SmashPad’s New Review Format

Sometimes you've got to try new things not because the old way doesn't work, but because you get a new idea that is more interesting and worth pursuing. With that in mind, we've got a new review format that will be debuting this week with a few new reviews to give you a look at what to expect from us going forward.

The first thing you'll notice about the new format is that we've replaced the rigid format of the past with a new set of three questions that gets down to the point of why you're reading the review and what we want to tell you about the game. Don't expect this to mean that our reviews will be short and simplistic, as this just cuts out the need to address parts of the game that don't really matter. We've allotted for about the same amount of words in the new format, so just expect a more concise review from now on.

"What's It About?" tells you about the premise of the game, it's story, and whatever else you need to know about the game. "Why Should I Care?" is more about the gameplay, modes, and features that makes the game stand out amongst the crowd since you can already make certain assumptions about a lot of games based on their genre. "What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?" gets to the point of whether the game has the quality and/or quantity of content to make it worth a purchase, rental, or if you should look elsewhere.

In addition to the main three questions, we will also be putting out a call to you, the readers, for an additional question or two for each review that you may have about those games. I'll have a new post on Fridays highlighting the reviews we expect to have for the following week, so feel free to look for the article each Friday, post some good questions about whatever you'd like some info on, and see if you get your question answered in the review. As you may expect, these questions won't be in our first few reviews with this format since we're still getting used to the new format, so keep an eye out for our initial user questions article on this upcoming Friday.

The other big change you may notice is that we have also changed our review scale, as we're no longer doing the full 100 point scale from 1-10 that was largely determined by a formula we used from our days at Gamer 2.0. Instead, we're moving to a 20 point scale from 1-10, which means that there are just .5 increments between the whole numbers along with not using a formula to determine that final score. This lets us review these games with scores that have more tangible differences between the next scores above and below them. We will be the first to readily admit that a 7.9 and an 8.0 have almost no difference between them as far as we could tell, but the difference between a 7.5 and an 8.0 is much more noticeable. You will still get the recommendation next to the score as to whether you should buy, rent, demo, or skip the game in case you want a quick idea of what's in the review.

Though it feels a bit cheesy to say "That's not all," we do have one additional part of the new format to inform you about. It's an editor's note that will appear at the end of the review that will give you readers some quick information about whether the copies of the game that is being reviewed was provided by the publisher, developer, or by our own wallets. We'll also disclose information about how long we've played the game, whether we've beaten the game, and in which modes we've played the game along with anything else that might be useful or informative about the game.

With these changes, we're hoping that our reviews become more interesting and informative to read since we've cut out the fluff that isn't as necessary as whether the game is good and fun to play. We are eagerly looking forward to your feedback to see if there are still some things we should tweak in the coming weeks as this busy holiday season gets into the swing of things. Our first few reviews in the new format should be coming tomorrow with reviews of Plants vs. Zombies and Sonic Adventure on XBLA and/or PSN.