We’d like to take this opportunity to explain what each review score means and give you some insight into our review process and metrics, so that you have an idea of what we’re thinking when we say “Ten out of ten.”
Gaming Experience and Biases
All of us at Gamer Horizon have extensive experience with games, although we have our areas of expertise. You can get a feel for each of us by looking at each of our author pages, which are made easily available on Gamer Horizon’s About menu and linked from each of our articles. A lot of sites tend to downplay or not give great importance to these pages but we feel that these are the most important pages on Gamer Horizon. It benefits our readers to know what we each like, dislike, and what each of our motivations are when reading a review we’ve written. This can give our readers great context when trying to figure out why we gave a game a particular score, when combined with the Breakdown, which is the green Plus and red Minus sections found next to the review score. Our own personal experience naturally will lead us to certain biases. For example, Ted likes fighting games a lot and Ari likes JRPGs. If they both review the same game, they might give it two different scores because they are both personally looking for different things. Like a culinary critic, our habits over the years have shaped our gaming palates. Expect that personal bias will play a role in our reviews and review scores.
At the end of the review, we have to give a full disclosure. That means we have to tell you how much of the game we played prior to writing the review, what difficulty we played on, if we participated in multiplayer, or if we received a copy for review from the game’s publisher. If you don’t believe us our Raptr profiles are public, so you can see what trophies or achievements we have earned and call us out on our bluff, if we are indeed bluffing. A small feed of our gaming activity can also be found on each of our author pages and is updated on a regular basis. The full disclosure section will also contain the specifications of the computer we used to play the game, if we reviewed the PC version of a game, and also mention what graphics settings we used to play said game.
We also break things down into a summary of what were outstanding points and what were noticeable flaws. This helps summarize our feelings on the game as a whole and is a quick way to drill-down into the “whys” into our ultimate decision on a review score. It also helps us as writers to boil down the finer points of the game and sets up the review score expectation for our readers. Additionally, we also feel that listing these out can easily benefit publishers/developers into thinking about what they might want to refine and focus on in their next titles.
Our Review Scale
- 1 – This game is either marred with problems that make it nigh unplayable, or it is so not fun you can’t wait to stop playing it.
- 2 – This game is not fun to play or has severe problems, but it is clear at least some effort was put into making a product which would eventually be a video game that you can play.
- 3 – This score indicates a solid negative experience. Not completely trash, but there is clearly no reason to play this game; there are better offerings in the genre.
- 4 – A game that nets this score is trying to ape conventions of the genre it belongs to without really understanding what makes the game fun. It’s clear what the developers were trying to do, but the implementation of it is such that the game isn’t really fun.
- 5 – A game that has aspirations of being a good game, and in theory we could see it being a good game, but there are enough problems there that prevent us from liking it. If only the problems were fixed, then it would be an enjoyable game. Die-hard fans might possibly find something here, but they will have to be apologists about it.
- 6 – A game with clear and obvious weaknesses or deficiencies, however overall it errs on the side of a good game. In general, only die-hard fans of the genre will be able to look past its flaws and find the good experience inside.
- 7 – A game that overall, we would say we like and enjoy, but there are one or two moderate or major flaws, or questionable design decisions.
- 8 – A solid game that has clear polish. It’s a lot of fun to play, and we are happy to play and often come back to it, but there might be a few issues that do not overshadow the overall game.
- 9 – A fantastic game with few flaws, and said flaws tend to be overshadowed by the quality of the game. An enjoyable experience from top to bottom.
- 10 – A game so good that we can’t get memories of it out of our heads. For a game to get this score, it has to do something above and beyond the general crop of games. Even a solidly built game won’t necessarily garner this score. The game needs to stand out both from the rest of its peers, and in our minds.
We don’t have .5 or.1 increments because we believe that our review score needs to send a clear, uncluttered message about the quality of the game. What is an 8.4 versus an 8.5? The numbers get more meaningless the more granular they become.
We hope this gives you some insight as to not only what our scores mean, but what it also means to the person who is reviewing each game. We all have unique interests and motivations for playing games, in the same way we have different life experiences. We’re people just like you, and we want to turn our perspectives onto games and game journalism. Because of this, we encourage our readers to discuss our reviews on the comments and elaborate on similarities or differences in opinion rather than filling the comments with one liners that don’t add to the discussion.