Deconstruct-oid: ‘Lethal League’ Review

Some, not all, games journalism should be eradicated from this mortal plane of existence we call Earth. And I know it’s ironic because I’m also a games journalist, but what separates me from being like the others is I’m not a piece of shit. Now, that also might come across as ironic as well but just trust me, there’s a point to this. I have consumed gaming news and coverage ever since I was a young child, honestly ever since I could read and I have seen the medium grow and change into what it is now which is nothing short of the best dream ever mixed with a nightmare.

Destructoid review games so poorly in fact that they have two reviews up for the same game but they have completely different scores. The game in question is Lethal League which just came out for the PlayStation 4 recently, this version was reviewed by a senior reporter who goes by the name Mike Cosimano, who admittedly has given games that I like good scores. Mike gave the PS4 port of Lethal League a 4.5/10.

Now.. two years ago Ben Pack, a contributor, posted a review for Lethal League on PC and he gave the game positive praise and love. In his review he stated: “Aside from lacking robust online options and a few clunky menus, Lethal League is an amazing package. It’s my personal favorite of the revival of couch co-op games, and may be my favorite “tell a friend” game of all time. I know I’ll be spreading the word, and maybe even one day we will be watching streams of high-level League play. Team Reptile really hit it out of the park with this one.”
Ben’s review mentions one thing about the online options lacking but he never once states that the game did not work online and that the game disconnected him during matches. This brings us back to Mike Cosimano who is suspect of having very shitty internet and Lethal League skills. I’ll go on record and state that I do not know this man on a personal level at all. What I have to judge him off of is the one review I read of his, which is the one I’m writing about now.
What Mike states in his review:

“I had plenty of fun with Lethal League’s online portion when it worked. As it turns out, the game’s engaging core shines when everyone’s on the same playing field. Countering a powerful shot feels like an event, because you’re not sure how you did that and you have no idea what your opponents are going to do next. If they’re not perfect robots, then that adds tension!”

Mike here admits to us that he really enjoyed the game when he was playing with someone of his level of skill, which makes sense because you want to play with someone who has the same skill level as you so you can level up. Got it. This isn’t an inherent problem with Lethal League at all. The game isn’t punishing you for having no friends to play with, the game is doing what it is supposed to do! I supplies you with someone to fight.

Mike then goes on to say:

“But the online multiplayer doesn’t work all that well anymore, is the thing. And I’m sure I’d really enjoy playing this game with my friends, but it would be a while before I could wrangle enough people to give the couch competitive side a real shot. I live in Los Angeles, you see. People don’t like to drive more than a couple miles to visit friends.”

This is the moment when his inner demons begin to seep out onto the review. As critics we shouldn’t ever let our personal baggage get in the way of us giving the game a proper review. The game is doing its job, but you aren’t. You’re the problem here Mike. Is it the games fault that Mikes friends won’t trek through L.A traffic? Not at all.

 

“I’m sure people who live in dorms or have a similar level of access to three like-minded people are screaming at their screen right now about how I’m being unfair to Lethal League because I can’t test every possible permutation (because they scrolled down to read the score and didn’t bother with the text), but I’m not in the habit of giving high scores because something might be good. The game’s probably just as fun in person as it is online, but I couldn’t tell you for sure. Plus, controllers aren’t cheap, so good luck if you don’t already have more than one.”

 

Mike does an amazing job here at representing something that is wrong with many critics. If there was a exhibit for, “shit not to say in a review”, this would be the first thing you see when you walk in the front door. He takes a very aggressive stance at the beginning of this paragraph, talking down to college students and then he adds another insult to make sure that he distances himself emotionally enough so he can deliver the last blow. Mike comes in with the most depressing line in his whole piece, “…controllers aren’t cheap so good luck if you already have more than one”, Mike has obviously had a bad run in with someone where he didn’t have an extra controller to play with them and now they don’t talk to him anymore. Which I think is the overarching narrative voice of this review, Mike is lonely and nobody wants to play with him because he’s annoying and only has one controller.
He spends the whole review throwing scathing and cruel remarks towards the game all because his internet doesn’t work. But Mike, buddy, listen, if you’re reading this I have news for you. Destroying the medium of gaming journalism isn’t the way to go about this my dude.

Then at end of his review that we will blame his internet, but he makes sure to tell us that it’s not the internet, not at all sir! Mike has taken a very poetic approach with his ending statement. He is saying that it’s not him, it’s us. Mike can’t do anything wrong, he has everything figured out, but really he doesn’t and his router is broken and that caused him to have a mid-life crisis.


Before I wrote this review of Mike’s review for Lethal League I did research like a good aspiring games journalist should and I found that all of the other reviews for Lethal League on the PS4 never mention the internet dropping out on them or having no friends to come over. This is very suspect, and supports my claim that Mike is reaching out to us, the reader. Mike starts the review by saying that “he busted Lethal League out at parties” and showed it to his friends, but towards the end of the piece he admits to us that he indeed has no friends and none of them would ever come to his party. Which in turn is why he gave Lethal League a bad review.

Mr. Cosimano’s review is overall very aggressive. The structure of the piece is so taut and scathing that it’s not a fun read at all. If I didn’t know anything about Lethal League going into the piece, I certainly wouldn’t know anything about it after reading his review. Mike completely misses his mark here as a critic and journalist. Our jobs are to inform the people and not let our emotional or personal baggage get in the way.

 

 

 0.5/5 VERY POOR
– Not any strong critiques
– Lacking a true vision
– Poor online.. etiquette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are my sources:

https://www.destructoid.com/review-lethal-league-435969.phtml

https://www.destructoid.com/review-lethal-league-280122.phtml

http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/how-to-be-a-critic

P.S  Also before you come at me and say I’m a Lethal League fan boy, I’ll let you know I’ve never played the game before.

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