The Gamer's Journal logo
Home Games Articles Changelog Links

Articles > How to Review a Game

Posted: August 23rd, 2006
Last Updated: August 24th, 2006

Now, i'm not an expert on the subject. I have enough criticism on my own reviews and articles that I write for spelling, grammar, and punctuation. This isn't really a technical guide in that sense, it's a thought process guide. I decided to write this article because of a review that I seen on GameFAQs. This review was written for Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.

For you to actually review a game, you need to have played the game first of all. I know this seems like a pretty basic thing, but i've seen reviews where they must have just been looking at screenshots, because they knew absolutely nothing about the game. Another thing is to review a game, you should of beaten it, and this means without codes or cheats. Although, I personally don't use walkthroughs (unless I am in dire need), I don't think they should be used too heavily when reviewing a game either. One of the reasons is because it changes the game's difficulty rating. If a game is really hard to most, and you use the walkthrough it makes the game fairly easy for you, and most would review it as such.

You also have to be careful with spoiling certain aspects of the game. It's alright to allude to certain things, but when your giving away plot and outcome, it's generally not a good read, especially when you are reading the review before you play the game. It really depends on the circumstances and the game though. Some games have barely any story or plot to begin with. But I wouldn't go around reviewing a game like Final Fantasy VII and spoiling the ending in the first paragraph of my review (and yes, I have seen exactly that).

Here's an excerpt from the actual review that I was talking about (keep in mind this is one of the few negative reviews for this game):

"When you're in caves, you often can't see the demons that are haunting you and damaging you when there is seemingly nothing there"

Even if you haven't played this game before, you should know this probably isn't the game's intent. This tells me a couple things about the reviewer.
  1. He didn't even get past the first palace.
  2. Which means he probably played the game for less than 15 minutes.
  3. He didn't have the common sense to put two in two together. I mean, even a novice gamer would probably figure out you need some type of illuminating tool. I mean, it is a Zelda after all.

I'd like to see his review of Super Mario Bros. It would probably go something like this: "Your character is kind of small, and all these creatures are trying to attack you for some reason. I also fell into a hole and died".

So to sum it up. Play the game, beat the game (if you don't, say it in your review), don't cheat, don't rely heavily on a walkthrough, don't spoil important plot, and just have some common sense.

Home Games Articles Changelog Links