When I create reviews, I usually post them in a specific format derived from a template. The reason being that if I kept my reviews consistent, readers will have an easier time understanding them, and with these templates separating various elements apart, I clearly state the goods and bads.
Foreword: This is where I place my gibberish not related to the review. It usually represents my thoughts as I was starting the game, or even a previous game from the same company and my first impressions. I may also include some “conclusions” in this section, including comments like “It sucked” or “It was a great game”.
Title: The title of the game, in its original language and romaji
Producers: The group of people who got together and created the game. Most company have a distinct pattern of how they create their game or who creates it such as artists or scenario writers, but there are certainly exceptions.
Release Date: The date that the game was released. I put it in standard format here, but when in brackets, follows a [yymmdd] format.
VNDB Link: The link to VNDB with the game’s information. I hate VNDB, but it’s pretty much the best website since it has the loads of information, no ads, NSFW warnings, and nothing heavily to load
Getchu Link: The link to Getchu (JP), which is the exact opposite: LOTS of information, lots of ads, NSFW (only after you go through the page confirming your age, though), and you can even purchase a copy of the game which comes with special Getchu bonuses.
Game Type: The genre of the game, but I often include themes of the games as well
Summary: My OWN words of the game’s beginning scenes. I NEVER use other reviews or previews for my summaries, and expect anyone else to acknowledge that they used my summaries when they do. I will never include spoilers in this section
Story Length: The length of time I spent on the game. While it’s not officially tracked, it is a good estimate to readers about how long they’ll be spending on the game. Generally speaking, my reading speed is about double to triple the pace of normal players, so the numbers may not be right depending on the individual.
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: If the game has choices to be made (hence multiple routes), the difficulty of clearing all the routes AND all of its extra features, including CGs and special bonuses at the end.
Comments: Comments only relating to the story length of its “clearing difficulty”. Often includes rants about how I had to use a walkthough if the game was considerably difficult to clear.
Character Design Rating: The rating I give on a scale of 10 on how well characters were designed. Includes and factors in CV (character voice), artwork (CG, HCG, and Sprites), its relationships with other characters, the character’s background or setting, and the character’s role in the overall story.
Story Rating: The rating I give on a scale of 10 on how well the story was designed. Includes and factors the quality of humor, plot, drama, fluidity, and various elements that one should have learned in a literature class in high school. Many elements can raise this score, but just as many can drop it. I often discuss which ones made such modifications in the “Rating Comments” section.
Protagonist Rating: Added quite recently, this rating is strictly for the actions of the central character in the game, the protagonist. It is affected by many things, but factors in most crucially the protagonist’s ability to influence heroines, as well as his own personalities to change the environment around him.
Game Quality: Quality of the game, expressed in an adjective. Factors in animation, special effects, cutscenes, Opening Movie, and UI (User Interface) Design
Overall Rating: The most complete and general rating given to a game considering the three factors above. It is recommended for players to simply look at this single number if they wish to see what I thought about the game, but greatly urge them to not think this number is the end-all-be-all to what I thought.
Rating Comments: The comments discussing explicitly the elements that contributed to the elements.
Character Summary: A longer section discussing the characters and their design, most often their background or setting. If any provided, spoilers will be placed in this section (of course, with its warning marked in red ahead of time)
Sexual Content: The amount of sexual content relative to the game’s length. As a general guideline, a 1:100 ratio marks the “Moderate” amount
Comments: Any extra comments that doesn’t seem to fit neither the “rating” or “story length/difficulty” categories will be placed here, including my informal praises or rants.
Affection for the Characters: Personal affection for the characters, described in an adjective to express my attitude towards JUST the characters themselves
CG Score: The rating I give on a scale of 10 of how good the CGs were.
Music Score: The rating I give on a scale of 10 of how good the music was, which includes Opening or Ending songs. Any score above 7 usually accompanies a sample of the music.
Addictiveness: The probability, described as an adjective, on how likely I will play this game again.
Conclusion: A wrap-up of the review that summaries the most crucial elements in the most concise manner.
I use a scoring system on a scale of 0-10. 0 being the worst possible and 10 being the best. The reason why I advocate on a 0-10 and not go about like other reviewers with a 0-100 is because of a couple of reasons, main one being that I’m not an expert enough to differentiate and explain the difference between two games when one receives 84 and another 83. I expect all others who do use that 0-100 scoring system to actually be able to do this
(Hint: They can’t), but that’s them and I’m me.
10: Essentially perfect. I would rarely give this kind of score and this would be at the level of “Hold on I need something to eat because holy shit this is amazing”
9: Superior. Almost at the level of perfection, there are minor things which are more subjective in nature.
8: Excellent. Games really receive my recommendation at this level, as it presents its category with higher-than-normal levels of quality. Only 5-10% of all games really manage to achieve this level in my opinion.
7: Decent. The game does a good job, but isn’t mind-blowing. Games with any scores lower than this rarely receive my recommendation, but it is still an overall enjoyable read.
6: The game is okay. It’s better than your average kind of game, but very much far from perfect.
5: Average. A typical game with no frills and whistles might fall here. A game that does something amazing but another extremely poorly might also receive a rating such as this.
4: There’s a couple of flaws that makes this category fall a bit from being average.
3: There’s major flaws which significantly affect the overall experience with the game. Anything below this score I genuinely become annoyed with.
2: The game lacks originality and humor, is a copy-paste from others, or doesn’t make any efforts to help the reader understand the setting or atmosphere. These games are usually dropped quite early on.
1: There is questionable effort in whether the game was intentionally designed poorly.
0: There is visible effort to make the game shitty and the writers have actually succeeded. These games are mostly saturated with generic tropes, have no effort at originality, offensive, has no meaning, and far below even a level of a child’s scribbles. Just as with a score of 10, this score is relatively difficult and rare.