December 27, 2011

Say Hello to the New Review Layout!

As you may or may not know, I famously (well, I'd like to think so, anyway) created the review system for both The Players Republic and Twinfinite. If you'd like, you can read about it here. I never actually got to use this system over here at Installation 04, but the more I think about it the more I dislike about it. The execution, in my opinion, still needs work. So I've decided to streamline, reorganize, and birth a whole new review layout based on my original system. This will be used in all future reviews here at I04, and I think readers will really dig it. As always, I'm on a mission to write the highest-quality reviews around. Details lie beyond the break.

The first thing I did was keep what worked. As we have been doing for some years, our reviews will still lack a score. The body of the review being split into three sections will also stay, though I'm making this simpler to understand. Each section will still contain a summary of the main points at the end, organized by positive, negative, and subjective and color coded. The "Reviewer Impression" will stay but be altered slightly.

Now for the new stuff:

I knew before that many reader simply skip to the end of a review to read the score. Since we don't provide a score, I came up with the color-coded summary idea so readers can skip the the section most relevant to them and get the main points very quickly. Having said that, the one at the very end which combines the three from the body is being scrapped. It's ugly and unnecessary. It's easy enough just to scroll through and read the three separately.

Next, I have decided that, since people like to skip to the end for the summary, why not put the conclusion at the beginning? I know that sounds like an oxymoron (starting with a conclusion? lolwut), but readers who want that can get in and out quickly that way, especially because that'll be the bit before the pagebreak. This section will henceforth be known as "The Lowdown".

Following The Lowdown is the "Reviewer's Impression". This has been shortened and moved up the top of the review. In it (I plan for it to be a paragraph or shorter), the reviewer gives his own impression of the game. This is meant to compliment the above section that is intended to be as objective as possible based on the body of the review. It'll usually fall into a few categories such as: favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or neutral. I don't plan on color-coding this or including any of those tags because I don't want readers thinking it's some sort of score. The above explanation is just for reference.

The body of the review (for those that choose to read it) will be known as "The Breakdown" and will attempt to answer three major questions:
  1. How does the game play?
  2. How is the overall experience?
  3. Is it worth the money?
These coincide with the sections of the previous version of this system (playability, production, value), but the new headings make it easier for everyone to understand what they're about. Each concludes with a summary of the +positive, -negative, and •subjective points. Again, when I say positive or negative, I mean things that are as close to universally good or bad as can be. It's meant to be objective in this way. The yellowish points can go either way depending on the type of gamer.

And that's it! I hope to get some reviews up soon using the new system to try it out and get feedback.

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