Coming up next on Problematic Reviews

Coming up next on Problematic Reviews

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spoiler-licious-ness: Episode 1: Are the Diamond Dogs the Sombra of Quizzical?

Hello and welcome to my new series! I know, me and my terrible names. Most people come here from my Quizzical review so welcome back. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you read it and Quizzical by JMac. As the title suggests, this series is not friendly to those of you who hate spoilers. In my review, I said Quizzical had an incredible cast with a perfect combination of Quizzical and the Cutie Mark Crusaders. You might also remember that I said Quizzical harbored weak characters as well. Let’s get our Spoiler-licious-ness on and answer one simple question: Are the Diamond Dogs the Sombra of Quizzical?
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Episode 1: Are the Diamond Dogs the Sombra of Quizzical?
Hosted by Admujica
Featuring Quizzical by JMac
Presented by
The Journals Network
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Let me start out by saying that Quizzical is possibly the most lovable original character that I have ever seen! I haven’t enjoyed an original character so much since Fallout: Equestria’s very own Little Pip. Not too mention she partially out-Twilighted Twilight. Poor Twi has met her match. The reason Quizzical is such a well founded character is because the story really takes its time to establish her through her relationships and so on. We have to remember this is exactly what Friendship is Magic forgot to do with Sombra. Sombra looks and sounds evil but in the end of the day, that’s all he is. Thank Celestia the premiere was more so focused on Twilight’s “test” than it was on him or else we have an episode focused on a character lacking depth.
How does this involve Quizzical? It’s actually pretty simple. In the seventh chapter, Quizzical does a one-eighty by throwing Quizzical into the caverns of the Diamond Dogs. For the sake of the people not up to date on their MLP, the Diamond Dogs are seen in Episode 19 of the First Season: A Dog and Pony Show; in which they capture Rarity and force her to use her magic ability to look for precious gems. Although simple and not very deep, the Diamond Dogs still have a reason for being the antagonists unlike Sombra. This is not the case for Quizzical though. The Diamond Dogs could be the Sombra of Quizzical for being the protagonists.
Now before you say “what” aloud, one of the Diamond Dogs is made a protagonist. For most of the latter part of Quizzical, Indy gets a lot of screen time helping Quizzical get through her time in the caverns but never has any depth to his character. His motivation to help Quiz is never really explained. Now writers, I am not saying to go out and say “My alicorn OC feels sad because of laddy flippin da.”  
In the end, Indy is there to help Quizzical get from point a to point b. Does this make him a side character? Yes. Does that make him a bad character? Not exactly. Indy puts an important spotlight on Quiz. He is instrumental in highlighting Quiz’s value just as Sombra was in the premiere. They’re both help to move along the story’s plot. So yes, Indy is like Sombra in that respect. However, this is not a bad thing. Both characters are side characters who just so happen to have important roles but lack depth. What do you think? Leave your thoughts and other painful luggage in the comments! I’ve been Admujica. Have a great weekend everypony!
FiM Fiction Review - Quizzical can be found here.
Read Quizzical by JMac here!

Friday, April 19, 2013

FiM Fiction Review - My Little World War 2

So I was taking a walk when, for some strange reason, I found a lone sock lying on the sidewalk. Now I live in a decent neighborhood where random muddy socks should be a seldom occurrence, but this could be metaphor for the main problem with this story. Cold Revenge’s My Little World War 2 shortcomings exaggerate how out-of-place everything was in this story. Of course, I didn't see Hitler-Luna coming to wrack me upside the head but this is what makes this story feel out-of-place. Sticking out of all its problems, there is no build-up for the events of this story. The Mane 6 breaking character, problems with pacing, and a lacking narrative makes this story trip and fall in several places. If I didn't get the point across yet, I don't have too many not things to say about My Little World War 2. The good thing is cold revenge has taken it down for a complete overhaul and while it is his first story, I am confident that a better review will be up after this "major revision." For this I have to say, good work!
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My Little World War 2 by cold revenge
Incomplete (last update March 12, 2013)
The Solar Empire has ruled for too long, now it's up to Princess Luna, our fearless new leader, to launch a war that will spread across the globe! Who is on which side, and more importantly, who will survive this struggle between sisters!?
TagsTragedyDarkAdventureAlternate Universe
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If I'm going to make a negative review, I’m going to start from the beginning of this story’s problems. The events of My Little World War 2 just come out of nowhere, without explanation or reason. I very well understand that cold revenge’s intentions were to strictly follow the events of the Second World War, but this story feels all too much copy/paste. As a direct result, there isn't any build-up toward these events; they just happen. It goes directly into my early statement concerning the main cast breaking character. In the end, My Little World War 2 feels like World War 2 with MLP characters “plugged in” and shows no reason why such things are happening.
Secondly, this lack of build-up effects pacing severely, making everything feel rushed and inconstant. Not that the story is hard to follow but there isn't much reason to care for it. The events of the Second World War are heartbreaking but that is because of the inhumanity behind them. This is not the case with My Little World War 2 because we already know Fluttershy’s comparison or Rainbow Dash’s loyalty. Take that away without giving us a "why" or "how," and the reader quickly loses investment in those characters; which I will address in the next paragraph. All the main plot points lose their weight and are forgettable. Or maybe I'm just turning into my dad.
The third issue this story faces could be a direct result of the second; the drastic character changes. One minute, someone could be Fluttershy-level kindness one chapter then a cold-blooded killer the next. These drastic “character breaking” moments happen quickly and without explanation. Not to mention the Mane 6 are forced to take on strange personalities. This is my main reason for “shrugging off” any of the characters. Without spoiling anything, some of the things that happen are pretty heavy but, because I don't see them unfold naturally, I don't see the true extend of them. The plot suffer as well, making it bland and uninteresting.
If you've already read my review of Farming in the Icy Inferno, you might remember how I mentioned that setting establishes mood. My Little World War 2 does not visualize anything well and it became evident as the more emotional parts didn't exactly tug at my heartstrings. The mood, or lack of, pushes the in the wrong way for me. Of course, this only exaggerating the disappointing narrative. The narrative is uninteresting and doesn't do much to help the story. It’s slow and monotone, never highlighting important points.
Finally it’s over! I really don't like negative reviews. To round it up, My Little World War 2 suffers from bad pacing, extreme character breaking, and a lack of visualization. If cold revenge could take things more slowly and take the time to expand on the events of the war and grow the characters then My Little World War 2 would be a decent crossover. Nevertheless, I would definitely like to hear your opinion! Leave a comment below telling me what you think! Well that wrap up this review. This has been Admujica. Stay safe everypony!
My Little World War 2 gets a score of: 2.5 out of 10
Overall rushed with too many character breaking moments to make up for its bland plot
* No link available. Story under revision. **Review published with permission from author.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

FiM Fiction Review - The Trottingham Reports: A Slender Escape

I don’t know how stories with ridiculously long titles float to the top of my inbox, but I had a particularly bad time with this one when a lovely individual’s comment spoiled the thing. Damn you Lukezv; there is no forgiveness for the sin you have committed. Yes, I read the comments section! Lesson learned, but that’s besides the point. Flutterdash’s The Trottingham Reports: A Slender Escape serves as an excellent reminder to writers to elaborate on character and plot. It’s unfortunate since Flutterdash can put together clever and entertaining conversations that can feel realistic if it was executed well. The Trottingham Reports: A Slender Escape is a decent short-story even with it’s shortcomings. Now stop making long titles before I get carpal tunnel.
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The Trottingham Reports: A Slender Escape by flutterdash1
Complete (last updated Nov 17,2012)
Doctor Trotson has been assigned to observe Sherlock Hooves and his activities in Trottingham.  He is assigned by the Minister of the Night to observe this obscure pony and as he does so he gets dragged into a murder investigation involving the mythical Slenderpony. Read it here.
Tags: Adventure(Crossover)
Rating: Everyone(Teen)
(Edited to better categorize this story) (Suggested Teen due to depictions of violence and very moderate gore)
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Well, didn't I just make myself look dumb. Lukezv is forgiven, the description spoils that. I should've better explored that better, should I? Oh, the ways I try to make myself look clever. My biggest issue with The Trottingham Reports: A Slender Escape is how short it is. Don't get me wrong, I like short stories, but Flutterdash clearly didn't make this long enough to elaborate on Sherlock and Trotson’s characters. We end up not seeing any of their thoughts or flaws, leaving them unrelatable and weak. On a related note, the plot feels rushed and  not very clever. It wraps up quickly and hardly shows any development of the two character’s relationship. The list goes on-and-on about how rushed The Trottingham Reports feel.
The Sherlock Holmes stories have incredible amounts of layers to them; so much so that the BBC’s Sherlock takes an hour-and-a -half episode to solve one mystery. Now, it could just be that I’m too large of a fan of the BBC’s Sherlock, but I can easily say that those should be the standard model to the Holmes, or Hooves, mysteries. It’s going to upset a lot of people that The Trottingham Reports doesn’t take its time to add depth to its mystery. Sherlock Hooves would be clever if he solved clever mysteries.

Also, the pacing suffers as a direct result. Important plot points feel abused and any sort of buildup seems to be lost between the lines. Although there is only one instance where a slow part seemed to overstay its welcome, this is kind of a bad thing. The major plot points are the only thing driving this story, making them lose their weight.
That’s enough bad news for a Tuesday! Flutterdash does have one incredible talent: being able to make his conversations flow well and feel realistic. Not only that but they're clever too. I could be missing the bigger picture here. With this amazing dialogue, the right length, and a lot more character development, flutterdash could put together a masterpiece. So in other words, flutterdash is a good writer but this story is way too short to be anything but just that: a sweet, short story. I easily recommend this anyone looking for short story. This has been Admujica. Have a great week guys.
The Trottingham Reports: A Slender Escape gets a score of: 6.5 out of 10
Really rushed but has the elements for an enjoyable short story
Read it here.