We review games using a linear scale ranging from 1 to 10, which represents our overall assessment of the game and where it falls in the following tiers:
As game design evolves over time, the review scores of many publications over the years have become inflated and, intentionally or not, shifted toward an exponential scale where anything less than an 8 out of 10 is seen by many as a sub-par game. That makes a large portion of the scale mostly useless, and unintuitively amplifies the difference between seemingly small values on the upper end of the scale; for instance, making an 8 vs. 8.5 a rather large jump in the reviewer’s assessment.
We believe a linear scale gives more room to express our assessment of the game, and is easier to understand at a glance. By ensuring our scale is fixed linearly to the above tiers, we aim to avoid a shift toward inflated scores over time. Instead, we acknowledge that game design and player expectations move forward with time, meaning that a ‘Great’ game today might not hold up to the same expectations of a ‘Great’ five years from now, when the art and craft of game design has since advanced.
In addition to an overall score, we separately score several key metrics: Gameplay, Immersion, and Comfort. The overall score is not a mathematical average of the sub-scores, as some metrics matter more in some games than others.
Excellent, Not Perfect
We made the purposeful choice to reserve the 10 rating for ‘Excellent’ games, not ‘perfect’ games, as the literal definition of ‘perfect’ often leads to endless arguments that ‘no game can be perfect’. When we score a game at 10 out of 10, we aren’t saying it’s perfect, we’re saying it’s a thoroughly well crafted experience and stands above what’s come before.
Early Access Reviews
Sometimes games launch in ‘Early Access’, which means they’re publicly available but deemed incomplete by the developer, with significant changes expected to come over time. Pragmatically, when we’re reviewing games our objective is to help potential players understand whether or not it’s worth their time and hard-earned cash.
When it comes to Early Access games, our stance is that if the developer is charging for the game, then the title is subject to a review. However, we understand that Early Access games are likely to see significant changes and we don’t want to set a score in stone before the game is considered complete. So we make a very clear distinction between an Early Access review and a full launch review, not only by putting a clear note that the title is in Early Access, but also by not giving games in Early Access a numerical score; instead we encourage the reader to make their own assessment from our writeup.
Reviews Before June 5th, 2016
Older reviews, those before June 5th, 2016, were rated on a scale from 1 to 5. We have since expanded to our current 1 to 10 scale to be able to give more nuance to our ratings.