Basically, this is just a guide to help write better reviews. The categories listed are necessary when doing a category format review. The ones that have asterisks in front of them are categories that aren’t necessary but, you could have them depending on the review you’re writing. You may also add categories that apply to the game you are reviewing. This is just a basic overview on how to keep things clean and staying on topic.
Remember, you don’t have to write your reviews in a category format. Reviews can be in a paragraph format or a more creative format (it’s best to check with us first if you’re doing something a little out there). But no matter what format you choose, make sure you discuss all the major points outlined below.
The introduction just gives an overall view on the game without giving away any major details about the game itself. This can be based on opinion or fact. The best thing to do on the introduction is to keep things simple, 4-7 sentences is plenty for the intro. It’s ok to introduce the game as it relates to you, but don’t just introduce yourself. For example, “Hi, I’m Joe, and I’m reviewing Mario Kart DS” isn’t a very good introduction. But, “I grew up playing Mario Kart and have always loved it. Now the series has made its way onto the DS with Mario Kart DS…” is a much better introduction.
When going over the Story in the game, just tell what happens in the beginning of the game. It is also wise to tell the objective of the game as well in this category, but not necessary. The story category is going to describe the plot, setting, and time in the game. It can also describe the characters in the game. You just want to be sure you don’t reveal any major plot turnings or give spoilers. If you wish to do so anyhow, please give a spoiler alert beforehand. In this way, readers who want to see what happens and those who don’t are both satisfied. If you’re reviewing a game without a story, like a sports game, then just completely skip over this section. There’s no need to say “This game doesn’t have a story.”
In this category, you want to describe how the game works. You can write about the different modes in the game, unlockables and character stats if any. Adding how the control scheme works for the game also can go here. The menu and settings are a very good thing to talk about. After giving a brief description, give a little bit of your own opinion about the different modes, settings, or control scheme. Remember, people read reviews so they can get an idea of what a game is like. Just telling them that A is used to jump and B is used to punch doesn’t really give them any insight.
Just talk about how the game looks. The graphics category does not have to just be about the actual polygons or whatnot. This could be about how well the scenery blends in with the game. This could be about the layout of the levels and the way the intro or menu looks. Try to be reasonable though as graphics don’t always make the game. This rule applies with many of the older games, such as ones on the N64. Think back to the days when those graphics were the standard. Meaning don’t give Mario Kart 64 a bad score in the graphics category because the graphics are no match for Mario Kart Wii. Judge the game’s graphics against other games on the console at the time.
In this category, you can just basically describe what you hear. This could be the music or bits of sound in the game. Remember though, the sound isn’t just limited to the music. This can also be about voice acting, sound effects, etc. Try to site specific instances in which the sounds or music really stood out or wasn’t so great.
Replayability or Replay Value
The replayability or replay value describes how enjoyable the game would be if you played it again. Write how the different modes, if any, work with this category. Is it like an arcade game, where replay value thrives? or is it more like an adventure or RPG game where once you play it, you’re done?
Just write about your challenge or struggle with the game. Maybe you can tell how long it took to complete the game or a certain level. This category is up in air as it just describes your personal feelings on how difficult the game is. Just try to site different examples on how hard the game is.
This category describes how much bang you get for your buck. Is the game worth $50 or is it better to wait until it goes on sale for $20? This can tell how long the game is as well if you like.
If there is an abundance of humor in the game, it would be wise to add the humor category. Here, just tell how the game made you laugh, or if it is trying too hard to be funny. This one is also kind of up to you to go all out on opinion.
Many people get this one confused with challenge, as they are similar. These are different though. In frustration, tell how the difficulty level makes things unbearable to play. Just because the game is hard, doesn’t necessarily mean it frustrates you. If the game seems unfair, this would be a good category to put in your review.
Just give an overview on everything you talked about. Tell about the most important things that makes the game stand out as good or bad. Keep things simple, like the introduction. Write on how well you enjoyed the game looking past some of the minor annoyances.
The conclusion is similar to the introduction in it’s simplicity. Bring things to a closing by telling if you would recommend this game to someone else. Just basically tell how you feel about the game.
- Be fair when scoring the game and aspects of the game. Don’t give out perfect scores too freely, reserve that 10/10 for a game that is truly perfect in every aspect. And don’t come down too hard on a game either. Try to be unbiased when reviewing. Even if a game is your all-time favorite, try to look at it from an outsider’s standpoint.
- If you give a game a bad score in a category, explain why. And if you give it a good score, explain why also. Don’t just say the gameplay was good or bad, say what made it so good or so bad. People use reviews to decide if they will buy a game, so they want as much information as possible.