What Exactly Is Jim Sterling Reviewing? Not Much Apparently

What Exactly Is Jim Sterling Reviewing? Not Much Apparently

As many of you may have seen, Destructoid’s Jim Sterling wrote a less than stellar review for Final Fantasy XIII (4/10). One of his tweets read:

Jim_Sterling: I am officially done with Final Fantasy XIII. That last chapter is an egregious mess of bulls***.

Sterling wrote all over twitter about how bad the game was; he is entitled to his opinion, however,  because at the end of the day that’s what a review essentially is. That opinion may have quite possibly been tainted, especially considering he never finished the game -and we have proof to show it. Please enjoy exhibit A below.

What Exactly Is Jim Sterling Reviewing? Not Much Apparently

Did someone forget to do something?

Now, not all games have an actual ending to them. But a game like Final Fantasy – which is based so heavily on story – simply cannot be reviewed unless it’s completed. If you think that’s bad, it doesn’t end there folks. Upon further investigation there are many more questionable reviews that are now popping up.

Now, one can look at this and say “Wait a minute. Maybe he didn’t sync his trophies!” While you may be correct on behalf of the Final Fantasy review, how about explaining what happened to, oh I dunno, maybe his review of Army of Two: the 40th day. I’m pretty sure he’s done a trophy sync since the release of that game. And, wouldn’t you know it, coincidently he has a review up for the title.

Still don’t believe it? Have a look at his trophies for yourself. You be the judge. http://us.playstation.com/publictrophy/index.htm?onlinename=jim_sterling

Now, as far as actually playing Army of Two, I gave him the benefit of the doubt assuming that it could have been played on the 360, but alas, no proof of that in the image below (considering press copies arrived on or a couple of days before release date).

What Exactly Is Jim Sterling Reviewing? Not Much Apparently

Someone put out an A.P.B. we've got a missing game on the loose!

If you want to see where this image came from you can check it out here:


We invite Jim Sterling to defend himself and the integrity of his reviews during the next DualShockers ShockCast. Let’s see if he shows.

Join the Discussion

  • He did say he was done with the game at the last chapter. But at the end of the day he’s still an obnoxious douche that craves attention like a wrist-slicing teenager.

    It’s best that real gamers avoid D-toid and Mr. Sterling.

  • You are the BALLS

    Jim Sterling is a degenerate scumbag. The only thing he has been reviewing are twinkie wrappers and nutsacks. I had a theory this is how Final Fantasy would be for him. When he said its gonna be a busy week, but I’ll get it done, I was like Bull***! Disc 1 and then on to the review. Lets get this to the top of N4G. Sterling should burn…Everybody grab a pitchfork, women grab the torches YAH!

  • Wow… that’s just… wow.

  • I hate to rain on your parade and back Jim here but this is silly. Really, this proves nothing. You can play offline, under another tag or on a dev kit. If Jim simply says he played on another account to not be bothered your entire point become nil.
    Ive played through a ton of games on a dev kit and never bothered to play the exact same game when it hit retail. There isnt always a point. Not everyone plays games for trophies or gamerscore.
    A gamertag can only somewhat prove what someONE did on a public version of live on that account. It doesnt even prove that they were the person that did it.
    That said, I have watched Jim skip on reviews before. I could prove that because I knew he didnt have a dev kit and because only maybe 30 people had retail builds at the time.
    Bottom line: No journalist in the world would list a gamertag or trophies as proof of anything that someone didnt do. Dont pat yourself on the back to hard here. Unless its just a way to get Jim on your show. In that case I would actually listen to your faulty points get ripped to shreds. It would be entertaining. So… good job and bad ethics?
    Next time just dont think an answer this big that will shock the world is so shallow. I mean, you looked up 2 gamertags. How much work did that take?

  • This is Jim Sterling’s PSN ID, he has been playing the game all week, and I saw his trophies last night and again after his review went up. I’m sorry to rain on your parade buddy.

  • elem

    Ron is correct. Jim is an obnoxious f**king fatty, but he probably reviewed this and many other games on his dev kit. I assume that your failure to mention that means you don’t have one because you’re not important enough to receive one from the console makers, and you may not even know what one is. Sad day when a gaming website is even more of a joke than Destructiod. Aw, but don’t’ feel too bad. N4G loves you! You have (tard) street cred!


  • @elem, I want to thank you for bringing your tard cred to the site. =)

  • Anonymous

    I dont mean to burst your bubble, but many reviewers, including Jim Sterling has a PS3 devkit.

    Don’t feel too bad though Mr. Detective.

  • that is the worst answer ever. Jim may have not played it all the way through as you point out where he says “the last chapter” What if he didnt sync trophies yet? I dont even think I have the ability to counter something this stupid. Here, Jims last name isnt really Sterling and his xbox profile says he lives in the UK. He doesnt. A gamertag doesnt disprove anything. Lets imagine that he has another tag. What is your counter then?

    My gamertag says I havent played BFBC2. I have. How is that possible??? OMG its magic. It doesnt mean anything at all sorry.
    If your going to start s*** at least try. You looked up a gamertag. Jesus. If you cant see my point I dont know what else I can tell you.

  • On a non-serious note guys, Jim does have one thing going for him, he can do this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ehs_H9HBRGs !

  • I know this point will probably be lost on you but I AM NOT SAYING JIM DID IT OR DIDNT DO IT. I am only saying what you looked into proves very little. I dont doubt that he missed the ending at all. I am saying, the crap journalism you used to crack the case is crap.
    Also, you dont have to beat a game to know you dont like it. Now, if he were to bash the story endlessly without finishing I get your point. But, its a f****** Blog. That is what a blog does.

  • @Ron, I hope you feel better trying to belittle me on the internet. Don’t lose sleep on this one tiger. I’m not.

  • rapture

    platinum trophies = 0. Never truly finished a game on that profile.

  • Ace

    Not lose sleep on being a reactionary idiot? Surprise surprise!

  • BR

    Why are you guys cryin like a bunch of babies? It’s his opinion and the review he wrote raised many good points. I’m in Polumpom after Hopes house and I agree with most of what Jim said. He is right about most things in that review about the gameplay and some of the story. Some people just need to face reality this is def a weaker entry in the FF series and it is very vapid and simple but I still at least like it. The best part is the crystarium but there have been some shocking choices in design that really make it hard to even put this game in the top 7 or 8 best ff list. You guys need to read the review see what he is saying, think about the game hard and see if you agree or disagree with each of his points. Stop trying to be an internet mob cause those guys always end up looking like a bunch of moronic tools. Go play FF13 it just came out a week ago.

  • elem

    Evan, reading over your posts, it sounds like you still don’t understand the concept of a dev console. Developer Consoles are special units handed out by console makers to (real) reviewers that allow them to play preview and review builds of games. All trophies/achievements and related info are stored separately from the PSN and Live that regular players access, because the builds of said games can be different than what makes it to store shelves. So, having Jim’s public PSN id doesn’t tell you anything about his progress in FF13 or any other game he’s reviewed. Don’t they teach you guys anything at wannabe game journalist night school these days?

  • I love your site guys. You are writing some solid editorials. This is one of my personal favorites. Jim Sterling needs to be exiled.

  • Kev

    In Evan’s defense it does say he is only a *contributing editor* here so you can hardly blame him for not understanding how differently the Dev console handles trophies.

    I would think after Evan clarifies this he would be more than willing to correct his article.

  • @ Elem

    @ Ron Workman

    I don’t normally get involved with the back and forth in the comments section, but you have been keeping it civil which I appreciate greatly so I figured I’d chime in on this one.

    Now, just to address this idea that you think this concept of Dev Units works the way you think it does here’s some enlightenment, for your future reference of course. We’ll use the PS3 as a jumping off point.

    First off I’ll validate my argument by showing you that we (DualShockers) are on the PS3 debug request list, that way you can see we’re not some amateurs that you apparently think we are:


    Secondly, I am not sure if any of you are aware how much a Debug Unit actually costs, but they can run to somewhere about $10,000. SCEA isn’t exactly loaning these out that easily. If Jeff Gerstman, who created his own site after writing for a major publication (not a blog) can’t get one then odds are neither can Jim.

    If Jim’s company is in possession of one or at the very most two, they would definitely be at the Dtoid headquarters and not Jim’s house in Alabama.

    Third, if Jim had played it on a Debug Unit then how or better yet why did he clock in over 30 hours of gameplay on his personal PSN account? That throws that argument right out of the window.

    Last, explain his review of Army of Two: The 40th day and justify that. He has 2 trophies and no achievements, and all of the points made in his “review” mysteriously match the footnotes of the press kit all of the media (including myself) received.

    You see the problem here is that reviews on a site with so much traffic should have some form of accountability. When you have such a reach and influence your reviews can determine whether or not consumers spend hard earned money on purchasing a game.

    Also, retail units, at times also ship early. Notice our God of War III review has been up for over a week? That was a retail copy sent by the publisher. Just an FYI.

  • Kieran

    The fact that Evan went to these lengths to prove… well nothing in my eyes… proves he’s just a pissed off little fanboy…which it basically says in “About the author”.

  • Trinity

    @Ron Workman:

    “Also, you dont have to beat a game to know you dont like it. Now, if he were to bash the story endlessly without finishing I get your point.”

    Here’s a brief sample from the review in question.

    “Story is crucial to any RPG, and let me tell you right off the bat that Final Fantasy XIII has perhaps the worst story of any main Final Fantasy game to date. Aside from being poorly delivered and only vaguely comprehensible, the characters have no personality or depth, the world is not immersive in the least, and the main villain’s methods and motivations are so illogical and convoluted that it’s impossible to take him seriously.

    Even by Final Fantasy standards, the story is absolutely absurd. Let that sink in for a moment. The game is absurd by Final Fantasy standards!

    The story is terrible, but the dialog is worse. An average conversation in Final Fantasy XIII goes like this: “Pulse, Cocoon, L’sie, Fal’sie, Focus, Focus, Focus.” Over and over again, the same stupid words. If you can get to the end of this 30+ hour saga and not be sick of those words, you’re a strong man indeed. I wanted to vomit after just an hour of it. That’s not helped by Vannile, whose Australian warblings and high-pitched wailing manages to make an already ludicrous story sound even worse.”

  • tokyobassist

    I’ve got a better opinion, everybody should shut the fuck up and just play the f****** game. Its supposed to stand its own ground not be an atypical FF game. FFXIII is not the best but same goes for FFVII, great game as well but some would say FFVI was better or even call FFVII a flaming POS.

    My point is, most of these so called gamers are so f****** cynical and whiny. Who gives a shit about a review. Its a synopsis of the game, ultimately whether the game is fun or not is up to you. Obviously those Cabela hunting games suck to me, there are people that love them still.

    End Rant


    I have to be honest with you guys, I’m just a guy who loves playing games. So i have no idea who’s right or wrong, However I felt that I needed to say something here.

    I’m not sure that it was very professional of Evan to call out this guy, by name at least. I do agree with Joel that there should be some accountability for you guys. There could have been another way of doing this though in my mind.

    You’re a “journalist”/”Writer” there’s a million ways to call him out without actually using his name and give him a chance to defend himself. Two words come to mind: Professional courtesy.

    Oh, and by the way your “About the author” description up top says how arguing with you will most likely result in a loss. Well it seems that you forgot to mention that you will win that argument as long as Joel is keeping an eye on the posts.

    Joel did the right thing by acknowledging that @Ron & @Elem kept it civil and I thought made a fairly decent argument, especially @Ron. Not only did you not rebut @Ron but you accuse him of trying to “belittle you on the internet” as apposed to where? I mean it’s not like you wrote this compelling investigation on the “internet” or anything.

    P.S. I do believe the prick (Sterling) isn’t doing his job.

  • Hiltz

    The reason why I respect Jim Sterling is because he isn’t afraid to be brutally honest and appropriately criticize a game for what it is despite fanboy attempts to bring him down. Sure, his comments are generally negative and sarcastic but he often brings valid points.

    Besides, was he supposed to give the FFXIII a high score simply because it is a highly anticipated Final Fantasy game? Square Enix may have made one of the best looking games of this generation, but at what cost?

    Even AAA titles don’t always live up to expectations. FFXIII appears to be a prime example of this.

  • Azi

    Just to clarify something, perhaps – I write for a local magazine in South Africa. That’s South Africa, mind you, the third world nation on the arse end of the African continent. Also one of the most insignificant places on the planet.

    And we have a PS3 dev kit, as well as two Xbox dev kits. It’s in distributors’ and promoters’ best interests to supply these to the press, since dev kits = hands-on previews and launch reviews.

  • jim

    Jim is a fat f*** and he wont finsih one game because he sucks at games all he does is rant to get more people in destructoid ..that fat f****** bastard..and its not as easy as “its his opinion who cares”..well a lot of people that were planning to buy the game cared..but thanks to this fat f*** they wont even get to know exactly if this is a good game or not..the same thing happens with all the reviews he makes

  • @Kev, at least you are mature with the way you addressed me, I appreciate it.

  • @Elem, I am actually a WRITER. I just enjoy gaming and write about it instead of trolling people that actually work at being something more than a pest.

  • @BR I am currently 37 hours in, so I think I am further than you, you haven’t even seen the full extent of the combat system yet.

  • Joe

    @Evan- Thank you for the article, but I have two things to point out. =)

    1st. You say Jim is entitled to his opinion, and ‘that’s all reviews are’. That isn’t true. It is a reviewer’s job (their OBLIGATION) to as objectively as possible identity the qualities of a game. It is impossible to be perfectly objective, but the ability to come close is what makes a good reviewer. Jim Sterling does not put an ounce of objectivity into his “reviews”. They have absolutely no credibility and should not be considered any more professional than a generic troll’s comments on a forum.

    2nd. A month ago Destructoid published two articles written by a different journalist. They stated that FFXIII was among their favourite FFs, and quite intelligently articulated their points. It also said the English review was in the making, I can find you these articles if you like.

    Instead of going with this credible review, Destructoid went with Jim’s trolling. They did it for hits. They are undeniably trolls and should not be considered among the professional reviewers in this industry. They are basterdising journalism. The fact is, Jim Sterling intended his review to tell people how the game plays, and he was miserably inaccurate. His selfish joke will end up causing many people not to play a game they would otherwise have loved.

    I would respect you if you could publish an article (or edit this one) with further details of Jim Sterling’s immaturity and unproffesionalism.

  • Mark

    Some bottom of the barrel journalism right here folks, you’re just sad.

  • Joe

    @Mark- “Some bottom of the barrel journalism right here folks, you’re just sad.”

    For what? Attempting to point out the clear trolling of a game on a “profesional” website? Look in the mirror.

    Reviews are not just opinions. If they were, you could hire a hobo off the street and he’d be as professional a critic as a 40 year old veteran. Heck, you may as well get a goddamn toddler as well, they’re all just “opinions”, right?

    A GOOD reviewer puts aside their own subjectivity to objectively rate a game. Not easy to do, hence why they are HIRED and PAID. Jim Sterling is hired, payed and published to create controversy. He is not a reviewer and should not be treated as such. He is a troll.

  • Xero

    Perhaps you should concentrate on the quality of your own writing before criticising a professional journalist?

  • RoboGaGa

    I don’t need to eat a whole bowl of s*** to know s*** tastes bad.

    Jim FTW.

  • Alabama Tick

    I like how Evan is whinging about getting trolled and criticised, yet he’s just written a post, a post with screenshots and everything, criticising someone else. If you can’t eat some ****, stop throwing it.

  • Far be it for me to just come onto a site and hit out against everyone, but.
    The whole situation just seems to me like you were mad he reviewed FF13 a 4, and rather than just go “Oh, well, he has a different opinion to me, that’s cool”, you disagreed to the point you have to try and discredit him as a reviewer.

    I can’t attest to whether or not any evidence you provide IS true or otherwise, but I have to say, if you feel the need to go all out and do whatever you can to discredit someone just for having a different opinion to you, you’re doing it wrong.

    And if Jim himself just laughs at you on his twitter and calls you a bunch of drama queens, you are really doing it wrong.
    Good luck trying to get someone who considers you a laughing stock on your podcast, though.

  • 1. Whether he beat FFXIII or not, 30 hours is plenty of time to decide that a game is bad. In case you forgot, that’s more than a full day.

    2. If you don’t think Jim and Destructoid have any credibility, don’t read them? The internet is plenty big enough for the two of you.

  • Matt King

    I’ve walked out of movies in movie theaters before because they were bad in the beginning and middle. sometimes there’s no way an ending can fix everything that’s gone wrong in a piece. games share this burden with movies. they have to NOT SUCK all the way through. and i believe that jim gave an honest review and his honest opinion and voted with his time.

    also, had you been following the story square didn’t release review copies til about a week ago. i’m frankly surprised that there’s a review at all. it’s all a testament to jim’s dedication to the community by getting that far in something he hated.

    i trust jim sterling because i agree with him most of the time on games i’ve already played, for largely the same reasons, and because i don’t have 20+ hours and $60+ to put into something that’s bad, and most games are just bad. you don’t have to agree with every critic but you should always listen.

  • Skrattybones

    I might not always agree with Jim Sterling’s reviews, but your entire argument seems to boil down to “You can’t say a s*** game is s*** unless your beat it”.

    If a movie blows, you walk out. If a book sucks, you put it down. If a game sucks you stop playing.

    Assuming that the cutscene after the last boss is somehow some fantasic example of storytelling that is the greatest ending to a game ever, that doesn’t change the fact that everything leading up to it (arguably) sucked.

    You aren’t going to eat a huge plate of crap because you’re promised a tasty after dinner mint at the end.

  • Verision

    Dear Evan Velez,

    I have a couple questions for you:

    1)Why do you care what Jim Sterling is, or is not, doing?

    2)Why exactly do you believe that a game must be played to the end to review it?
    I have stopped playing many games before the end because I did not enjoy them. Point in case would be Assassin’s Creed II. I got about half way through that game and stopped playing because I wasn’t having any fun. I would give ACII a 6: Not bad, but not fun enough to finish.
    If a reviewer told me a game was so bad that they couldn’t even finish it, than that in and of itself is enough to condemn the game.

    I’m sorry, but your entire article comes off as being nothing more than a pubilcity grab. You might as well be yelling “Hey, everybody that doesn’t like Jim Sterling, or his reviews, come be fans of this site instead of Destructoid. We’re better than that site because we hate Jim Sterling, JUST LIKE YOU!!!!”

    Jim Sterling is a professional troll, and is damn good at it. You are….well, not worth knowing. Nor is this site. I only came here because Jim tweeted that you guys “called him out” with this rediculous article.

  • TheToiletDuck

    Even if you ignore the fact that Jim never hides the fact that he may not finish a game. If you don’t like a game the ending is not suddenly going to make you go “hey you know what? That was totally worth it”.

    Name me ONE game where the ending changes your opinion of an entire session of frustration.

    Don’t rely on the popularity (controversy or otherwise) of Jim Sterling just to give your site hits. It’s sad and unprofessional.

    Hey actually while you’re at it, why not start a hate war with Gamers With Jobs, that should leech you another demographic.

  • Damon

    With his Final Fantasy XIII review i have to agree with Sterling. I’ve beaten the game & trust me, he hits the nail right on the head. You don’t need to beat a final boss to know you don’t like a game. It doesn’t matter if FFXIII is a story driven game, if you hated the story for the first 79 hours you aren’t gonna like the final 30 minutes.
    Getting as far as he clearly has he’s seen everything the game has to offer, there’s nothing new to see other than a terrible ending to a medicore game.
    On the topic of Army of Two…do you not think he may have played it on a different account? One that isn’t public? Not a dev-kit, just a regular old private account.
    Have to agree with Mark above me “Some bottom of the barrel journalism right here folks”

  • Mike

    Wow, hoping to stir up some hits with this gutter-journalism? I know this a video game site, but way to play into the fanboy stereotype. If you don’t like to hear both sides of the discussion, ask your Mom to limit your internet usage.

  • Mauro

    @Evan Velez: I haven’t played FFXIII and I’m not very interested. Even the japanese said it was “pretty linear” and raged (very politely) for that fact, and those people love their linear RPGs.

    As you said above, you are 37 hours in and you’re seeing the full extent of the combat system, ok…. but if I have to endure 10, 20 or 30 hours of unenjoyment, only to start “really” enjoying the game at 37 hours, then that game is a total dud, and I don’t have to finish it to see that.

    FFIX was enjoyable and charming from the start, both in terms of history and gampelay… I don’t like games that waste my time.

  • xibalba

    Wow this site has got such great class.

  • Kev

    Joe, I would suggest you research Jim a lot more. He has actually written some fantastic reviews and opinions on games and has earnt a lot of respect.
    He also said it as it was with Halo Wars, it sucked. He copped pretty much the same treatment he is now from all Halo fans.

    This strong HATE on him is sudden mostly because a lot of people are disappointed with the extremely low score he gave FF13. The negatives he notes have also been noted in other *respected* reviews. The only difference is the game got a higher score out of 10.
    Jim is a troll and he bites hard when people dangle a carrot in front of him.
    In two weeks when he publishes his next review everything he said will be forgotten and life will go on.

  • Ashta

    This is seriously the most pointless article I have ever read. Ever.

    Nice attempt to gain some semblance of relevancy though. All you have done is attempted to defame or attack the opinion/reputation of another man. That’s about it.

    Also, what’s with the Sherlock Holmes routine? It’s not like Sterling is Professor F****** Moriarty. He played FFXIII all the way up until the final chapter/boss/whatever and then he stopped. I’m pretty sure that playing 99.9% of something can give the person playing it a pretty damn good idea of what he just went through to get there.

    Not to mention, even if FFXIII had some glorious and amazing ending it still isn’t worth the 60+ hours of self-indulgent tripe that you had to get through to get there.

    Seriously man, if you want to defend FFXIII then just have your review do the talking for you. Going out of your way to bash on someone who is, technically, in the same business as you isn’t going to do you any good.

  • Tommo64bit

    He does get paid, in a way. He gets paid per hit, so naturally the more controversey he causes the more hits he will get which will result in more money in his pocket. Jim’s not a journalist. I’ve been a professional Games Journalist for 3 years now, working for a few magazines around the UK and this guy is certainly not a Journalist. At best he’s classed as a blogger. I don’t trust his reviews and the little, undeserving fame he has went straight to his multiple-chinned head.

  • de BLOO

    Quit getting mad at videogames.

  • stuff

    Even if he didn’t play it all, to get to Pulse, that’s about 30 hours, give or take. 30 hours of an utterly sh**** game, before it “gets real good, honest guys!”. That’s a failure of a game.

  • Tyler Massie

    Hopefully someone can assist me here… is this news?
    Because I don’t quite understand the point of this article. Perhaps I am new to the world of blogging, but I didn’t realize it would be noteworthy to attack a journalist’s(?) credibility through direct evidence of trophies and achievements. Is that really a smoking gun?

    I can only assume that this ‘article’ is an opinion of one man on a blog, criticizing the opinion of another man on a blog. That being said, in the year of visiting Destructoid daily, I don’t recall ever seeing this type of personal attack on their blog.

    I also don’t truly understand the term trolling. Not for a lack of academic knowledge, more that it has never been a concept that I have completely grasped. What little I do understand, however, is that an article on this site (dualshockers) exhibits signs of trolling for hits in the most basic fashion.

    To that point, I’ve never been on this site before. I was curious about how Mr. Sterling was ‘called out’, so I followed a link on twitter. I can’t imagine I would have ever visited this site had it not been for this article. Therefore, didn’t this article succeed to troll for hits?

    I assure you, I do not intend to visit this site again. Granted, I am basing my judgment on one article, one personality. Much the same as how one would base Destructoid on the personality of Jim Sterling, so I do see the flaw in this logic.

    I’m just disappointed that reading this article, and ironically, responding to this article occupied 15 minutes of my day.

    Depending on how it would fit into your corporate mission and vision, I would recommend posting stories with a little more journalistic integrity. That might result in your site being more successful, so that you don’t have to rely so much on direct attacks of credibility.

    • “Hopefully someone can assist me here… is this news?”

      Oh, well, let me explai-

      “I assure you, I do not intend to visit this site again.”


  • Putz

    Surely he should be finishing the game though.. When’s the last time you read a ‘professional’ book or film review where the author couldn’t be bothered to finish the material being reviewed?
    At the very least the guy should make a large point of mentioning this in the review!

  • Nick

    You don’t have to have beaten a game to review it. If you think professional reviewers beats every game before they review it, you’re sorely mistaken and have an extremely juvenile view of the industry.

  • Nick

    Most people seem to think this is a very good game, go to reader reviews on gamefaqs, gamespot.

    Seems to me this guy just likes to rate good games with s*** scores to get attention. No different than any other troll, except he gets payed to troll and wind you all up. The sooner you all ignore this s*** the sooner he goes away.

  • quoth

    Oh wow.

    Now THAT was classy. Way to go Evan. Gonna be tough to regain that credibility.

    Concerning Mr. Sterling: Is he polarizing? Yes. Is he a troll? I don’t believe so. He writes reviews. Reviews are opinions on things. And I never had the impression that his reviews were something other than his genuine opinion. His reviews are always well written, and his points are absolutely valid most of the time.

    Funny thing is, Jim’s never getting truly, you know, criticized. It’s always just people rambling about him being a troll, and never actually responding to the points he’s making or even raising their own points.

  • scottyg

    Um… now I’m not a reviewer, but if a game doesn’t get good until near the end then I think it’s reasonable to assume it should get a bad review.

    Also, I see you’ve been getting advice from a certain someone. Good internet matlock-ing skills there.

  • Putz

    Hey Nick. Thanks for the ‘juvenile’ jab. Good stuff.
    It might be niave of me but I do genuinely think that if a professional reviewer is to be taken seriously they should either take the time to finish the book/film/game etc or at least make mention of it in their review.
    I would be surprised if the majority of reviewers did not do this, despite your cynical opinions.

  • Sentence fragments! Possessive apostrophes inserted into non-possessive pluralizations! I see the author is another gamer who wants to add prestige to his hobby by fancying himself a capitalized “WRITER,” but can’t even cough out 300 publishable words. This article is nothing but two pictures with their explanatory captions stretched to the limit. And just to clarify the opening line, Jim Sterling gave Final Fantasy XIII a less than stellar score–but he wrote a stellar review. And that’s the key difference between Sterling and this author, whose name I honestly won’t remember until he makes more of a contribution.

    But putting the unprofessionalism aside, this is far more insidious than anything Sterling’s ever done. I became familiar with his back catalog after the pair of ‘Indie Games Suck’ articles he put out a few weeks ago (to paraphrase the titles to match internet perception). Articles that were inflammatory, yes, but only as a rhetorical device to raise the stakes of a conversation worth having. Sterling is a guy with a vitriolic sense of humor who loves getting into people’s faces. But he stays there long after the fact because his criticisms all carry real merit, regardless of the way he packages them.

    This piece, in comparison, is trashy journalism worthy of a spot near the grocery store checkout. Instead of raising greater questions about the role of reviewers in general, it dismisses them. Instead of initiating a much larger (and much more serious) conversation about journalistic responsibility, it focuses concerns on one semi-celebrity individual who may or may not be representative of the issue. This “story” forgoes all value and validity for the sake of inciting furor and controversy. O, sweetest irony–the author fits the bill for a public perception of “Jim Sterling,” as a concept, more than Jim Sterling himself.

    In terms the author might comprehend: flamebait. After a chilly afternoon on his muddied hands and knees, the author has produced a worm thick enough to catch a Hylian Loach. But he isn’t going to reel in a thing, because there is no strength on his end of the line.

  • @Putz: Thank you for having the balls to compare entirely different mediums. I don’t get enough chances to explain this publicly, and I’d appreciate using your head as my soapbox.

    Books, films, and games are all different mediums. Games are interactive, even if they’re story driven, and should be judged based on the merits of that interactivity. Otherwise, one is just reviewing a game’s script or a game’s musical score. So Pokemon, for example, can’t really be reviewed until someone’s played through a bulk of the interactivity; this includes leveling up, breeding, evolution, lots of battling, and tons of endgame stuff. The first dungeon in a Zelda game is representative of all things to come; it’s a formula, enacted over and over again. A game like Final Fantasy XIII is experienced in the journey, then, not in its ending. There is a battle system that develops along the way, there is characterization, there is much else tied to the pyramidal experience that builds onto its base. Reviewing the game doesn’t include its ending, but all gameplay before and after that. Sterling is not a storytelling critic. He is a video game critic. And nothing in the final battle is going to radically change the gameplay he’s grown accustomed to up to that point.

    How does one finish a game like World of Warcraft, or Team Fortress 2? One doesn’t. Are they unreviewable? Absolutely not. They are reviewed the way they should be–not in terms of narrative, but in terms of gameplay. Gameplay is essential to gamehood, making games what they are, and if you read Sterling’s work you’ll find that plenty of his concerns are ludomechanic. (Granted, you’ll also find plenty of story-related comments–Sterling isn’t doing anything wrong there, as the game does have a narrative. But if his review focused only on those things, as you seem to desire, then we’d have a problem.)

  • Red

    I agree with the sentiment of the majority of commenters on this article, there is simply no point in writing “got ya” articles on the reviews posted on other sites, it is really just in bad taste.

    Say what you will about Jim, I know I certainly do, but there is no denying that the man reviews from the heart. He reviews games not as products in need of a consumer rating, but as experiences that are given a simple representation of perceived quality in order to bring a visual summation (in this case with a 1-10 scale) of the authors opinion. You know, the way literature, film, and music are reviewed, not with the pretense that they are providing a public service for potential buyers of a product, but as an insight into one person’s experience with a form of entertainment. If anything, we should be praising the man for being one of the few reviewers who writes in this manner, and for being unafraid to use the entirety of the 1-10 scale rather than the 6-10 “grading papers” style scale used in 9/10 outlets.

    As for him not finishing the game in its entirety, well this is hardly news in its own right. Would you rather him use Action Replay/Codebreaker like was standard in reviewing games for so long? Or a review copy with unlocked console tools for tweaking difficulty, or warping past a part of the game giving you trouble? Of course, no one talks about these things anymore because we’re too obsessed with numeric scores to care.

    Articles like this just add to the notion that gamers are self absorbed, spoiled, and terrified by anything that goes against the mainstream. This is the sad state of gaming, we’ve bought into the corporate entity the industry has transformed into over the last 10 years to the point where we are writing articles about reviews on other sites, as though defense of the status quo is paramount to gaming’s survival as a medium. Entire subgenres die off, sequels bring market saturation to anything that sells, the cost of producing a game rises so high that creativity is killed off to make way for the cardboard copy world of safe bets, and we indulgent masses sit here on our pile of games arguing over review scores. It’s this kind of braindead number-mongering that drove the industry into the monotone mess of grey action games and minigame shovelware that we all know and love today.

  • kratoskilla

    lol no1 gives a shit about destructoid , atleast i dont. What more could I expect from a guy that gave assassins creed 2 a 4.5 and u do require to finish the game in order to review it

  • DARK

    thank you very much Evan Velez and dualshockers.com for Exposing this idiot
    Jim_Sterling Is a joke, please stand your ground and don’t back down, someone need to teach him how to be a journalist, he gave assassins’ greed 2 a 4!! That alone is enough to fire him, I hope he shows up

  • ClaudeInfantile

    I like a guy/site that dares to rate Assasins Creed a 4.5. Personally I would rate it a 6.5 though.

    Go with whatever reviewer you think makes sense to you and stop moaning about peoples opinions.

    To me Jim Sterling is mostly a good read. He trolls, he exaggerates BUT he has an opinion.

    This article made me write a reply.[sic]

  • itemforty

    So what you are trying to say is Hell is other people?

  • lolwut

    I sometimes skip beating games to play new ones and I can tell you that I could give you an honest review of the games I didn’t finish. So please, shut up, who cares, and stop trying to take the piss out of someone because you disagree with them. You’re trying to be this righteous hero/champion of truth but you end up sounding like a whiny bag full of douche.

  • smurfee mcgee


  • Nerd_burgler

    jim sterling is the name of a *** porn star google it if you dont believe me cause i saw it myself

  • Jim Sterling

    I like to suck big wangs and put them in my back door.

  • Whenever I see the word even, I keep thinking it is my name haha. That is all.

  • Blasto

    For the record, I’m having a good time so far, personally, with FF XIII. Going into it, I didn’t think that would be the case. That’s my opinion. However…

    So he played a game for a mere 30 hours and didn’t like it? What the hell could possibly happen after 30 hours that would totally change his final opinion, sir? At hour 31, does the Bluray suddenly pop out of the drive and start tickling your ass with a feather?

  • Jedinate

    His review is absolutely valid. If the game is so bad that he couldn’t finish it, that in and of itself, says a lot about the game, not the reviewer.

    And I have to say, any game that you have to play for 20 + hours before it starts to get good, fails in my book, big time. You are asking a lot from a player to put up with that BS.

  • illidari

    he completed ch11 didn’t he? is that what the instrument of hope trophy means?

    he made it to ch 11/13

    and he has a secret trophy you can’t see


    Which means he tweeted truthly that he didn’t finish the game. What else you want?

  • @DAT_NEW_YAWKER and @ joel
    Im not sure you realize that I was a co-founder of Dtoid and have called Jim out on reviews before. I think he can be good but gets to caught up in trying to be funny or get attention or whatever. Why is it that Jim has been called out multiple times over his reviews? Because he is excellent at what he is trying to do. Get shit started and be a funny smart ass. Plain and simple. That doesnt mean he does not know shit about games either. He clearly does.

    and yes, I own multiple dev kits. Im not trying to be a smartass here but anyone can fill out a form for a loaner. Anyone. It doesnt mean you will get one. Dual shockers does about 15k uniques per month. Sorry to bust your bubble but you wont be getting one anytime soon with those kinds of numbers. You need to be 50 to 100 times larger than you are now to even make it into the mix of getting a dev kit. I mean, dont stop what your doing though. Its is great to have ambition and drive. I think DS could be at that point in the next year or two.


    • lolwut

      15k uniques per month is laughable in 2010. Seriously. And bragging about the number of dev kits you own? lol… Grow up.

  • A pathetic attempt at leeching off the controversy that Sterling created.

    This article is no different from what you’re accusing Sterling of.

    Most reviewers I know play their games on debug/office consoles and not their personal gamertags anyway.

    How about you worry more about actual news instead of loose and desperate attempts to look like saviours of the ****ing game journalism industry.

  • Donholio

    It says right at the top of the page the author is a Sony fanboy. Was anyone expecting anything else?

  • CrpytArc

    I really hope jim does appear on your show. Then i can hear him completely tear you and your worthless site apart.

  • @Ron, I just noticed you know Zaku. =)


    I was not aware that you were a co-founder of Dtoid. Congratulations? I guess. I’m not quite sure why you responded to my post, although I am a little proud of myself that what I wrote caught the eye of such an esteemed member of the gaming community enough to respond at least. Just a hint of sarcasm.

    My post was directed to Evan and his inability to defend himself to the argument that you made. This is hard for me to say because I try my best to support my fellow New Yawker, but I have to agree with @Ron. @Joel showing your application or request for a debug system was rather pointless.

  • Barnabe Jones

    I hope Jim Sterling gets incurable ass cancer.

    Why are his sarcastic reviews included in Metacritic anyway? He has single handidly dragged down great games scores all in an effort to generate hits for his crappy little website.

    Kudos Evan. You have exposed that Troll with a blog who poses as a journalist as the fraud he is.

    People should start writing to Metacritc to have his removed from the reviewing process.

  • @DAT you don’t have to worry, I’m from Los Angeles. You can blast away. =)


    @Evan Oh, I was talking about Joel. As for you I think that since your in L.A. you might want to see if TMZ is hiring. That might be more suited to your style of writing.

  • This is one great comments section. 🙂 I sincerely appreciate everyone’s contribution – even those who are attacking the crap out of DualShockers – for contributing their two cents. We enjoy getting feedback from the community and trying to engage in healthy conversation.

    @Jimmy G
    Although you bring up some really valid points, the idea of this written piece isn’t only about the critical review he gave Final Fantasy XIII. If he felt he played enough of the game to constitute his review, which was well written, then he has every right to give his professional opinion on the matter. However, the issue that the author is pointing out is that Jim Sterling doesn’t finish all his games and then reviews them as if he did. Example? Ron Workman – the co-founder of Dtoid – posted a link above once again proving Jim Sterlings ethics on reviews; he discussed how Sterling reviewed Halo Wars after only playing 3 missions. Now, as stated above, I’m not in no way trying to say that a person HAS to finish a game for review, but let’s be realistic here – no one can professionally write an in-depth review about an RTS game solely after 3 missions. It’s not fair to the developers, the publishers, and most importantly, the readers.

    Although the gameplay is the one of the most important aspects of a videogame, it is the narrative that creates that emotional/personal attachment between the player and the game. The narrative is very much so as important as gameplay because it is what immerses the player into that digital world, among other things. I agree with you 100% that a game’s ending doesn’t justify whether or not the game is absolutely amazing because, as you stated, it is everything that leads to that point which is far more important for the player. But, again, it isn’t what’s being attacked, it’s his consistency.

    Personally, I’m a firm believer that I should finish a game before throwing up a review. However, that’s just me. But I can see where you’re coming from and do agree with some points. 😉

  • Steven Q.

    Opinions. People have them.

  • ENSnizzle

    Does Jim have a UK Ps3? One he might not have connected to innernetz? What about cheats, I know you stop getting trophies in games if you use cheats. (Btw, I have no clue if you can cheat FF13 or whatever game)

  • Mark

    “I like how Evan is whinging about getting trolled and criticised, yet he’s just written a post, a post with screenshots and everything, criticising someone else. If you can’t eat some ****, stop throwing it.”


  • I like how people think I am whining about receiving criticism. I could care less about the criticisms that are without any sort of merit. I do this because I like to do it, not because I need any validation from gamers.

  • Scott

    @Red couldn’t have said it better myself. it is a sad world of gaming we live in today, people read reviews of games and will play a game that gets a 10/10 and completely agree with the review without thinking for themselves. and the moment someone says something bad about a game that gets great reviews all around, they get called a troll. people are lazy and want to be told what to like, and get offended when someone says otherwise about a “good game” because they know deep down inside, they don’t have an opinion of their own. all i gotta say is, play the game and form your own opinion of it, don’t listen to anyone else. I haven’t gotten FFXIII yet but I can’t wait to play it.

  • dreamcast top games

    lol who the f is Evan Velez? and this gamespot esque website?

  • Pingback: A Drive By and An Execution | Southern Fried Gamer()

  • Pingback: KILLCAST, Episode 32 – Perfect Conviction | CtrlAltKill()

  • Anon

    He set his gamertag so you can’t see his games anymore, lol.

  • Pingback: Jim Sterling reminds us how good gays behave | ctrlclick.com()

  • TheCorpseMan99

    Jim Sterling doesn’t need to play FF:XIII to know it sucked, he never fucked a pair of pliers either but he knows that’s bad.

  • God

    fat frau fraud

  • Pingback: GameJournos » Why I can’t trust critics who don’t finish story-based games.()

  • FF 13 sucked live with it. ZP played it 5 hours

  • FF 13 sucked. Fan boys cry over this movie you call a game. ZP played it 5 hours to long. Feel free to look at my worthless trophies on ff 13.

  • Ludakriss

    Man. Why? Why do you guys not allow some moderate profanity on this site? You used to. And now I get a message saying “comment’s gotta be approved by a moderator”. Damn, man. You guys curse like grown men on the cast. All I said was a word SH**. 

    And, it was a rather mellow post ^_^

    • That is actually rather weird. We actually use an external module for comments (Disqus), so the problem may be with some new feature of theirs. We’ll check it out.

      • Ludakriss

        Well if it’s discus problem then it’s more or less out of your hands. All good. 

    • ChadAwkerman

      Disqus probably caught your profanity and sent it to moderation. We’re not supposed to use certain words in “print” thanks to our advertisers. Luckily, they don’t really care what we have on our podcasts, thus the difference there. 😉

      • Ludakriss

        Alright. That’s poo but nothing anyone can do. Just restricts the freedom of expression a bit. Ok. Peace!

  • Anon

    Who cares what this fat Kim Dotcom look alike writes?

    • Kamille

      because he’s a pretty influential personality in the industry?

  • Greatdeceiver

    You dont need to play FF to know it sucks.

  • AeluronLightsong

    I think reviewers when it comes to a long game should at least try to finish the game if they are dedicated to reviewing. Hell I’d do it.

  • Kamille

    of-course reviewers have to finish the games. That is their job! How are they gonna give us a complete view of their perspective if they only played a portion? It would be like reviewing a demo.

    • Faggus McGee

      A reviewers job is to play it and give their thoughts. It isn’t to finish.

  • Kamille

    most likely because Jim is someone that paints himself as honest, with integrity and pro-consumer when he lies to our face.

  • Kamille

    of-course reviewers have to finish the games. That is their job! How are they gonna give us a complete view of their perspective if they only played a portion? It would be like reviewing a demo.

    And just because Jim didn’t like it it doesn’t mean that others won’t too. He needs to give us a complete description of the game to let us decide if we might like it or not.

    Advice from one of the pros in the movie industry:


    • Brett Dunbar

      You don’t need to finish the game to review it. You need to have played enough to be able to say whether it’s worth playing. If you were either bored or frustrated by the game to the point where you actively don’t want to play further you can quite legitimately quit and give a negative review. You could also have a game where the difficulty is such that you can’t finish it, again a perfectly legitimate reason for a negative review.

      • Astralwyrm

        But he could have disclosed that he didn’t complete the game, if anything that would have more impact than lying and saying you played all the way through. I would rather my reviewers play the games all the way through but if it is genuinely that awful.

        • thatdamnrat

          But he didn’t lie, the quote a the start of this article he is clearly saying (to those of us who can actually speak English anyway) that he didn’t complete it, and quit because he was sick of it’s bullshit.

          • Astralwyrm

            That is a tweet though and it could be misinterpreted. He never once mentioned not completing the game in his review.

            “Most of the time, players can’t even choose their own battle party until the end of the game”

            Coming from a guy who didn’t reach the end of the game. Where he chose to stop playing is not quite the end of the game. I’m not defending FFXIII; i honestly hate the game but Journalists should disclose this stuff so the audience can discern for themselves.

    • I think you can ‘drop out’ early after having seen/learned everything, there’s usually 4-6 hours where there is nothing to do but build up to the ending, but you should be required to inform the readers you did so, for instance, you liked the gameplay but hated the story.
      And of course I wouldn’t expect any reviewer to finish grindy bonus content, or complete games that forced a grind, ala Disgaea.
      For example if someone, somehow, really really disliked FF6, it would be acceptable to stop shortly after hitting the World of Ruin, as the final leg of the game is quite obvious in what you must do, and you’ve already played around with the esper system to figure out how minmaxing on it works.

  • TheNaiveCynic

    It is. But you can’t comment on the ‘last chapter’ if you haven’t even played to that point.

    • thatdamnrat

      But he say the last chapter, he THAT last chapter, as in the chapter he played last. This is so clearly a beat up. This assertion you can not review a game without playing to the end is bullshit. If I find the first half of a game so tedious or just plain awful I can’t bring myself to play it, I would feel perfectly justified in decrying it as awful.

  • makcraft

    Even Jesse Cox a longtime fan of FF series just stopped the lets-play solely of the fact that the game is just flawed! I get if Jim was the only person who said critical things against XIII, and you may question that if everyone else would be praising it. BUT NOONE DID PRAISE THE DAMN GAME! (even fans).
    So the point is – Jim is getting picked at, just because he is brave enough to be the vocal minority who would openly criticize that BS!
    This is some head over heels topic that is so weak and these so called ‘Exhibits’ are a shame? What are trying to prove that the game sucked so much that even longtime reviewers couldn’t finish it?

  • ConradZimmerman

    Jim’s a friend, so feel free to take that into consideration when I say this, but there is a point that should be brought up in regards to the Army of Two: 40th Day review mentioned. Using someone’s Gamerscore/Trophy data is not necessarily a reliable means of determining whether or not a reviewer played a game to completion.

    Lots of review code is issued not as a final retail version, but a pre-release version requiring access to “review” or “debug” hardware (this was especially true in 2010, though it seems to happen with less frequency now). These systems aren’t compatible with nor connected to the public servers and users have completely separate, private accounts for use with them. So, I would take any such use of the publicly available data with a big grain of salt.

  • The_Last_Ride

    This is a big problem and props to Dualshockers to releasing this article