• Review Scores: Before & After

                For any product out there, people feverishly peruse the belly of the internet for a review, of the said product, to discover if it’s worth their time and hard-earned cash. If the review is favorable of the item, typically, a person would invest in the product as soon as they possibly can. If on the unfavorable spectrum, people generally will either steer clear of the product, or try to find another source for a review of the item and base their judgments upon that. Unfortunately, this all took place in the not-so-distant past. In the modern-day society, there appears to be a loophole in the matrix, and somewhere, deep in the abyss, people have entirely loss their sense of worthiness judgment. Why is it if a game receives below a 9, nowadays, do people go berserk like a vampire at dawn’s sunrise? Sadly, I don’t believe I can come to any conclusions on that question. Frankly, I have no cognitive response to the question whatsoever. It appears people have completely forgotten that a review, for any product, is just an entirely subjective opinion. You either agree, or you disagree. Leaving a comment that’s lengthy enough to make a college English professor proud, isn’t going to change the reviewer’s completely subjective opinion, especially if it’s on a game that receives an 8/10. I understand, Mr. Ep1cGam3r541, you want every game on the planet to receive a 9/10 or a 10/10, but that’s not the way the world works, my friend. Before anyone puts their troll gauntlets on, Ep1cGam3r541 is NOT a real person…that I am aware of.

                In continuation, I’m sure there’s plenty of folks out there who have their “But they just blatantly beat on the game, and they didn’t even beat the game 100%” shades on. Common fact: It doesn’t take entirely long to build up an opinion on something. In regards to video games, if there’s occasional bugs and shoddy enemy AI that somewhat irritates your experiencing pleasure, collecting all of the items or completing all of the sidequests should have nothing to do with how quickly you conjure up an opinion. Now, does that make the game terrible, bumping the game down to a review score of 5/10? Absolutely not! You can easily look pass those sort of things and still maintain a solid experience. I can’t tell you how many games I’ve felt indifferent towards enemy AI and bugs, but completely disregarded it because the game offered other aspects that easily triumphed over the issues. Will the game still get marked down because of the AI and bugs? It’s quite possible! But how far a reviewer knocks it down is entirely up to them. It depends on the severity. And it’s also up to you, the reader, to conclude if those issues bother you personally in the first place. If they don’t, ignore it and make your own conclusions on the game. Remember, we’ve played the game, you haven’t. Our goal is just for you, the reader, to build a consensus on how you feel for a game you’re interested in before shelling over cash for it. The AI issues can mark the game down by just .2 percent as far as the general reader knows.

                To ease any of those tensions, review sites (including ourselves,) set up a pros and cons list at the end of every review. Not many people understand what the use of this actually is. Or I’d like to believe they don’t, judging by some of the responses we receive. The pros and cons list ties directly into what was stated above. It’s not only a quick summary (for the people who refuse to read reviews then rage at the reviewer) but it’s there for the reader to decide if they think the issues the reviewer displayed fit their own gaming mold. The reviewer’s positive aspects may be the reader’s negative aspects or vice versa. Then from there, the reader can easily decide if the game is worth their time.

                Through the past few years, review scores have somehow gone through an immense transformation. The numbers haven’t changed, but the people’s opinions towards those same numbers have. Do we have to lower ourselves back into the thumb rating system? “I give this title two thumbs up!” I really hope not. It appears with the complaints some review scores receive; this might be the way we have to go. Roger Ebert would be proud. Do you really want to see a game receive a fully erect thumb and a semi-risen “halfway there” thumb as a review score? Why have these changes come about, and what exactly are they?

                BEFORE
                :

                10/10 (Perfect):
                A very rare rating, but given to games that have little to no debilitating issues.
                9/10 (Excellent): The game is plagued with a mild issue that may bring about issues with some players.
                8/10 (Great): Usually games lacking replay value and a lengthy story, but still contain a worthwhile experience receive this score.
                7/10 (Average): A game is lacking certain necessities, and is presented in an underwhelming manner, but a positive experience should still be obtained.
                6/10 (Bad): There may be some bugs and the game may feel unfinished, but not completely unplayable.
                5/10 (Awful): Uninteresting story, poor mechanics, mild bugs, glitchy visuals, lacking replay value usually render this score.
                4/10 (Mediocre): A completely broken game. The game lacks all of the necessities for a proper game. Story, visuals, sound, controls, etc that, in return, makes a frustrating and almost unplayable experience.

                Nothing ever went below a 4/10. There was no use to ever document such a travesty. Seeing a rating below a 4/10 was like encountering Mew.

                AFTER:


                10/10 (Perfect):
                But probably a result of a biased or “paid-off” review.
                9/10: (Amazing): But only because it’s a sequel to a well-liked franchise.
                8.5/10 (Great): Because, nowadays, that .5 makes an enormous difference in the general opinion.
                8/10 (Terrible): The .5 is gone so now it's just freaking awful! I’m only going to rent this now!
                7/10 (Suckage): The ultimate suckage! Just absolutely atrocious! This game is a waste of time!

                How do we resolve this sudden unwarranted change?

                Everything possible has been tried. We, the reviewers, have fused the numbers with one simple word to describe the game, added pros and cons lists, and even closing comments, but those numbers, no matter what, receive a great deal of backlash. Since the numbers are what are giving certain people so many issues, the only resolution I have devised is to just dump the numbers entirely. People would be more susceptible to NOT have an outburst if a game receives a “Good” rather than if it received an 8/10 (which in my eyes, there’s no difference between the two). No matter if you tag “Good” after the rating of 8/10, people still cry foul, so why not just drop the number score altogether?
                Some folks have dropped the numbers by using letter grade reviews, but even those receive backlash. I’m beginning to believe it’s just internet trolls gaining a sense of entertainment from causing a raucous. At least that would make it more explainable. Certain reviewers have switched to the letters grading system because, it’s a pretty universal notion that in grade school an A is great, a B is good, a C is average – and well, you know the rest. And I feel people feel the need to break those letter grades down further like so:

                A:
                90%-100%
                B: 80%-89%
                C: 70%-79%
                D: 60%-69%
                F: 59% or lower

                And I think that’s where the issue arises. People, no matter the circumstance, will denote the letter grade to a number grade. It’s the same people that call blasphemy at an 8/10 (80%) that outrage at a game receiving a B, because in their eyes, they’re identical. Which is fine, but I hope they didn’t flip out at their teachers because the teacher gave them an 87% on their research paper on how the Pilgrims came to America instead of a 90%. “I didn’t GIVE you an 87, you EARNED it!” For some odd reason, I kind of do feel like the people who rage at an 8/10 are the ones who raged at their teachers because they received an 87 and not a 90. Video games aren’t “copy-and-paste-then-change-up-some-words” jobs like your essay. Calm down!
                Comments 7 Comments
                1. Segitz's Avatar
                  Segitz -
                  At German Universities, it is often standard, that a 50% score nets you a 4 (or a D in american numeric). It's not always the case, but in most cases, it is.I usually prefer a 1 to 5 rating, because in a 1 to 10 rating, 5 and lower usually never get used, unless it's simply broken. Why then do they even exist, if they aren't used.
                1. Crazybone126's Avatar
                  Crazybone126 -
                  Quote Originally Posted by Segitz View Post
                  At German Universities, it is often standard, that a 50% score nets you a 4 (or a D in american numeric). It's not always the case, but in most cases, it is.I usually prefer a 1 to 5 rating, because in a 1 to 10 rating, 5 and lower usually never get used, unless it's simply broken. Why then do they even exist, if they aren't used.
                  but then the question is why use percentages and fractions for reviews? Nothing's ever perfect so a 5/5 or a 10/10 shouldn't exist either. At least with a letter grade, there's better guidelines. An "A" isn't perfect, but it's correlates to being "great."
                1. OmniStalgic's Avatar
                  OmniStalgic -
                  Alphabet is always the best way to go...People still look at a B- or B+ and see a great game...People look at an an 8.1 or 8.6, which is the equivalent, and for some reason feel it's inferior. A+ A A-, each iteration gives you 3 opportunities to express without numbers the quality of the product. even though IGN's 9.0 9.5 and 10 do the same, letters are more universally accepted than number I think, so simply based on culture, I think a B+ just looks better than an 8.6...Rotten Tomatoes has a user score and critic score based on numbers 1-100%, it works fairly well. I think it accomplishes as much as the letter grade does, but that's with the "somewhat" more intelligent, older and mature movie crowd.
                1. Segitz's Avatar
                  Segitz -
                  Ahem... by "people" you mean Americans (and some others), don't you? Because we (Germany (tm)) for example don't use this system. We do use 1-6 (schools) and 1-5 (universities) with the same scale as A to F (with a 5 having failed and a 6 in school is "failed miserably" more or less).

                  My reason for preferring the 1-5 rating is, that it's a LOT more widespread. Amazon uses it, many movie reviewers use it and so on. The percentage scale Metacritic or IMDB use makes sense too, at least for aggregated scores. As there's little difference between those scales. You can linearly scale them anyhow. But 4.05 looks strange compared to a 91. Thus we round numbers or scale up.
                1. venomv's Avatar
                  venomv -
                  I don't think the problem has anything to do with how the information is presented (numbers, letters, whatever). The problem started when reviewer started listening to the people who complained.

                  (Hypothetical) So, a game (game A) which gets a 6 because if was fun but had serious bug problems had people complaining about the score. So to appease their readers the next time a similar issue pops up another game (game B) gets a 7, well when compared to another game (game C) which recently got a 7 things start to not make sense. So fans of Game C are now complaining that Game B got the same score even though it Game B has glaring issues that Game C didn't. And the whole scale is screwed, and that's before we even get to talk of bribes.

                  Ultimately, it comes down the reviewers sticking to their guns, and helping themselves by listing pros and cons (as was mentioned in the article) and putting clear criteria up front on what each score (or range) means. That won't help with the idiots but I think any reasonable person could deal with that even if they think the score is unjustified.
                1. Black Dragon37's Avatar
                  Black Dragon37 -
                  I'm surprised no one's mentioned the possibility because games are TOO FUCKING EXPENSIVE this generation, people are definitely raise the threshold of what is deemed acceptable.
                1. Segitz's Avatar
                  Segitz -
                  Very good point. But I don't think it really applies. In my opinion, games were already too expensive in PS2 days. PC games are a different matter, so I won't go into it here.

                  Question is... have games gotten better? I think so. There aren't as many REALLY bad games anymore. Because it's not worth it, to release this stuff anymore. And I don't think Sony or MS allows broken games on their online services in any case.