Review Guidelines – Games

Review Guidelines - VR Today Magazine

Welcome  to VR Today’s official review guidelines. On the following few paragraphs, you’ll find a step-by-step explanation of how our reviews work: How each element of the game is taken into careful consideration, as well as the calculation leading up to the final score of the review.

What We Look For

When reviewing games at the magazine – what we do is evaluate each element separately, and then compile an average verdict based on how each element has scored as we have gone through the list. This helps ensure that you get a fair and holistic evaluation of the content we are testing.

Gameplay mechanic:

The gameplay mechanic is the first giveaway if playing a game is going to be an enjoyable experience or not. This point is the very first thing we address. Unlike PC games and controllers, Virtual Reality apps and games don’t have decades of history to guide us. Because of this, we pay extra special attention to this element of the review.

Sound effects and music:

Music and sound effects can be compelling and valuable assets to any game. It should add value to the game, not subtract it. Music and sound effects can be the difference between a good game and a phenomenal game.

Storyline (If applicable):

The storyline is essentially the plot of the game. If the game has a storyline we’ll be looking at how well does the storyline tie into the game and does the game designer draw us into the story like a movie director draws us into the movie. Are we moved by the character’s actions and emotions? Do we associate with the characters in any way, shape, or form? These are some of the questions we ask ourselves when evaluating the storyline of a game.

Artwork & Cinematic:

Art in any fashion, whether it be 2D or 3D, characters,environments, or even UI play an important role in any game or app. While there are a plethora of art styles to be explored, there are several factors that count when we are reviewing the overall visual impressions of a game. Consistency and expression is one of them. Last but not least, level of detail is one of the things on top of our list.

Cost

The final thing we evaluate before closing the review and publishing it, is the cost of the product, based on the experience it delivers. If we feel there is a mismatch between cost and quality, we are going to tell you why.

Review Scale

Our reviews score on a point-scale from 1.0 to 10.0, giving a wide area of possible evaluation verdicts. To help you better understand the scale on which all of this is taking place, below you will find each of our verdicts, and general criteria.

10.0 : Editor’s Choice Award

This is our highest recommendation. Since we don’t believe a truly perfect game exists, the Editor’s Choice Award from VR Today comes as close as we could possibly hope for. These are award winners in the making that we hope will influence game design for all genres. Developers who are lucky enough to score this high can usually expect at least one award at several top-tier game industry conferences around the globe.

8.0 – 9.9 : Fantastic

We highly recommend you not only play these games, but you go out and buy it as soon as humanly possible. If we call a game Fantastic, that means we’re seriously impressed. It could be a mechanic that’s been used dozens of times or something that’s just been invented and soon to be copied. You’ll remember this game when asked “what are your top 5 favorite games?”.

8.0 – 8.9 : Great

These games usually have something that will stick out and make you remember it for one reason or another. It’s probably the awesome multiplayer experience, orchestra based musical score by Austin Wintory or Chance Thomas, or an incredible storyline like King’s Quest or Grim Fandango.

6.0 – 7.9 : Good

There is nothing wrong with this game but for some reason it just didn’t “wow” us for one reason or another. A solidly good game at the core, but nothing exceptional about the story, music, or art. Most of the games will typically fall somewhere in this range.

4.0 – 5.9 : Below Average

If you have absolutely nothing else to do with your time and money, go ahead and pick up this game. After all, you’ve already bought all the other ones and are now just digging in the bargain bin for something to desperately take your attention away from homework, a boring conference call, or an excuse for your partner because the “I have a headache” excuse is too old by now!

2.0 – 3.9 : Bad

Even though it might be free, we’d advise you to stay away from this game. Why? Chances are because it made us nauseous, had horribly difficult puzzles in the game for no apparent reason, or it was thrown together as a dare to see if the developer could make any money.

0.5 – 2.0 : Awful

This is the type of game where you want to not only turn off your VR rig and accompanying computer, but you then want to burn it down to the ground because it made you lose all hope for any future games to come. We don’t expect many games would get this rating but we’ll see!

Q & A:

Who are your reviewers, and what are your requirements for entry?

Our reviewers are all game developers themselves, with ties close to actually building content. While we appreciate reviews from casual gamers and enthusiasts, we do prefer for our reviewers to have more than just hands-on experience with games as a consumer. A deeper knowledge of what works and what doesn’t work, and an ability to articulate with an expertise is something we highly value in our reviewers and are proud to work with. Not all websites can say that their reviewers are game developers, and we’re especially proud of this fact.

I’m a developer and I have a game. Will you review it?

If you have a game you would like for us to review, we’d be more than interested in taking a look at what you have been building! Reach out and give us access to the game, as well as relevant promotional material so our coverage of your content is easier, and requiring less research and more focus on actual evaluation.

If you do have a game, you will need to send us the following:

  • Steam keys, preferably 2, so we can evaluate the game
  • Screenshots (no less than 5 please)
  • A title screenshot
  • Link to either video, a trailer or cinematic content

We can do either a Preview (the game is not finished and still in Steam Early Access, for example) or Review of a finished game.

If you have something you’d like for us to evaluate, please email us at reviews@vrtodaymagazine.com

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