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Review Guidelines 2020

Last Updated February 5th 2020

As per our Community Charter, we strive to provide fair, bias-free and independent reviews. We know that the community invest a lot of time and money into their passion so we want to make sure that we share our honest thoughts, feelings and opinions on products you may be excited to try out.


These review guidelines should give you a good understanding of our review guidelines. This includes our scoring policy, dispute policy and how we work with developers.

Reviewer's Style

Each person on the team is their own thinker. They have their own set of thoughts, opinions and writing style. We give them the flexibility to write however they feel in the style they feel fits best with the product at hand.

Why do we have multiple reviewers on the team?

Like other media sites in the world, we have a large team who supplies us with content. They’re all over the Globe. We want to ensure we have a diverse, opinionated and knowledgeable team. Having multiple reviewers means that we can assign different people products which fits their knowledge, experiences and expectations best.


For example, we wouldn’t ask someone who has a majority interest in general aviation to review a jetliner aircraft. That most likely wouldn’t be a fair representation of the product or intended audience.

Review Header-Box

In an effort to deliver as much factual information in our reviews as possible, each review has a ‘Review Header-Box’. This box includes information such as Developer, Publisher, Price (at time of publication), the product version we reviewed (as we know updates happen) and also who provided the review copy. If we bought it ourselves, then we will state so.


If a product is supplied by a developer or publisher, it won’t have any baring on our review or final score, but we want to be crystal clear to you about where we got the product from.

Who’s simMarket? And Why Sponsorship? 

We have a strong partnership with simMarket to enable us to continue delivering you product reviews. As part of the agreement, any review products will be sponsored by them. We’ll always link to the original shop / purchase point wherever possible.


By providing their link, it enables us to continue delivering great reviews from a range of products and brands.

Reviews — How we Format Them

We have spent a lot of time considering what’s important to the community and what they look for in a review. We have broken down our reviews into three key sections:

  • Main Body Text
  • “Turning onto Finals”
  • Summary

Main Body Text

Our Main Body Text is our overall thoughts and feelings on a product. We make an effort to combine factual statements with our emotions towards them. You may or may not agree with them, but we do our best to balance wherever possible.


To make sure our reviews contain the information we feel is right for the product, we will always include the below information (and some examples of what we’re looking for).

Presentation

This relates to how the product is presented to the user. This will cover everything from ease of installation, the supplied manuals and if there are any configurators / setting alternatives that are given to allow the flexibility for the user. We also consider if the product feels “polished” in this section, ensuring that if there are any bugs that they don’t ruin the enjoyment.

 

This will also cover the overall impressions from any texturing and modelling from the developer, or if it’s a utility, the ease of use for the user-interface.

 

Examples

  • A scenery package that installs without any manuals or a configurator would need improving.
  • An aircraft with a basic introduction guide and a user interface that allows you to change a few elements of your product would be as expected.
  • A utility with an easy-to-use user-interface and allows all settings to be adjusted, along with a good manual would be great.

Features

This includes everything that the product offers. This includes features within the scenery that add immersion. As for aircraft, this varies depending on the target audience. Some aircraft are aimed at being study level sims, whilst others are form the pilot viewpoint. Depending on the audience will vary this score.

Examples

  • Scenery which accurately depicts the airport, but adds no special features would need improving.
  • A study level aircraft which accurately performs to expectations, but lacks anything to add immersion or doesn’t make processes easier would be as expected.
  • An aircraft aimed at a more casual audience, includes all basic features you would expect from an aircraft and then adds some extra immersion would be great.

Performance

Includes everything from frame rates to VAS usage and the impact it has on the sim / PC itself. When considering performance, we take into consideration things such as location in the sim (as we know some areas are more intense than others), the size / complexity of the scenery or aircraft, and also, the impact on loading into the sim. We also use the recommended settings from the developer’s manual when considering this factor.

 

Examples

  • A small airfield in the middle of nowhere with a high VAS usage and low frame rate would need improving.
  • A complex and detailed airline with good frames, but high VAS usage would be as expected.
  • A large airport in an urban city with a sustainable smooth frame rate would be great.

Value

Very subjective and down to the reviewer to come to a fair conclusion based on multiple factors. This includes overall price of the product in relation to usage. It also takes into consideration whether other products are required to enjoy the product to its full extent. Factors from performance, presentation and features are considered as well.

 

Examples

  • A utility which required you to purchase the original product as well as charge a high price for very few features would need improving.
  • Low usage scenery for the average simmer. Despite being rich with features, it required an additional scenery package for use. This would be as expected.
  • A highly priced aircraft, which was full of features, performed well and included a range of manuals and accurate flying dynamics would be great.

“Turning onto Finals” Summary

This is simply a list of things liked or disliked about the product, based on the Main Body Text as stated above. It’s designed to give the reader a quick look at the product.


The likes should be key points from the review which they felt the developer did really well and are worth buying the product for.


The dislikes should be key points from the review which the reviewer felt could be improved or didn’t meet the reviewer’s standards.

Overall Scoring Guidelines

As of February 5th 2020 we no longer add a score to a product. Instead we simply allow the reader to make a judgement based on our content.

 

We continue to strive to create great content that resonates our legitimate thoughts about a product. We want to encourage commentary on our content not just the number applied to a product. For that reason, we have decided scores no longer serve the purpose that we originally used them for.

 

We will continue to ensure our written or video work is detailed, along with using our summary section to round up our final thoughts.

 

If you have feedback, please contact us.

 

Old Reviews and Their Scores

All scores from before February 5th 2020 will remain as they are based on their respected guidelines.

2019 – Feb 5th 2020 Guidelines

Pre-2019 Guidelines

Handling Disputes

Sometimes disputes can arise from our reviews. We promise the community, as per our Community Charter, a bias-free approach to reviews, which can often mean a review isn’t as well received from a developer.

 

Whilst we do everything we can to be fair to a developer, sometimes a product will just not be very good or not meet our expectations.
We make it very clear that when a product is reviewed by FSElite, it’s done with integrity and fairness.

 

Our review guidelines make it clear what we’re looking for in a product and how we judge. Ultimately, it’s down to each individual writer to justify their score in the body of the text. However, we understand that some people may disagree with that score.

 

To that end, we try and do several things to promote fairness to both the community and the developer that worked on a product.

Poor Review

If a developer believes that the messaging in the review doesn’t accurately reflect the quality of the product they have released, we welcome disputes to be sent to us. 

 

We welcome well-written, comprehensive and constructive emails that point out where the developer feels we’ve made a mistake. Simply disagreeing with us won’t change our minds.

 

We ask that you send us factual information providing exact examples of where you feel we are falsely representing the product.

 

It should be noted that disputing doesn’t not mean a review will change. We are happy to engage with developers or publishers, but our Content Director has final say over the matter. 

I'm a Developer and we Updated a Product Since You've Reviewed it

In an ideal world, we would review each and every update. Sadly, that isn’t possible with the amount of updates products receive today.

 

We do, on occasion, re-review products once we feel there’s a need to do so and time permits.

 

We make it clear on our reviews which version of the product was reviewed when it was published.

I'm a Community Member and I Disagree with a Review

Feel free to leave a comment in our comment section. The original reviewer will aim to get back to you. If you still feel unsatisfied, do reach out via our contact page in a “letter to the editor”. Someone from our editorial team will then get back to you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if we Made a Mistake?

We will happily admit fault and correct whatever it is we did wrong. We don’t try to cover it up and we wouldn’t want to breach your trust like that.

Is FSElite Paid for Reviews?

No. Never.


Whilst we have various partners on board supporting us, we make it explicitly clear our opinions, thoughts and feedback on a product are of our own. We will never ever be influenced by advertising money.


Our reviewers are not paid either. They will get to keep the product for free, along with a few other little freebies on the side as a way of thanks for dedicating upwards of 10 hours on writing a review for the community.

"I still think you reviewed a product waaaay too positively! You are bias to that developer!"

Reviews will never be perfect. Everyone has their favourite reviewers, types of products, etc. At the end of the day, we’re simmers just like you. We enjoy products, we don’t enjoy others. What our reviews reflect is that of a simmer using a product. We aren’t developers, we are just every day people who enjoy the hobby. If we like a product, we’re going to tell you about it and if that may mean we are more positive about it than what you think it’s worth.

I still have a complaint/question!

If this page does not answer your complaint or question, you can send a message through our contact page. Please select the contact purpose as ‘Letter to the Editor’.