First, I understand that writing reviews, like making missions, is a voluntary service, one that takes a lot of time and for which the reviewer often gets little praise. OFPEC apparently has trouble recruiting and retaining reviewers, as their backlogs attest.
Nevertheless, I must say I was somewhat disappointed to read a recent review. Writing reviews is every bit as important as making the mission that is being reviewed. Some reviews are going to be better than others, but since one of the main jobs of reviews is to verify that a mission has met certain standards, I would hope the reviews themselves would be held to some standards. By this I mean:
A. Orthography and Grammar. I'm reading this. I don't expect a glorious piece of prose to come out. But a review isn't a BBS post. If it were, we'd have a forum for that here. Typographical errors need to be corrected. Someone should at least correct the more egregious spelling errors, and ensure that the text makes some sense, so that a non-native english speaker can understand it.
B. Completeness. Reviews generally contain two main parts: synopsis and analysis. To complete the synopsis, a reviewer has to play the mission through to the end at least once (assuming the mission has an end), and preferably more times, in both vet and cad modes. Movie reviewers have to sit through the whole thing, regardless of how bad the movie is. A review here cannot just say "I ran a long time, found enemies and died; this mission is crap".
C. Descriptive Detail. Everybody's got their own voice, and I read a review in part to evaluate the reviewer. Reviewers can be abrasive if they like; they can be looking for another incarnation of quake in every mission. That's fine. But reviews should not tell me what the game is, but show me. Take this example:
you move onwards to a couple of buildings and there begins a long run the enemy outpost. Yep, you got it, no vehicles. A long, boring run to the outpost.
what does that tell us? Nothing.
What makes the run long and boring? How long? How boring?
Are we talking about 4 km or 400m? Much better would be something like:
After parachuting onto the beach, the group rallies at a cluster of buildings. Then the players are forced to endure a twenty-minute-long march to the objective, during which time no enemies are encountered.
D. False assumptions. Not all players are like the reviewer. In this same review, the reviewer assumes that every player would want ground vehicles on an paradrop mission, and that no coop mission is complete without respawn. The reviewer is allowed to have the views, but stating them as obvious only serves to alienate those who don't think the same way. Besides, the designer apparently thought things would be okay as is, so that's one person who doesn't think that way. So when I read that the reviewer is bitter because these things are missing, I think "but I don't want respawn and jeeps on a squad-parachute mission". All I get is that the reviewer is probably 15 years old and likes different sorts of missions than I do, or the mission designer. It would be much more persuasive if the reviewer made suggestions by painting the specific context. For example, instead of:
Yep, you got it, no vehicles.
It might be better to write something like:
"Given the distance involved, the designer could have considered the addition of some sort of vehicle to speed things along, or perhaps even a group setpos trigger to warp the group closer to the fight"
"The mission pits 4 infantrymen with no AT weapons against an infantry company and a tank platoon. With those odds, the designer should have made respawn at least an option."
E. Painful dismissals.
It's harder to write a bad review than a good one. If a mission is really bad, the reviewer has to describe it in such detail as to convince the reader that the mission is "crap", and to communicate to the designer that the work submitted, a work that probably involved some time and energy, is really subpar. Again, don't just say the mission is a turd, show me how it's a turd. Nobody wants someone to stop writing missions because of a bad review, just as I don't want to discourage reviewers from writing reviews. We just want them to be better, and we have some ideas on how that can be accomplished.
I haven't downloaded the mission in question; I just read the review and got annoyed.