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Review Scores Pet Peeve

Posted by tylerh1701, 21 September 2012 · 64 views

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I don't put too much weight into video game review scores, but I do like to look at them. It's always fun to see how new games review, what scores they get, etc. But what drives me nuts is the huge scales that some of the review sites use.

This post is being spurred on by IGN's new scoring and format changes (which are both god awful). Judging by this review and this one, it looks like IGN is going back to scoring games on a 100 point scale (i.e. 0.0-10.0 in 0.1 increments). To me that is just too big of a scale, and completely unnecessary.

I feel that a 20 point scale (0.0-10.0 in 0.5 increments) is more than enough to evaluate a video game on. Most websites have slowly converted to a scale like this, or even smaller scales, which is fine with me. Having 20 different options to score a game with is more than enough, and a quality game reviewer will easily be able to justify why he/she felt a game deserved an 8.5 rather than a 9.0. I'd love to hear Brian Altano (the reviewer of Rayman Jungle Run in the link I posted above) justify why the game deserves an 8.8 rather than an 8.7.

I feel that scales that have too many increments create far more controversy in review scores than is necessary. Like I said, I don't give all that much merit to review scores, but a LOT of people do. No doubt when IGN gives Black Ops II a 9.2 and Halo 4 a 9.0 later this year, these users will erupt. This is probably what IGN is trying to do, as controversy usually equals good business on the internet, but it's a cheap way to stir up hits.

So, like I said, this is a huge pet peeve of mine. And I'm super disappointed that IGN has gone back to using this awful scoring system. What does everyone else think? Am I being to picky about this?

(PS - Please no IGN-bashing in the comments. You are welcome to say you don't like them and don't respect them, but this post was just about review scales, and I'm just using IGN as an example. I understand a lot of people don't like them, I personally do like them because I feel like they always go into a game hoping for the best from it. A lot of other reviews I see (namely GameSpot) sometimes feel like the reviewers only job is to pick apart the game and expose every flaw, rather than try and enjoy the game for what it is. But that's a conversation for another time.)




Posted Image

I don't put too much weight into video game review scores, but I do like to look at them. It's always fun to see how new games review, what scores they get, etc. But what drives me nuts is the huge scales that some of the review sites use.

This post is being spurred on by IGN's new scoring and format changes (which are both god awful). Judging by this review and this one, it looks like IGN is going back to scoring games on a 100 point scale (i.e. 0.0-10.0 in 0.1 increments). To me that is just too big of a scale, and completely unnecessary.

I feel that a 20 point scale (0.0-10.0 in 0.5 increments) is more than enough to evaluate a video game on. Most websites have slowly converted to a scale like this, or even smaller scales, which is fine with me. Having 20 different options to score a game with is more than enough, and a quality game reviewer will easily be able to justify why he/she felt a game deserved an 8.5 rather than a 9.0. I'd love to hear Brian Altano (the reviewer of Rayman Jungle Run in the link I posted above) justify why the game deserves an 8.8 rather than an 8.7.

I feel that scales that have too many increments create far more controversy in review scores than is necessary. Like I said, I don't give all that much merit to review scores, but a LOT of people do. No doubt when IGN gives Black Ops II a 9.2 and Halo 4 a 9.0 later this year, these users will erupt. This is probably what IGN is trying to do, as controversy usually equals good business on the internet, but it's a cheap way to stir up hits.

So, like I said, this is a huge pet peeve of mine. And I'm super disappointed that IGN has gone back to using this awful scoring system. What does everyone else think? Am I being to picky about this?

(PS - Please no IGN-bashing in the comments. You are welcome to say you don't like them and don't respect them, but this post was just about review scales, and I'm just using IGN as an example. I understand a lot of people don't like them, I personally do like them because I feel like they always go into a game hoping for the best from it. A lot of other reviews I see (namely GameSpot) sometimes feel like the reviewers only job is to pick apart the game and expose every flaw, rather than try and enjoy the game for what it is. But that's a conversation for another time.)
1 to 10 in increments of 1 is good enough for me. All you need is a general range and it should cover variance of general opinion. If a game gets a 6-7, it's mediocre, and probably a decent waste of time. If it gets an 8-9, most people loved it, but it's not perfect. If it gets a 10, it's probably Nintendogs. Does it matter any more than that? Obviously you can hate games for your own reasons, so there's no reason to take scores seriously. There's plenty of games in the 8-10 range I'll never play.

(yes, the Nintendogs comment was sarcasm)
At GameEnthus HQ we usually do videos but when we write a review we just say Buy or rent. I agree with you though on the silliness of some sites' scores.
I actually prefer the out of 10 scale because I thinkk you can be more accurate on some games but all of my reviews I have written for a couple of sites have been the out of 5 stars scale which I think is good but I don't really like it that much. The important things are whats actually written in the review and what makes or breaks the game.
I pretty much agree with all the comments here. To me ratings the ratings should give you a quick, good idea of the quality of a game. Like what indifference uses, buy it/rent it/skip it style works too. But to me, IGN's score is basically trying to tell me that Torchlight 2 for PC is 3% better than Rayman Jungle Run for iOS. Scores that specific just aren't necessary.

@Daddy BoJangles - Ya, I was originally just going to do a screen cap of the GameSpot 8.8 score, but I did a quick image search of "Twilight Princess 8.8" and decided to go with that pic instead. Made me laugh too.
I just think numbers are too cold and rigid to give to the varied experiences gaming can give us. I'm playing Picross 3D right now for DS and would give it a 10/10 for what it is, but is that on par with what someone else would give a perfect score for, like an Ocarina of Time or whatever? That's why I prefer the more subjective reviews, gives you a better feel for the game.
^Good point. I don't read a lot of full reviews (some may say it's a short attention span, I'd say it's more related to time management) but I really appreciate when there are a few good sentences summing up some of the highest highs and lowest lows of a game. Definitely more useful than just a number.
I kind of disagree with JCally. Reviews are obviously biased towards people with experience with the genre. Someone who loves puzzle games may give Picross 3D a 10, someone who loves action games may give Zelda a 10. The score indicates that they are exemplary within their genre - and obviously you never compare 2 games within different genres.

On a side note, I loved Picross to death, but I quit Picross 3D after 15 minutes because I couldn't handle the controls.
I know some reviewers will use a system where they judge categories by the 20 point scale. So for example, maybe they give story a 7.5, gameplay an 8.5, presentation a 6, and fun factor a 9.5. They get the crazy 100 point scale review number from taking the average of those sub category scores.

So it's not a pet peeve for me really, but what is my pet peeve is:

- Gamers have a terrible understanding of review scores.

Seriously, it seems most people only deem a game worth playing if it scores a 9 or higher on the review scale, which is extremely high. On the same page, games that score 6, 7, or even 8 are regarded as crap. People don't seem to realize that 6 and 7 scored games are still very good games, just with more caveats or wonky mechanics than their 8 and 9 counterparts.

Maybe the problem is we need more games scored lower, since you hardly ever see games reviewed below a 4 score, often even below a 5 score. This is nice, showing developers don't completely have their heads up their ass when making a game, but somehow, someway, more people need to realize that just because a game scored a 7, doesn't mean it's crap. Most review sites even post it right on every review, games 1-3, terrible, games 3-5 bad, games 6-7 good, games 7-9 very good, games 9+, great. It's in black and white right there that 6 and 7 games are good, but no, people think they are bad.

Some of my favorite games of all times are games whose scores are in the 6 to 7 range. Not that 8 and 9 games aren't fun, as they always tend to offer a polished, enjoyable experience, but really, sometimes the most ACTUAL fun is in the game whose controls maybe aren't up to par or something.

Anyway, cool blog. :)

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