To score or not to score. The Reviewers quandary
Having recently dipped my toes back into the murky waters of reviewing games once more, I found that at my conclusion I was stumped on how to surmise my thoughts. Was Counterspy a 6? a 7? what was it in my eyes. My review of Counterspy for those who have not read it, painted the game as flawed title, with lovely design ideas but with poor execution. So what do those equal when shoe horned into numerical former, I’m guessing a 6. But where does my 6 come from? What other 6’s is it equal to, what 7’s is it worse than and what 5 does it dance over? So I’ve decided to make a quick list of 10 games, each one will act as my barometer to compare other games to.
0. You can’t have a zero game as that doesn’t technically exist.
1. Air control. I’m glad to say I’ve never seen a game worse than Air Control, and lucky I never played it, I watch various folks such as Jim Sterling take that shit heaped bullet and for that the world owes them. Stay the fuck away from 1s
2. Sims 2 Pets on PS2: Because I bought this instead of Destroy All humans 2 and I still haven’t forgiven either myself or this game for tempting me away. Why bother with a 2 when better games exist
3. Dear Ester. Now I’m not going to say it’s not a game or any of that, wiser men have made cases on both sides that you should look into, i’m putting it here because the story bored the living shit out of me. No point picking up
4. Besieger: Remember this game? I doubt it. Besieger was a PC RTS that I bought instead of Dynasty Warriors 4 (This is what happens when I browse) The game had it’s charms, including a Helms Deep map but it ran like syrup trickling down your aunts belly button, so yeah not great. Unless the 4 is in a genre you care a great deal about your money is still better off else where.
5. Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. Now this is a game with a loyal fan base, and I can see why, it’s just doesn’t enthrall me as much as it does others. It’s a game with charm and mechanical competence just not for me. an average game, when it comes to 5’s thinking about the reviewer themselves, have agreed with their previous thoughts on other reviews, does their byline speak to you?
6. Borderlands: Now this is a series I do like, i just don’t think it’s as amazing as people say. decent humor and writing, fun gun play but needs friends which I lack. Again you need to concern yourself with the reviewer who wrote the review, and look at more than one, get a broad range of views, no one is definitive.
7. State of Decay: Now I love this game, but I can say it’s got it’s flaws. Flaws which Ironed out would make it amazing, it just needs a couple more features here and there and it would be everything I could want in a Zombie survival game. 7 is perfectly serviceable and has become a sort of bench mark for reviews on sites I read (Gamespot, IGN, Escapist) anything lower than 7 is considered bad, anything high is good. But of course the world is never that black and white. By the way Resident Evil 6 deserved a lot lower than a 6
8. Fallout New Vegas: Fresh in my mind and a bloody good game to boot. With good combat, exploration, with wonderful world building, but just lacking a certain something to get it to a 9. An 8 is always worth a look at it my book, if it’s in a genre I like, then I tend to get it when I can.
9. Batman Arkham City: To me a near perfect game, with very close to everything I look for in a game. When you see a reviewer who you respect give a game a 9, it’s safe to assume you’ll enjoy it.
10. Ten is an odd rating, does it mean perfect? a 10 rating is always a once in a blue moon affair, the last one Gamespot gave was in 2010 for Super Mario Galaxy 2. If we get into the muddy waters of star ratings is a 5 stars the same as 10 out of 10? (metacritic thinks so) I’m always surprised to see a ten rating in games, as it’s something that tends to hint at fanboyism from the reviewer, being blinded by something to think of a game as flawless, when no game is.
So now you know my values when reviewing a game, at least you’ve seen the tip of the iceberg in my cognitive functions as I try to process a games value into something so subjective as number value.