Today, our partner site Eurogamer made the momentous announcement that it would be dropping scores from its reviews. In a special post by editor Oli Welsh it was revealed that from this point onwards the site would be moving towards an alternative rating system - based on simpler terms such as "Essential", "Recommended" and "Avoid" (or no label at all) - and that it was the site's opinion that modern reviews had "out grown" the idea of having a number at the end.
Welsh's argument is that the way games are purchased and played has changed almost beyond recognition since Eurogamer launched 15 years ago. Back then, when a game was shipped it was final - there could be no post-launch patches or DLC upgrades, and the score awarded was set in stone. Fast forward to today and things have changed; consoles, handhelds and PCs all have internet access and developers and publishers have used this feature to patch-up broken games weeks after their initial release. We've also seen an explosion in the number of games which focus attention on multiplayer features over the web, and often these elements are not ready when reviews are expected to go live.
The industry's almost deadly relationship with review-aggregation site Metacritic is another reason Eurogamer has dropped scores. As Welsh points out, Metacritic has gone from being a useful resource to a tool which publishers use to decide whether or not a studio should remain open or be closed because its last title didn't get a good enough score. The decision means that Eurogamer's reviews will no longer appear on Metacritic - a brave and ballsy move when you consider how much traffic comes from that site.
As ever, there are two sides to this argument. A numerical score is a quick and easy way of saying whether or not a game is worth your time, and is certainly helpful when you're trying to make an informed choice on what title you want to buy next. People crave a metric by which they can effectively judge the value of something, and newspapers, movie magazines and countless other media sites continue to use scores when rating products.
However, is a score out of 5 or 10 really more effective than a simple "Get this", "Try this if you have the time" or "Avoid this" statement at the end? Do scores under 7 out of 10 really matter when you're making a purchasing decision? Many people erroneously assume that 7 is some kind of "average" score, when that isn't the case - on the Nintendo Life rating scale, 5 out of 10 would denote an "average" game. We'd like to think that we rate games fairly and logically when using the 10-point scale, but we don't doubt for a second that some of you will disagree. But then again, a review is always based on someone's opinion, and opinions can vary wildly for a whole host of reasons - so should we really get so caught up in what number appears at the bottom of the page?
Scores create issues. As our very own Thomas Whitehead so excellently summed up in a Talking Point piece back in 2013, the focus on a game's review score can completely override the content of the review itself, which leads to the obvious question: are you reading a review for the score, or the text - or both?
But hey - it says "Poll" at the top of the page for a reason. We're giving you the chance to make your voice heard on this matter. Should video game reviews carry a score? Would you like to see a time when the industry moves away from chucking seemingly arbitrary numbers at titles and instead puts more energy into analysing each new release in more detail? Or do you think as long as the body text supports the score, then the two elements can work together in perfect harmony? Cast your vote and leave a comment, and the world will know exaclty how you feel on the matter.
Keep in mind that Eurogamer will not give these descriptions to every game - for some games, you'll have to read the review to find out more.
i really dislike how some sites are ditching the scoring system. i like to read reviews but if im busy or at work being able to scroll down and just read the conclusion and see the score gives me a nice idea of how the game plays.
@JHDKoopman What does the score itself tell you about the game? It's numerical value? That alone says nothing about the game, only how well it scored.
I find that I disagree with review scores at least as often as I agree with them, so to be honest they end up being pretty worthless to me outside of avoiding really terrible games.
A review is just someone's insightful opinion and you only really get that from reading the actual text. I'd be fine with ditching scores altogether.
removing scores will probably deter 85%-90% of people because... to be honest, more people just scroll to see the score than actually read the entire review. I've seen so many people just complain about how someone got X score instead of X or about how it got X score which means X.
@Shirma_Akayaku i hear ya. maybe its just preference but i like it. when a game like majora 3d gets a 10, to me, its cool to see. id rather see a game get a '10' then a 'essential' rating. and i like the flip side too. its fun to see just how awful a game can be.
I'm all for ditching scores. So many people don't even read the text, but just look at the score.
The one thing I admit they're handy for, is if you get a new console and want to find a list of games to consider, then looking at the best metacritic scoring games is a good place to start. I wouldn't buy a game based on that score however. I'd go to my site or magazine of choice and read what they had to say about those games.
I have mixed feelings about the scores. For example, Nintendo Life gave Naruto: Powerful Shippuden a 6/10, but I believe it deserved at least a 7/10. Sometimes I get a game based off of a review, but I just say, "Forget the review, I'm getting it anyways!" pretty often.
I'm in favor of ditching numerical scores assigned to games altogether, although Eurogamers new system works much better compared to the old one. I hope Nintendo Life will adopt a new system in place, like Gamexplain's or Eurogamer, or even their own unique system.
Nintendo Power had this 3 way review scale that ranked a game as "good", "average", or "mediocre". Eurogamer should do something like that, because I kinda want to know if a game is good, bad, or average, not just really good, good, or bad.
Also, am I the only one who thinks that Nintendo Life's reviews are kinda biased for Nintendo games? Most if the reviews are fine, but the reviews for Nintendo games just seem... a little higher than they should be to me.
The problem with a score is that everyone reading it expects that you can directly compare one score to another, even if they're not in the same genre, don't have the same scope, goals, resources, etc. People could generally agree that Super Mario Galaxy, Journey, and The Last of Us are all nearly flawless games, but for some reason, you assign them all a number and people start flipping out.
And in that case, what becomes important is the actual body of the review, to find context for that score. If it comes to that, the score is rather unneeded in the first place, no? It doesn't really matter that SMG is a "perfect" game, what matters is why it's a perfect game, and you won't find the answer to that in a number.
That said, summaries or tag lines are probably needed. Most of the time, I don't want to read through a 500 word review about why a game is terrible and not worth my time. I have stuff to do. I only read full reviews about games that I'm really emotionally invested in.
I shoot straight down to the score lol!
@DiscoGentleman What you said is probably true for the most part. Numerical scores will probably never go away entirely, but they might soon be rejected or over-shadowed by different review systems. One reason I think numbered scores might not go away is because people feel the need to put a game's value into "neat little boxes" so it's easier to comprehend. We should mostly know by now that's not how life works.
Hate the scores, but I do appreciate that NintendoLife's scores tend to be more consistent than most sites. I've stopped looking at scores though, the reviews are much more useful to read.
There was a key question not asked in the poll:
"Would a scoring system be less necessary if we stopped righting 1000+ word reviews?"
The answer is yes.
I like to read reviews, but I don't want to see a novel. Once you go past 500 words, you are wearing thin on my patience. I don't need a full synapses of the game. Just hit the high points and let me know if the game is worth it to buy. Want to explain the game and detail? Do that in a follow up story, like a "First 60 minutes with Game X." Didn't you guys or someone use to do that?
The point is, I need a review score if you can't be concise.
I firmly believe some sites will post an outlier score to get the backlash and attention, and therefore the page views of people clicking on their Metacritic score, and going to that website to complain. Nintendo World Report's 75 on Mario Kart 8 as well as GameSpot's 60 on Donkey Kong Country Returns come to mind immediately. Going in, I think everybody thought MK 8 would be mid to upper 80s for the composite score. It scored an 88, and I think the only things you can dock it for would be battle mode (probably worth 10 points on a 100 point scale, and its characters (probably a point or two). Other than that, it's the best made Mario Kart game to date. If you're a Nintendo-themed site, you can boast about your independence and enjoy the page views as it was the first major Nintendo game in three months at the time. Without knowing ahead of time, I'd say most people would know what they're getting into with a new Retro Donkey Kong game. At worst, it would feel like more of the same, but it would still be better than most platformers. If you had to guess, you'd say it would score in the low 80s. It did. Gamespot gave it a 6/10 which implies a game with some serious flaws. It might not have been revolutionary, but the game was not flawed.
I vastly prefer what Kotaku has taken to doing which is "Should You Play This Game?" with a Yes or No response. I'd take it once step further and have them add a second clause, "Should you buy this game?" Some games are no-brainers for purchasing like Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, etc. Others are worth playing but may or may not be your thing like Wonderful 101 or ZombiU - hence, play before you buy would be good advice. Some games are excellent games, but the content might be off-putting like GTA V. Again, play before you buy would be a good idea.
Siskel and Ebert were not the most famous movie critics for nothing. They offered a simple, thumbs-up or thumbs-down. That's all game reviews need. Otherwise with the current system, a polarizing game that some people love (Wonderful 101 or ZombiU) gets a Metacritic score that makes it look like an average game when the fans of those games think they games are extraordinary.
@NintyMan I disagree on the "video games are complex things."
Video games are either fun or they are not. That's pretty simple in the end. And that's what a review is telling you in a nutshell. Sure, it's "You will find this game fun if you like this genre," but at the end of the day, a video game is fun, or it is not. No complexity.... and if a game is super complex, most people don't find it fun. (Some do).
Scores are dumb. A number doesn't define a game. If you want to know if a game interests you or not, you should read a listen to the review not a number. For example one reviewer may hate shooters, so he'll probably give a COD game a low score. Some people may look at that score and think it's a bad game. But if you read the written review, then you can tell that the person just doesn't like shooters and you find another reviewer. So in the end scores mean nothing, it's the written review that tells the person whether they would like the game or not.
I never thought the score system was needed because all we need to know is if it's good or bad besides what makes a game a 6 rather than a 5 and the 100% score is even worse I mean what's the difference between a 96% and a 97%?
I think a system like this would be better
we don't need to know anything else and numbers don't really tell you anything
@XCWarrior Oh thank goodness, I thought I wasn't the only who felt that way. The reviews can be extremely long, especially for huge content games, like Monster Hunter.
While I read the whole review and save the score for the last, I know people who just scroll right down to the score and don't even read the review - unless it is a score they don't agree with. Scoring will never go away, and you'll probably even lose site traffic if people don't have that to zip down to. On the other hand, scoring never really satisfies anyone and are often a huge point of debate. Its a no win.
I am all for scoring, but I think it should be more flexible. A lot of games will fall in the grey area of scoring, like deserve a 7.5 instead of a 7 or an 8. A lot will be more accurate to score a 9.5 or 9.8 instead of a full 10.
I voted for the 1-100 scale only because I didn't see the option for 1-10 with .5 increments.
Generally scores don't influence my decision. If I like a game's look, style, gameplay, or content it doesn't matter what score it gets. But I generally check each review to see what it is scored. If it scores well, I read it to see if it would be something I would want.
On the first two, I voted "Always useful" followed by "Never influence my decision."
See, a review score is basically the headline for me. I see it first to determine if I should read the review. I generally agree with NL's assessments, but not always. However, I do know that a 1-5/10 is not going to be worth my money. There are enough objective problems in such games and enough great games I want to play that I know reading the review and playing the game will both be a waste of my time.
Anything above that, I'll read and dissect to determine if I want to give the game a shot. But I've never read reviews of two games I wanted and decided to get one over the other solely because it's a 9 instead of an 8. Once I decide to read a review, the score disappears from my mind.
I don't believe scores should ever affect a purchase but they ARE useful as an instant summary of the review.
With the proliferation of incomplete review builds and lack of online play prior to launch, review scores can be very misleading. Look at most of the major releases this past winter or Sim City for some case studies. Then websites have the uncomfortable decision of altering a review score or keeping as is with an addendum once they realize a game is broken. And I don't think those changes are reflected on metacritic, which in and of itself is a problem with how much the industry lives and dies by it (jobs and bonuses decided by scores, reviewers caring more about getting a review out on release rather than after experiencing the entire game, or lack of progression for the medium out of fear of lower scores affecting sales). Those reasons alone should be enough to scrap scores.
Also people should read to see what the game offers or what issues are present. I like the idea of a yes/no/maybe later option.
I like reviews because they keep me from buying garbage. When I first started gaming, I would have loved to be able to see a score or read a review to keep me from buying a horrible game. I don't always let reviews dictate what I buy and don't buy. At the same time though, I don't care what type of review it is. Give it a score, a letter grade, or label....doesn't matter to me.
I give reviews a 7.4 for their influence on my gaming choices.
I'd love to see a combination of the Eurogamer label system and IGN's old separate 1.0-10.0 breakdown for presentation, gameplay, sound, graphics.
I think it's useful to see breakdown scores for categories, but the overall label Eurogamer came up with is also much more useful than a conglomerate score.
There are no polls to vote on the usefulness of the review text, which I would rate rather low for this site.
Not because the quality is bad, but often (especially when the reviewer is gushing about a game) the review goes on and on until it reaches novella status. Not interested in sitting down and reading a review for half an hour.
Scores make people compare games in ways they're not meant to be compared by. A game with a score of 9 isn't always much better than one with an 8, but there are people who think so. So, I prefer a label system like Eurogamer and GameXplain, so that there still is a short way to tell how much you (as a reviewer) like a game, without people instantly comparing it to other games.
Honestly, I wouldn't have much of a problem with scores if people would just interperet the numbers correctly. Sadly a lot of people just scroll to see what number you guys give a game, and if it's 6 or lower they instantly decide not to get it, even if it says something like "If you enjoy this genre, then there is some fun to be had, but there really isn't a ton here to keep others entertained." Personally I do think scores should be phased out so people stop paying so much attention to them, and instead read reviews and make decisions for themselves. Another issue is that, often, people complain that a game with a glowing review didn't get 10/10 but a 9/10, and then everyone in the comments just focused on that. (The Donkey Kong Country 2 review, for example.) Also, sometimes a review site seems to contradict itself by giving, say, a sequel, that the reviewer says is better than the original, a lower score. (ex. Donkey Long Country Returns vs. Tropical Freeze on NL) I just think it would be best to remove numbers and instead just let people judge from the review and conclusion, and use a tag that says something like "Masterpiece", "Only for some", or "Another Meme Run".
I'm one of those who tend to read the review and I've already made my choice between the review, and demo. The number at the bottom of the page is irrelevant to me.
I like the scoring system, sometimes I have the time to read the whole article, but a lot of the time I don't so its nice to have a score and a paragraph overview at the end to check.
This is a tough topic. On the one hand, scores make things easy for people to process. It's the tl;dr of reviews. But I side with Norman Caruso (The Gaming Historian) on this one. Assigning a number classifies a game into a category rather than allowing the gamer to explore the game (even if the review mentions many negatives in his/her review). But I get it. We like numbers. But... it sure is limiting.
@Robotron2084 I can agree with your sentiments for the most part. I do think harsher criticisms should be done more often for games that are completely broken or terrible, however, I do think there should be a post-review depending on the game. Say a game is great and many people like it. Later on the game is receiving DLC or updates that make the game even better which makes people like it even more. At that point, I would think post-review could be in order. Also, say a game is mediocre, but really good DLC or updates come for the game. A post-review could be done to highlight what's made the game better or worse, or what problems need fixing, etc.
One thing I will say about post-reviews though is that the original review should still stay and not be replaced so people can be weary of the games issues. After all, not everyone will have DLC or updates in place, so keeping the original review is a must.
I've got to dredge this one up: That Kirby Triple Deluxe review. You guys made it seem like it wasn't good, when it was AMAZING.
@NotEnoughGolds I cannot agree more. The reviews can go on for so long (even though they can be very detailed) that I take forever reading them. Nintendo Life's writers should take this into account.
Honestly I think I'd rather scores were dropped. Too often I just scroll to the bottom and look at the score, to the point where I don't think the reviews are that useful anymore. I also appreciate how metacritic scores are messing with developers, I don't like the idea of that at all.
I think the score can make the actual review a waste of time. I don't read most of the reviews on this site. (unless I'm already interested in the game which defeats the purpose)
Granted these days I'm more likely to look at gameplay videos on youtube and use my own (generally accurate) judgement to decide what I play. Perhaps if you made video reviews with gameplay footage they would be more engaging to the community?
I think I'd prefer a Recommend/Avoid label system.
I kind of like the idea of no scores. A good amount of people automatically putting a "must get" label on games that scores 8 and higher and garbage on anything lower than a 7 without knowing the reason why. Also games can change after release with updates and dlcs. I'm pretty sure Hyrule Warriors would score a point higher with all the contents on it now compared to a few months ago.
Also there have been times I read reviews (including this site) and the contents of the written review don't match up with the number. The written part can make a game sound like a 8/10 but the end score is 6/10 and vic versa.
I usually skip to the score and summary of game reviews but I think there are better ways to rate games. I like the four star scale (going by half increments) or a simple great/not bad/crap assessment better than the current 1-10 scale.
Personally, I would love it if reviews would be something along the lines of Buy/Try/Avoid. As well as have more than one person give their opinion. I used to love the reviews in the old EGM magazines where 3 people would give reviews. Some reviews I read seem very biased and the reviewer has no reason to even review such games. Or when reviewer A says they hate the repetitive nature of an rpg but loves the repetiveness of another game. Multiple views are better because we can gauge who has a taste similar to our own
Also, I think more people need to improve their own judgement when it comes to what they choose to play. They shouldn't treat a score as gospel, in the end all these reviews are written by people with their own tastes and biases. They're not omnipotent gods who know what's right for you.
I like seeing the scores, but i understand that it's only one person's opinion. a lot of folks who comment on reviews don't seem to understand that. There also seems be a weird trend where anything less than a 9/ 10 is being considered an abysmal score. It really irks me to see a game get an 8.5, then see comments along the lines of "OMG, 8.5?! i was looking forward to this one, too bad it sucks!"
If you're looking forward to a game, some random stranger on the internet, who may or may not have the same taste in games as you, applying a number to it shouldn't change that. Read the review, see why they gave it that score. Then read others, see if they mention the same points.
I will sometimes purchase games that weren't necessarily on my radar based on good reviews, but i don't often let bad reviews sway me from something i was looking forward to.
Many of my opinions have been voiced by others already, including my disliking of how developers use Metacritic. That said, I do appreciate numeric scores. Like others, I often flip to the bottom to read the score first. If I am interested in getting the game, an 8 or higher from this site is all I need to confirm that I'll get the game. If the score is 5 or less, I don't feel compelled to read the review either. However, when the review receives a 6 or 7, then I'll probably read the review and see if the game is a fit for me.
Likewise, Metacritic has helped me by highlighting games that reach over 80. It has also kept me away from certain games that Nintendolife has recommended (and I am not often regretful of my decisions). Do I care if one game got an 87 compared to a 84? No, but those are the scores we get with the averages Metacritic produces.
Finally, I feel there is no problem with skipping a written review just to look at a score. It probably sucks, as a reviewer, to have your review ignored over a number when you put work into writing a review. In the end, however, a review is meant to help us decide whether we want the game or not. Sometimes a number is all is takes, and the written part is superfluous. For me to read each review, they would need to reach Ebert-like quality, which is not the case right now (nor does it need to be).
If I'm looking at a list of generic game titles that I have no clue whether they are any good or not (say on DSi or WiiWare), how am I supposed to pick out the good from the bad? I'm certainly not going to read a hundred reviews to find out which game I want to play next.
With review scores, I can look up the games that scored highly and just read a few to see whether I would like it. Out of ten is fine. There is no real benefit to percentages since a X6% game is barely different to an X2% game.
If I wasn't going to get a game (regardless of score) I just go see the rating. If it is a game I'm on the fence about I check the rating (to see if learning more about the game is worth the time) and if it's positive I'll read the whole review and make a decision. Though sometimes I ignore reviews altogether since some games I enjoy won't get positive scores anyway ie. most Warriors games.
Very rarely do I buy games that I dislike because I usually follow coverage of the game from announcement until launch. So i generally know if I'm going to like the game or not. I've only bought maybe 4 games in the last 5+ years that I wasn't sure I'd enjoy. Dillon's rolling western which despite positive scores I didn't like at all, Izuma Eleven which dissapointed, Pokemon Battle Trozei was ok, and Conception II which I loved.
Top scores are handed out a bit too readily these days and makes it difficult to determine which games are worthwhile at times. This new system reminds me of PC Zone's, where they rarely gave out top scores (and a 'Classic' award) unless the game truly was that good, with most getting 'recommended' instead. People will still get pissy, mind. I still remember (and laugh) at the Quake fanbase for getting angry at the magazine for daring to not give Quake III Arena a classic award.
I like gamexplain's rating system. They say whether they liked the game or not.
The numbers do give a nice indication of of what ballpark the game's on, and support the points made for and against in the text. It's not some absolute guideline one should follow, but I like to see the reviewers opinion imbued on this easy-to.understand format. That's why NL should keep some sort of numerical scale in their reviews.
To those who mentioned the length: remember that the function of reviews is to both judge and inform. Someone new to gaming might not be familiar with even the basic mechanics of say, Monster Hunter 4, hence the need to write it all down, even if it means long-winded texts. Luckily the subject of each paragraph is usually evident by the first few words, so I just skip the parts which I'm already familiar with.
This someday gonna lose us all.
Maybe some other rating:
crap- dont even try it even with stick
weak - you can play it, some pros but its waste of time
average - you can play it but not must if you dont like genere
must/good- game have many pros, add something good in genere
@RonJMaclean I like your approach. It categorizes, yet still leaves room for the reader to make their own judgment.
Yeah ditch the score then make a recommendation in the conclusion then add who is that game for. And I agree with @XCWarrior, 1000+ words long is just too much for a review. Expand it later on a follow up article, maybe on preview/first impression. I would like to see reviews being updated if the reviewer wants it after a decent amount of updates/patches/contents have been added.
Review scores don't influence me into buying a game or not.
Personally I give little to no weight to a review score, I find way more useful to read the actual review for understand if a game is for me. However I admit I find useful a list of scores if I'm only curious to check how the critics and/or the public received a game.
To be fair scores as concepts are not a bad thing, they are just a little data at the end of a review; problem is that nowaday those little numbers, stars or other random unit are considered much more important then the review itself. A reviewer can be right or wrong only depending on how he/she scored a game, no matter what he/she actually wrote about it and too many people seems to decide if purchase a game depending by the scores alone (for not mention the "Metacritic" matter).
It's not even useful to change scores for an "advice word" as gamexplain or Eurogamer; people will just start to give a value to every "advice", -Recomanded- so it's a 9-10 game, -Average- could be a 7 or 6, we are all too used to scores for not translate any sort of evaluation into it.
Still I think Nintendolife could manage to remove scores pretty easily, the Conclusion at the end of each review is usually a well written short text covering the resume-purpose of scores or one-worded advices without however sacrificing the meaning. On this site for remove scores is only needed to phisically remove that number and those stars at the end of the review, no need to change anything else or replace them.
Still I doubt any sites will follow Eurogamer example and I wonder if EG will last on its decision, afterall review sites need users and to be highly rated in the community and sadly scores conquered such an important place that for some sites I'm afraid it could be an half suicide to try to take them down...
Very rarely has a score influenced my buying decision. It's more the body of the review that does it for me for games that I was unsure of in the first place. I feel that sometimes the score betrays review or vice versa. As someone pointed out, I prefer the Kotaku review system, as they follow the game after patches and what not.
I agree, NLife reviews does become a rather lengthy read, but to be fair, they do add a TL;DR section, it's called "Conclusion" It's a pretty brief really (it's shorter than some of the comments we as a community post. Myself included lol).Though I'd like to to see a pros and cons bulletpoint type conclusion myself, that's just nitpicking on my part.
A system of "Must Buy, Buy, So-So, and Avoid" would work best.
Which is still a scoring system out of four. 4/4 = 10/10 - 9/10, 3/4 = 8/10, 2/4 = 7/10 - 5/10, 1/4 = 4/10 - 1/10
A game with a score of 9 isn't always much better than one with an 8, but there are people who think so.
The 9/10 game should have been scored an eight, or both should have recieved a nine. The review text is to determine whether a game is appropriate to a person's individual tastes.
And for dlc. Not give any score (or even lower score for game)
Remeber games in 199X?(even to 2002-2003) They got higher scores than games now.
Why? Because they arent cut to pieces like games now.
DlC strarted when they gave us "mercifully" horse armor for Oblivion.
All developers saw that and started to think: "Now we cut all games we made"
"We made time exlusive dlc for one platform and we soon give it to all"
"We made dlc time exlusive for preorders and give them to rest (not preorders)"
There was no such a thing like dlc. There was addons and they REALLY add maps,modes,weapons or whatever.
I'd get rid of the scores altogether personally. The values can be too different depending on the person reviewing or reading the review. Like for me, a 5 would be average but most sites (and a hell of a lot of people) seem to see a 5 as awful.
A decent summary paragraph at the end or a list of pluses and negatives at the end with a short summary is far better.
True, pluses and negatives are always welcome.
A decent summary paragraph at the end or a list of pluses and negatives at the end with a short summary is far better.
How would that be presented on a list like this?
A list of games from good to bad is a very helpful feature of the site. It doesn't matter to me though if a game comes before or after a game with the same score.
Labels are better than numbers for reviewing games. Number scores only cause flame wars over a game getting a 7.5 when it "really deserved" an 8.5. In that case, either score means the game is recommended and a worthy purchase. "Vital" "Recommended" and "Avoid" are much more helpful than meaningless numbers.
Yes they do need scores i have been gaming since 1982 and my nan used to get me magazines i remember getting the first edge magazine and Club nintendo magazine. 9.8% red dead redemption.
The numbers aren't meaningless, there are currently ten labels that NintendoLife award games. Even without a number, the games would still fit into one of the ten labels. Is Zelda: Majora's Mask good, very good, excellent or perfect? It matters.
It's hilarious when they say numbers aren't a meaningful way of assessing a review so we've come up with 3 different awards we give a game. Well congratulations idiot, that's exactly the same as just changing 1-10 to 1-3. Halfwits.
@Bass_X0 I don't think a list of scores is particularly important. If I'm interested in whether a game is good or not I'd read more than just some random number. I'd just have a mouse over link that brings up the summary paragraph or something and list em alphabetically or by date etc. If there weren't so many people who just ignore games under a certain number then a score would be fine.
This is obviously just one guy's opinion though. shrug
Yes, but given a hundred reviews, you're not going to read every one of them. You need a system to break the reviews down so that you know what kind of quality of game you're expecting from the review before you actually read it.
Eurogamer's new score is basically one sentence instead of one number. Some will have the label of Essential, Recommended, or Avoid, but not all. All will have the one sentence sort of summary score that can influence your buy or whether you'll read more or not. It's pretty cool IMO, but I like a number I can quickly browse thru, why can't there be BOTH a number AND a one sentence summary score? Best of both world done ツ
@Bass_X0 I see what you're saying, but I see it like this. If the list of good and bad points was say... as long as your comment, it takes what, 10 seconds max to read?
Skimming a quick summary would obviously take longer to read than some random number but you're also getting a hell of a lot more detailed info than "5/10" which could mean a few different things depending on you and the reviewer. If a number score meant the same thing to every single person then I would more than likely agree with ya.
Can't think of anyway to let a person know in a list what to expect without using numbers other than saying Good, Average or Bad though... which isn't exactly ideal either ;p
I can't stand numerical or letter scores for games because in the end, it's all arbitrary and doesn't actually mean anything. I'd rather read about the game in general; these are the things that were good and things that were not so good. And then I can made the decision for myself based on those things.
People surely interpret different ratings differently, they're not interchangeable. Doesn't three out of five stars seem a bit more than 6/10? I agree with you: they should keep the current system, but there's no need to start bashing those who think otherwise.
But a solid number does give some indication of how the reviewer experienced the game. It gives us some means to rank a game, however crude, and compare it with others without delving deep into the game. I like that. A score is no substitute for a proper opinion piece, for sure, but it does tell us something: like, is the game complete thrash, worth finding about more or perhaps a rare gem.
Keep doing what you're doing Nintendo life. You guys are awesome.
In this matter eurogamer is right
say for instance, there is a FPS, i particularly dislike arcade-style fps such as COD or Wolfenstien, they can still get a good score, but that doesnt show me whether i myself will enjoy it or not, just general quality
I think it should be based on how much the game is recommendable, and having multiple numbers for accuracy. For example, these 5 grades:
(The do "not like" ones are to measure how much they differ from what you'd expect. Like Mario Kart and Smash are so different from the norm of their genre that people might like them even if they don't like racing/fighting games).
EDIT: But it doesn't need to be numbered. A brief answer to questions like those in the conclusion is enough to me. If I'm still interested or at least intrigued, then I read the full review.
Usually people have been following coverage of a game before they buy it, so most of the time they'll already be rather informed about it.
A review is then a way of confirming whether the game's actually lived up to its expectations, and a numerical score with a short written conclusion's usually sufficient in that regard. Especially nowadays with people on phones and tablets all the time, I imagine a lot of them won't have the chance to read through a long review, or would prefer not to.
Some people may not want to read much sometimes due to lack of time or otherwise, so just checking and seeing a high score with a neatly written conclusion from a site they trust can be a quick, helpful reference.
It can also let you know if the review is worth a read or not, in the sense that if you trust the site's reviewers and the score is e.g. a 4, you can instantly tell the game is not worth your time, whereas a higher score may make you want to know more details to see just what's so good about it, and that's when you actually read the whole thing.
Long story short, scores can be useful for sure. There'll always be some chumps fighting and whining over whether the score is accurate or whatever, but that's a lesser evil compared to busy readers quickly getting an idea of what they want to buy/avoid.
As I said earlier in the day over at Push Square:
Generally speaking I will look at the score first, but I always immediately read the review after I look at the score. Numbers don't mean anything unless you read why that number is there.
Ultimately though if it's a game that I know I'm going to enjoy I don't put much stock in the review. For example, growing up every Tales game that I played was generally scored in the 7 range, but yet they're some of my favourite games I've ever played. It's why I've never understood why fanboys get upset when a game like Smash Bros. only gets a 9.5 instead of a 10. If you love the game and enjoy it then why does the review score matter to you?
The main thing I look for in a review is the following: is the game broken. Is it buggy, glitch, does it have performance issues, and is it just generally unfinished (in other words, does it have an Ubisoft-level of polish). There have been times when I was looking forward to a game, read numerous reviews that all agreed on the fact that the game wasn't done yet, and decided to not waste my money.
Yeah, I'm to lazy to read the Review and just want to see the score.
I think the problem has less to do with which rating scale is used and more to do with HOW it is used. There needs to be a clear definition of what score is still a good game. Unfortunately, most readers will skip anything less than an 8 or 9, so you end up having a ridiculously broad range of quality all receiving an 8 or 9 because they are admittedly good games.
I think a 4 point scale would work well if everyone would pay attention to how to interpret it. IMO, there are really 4 categories of games anyway:
1=Rubbish, skippable crap
2=Decent. not superb, but worth playing
3=A very good game that nearly everyone should play
4=An awesome game people will replay for years to come and could well become a classic.
If 60% or more of a rating scale is used for varying degrees of crap, that seems pointless to me.
The scores are necessary.
If the game ships broken, it needs a low score.
I don't care about post release patches to fix something. For a kickoff - its not free, internet bandwidth costs, time to wait for a download costs, Thats like saying its perfectly fine for every Ford car to be sold broken, and then you take it to the mechanic later for a fix up.
If 60% or more of a rating scale is used for varying degrees of crap, that seems pointless to me.
The WiiWare version of Phoenix Wright was given a 5/10 score here despite being an enjoyable and worthy download that was in no way crap - it was only scored so low because NintendoLife wanted everything to be redrawn. The same trilogy with redrawn graphics with zero gameplay changes was given a 9/10.
@Sketchturner Um, not really. The larger of a scale the more accurate you can rate a game, that's why I wish Nintendo Life used a 100 point scale.
Anyway, I sort of agree with Eurogamer, the point of releasing patches is valid, but couldn't you just update the review? It seems like they're overstating the importance of reviews a little. I've bought games NL gave a poor review of and enjoyed them a lot. Really depends on the person(like Thomas said). Maybe review scores would be better if the whole site staff voted on them and they picked an average??
@conman2012 That's just crazy, the two instances are in no way equal. Sometimes developers are forced to release a game before it's done, do they deserve the flak just because their bosses made them do it? Sometimes it's because they need money sorely(Renegade Kid said they released Xeo Drifter because they needed more funds) so they can stay afloat. All I'm saying is it's not always greed or not caring about customers that's the cause of crappy games being released early.
I prefer a scoring system myself, it really just paints a clearer picture. Besides, you guys(NL) always say more than just a score at the end, the Conclusion section of your review really sums it all up nicely, and the score just serves to articulate how good or bad the game's features are.
@larry_koopa "Ubisoft level of polish" Dang. XD
Aggregate scores are a great way to find games that you might want to try.
If you're curious about a specific game, then finding a review from a site you like and actually reading about it might be the better option.
Giving names to scores is not much different than a rating system.
IGN even associates names with scores, and has a page explicitly detailing what every point means.
Why don't you go imperial and rate games out of 14?
I think a Very Good-Good-Average-Bad-Very Bad rating should be used and each secretly stands for 2 review numbers:
Gamexplain-True next gen reviewing...
I don't like scores at all. Nuff said.
I think a Very Good-Good-Average-Bad-Very Bad rating should be used and each secretly stands for 2 review numbers:
NintendoLife used to have scores out of five. Then they changed it to ten.
scores = comparison = games that arent from the same genre should not be compared, get compared = fans cry when game from X genre gets 8 and Y genre gets 7
@larry_koopa Sometimes, the review score isn't accurate to the criticisms that the reviewer gives. For example, a reviewer could give a game a 7, but give only one criticism that would usually drop it by 1 point, so yes, reading a review first is indeed a great idea...
@Bass_X0 Really? Maybe I should rephrase that-
Very Good-Good-Average-Bad-Very Bad rating should be used and each secretly stands for 1 Star. So Very Good-4.5-5 stars, Good-3.5-4 stars, Average-2.5-3 stars, Bad-1.5-2 stars and Very Bad-0.5-1 star.
Does that make things better, or the same???
@Bass_X0 O.h, by the way, I was going for reviewers in general, nit just Nintendo Life...
Having just five stars instead of ten stars is a better way of rating games. I think that you guys used to do that if my memory serves me right.
I would want scoring to be kept. No system is perfect but a score is a neat summary with the review providing useful context and detail.
1-10 at least provides scope for a variety of scores.
Can't say I've ever bothered with reviews before. Well, at least, if I did read through a review, I certainly didn't pay attention to the score the game was given. I look at a game and judge for myself whether I'll be happy with spending my money on it or not. No one else' opinion will influence my decision because I know that getting a game simply because another person said it is worth it is never a good idea. Some of my best friends are into drastically different games then I am. And when they say; "You'll LOVE this! It's epic! Trust me!" I try the game out for myself and lo and behold, I do not get what the appeal is. And just as said before, it's my money. I can understand being informed before a purchase, but I've never disappointed myself when it came to researching a game myself and looking at gameplay. It might work for some people to rely on reviews, but that's just not me.
I dont decide buying (or not) a game based solely on the score, it isnt even one of the most important things for me, I base my purchasing decisions primarly on the content of the review and more often on gameplay videos. But its really useful to have an early idea of what to buy when looking at a platform list of games, also the more scores the healthier (useful) and fairer the metacritic system will be, so I definetly think game reviews need to have a score.
If we're going to have some kind of rating system, I'd rather have them ranked as Must-Buy, Buy, Wait until discount, or Skip. It simplifies whether or not someone should buy something. I personally prefer just reading the review since it gives a better insight on what the game is about than what a score gives.
No they do not. The words should be sufficient and if they aren't it's time to go back to school.
I have qualms about NL's structure. I find some reviewers to assess the game based on its merits, the majority however I feel includes their personal opinion to much. A review based on opinion says nothing on the quality of the game but only the personal preference of that author damaging the games reputation based om taste and bias.
Secondly is the use of an average. I dont feel 5 represents average here, I feel 5 is "awful terrible no good garbage" and a 7 is worth a few pennies. Then 9 and 10 becomes a gargled mess of everything better than average.
Lastly however and most importantly and I REALLY hope someone sees this, is the classification of games based on price and category. By this I mean, reviews for small, indie games take price into consideration and that's fine as it is a factor BUT there is no distinguishing statement here - Abyss by enjoy up is not as good as Yoshis new Island or Kirby Triple Deluxe but they get a similar score. Price influenced the review in Abyss and yet we still place it in the bracket with triple A games. That nullifies the meaning of the number score for me. I feel in todays day and age we need to categorize this.
Big developers put millions into a game a d a simple omission of feature X makes it a 6/10. Then we have $1.99 piece o junk here which "sucks but only costs a dollar." And is ranked as a superior game all around. The 1/10 system can work but we slop everything into one pool. For a high school team I might rate my football team a 7, forba professional league I might rate my state football team a 3. Does this mean my high school team is better tham the state team? No.
I understand that no one conciously compares smash bros with say Swords and Soldiers but the score is negatively impacted by the fact that both of these have a 9 or 10 rating but are no where near on par. A score can have great meaning without those variables that tarnish its reputation, I feel we need to categorize a bit more. Such as Indie 9/10, AAA 8/10, Under $5 3/10, etc. That would hold more weight in my eyes.
Giant Bomb's core idea holds true. Numbers literally don't matter and are too static for all these games which are so dynamic and different. The content of the review is all that matters.
Replacing the number with ''great'', ''good'', ''bad'', etc. is not a solution at all. It just turns the number in a word, you're still using the same grading system.
The better (in-depth) reviews are great, but require a great knowledge of the game, of games in general, game design and require a good style of writing. These types of reviews are usually lengthy, and since most people don't bother reading lengthy stuff, so for this site, just stick to the numbers.
I love numerical scores and have never understood the hate they get sometimes.
Websites like Nintendo Life have scoring policies, meaning the number can be used to sum up neatly a reviewer's impression about a game (especially along with the "conclusion" paragraph). Of course, reading the entire thing is optimal, but this setup is a great tool for when you don't have too much time on your hands, or when you're skimming through older reviews.
I dislike Eurogamer's new metric system, and I absolutely hate reviews with no metric system whatsoever, so I hope that's not the way Nintendo Life is going in the future.
The number gives me a rough idea of how good/bad the reviewer thought of the game. If it's at least 7 or above, then I will read the review so I can then make a judgement on my own terms whether it will be for me or not.
What I would like from the reviews is for them to have a consistent flow. I've seen some reviews delve deeper into certain areas of a game and others not give you enough information on certain aspects. 3DS reviews are pretty bad for this because some tell you what the 3D experience is like and others don't.
I think scores are important. Yes, you have the people who start comparing scores or only look at scores or complain about X game getting Y score when Z game got W score... But that's just the vocal minority. The reason they are important is because people have different writing styles. Some people are very blunt and my talk about all the negatives... but when you ask them to give it a score out of they might say 8/10 or 9/10. On the other hand, some people are way more flowery and speak in euphemisms.. but then give it a 6/10 or 7/10. Both individually cannot give an apt picture.
Let's face it, everyone has a score that they mentally give certain games. You might not consciously think about it, but I bet you could easily come up with scores if pressed.
And I would point out that everything gets scored. Movies, books, TV shows, restaurants, events... Imagine if your schoolwork didn't get scored. You would just end up confused about your progress. Just getting a "good job" isn't sufficient because "good job", "good game" means different things to different people. There has to be some level of objectivity.
For review numbers to be most effective, you'd need to have the same person/people doing the reviews, and they'd have to be a group you agree with and have similar interests in games.
That said, review number score is still helpful for ignoring really bad games, but aside from that, people's views of 7-10 can differ, because different people get enjoyment from games from different factors of the game (i.e., some like graphics more, or the story, etc). I tend to agree with low scores here, but the higher scores, I don't agree as often, or it is not as detailed as I would like (noted more below).
So, I think number system should be kept, but that the game should be rated on multiple areas, a score for graphics, sound, story, mechanics. I also think the a 1-100 scoring system is better, a generic 7-10 does not distinguish enough, the really great ones from ones that are just good or above average.
Just get rid of scores all together. Maybe people might focus on the review itself!
I'm seeing a lot of people say something along the lines of 'Get rid of scores, other people just look at them and don't read the text'.
FFS. Why does it bother any of you what other people do with a review?
You're all just basically saying "I'm a sophisticated video gamer. I don't like all these yahoos that do things differently to me. Please get rid of them". What a bunch of ******!
If you like to read the text, WTF does it matter to you whether there is a score or not?
Snobbery. T'is all.
The best reviews have text and scores, allowing the reader to take what they want from it. Why do away with something that many people use, when it doesn't really affect anyone else?
If NintendoLife did away with scores I would just migrate to a site that does. A score gives an instant indication as to whether the reviewer thinks the game is worth the time/money. If I came in already interested, then I'll read the review whatever the score, but if I don't know much about the game, and it scores less than 70%, I just skip it. There's too many games going back 20 years that I've never played/finished that are better than a new game scoring an average of 65 or less, so I'd rather spend my time on them.
Believe it or not, I said no score at all. The review is opinion, the score is opinion... it's all subjective. I don't have to have a score as long as the reviewer expounds on the games pro's and con's, utilizes comparison's of current and past games of similar ilk, utilizes current and past game "mechanics and mechanisms", and overall, delivers an unbiased opinion for the game "in front of them", and not because they have something against a style of play, developer, etc. THAT... is the review I want to read and the opinion I want to hear from the reviewer. That's the reason why I completely abandoned IGN way back when. To your credit NL, you guys use a 10 point scale that you manage to hit better on the head than any other reviewer site/magazine/etc. I've ever read reviews from, and I mean EVER. I disagree with you guys like, less than 10% of the time, maybe 15% at most, but not more than that. Just make sure you guys keep your opinions unbiased, and everything else is ok in my book... imo
There's no way you can score all games on the same system. You should review it like any game, then say what type of people would like it and who should try it. For example, you might say "This is one of the best fighting games I've ever played, so its definitely worth buying if you like fighting games. It does nothing other fighting games haven't, so if you've never liked fighting games before you may not enjoy this one. If you haven't played many fighting games before or are interested in getting into the genre, this is definitely a good place to start."
I like GameXplain's review system the best. Scores don't particularly have any meaning when you're considering different genres, so a feeling to represent your opinion on the game instead of a score is much more helpful.
I totally agree as many people I know and there fore must think that a significant portion of people will skim the review and look at the score. Leaving the score out kind of coaxes one to actually read the review and decipher if the game is worthwhile for them. Plus sometimes a score number can work against you when compared to another games score.
Numbers are already quite worthless as it is due to their high inflation, what few sites do you know when rating a average game give it a 5(out of 10)? Very little if any, this is an inherent flaw in the system already and why the numbering should be greatly reduced or scraped. If I had to pick a number system, 1 - 5 is the best as it leaves room for it to teeter to both the worse and better side which is a good thing to have as tastes differ.
However my preferred system is Kotaku's , it's simple and accounts for taste. Buy it, Rent it, Avoid it(I believe there is a Wait option as well for MMO's and console reviews) are quite straight forward and result in a 1-3 system that has a big enough swing that the reason why it got that rating matter. IF something got a Rent it but you are a fan of the series then thats a buy it for you, same for the opposite. Buy it is everyone should play it, and avoid it is everyone should avoid it. That means only the greatest and worst will get praise and ridicule and the middle its up to the consumer.
I honestly think Nintendo Life should adopt the same scoring system as Eurogamer since scores are kind of archaic at this point. All I need to know is if a game is worth trying, a must have, or a game you should avoid, scores hardly ever do the games justice.
@gcunit Because there are more to it then that. You are looking at it from the point of view of only the consumer, but review scores are the bane of the gaming industry. For example did you know bungie when making destiny had a clause in their contract that if they scored high enough they would get a bonus? Do you want to promote that kind of behavior? Because that is the kind of behavior that helps stagnate a market by not taking risks but going for the sure thing. The problem is really of less that scores exist but rather companies putting such an importance on them, from our end it far easier and more effective to remove scores to remove the problem.
I'd love to see NintendoLife move to a Eurogamer-type system. Games journos aren't responsible for the misuse of scores, but they're in the best position to stop it.
I personally don't see a need for reviews. In most cases I have already made up my mind upon whether or not I want a game before its released and for those which I am unsure about, I will watch a Lets Play video either on Youtube or Twitch to help me decide
My favorite scale: -5 to 5. 0 is average and (hopefully) avoids the usual "7 (almost 3/4 of the scale) is average that we tend to fall into."
IMO, one problem is trying to compare a big budget action game on the same score range as a $4 indie puzzle game. Some eshop games have gotten an 8 or 9 but aren't nearly as great as a full-fledged retail game that scores an 8 or 9. Then you have to question whether price ought to be a factor in determining how "good" the game is or not.
Number scores have been pretty much ruined anyway (Nowadays, people consider 7 to be average, and anything below to be horrible), so I'd definitely say do away with them. I like the idea of a label system, although something for average would be nice, too.
@Kirby_Fan_DL3 Yes, Nintendo Life's review scores are probably biased because they are written by hardcore Nintendo fans. However, I find this to be a useful bias when deciding whether or not to purchase a game. If scores are skewed high here, it's a pretty good bet that a game that receives a 7 or below is definitely not worth my time. Also, I'm not sure how you would get around this problem. It seems pretty difficult to find people that aren't biased toward a particular type or genre of game.
Nintendo Life pushes for a positive change to their reviewing practices and Democracy will be the one to prevent progress. Damn you. Damn you all!
I generally only read a full review in two cases: I'm super hyped about the game and I need to know more, or I'm absolutely on the fence and I need something to nudge me one way or the other. Otherwise I tend to read the conclusion, check out any sections that I might have concerns about, and look at the score. If I felt like the conclusion and score didn't really match up (which has happened on this site a couple of times) I'll go back and read everything to see what the discrepancy might have been about.
The number gives me an easily digestible rating that lets me know right away someone's impression of the game. Simple phrasing like Eurogamer is changing to could just as easily work, but really it's the same thing. People convert stars into scores, you could easily do the same with phrases. If I see "Essential" at the end of a review, I know it's a 9 or 10. There's really not a difference, it's just whether you want your rating to be put on Metacritic or not.
@Dpishere If that's all you need to now, why even have text? Why not just slap a "recommended" or "must-buy" tag and be done with it?
I really wonder if people actually believe getting rid of scores would "coax" peaple into reading the paragraphs. Hint: it wouldn't. And that's because those people like having scores sum things up, and probably don't like reading reviews. If they did, they'd do it, number or no. If you take out numbers, it won't force them to read; they'll just go to another website which still uses numbers (or to Metacritic). Simple as that.
I love reading reviews about games I'm curious about. But there are many other games I'm not, and even in those cases, I still click the review here on Nintendo Life. Sometimes the summary and grade will surprise me, making me want to read the review after all. If those are gone, I frankly wouldn't even click those articles, and would probably stick to the ones I'm actually interested in.
I honestly see no good reason to get rid of scores - if you don't like them, fine, you're free to skip them. But many people do like them, so just let each person enjoy what they want. In this regard, I definitely agree with what @gcunit wrote on the matter.
Whoops, meant to pick the EG labeling system for the last question. Anyway, I generally like the reviews.
Lots of other game critics score games with a high number but the actual words in the review are just vague or excessively flowery. That isnt helping anyone. Props to EuroGamer for deciding to back out of that awful metacritic culture and revamping the review structure.
There are few games I actually care about. Those I care about I'm likely to buy regardless of the review. But I still like to see the score and read the review. For games I'm not set on, I'm not likely to be influenced unless I'm on the fence, but I like seeing the score (and occasionally skimming the review) out of curiosity. I wouldn't bother opening most of the reviews in that category if they didn't have a score.
@ricklongo I actually like reading the reviews to find out if the game is right for me. I just don't want an arbitrary number thrown out telling how good they think a game is when those numbers can be used to compare games and could be taken as since a game got a 9 then it is better than a game that got an 8, which oftentimes I disagree with. Reviews I like, scores I think we could live without.
Gamexplain switched to a system similar to eurogamer's. Honestly I like it better that way. "I give this game an 8.7". What!? Where do you pull that number out of? Reviews in this case are opinions of video games and should be treated as such. When you talk to your friend you say "Yo I got this game and it has X amount of stuff and tight controls and I love it". You don't go "Hey I got this game and it got a 9 out of 10, go grab it". Numbers are nice sure, but some seem artificial and seem so forced. It is nice to go to Metacritic to get a general idea of the praise (or lack of) a game received. But for individual reviews I like how they feel natural in their scores how Gamexplain does and like we'll see on eurogamer. Maybe this will lead to a decline in number scores.
A score can help but really what's needed is a summary and who they would recommend it to if it's a more niche thing.
As long as "too much water" isn't an excuse, then whatever.
As long as people understand a 5/10 as just an average game coming from a subjective opinion (we're all just humans) and not dismiss it as total shovelware a 10-point system is easy to understand. You can have fun with an average game! Some people seem to forget the scale goes down to 3/20, 2/10 and 1/10 for really boring, short games, or cashgrabs, or trash.
In the first place reviews are written to inform people if their choice is good for them, not to rank games against each other.
You forgot an option, Steam user reviews are using the even smaller yes/no scale
If there was only one review site, and it was very thorough and consistent, then a 1-100 scale would be a tool for more precise reviews. A three rating is clearly better than two, and two is clearly better than one. However, more people are reading more reviews, so with a 1-5 scale or label system they can focus their thoughts on comparing the subjective opinion of each review (instead of automatically trying to compare scores).
Edit: What I mean is, before people compared the score to the score similar games got to guess how good it is. Now, we forget about other games and read multiple reviews for one game that we compare to each other; but we can't keep track of if an 88 from one site/reviewer is actually better than an 89 from a different site/reviewer.
The only review score on this site that ever failed me was NightSky (How did that dull shovelware get a 10/10?!). Everything else has been pretty helpful. So I don't think you should ditch the numbers.
I love that one old game magazine that had scores given to different aspects of the game. They had a score assigned to controls, graphics, fun factor, and "tilt" if I remember correctly. I think they still had an overall score, but I do feel the breakdown is important. Some people really don't care about graphics and just want good controls. Some people can overlook spotty controls if the game is a lot of fun to play. Etc.
I only see the numbers as an 'at a glance' impression of the reviewers opinion since a lot of the actual reviews can be pretty tl;dr.
From what I have seen happen with a lot of video game reviews and the attempts at discussion over said reviews via comment sections and the like, the usage of any sort of grading system (especially numeric scoring) is nothing short of pointless. (no pun intended)
Instead of these game reviews serving the purpose of providing perspective on how enjoyable a video game can be based on a given reviewer's written experience with it, more people tent to focus too much on the score/grade attached at the end of all of it without proper context. As a result, the review fails in trying to accomplishing it's original task, and ends up turning into
a tool used by video game publishers for marketing, or as ammunition used by trolls/die-hard fans for instigating non-constructive arguments.
A numeric score/grade tends to register with many people as some form of objectivity in these reviews, yet these reviews are ultimately subjective as based on personal experiences.
I would rather see all video game reviews get rid of such rating systems, and place the focus on the written experience with the game. For those people who make the argument of wanting a rating system of some sort due to not having time to read an entire review, I would say let the review have a bullet-point list or brief summary at the end of it to get across the overall gist of it. It would be far more informative and less likely to be misinterpreted. Or as some others here have suggested, a simple "Buy it, Try it, Ignore it" verdict could also be used at the end since it would again, prove far more informative over all.
I believe its in the review site's interest to write a score. It draws people in and grabs their attention. A score is just a score, but business is also business.
I honestly find numbered scores really insightful. I don't see the point in moving to labels because all that really does is change the number to a word and limit the space you have to rate games. I know what a 10/10 game is and I can see how it is different to a 9/10, whereas just saying it is 'vital' or some other synonym gives me less indication. At least with numbers I have a scale to compare games to.
Another thing is, amongst my friends we always ask each other what would we rate things out of 10. It's something I'm use to. I never have trouble gaining meaning from the number.
I personally wouldn't like a buy/try/ignore system because the 'try' label I feel defeats the point of a review. It's essentially the reviewer saying they can't help me in informing my decision. Plus the smaller scale makes it a lot harder to compare games.
Forcing people to actually read about a game instead of just drawing kneejerk conclusions from a generalized number is probably a good thing.
I wonder how many games that would actually interest and be enjoyed by some people were passed over by them because they skipped the review and decided 6 or 7 out of 10 isn't good enough.
I think numbered scores are still useful, although a 10 point scale is a little restrictive. I'd much prefer a 100 point scale or at least using half numbers on the 10 point scale. NintendoLife's reviews tend to be very long, and I don't always have the time to read them, especially if I'm not that interested in the game, so yes I often read the conclusion and the score. I'm not really a fan of GameXplain's new review system, because it doesn't seem like they have a consistent set of 'emotions' and it's hard to determine which ones are better than others. (does 'liked' mean its really worth your time? I can say I liked a 6/10 game but there are plenty of others worth buying beforehand.)
@XCWarrior not sure I agree with this. I really enjoyed playing through the Walking Dead but I wouldn't call it a "fun" experience. But it was definitely worth my time. I think we get too hung up on fun which is oversimplification of whether a piece of entertainment is worh you're time. We don't just see movies which are fun eg they're scary or moving etc. Not sure why video games that aren't fun aren't seen as worth my time.
I voted for Eurogamer's new scale... At this point, after all these years of seeing various arbitrary interpretations of numerical number grades/scores, I personally find review score numbers to not be useful for determining the actual content and quality of a game. I'm more interested in reading a summary, conclusion, or synopsis if I want a quick look at a game review, before reading it in full.
I grew up with the Gamepro magazine grading system- It used an alternate version of a 10 point grading scale (0.5-5.0). Instead of assigning a single grade to a game outright, they chose to give ratings to individual aspects of a game (i.e. Graphics, Sound, Controls, and Fun Factor), and an image of a facial expression to accompany the score. For example, a 3.0 would show a smiling head, a 3.5 would show a smiling head with a thumbs up, a 1.0 would show a head frowning with two thumbs down, and a 5.0 would have an ecstatic head that looked like it got a jolt of static electricity, making their hair stand on end. The numerical grades/scores correlated to these expressions- in theory, these emotions were the true descriptors of how the reviewer felt about certain aspects of a game, not the numbers themselves. They could have very well done away with the numbers, and been no lesser for it- the numbers existed merely to follow the 1990s trend of professional gaming journalism affixing a rating to their industry's products in the same way other media did for their product ratings; a trend which has continued to survive to this day.
I think there is a good lesson to be learned there- a numerical grade/score indicates a mathematical concept, a percentage of correct or acceptable answers; as is often used in schools. A display of clearly described emotion, on the other hand, is a universal measure of how someone feels and thinks about something; it can be used anywhere, not just in an academic setting. Using numerical grades/scores for an art form or game doesn't really make logical sense, because their qualities cannot be summed up by a boolean or absolute mathematical value. It's just an abstract value born from past trends of trying to draw media rating systems using traditional school grading systems, even though the two are not necessarily correlated.
A descriptor of how someone feels about a game at the end of a review could easily replace any numerical value; just as Gamepro's use of a glowing, happy face, with mouth grinning wide, and two thumbs up, could have easily replaced a "9/10".
I think scores are a waste of time other than as a very crude measure of whether something is terrible or worth my time. You can't take account of differences of opinion and the subjectiveness of the reviewer. Maybe the mIt's also ridiculous that metacritic scores are used to determine developer bonuses. I definitely would prefer a simpler system.
I basically click on every article, however for games I have no interest in, I always skip to the summary and review score on this site. Only when it is a game I've been anticipating do I actually read the content of your reviews. As several others have mentioned, your reviews often run very long. I think if you were to forgo a scoring system, I'd be more likely to skip your reviews altogether, rather than sit and read through the content of every little game and rerelease that ever graces a Nintendo system. Honestly, if a game is ported with zero differences in how it plays, it doesn't need a separate review for every iteration! I often see reviews for the same game three or four times because it released on Wii virtual console, then 3DS virtual console, then WiiU virtual console. Nothing changed!
Numerical scores should always exist, and even more importantly, a website like Metacritic who puts them together is vital. This way you get more of a balanced idea of a game's worth, not too influenced by a single reviewer preference. If the score would boil down to "Great, Average, Bad" or similar, it would be way more easy for the reviewer to surrender to his/her own bias. If anything, I think reviews should have 'midway scores' for different aspects of a game (e.g. presentation, gameplay, longevity, etc) and then the final score would be the average of those scores. 0-100 I think would be better, too.
And for the sake of objectivity, only ONE method should be agreed upon and used by ALL the major gaming websites, otherwise the Metacritic relevance will soon be nil, since it would be impossible to combine different methods for every reviewer. And again, that's one more reason why I think the numerical score should stay, and possibly improved.
Is a tad difficult to explain, but I hope it's clear enough.
To be honest I'm lazy. I scroll to the bottom to see the number & read the summary. I kinda already know if I'm going to buy a game or not so it's more just to see what the reviewer thinks than anything else. Eurogamer's system seems even more awesome for my laziness, as long as every game gets a label. I say go for it.
@andrea987 +1. Not having a numerical score is a cop-out and a game site risks irrelevance by omitting scoring systems.
Metacritic gives us a useful tool for assessing where to put our time and money. If I look at the Wii U games on Metacritic averaging 70+, I can be pretty confident that on the whole they're probably a better investment if you want to be able to say you've played the best games around. Better than those scoring under 50, surely.
Just because there are scores, that doesn't mean that's all people look at. My most played Wii U game scored a Metacritic 69, FFS.
@mastersworddude Yeh, let's FORCE people to do something they'd prefer not to, that's probably the best way to go. :rolleyes:
@Warruz Yes I do want to promote that sort of behaviour. I want developers to put as much effort in as possible to make a great game that reviewers universally admire. I don't give a hoot how they pay/incentivize their staff, that's up to them.
Metacritic is the best method available for getting an overall picture of a games status in the eyes of the players. I can then pick and choose from a number of reviews to see why it may have varied across sites, and it helps me become aware of sites I might otherwise not have know about.
What I'd like Metacritic to improve upon though includes:
If I don't have enough time to read the whole review I will usually read the little summary at the bottom and then check out the score. I love the reviews on here and although they don't always line up with my thoughts I love to see other peoples opinion. The reviews here are also very well written.
The is not point reading a review with no score..
I check the score for games that I am not interested in, just for having a general idea about the game, but I always read the review if I am thinking in buy it. In gereral I thrust Nintendolife reviews
I'd say numbers are more important long after the game came out.
@gcunit by having such a pay incentive it forces companies to play it safe, why? Because they can better guarantee the bonus if they don't go to far out of their bounds. I want new idea's to thrive and having such a pay structure doesn't support that in the slightest, having a bonus for high review scores (90 +) means your game while still great most likely isn't going to be anything brand new, its going to be indicative of something else.
Just think of where all the new ideas are coming from today, indies. Thats where the fresh and new ideas are coming from because they have the freedom to do so. They are not bound by such clauses and have the freedom to do what they want and can come up with games that change how you think of games.
Also do not claim it is up to them, we are not talking independent studios here who have no publisher, we are talking about those who do have publishers and have contracts they are beholden to. I highly doubt when presented with said contract they really have any leverage to change these things nor would turn it down because of one clause. You should care how these people are paid, because how they are paid results in the type of product they produce.
Metacritic is truly the bane of the industry just by the very nature of it existing. It promotes number inflation (how many sites actually rank an average game a 5) and its own system for converting is flawed. Take a look at how metacritic converts anything but a 1-10 system, it starts taking a few leaps in how to interpret those scores into its system. As mentioned publisher's look towards metacritic as the end all be all and employees pay is effected by it which in turn effects the product. Hell look at AC Unity, it has a 70 on Metacritic, this game is still completely unplayable for a large portion of PC players and it has a 70, a bloody 70! A game that most of the people on this particular platform can not play and is a buggy mess is not even a 50!
@Warruz Experimenting with a new gaming idea doesn't make the game worth buying. Making it a good game makes it worth buying. You can experiment AND make it a good game, you know, the two are not mutually exclusive.
What you've described is not the fault of Metacritic. It is inevitable with big-budget game development. If you're spending big then you need to assure the boardroom that it will sell, so you play it safe and go for the established market. Big-budget developers will still be playing it safe if Metacritic goes away.
As for AC: Unity - you disagree with some of the scores? Better ban all scoring then.
Do you really think 5 should equal 'Average' on the scale? On average, the majority of games are reasonable experiences with enjoyment to be found inside them. Average is more like 65-70% IMO.
@gcunit The two may not be mutually exclusive but they are however counter intuitive when offering such a bonus. Do you A go for the safe bet , or B go for the riskier game? Well when you have a bonus based off of reviews you would go with the safer bet. It's easier to make a better "something" if it already exists then to start completely fresh with something uncharted.
No, I never claimed it was Metacritic's fault, Metacritic is just doing what they are doing, but that doesnt prevent Metacritic being a source of the problem, it can be not someones fault but still their problem. G
Good Metacritic scores do not effect sales. Using Destiny as an example like It did before, Destiny got alright scores (70-80), nothing terrible and nothing great, but it sold like hotcakes. I mean from a business standpoint isnt sales more important then some arbitrary value?
AC Unity is but an example, but a good example of the issues with scoring, here is a game unplayable to a large group and received a 7.
And yes, I do believe Average should be a 5, because of the definition of what average is. We should either be seeing far more games in the 5 area, or far more lower numbers to compensate these higher numbers. What would you describe 5 then, as bad? Whats a 2 then? or a 1? If you consider 65-70 average then why are there (from a 1-10 scale) now 6 ratings that are considered bad and 4 that are considered good? you should see right away now that is unbalanced and shows the issue of inflating scores.
@Warruz No, you don't get it. Average = fairly good, as most games, despite having various issues, are fairly good experiences, or better. Average does not equal 'Middle'.
My interpretation of a 1-10 scale, that I apply to anything (movies/music/food etc), off the top-of-my-head:
1 = WTF (Atrocious)
2 = Just No/Terrible
3 = Pretty Bad
4 = Poor
5 = very significant issues, though not without some positives
6 = Overall positive, but with some significant issues
My 'average' lies somewhere in here
7 = Good/Fine, but lacking sparkle
8 = Very Good
9 = Terrific/Excellent
10 = Exemplary/Essential experience (Not 'Perfect', cos nothing is nor can be)
@LordRoke "Fun" is an all encompassing word. It might have made you tense, made you think, made you sad/happy, etc etc. The point is, the game wasn't boring or so broken it's not playable.
People love to make everything way more complicated than it needs to be. So in that sense I like Eurogamer's system of "Essential" "recommended" and "Avoid." It's to the point, and not trying to over complicate things.
Not to get too inside baseball, but one of the main reason I stopped reviewing games here is because I disagreed with the way games were being reviewed. I've always been a proponent of words, not numbers. I think a lot of time the scoring system is an excuse for bad writing. Nintendo Life has good writers, but I think they would be better if they had to challenge themselves to explain their perspective without the help of a grading system.
I think Giant Bomb has a great system 5 star scale works great with metacritic, in the end I go by just reading the review get a better overall picture of the game that way.
I've always preferred the 1 to 20 point scale, personally. Anything from 1 to 10 with 0.5 intervals. I think that makes the most sense. Sometimes a game is better than good, but not quite great. In that case, a 7.5 would be the perfect score, for example.
Scores are utterly useless. Read the review, that's the part that actually tells you about the game. A score without reading the review is just a number with no context, and after reading the review a score doesn't do anything but offer a useless summary of what you just read (rendered even more useless because every review ever has a text summary before the number).
Scores only seem to exist to keep Metacritic alive and give idiots on the internet something to whine about.
To be brutally honest, the problem is more to do with people not having the patience or time to read a lot of text, so they skip straight to the score. And I don't blame them, most video game reviews aren't exactly entertaining to read. Despite what people say, a numerical score does have context and each number can represent a one word evaluation. The problem is more that Metacritic exists and publishers use it to determine pay bonus'; these 2 things in particular need to to go away.
That said, I think the removal of scores is fine, but be prepared to get less hits on the article. The ideal solution would be to post a video, with the reviewer reading out their text with footage that highlights what is being said. Watch a Matthewmatosis video on Youtube and witness how to do the perfect scoreless video review.
I always find the reviewer's ratings useful. I may not agree with them every single time but they do usually do make me reconsider buying games (either for or against buying them that is).
All gaming sites should drop the made up score systems. Stupid people look at only the score and don't even read the text, even though the reviewers text is the most important part of the review. All review scores are anyway made up and rolled with a dice, very rarely games get low scores and in a true 1-10 scale or 1-100 scale most games would be anyway around 50-60 range, but still all end up being 7-9 or 70-90 which makes no sense.
Also by dropping the scores completely sites like gamerankings and metacritic will die like those deserve to.
Nothing makes me more sad than games like Fallout New Vegas having some damn bonus system for the developers tied to the Metacritic score. That is so absurdly insane that I still can't believe it actually happened.
So I hope Nintendolife and Pushsquare follow soon and drop the scores. Instead have for example a plus and minus section at the end if you want to have some sort of short section to tell quickly about the game.
EG's new labels are useless. They are incredibly unhelpful and vague, even more so than scores. If a game goes unclassified then that basically means don't play it, which is the EXACT same thing as giving a game a poor score.
There is just going to be a flood of 'recommended' games, with no way to differentiate between them. Games CAN be rated with a number, however Nintendo Life is one of the few reviewers which actually nails this.
The problem with EG reviews is that what's in the text never matches the score they give it. Even now, their MM review reads like an 'essential' but they give it 'recommended' for seemingly no reason at all. This is a problem that most sites have, including others like Gametrailers. The score NEEDS to match the text, which more often than not is not the case. Nintendo Life, however, tend to match their scores with the text.
You guys actually give reasons for why the game isn't a 10, whereas EG sings a games praises in the review but then gives it a 7/10 without mentioning the negative aspects at all. They generally have very poor reviews, this is the way it always has been and the way it shall continue, scores or not.
Keep the scores please, NL, because you're the only ones who actually do them properly.
I think that a 1 to 5 point scale is the best way to go. Todays 7/10's would probably be 4/5's then. Which would be way better for 'em imo.
Also when a 6/10 becomes a 3/5 it somehow makes the game look better.Many 6/10's are good games, so that would do 'em more justice imo.
It's only a snapshot in time to make people help decide on which game they should get. Not like that would really have anything to do with the game becoming a true classic later on.
Have never taken scores too seriously. I think it's more mature to just have articles avoid them. I cannot put scores on things i love or hate
@gcunit The current method only uses a tiny fraction of the scale for the games most people would bother with anyway.
9 can mean its a half decent game in a genre the reviewer likes (Or the site grades too highly for the big first party Nintendo games in order to get the embargo dropped first.)
What score did Red Riding Hood get on NLife?
If a reviewer posts a score that noticeably differs from the impression given in the text of the review then (a) they get pounded on by the readers (where comments are possible); (b) their credibility takes a dive, individually and the site they're writing for.
I haven't seen anyone saying 'Do away with text, I only want a score', and no-one's saying 'I only look at the score, on one site, and that makes my decision for me'.
Just because you disagree with some review scores, why seek to do away with them if other people like them?
I like a basic score and summary at the bottom. If it did crap, I know I will probably pass without needing to know more. It means I don't have to read the whole thing if I'm in a hurry- I'll check the bottom, and then skim the review for details if I want to know more. If I do have time or really want to know everything, I'll read the whole review.
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