About Our Reviews
We’ve made some changes around here recently. You lot expressed your dissatisfaction with our previous scoring system, so we’ve carefully constructed a new marking scale, designed to shower the absolute best games with the most praise possible, and disperse the big “60-80 per cent” bulk that our scores seemed to suffer from before.
Our reviewing remit remains the same. We review critically and analytically, but if a game makes us feel passionate or enthusiastic, we’ll convey that in our write-ups. We review based on code sent by publishers and PR companies, which we always assume to be the final version. And we’ll only run early or exclusive reviews when we’re happy with the terms and conditions – basically, if there’s a clause we feel might compromise our judgement or integrity, the deal’s off.
The absolute cream of the crop. A 10 does not necessarily mean a perfect game, but it will almost always be a revolutionary, hugely significant masterpiece. It will probably be tremendously innovative, and it will certainly refine its genre beyond what any similar title has achieved in recent times. A 10 out of 10 signifies a game that will likely go down in history as one of the greats of its era, and giddily talked about for years to come.
These are some of the best titles on the market today. A 9 out of 10 game will be highly polished, achieving its goals superbly, with only barely significant problems preventing it from gaining the highest accolade. 9 out of 10 titles remain thoroughly entertaining, atmospheric and engrossing from start to finish, and are almost certain to be among our favourite games of a given year.
8 out of 10 games are very good. They may have a few minor problems – perhaps a couple of pacing issues, a couple of bugs, a couple of plot holes, whatever – but they nevertheless stand high above the majority of titles released. They might be innovative, exquisitely polished or mechanically excellent, but for whatever reason, these are hugely enjoyable games, and come highly recommended.
Good games. These titles aren’t by any means perfect, but their strengths certainly outweigh their weaknesses. A 7 out of 10 game will provide plenty of entertainment and value for money, sporting competent mechanics and a solid design vision. It might be a little glitchy, perhaps it doesn’t do anything particularly new, or maybe the pacing falters slightly every now and then. But despite this, it will remain enjoyable throughout, and be a worthwhile purchase.
These are decent games, though there will be better options available. These could be solid, perfectly functional and largely enjoyable games that don’t quite inject enough imagination into their presentation; or they could contain great ideas but be hampered by slightly underwhelming execution. A 6 signifies a game that certainly provides some reasonable entertainment, but one that might not be ideal for everyone.
These are okay games. 5 out of 10 titles aren’t by any stretch of the imagination ‘bad’, but there’s not a lot to separate them from the reams of other releases available. Perhaps they rely too much on tried and tested mechanics, without injecting much of their own personality. Or perhaps they revolve around good ideas, but the mechanics can’t quite match the ambition. Perhaps they would have been good games had it not been for shaky technology. Whatever the reason, while these games do provide some entertainment value, you might want to check out a demo before making a purchase.
These games are slightly below par. A 4 out of 10 score is for titles that do a few things right – perhaps their mechanics are reasonable; maybe they look great; maybe there are a few moments of greatness buried deeply here – but fail to impress on a greater level. They’re hampered by a number of problems that mean they’re unlikely to make any real impact, or be remembered in the months and years to come.
These games aren’t very good. A 3 out of 10 title isn’t necessarily a complete disaster – there may be some sparks of intelligence or thought here and there – but for the most part it will fail to impress. This may be for a variety of reasons – game-breaking bugs, a crippling lack of creativity, shaky mechanics etcetera – but the result will be the same: a game that provides only a small amount of entertainment value, despite a handful of reasonable elements.
A 2 out of 10 score signifies a poor game. These titles do very little right. Maybe they look okay, or maybe there are a few minutes of fun to be had every now and then. But a combination of unimaginitive design, below-par mechanics and other problems severely hold these titles back, making them impossible to recommend.
The lowest mark available. A game scoring 1 out of 10 is at the very bottom end of the quality scale, offering little or no entertainment value. These games are severely troubled, conceptually flawed, and executed terribly. There will be very few, if any, redeeming qualities to a title scoring a 1 out of 10. Avoid at all costs.