The game's been out for, like, a month now. When exactly do you WANT a review written? Two months after release? Three? Six? The whole point of a review is to inform players on whether or not they should buy a game - why shouldn't that be as close to release as possible, when people first see it and go "Hmm, should I grab it or not?"
And I can tell you exactly what this guy is comparing the game to: Victoria II, Distant Worlds, Crusader Kings 2, King of Dragon Pass and Nobunaga's Ambition. I can tell because he directly references those games when discussing Shadow Empire, and having played them all myself by and large the comparison is pretty fair - and compared to all those pretty complex games (with the possible exception of Distant Worlds) Shadow Empire IS pretty complex and it DOES have a harder to parse user interface - and Victoria II, for all that I love about it, wasn't precisely my go-to example for good UI design.
It's a pretty good review for those who are interested in complex strategy games in general, not just grognard games specifically, and on the whole I'd say it's fair. Given that their audience does seem more general and not pure grog, it makes sense to review on those terms. You can't expect every review for every game to be viewed solely and entirely through the narrow lens of its specific subgenre, because people OUTSIDE those subgenres are going to be curious and will want to know if it's for them. And it is important to speak to them because that's how you get new blood in the game, and new customers.
Besides, on the whole it IS a positive review. I guarantee there'll be folks who look at a review like that who've never had an interest in grog games before stroking their chin and thinking "Huh!"
Are you the author of this review?
If you trade knowledge and proficiency for speeding up the release of a review it also trades credibility away. Yes it is a dilemma but veracity should rank higher here, sadly it often doesn´t. Furthermore Shadow Empire receives patches in a high frequency with fine tuning all over the place and what many players see as major changes to some of the most critical aspects. It was mentioned dozen times by the dev and is the reason why this is not on Steam right now until more polish is done. This is the reason why in my eyes good reviewers make themselves and the audience aware of the project situation. I can´t see any mentioning of this in the article, everything sounds as written in stone. Also trying to find a review video of Shadow Empire on Youtube, there is none. Just videos named first impressions, first look, and ongoing playthroughs. There is a reason for that.
What I see in fact is the confusion it already caused in the comment section where people in majority discussing the most recent changes to the logistics system. A update that was released right when this review was aired and which was announced beforehand. It is almost ironic to read that the supply system is described as impenetrable in the review while exactly in this moment there is a forum argument going on that the supply system has become too efficient and easy in the recent update (no worries, the dev left both systems in the game and players can decide). So one could claim a very important aspect of this review is basically misleading from day one. It is a beta patch but after some fine tuning it will likely be introduced in the next official update.
A slightly strange collection of games to compare to but completely fine as stuff like this is pretty subjective and opinion-based. Just because I don´t like it doesn´t mean its not valid to do so. Nevertheless I stand to my critique. This selection indicates that there is little experience with operational wargames, more with the common Paradox grand/dynasty strategy and space focused 4x titles. Thats fine, but basically getting into a new genre with little experience and evaluating them as hardcore, complex or whatever sounds off at least to me. Alone my opinion - that I rank SE as being rather an accessible smaller-scale operational wargame with compact 4X/RPG aspects, thus almost the opposite of the review - indicates how different a verdict can be if one like me is used to the 4X and operational wargames genre.
Whatever, its completely legit to write these what I call IGN-style reviews. It hits some of my biggest X-marks but other than that it is a good read and it should be clear that other readers might respond entirely different while it can help others to pick it up.
< Message edited by MultiPurposeCanine -- 7/4/2020 10:45:35 AM >