By MajorMitch 3 Comments
It seems to me that most people have varying notions on what a video game review is supposed to be. As such, I feel it helpful to give a good idea on what I deem to be the purpose of my reviews, as to better give any reader of them a better sense of where I am coming from. Here you will find what I consider when writing my reviews, which will hopefully lead to them making more sense, as well as being more useful to you, the reader.
The first thing you should know is that I don't summarize games. I usually get put off by reviews that simply run through the bullet-point features of a game- "There's this mode, where you do this, and then there's that mode, where you do that..." There's enough info on the web to satisfy anyone just looking for raw details and facts. I'm more about trying to explain why I did or didn't like the game, and whether or not I feel it was worth my money.
The other thing I don't do (which kind of follows from the first point) is write a book when reviewing. You know, those 5 page long super-reviews that sites like IGN tend to do? Not my style. I'm not going to assault anyone with a fat old wall-o'-text. Basically, I try to pick out the main points about the game, and give my reaction on how they shaped my enjoyment of the game. Most reviewers seem to cover all the little details, so if that's what you are looking for, I'm sure you can easily find it elsewhere.
Finally, as games have become much more mainstream, I feel that the distinction between a game being considered universally "good" or "bad" has become hard to determine. I feel that practically every game will be enjoyed by someone, and hated by someone else. As such, it's my perception that the act of thinking a game is "good" or "bad" has become a mostly subjective exercise. Therefore, my reviews are purely that- subjective. I'm writing about how much I enjoyed the game, and whether or not I felt it was worth my time and money. You may end up feeling differently about the game than I did, which is all well and good. In fact, it's great. Diversity is a wonderful thing.
These 3 points are the core of my main review philosophy for any review I post here on good old GiantBomb: Talk about how much I liked the game, in as clear and concise of a manner as possible. Leave out the fluff, the gory details, and keep it short and to the point. It's likely that anyone reading one of my reviews found it by sifting through numerous other user reviews, meaning you are probably looking to sample a wide variety of opinions in a timely manner. Therefore, I'm attempting to give that quick burst of feedback, but also back it up with clear reasons for why I make my claims.
So that's that for the written portion. As for the 5 Star scoring system, I think most people seem to interpret it differently. Therefore, I once again feel it helpful to give my interpretation of the scoring system, and briefly describe what I mean when I give a game X Stars (I won't be giving half-stars).
5 Stars: I had a blast playing this game, and also feel that just about anyone who goes into the game with an open mind will also enjoy it, though maybe to varying degrees. There might be a few small quirks, but for the most part I wouldn't really change anything about this game. This is the real deal.
4 Stars: I really enjoyed this game, and would recommend it to almost anyone. However, there are one or two noticeable issues that just didn't sit right with me. There will be a handful of players who won't be able to get past those issues, but for everyone else this game is a great choice.
3 Stars: I had fun with this game in the long run, but questionable design choices make me wonder how many other people will share my sentiment. It was kind of an up and down experience, and one that I think many players will enjoy, while many others will not.
2 Stars: I had a handful of problems with this game, and the overall experience was one that left me feeling somewhat cheated. It had its moments of glory, but wasn't consistent enough to deliver from start to finish. Not sure that many players will appreciate this game, though some should.
1 Star: I didn't enjoy this game one bit. It might have the slightest bit of redeeming value, and may even entertain a select few. But when compared to other games coming out it's just not worth it. I imagine that pretty much everyone could find something else they would have more fun playing.
And that sums up my review style- enjoy!