Spiral Knights: My Heart’s Hurt Bad

Warning: I’m channeling a little bit of Angry Joe here. Or a large bit.

GamePro, GamePro, GamePro.

Why did your reviewer have to write a review so inaccurate with regards to gameplay mechanics that it’s obvious they didn’t play the game? The detail that made it all fall apart to me was this one:

And you’ll often have to pick up and throw things at enemies, including bombs and attack vials that have special effects like freezing enemies.

Bombs can’t be picked up; all you can pick up are vials and capsules. In fact, the mechanics of bombs are so radically different than what this one sentence implies that it throws the entire rest of the review into question.

But let’s be generous. Let’s assume that this was a simple misphrasing of some sort.

We run across this bit:

Spiral Knights forces you into a party before you can go into the dungeon. You can still solo once everyone else in your party leaves, but then you will discover the reason for the forced parties: You will get killed if you attempt to progress alone.

NO. That’s not how it works. That’s never been how it works. You can solo just fine in this game, depending on your skill; with my “skill” I can solo to the midst of Tier 2. There are people who solo all the way down to the Core, through Tier 3. The implications of what’s said here aren’t very good. Either the reviewer is an idiot, always possible, and misinterpreted what was going on, making this a review based on shallow game play; or alternatively, the reviewer never played the game and is relying on heresay or press release information, which is even worse.

The really weird part is how the review could get so much of the game mechanics wrong except for the pay structure. That’s strangely accurate—apart from downplaying the repetitiveness of the levels, which is getting even to me, and I’m the one who played the very limited Dragonfly dungeon in preview repeatedly and with great joy. In fact, the veracity between these two parts of the review is so blindingly different that it would seem to indicate that either the reviewer is really, really keen on the monetary payment aspects of games—and this is Gamepro, after all—or, this part was fed to the reviewer, who didn’t do any further research on it.

For if the reviewer had, they would have realized that one vital aspect of the game got cut out with the recent update: the ability to trade higher-end weapons. In fact, the ability to trade is entirely skipped over. Weird, don’t you think, since the game is almost entirely about the weapons and armor (there’s no character leveling), and thus that drives a thriving commerce in making and selling said weapons? The reviewer didn’t even cover crafting, which is so important to the game.

This Gamepro review is full of shoddy research. It’s so shoddy and yet has that one terrifyingly accurate reprisal of the CE system that I can’t help but think it’s just a sockpuppet review.

I hate this review so much. It reeks of both ignorance and dishonesty.

And not to put the point too lightly, I hate that the Spiral Knights dev team has been so closed to the players that they put out a radical patch without warning after release day. That part alone more than any other poisons a lot of my enjoyment of the game, because there’s the possibility that it’ll happen again.

To be fair—or to be gullible, I don’t even know anymore—the developers seem to be trying for some transparency in recent posts to the forums, but that doesn’t yet make up for the fact that they haven’t acknowledged the long-term issues of the current game mechanics.

It makes me sad and angry. I turn most of that on myself, but this here is but a small chunk of the bile that’s circulating in my veins and makes me wish I’d never known about Spiral Knights.

I have been this angry before, but I do eventually forgive. But this is just awful, and that review, more than anything else, cinched it for me.

Part of me wants to believe, really wants to believe, that the recent sudden patch of fail was a SEGA directive. But Three Rings Design has stood up in the past before against large gaming companies like Ubisoft—which led me to the conclusion that the Spiral Knights team thinks of SEGA first and the players last. This could entirely not be their fault, it could have been part of a contract even. Contracts can be messed up. Still, that leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

And that bad taste? Not being washed out by promises of new content or a new Tier 1 boss, which are both quite necessary additions.

Still, take this post with a grain of salt. Look at how much love I bestowed upon Spiral Knights for 43 posts before taking a turn for the bitter in The Squishing of the Squee, the night of FailPatch. What could it be but temporary insanity that I end up writing a post like this?

I didn’t want to write this post at all. I know some folks are all, “Don’t blame the Ringers,” which is disingenuous, or more often, “Don’t yell at the Ringers,” which is a derailment tactic that I usually see employed in social injustice dialogues, but I guess it shows up everywhere. But I can’t help but think that sugar-coating this feedback would do the Ringers a disservice, because this is honestly how I feel.

In the interests of not dealing with a flamewar that might crop up here, I’m turning off comments. The Ringers have Eurydice, who is showing quite a bit of grace under fire, but I only have me, and I’m no Eurydice nor an Angry Joe. I’m just angry.