Review Scores

For a long time, I thought review scores were a bit pointless. Trying to different a 91 from a 90, or even a 7 from an 8, seemed almost unnecessary, and more often than not would just serve to undermine anything a reviewer actually said in their review. At least with a 5-point scale, it makes sense. Mostly. No ‘6 is garbage’, when that’s a 3/5. So here’s what my scores mean, and how I’ve always generally understood the 5-point scale for any sort of reviews.

1/5. For a game that is technically complete. You can play it from start to finish. There are no redeeming qualities, maybe it’s riddled with pay-to-win microtransactions–  but at the least it’s a functional video game. Technically. At best, it had a nugget of an idea that would be good in another game. Still couldn’t recommend it to anyone, though. Ex. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, Darkspore, RBI Baseball (14-19)

2/5. Something that has severe issues, but there’s something you can get out of it. Maybe you need to be a dedicated fan of the series, or there are mods required to make the game enjoyable. And sometimes, it’s just a very rough diamond in need of a lot of love. Ex. Payday 2, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, Guns of Icarus Online, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Phantoms, GoD Factory: Wingmen

3/5.  Generally, a decent game. Maybe it’s got an incredible story, but bugs hold it back from being great, or maybe the opposite: Something polished, but generic. Perhaps a game that lacked depth, but tried something new. A modern military shooter that set out to do nothing but exist? Feels good to play, but you couldn’t pick it out of a lineup with seven others? Yeah, this is your baseline for what constitutes a decent video game. Ex: The Division, The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, Depth, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas 2, No Man’s Sky, Medal of Honor (2010), Mount Your Friends

4/5. Great, maybe even incredible. A game that any fan of the game’s genre will enjoy, and maybe even able to transcend that. Not necessarily changing the world, but either incredibly well polished or innovative in some way. The kind of game that should be able to stand the test of time. Ex. Pokemon Black & White (Gen 5), Rock Band 2, Lord of the Rings Online, Borderlands, Starbound

5/5. Absolute masterpieces. A perfect score is a game that exists as a milestone. Something that will consistently be talked about for years, has incredible staying power, and can be a pillar of its genre, a building block for the future. Ex. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, STALKER: Call of Pripyat