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Topic: Review scores - how much do they matter to you?

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Moai_Head

1. Posted:

After posting up my Grand Slam Tennis review and seeing that so many people were fixated on the score at the end it got me wondering: How many people take the score seriously? How many people skim the review itself and skip straight to the score? How do you think games should be scored?

Personally, I hate giving numerical ratings to games. I find them arbitrary and in some cases misleading. It's even tougher to rate games here at NL as we use a straight "out of ten" system with very little wiggle room. In a perfect world we'd adopt a letter grading system (y'know, A/B/C/D/F, report card-style) - something a bit less ambiguous. I have a ton of reviews in the pipeline and I expect to give out a lot of 7's, to the point where I worry that people are going to ignore or overlook a bunch of fun, well-made games because a 7 is a "bad" rating.

Thoughts? Let me know!

Edited on by Moai_Head

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Edwin

2. Posted:

I tend to use Metacritic because it averages lots of reviews for a game. I would not buy a game based on only one review no matter how good that review was.

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grenworthshero

3. Posted:

I tend to give a lot of games I liked, but aren't all that great, a 7 or 8. I give a lot of thought to ratings from sources I trust, like Nintendo Power and Nintendo Life's reviewers. They both usually give reviews I agree with. IGN and Gamespot both suck, because they always rate games I don't like high and games I like they give mediocre ratings.

Edited on by grenworthshero

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Kaeobais

4. Posted:

I don't listen to reviews at all. I just look at the pros and cons, see if their things I can overlook and such and decide from their. Even metacritic is useless to me. Every review site gave sonic and the black knight anything from 5/10 to 2/10, and it's one of my favorite games. Everyone gave Mario Galaxy 9/10 and such, and I could care less if I ever played Galaxy again.

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Cryptonic

5. Posted:

grenworthshero wrote:

I tend to give a lot of games I liked, but aren't all that great, a 7 or 8. I give a lot of thought to ratings from sources I trust, like Nintendo Power and Nintendo Life's reviewers. They both usually give reviews I agree with. IGN and Gamespot both suck, because they always rate games I don't like high and games I like they give mediocre ratings.

they dont know what games you like specifically.they dont suck. they give ratings and they tell why they gave out those ratings. i like gamesradar metacritic

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Corbs

6. Posted:

I too think too much emphasis is put on the number. I normally pay little attention to the actual score and take more out of the review than anything. That's where I find out what the game is like and what the reviewer found to be good and bad. And as I've said before, my reviews are always spot on perfect to me. :P

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Adam

7. Posted:

I skip to the score, and if it's 5 or lower, I'll just forget about it. I really just need to be told that a game is bad, not how bad it is, to know I don't want it. But if it's higher, I read the review and forget the score ever existed.

Too many different reviewers on the site with different ideas of how harsh to be for the score to be any more relevant than that. There are far too many problems with scoring a game: Are you comparing it to other games in the series, on the console, in the genre, or what? What if you give something a 10 and then they make something better? What if you give something a 1 and they make something worse? What's the point of having numbers 1-5 when anyone who cares about score doesn't really need to know how bad the game is, just that it's bad? Etc.

I much prefer the old stars system VC-Reviews used. It made its point but wasn't enough for anyone to ignore the review. 1-10 scores just seem random and often inflated. Not to mention it ends up drawing too many complaints about how the game should have been scored, though I must say it's amusing to watch from the sidelines.

Edited on by Adam

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Sean_Aaron

8. Posted:

I don't like the numbers; especially for VC games which seem to get people all bent out of shape when it's one of their childhood faves or there's ports on other systems with different scores.

Reviews on my blog have no scores or ratings of any kind.

Read the things folks, don't sweat the scores, but please do read the scoring policy before getting too wound up. Too many people jump the wrong conclusion about a game that gets a 5, 6 or 7 -- none of those mean a game is crap.

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theblackdragon

9. Posted:

i kinda like it when sites/blogs have categories for games that get scored individually -- graphics gets a score, soundtrack gets a score, ease of play/controls gets a score, plot gets a score, etc. and so forth -- that get added up into one big score at the end. that way, i have a better idea of what i may be getting into with a new game.

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Sean_Aaron

10. Posted:

Dear lord, if I had to score every bit separately I'd never review anything for this site!

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theblackdragon

11. Posted:

it's nice to know at a glance if something rated an 8 out of 10 got seven of its points from innovative gameplay and one for plot, though, without having to wade through a wall of text and/or fifteen pages of screenshots for the details. :3

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Adam

12. Posted:

I'd rather good old-fashioned bulleted points for that, a quick list of what the game does well and where it falls short. Language was made for expressing opinions; numbers weren't.

Edited on by Adam

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Moai_Head

13. Posted:

That's why I like the letter-grading system - the connotations of, say, a B- are different to that of a C+, despite them being mathematically identical. Like I said before, the reviews I have queued up will see me handing out a lot of 6's and 7's due to my need to be objective and cater to the fact that a lot of these games are niche titles that the average player isn't going to enjoy or understand, so it'd be nice to be able to grade dynamically if I have to. Take Knights In The Nightmare. for example: it quite easily ranks with the best the DS has to offer and might be my favourite game of the last few years but I only ranked it an 8 because I can recognise that it's purposefully convoluted and is likely to push away far more players than it will draw in. If I could give a letter grade it'd be an A- and if I could give a decimal score it'd probably be close to a 9.0 but I don't feel comfortable giving it a flat 9 so it got a flat 8. To a lot of people that final score really seems to matter, so a bit of flexibility would be nice.

Moai_Head

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Sean_Aaron

14. Posted:

It would be nicer if we could dispense with any overall marks and, if necessary, simply write a Pros and Cons section. This isn't Metacritic-friendly however, and I think that's pretty important to the people that run the show around here; probably to draw enough advertisers to keep things running.

I'm all about walls of text myself, because if there's a game I know nothing about I like detail on controls and gameplay so I can try to figure out if it's something I'm going to like. I originally didn't do photos on my blog reviews because I didn't see the need, but I concede that it does break up the text and make it easier to read. I've tried headers in the past, but I don't like having a "this" section and a "that" section; it seems less organic to me. Instead I just try to cut out a lot of the extraneous observations and keep it focused; breaking it up into smaller paragraphs if possible.

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Noire

15. Posted:

I really only read reviews for fun. I know what I want in a video game, so I don't have any trouble getting the games I want. And the scores are the most fun part, 'cause everyone gets bent out of shape when a game doesn't get the score they wanted.

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Charlie_The_Unicorn

16. Posted:

It depends on not only NL, but other review resources like IGN and Nintendo Power.

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Philip_J_Reed

17. Posted:

I tend to look at the numerical score not as a direct assessment of quality, but as an assessment of how recommended the game comes. A one would be "I wouldn't recommend this even to my worst enemy," and a ten would be "absolutely recommended for everyone."

It then avoids the problems Adam mentioned (World of Goo got a 10, but there were still ways to improve it. If it were improved, what would we give the better version?) because it's still just a matter of how much it's recommended.

The review language itself is the most important part, but it seems that a lot of people (not necessarily around here, but in general) will either skim or skip it completely in favor of the overall score.

That's ridiculous, because a reviewer may well give a game a low score, but if you don't read his reasons for WHY he gave it a low score, you may be missing something that appeals to you. For instance, a certain reviewer might say that he's scoring the game low because you can only use the Game Cube controller, all of the text is in Spanish, and the soundtrack is techno, which he hates. If your favorite controller is the GC controller, you speak fluent Spanish and you love techno, then it's up to you to re-evaluate that score yourself.

If you just look at the score as a reflection of how much one particular reviewer recommends something (which is what reviews are doing, ultimately...they're not there to cement any game's reputation in the annals of history, they're there to advise you whether or not to spend your money on them), it avoids a lot of problems.

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Majora

18. Posted:

Moai+Head wrote:

In a perfect world we'd adopt a letter grading system (y'know, A/B/C/D/F, report card-style) - something a bit less ambiguous.

Long, long ago... in VC-Reviews there was a five star rating system. Old nice days... :-P

Majora

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Dazza

19. Posted:

Majora wrote:

Moai+Head wrote:

In a perfect world we'd adopt a letter grading system (y'know, A/B/C/D/F, report card-style) - something a bit less ambiguous.

Long, long ago... in VC-Reviews there was a five star rating system. Old nice days... :-P

Ah yes, the good old 5 star system! The problem we found with that was we ended up with loads and loads of 5 star reviews once the VC library got quite big. There just wasn't enough room to differentiate. Now that we have carefully rerated the games you can see which games just fell slightly short of the immortal "perfect" status.

I REALLY hate the school grading system. If I ever read a review on 1up I find myself trying to mentally convert it into a number in my head! :-p

Here's how Metacritic make sense of it:

A or A+: 100
A-: 91
B+: 83
B: 75
B-: 67
C+: 58
C: 50
C-: 42
D+: 33
D: 25
D-: 16
F+: 8
F or F-: 0

I just don't think you can beat the transparency of the old scale of 10 myself. I think thats why most modern sites gravitate towards this system now.

If you are in the business of reviewing videogames you have to have a score, simple as. We want new people to find us and without GameRankings, Metacritic and N4G we would have a lot less traffic than we do. They all demand scores for their Metaratings of course! :-p

As many have been quick to point out, a reader shouldn't focus on the score alone. I totally agree with this. It's important to read what the reviewer wrote to understand how he arrived at the final score which was chosen. We do make every attempt to ensure that the score we arrive at is backed up in words.

Edited on by Dazza

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Stevie

20. Posted:

I don't take much notice of the scores for games as there are certain type's of game that even if it has flaws, because i enjoy that type of game so much i can overlook some flaws. The written review is far more important to me. An example of this is the recently released (only in NA :( ) Ant Nation, although the review mentioned certain flaws i know this is the type of game i will really enjoy so will definitely pick it up. On the other hand i still like some form of scoring system, can't think of a reason why but i just do, i just don't let the score affect my judgement.

Also i'd like to say that the reviews of games that are rated 1 or 2 always make for a enjoyable read, i guess its nice to see the other end of the spectrum sometimes and to see how a game should not be made, how inept/lazy some developers are or just simply a good idea that hasn't quite panned out.

This is good