We’ve designed this page so that you’re fully aware of our review and overview process

We aim to cover all formats, so will look at as much additional content for PC, console and mobile games as we possibly can.

Release Day Titles

When we first take a ‘gone-gold’ game for review, we scrutinize it using the ‘As We Play’ model. As We Play offers the thought strands of our reviewer as they experience a game for the very first time. Think of it like live-tweeting, but in a more structured way.

The reviewer plays the game as thoroughly as possible, making sure to see everything it has to offer, providing initial thoughts and feelings, while offering  commentary and impressions on gameplay and, more specifically, technical issues. This model allows us a great deal of flexibility when playing certain games (For Example – Journal Entries in Don’t Starve) and also enables a reviewer to be more liberal when commenting on aspects of a game that they particularly enjoy or find could be developed further.

I can appreciate that this could be seen as our staff trying to tell a developer ‘how to do their job’, grading a game on its technical merits, but that is not the intent. We evaluate a product once through, merely offering an opinion on that experience and what we would hope to see in future updates.From a site perspective, it is more logical for us to focus on these areas as we will be overseeing how a game grows and develops overtime through its patches, fixes, modifications, expansions and DLC.

The ‘As We Play’ model then offers an ‘Area for Development’ section, which is a series of concise bullet points of things we’d like to see added/fixed/improved/removed from the game. Parts of that chart will then serve as a reference guide for future Patch Reviews (not all, as we may include gameplay additions which may not be physically possible to implement. For instance, split-screen support or a form of local multiplayer, new game modes, amendments to a campaign etc..)

Then we produce a Final Analysis which sums up our thoughts on the game and its technical state and grade our experience on a scale of 1 – 10. The areas we look at are Technical Competency, Graphic and Sound Quality and Network Stability. An average is then gathered from those results, giving the game an overall technical grade.

We’ll also occasionally compile feedback from the community, detailing issues they’ve encountered, then set about testing them ourselves to see if there are similar results. These issues will be considered in any future Patch Reviews we produce.

The scale merely assesses the game’s technical quality and not the entertainment and overall enjoyment of a product.

For an example, please click here to see our recent Nidhogg ‘As We Play’.

Patch/Firmware Reviews

These are produced for significant game updates. For instance, the a major, game changing update would be eligible, but an update that just offers minor bug fixes will just be reported on and may receive a brief line or two in that news post to say if there are any noticeable differences.

The Patch Review looks at the original ‘As We Play’ overview and considers whether any previous concerns have been addressed, detail the changes and how they benefit a game – if at all – reveal if there are any further problems to consider and add in ones already identified but not fixed, then show the previous grade and reveal whether the patch has helped improve the game’s overall competency or even made things worse.

A Firmware Review is slightly different in that it assesses major console, mobile or platform updates to see how they improve the overall gameplay experience, how the platform handles, focus on specific features introduced in that update, then be graded on the relevance and competency of the update. Any major points for consideration will be offered up by the reviewer then a final grade produced.

DLC / Episodic Reviews

These are separate to both of the above, follow standard review formats and are graded out of 5. Occasionally, notable issues may be documented with bullet points and pointed out to a reader.

While assessing the game, if you feel we’re not covering an area relevant or interesting to you, then please feel free to write to us – raywillmott@expansivedlc.com – and we will consider potential revisions to the above policies.

Disclaimer

The gaming materials we receive come from publishers or PR firms, unless otherwise stated.