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Sven Wohl avatar 9:48 AM on 03.05.2011  (server time)
My Experience as a Videogame Reviewer, Month 6

You know, it's somewhat unsettling and surprising to me that after six months, I'm still doing this job. Writing a videogame review week after week after week, just like any other daily routine I have. If I had a time machine and could tell my former self that I would be doing this while being a student, I'd slap myself in the face. The sheer thought that there are some crazy people, willing to pay me for writing down my opinion of a game for a newspaper is nothing short of mind-boggling. Yet, here I am, writing a blog about my experiences of the sixth month into this.

In my last blog, the descriptions of the review processes were shorter than before, and some requested having a more in-depth view into the review processes themselves. That wish shall be granted, but I want to open another topic first. This time, I want to briefly talk about social media and how important they are, if you want to get into the 'writing stuff about videogames'-business. I don't know about your stance on social media, but one thing is for certain: Facebook and Twitter are helping to bring down regimes in North Africa and the Middle East. Meaning, they can also be of great help, when it comes to promoting your stuff.

First rule of thumb here: promote everything you write everywhere where it makes sense. It's also important to be consistent about it, since some of your followers will only react to stuff you put on these platforms. Twitter is great, because it makes promoting stuff quite easy. Facebook on the other hand is a bit more complex: If you have connections to certain local stores that have their own Facebook page, ask for permission to share links on their walls. Are you member of a local or national gaming group? Do the same there. It helps your popularity and you are almost certain to get feedback. If you don't get feedback immediately, you can always ask for some constructive criticism. I have yet to check out Tumblr, so if anyone has experiences of that, feel free to share!

Alright, I think that is enough about that. Down to the reviews. Remember, I always include the links to the original reviews. If you want to read them, rune them through Google Translator or something similar, you'll get the gist of it. Feel free to tweet and like them too!

Monday Night Combat (Steam)

This review has been a long time in the making. I initially started playing the Beta right away, since I really liked the game on Xbox Live Arcade. Back then, it came out mere weeks before I started doing reviews regularly, so I couldn't use it in the first go. Fortunately enough this version came around. After initially mixed impressions of the Beta, which was kind of a mess, I waited until the game was released (after being pushed back twice).

Reviewing a multiplayer online game is always different, since your experience depends on other people participating. In a worst case scenario, you'll have problems to connect to any games or find good parties for co-op stuff. After having wrestled down initial connection problems, however, I was able to enjoy myself. The review benefited from me being able to draw comparisons to the Xbox Live arcade version, which always is a plus. I did spend around ten hours with the game before actually writing the review. It was then that I felt having narrowed down all the small differences and felt like being able to write something cohesive about it. All in all, the piece is fairly standard in it's writing, but effective and informative.

Speaking of reviews that have been a long time in the making, the week later, I published my review of:

DC Universe Online

I got that one on launch day and decided to play the whole free month that comes with buying the game in order to review it. After initially positive impressions and playing it regularly for about a week, I found out that I had huge problems with this game. Those huge problems led to one of my very best reviews I have written so far!

The thing is, I played the game for a week, and then didn't play it for two weeks. Not because of time schedule problems or anything like that, no. It was simply because it was not a whole lot of fun. It took me quite some time, to figure out why that is, but it was when I talked to Aurain, what the problems were that I had with this game: It reduces Superheroes (and heroine) down to the bare minimum. Which in this case would be, punching (among other things) Supervillains (and vice versa of course). By doing that, the whole point of superheroes having alter egos, daily lives, personal problems, you know, the interesting stuff, is just left outside. Heck, if I make a superhero, I want to have my personal equivalent to the Batcave!

This resulted in a fairly long paragraph of me describing why the game already fails in its concept because it can't get the essence of comic book heroes right. I got a lot of feedback about this review, and that makes me quite happy.

Dead Space 2

One of the first big games this year, Dead Space 2 certainly was different from the stuff I did in February up to that point: I only had a week with the game before writing the review and it had both a Single- and Multiplayer experience.

My biggest problem during this review was to determine how far I should judge the game on it's 'Horror'-premise. While playing the game, I was thinking to myself that it is a quite effective shooter, and that is actually what I went with in the end. Nice shooting, some ineffective horror elements and way too much splatter. It actually came to the point where I thought it was quite tasteless, and that element also found it's way into the review itself. It was more dominant in the first version than in the final one though. After several corrections, I told myself it was not that much of a problem to me, so I toned it down. Still, I wanted to include some ambiguity in face of the violence, hence the challenging title of the review (roughly translated: 'Overly violent?').

Mass effect 2 (PS3)

I was actually quite thankful to Bioware for releasing a port of Mass Effect 2 for the PS3. This is mostly due to the fact that it is my favorite game of 2010 and reviewing it was quite a lot of fun. I rushed through the game, since I had completed it already twice before, once on the highest difficulty. It was a breeze, I didn't notice any real big differences and could thus concentrate on the narrative and the like.

The review wasn't as positive as I suspected it would turn out. Having played the game so many times, I could narrow down some problems with it, that I would not have been able to if I had played it only once. The judgment of your moral choices by game is stupid, for the lack of a better word and the game has some lengths. I was happy about being able to point out some of these because else, the review would have been way too positive and unbalanced in a way.

Alright, that's it for February. I hope you liked it! If you have any comment or question, write them in the comment section. Remember, you can find me on Twitter (@Subenu), so feel free to add me there!

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