Writing a review of any type is the equivalent to giving your opinion if someone should spend their money on the product. Some people prefer to give and view rankings or ratings, made popular by the movie reviews of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. However today, most people look at multiple reviews before deciding whether to let an option sway their decision for purchase of where to waste their time and money.
I write video game reviews and have for years. Depending on the format of the specific site and if there is a percentage at the end or a star ranking such as “four out of five stars”. Many site separate their reviews into sections based on different particulars within the genre itself, such as game play, multiplayer, graphics, etc. with a summary at the end. Some newer sites forego this segregated format to a more scholarly format with a thesis statement and outlined format as long as the information makes sense and gives the reader the complete view of the game.
Some criticisms have popped up lately since anything under a 70% is considered a game that “failed.” Some have attributed this to the American public school system, but I think of it more along the lines of the amount of games coming out with a range of opinions and the vast amount of time depending on playing games. For example, Skyrim takes anywhere from 100 to 400 hours to play and many people consider it a perfect video game. If the average player puts 20-40 hours into the game per week, it will still take them 10 weeks to finish one game. 2 1/2 months per game means a player can play 4 to 5 games per year. When hundreds of games come out a year and 10% of them are the best of the best, why both with anything than the best?
Because other people like me are the ones tell you those games are “the best.” The yearly games from EA and Activision? Same idiots. Why do people buy Madden and Call of Duty every year? Same idiots.
Current popular opinion within the comment sections of sites like reddit are asking for removal of scoring all together. Part of me likes this idea and another part of me dislikes this idea. As a writer, trying to tie a numerical value to an opinion makes being subjective difficult. At the same time, as a gamer I look forward to seeing higher ranked video games. Although I will admit I’m enjoying lower ranking on metacritic.com indie games lately. Games such as Space Hulk (Rated 58), Krater (rated 52), Bit.Trip Runner 2 (rated 85), and Sanctum 2 (rated 77) are some of favorite games loaded after writing a review on them – something that rarely happens.
Writing a game review means playing the game and letting it permeate into the brain awhile before writing a single word. The games where I’ve crammed over a weekend and wrote a fast review to beat the embargo (the date the publisher allows the review online or printed) are some of the worst and most regrettable reviews I’ve written. Also, I’ve made this stoke a few times, try not to overlap games with similar storylines. Take the case of Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy XII-2, I did the review on both at the same time and constantly switched plots and characters between the different stories in the review. The confusion in similar stories didn’t stop there either, the controls are similar but different enough to throw off one small special move to save my life. Just avoid it if possible.
The best thing to do if you’d like to get into reviewing games or movies or music, is to read similar works. Find out what the site requires and practice playing a game and writing your options for the game played. Come back Ina day and edit the work. Do this and don’t get frustrated at rejection or comments, I still make mistakes even today.
If all else fails, don’t read the comments.