in any map ever

-make sure to mention how you hate slaughter even if the map has like 50 monsters

 

That's what I learned from idgames reviews anyway.

Jesus, I can count myself lucky I haven't met such reviews before.

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21 minutes ago, Pegg said:

But there is no clear definition of bullshit to use as a guideline.

 

I know that difficulty is always in the eye of the player.

 

By bullshit I mean that the map maker puts the player into impossible situations without any foresight, gear or warning at all.

 

Yes, everyone has their own opinion on what is bullshit and what is easy-peasy. However I think everyone agrees it is bullshit when a map maker puts you into a crammed room with 50 Cyberdemons and you don't get any weapons or armor to tank through. Keep in mind we don't count 'joke'*/gimmick wads, nor do we count slaughter wads that intend putting players into these kinds of combat scenarios.

 

In our situation, I am talking about a perfectly fine map that just kinda adds a room full of Archies without cover, health, armor, weaponry or even an exit. That is, at least in my opinion, bullshit.

 

*terrywads count as joke wads

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