Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Top 10 boss fights, and why writing reviews is hard.

A while ago (of course) I wrote a list of the top 10 Boss Fights for GodisaGeek. I'm very pleased with it, and you can find it here. Or by clicking on the picture of handsome loner Kanji, below.

I also wrote a review of the mind-bogglingly epic Skyrim. For some reason I can't quite put my finger on, I'm not so happy with this. I suppose I shouldn't say that about something that appears on another site, but it's true. Normally when I write a review, I avoid reading too much about the game itself, preferring to focus my research on background knowledge, the series' history, its influences and the aims on the design and development team. With Skyrim, I had to read quite a lot about the game itself because it's so massive that it's hard to get a handle on it with just 10 days' play. This meant that I found it very hard to say something original.

Not that being original should be the aim of a review, of course. It's good if you can offer something, a new perspective that no other reviewer can, but really, you should try to convey the experience of playing the game to someone who is wondering whether they should play it. Mentioning specific points of interest such as particularly effective (or not) elements of gameplay is important, but it's most important to express the feeling you get from playing the game. If the reader is after that kind of feeling, they'll want to play it too. If not, they'll go after something else.

I'm not sure I managed that with the Skyrim review. Everyone knows it's huge, it's epic, it's Tolkeinesque, and it will keep you immersed for months. I don't think I really contributed anything new. Never mind. It's functional, and will hopefully help jaded Oblivion players make up their mind whether to play it.

Plus, you know, it's on GodisaGeek, which automatically makes it at least 64.5% better.