Published on October 27th, 2013 | by Fernando Da Costa0
A journey of numbers – The Rating System
There are many web-sites around the internet that all take great pride in covering our electronic media and bringing us up-to-date reviews and news. Each site has their own way of a rating system, from a 10 Point, 5 point, percentage, to even outright just specifying if the game is good and why they think so. There are many different opinions on which methods are the best and today, I thought I’d go over my views. I have been asked several times by a few people why it is that I choose to use the 5 Point system opposed to the 10 Point system that IGN implements into their reviews and the answer is this.
To me, when I am tasked with reviewing a video game and choosing what it will score, it’s hard to actually pin point a single number. So I find it rather odd to go the 10 point route because what do the numbers mean? I ask myself almost every time I read a review on a site that uses the 10 point system, what is the difference between a game that scored a 9.1 and a game that scored 9.5? The numerical difference is very small, so does that mean that in terms of enjoyment and glitches, Game B has just a very minor difference as well? Or is the score just slightly higher because the title in question is a franchise that the reviewer enjoys, and he wants to ensure that people purchase the title to perhaps entice the developers into making a sequel?
Then you have sites that go the percentage routes, and calculate if a certain game is worth 70% or if it’s worth 60%. I am sure that there is a formula in how they come to a percentage in the background that we don’t see but when it’s released, I sometimes find myself wondering, how did they come to that number? Many would tell me that the reviewers simply base their percentage to what they say but whose to argue that a line such as;
“This game is a rather enjoyable experience, with a lot to do. However, it does fall to a few glitches but nothing that hurts the overall experience”
Why would this be worth an 80% and not 75%? Reviewing is definitely a very hard thing to do, and although many people suspect that we just play the game, enjoy it, and give our opinions; you aren’t completely correct. We are tasked with studying everything from the enjoyment, glitches that we may find, and always be on the lookout for stand-out mechanics. Not to mention the notes that we have to take periodically, taking away from the overall experience because the constant pausing takes away from the immersion. But here I am, talking about systems that I find awkward when the question people want to know is why? Why do I use the 5 Point system over everything else? Well, let me tell you.
To me, a game can be one of only 5 things and nothing less or nothing more. When I am looking at graphics, I am thinking to myself “are these graphics, average, below-average, or great?”. This is why a 5 point system in my opinion is the best way to do scoring for a game. For me, the score resembles what I am thinking, in the sense that;
- A score of 1 means that the game is way below par for a title. It isn’t special or does anything to stand-out. The glitches outweigh the fun and you should stay away until either a fix comes along, or you’re feeling brave.
- A score of 2 means that although the game is still below average, there is much worse out there. The game still has glitches and it still doesn’t exactly stand-out as far as game-play goes but the experience is solid for the most part and unhindered by glitches, although they are there.
- A score of 3 means that a title is average. The game-play mechanics have potential but they are rarely realized. The experience is a smooth one and the glitches aren’t really interruptive of the immersion.
- A score of 4 means that the title is above average, with evident polish in some areas and is an enjoyable experience. Game-play mechanics are used to their potential half the time but there are still some that – while the developers tried – aren’t at the high level of some of the other polished mechanics are. However, the game is still an enjoyable experience and will give you an enjoyable experience.
- A score of 5 doesn’t precisely mean that the game in question is perfect, but it is the closest you’ll get. The game is highly polished but still has some glitches but nothing that harms the terrific experience. Immersion is top quality and a very high number of the mechanics is polished and used at full potential, yet there are still some that isn’t up-to-par but are overshadowed and easily overlooked.
When I review a game here at BagoGames for example, I use the categories Graphics, Story, Replay Value, Sound, Experience, and Game-Play. Because it is impossible to pull a number from the sky; I merely look at these six categories and rate them from below-par to outstanding (1-5) as these are usually the basis to any game. Then, the average of the 6 scores together make-up the final score for the overall game.
In conclusion, I use the 5-star system because I feel that it is the simplest way of scoring a game, and there isn’t any confusion. Scores that have a .5 at the end merely mean that the game is slightly better then average, or slight above par and for this reason, I try to stay away from a 3.2 score or 4.3 score because just as with the 10 point system, what is the difference between 3.2 and 3.5? A very marginal one I’d imagine and not worth really noting.
DISCLAIMER: A review at the end of the day is personal opinion, and is in no way a dictation on what everyone will think. A 2.5 rated game could be a 4 to some other people; it really depends on personal opinion and preference at the end of the day. So next time to see a review, I encourage you to read it. Judge for yourself what the game should be rated or maybe come into agreement with the reviewer. We write reviews and a short summary to condense our review into a paragraph for those that don’t have the time to read a 700-word review.