Greetings everyone of Wikigamguides.com,
As Josh Kowbel may have already stated, the WGG team intends to do all it can to get itself on Metacritic to bring more people to the site.
Currently covering every single release is impossible as there aren’t enough writers to cover the games coming out on a regular basis. WGG needs reviewers, people capable of expressing their opinions intelligently and objectively. If you play a game then you will have opinions on it, and if you can articulate those views in a way that is interesting, you can help the site grow and reach out to a wider audience who haven’t been previously exposed to Dan and John’s fine work.
If you have an interest in reviewing games for something more than a hobby, or have never considered writing review at all, then I have written up a small “guide” with advice regarding the reviewing of a videogame.
1. Writing the “Deck”
A “Deck” or strapline is basically a summary of the contents of your review that people will see when they come to the site. When people read decks, they are already forming an opinion about the game and the person writing its review. There is no “right” way to write a deck. Some people like to phrase it as a question while others like do a straight summary, but always avoid being overly personal or opinionated. “THIS GAME IS AWESOME” looks stupid, and using hyperbolic statements about a game’s quality sounds like a plea for attention. If you want someone to take your views seriously, a good first impression starts with an objective indication of what you’re going to flesh out in detail later.
You’ve probably written enough essays in your time to know about the importance of a good introduction. Your introduction states exactly what you think about the game with a few references to some of its good/bad points. It states the “what” in order to allow the rest of your review to focus on the “why”. Try taking your deck and expanding on it for your first couple of reviews.
3. The Body
As with writing a deck, there isn’t really a “correct” way to write a review beyond a certain level of quality. The best advice here is to read some professional reviews. However, here are some basic ideas and points you should be aware of:
• People care about graphics, so when you talk about how a game looks, be sure to put a picture in to justify your points. Technical observations should stop at textures, framerate, and lighting. Nobody wants to have to look up what AA or ambient occlusion means. However, remember that “Oh my god this game looks amazing” doesn’t count as evaluation.
Look nice? Say so. Great lighting, impressive draw-distance, highly detailed. Technical analysis complete.
• Pictures are a good way to pace your review. Stick a good one in every couple of paragraphs to give people a break from the text.
• Try not to subhead everything; a review should flow from one point to the next in a way that hopefully prevents someone from scrolling down to the bottom to read your score. Slapping “GAMEPLAY” into the middle of your review says “I’m going to talk about this thing now” and it always feels awkward.
• Adjectives, hyperbole and overstatement should be used sparingly. Saying something is “superlative” or “wonderful” only works once. A review is an abstract piece of purchasing advice, not an entry to a creative writing competition.
• Don’t think you have to cover every detail. If you didn’t notice the sound design or the music, then don’t feel obliged to cover it. If something didn’t stand out as good or bad then your reader probably won’t notice or care.
• Personal pronouns only take you so far. Saying “I” only works when people know what kind of things you appreciate in a game. The more you inject yourself into the review the more your words seem like personal opinion rather than evaluative statements.
• If a game has severe technical issues, then make sure you address them! Gamers don’t want to buy a broken product. Mentioning the platform you tested the game on is especially important; you don’t want to be one of those people who gave Skyrim’s PS3 version a perfect score.
Version Tested = Important.
• Swearing and profanity isn’t edgy or interesting. It makes you look like you can’t express yourself intelligently and therefore not worth taking seriously.
• Keep reviews under 1,000 words if you can. Brevity is a gift.
Your conclusion is only ever as good as your introduction, because it’s really the same thing. Your intro stated what is in the review, your body provided the information and your conclusion restates everything your introduction with a few sentences that sum up what you think. This is the bit people remember, so make sure it accurately expresses your feelings.
5. Choosing a score
WGG uses a 5-star rating system. No half-stars or .5s. Above all your score should reflect what you have written. One of the chief complaints you’ll read in the comments of a video review is the fact that the reviewer dumps on a game then gives it an 8 and vice-versa.
Sorry, WGG doesn't do these
Hopefully this has given you some sort of an idea about writing reviews. If you’re a habitual blogger or have aspirations about becoming a journalist, then reviews are a great training ground where you can refine your writing skills and maybe even help people choose to buy a good game instead of a mediocre one.