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SilverDragon1979 avatar 2:32 PM on 09.28.2009
My first experience writing a negative game review



Many of you know me as a long time Dtoid community member, but what most of you donít know is that Iíve recently become a senior writer over at Gamer Limit (gamerlimit.com). Iíve only been writing for them a couple of months now, but Iíve tried reviewing as many games as I can, hoping to get more experience so I can get better at it. Lucky for me, most of my reviews so far have all been for really good games like Shadow Complex and The Beatles: Rock Band. That all changed recently when I volunteered to play and review a new Xbox 360 game titled Darkest of Days.

When I first volunteered to review this game, I knew that it wasnít getting good reviews. I hesitated at first because of this fact, but eventually I decided that I shouldnít let other peopleís opinions of a game effect my own judgment. After all, there are plenty of games other people have hated which I loved. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed immediately comes to mind. I also knew that I liked the general premise of Darkest of Days, and that Iíd been interested in it for a while, so I decided to volunteer to review it after all.

What I soon discovered was that it was not only a horrible game, but one of the worst games Iíve ever played. If you want to read my review of Darkest of Days you should head on over the Gamer Limit and look it up, but Iím not going to link it hear because Yojimbo will give me lots of shit for pimping my articles through the Cblogs. What I will tell you is that there were many occasions I seriously considered not finishing the game because of how horrible it was. It only took me 10 hours total to beat it, but it was 10 of the most excruciatingly painful gaming hours of my life.

When I had finally concluded the game and put it back in its box, vowing to never play it again, I discovered that I had created a list of negative notes that were multiple pages in length. I knew it was finally time to begin my review, but I honestly wasnít sure what to do. I knew I wanted to give it a bad score, but I wasnít sure how bad that would be. I decided to turn to my fellow writers over at Gamer Limit and ask for advice. They all told me to give it whatever score I wanted, and to not worry about what anyone else thought.

You know, we bash games all the time here in the Cblogs, and we never really think twice about it. After all, it can be fun to take a game and completely rip it apart, finding every little problem with it and driving a game into the ground because of them. Developers of those games donít typically come to the Dtoid cblogs and read what we have to say though.



Things are quite different at Gamer Limit. When I write a review, we actually mail that review directly to the publisher so they can read it themselves. In this case the developer, 8monkey Labs, gave us a free copy of Darkest of Days, so they were expecting a review from us in a short period of time. When the review you write is going to be sent to and read by the actual people who made it, it makes you stop and think about exactly what you want to say.

These people spent years of their life creating this game, and even though the final product might have ended up bad, you can tell that they put a lot of hard work into it. When someone has spent so much time on something and put so much of themselves into it, it can extremely hard to crush their spirits by telling them how bad of a job they did. Itís happened to me before and I can tell you it sucks! Unfortunately for them they just didnít make a good game, and I couldnít allow my feelings to interfere in the matter.

The other problem I had writing a bad review was I didnít know how it would affect Gamer Limitís relationship with the developer and publisher. This is another reason I asked my fellow writers what I should do. My editor-in-chief specifically told me to not worry about the publisher and to just write exactly what I thought of the game, not letting anything else influence me. He let me know he would take care of the relationship, since that kind of stuff is his job after all.

I decided that the best thing to do was the give them a really bad score, but to make sure I backed up all my reasoning without being childish or immature. I can honestly say that I didnít enjoy writing this review. When I was done, someone I know asked me if I enjoyed tearing down the game. My response to that was an immediate ďnoĒ. I simply could not take pleasure in destroying what someone else had created.

The thing I regret the most was that I spent so much space writing about the negative aspects of the game, I ran out of room to write anything really positive. There actually were some good things about Darkest of Days, but if you read my review you wouldnít know it. Thatís mainly because the positive things are extremely overpowered by all the negative things. I felt like if I was writing such a bad review, I needed to make sure I included as many negative points as possible. This was just one of those hard decisions I discovered I had to make. It sucks, but it is what it is.

As you can see, my first experience writing a bad game review for Gamer Limit was not a very pleasant one. I thought it would be easy, but ended up discovering it was not only hard, but painful as well. Itís just not easy to tell someone that all their hard work didnít pay off, and that they created what essentially is a horrible game. I made it through though, and now that Iíve done one Iíll be more comfortable writing another bad review when the next piece of trash comes along. Thatís not to say that Iíll ever enjoy it though.

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