In yesturday’s “one a day” blog by Mr Sinan “shoinan” Kubba, he chanellenges himself (and the rest of the game writing community) the task of producing a review for a game which is 143 words or less. Writing anything about a game within that word count is a task indeed, but observing all the conventions and requirements for a review is a real challenge. Sinan notes a Metro review of Two worlds 2, where, in 143 words the reviewer describes the gaming experience without actually telling the audience anything of use about the game. As I said, it’s not a easy task; Sinan isn’t targeting that reviewer or waging a war against him, rather he’s seizing the opportunity to see if the task is possible.
Recently I finished my review on Bulletstorm (going live soon), and decided to see whether I could reduce my reviews, which were considerably higher than the 143 words (approximate ten times that amount) and condense it down to the right size. I know we here at Chronoludic aren’t out to review games exactly, but this challenge is more about writing in a concise fashion and still getting the information across. As you may have noticed that many of the pieces here on Chronoludic are around 2,000 words and some even stretch several posts, the idea of producing something completely the opposite was one which excited me.
And here is what I came up with, my review of Bulletstorm:
Bulletstorm is based on killing in the most creative and skilled way possible. During the game you’re tasked with achieving “skillshots”, kills which elaborate on the usual gun-play we’re used to; from the humble head shot through to a lead colonic, to kicking an enemy into a carnivorous plant. Whilst not perfect, it breathes fresh air into the genre. A space pirate out for revenge is hardly original but Bulletstorm has surprisingly deep characterisation. The polish, good writing and wit bolster an inventive and refreshing take on the FPS. Graphically, Bulletstorm is stunning, the environments are as varied as the are beautiful; you are transported from hellish tunnels to vivid cityscapes and more. Sadly it is a one trick pony, and whilst it’s a neat trick, more variation would be nice for a hearty recommendation.
Now this review is actually 136 words, 7 words under the challenged amount. Now, I’d usually advise that you don’t finish a review this short with words to spare, but I’m happy that my opinions about the game were conveyed, along with detailing what Bulletstorm is actually about. I’m not saying that it’s the best review in the world, with more time I could possibly work it some more, get it flowing slightly better. It was a real challnege to write and cutting well over a thousand words from what I’d originally written was a tough ask. It did make me see how much of my writing was superfluous and could be chopped out with little issue. Oh, and I did have a score attached to this, but I’d be interested in seeing what you thought I scored the game based on those 136 words – then I’ll have a better idea as to how successful the writing was.
So are you going to accept the challenge? Not because it might make you write better reviews (because it will), but because it will teach you something about your writing style and make you ask “do I really need that sentence?” and “can I say that in five words instead of 20?” Head over to Sinan’s blog (linked again here) and see If you can take up the challenge.