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Forums > Submission Feedback > Muk1000's Gears of War review

This thread is in response to a review for Gears of War on the Xbox 360. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: June 17, 2008 (01:49 PM)
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You asked for critiques of your other work in your shameless forum topic, so I thought I'd step in and provide one. I'm pointing to pretty much every flaw I find all at once, which I hope won't be overwhelming since overall this was a good review and leads me to believe that you will go on to someday write some fantastic pieces if you keep at it. I hope that you will. Now on with my nitpicks...

Though you do a good job of avoiding it in some places, there are others where repetition mars your review. For example, the second paragraph contains the game's title three times, which seems a bit much given its length.

The start of the third paragraph includes 'game' thrice in short order, as well. Try using relevant synonyms to cut back on that a bit, or even just 'it' when appropriate.

That same paragraph also has problems with frequent changes of past/present perspective. Stick to one or the other.

In paragraph four:

The story is compelling and entertaining, but it’s not the game’s strongest area. Chances are you’ll be playing for the gameplay, not the story.

This was already established in the previous paragraph. There's not really any reason to go over it again here. The reference to great dialogue and voice acting and cutscenes that follows is perhaps relevant, but you don't really give any details that would make it feel like more than a throw-away comment here.

Your third paragraph from the end again repeats 'games' way too often for comfort. Word repetition isn't necessarily lethal to a review, but here--as it often does--the regular use of that same term takes some of the life out of the material. Such things readers notice in the back of their mind, even if they couldn't tell you afterward what made your piece seem drier than you had planned.

As a matter of fact, one of the things your writing most needs is attention to how to avoid repeating 'game' too often. As you write future reviews, pay attention to each use. When you find yourself using the word more than once in a given paragraph, ask yourself if there was another word you could have used instead, or a pronoun, or just a different way of phrasing things that could bring more life to the piece.

With all of that said, the positive point I would emphasize again is that this is a good review. There were some places where you definitely injected personality, and I liked some of the points where you went into depth (such as the reload mechanics, which I found interesting and relevant). Don't be discouraged by the things you aren't doing quite right just yet. Instead, consider the many hurdles your writing has already overcome. Remember also to stick around for Review of the Week topics. They're great for motivation and the tips provided in such topics can help all of us to improve!

"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto on secret doors to another world

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Author: dagoss
Posted: June 17, 2008 (02:58 PM)
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I wrote feedback before I saw that Honestgamer gave feedback. Now I feel redundant. You can have my feedback anyway though!

1st paragraph: There really isn't anything here that grabs my attention and makes me want to read on. The 3rd sentence is a little awkward. I’m not really sure that describing the game as “excellent and flawed” in your first sentence is the best way to go, largely because the rest of the review doesn’t really touch on any game breaking flaws but also because it’s such a put off.

2nd paragraph: I think it's safe to assume that the reader knows that GoW is a 3rd person shooter and that they know what a 3rd person shooter is. I think you would benefit greatly by discussing what separates GoW from other 3rd person shooters, mainly is blending of methodical duck-n-cover with intense shooting. As far as gameplay is concerned, that’s really where the game shines, so I think you need to focus more on that.

3rd and 4th paragraphs: These paragraphs could probably be combined and perhaps condensed a bit. If the story isn’t inspired or important, then you should probably stick to what is covered by the single-player campaign (which, by the way, is how long again?). The quality of the voice acting should be mentioned when you discuss visuals and sound rather than here.

5th and 6th paragraphs: It’s good that you focus on some of the unique aspects about GoW, like the reloading. Perhaps more on the weapons? I’ve heard that some of the weapons are very unique. (I’ve also heard that the size of the arsenal is disappointing.) You probably want to explain why the combat is actually fun, rather than just describe it. From what I’ve seen of the game, the melee attacks (esp the chainsaw) are pretty traumatic, with the camera tilting, limbs flying every which way, and blood smearing the screen. Does that have an effect on how the game feels when you play it? Is it satisfying? etc.

7th paragraph: You could probably go into more depth here. “Great” and “some of the best” doesn’t really tell the reader what’s so good. For example, I’m not sure what you mean by “fully orchestrated, epic music.” So is all the music classical? Is it subdued and melodramatic? Is it heart pounding with electric guitars? Likewise you don’t really cover the game’s aesthetic style, except its “copious use of brown and gray.” The character design is just brimming with testosterone. Style looks like it’s a really big part of this game.

8th and 9th paragraphs: The inability to play as a “party” sounds like a legitimate complaint, as is the lack of a quick match feature (it does lack that, right?). Lag however is a fault with the XBL service and/or your ISP. I’m not sure what you mean why saying that the “weapons the host wields are like a completely different set” (my emphasis). So the host starts with different weapons? What? Do you mean that lag makes it seem like their weapons are better than yours? It doesn’t really seem fair to claim that the lag is this significant; lag is part of online games and generally (but not always) not specifically the fault of the game.

Overall, this is a good review. It gave the reader an idea of what the game is like and what you thought of it. The prose could use some work, but it gets the job done.

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Author: Muk1000
Posted: June 18, 2008 (12:34 AM)
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Yay! This is the kind of stuff I was hoping for.

I really appreciate the comments. I'd be lying if I said I'd never noticed my tendency to repeat words over and over, something that I tend not to notice as I write. I really should be better with my proofreading, I'd probably catch a lot of that...

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