[Originally posted on May 16, 2015]
By Michael Mendis
At Gospel & Gaming, we are making a promise to you, our readers, that when we post a game review, we have:
1) Completed any single-player story/campaign
2) Completed as much of the optional content as possible while still getting the review out in a timely fashion
3) Tried all multi-player modes available in the game, after the game has launched and is available to the public
Let’s take a look at each of those points in a bit more detail, starting with single-player campaigns. These modes usually contain the core of what makes a game great, from the gameplay mechanics the player engages with, to the themes and character development portrayed in the story. Completing the entirety of a campaign mode is a must for any reviewer to have a full understanding of a game, and we are committed to this in our own reviews.
Second, let’s talk about optional content found outside the main story, a common feature in many role-playing games (RPGs) and open-world action games. You may ask, “why not promise to complete all the side-quests in a game?” Well, in most games, that will be our goal! We want to cover as much content in a game as possible, and we will be putting in as much effort as we can to complete all the quests in the games we review. Some games we review, however, may simply be too large for us to cover every side-quest and still publish the review anywhere near the release of the game. Take, for example, the upcoming fantasy RPG The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. According to one of the game’s developers, completing every side-quest in the game in addition to the main story could take upwards of 200 hours of gameplay. Finishing all the side-quests in a game that long may be more than we can handle. In a situation like this, we will be upfront in our review about how much of the game we have managed to complete and how much optional content we estimate has been left untouched.
Finally, regarding multiplayer modes, we are committed to trying out each mode available in a game, and doing so after a game has been released. It’s not only important to know the breadth and depth of the multiplayer modes and mechanics offered in a game, but to also know whether the multiplayer works when released to the public. The online struggles of recent games like Sim City, Driveclub, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection have shown us how important it is to see how a game performs after launch; testing multiplayer modes in a controlled setting before release is simply not a reliable method when it comes to evaluating these features.