r/Steam 8d ago Silver Wholesome

Fluff gabe pls

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5.7k Upvotes

r/Steam 19d ago Wholesome Silver

Meta Steam Webhelper.exe is no joke

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8.1k Upvotes

r/Steam Jun 26 '22 Wholesome

Meta Even a Beta is being optimistic

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4.5k Upvotes

r/Steam 9d ago Silver

Meta Found an ancient Steam page today. I miss the old design.

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646 Upvotes

r/Steam 10d ago

Meta I hate language-spammers (exmaple: guide is only written in English)

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288 Upvotes

r/Steam 10d ago

Meta That's a new one for PC gaming for a single player experience - no mod discussion!

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52 Upvotes

r/Steam Jul 01 '22

Meta What are your most played games?

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25 Upvotes

r/Steam Mar 22 '22 Silver Gold Helpful Wholesome

Meta Senator Gaben

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6.2k Upvotes

r/Steam Jan 15 '22 Wholesome Take My Power Silver Helpful

Meta Steam age restrictions are sometimes a bit silly

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28.4k Upvotes

r/Steam Jul 03 '22

Meta Custom artwork for non-Steam games makes all the difference <3

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11 Upvotes

r/Steam Apr 13 '22 Silver Helpful Wholesome

Meta He can finally add friends on Steam

2.4k Upvotes

r/Steam Jun 23 '22

Meta Steam shrinkflation

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54 Upvotes

r/Steam Jun 23 '22

Meta I'm so excited about the summer sale!

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148 Upvotes

r/Steam 10d ago

UGC - Mod approved [Guide] A comprehensive guide about making reviews on Steam.

10 Upvotes

Disclaimers / Premise:

- I have asked and obtained permission to post this content from Moderator Bodomi ( screenshot )

- The original guide was written in the form of a Steam Guide by none other than myself, and you can find it here. I have adapted it to Reddit's formatting to the best of my ability (kinda new to it) in the following post.

- I wanted to post it here in the hopes that it will be useful to people that may want to approach reviews in a more 'serious' way on Steam, and hopefully counter the disheartening influx of 'meme' , 'copy-paste' and 'one-liner' reviews that is all too common nowadays.

---

I. Introduction: Intents & Purposes of This Guide

Well, in short, I think reviewing is a constructive, thoughtful process that unites creative freedom of writing alongside factual analysis. It's something satisfactory not only for the writer, but also for those who read their work, as it has an ultimately utilitarian purpose which however can also have an entertainment value to it.

If anyone around these parts wants to get into reviews, or step up their 'reviewing game' so to speak, I wanted to put my experience at their disposal with this document. I've been writing reviews for hmm... almost eleven years now, both inside and outside of Steam, depending on the period. I genuinely want to help and inform anyone even remotely interested in this topic, and I think to have enough experience to do that the proper way.

I hope you will enjoy this guide as much as I enjoyed making it!

II. The Importance of Ethical Reviews

The Point

Before starting to explain you how a review should or shouldn't be written, and why, it's paramount to state, analyze and elaborate on how critical the question of Ethics (with capital E, yes) is in this particular 'scene'. As well, how controversial this topic has become, especially in the more recent years, on a global scale.

The need of making such a paragraph stems mostly from the evident fact, that there are scores of less-than-honest, unscrupulous, 'sold' reviewers around - with their relative proportion increasing the higher up you go in the 'food chain' of outlet popularity. Now, I'm not saying every 'big shot' reviewer or review outlet is crooked or dishonest - there gotta be some good ones... - but there also are a lot of people, who serially put personal gain and various sociopolitical agendas, before freedom of thought or honest opinions. This just isn't right.

Fundamental Ethics of Any Reviewer

The entire, prime point of a Review is providing your reader with an objective, impartial, unbiased, thorough assessment of a given product - in our case, video-games of course! In order to do that, there are a series of ethical criteria that should be followed and respected at all times, no matter what.

Have a fair evaluation metric.

By 'evaluation metric' I mean the criteria of judgment of any given game's constituent elements, i.e. visuals, sound design, gameplay mechanics and so on. Different production values and/or titles belonging to different generations, require diverse metrics: you just can't evaluate a low-budget Indie title made by four guys in a basement, with the same expectations and 'strictness' there would be with a multi-million-dollar AAA game.

In the same way, older games need to be considered in the context of their release period, and not with current criteria. For example, graphical fidelity should be judged with the game's original release date in mind, and in retrospective to that time period. The same applies to technical aspects and other things subject to evolution over the years.

Even with all of the above in mind, you should still have a tolerance limit - established by common sense - as to what can or can't be 'forgiven' in your assessment. Severe flaws of any nature that impact the experience in a major way (or break the game altogether...) should be noted and affect your judgment negatively, regardless of production value or year of release; if something just screws the game completely, that's that.

Be unbiased in your judgment.

The review is about the game, nothing else.

One of the most common mistakes reviewers do, is going into a game with a pre-existing bias of some kind, be it political, social, genre-dependent (e.g. not liking a particular genre due to personal taste) - maybe a dislike of a particular developer, publisher or platform. If those reasons are legitimate or not is entirely irrelevant, as they are not directly associated with the game itself.

You should not bring your own biases into the review. Ever. Review the game for what it delivers, its strong suits, flaws, quirks, value and other objective criteria that can be found within the boundaries of the title itself. It doesn't matter who made it, why, what it isn't or what it should be - the only thing that matters is what it actually is as a finished product, nothing else.

Finish the games you review, or at least rack up enough playtime to know them well.And yes, this applies even to bad ones. Except for cases where a game is so broken you literally can't progress further (can happen!), in all other instances you should make an effort to analyze, comprehend, master all of the gameplay systems and mechanics at the very least.

The reasons are multiple. First of all, there can be game that have a weak start and become better later, but also the opposite, therefore knowing if a game becomes a slog later on, or better maybe, is something that could drastically change the review as a whole. Secondly, making a review while having barely scratched the surface of the content, cannot in any way offer a fair assessment of what that title really offers, so it cannot be a good review no matter what.

As Reviewers, we need to provide our readers, followers, fans, etc. with thorough, comprehensive information; something that more often that not, can only be gained by delving deep into the bowels of the game at hand.

Do not sell yourself out for money, free game copies or other benefits.

Some said Hell is empty, and all the demons are here.

This may sound like a no-brainer, and I wish it was the case - unfortunately, it's not. Without pointing fingers, I can with utmost certainty tell you (if you weren't aware that is, which would be rare in the current times...) that scores upon scores of 'reviewers' sold their integrity for money, benefits, keys or similar amenities - and continue to do so.

Reviews can be - and are - used as promotional tools (i.e. glorified advertisement) by some unscrupulous people, in order to boost a given game's sales by favorably promoting it with warped assessments that are engineered, catered, studied ad-hoc to make such game look better than it actually is. It's the Wild Wild West when it comes to this: completely fake reviews copy-pasted by assembling press-kit info and pre-made footage, without actually playing the game, majorly distorted judgments that ignore glaring flaws, or even reviewers pretending to play stuff by cheating the system with scripts.

In such madness, the true purpose of a review is lost, along with any shed of dignity these people may have held. Readers thinking to have a solid piece of valuable information in front of them, will only end up being misled by what is, in the end, concealed advertisement. Our duty as Reviewers is to provide the truth, even if that truth may result in the scorn of a developer, publisher or whoever else. Reject any such offer: your integrity is more valuable than any offer, because once you sell yourself, there's no turning back.

III. How a Review Should & Shouldn't Be

Should Be: An Objective Assessment

First and most importantly, a review needs to be as objective of an analysis as humanly possible. Granted, absolute objectivity can't exist as it would imply an absolute form of truth, which is by itself a contradiction. Be that as it may, there are a series of elements that can be objectively evaluated in reviews, while others are more in the realm of 'personal taste' (more on this in the next chapter). Reviews should focus on facts, elements that can be readily proven and seen regardless of personal opinions, in order to substantiate any judgment elaborated towards them.

Negatively rating a game or anyway penalizing its judgment because one or more of its elements are not catering to the Reviewer's personal taste, is a good example of subjectivity, which has to be avoided as much as possible. Any evaluation given to the game's elements, needs to be proven by an objective element, therefore a factual element, anyone can see in the game consistently, without being influenced by any personal taste.

Example: personally I don't like roguelike games as a whole, but I have played and reviewed several over the years, giving them a fair assessment regardless of my initial subjective dislike. This is just an example, to emphasize the correct mindset when it comes down to objectivity.

Should Be: Thorough, Balanced in its Contents

One of the most common mistakes seen in reviews, is not having enough depth about one or more aspects of the game. However it's also true that being too specific can be detrimental - it all hangs in the balance.

A review should make the reader understand, thoroughly, how the gameplay of a title works; however, it shouldn't painstakingly analyze every small element, or the review would become a glorified guide / user manual. For example, If I were to review Fallout 4 to name a random game, I would speak about the balance of the various weapon categories and how some are potent, other much less useful, and why - but would not analyze every single weapon in the game for this purpose. Do that in your mind, sure, to extrapolate your own conclusions on the topic at hand, but don't do so in the actual review.

The same principle can be applied to any other gameplay element that constitutes the game. Your readers (or viewers) would only get overwhelmed and bored in seeing an overly-detailed analysis that delves too much in the particular - also, they might want to find out those nuances themselves if they decide to play the game.

As far as thoroughness is concerned, remember to always talk about all aspects of the game, be them game modes, mini-games, or just elements that are secondary to the primary gameplay loop / formula. The reader needs to be informed about everything the game has to offer, so they can make the best choice in whether to play it or move along instead.

Should Be: Entertaining, Personal... to Some Extent

Let's start with the fact very few people would enjoy reading a plain, stale assembly of statements, no matter how well-constructed or formulated. Reviews aren't meant to be manuals or academic science papers - this one you're reading right now is a manual, reviews are not.

Truly great reviews manage to blend together personality, entertainment value alongside quality writing and thorough analysis. Doing so is the only way to ensure your readers (or viewers) don't get bored to death, even if your review is spot-on content-wise. How to do so is up to you, as each person has a different way to "inject" their own flair into reviews: be that puns, jokes, personal comments mimicking a diary, memes or anything else - the important thing is making your reviews enjoyable to read on top of being informative.

Experiment, think, try, fail, try again - sooner or later you'll find something that works in this regard, it ain't easy nor fast to achieve, but with persistence anything can be done.

Shouldn't Be: An Angry, Vulgar Rant

It's true, some games are just garbage: in the career of a reviewer, finding games that are a massive pain to get through, is bound to happen sooner or later. Be that as it may, it's important to keep a cool head at all times when making a review. My personal suggestion is to never make a review as soon as you finish (or quit, in the worst case scenario...) a game - take a day to cool down and have a more balanced train of thought when writing down the review.

Re-read your review and be attentive to parts of it that may seem like a "rant" against some specific thing you really disliked, then ask yourself if that's really justified (might be!) or if that needs to be trimmed down or toned down a bit.

Avoid cursing and using vulgarity in your reviews as any concept, no matter how strong or emphasized, can be expressed through regular means. As well, do not insult the developers, other players, publishers and similar for any reason.

In time, you'll get (or maybe already got) the overly-proud indie developer that thinks to have made a masterpiece, and proceeds to comment your review making you look like a heartless villain for your negative evaluation of the game. Or the common troll, the hater and the idiot - all of these and more will come criticize, slam and badmouth your work. At all times, be polite and constructive with them, and if worst comes worst, simply block them; do not stoop down to their level, do not give them what they want.

Shouldn't Be: A Stale / Redundant List of Facts

Reviews should always be based on facts, however it's also true a review should be, primarily, a critique of the game at hand. Simply describing how the game works in its mechanics, or how the music, how visuals are and so on, isn't going to cut it. As a reviewer you should criticize and evaluate how the various components of the game come together, work individually, and compare in relation to the game's genre as a whole.

In addition, remember to avoid redundancy in relation to the facts that your reader mostly will be able to gather on the game's store page / website or whatever else it may be. Of course, mentioning Crysis' Nanosuit in your review, despite it being showcased on the store page, will be totally fine; however, dedicating an entire paragraph of your review to something entirely explained already on the game's store page or equivalent mediums (trailers, etc.) isn't recommended. If anything, explain that thing with your own critique embedded into it, giving it a different flair compared to what already seen in the game's promotion material.

IV. Contents of a Review - Practical Guide

The Essentials

Let's start with those things that simply can't be missing in a review, no matter the style of the writer nor the genre of the game at hand.

  • Explanation and analysis of the gameplay elements.

"Gameplay is king". In more than one way this is a true statement, also when it comes to reviews. A large part of any review should be focused into not only explaining to the players what they're getting into in terms of 'what to do in the game' (that's the easy part), but also analyze and critique each aspect, considering if they impact the experience in a positive or negative way - and why.Of course this doesn't mean explaining, for example, what each skill of each hero does (imagine a review of DOTA 2 doing this, it would be insane!). The review should encompass the main gameplay elements and explain those, without delving too much in the particular, as mentioned earlier in the guide.

  • Some degree of analysis of the technical aspects.

Granted, not everyone is an IT expert and knows how to delve deeper in the technical aspects of any given game, however a truly good reviewer should at least inform themselves on the basics of such a process. For example, it's easy to measure the average FPS to see if there are unreasonable drops or stuttering (many programs do this), while measuring the GPU / CPU / RAM impact to see if there are anomalies is also simple (you can use Windows Task Manager "Performance" panel).

It's also good practice to state the machine specifications used to run the game, this way your readers will be able to compare their configuration with yours, and determine, roughly, how the game will run on theirs. And don't forget to check the system requirements: never play something that goes beyond the capabilities of your machine, as it wouldn't be fair to complain of "poor performance" if you ran the game on too weak of a machine.Then there are deeper layers of technicalities, which in turn require more specialized tools to be examined. Personally I think those mentioned above are enough, unless you want to become a technical reviewer, which is a whole other "self-contained" field of specialization I won't discuss in this guide.

  • Some kind of verdict, conclusion or evaluation.

In order to give some "closure" to the review as a whole, at some point there should be a verdict that sums up your opinion about the game in a clear, concise, straightforward way. It doesn't necessarily have to be a numerical rating, or a rating at all - it can also be a sentence, a paragraph, a conclusive statement - it's up to you really. What is important is having it somewhere so the review can have a sense of "beginning" and "ending" for the reader.

The Optional

  • Screenshots, GIFs or a video of the game in action.

There are some aspects, in any game, that are much better explained using a visual aid than anything else. What kind of 'visual aid' you use is, again, up to you.Personally I use three screenshots per review (which is also the maximum limit on Steam per-review, however outside of Steam there is no such thing), but also animated pictures (GIFs) or YouTube videos would be completely fine.

The main point is using such elements as support to the main written review - unless of course you're a video reviewer, in which case this whole section is pointless!Locate and pick those aspects that, in your mind, would really benefit from a visual explanation, in case a verbal one would bee too lengthy or impractical. They also could be used to make a critique of a particular art style detail or showcase bugs - the choice is yours.

  • An explanation of your evaluation metric, if you have one.

In case you choose to use numerical or verbal ratings (e.g. "Good" "Excellent" "Bad" or "9.0/10" "4/5" etc.) it would be positive to include a link to a rating chart that explains your evaluation process better, or give more insight about the meaning of your ratings.Here is my rating chart to show you what I mean: Click Here

V. Reviewing on Steam: Tips, Advice, Suggestions

In this last section I will explain you many aspects of Steam reviews that may not be immediately clear, or instead are downright obscure.

Tips & Advice For Your Steam Reviews

Useful Links & Resources:

- Steam Formatting Chart

This chart contains most, but not all of the formatting codes usable on Steam in any post, review, guide or whatever else. The only ones it doesn't list are h2 and h3, which work the same way as h1.

- Automatic Table Generator

If you don't want to mess around with the tables formatting manually, this website will allow you to create tables much more easily, simply compile the blank fields and the table copy-paste code will be generated in one click.

- Unicode Symbol Database

Unicode symbols are kind of "universal" symbols that "fit" correctly in most word processors, including Steam. Simply select any of the icons (one at a time!) in that website's "Browser" column (the leftmost one that has icons), copy (CTRL+C) and paste (CTRL+V) it as if it was a normal letter or piece of text: ta-da, it will appear in any text.

It's a cool way to make your reviews a bit more "fancy" if you want to. Note that some of them may come out bludgeoned or distorted, make your tests beforehand.

Result example (random symbols taken from the site): πŸ§ΏπŸ§΅πŸŽ“

- Word Counter

This site will be useful in determining exactly how many characters are in your text.

The Hidden Rules of Steam Reviews

There is a series of "hidden mechanics", so to speak, regarding Steam Reviews that no one will never explain. I figured them out through years of testing, trial and error, or simply randomly.

  • Reviews become "locked in time" 15 minutes after being posted.

What this means is that, if you make a review on, example, 01 January 2021 and leave it there for more than 15 minutes, Steam will lock it in time to that point, forever. Even if you decide to delete it later on to rewrite it, and post it again a year later, it will still be counted as 01 January 2021 - there is no way to bypass or change this.

  • Reviews have an 8,000 (eight thousand) digits limit.

This includes non-visible embedded links, screenshot links, spaces and formatting codes. There is currently no known way to bypass this limit, which is hard-coded into Steam itself. By far, this is the most crippling issue with reviewing on Steam, it forces us all to be efficient and minimalist.

  • The maximum total limit of embed-able screenshots / artwork / videos.

Each review can contain a maximum of three Steam screenshots, Artworks or Videos of any type, in total. So each of these elements raises the count by one. From the fourth, they won't be embedded anymore and simply appear as raw links, that however still work, albeit looking quite bad.

  • How the upvote / downvote ratio works in determining a review's position.

In the Community Hub -> Reviews tab of any game's page, reviews are sorted by "Most Helpful", but what does that mean exactly?Normally one would think that the review with the biggest number of upvotes minus the downvotes would be on top, well that isn't always the case. In fact, for some reason, Steam seems to give more importance to a review that receives a lot of upvotes in a short time span, than a review that gets many in a longer time span.In short words this means: share your review in as many places as you can, as soon as it's ready (your activity feed for example) or social networks, send it to friends, share it in review-specific groups like the Reviewers Guild, and post it in your Curator if you have one. That is, if you care about review positioning and likes, which might or might not be the case.

  • Using GIFs instead of screenshots: it's possible!

You just have to upload them as Artworks and embed in them into the review by copy-pasting the steam link that directs to the artwork's page. However, there is a size limit, so you probably should compress them otherwise they won't fit.

  • Do not use the list formatting type in reviews, as it may glitch visually.

The list format, which is the one you're seeing right now in this list of tips, doesn't work very well in reviews, it may glitch visually sometimes. Instead of it, use this "fake list" character:

β€’

Simply copy it and paste to make bulleted lists without the risk of glitching out.

Example:

β€’ TEXT

β€’ TEXT

β€’ TEXT

r/Steam 23d ago

Meta I have a quarter of a million Steam Points. What am I supposed to do with this?

0 Upvotes

In other words, what's the point?

r/Steam Jun 07 '22

Meta Steam screenshot manager just stinks.

21 Upvotes

I just want to do two things: drag screenshots into discord and upload to twitter.

Instead it does none of that and is a pixelated mess when you enlarge the window. So I wind up bookmarking folders and using file explorer.

That's it. That's the rant. It's been bad for years.

r/Steam 19d ago

Meta A sincere "thank you" to the mod team

0 Upvotes

Wow. Just amazing. Thank you mods for this. As I was scrolling my Reddit feed, I came across a post about a meme review for the new hot game, Stray, and to my shock, when I clicked on the post, I was met with the "Removed: Rule 2" and the text of the bot -

The following are some examples of what should not be posted here:

  • Reviews

Oh the joy. No more idiotic reposts of this garbage, while asking the same pointless question - "Why Valve doesn't do something about these meme reviews?". So dunno if this post will be removed, and I don't care, just want to say one more time - Thank you for this, all you amazing sausages on the mod team of this subreddit. You are awesome!

r/Steam Apr 08 '22

Meta + to making your profile gorgeus

336 Upvotes

r/Steam 14d ago

Meta all these are from sales/same prices

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0 Upvotes

r/Steam 17h ago

Fluff Perfectly Balanced (Flair because I had to put it)

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0 Upvotes

r/Steam Jul 02 '22

Meta Steam Name Bans?

0 Upvotes

So Steam can ban you from changing your name and from sending messages? That seems a little redundant next to the block feature, which blocks names and messages.

I found out about this because my friend had a name that, while admittedly was tasteless, had no explicit slurs or epithets.

r/Steam Feb 27 '22 Silver Helpful Wholesome Tree Hug

Meta It hurts

4.9k Upvotes

r/Steam Dec 21 '21 Helpful Wholesome

Meta Valorant, escapefromtarkov etc

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6.3k Upvotes

r/Steam Jun 24 '22

Meta Genuinely can't tell if the title is supposed to be messed up...

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23 Upvotes

r/Steam Jun 22 '22

Meta Steam Summer Sale Cards already dropped

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0 Upvotes