To us, the most important thing about reporting news is that it is accurately presented to our readers. We don't want misinterpretation, miscommunication, or personal feelings to get in the way of the facts. We don't want half-truths or hearsay to be passed off as news stories, either. It is for these reasons why we handle news a little differently at Nintendo World Report, compared to other videogame news sites.
We believe that the best way for us to bring you the bulk of the day-to-day news is to post press releases issued by publishers, developers, or other game companies. This enables us to bring you the news in exactly the way the issuer of the release intended to, without leaving out any information that a written summary might exclude. By delivering the information from a neutral point of view, people can make up their own mind on what parts of the release are important to them. Although many press releases include their fair share of PR spin, we respect our readers' intelligence enough for them to see through it. In other words, we don't think it's necessary for us to chew your food before you eat it.
Of course, there's more gaming news out there than press releases. Every day, we keep an eye out for new information about Nintendo's happenings around the world. If we spot a newsworthy item, we don't just write a quick little blurb at get it up as fast as possible; instead, we first track down the item's original source and verify its authenticity. News can easily lose its true context when it passes through multiple hands. By finding the origin of the information, and then writing a news story based on that, you can be assured that we've reported it correctly. Additionally, we always cite the source of our story, to where you can refer for additional information, if desired.
Although it may appear to the first-time reader that we consider it an afterthought, in reality we take news very seriously. We don't call something news unless we are 100% sure it is.
If you want a general idea of what a particular game will be about, its preview would be the best place to start. The Nintendo World Report definition of a "preview" is an article for an unreleased game that contains factual information . We don't think it's right for people to form opinions or cast judgments on games they haven't yet played, so to ensure that personal bias is a non-factor when reporting on the status of in-development games, we simply stick to the facts. Things like gameplay modes and features, story details, planned online functionality, and other basic game info are what most of our previews are all about.
Previews may also include interpretation of information or speculation based on things like game screenshots or movies. If we think there are more facts to be discovered with the information already out there, we'll try our best to squeeze it out. This does not mean we will speculate on the quality of finished product?only on what the finished product may contain. Nothing more, nothing less.
Impressions at Nintendo World Report are simply what we think of a game after getting some hands-on playing time with it. The game could be still be in development, shown off at a media event or already be released to the public; impressions can be formed after playing a game for a few minutes, a couple of hours, or several days. It's an overview of what we've played, and more importantly, what we think about the game as it was presented to us.
Only after getting some hands-on time with a game do we begin forming opinions on it. What do we like? What do we dislike? Does the control scheme work? Could this game be good in its current form? Does it need some work? Those are just some of the questions you might see answered in an impressions article, but we don't ask our writing staff to stick to a particular format. Impressions are just the honest opinions of someone who has played a game.
Deciding which games you should spend your hard-earned cash on can be a tough decision, especially because there are a lot of games out there. Our large staff and open review policy allow us to review many games in a short period of time, but not at the expense of review quality, consistency, or integrity. All NWR game articles, reviews included, undergo a thorough editing process to ensure they meet some basic guidelines, but each review ultimately remains the opinion of the individual reviewer.
In addition for providing reviews for many games, we will sometimes offer multiple reviews for key titles. Highly-anticipated or controversial games usually go under the microscope by people interested in them, so we offer different viewpoints of the same game to help those looking for multiple opinions. In such a scenario, we do not consider there to be a "primary" or "main" review; each article is just as valid as the others.
Nintendo World Report reviews include the body text, pros and cons, and a final score. Older reviews also include scores in five individual categories, and a breakdown of each category and a final summary can be found on the second page. A game's score is a general indication of how good or bad it is compared to other games released for that system at the time, but is not considered our "official review" by itself. For a more detailed explanation of why the game received its score, we recommend you read both pages of the review.
Review Grading Scale
NWR staffers are entitled to their own opinions about a game, so we do not enforce a strict grading scale. Instead, we abide by a more broad definition of what the difference is between a bad, mediocre or good game. We use the entire 0.0-10.0 scale, with half-point increments.
1.0 - Games that score this low are terrible for many more reasons than just a bad gameplay experience. They would have enough technical issues to render a game virtually unplayable. Thankfully, games this horrible are rare, but it can happen. Although we can technically hand out a "0" score, any game functional enough to get past Nintendo's certification process is probably enough to warrant a point.
5.0 - Games that are awarded this score are considered mediocre, where the bad qualities and good qualities of a title cancel each other out. This is also the threshold that separates games worth playing from games not worth playing. The further below 5.0 a game is scored, the worse it is; the higher above 5.0, the better it is.
10 - We don't believe any game can actually be "perfect." But some can get pretty close. We give our highest grade to games which are the best of the best. Games that aren't necessarily "generation-defining" can still be given top marks for this reason; if a game is all it can be and stands out among those like it, it can get high marks, too.
Review Categories (older reviews)
Graphics - How good the game looks from a technological and artistic point of view, including technical considerations such as character animation and frame rate stability.
Sound - The quality of sounds, voice, and music present in the game, and also how well audio is used during gameplay.
Control - How well the game controls. Control layout, responsiveness, and intuitiveness are considered, along with any other user-controlled aspect of the game, such as a 3D camera.
Gameplay - How well a game plays; essentially, how fun it is. This is an evaluation of factors including game design, level of immersion, and originality. Story and any multiplayer modes are also considered for this category.
Lastability - A combination of lasting value and replay value. In other words, how much playtime you'll get out of the game in both the short term and long term, and in single-player, multiplayer, and online modes.
Final - The overall evaluation of the game as a whole. This score is not an average. It takes into consideration the other categories as well as other factors that may make the game better or worse than the sum of its parts.
In addition to games, we also review Nintendo systems and accessories. Our grading scale for hardware is virtually identical to our software scale (shown above), and the final score remains a non-average overall indication of the product. However, the scoring categories are different.
Appearance - How aesthetically pleasing the product is to the eye.
Comfort - How the product feels while using it. This category only applies to products that need to be handled or otherwise physically contacted (like dance mats).
Quality - The quality level of the product in a tacky vs. classy sense.
Value - How useful the product is, and to what degree it is worth the price.
Construction - How well the product is put together, and also a measure of durability.