Poll Question 207 – When do you write a mod review?

15th January 2011

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

This is the second in a short series of polls related to reviewing mods. Last week I asked How many times do you play a mod before reviewing it?, this week it’s about the delay between playing and writing.

I always promise myself that I will make notes during a long mod, so that I don’t forget anything or if I am feeling really ambitious I even promise to start writing the review AS I am playing it, more of a playing diary, than a simple review.

Alas, I suffer the same Jerome K. Jerome’s affliction, that of idleness, and all my plans fall by the wayside once I start playing.

Perhaps the new year will bring about a small change in that regard but I doubt it. I do, however, need to write my reviews as soon after finishing the mod as possible otherwise the few interesting things I may have to say begin to fade, like a dead NPC.

I am very interested to hear how you write your reviews and perhaps I’ll try some different methods. My trouble is that readers now expect my review to appear first which could me a delay in posting the mod if I don’t write the review immediately.

So, how long do you normally wait until you write your review? Do you follow a particular regime in regards to writing reviews?

The Poll


  1. Kasperg

    I consider pausing the game and making notes of a map kind of intrussive to the experience. If I ever write anything down, it would always be while there’s a level change.

    I do take advantage of the ‘take screenshot” key quite often, as it’s a great tool for remembering anything, positive or negative, big or small, inside a given map. The fact that I use screenshots regularly for playtesting and debugging makes it second nature now.

    All the map reviews I’ve written in this site were made right after playing the maps or mods in question. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to forget how things like ambience and mood were crafted.

  2. JohnnyMaverik

    I always at least start my reviews as soon as I’ve finished the mod/game, and for mods seeing as there’s usually not as much to delve into (just because they’re considerably shorter on the whole) finish them on the same day as I play them often enough.

  3. Bramblepath

    I rarely play long mods, and if I play a longer mod then it’s normally too late to bother writing a decent review. Normally, for the few reviews I’ve written, I write them after I finish playing.

  4. If the mod or map is worth it, as I play.
    If not, play twice and comment from memory.

    I make brief notes on first play – transfer to wordprocessor.
    I sometimes need to start again when a mod deserves more attention than I at first thought.
    Play again in Normal or Hard – more notes – word processor.
    Add feeling and thoughts.
    Turn it into a precis. Copy and paste as a review.

  5. I usually wait until I finish a mod before writing a review, but end up forgetting the map sequences on long games and, worse still get some confused with other mods!
    Like Phillip I always intent to make notes but I usually just rely on taking some pictures along the route or use the ones on this site to jog my memory.

  6. I scribble notes on loose paper nearby, and flesh them out later in full form once the mod is completed.

    1. I keep meaning to do that too. It’s pretty easy for me as I have my diary and a pen on my desk.

  7. Kyouryuu

    Like Kasperg, I take screenshots as I play, usually when I see something notable, for better or worse. My hope is that when I go to write a review, a short time after finishing the mod, the screenshots will jog my memory. This is especially true in longer mods.

    1. Gonna try this. Although I normally take LOTS of screenshots, I don’t normally view them with regard to my review.

  8. Grey Acumen

    If I SPECIFICALLY plan on reviewing a mod before I even start playing, then I’ll take notes as I play, and use screenshots for anything that seems worth noting (they do help jog your memory) but I don’t have time to review every single mod I come across.

    Typically I will just play at my own pace and not worry about reviews unless I come across something that either really impresses me, or really feels out of place, off, under par, or that generally seems like they could have been easily made better with just a few tweaks. At that point I’ll switch into review mode.

  9. Hec

    I write, a short time after, because the ideas and the scenes of the mod are vivid and fresh by that time in my mind, so I allways try to write it just short after I played the mod.

    I think I allways make a revission with my inner feelings, so that way I mention what I think are the good and bad points of the mod, altough I allways start with the good points of the mod, I conssider myself as a very optimistic reviewer, only if I find some mods that really sucks I maybe could post a pretty bad review, but I also try to be fair and conssider the efforts of the developer.

    Finally I try to write in a way that I have a contact with the developer and that’s why I also post my ideas and ask for sequels of the mod, if they are possible, or I want to see more stuff from the developer, I don’t know if they really care about my sugestions, (i think like kind of 95% not) but it’s ok, in spite of all im an avid gamer and I allways want more more more!

  10. Zekiran

    I kind of figure that things which stick out to me, or remain in my memory of the mod, will be the things I’ll wind up writing about. I don’t try and go through moment by moment, though I have taken notes on longer ones, knowing that I *would* be writing a review. If I didn’t know that I would, that wouldn’t have happened. So I will pretty much play and either be so impressed or frustrated at the work that I’ll head off right away to write down what I thought, or I’ll be more or less ‘meh” about it, which would mean I’d delay a bit. I’ve done that just today with the L4d in Ravenholm mod actually. 🙂 But generally I will let the writing flow if the mod’s impressed me enough. I take inspiration from many things, so if I wind up inspired while or shortly after playing, that’s almost always an indication that not only will I write a review, but it’ll be a positive one. 🙂

  11. Major Banter

    Fact of the matter is, the longer you wait the more obsolete your review becomes.

    You could weigh up all sorts of factors, from detail to comprehension of the themes, but the first reviews will be read first. Early bird etc.

    And that generally bins any replays to check.

    And frankly, your first opinion is the one every gamer will get – nobody plays with the intention of playing a mod or game several times to get really into it.

    Red Faction Guerilla had a crap control scheme – I got used to it, but the player might not. Factum Solus had no decent signposts – I figured the levels out, but it was very frustrating. Get my point?

  12. WizardExt

    Writing reviews/taking notes as soon as you are finished playing it, or finished playing for that day is probably (if you ask me) the best way to go. Because taking notes while playing the mod isn’t doing the mod justice. The developer would want you to commit and immerse yourself into its universe. Taking breaks to write down notes would break the immersion and the pacing will also be damaged. So I don’t really like the idea of doing the review as you go, but if it works for you then go for it..

    Making the review long after the mod is completed is probably not the best idea either. Then your initial rating and opinion might have faded away. Could probably be awesome to take notes right after the mod is finished and then let the experience melt into your mind and after a day or two write the review.

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