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A Response to the Disparity in YIIK Reviews


I am going to put this out there because I would really like to talk about what I feel is important as a journalist and as a person.

The website SwitchRPG posted their review for YIIK: A Postmodern RPG yesterday, a title which received an overwhelmingly positive response from the writer- myself. I was more than pleased with the game, and I will be completely honest, I spoke with the developers before release about some of the aspects of the narrative and gameplay, including several bugs that I experienced during my playthrough and felt needed to be addressed. They responded favorably and told me they would be working on a patch- these are issues that have been solved.

If you are on Twitter, Metacritic, or the internet and are curious about this game, you may have noticed that it has, as the Wikipedia article states, received mixed reviews from critics. I have read more than a few of these reviews- some for the PS4 version of the game, which apparently boasts issues I did not encounter in the Switch version, and some for the Switch version, which cited several issues, among them being:

-Alex is an unlikable protagonist
-The battle system is slow and broken
-The game's writing is offensive
-Review copies were buggy

There are parts of their reviews that I can sympathize with. As a reviewer, as a journalist, and as someone who cares about independent developers, I went out of my way to alert Ackk Studios about the bugs that I encountered- again, these are bugs that, as of release, have been addressed. There are also parts of their reviews that I find deeply disturbing, due to the fact that I played the game to near 100% completion (including sidequests, other additional content) and finished the game's narrative and am aware of narrative plot twists that are seemingly unaddressed in these negative reviews. Aside from this, I have seen a visceral and hateful response from a vocal group on social media denouncing the game as a trainwreck, slinging derogatory labels towards the developers and generally dismissing the game as garbage.

What I would first like to say is that I fully stand by the review that I gave the game, and whether or not the rest of the SwitchRPG staff agree, I will continue to stand by that review. I stated adamantly within my review that I wish to hear others discuss the game- the whole game- and to those of you who are curious, I would love to hold an in-depth discussion with you on the title.

Second, what I am currently working on as a response to these developments is a very thorough analysis of the game- its mechanics, its script, and its meta-narrative, in order to perhaps offer some semblance of support and context regarding what has unfolded in the last 48 hours. I have reached out to the developer in order to arrange an interview, and they have responded positively. I am not certain whether this retrospective will be organized as a piece of written content OR a video essay- I would prefer the latter- but I will post it in this thread when I am finished.

Lastly, I want to say that, as someone who strives to write quality content for the site and in general, I consider this mixed reception to be a result of a few things:

-YIIK has mechanics that are unfamiliar and therefore jarring to those with a well-established vocabulary for gaming
-Some people who submitted reviews did not see the narrative through to its conclusion
-Those who reviewed the game as well as those who have slung derogatory comments towards the developer did not understand the postmodernist message of the game.

I am hoping to cover all three of these points in depth via my retrospective. In order to make sure those who are uncertain about taking the plunge don't feel their purchase was a waste, it is my DUTY to be strong and clear about my own views and tastes as I continue to write and create content, so that those who feel their tastes align with mine are confident in making a purchase. Thank you for reading. I hope you look forward to my retrospective, no matter what form it takes.

I look forward to this. I haven't been paying much attention to this game, to be honest, but I have recently noticed some people talking about it and one complaint they had was the battle system. They were saying it is like a Mario RPG battle system where you perform actions for your attacks but if you don't get the timing exactly right then the attack fails. I know when I play a Mario RPG, I don't always get the attack timing dead on. I finished up Bowser's Inside Story in the last few months of 2018 and, while I could get a lot of Excellent attacks, there were plenty of times I only got the Great or a Good and sometimes missed because I tried to get the Excellent attack and went over the time for it. Have a battle system require such precision didn't seem like a smart idea to me.

Also, I'm glad you mentioned you were at SwitchRPG. I didn't know that nor had I heard of the site before now. You hadn't posted anything on your RPG site for sometime aside from your recent 2018 review which you also posted here so I didn't know you were still writing articles on gaming. I like checking out your thoughts on games so now I know where to go for that if you aren't posting them here.

My personal blog has suffered a bit since joining Switch RPG, and I do feel a bit poorly about that. A great deal of the content I would want to write about is what I cover on SwitchRPG, so coming up with two different articles with roughly the same subject material is a bit difficult. I'm hoping to turn some of the material I wrote for the blog into video essays and transition over to a youtube channel in order to differentiate my content more.

As for the battle system- there are some moves that are combo-string oriented, where messing up one input ruins the whole combo, and others that are more straightforward, with "tiered" amounts of damage. There's also a great number of spells that have unique action commands and are much less punishing. The game also features the ability to speed up and slow down time in order to skip or focus on certain parts of action commands, respectively.


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