When I first heard the Wall Street Journal wrote a review about Borderlands 2, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. There are a number of video game topics I dreamed WSJ would write about. How do the sales stack up with the rest of the industry? Is the game going to help spark a long drought of video game sales which has seen a decline? When I read the article my heart sank. As the article proceeded I found this was a review of Borderlands 2. This in itself isn’t bad, but I knew what was about to happen. This guy was about to get trolled. I certainly hope he stocked up on flammable weapons and defenses because this is going to be a long week for him.
Let’s clear the air
His opinion is less than stellar of Borderlands 2, and while many would disagree with him, he is entitled to his opinion.
While the community may jump on you for having a differing opinion from time to time, if you break down your opinion with facts and examples from the game you can generally land on your feet. Opinions are best when they’re formed on experience from the game. It’s the same as reading a book or watching a movie. Cite your positives and negatives directly from the subject.
Pay it forward
Not every review written will be a winner. Someone is always going to disagree with you. There are some general rules to consider when writing any review.
- Do not compare the game to other games in the genre. The only exception is to compare it to other games by the same developer.
- Review elements of the game: story, graphics, controls, dialog, multiplayer options, etc. Use these to form your opinion.
- If admittedly you’re not familiar with the genre or the series, say so. Then write the review as a newcomer. Make it clear.
- Do not take “marketing” too literally.
- Follow the game’s rating. M for Mature is for players 17 years or older only. Do not openly admit to breaking that rule/guideline.
Any interested audience, especially in the gaming industry, is highly critical and will pick apart a review if it breaks these rules. If it’s your first time writing a review, look at how other reviews are structured to get an idea what people want to see. Remember, this is the same industry that will ratings or comment bomb you.
Getting to the point
I think the Wall Street Journal does some things better than anyone else. Everyone has their specialty. This is actually the first video game review from it that I’ve seen fall into my lap. Admittedly, I was a little confused why there was a review. Afterward, I looked on WSJ for other game reviews and another appeared for NHL 13. While the comments are far fewer, in general they are negative too. This happens when you write the wrong content for the wrong audience. Get informed. Learn what they want to see.
Or you can change your format.
By all means, throw in some creativity! Don’t make it about a review. Make it about something else. Make it different. Whatever you do, don’t go in guns blazing without knowing what you’re up against.
Don’t Be That Guy – Seriously, no one likes a stereotype and video games are full of them. In the best interest of taking gaming culture out of the shadows, we think it’s best that we leave some of these characters behind.
Author’s Note: I chose not to link to the articles as to not further throw the author under the bus. At the time of publication, the Borderlands 2 review received more than 3,000 comments with nearly 100% negative.