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Statement: Edge claims “entire game” was played for Hydrophobia review

Wednesday, 29th September 2010 11:38 GMT By Patrick Garratt

hydrophobia

An Edge rep has issued a statement contradicting Dark Energy Digital’s claim that the mag hadn’t “played the game” before awarding Hydrophobia 3/10, telling VG247 it completed the entire title and all its bonus content.

“We’ve been talking to Dark Energy Digital’s PR representative this morning and have clarified that our reviewer played the entire game, along with the challenge room stages (referenced in the section of the review headed ‘There’s something in the water’) which become available once you’ve completed the adventure episodes,” said the Edge spokesperson by email.

British Hydrophobia developer Dark Energy Digital hit out at the XBLA title’s review in the latest edition of the UK magazine yesterday, telling VG247 it believed “the game hasn’t even been played.”

DED creative director Deborah Jones said the company was “extremely frustrated” at the Edge verdict.

“Clearly, they haven’t played the game,” she said. “We’re extremely frustrated by the review. We’ve got reviews that are absolutely outstanding that say they love the product.

“No, it’s not a third-person shooter, and no, it doesn’t just have a stun round. The game is about the environment, it’s about the water. What you really need to do to get the depth out of the game is about using the environment.”

She added: “If they don’t do the review properly, they shouldn’t do a review at all.”

The review states: “Remove water from the equation and you’re left with a sub-par, archaic thirdperson actioner… Combat (you have one weapon, an energy pistol) is unresponsive and tiresome, and charging your weapon to repeatedly shoot an unconscious foe’s body is a poor substitute for an actual enemy engagement of substance.”

While saying the team didn’t want to “dwell” on the score or be “unprofessional” in its commentary about the piece, joint creative director Peter Jones added:

“There is a reference saying that the only weapon Kate has is a stun weapon, which is a weapon you get at the beginning of the game, and all the references contained within that are references from, literally, the very beginning of the game.

“We believe that the game hasn’t even been played.”

Hydrophobia has received a 9/10 from the US OXM and an 8/10 from IGN. It currently has a Metacritic rating of 68.

Destructoid has given it 3.5/10.

Water mess

Jones went on to say that the game has a new approach and will find controversy as a result, likening the title to the birth of electricity use.

“It’s a question here of actually looking at a game that’s doing something in a different way. It’s not a third-person shooter. Sometimes, when people are looking at a game with extreme prejudice, all they can see is the boundaries of what they know.

“There’s a famous quote from a very early American president from the turn of the previous Century, who said, ‘Electricity? It’ll never catch on.’ If you’re producing something new, people have an adjustment phase.”

The Edge review roundly criticises the game, saying it’s bug-laden and “bland”.

“The bugs that inhabit the waters of Hydrophobia [range] from fatal scenery clipping to an awkward inventory display that implies a lack of ammunition until a weapon is equipped, it indicates a title either unfinished, unpolished or simply unprepared for a world of digitally delivered games that is home to such robust titles as Shadow Complex and Lara Croft And The Guardian Of Light,” claimed the mag.

Hydrophobia is a survival horror title where water, modelled by DED’s HydroEngine tech, is intended to behave as if it’s real fluid.

The game was originally announced in 2007, and PS3 and PC versions have slipped off the radar to leave an XBLA-only release for now.

“Robust and unique”

Deborah Jones said in Hydrophobia’s announcement press release that the intention was to make a “robust and unique next generation game that will remain a benchmark for decades,” something she said the team feels it’s achieved.

“Yes, I believe we’ve definitely achieved it,” she said. “We’ve certainly achieved some incredible gameplay mechanics and technology.

“The water is absolutely stunning, and the game is very much designed [to have] unique gameplay, and it is unique gameplay. It’s very much about the water, the floating fire, the hazards. Yes, I definitely believe we’ve achieved that.

“It’s a different market and it’s a different space, but I think in the XBLA space, Hydrophobia really does shine.”

Hydrophobia releases on XBLA today for 1,200 MSP.

Breaking news

60 Comments

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  1. itsucks

    “There is a reference saying that the only weapon Kate has is a stun weapon, which is a weapon you get at the beginning of the game, and all the references contained within that are references from, literally, the very beginning of the game.

    “We believe that the game hasn’t even been played.”

    Oh Edge, you.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Roarster

    Haven’t played the game (and probably never will) but “Remove water from the equation and you’re left with a sub-par, archaic thirdperson actioner” is such a stupid thing to say about a game completely based around water.

    Would they review Gran Turismo by saying “Remove the cars from the equation and you’re left with a sub-par, archaic set of menus”?

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Blerk

    So are they saying there is more than one weapon and there aren’t any bugs?

    If those things are wrong then fair play. But don’t play the whiney “you just don’t get it” card. If Edge don’t “get it” then the average 360 gamer isn’t going to either.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. distraet

    Maybe Edge’s afraid of water… That was bad, I know.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. RETARDED VIKING

    Why am i not surprised? Jim Sterling………

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Freek

    Seems to be a general misunderstanding that a review is some sort of scientific rating and that they must all be the same.
    That’s not the case. It’s an opinion, one that can be vastly different from other opinions. That’s the point.
    If everybody comes to a general agreement as to what score a game must get, then why even bother?

    #6 4 years ago
  7. notpill

    Just like FIFA 11 where if you remove the ball “from the equation you’re left with a sub-par, archaic thirdperson actioner”.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Blerk

    Given that your character runs through the water as if it isn’t there, didn’t Dark Energy effectively remove it from the equation long before Edge did? :-D

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Anders

    @Freek: Absolutely. In this case, however, it seems like the reviewer played it for an hour or two, went “meh” and slapped a score on it. He should at least have played it from beginning to end.

    Makes me think of an incident a few years ago, when a journalist gave a new MMORPG a really low score. The developer felt that there was something fishy about the review and looked at the stats for the reviewers account. Apparently, he had played it for less than an hour before deciding that it was a horrible game.

    Was that a PC Gamer review? Can’t remember.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Eregol

    This is what’s wrong with the games industry.
    When bonuses and success is measured by metacritic ratings rather than how much money the product makes.
    It’s ridiculous.

    A metacritic rating of 68 and a Destructoid 3.5 make me feel that Edge’s opinion might not be wholely exclusive to them.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Freek

    The developer thinks that, but they have a vested intrest. Never complain about review score, never take them personally. It only makes you look bad.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. No_PUDding

    Deborah sounds like she wanted to shoot her mouth off, and I guess I would want to too, if I’d been developing the game for 5 years too.

    Peter Jones, apart from the random electricity quote, and I say random, in the hopes that it isn’t that he believed this game was going to be revolutionary, seems quite sensible.

    Are they husband and wife?

    I wanted to play this a LONG time ago. This must have been in development for longer than 5 years actually.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Eregol

    Where did they get the term stun weapon from when the review states ‘Energy Pistol’?

    #13 4 years ago
  14. get2sammyb

    I’ve always despised EDGE magazine. It takes itself SO seriously. Pretentious rubbish. Games are supposed to be fun. I’m convinced people only read EDGE as a means to elevate their elitist status within the games community.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. daytripper

    took jim sterling off my twitter, my what a boring up himself arsehole, this is the guy who gave creed 2 4/10! wouldnt surprise me if he gave gran turismo 5 6/10 for being a driving simulator lacking power ups.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. Eregol

    @get2sammyb
    Funnily enough, if you read the magazine you’ll find that’s not the case at all.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. daytripper

    will you post up the full audio interview pat?

    #17 4 years ago
  18. DrDamn

    @9
    Are you thinking of the Eurogamer Darkfall reviews? They contested the stats they produced and EG backed it’s reviewer, but I think re-reviewed it after a while too.

    Original review – http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/darkfall-online-review 2/10
    Re-review – http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/darkfall-online-second-review 4/10
    Editorial – http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/editors-blog-darkfall-aftermath-blog-entry

    #18 4 years ago
  19. Robo_1

    @11

    I’m not so sure. You can hear how completely frustrated the dev team are and I sympathise. It seems they’re not just railing against a bad review, but they feel that the reviewer in question is both factually wrong on some points, but is also basing much of their judgement on what the game isn’t, not what it is.

    A 3/10 score from an otherwise respected publication could sound the death knell for the game’s success and indeed the studio itself if the game fails to perform. If I were in the position of the developers, I would have no problem going on record to call such reviews out as being suspect.

    It’s very rare developers come out with such brazen comments (precisely because some people see it as being unprofessional, and nobody wants to burn bridges with the gaming press), but I feel quite strongly that critics should be held to the same scrutiny of the products they review. There have been some clangers in the past, ranging from the whole Driver 3 fiasco, to OXM commenting on non-existent bike sections in Headhunter 2… and lets not get started on more recent examples such as Eurogamer’s questionable Darkfall Online review.

    With the emergence of meta score related bonuses, and the increasing risks and costs of game development, critics wield an awful lot of power within the industry and far from having a problem with it, I would encourage any devs who feel that their product has not been judged either fairly – or worse, truthfully – to speak out and let the consumer decide. The truth will out as they say, and just as poor games need to be exposed, so do poor critics.

    #19 4 years ago
  20. get2sammyb

    @16 – I have read the magazine numerous times and it is elitist. The stigma attached to it alone is elitist – “I read EDGE magazine therefore I am serious about video games, yo.”

    #20 4 years ago
  21. Patrick Garratt

    Edge just gave us a statement. See edit.

    #21 4 years ago
  22. RETARDED VIKING

    Oh boy….

    #22 4 years ago
  23. Robo_1

    Well if Edge’s reviewer did play it in it’s entirety, and they made such fundamental mistake as to get the number/variety of weapons wrong, then they have basically just announced that they’re not liars, just incompetent.

    I mean it’s hardly a small oversight if true.

    #23 4 years ago
  24. Eregol

    @get2sammyb
    Well, I don’t get that impression from reading it at all.
    And, considering the amount of mindless pap on our shelves, that is aimed at people with almost zero attention span (Play, PSM3, Xbox 360 World), surely there is a market for a higher brow games mag that caters to people who want to read more about the game and want less pictures because ‘They look shiny’.

    Generally I tend to agree with Edge’s opinion on games (after trying them for myself of course), although their 8/10 for Enslaved confuses me greatly as I cannot see [8] material in it what-so-ever.
    But, as has been argued in the past so many times before, it isn’t the number at the end that’s important, it’s the words in the review that would and most likely should sway a person into either buying, or steering clear of a game.

    #24 4 years ago
  25. Eregol

    @Robo_1
    I gather it’s escaped your attention that Dark Energy didn’t actually refute the claim that there’s only one weapon?

    #25 4 years ago
  26. Blerk

    That’s kind of what I was getting at in my first comment. They say a bunch of things about the Edge review that they didn’t like, but stop short of actually saying that they were ‘wrong’.

    #26 4 years ago
  27. Robo_1

    They clearly state:

    “No, it’s not a third-person shooter, and no, it doesn’t just have a stun round.”

    Which indicates that at the very least, the gun you’re given has different ammo types, which is confirmed by other reviews. At the very least, it’s unnecessarily misleading of Edge to mention the one weapon type but to ignore the multiple ammo types.

    #27 4 years ago
  28. 2plus2equals5

    @6:absolutely no!
    Reviewers are paid, and magazines aren’t free, so i pretend a serious review, if i want an opinion i can read millions of opinions on internet for free.

    #28 4 years ago
  29. Michael O’Connor

    It’s quite possible the game got a low score simply because its shit. For the record, it is.

    A “robust and unique next generation game that will remain a benchmark for decades”? That kind of overhyping makes Microsoft’s press seem modest in comparison. The water effects are nice, but that’s about it.

    The lead character moves like something out of an early PSone era, and the gameplay is dull as all hell. The water effects are nice, but that’s moot when nothing really interesting is done with it.

    Being a digital release game is no justification for poor quality. There are tonnes of them which set new standards for downloable content all the time.

    This is not one of them.

    #29 4 years ago
  30. daytripper

    “Your weaponry, when you attain it, consists of a pistol which is capable of firing several different types of ammunition which are suited to particular situations. Ammunition is in short supply though so you are actively encouraged to use your Sonic rounds (a kind of chargeable pulse weapon) to make the environment itself into a weapon. Your score is even multiplied based on environmental kills and combos and there are leader-boards for each act as well as an overall board to ensure that you will want to return to beat your friends’ scores”

    http://www.thesixthaxis.com/2010/09/28/review-hydrophobia/

    #30 4 years ago
  31. DrDamn

    Yeah – how many weapons actually are there?

    (edit) following on from @30. So just the one weapon then …with “multiple” and in short supply ammo.

    #31 4 years ago
  32. Joe Anderson

    From what I’ve played so far I would hardly call this AAA material, its ok and not as bad as edge say, but equally not as good as what TSA make out.

    #32 4 years ago
  33. Freek

    Or in short, for the majority of the game you have a crappy stun gun.
    One the developer thought was awasome, but the reviewer did not.

    No sympathy from me. You might work for years on a game and think it’s completly fantastic. But people from the outside world do not care about any of that.
    Should have taken in more feedback during development.

    #33 4 years ago
  34. Blerk

    I wasn’t planning on trying this at all, but I might have to download the trial now just to see. :-D

    #34 4 years ago
  35. Robo_1

    Sounds like there is just one weapon, but it can go all sorts of Lawgiver, which essentially means you’re getting multiple weapons in one shell.

    I barely knew the game existed before today too. :)

    #35 4 years ago
  36. M2Kx

    “It’s quite possible the game got a low score simply because its shit.”

    That’s what I thought. Don’t get why this discussion started.

    #36 4 years ago
  37. Callum

    lol. O’Connor got it on the head in one. I’m not going to play it, because even the good reviews paint a picture of a frustrating game with annoying habits that were ironed out of the industry years ago. Seems that they spent too long trying to make realistic water, when they should have made a fun entertaining shooter first. APB did the same thing didnt it?!!?!?!

    #37 4 years ago
  38. polygem

    i haven´t played the game yet and maybe i never even will. so they might even be correct about that score- but i doubt it.

    my review for edge magazine is 3/10 though:

    brilliant layout, not enough content, content mostly only scratches the surface while at the same time is taking itself way too seriously, overpriced,
    Remove the stylish layout design from the zine and you’re left with a sub-par, archaic gaming mag for pseudo elitists poppers who doesn´t keep it real. word. ouch.

    #38 4 years ago
  39. daytripper

    the hacking module is terrible.

    #39 4 years ago
  40. DaMan

    @38

    funny you say that, since they in fact have the deepest and most competent reviews. if there’s anyone I would practically always trust with the scores, it’s Edge. I suppose you’re a fan of D’toid, to each their own.

    #40 4 years ago
  41. frostquake

    Well wait for the Demo…Though One thing I hate in any game is it being Buggy…no excuse!

    #41 4 years ago
  42. daytripper

    “I thought Edge insisted it beat it. I don’t even think you *need* to beat a game fully. Though I did play all of Hydrophobia.”

    jim sterling on twitter. fair enough thats his opinion but why dont you need to beat a game?

    #42 4 years ago
  43. Happy Hardon Harry

    I’ve never liked EDGE, their scores for some games are just ludicrous i.e. Halo 1/3, Bayonetta, etc.

    Anyway, with so much content that’s available online which can be accessed with so many gadgets (mobile phones, laptops, consoles, etc) instantly, i’m surprised there is a printed magazine left on the shelves.

    #43 4 years ago
  44. Michael O’Connor

    ITT, people don’t like something because it has a different opinion than their own.

    Par for the course.

    #44 4 years ago
  45. Eregol

    Isn’t Edge the longest running video game mag in the UK right now?

    #45 4 years ago
  46. Michael O’Connor

    @45 Of any substantial quality, anyway.

    GamesMaster doesn’t count simply because it’s an absolute turd of a magazine that makes the likes of The Sun and The Daily Mail look like high-class literature.

    GamesTM recently celebrated its 100th issue, and it’s the only other gaming magazine worldwide that comes even close to the same level of quality as EDGE.

    It’s less serious and more relaxed than EDGE is, which will please a lot of people, although it uses the same sort of scoring system (5 = average) as EDGE does, and has some top quality writing.

    I would suggest anyone who wants a “less serious” EDGE to check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

    #46 4 years ago
  47. Eregol

    Yeah.
    Gamesmaster surprises me that it’s still on sales and Computerandvideogames disappeared from our shelves.
    Gamesmaster launched in Jan 1993, Edge in Oct 1993.

    EDIT: Well, actually, Edge revised their scoring system to
    10 – 10
    9 – 9
    8 – 8
    7 – 7
    6 – 6
    5 – 5
    4 – 4
    3 – 3
    2 – 2
    1 – 1
    Mainly because of the ongoing argument that scores are subjective.

    #47 4 years ago
  48. Tallon 4

    I love EDGE. One of few mags worth ready , because everything is already old news due to internet.

    The’ve got great scoops and interviews and I don’t mind the reviews being a bit harsh.

    #48 4 years ago
  49. polygem

    i´m german. edge reader since the early 00´s i believe. even imported it back then. but i´m really tired of it and don´t touch it anymore. i don´t like the interviews. they´re mostly pretty flat, at least nothing that makes me feel like i have to buy a mag for. what really makes me mad is the elitist smell between the lines. i can´t stand that. i think a gaming magazine should be a little more relaxed, edge really needs some humour, even ign makes me laugh sometimes in their articles (not neccesarilly because the´re bad – sometimes they really are kind of funny)…for games i really trust my own feeling. i read many reviews from different sites though but if i think a game is worth checking out- because i like the setting for example – i check it out.

    #49 4 years ago
  50. AHA-Lambda

    pr dept for a bad game gets annoyed and flings shit at reviewers? Nothing new here then

    #50 4 years ago
  51. barchetta

    Friday night just got more interesting:

    http://www.gamecity.org/events/gamecitynights-8

    #51 4 years ago
  52. poorwretch

    Ok the following is the mag’s opinion about Hydrophobia:

    “unpolished or simply unprepared for a world of digitally delivered games that is home to such robust titles as Shadow Complex and Lara Croft And The Guardian Of Light”

    and this is EDGE’s quote for the ‘Guardian of light’ review (a 6 by the way) on metacritic:

    “As the more intimate title suggests, this may be as much about Croft’s brand awareness in the face of unprecedented (and Uncharted) competition.”

    What are we supposed to conclude I wonder?

    - that edge rates “robust games” with a 6?
    - that downloadable games robust as they may be can not be rated higher than a 6?
    - that edge doesn’t know what its talking about?
    - that the magazine publishing business is running on fumes and they have to pull stunts just to get the buyers interested?
    - that edge isn’t supposed to be used as game buyers’ guide anymore?
    - or that 2 PR managers with no clue about games developing or games reviewing respectively are bickering about things they don’t totally comprehend?

    Please help me because all these seem very contradictory, at least from edge’s perspective.

    #52 4 years ago
  53. absolutezero

    The best games journalism and reviews and features and whatever else is all pretty much contained in PC Gamer.

    Tom Francis + John Walker = invincible team of awesome.

    #53 4 years ago
  54. Eregol

    @52
    I really don’t understand what you’re getting at.

    #54 4 years ago
  55. AHA-Lambda

    @52 – edge unlike everyone else uses the whole scale so a 6 is still considered good in their eyes PLUS the hydrophobia and LC GoL reviews were probly done by different people

    #55 4 years ago
  56. DaMan

    @52

    where’s the contradiction? they rated GoL ‘above average’, while Hydrophobia was deemed ‘considerably below average’. GoL got a similar score from gamesTM by the way.

    SC got a ‘good’ score (7) . again, basically the same with GamesTM.

    oh, and they do rate XBLA games higher than that, say Braid got a 9.

    #56 4 years ago
  57. klewd

    @52
    a 6 should be a “robust game”, it’s above average.

    #57 4 years ago
  58. G1GAHURTZ

    @52
    I didn’t want to be left out, so I thought I’d reply to you aswell.

    #58 4 years ago
  59. Michael O’Connor

    @52 You seem to fail to understand that 6 = an above average game but still playable.

    #59 4 years ago
  60. LOLshock94

    gamesTM is fucking awesome

    #60 4 years ago