I like writing user reviews: help me become better at it.

As the topic title states, I enjoy writing reviews of the games I play. I'm getting better at it too. As someone who does not have English as his native language, I grapple with the language every day, though it is, of course, ever improving. And so as well with my reviews: I've come a long way from this review to this review. 
 
But there is still a lot of room left for improvement. So I'd like you guys to help me out. I have recently written a Mass Effect 2 review. What I'd like you to do is to read it, and then offer me feedback on what I can do to improve the readability of my reviews. Your gripes may concern anything and everything, from poorly explaining a point I try to make in the review to over-using certain words (which I know I do.)
 
The review is here. Please help me out by telling me what is wrong with it, so that my future reviews continue to evolve and improve.
 
Much appreciated.

10 Comments
11 Comments
Posted by Dudacles

As the topic title states, I enjoy writing reviews of the games I play. I'm getting better at it too. As someone who does not have English as his native language, I grapple with the language every day, though it is, of course, ever improving. And so as well with my reviews: I've come a long way from this review to this review. 
 
But there is still a lot of room left for improvement. So I'd like you guys to help me out. I have recently written a Mass Effect 2 review. What I'd like you to do is to read it, and then offer me feedback on what I can do to improve the readability of my reviews. Your gripes may concern anything and everything, from poorly explaining a point I try to make in the review to over-using certain words (which I know I do.)
 
The review is here. Please help me out by telling me what is wrong with it, so that my future reviews continue to evolve and improve.
 
Much appreciated.

Posted by natetodamax

That was a really good review. The only thing I would have done would be to go into a little detail about the story, like what it is about (Shepard's mission). Other than that, well done!

Posted by JJWeatherman

Good review dawwg. (I'm the dude from American Idol)
 
I think you're a great writer, especially considering english isn't your first language. I would like the ending paragraph if you didn't directly tell the reader to go buy the game though. In this case it may be alright since really everyone SHOULD go buy the game. But the review in its entirety should be what sells the reader on the game, not the last two sentences (By the way, good job. I think it does :P). Anyways maybe you could modify that final sentence or two to convey that you think the amount of content in the game easily warrants a purchase, or something similar. I read a couple more of your reviews and I think this could apply to some of those too.
 
Just a suggestion. Peace... or whatever that American Idol guy would go out with.    : )

Posted by jkz

Quite well written, especially for a User Review. What makes it especially impressive is the fact that your native language isn't English. 
 
The only problems here are some issues with sentence structure; not that there were any mechanical errors, but some of the structure was awkward, and forced me to go back and re-read the sentence. 
 
Apart from that, cutting out some bloat by streamlining transitions between topics is the only other thing I would work on. Beyond those two minor gripes, it's quite well written. Good work sir.

Posted by sarahsdad
@dudacles: Overall nice review. It seemed a little bit long, and disjointed in a few places. I think jukezypoo is right about cutting a bit here and there. I hope you don't mind, I'm sending you a PM with your text that I made some edits on. I'm not an english teacher, so it's not about grammar or anything, just some things that I thought made it flow a bit better.
Posted by Dudacles

These are all very true, and I appreciate you guys taking the time to offer feedback. Thanks!
 
Keep 'em coming. :p

Posted by GamerGeek360

That was a great review man! Honestly, if you just had me read that I would've never guessed that English was not your native language. That is very impressive since English is not an easy language to learn. Luckily it is my native language so I never had to learn it the way you did but from what I hear it's not easy. 
  
I will definitely read your reviews in the future especially if they are as detailed as this one.

Posted by Maclintok

It's a good review!  English does NOT seem like your second language judging from how well you've written your review.  That said, it reads more like a fan's extended forum post more than an actual game review.   I'll explain a bit...
 
Your piece  jumps right into the nitty gritty of Mass Effect 2 without really introducing the concept behind the game to a reader who may not be familiar with the series.  In general I got the sense there was a lot of assumed familiarity with Mass Effect.  But it's a minor detail compared to how well the review is put together.  Your breakdowns are nice.  You go on a bit long but I can relate to that as my game reviews tend to be on the longer side of things. The challenge of every writer, in my opinion, is brevity:  to say what you need to say in as few words as possible.

Posted by thedj93

Great review brother! Also I hate sounding like an old-school english teacher, but the best way to write better reviews is to play more games with a reviewer's kind of mindstate, and of course write more.

Posted by Dudacles

I figured I should respond to the tips given here, so there:
 
@natetodamax said:

" That was a really good review. The only thing I would have done would be to go into a little detail about the story, like what it is about (Shepard's mission). Other than that, well done! "

Well, in most of my reviews, I tend to set up the story a bit more extensively, but I consciously decided not to do so here because enjoyment of Mass Effect 2 is so reliant on its story. While I doubt that there are many who actually use user reviews to decide whether or not to buy a game, I went out of my way to avoid spoiling the game as much as possible, so that those couple of people won't come out of my review thinking that they've just been spoiled in any way. 
 
And thanks for the compliment. :)
 
@jukezypoo said:
" Quite well written, especially for a User Review. What makes it especially impressive is the fact that your native language isn't English.  The only problems here are some issues with sentence structure; not that there were any mechanical errors, but some of the structure was awkward, and forced me to go back and re-read the sentence.  Apart from that, cutting out some bloat by streamlining transitions between topics is the only other thing I would work on. Beyond those two minor gripes, it's quite well written. Good work sir. "
You are completely correct. I tend to over-complicate my sentences. I shall try to pay more attention to that in the future.
 
@GamerGeek360 said:
" That was a great review man! Honestly, if you just had me read that I would've never guessed that English was not your native language. That is very impressive since English is not an easy language to learn. Luckily it is my native language so I never had to learn it the way you did but from what I hear it's not easy.   I will definitely read your reviews in the future especially if they are as detailed as this one. "
Thanks, man! 
 
@Maclintok said:
" It's a good review!  English does NOT seem like your second language judging from how well you've written your review.  That said, it reads more like a fan's extended forum post more than an actual game review.   I'll explain a bit... Your piece  jumps right into the nitty gritty of Mass Effect 2 without really introducing the concept behind the game to a reader who may not be familiar with the series.  In general I got the sense there was a lot of assumed familiarity with Mass Effect.  But it's a minor detail compared to how well the review is put together.  Your breakdowns are nice.  You go on a bit long but I can relate to that as my game reviews tend to be on the longer side of things. The challenge of every writer, in my opinion, is brevity:  to say what you need to say in as few words as possible. "

I must admit that this thought had not yet occurred to me. I think you're right, my reviews do sort of come off as forum posts. I shall try to explain the basics of the game better in future reviews. Thanks!
 
@thedj93 said:
" Great review brother! Also I hate sounding like an old-school english teacher, but the best way to write better reviews is to play more games with a reviewer's kind of mindstate, and of course write more. "

This, though completely true, is something that I will never get myself to do. I greatly enjoy writing a review every time I beat a game, but I will never lay down a notepad next to me as I'm playing, just for reviewing purposes. I enjoy my games as a casual gamer, and only think about them in the context of a review afterwards. I've had a couple of offers to write editorial reviews for gaming sites, but for the most part, my verdicts on games will stay contained within this site's user review tab. And I'm okay with that. It's fun to do. I shall, of course, attempt to get better at writing reviews by simply writing more of them. Each time I beat a game, I write a review for it, and it has been so for quite a while now. Provided I keep gaming, I should have no shortage of opportunities to practice with new reviews. :p 
 
And thanks for the compliment!
 
I must say, I'm rather pleased that you guys think it's a good review. Writing them is fun enough in its own right, but hearing that people actually think they're good is always nice. :)
Posted by BlaineBlaine

 I'm just posting here because it seems like these threads got locked when the spam was removed. Hoping this will help. Sorry for any disturbance.