When we first went about our relaunch, talking among ourselves the topic came up on how exactly we should review our games. We decided that we would like to have a set of guidelines for all contributors to follow, nothing that would restrict or withhold opinions or creativity- just some basic rules for ourselves to follow.
Our first issue was, “Should we give scores in our reviews?”. The main point against scoring games was how often readers would simply skip over the actual review and just see the number, and base their opinion solely on that, which takes much away from the writer of the review. The other point being that with so many modern game reviewers (sites, YouTube, blogs, etc) 1 – 10 scale scores are horribly unbalanced with anything under a 7 usually equating to trash, an 8 to bad, and 9s and 10s to being games you should play. In truth, a 7 out of 10 should be a well above average game. A score of 5 should be an average, with most games falling somewhere between 6 or 7. A 3 or 4 is not to mean a game is crap, or trash. It should simply mean, a game is slightly below average, to below average. A score of 1 or 2 reserved for truly broken games, that are actually unplayable. Very few games should receive 9s or 10s.
Understanding this problem, we ultimately decided to go with a review scale of 1 – 5, with each point being well defined (these are truncated descriptions presented to give an idea of what scale we use).
-1 is an unplayable, un-fun, and broken mess.
-2 is playable, maybe not fun, but fully functioning.
-3 is an all around average game. Not bad, but not great. Concepts mostly work, and fun can be had.
-4 is a great game, mostly fun throughout, no major issues or glitches all concepts work well.
-5 is not a perfect game (there aren’t any) but it’s flaws are small, and it is so much fun that they are easily overlooked. Fun throughout with no dull moments. A subjectively must own game.
Content wise, our reviews follow the same ideas as the site as a whole: No flaming and be professional in our work. We will look at 4 main categories that we like to call “AVGN” (reference) categories, standing for “Audio” looking at a games music, sound design/direction, voice acting, etc. “Visuals” looking at graphics, presentation, style, etc. “Gameplay” focusing on…gameplay, modes, difficulty, “objective” fun, options, etc. The final category, “Nonspecific” which are simply put, things not directly related to the other categories, the least important category, focuses on things like box artwork, extras, bonuses, rarity, value, etc.
We hope this lengthy look at our thoughts and ideas on game reviews help you understand that we are not difficult reviewers. We just want to be fair, with a true grading scale, and to be transparent in our written reviews, letting you know the things we look at and examine when determining a games score.