What better way is there to unwind after a tough day than to spend some quality time with your favorite PC game? It doesn’t matter whether your preferences tend more towards complex first person shooters or simple hidden object games. An hour or two behind the computer screen might be just what you need to forget all about your troubles. If you are one of those people with a passion for gaming, and the time to sample many titles, why not try your hand at writing PC game reviews?
Don’t let anyone tell you that PC game reviews aren’t important. People don’t go out and buy any old game arbitrarily, especially if they have a limited gaming budget. How do they make their decisions on what titles they should or should not purchase?
• They’ve played the game demo and they like it.
• It’s the latest sequel in a beloved series.
• It’s gotten pretty good PC game reviews.
Reviewing your favorite PC game titles can be a fun way of sharing your passion for a particular genre while helping other enthusiasts make informed choices. Not only that, but there are a number of sites that will actually pay you for well written PC game reviews, the emphasis here being on well written. Everyone has their own opinions and anyone can put those down on paper. You need to stand out above the rest by providing concise and useful information in a manner which proves that you actually have played the title in question.
The first thing you need to remember is to not be overly ambitious. Stick to genres that you actually have an interest in. This will keep you focused and objective, rather than revealing a preset bias against a game or being overly zealous should a particular title prove to be a pleasant surprise. However, zeroing in on one type of PC game alone is not without its downfalls. You can easily become jaded by the perceived lack of anything new and forget that your readers are not necessarily as obsessed as you are. Pick a subset of game types that are similar to each other to write your PC game reviews on. For example, if you enjoy role playing games, why not include some strategy and time management titles in your collection?
Writing good PC game reviews depends, in a large part, on knowing your audience. Are you dealing with hardcore gamers or the casual game enthusiast? Determining this up front will tell you exactly how in depth you need to be. Regular gamers are unlikely to be concerned with every single facet of game play while the more devoted fan probably won’t care that the colors are pretty.
That brings us to the PC game reviews themselves. What are the sorts of things that you’ll be expected to highlight?
Requirements: This is often one of the most important parts of any PC game review. Just because someone may be interested in a particular title doesn’t mean that it was made to run on their machine. Be sure to list the manufacturer’s specifications, as well as those of your computer if they happen to be different. It’s possible that some games may still run well on a PC with lower specifications, but there are often problems with game play and graphics.
Genre: There was a point in time when game genres were pretty clear cut. Now there are more genres than you can count and most people have a preference for at least one or two. Be sure to state what type of game it is that you’re reviewing. Be as accurate as possible. Don’t just say that it’s a First Person Shooter. Is it set in a particular time period? Does is classify as Survival Horror?
Story: This isn’t quite as applicable to small games, but most of the larger offerings can have very complex storylines, especially role playing games. Why is this important? Many gamers like to feel themselves immersed in a story. If the plot doesn’t make sense then the game play can often seem unsatisfying, unless you happen to like walking around and whacking things for no reason. You don’t need to give away the entire plot. Just summarize enough to say whether it’s reasonable or not.
Game Play: This can encompass so many things, depending on the type of PC game reviews you’re writing. One thing that is common to all games though is navigation. Were the controls easy to use and can they be defined by the user? Are you allowed to save your progress? Does the game have multiplayer capabilities and how well do these work? You may prefer to play by yourself but many gamers rather share the fun.
Graphics: There are games, especially within the Fantasy and Action Adventure genres, that are quite frankly visually stunning. Unfortunately this is not always the case. Some graphics can be garish or just plain amateurish, and end up being more irritating than anything else. There may be points within the game when it’s so dark that it’s almost impossible to see. While this technique may work in titles such as the Silent Hill series, it’s not something you want to run into in a racing game for example.
Try to be as objective as possible and not go into things with any preconceived notions about a particular title. It should be obvious but never attempt to write PC game reviews without actually playing the games yourself. Regurgitating another person’s review is not only ethically wrong but you run the risk of replicating their own biases, and that can seriously backfire on you. Especially if their PC game reviews contain inaccurate information. Start small and see what kind of feedback you get before trying your hand at the major titles.
R.D.Wylder is a part time freelancer and amateur author.