Thread Recap (last 10 posts from newest to oldest)
Jul 28, 12 at 12:11pm
Solid Snake 4Life
Reading is Essential
It is almost impossible to be a good writer if you don't pick up something to read now and again, and I'm not just talking about other reviews. You don't necessarily need to start catching up on the works of Poe and Shakespeare, but reading a good book is a great way to increase your understanding of the flow and rhythm of language.
Experiment With Different Formats
If you constrain yourself to one format, then you may never find the one that suits you best. If you've been organizing your reviews into different sections such as; Story, Gameplay, Visuals, etc, then try to do one where you don't. Every time you challenge yourself by stepping outside of your comfort zone, you improve just a little bit more.
Trust Your Instincts
Nobody knows your strenghts and weaknesses better than you do. You've just got to do what feels natural. Vermillion posted in his thread that it's best to brainstorm BEFORE you write but I personally suck at doing that, and most of my reviews are written on the fly. Just because something works for somebody else doesn't mean it will work for you.
Jul 1, 12 at 12:07pm
I love these tips, mostly because I was guilty of some of them starting out or I see them in the reviews in the CRS queue now. I've got a couple to add too, which are normally the main reasons I reject reviews:
Reviews are an assessment of the game, not an opportunity to rant or gush. Though I get when people are excited or annoyed by a game, it doesn't help me as a consumer to read a review whose points boil down to "OMG I love this game" or "OMG this game was awful". I want to know WHY you feel the game is good or bad, so I don't feel I'm reading a fanboy's chatterfest or a hater's shitfest. I guess this falls under bias too, but it also falls in part under being uninformative.
Keep the personal anecdotes to a minimum. I get how describing your own experiences with a game can help qualify your opinion on it, but I honestly don't care if you played the game with your sister at your grandmother's house last summer. It's generally irrelevant information - unless, say, you were using this information to comment on something like the multiplayer elements of the game, the appeal to girls or whatever. I've also seen it used as filler sometimes, where there will be a whole paragraph over the reviewer and his/her entire history playing the game series/games related to the one being reviewed.
User Reviews are your opinion on the game, not a summary of it. A considerable percentage of the user reviews I reject have this problem. Your user review is your opinion on the game, backed up by facts. It is NOT a place where you describe people how the game begins and ends. I actually spoiled myself Zelda: Skyward Sword thanks to a "Summary Review" . People want to know whether they will be happy with the game you are reviewing or not: If they find a summary of the game on it they will know everything and there will be no point in getting the game.
Don't Use Filler Text. A VERY common "newb" pitfall. When we review user reviews, we can detect filler text right away. It's just natural that new writers will want to go around our requirements for user reviews, but understand this: If you can't write way over the requirements, you are doing it wrong. A good review will be past the requirements and it will have very little to none filler text. There is a lot you can say about a game, a lot, a lot, a lot, without having to use filler text at all. By just describing two things in detail (without spoiling), you will get the character requirements out of the way.
Your Point Has To Get Across Since The Beginning. An ideal review will follow that structure of a story: Beginning, middle, an end. The beginning is where you either catch the reader's attention or drift them away. The reader has to have a vague idea about your review since he/she starts reading it. If not, the reader will end up reading something that he/she won't understand.
Try to use media, but don't overuse it. Sorry guys! Using pictures in a Neoseeker User Review won't count "as a thousand words"! It's a great idea to add media to your reviews, but if you over do it then it's not really a user review. If the reader wanted screenshots of a game he/she would go to Google Images or to their preferred screenshots size and if they wanted videos they would go Youtube or to their favorite game video sites.
Redundancy Can Help, but... Don't try to use it to accumulate more characters in your review to fill the requirements and trick us. Redundancy can help highlight your points, but we will detect if you are using it as filler text. Read my second point for more info.
Justify Your Score Yet another beginner trap. Sorry guys, "this game sucks" is not an excuse to give a game a 1.0. If your paragraphs don't justify the score of the game, your review will be extremely biased and people will stop reading it (or, directly rejected by us). While a user review is mostly your opinion, it has a lot of space to add objective points of view. That is, you can say "this game sucks", but if the game had remarkable graphics, you shouldn't ignore them in favor of your own opinion.
It's 4 AM and those are the ones I can think of, but I will add more once I think on them.
Jun 30, 12 at 11:26pm
When it comes down to reviewing, while there are some basic rules that must be adhered to, there is no one definitive style - only what works for the reviewer. Informative (typically the everyman kind of reviewing), casual (the other everyman sort of reviewing), caustic ("I hated this movie. Hated, hated, hated, hated, hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it.") - whatever, the point is, the only people who can help people with their style are people who practice that style themselves. However, while people look for their style, they tend to forget some basics or get some basics wrong. So in this thread, I'll be giving you, reviewers of all shapes sizes and experiences, some tips on reviewing that you may or may not realize that you're probably forgetting!
Introduce us to your cool new friend! When you review something and have to come up with an intro, make it something that'll grab us! Interesting history lessons, bold claims, anything to get us interested in your review that'll inevitably get us to buy/pirate what you're reviewing.
Don't waffle on. Usually a common trap for newer reviewers and somebody who was never told to cut down on information, waffling on is when you just can't seem to shut up! Like, I get it, Shadow Of The Colossus is *bleep*ing awesome - I don't need 20 paragraphs to convince me that it is, indeed, *bleep*ing awesome. Think about what people absolutely need to know. Now, obviously, people will have different opinions on this, so just go on about what YOU think is important, and if you don't know what constitutes as fluff, feel free to ask one of us here in this forum!
Reviews are opinions backed up by facts, not a Wikipedia page! Another common trap for newbies and the more informative of us. Just because some whiny shitbag complains about how biased reviews are, doesn't mean that you even think, for one second, that you can't have opinions, because that is the nature of a review - it's a *bleep*ing opinion! Backed up by facts, yeah, but opinions nonetheless! Don't just put down facts and call it a day, because I'm sure most of us have no desire to read that shit in a review.
Repetition is not criticism! Yet another common newbie trap! In my experience dealing with reviewers of all shapes and sizes, I can't tell you how many times I've told people off for this (if somebody hasn't beat me to it, that is). If I've said it once, I've said over 9000 times - repetition is not a bad thing! It shows that the game has structure! Fair enough if you actually explain your case, because even I think some games are repetitive to a fault (the first Dark Cloud and Assassin's Creed games spring to mind here), but if you just say it's repetitive, then you're a *bleep*ing idiot and don't realize that every game is repetitive! It's called structure!
Alcohol is a necessary evil. Monterey Jack will tell you, straight up, that he can never start a review when he's sober, but when he's drunk, all of a sudden, BAM, inspiration! Too bad he can't finish a coherent review in this state, but nevertheless, if you find that you have writer's block, try getting a little buzzed. Just don't submit them. Basically, draft when drunk and finish when sober.
LERN 2 *bleep*IGN SPEL! While I am probably the last person to tell you this since my English isn't the best in the world, it's still distracting when you don't have much of a grasp on the English language. While most of us here on Neoseeker know our English, eh, I can't say the same for some people on Metal-Archives. If you know your English isn't that great but most of us can't detect it, then you're hiding it well.
Any more that ya'll can add? Feel free to dispute these and any future tips if you have any issue with them!
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