What Makes a Video Game Review Good?

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I love game reviews. I often read a number of them on a game that I am considering owning before I purchase it. Ign.com is a great site that not only provides game reviews, but also previews, cheats, walkthroughs, and anything else you can think of involving video games. Their review of Bayonetta for the Xbox 360 is just on example of a good review that can be found on their site.

A good video game review lets the players know what they are in for with a particular game without giving away any major plot points. Ign's review of Bayonetta first compares the game to other action titles such as Devil May Cry and God of War and then instantly states that Bayonetta is better than those titles; a bold statement that immediately lets the reader know that Bayonetta is a great game without the reader having to go through the entire article to find that out (in keeping with the inverted pyramid style used in writing articles in professional journalism).

The review typically addresses the things that all games have in common: controls, graphics, story and replay value just to name a few. The reviewer can either compare the controls, for example, of the game in review to other similar games or just explain them right out. While reviews are opinion pieces, the reviewer should still remain rather unbiased... simply stating whether or not they think the game is worth playing, listing both the positives and negatives of the game, and not talking about personal feelings about the developer/publisher/etc. (example: if a Nintendo fan reviews a Sony Playstation game, they should not be harsh on the game just because it is not made by their favorite game company).

Also, Ign.com and other gaming sites now have video reviews, during which the editors/writers not only tell the viewer about the game, but also show them clips of the actual game in action. I often prefer to watch these instead of reading through the written review when I am online. Ign.com features a video review of Bayonetta which you should also check out... the same mechanics of a written review are intact, but exciting visuals that drive home the point the reviewers are making about the game are added!

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Jessie Krehlik said:

I visit Ign frequently too, especially to check out their screenshots and videos. They do have some pretty amazing review on there too. Have you checked out Gamespot? They have a lot of nice stuff too, but I've noticed that some of the media is limited to paid-prescription members :-(
I liked what you said about reviews being both opinionated and unbiased because they have to speak to such a large audience. It's tough to please everyone. I think the reason these reviews are able to remain unbiased while still being opinionated is because they still manage to back up their opinions with facts about the game.

Cody Naylor said:

I enjoy Gamespot too! But yes, sadly with both IGN and Gamespot there are certain areas of the site that are only available to paying members... thanks for the feedback too!

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