Reviews Explained

This is to briefly explain how I review games.

Addendum 7/2/13: I’ve decided to change the names of the categories.  They still function exactly the same as the previous titles but I think the new ones give a better description of what I’m trying to measure.

  • All rating scales are 1-5.  I know a lot of systems go up to 10, but this seems redundant to me.  Is any game rated 5 or below worth buying?  Generally not.  To me, scores below 5 are just a matter of “how badly does it suck?”  Is it just a little awful or should to developers be accused of crimes against humanity?  So I stick with 5.  Much easier, & the lines between each rating are clear-cut.
  1. Horrible!  This game will scar you for life!  Should not be played by anyone.  Story is non-existent.  Gameplay is broken beyond repair.  Visuals are muddy & sound is repetitive.  You’ll be lucky to make it through this game once.
  2. Below Average.  This game has limited appeal.  Rent if you want to try it.  Story is cliche or leaves the player feeling unfulfilled.  Gameplay is frustrating but players can grind through.  Visuals are dated but tolerable & sound is uninspired.  Few will play this game more than once.
  3. Average.  Not particularly good, but not awful either.  Player opinions will probably vary.  Story is predictable but salvageable.  Gameplay is adequate, but not spectacular.  Visuals are nice but could use more polish, & sound is pleasant enough.  Some players may enjoy playing this more than once.
  4. Above Average.  This game is great & should be enjoyed by most players.  Story is engaging.  Gameplay is easy to pick up.  Visuals are sharp & appealing, & sound fits the atmosphere.  This holds up to several playthroughs.
  5. Awesome!  This game is truly phenomenal.  Anyone who calls themself a gamer owes it to themselves to own this.  Story is awe-inspiring and motivating.  Gameplay is streamlined & efficient.  Visuals are stunning & it sounds so good you’ll be downloading the soundtrack.  You’ll be coming back to this game for years to come.

There will be five total scores for each game, four for specific aspects of the game & one general:

  • The Narrative Score (formerly Story Score) is based on the game’s “story.”  How well does it deliver its plot?  Not all games have a conventional story, such as racing games, in which case the game will be judged on how well it presents it goal.  Did the racing game really make it feel like you were advancing in rank?  Was there a sense of accomplishment in growing your city?
  • The Mechanics Score (formerly Gameplay Score) is based on how well the game mechanics work.  Was the game needlessly difficult?  Did the control scheme work effectively?
  • The Aesthetics Score (formerly Visuals & Audio Score) is based on graphics & sound design.  This isn’t just about pixel count, but also artistic creativity.
  • The Replay Value Score (formerly Replayability Score) is based on how well the game holds up to multiple playthroughs.  Is it a rent or an own?
  • The Overall Score is just as the name describes.  It’s the average of the other four scores.  In cases of decimal averages, I’ll round up or down based on the score (below 0.5 round down, above 0.5 round up).  Because of this, games that excel in one area may have a higher score than expected, while games who have a glaring flaw may drag down a perfect game.  Because of this, be sure to check each section to see where the fault lies.

I hope this will make reading my reviews easier to understand so that you can get the most enjoyment for your money.  After all, there’s nothing worse than spending $50+ on something you want to chuck out the window five minutes after starting it.

– GamerDame

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