Writing a video game review can be a great way to share your experience and knowledge. Learn how to write a game review below.
When a new video game comes out, you can’t wait to play the game. If you’re deep into the game world, you’re also likely interested in what gaming sites have to say about your new game, whether review sites view the game favorably, and what the game mechanics will be like during your first-time playing experience.
It can be fun to share your thoughts on a new video game with others, and it can help other gamers decide whether the game would be a good fit for them.
If it’s your first time reviewing games, it’s likely that you have a lot of questions. You might be unsure of the word count you should aim for as you review games, or you might not be sure of whether you should give an objective view or your own opinion on a particular game.
Whether you’re writing your first indie review for fun or you’re ready to break into the world of gaming journalism, our step-by-step guide will tell you everything you need to know about writing reviews on video games.
Step 1: Choose Your Audience
Before you dig into writing your first review of a video game, it’s key to know your audience. If you want to write for gaming sites, you might write differently than if you were crafting a review for your own website.
If you’re still working to develop your writing skills, you might consider writing for social media or your own website before you try to get a video game review picked up by a large publication.
If you feel that you’re able to write a good review for a gaming publication, be sure to check with the specific publication for their requirements for reviews. Some publications may require that you follow a certain format or meet a certain word count in order to be considered for publication.
Step 2: Choose Your Game And Start Playing
After you’ve selected the audience that makes the most sense for your review, it’s time to select a good game. It’s smart to start with a new game that hasn’t been heavily reviewed.
As you begin to gain credibility in the video game world, you may find that companies reach out to you to allow you to test out games before they’re released to the general public.
You’ll want to spend seven to ten hours playing the game before you begin your review. Whether you choose a mainstream game (like an IGN-created option) or an indie game, you’ll want to be sure that you take the time necessary to provide your readers with valuable information.
Step 3: Collect Information
You may want to set an alarm to go off every ten to fifteen minutes as you play to help you remember to pay attention to the positives and negatives of the game. Excellent video games can make you feel like you’re transported to another world, and it can be easy to lose focus on your review. Setting an alarm to remind you to jot down notes from time to time can help you stay on task as you play. Pay attention to sound effects, visual effects, and other factors that people debating purchasing the game may want to learn about.
Accompanying your thoughts with screenshots to help readers get a visual of what you’re trying to convey can be helpful. Be careful not to reveal spoilers (or fully warn readers if spoilers are impossible to avoid).
Step 4: Create A Review Outline
Your review should have a brief introduction (if it’s a new game, explain why the game is trending), followed by a few body paragraphs that explain what you did and didn’t like about the game.
This review on The Gunk does a great job at sharing both positive and negative points about the game:
What could be a silent, Metroid-style dive into buried secrets thus becomes something slightly different. The Gunk is as much about the bond between this duo and their difficult situation as what they find. The act of exploring is pushed and pulled between their two perspectives – a simple twist on an old formula that’s easy to appreciate. It’s a shame then that the planet itself renders their adventure a little flat.
There’s no need for your outline to be comprehensive—a few rough bullet points can help you stay on task as you begin to create your full review.
If you’re reviewing Xbox or Playstation games for an online publication, you may need to check in with your editor to discuss whether they’d like you to make changes before you move forward with writing your article.
Step 5: Write Your First Draft
Go back to your outline and begin to flesh out each point, expanding on what you did and didn’t like about the game. Be sure to keep your desired word count in mind so that you’re able to keep each section to a similar length.
As you begin your draft, create an introduction that draws the reader in, like this review on Solar Ash:
I’m increasingly convinced that movement-driven games aren’t just my type of game; they’re the best type of game. Demonstrably – mathematically, even. Because a game that turns the simple act of getting to point B into a constant delight, and then presents infinite points to get to, is always at its best. No dips, no clutter, just 100% uptime on the thing you signed up for.
If you find that you’re struggling to express your thoughts while staying under the appropriate word count, reach out to your editor to discuss whether they’d be comfortable with a longer game review.
Focus on expressing yourself as you write your review, and try not to worry too much about mechanics during your first draft. You’ll have plenty of time to polish your draft during your revision.
Step 6: Revise
When you complete your draft, it’s time to go back and revise. Carefully review your text, and keep an eye out for spelling and grammatical errors. You may want to run your text through an online spelling and grammar tool to ensure that you’ve corrected all mistakes.
Consider asking another gamer who has played the game to take a look at your review before you submit it for publication. Getting another set of eyes on your work can be a valuable tool in ensuring that you’ve hit all the necessary main points.
Step 7: Publish
After you’ve revised and cleaned up your draft, it’s time to publish. Whether you choose to share your draft on social media, with friends, a gaming website, or a print publication, be sure to share your work.
The Final Word On How To Write A Game Review
If you’re getting started with writing video game reviews, you’ll want to identify your audience, get experience playing the game, and create an outline prior to writing your review. Then, you’ll move on to the writing, revision, and publishing stage. Enjoy the process—sharing your newfound knowledge of the latest video game with other games is fun, exciting, and worthwhile.
FAQs On How To Write A Game Review
Where can you publish video game reviews?
You can publish a video game review on your own website, or you can submit your review to an online or print publication.
What’s the appropriate word count for a video game review?
While requested word counts can differ from publication, most video game reviews are approximately 500 words.
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