With Death Stranding reviews out for everyone to see and the fanatics running rampant online (screaming about how 6/10 is the worst thing in existence) I thought now would be a good time to take a breather from reviews and talk to you about scoring. Some websites such as Eurogamer have done away with the standard /10 model. The problem is that their awards system for good games and using an avoid warning for bad ones eventually boils everything down to a /5 result. I’ve always found the /10 model works well for me as I think there’s plenty of room for all kinds of games in every genre. Reviews are always going to be subjective but even then a /10 score gives you a good idea of how much enjoyment you’re going to get from it. Starting from the bottom then…
1/10 – Unplayable broken mess avoid unless you want to repair some trash
Now this score can be incredibly subjective and cause the biggest of scuffles online (I still remember that Dementium: The Ward review Destructoid gave 1/10 on) Any review will be a reflection of the reviewer but typically a 1/10 game will be very broken, very horrible and mostly just not functional at all. It has become a rarity these days as even moderate quality control stops this sort of thing from happening. Then again we did get Life of Black Tiger on PS4. The Monday morning during financial year end.
ElderlyGoose.com example – Destiny 2 (when offline)
2/10 – Almost dreck but not quite. It functions but what’s there is not worth playing. Border-lining a hard pass only because the thing was created and works.
As a reviewer a 2/10 is the blessing in disguise. The polar opposite to the 9/10s. A game that is incredibly horrible and broken but you can tell some effort went into making it. Either the models look nice or there’s a music track that plays once that you’ll smile about. The all important gameplay though is incredibly broken, heavily reliant on pay to win features or at launch it’s a horrible nonfunctional mess that needs patching. Typically best avoided as even die hard fans will struggle to enjoy. The weak cup of tea.
ElderlyGoose.com example – SEGA Heroes
3/10 – Small moments of joy in a horrible experience. One or two redeemable factors that don’t fix the broken mess it has become. Fans will enjoy it, everyone else won’t.
A game that feels like an uphill slog, a colossal grind to find pockets of enjoyment that on balance aren’t worth it, these titles get a 3/10. It’s the sort of bad game where the reviewers perspective is criticized about by fanatics and yes they are subjective but the title has so many examples of boredom, tedium or insultingly offensive moments the few moments of joy dissolve into nothingness. You aren’t looking at From Software challenge for enjoyable triumph here, you’re looking at hours of horrible grind even to find any fun. The baking of a cake that turns out to be bland and needed a lot more.
ElderlyGoose.com example – MARVEL Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
4/10 – A delicate balance. There are positives here but the negatives outweigh them just enough that it’s not an easy recommendation to anyone but the lovers of the genre.
This is one of the hardest reviews to write up. You want to be positive because there were some enjoyable moments to be had but when you weigh up the good with the bad there’s just too much on the negative side to make it worth recommending. Sure if you love the genre, you’ll eventually find some enjoyment there and you might even click really well with it. You will definitely be the one person most aware of why the game deserves that score though. The inevitable cleaning out of the attic that wasn’t as bad as you thought but still pretty damn awful.
ElderlyGoose.com example – Metal Gear Survive
5/10 – The hardest video game to review. The middle ground of everything.
On the one hand you have a horrible frustrating experience that should be purged from memory but on the other hand you’ve a fantastic experience that really makes it worth your time. It’s the first Thor film of the Marvel cinematic universe. Ok and enjoyable but it’s only scored a 5 because it didn’t quite iron out the issues or achieve greatness. Caveats galore but you can find some serious enjoyment if you risk it. The buzz of cheap sweets that doesn’t last.
ElderlyGoose.com example – Super Dodgeball Beats
6/10 – Just enough that you should give it a go but make sure you read a review first.
Ok it’s the slightly less grey area time! If it’s in a genre you enjoy, chances are you already know if you’ll love it or not. These are the kind of titles that fanatics rage about more than anything else, “why don’t you love this as much as I do?” Well that’s because if you aren’t really steeped into the genre or specific series then it’s likely not a very welcoming game in its own right. It just might not be your cuppa tea or maybe you’re just kidding yourself that it’s as great as you think. Most games with weapon degradation mechanics end up here. The hot chocolate that had tasty mellow on top but didn’t mix all that well.
ElderlyGoose.com example – Rage 2
7/10 – A great game.
These are always worth playing. Everything 7/10 up is just a “give it a go” game. Most people are starting to see 7/10 scores and hesitate. Sure there are a few niggles or possibly the gameplay just becomes a bit too samey after a while but there’s a lot of fun to be had. These games are definitely worth playing but there’s usually a few caveats you need to be aware of going in. It might simply be that the brilliance is watered down by too much repetition, a little too much to enjoy from moment to moment. The roast dinner that tastes amazing but carried on a bit too long.
ElderlyGoose.com example – The Legend of Heroes – Trails of Cold Steel III
8/10 – A superb game.
The complete inverse of a 3/10 game. You’ll have a great time almost the entire way through. There will be at least one caveat or niggle throughout though holding it back. The game will be something incredibly enjoyable that you’ll have a blast with but there’s occasional moments that stop the ride before you carry on. The score that should please everyone but rarely does. I’ve seen people complaining about 8/10 reviews demanding it be a 9 or 10 regardless of its problems. Possibly because fanatics don’t understand that critics are there to point out the flaws or possibly because acknowledging them allows them to grow as people. Regardless these are the custard creams of the biscuit world.
ElderlyGoose.com example – The Princess Guide
9/10 – Almost perfect.
You can expect to see a few Game of the Year games in this score range. If you have a legendary title but it has a singular problem that can bring it down then chances are it got a 9/10. That detraction isn’t something that should ever put anyone off playing it though. A 9/10 game is highly worth playing. It can even be a Game of the Year if the fated 10/10 never occurs and it just happens to be borderline perfection. The Jammie Dodger of video games.
ElderlyGoose.com example – Untitled Goose Game
10/10 – Perfection.
The most divisive result of a review possible. All reviews are subjective but a 10/10 game is one that everyone should experience at least once. A literal ‘must play game’ that all players will find at least something enjoyable within it. The equivalent of your favourite film that you’ll still watch at any time on any day in any mood. Edge famously gave Bloodbourne 10/10 and although I disagree with that I still played it (and I’m still trying to complete it) there is wondrous design, atmosphere and polish. It’s not a game I would subjectively give 10/10 but I can get a lot of joy from it and games with that score are rare and deserve it for a reason. The legendary cup of tea after a long day.
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