You’ve no doubt come across angry reader responses to gaming reviews, they are anything but rare. We understand when a fan loathes a reviewer when his favorite game gets a low score, and even when haters respond to a high score like a bull to a red rag. When emotions run high, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that reviewing is a subjective business by nature. As a reader, you are reading the opinion of a review’s author.
An opinion is, of course, primarily based on experiences with the game but even reviewers are human and one cannot deny that there is an emotional component in every score awarded on every site. A game that we have been following for months and hyped up by its publisher to be “god’s gift to gamers” may well be judged harsher when a disappointed reviewer finds it lacking. We all have developers that we dig and thus favor too and you can imagine that taking off the colored glasses before playing their latest game is not always easy to do. As much as we hate to admit it, even a “bad hair day” may influence a score.
With that in mind, we believe that 100% objective reviews simply do not exist.
We felt we needed a better way to deal ‘subjectivity’. We think we have found that way by having our score reflect how much fun we had playing a game. A game can have many flaws but despite that still be infinitely more fun than the next one that is flawless but listless. The first we would recommend to our friends, the last most likely not.
Let’s be clear though: we work hard at being as objective as humanly possible.
1 to 5: not recommended
When we review a game and give it a score, that score becomes a recommendation to either buy the game or to leave it on the (virtual) shelves. Our breakpoint for recommending a game lies at “above 5”. Games that score a 5 or below are anything but fun, are broken to the point of being unplayable or a combination of both. The degree varies, the recommendation not to buy does not.
5.1 to 6.5: for fans
Games that fall within this range are satisfactory in all areas but otherwise unsurprising in what they do. They are far from perfect but good enough that we can almost guarantee that you will enjoy playing the game if you are a fan of the genre. If you’re not, some caution is required.
6.6 to 8.5: recommended
A great deal of effort and care was taken in developing the game and it shows in every aspect. You don’t necessarily need to be a fan to enjoy playing it, but it helps. That said, some issues remain. Small bugs, underdeveloped gameplay mechanics or glaring inconsistencies keep the game from becoming an instant classic. Blatant rehashes of a good game from last year that fail to innovate but are otherwise great may also end up in this category. If you see these scores on one of our reviews, you can feel assured that we have enjoyed playing the game. If we will give it a second play-through remains to be seen.
8.5 to 10: buy it, buy it now!
Games that fall within this score range far exceed expectations. They offer something brand new or groundbreaking to the genre, or do a superb job of flawlessly executing existing genre conventions. These games are Fun with a capital F and you should be playing them already.