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Old 01-02-2009, 12:19 PM   #1
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Link Old How to Write Reviews

How to write Reviews

Be Fair
This is probably the most important rule when writing reviews. While a review should be based on your opinion, it's also important to let your readers know that you have considered every aspect of the game before condemning or praising it. For example, if you're talking about how great the replay value is, make sure you've actually replayed the game before commenting on it.

Also, even if you feel strongly about the game one way or the other, try to mention things that you felt the other way about. For example, if you loved the story of Twilight Princess, try to mention what it was about the story that you really liked (without giving up any spoilers). Did you like it because it was a darker story? Because Link wasn’t a Hylian in this game? And even if you did like it, mention things about it that you didn’t like. Maybe you thought it was a great story, but you would have liked to see a different villain this time around. Or maybe it was a good story, but it was told through long series of dialogue that distracted from the main gameplay too much.

So when you write about a certain aspect of a game, make sure that you’ve played it thoroughly and that you mention both things you liked about it and things you didn’t.

Cover all the Bases
If you’re going to write a review, make sure you cover as many aspects of the game as possible. People should get a good idea of what the game is like by reading your review, so you need to cover everything that makes up the game. This includes most of the following: Controls, Graphics, Sound, Music, Story, Multiplayer, Replay Value, Online play, and anything else you can think of that changed the way you thought about the game. When covering these things, don’t just weave them into one large block of text; separate them into paragraphs and label them. That way, if someone is interested in buying a game, but want to see if it was a good co-op mode first, they can open up your review and go straight to the multiplayer section. It would be nice to have people read your whole review, but don’t force them to if they only want to read about a few aspects of the game.

Proofread
If you have a lot of spelling and grammatical errors in your review, it sends a poor message to the reader. Basically, you’re telling them that you didn’t put much time or effort into writing your review. Well, if you didn’t give it that much thought, how can anyone trust your review? Go back and check for errors before posting. Typos make you look unprofessional.

Pictures
Whenever possible, try to take your own pictures. If you do, let the reader know you took the pictures posted. If you don’t, let them know you didn’t take the pictures.

If you don’t use your own pictures, at least make sure you get pictures relevant to what you’re talking about. If you want a good example, you can look at the Death Jr. review in the Wii reviews. Here, the reviewer used a picture of an attack underneath the Controls section, and the caption states “B, B, B,” which shows not only how the attack shown in the picture came to be, but also correlated to the repetitive combos the reviewer was talking about in the paragraph above. Under the multiplayer section, where co-op is discussed, a picture of Pandora (by default the co-op player) is displayed. Also, after explaining that harder bosses could have made the game better, a picture of the first boss of the game is displayed.

If you use pictures in your review (and you don’t have to), make sure they connect with what you’re saying at least half of the time. Use photo captions to your advantage here.

YouTube
Like pictures, videos are something you don’t have to use in your review, but they are very helpful in demonstrating the pace of a game. Videos are also the best way to demonstrate sound effects. Be warned, however: YouTube videos are often of extremely poor quality, and don’t fully bring out the sound or the graphics in a game. This could mislead your readers. For this reason, I personally don’t use videos. However, I would say that most people would like to see them, so if you’re planning on putting video in your review, that’s perfectly fine. However, I would advise you to also include pictures and write a thorough sound/music review as well.

When using video, it’s best to use video you’ve captured yourself, just like pictures. And just like pictures, make sure your readers know where the video is coming from. Did you record it, or did you find it? Be careful not to show any spoilers. No end boss battles, here. Also, make sure your videos connect well with your reviews.

Make sure your videos don’t play automatically when your review opens up. People on slow computers, people at work/school, or people online late at night while others in the house are sleeping don’t want to be surprised by a video playing unexpectedly. This can both slow things down, or distract the reader while they scroll through your review looking for your video so they can turn it off. If people want to watch the video you’re included, they’ll click on it. Also, if you embed your videos, make sure to also include the URL underneath it, so people browsing from their Wii consoles or other devices can easily find your video.

Tip from Anubis: Most YouTube videos's quality can be improved by adding &fmt=22 or &fmt=16 to the url code.

Uploading Video and Images
When using pictures and videos from other sources, keep in mind that the internet is changing all the time, and for this reason, links can quickly become broken. If you pull things from other sources, make sure to save them to your computer and upload them to a location with a stable URL. Photobucket is what I use, and it’s free to sign up for. If you don’t create your own stable URLs, make sure you check your review often for broken links, and have a plan to fix them.

Respond to Comments
People will probably have questions or concerns regarding your review. For this reason, it’s important that you clarify things for them. Check back with your reviews every once in a while and be sure to respond to comments left.

Please check back here from time to time, as I may edit this post to include more guidelines. Also, if there’s anything I forgot to include here, please let me know and I will add it.
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Old 01-02-2009, 12:33 PM   #2
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Good Document OP89. Hopefully this will help with the Review Section.
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:17 PM   #3
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Few comments
1. While it is true that your own pictures are better, in order to get them well enough to warrant use, you would specialised equipment. That is why I personaly use pictures from the web. I usually just use those from the game's official website.
2. Most youtube videos' quality can be improved by adding &fmt=22 or &fmt=16 to the url code.
3. Structure - Good reviews follow a good structure, i.e. introduction, story, gameplay, visuals, sound, closing comment, scores.
4. Paragraph structure - Try to not do one liners.
5. Depending on tastes, music helps readers. Look at my Prince of Persia reviews.
6. Note the game's data, a.k.a. Developer, Publisher, Systems, MSRP, ESRB Rating, Number of players, Genre, etc. Good to put at the very start.
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Old 01-03-2009, 02:49 PM   #4
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My comments in red.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anubis View Post
Few comments
1. While it is true that your own pictures are better, in order to get them well enough to warrant use, you would specialised equipment. That is why I personaly use pictures from the web. I usually just use those from the game's official website.

Yes, I believe I addressed this. My main concern is with people that just do a Google Image search and grab the first five pictures they see and put them in no particular order.

2. Most youtube videos' quality can be improved by adding &fmt=22 or &fmt=16 to the url code.

Good to know. I'll put that in the original post.

3. Structure - Good reviews follow a good structure, i.e. introduction, story, gameplay, visuals, sound, closing comment, scores.
4. Paragraph structure - Try to not do one liners.

I thought these were obvious enough, but I suppose it doesn't hurt for you to bring it up here.

5. Depending on tastes, music helps readers. Look at my Prince of Persia reviews.

That's pretty much what I'm saying: it all depends on the taste of the viewer. That's why I suggested that videos not play automatically, so the reader can decide whether or not they want to hear the music.

6. Note the game's data, a.k.a. Developer, Publisher, Systems, MSRP, ESRB Rating, Number of players, Genre, etc. Good to put at the very start.

I have mixed feelings about this. I think the ESRB and number of players is a good idea, but the MSRP probably isn't unless you want to update that information every day and convert it for all the different countries we have reading this board. The other information is something I always include, but I feel it's not as important as the game itself, so I didn't suggest that everyone do the same as you and I.
Overall, thank you for your comments.
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Old 05-18-2009, 01:35 PM   #5
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I will use this for my next review thanks op86X!
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:22 PM   #6
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Yeah, no problem.
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Old 06-02-2009, 01:03 AM   #7
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I have a feeling that if you perhaps color coded the guide it might make it more easier for people to read. Just a suggestion.

Otherwise, I really like your guide Op.
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Old 12-19-2009, 12:36 AM   #8
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It's been six months, so this gets a bump.
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Old 12-19-2009, 01:04 AM   #9
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visualizing, (adding to the color comment) I decided to choose one special color, one font & italics for only my reviews. Made it look way cooler on my last review
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Old 12-21-2009, 11:43 AM   #10
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can i make video reveiws?
THIS IS MY IDEA AND IF ANYOBDY TAKES IT FROM ME IM HUNTING YOU DOWN!!!!!!!!

like talk about the game along with a written reveiw in case nobody wants to read?
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