Our critics collectively play thousands of games each year across tens of platforms and know games better than anybody else on the web. Our score system is designed to give a quick and accurate rating for a game based on objective, measurable points that will allow you to get a feel for a title’s quality at a quick glance. Of course, for specific details and complaints, you should always read the accompanying review.
Although the below focuses specifically on the meaning of a game’s overall score, the same score system is used for graphics, gameplay and audio. 5 should be viewed as utterly generic – not technically broken (in which case it would be rated lower) but not offering anything exciting, innovative or even especially fun. A 7 would be an average “good” game, with things to enjoy but perhaps with ideas not implemented efficiently or to their full potential.
Finally, it’s always worth remembering that each of our writers come from different backgrounds and ultimately the score is up to an individual. Sometimes two writers will have a different view of the same game. Our editorial staff are dedicated to ensuring that the score is backed up in the text, but sometimes things just come down to one person’s opinion.
– – “Broken” Nothing this game does is right. Technically abysmal but without any of the heart that can save a terribly made game, something in this range has absolutely nothing going for it.
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– – “Abysmal” There was a glimmer of hope in the premise or in the way the game was designed, but that was all it was. Expect crashes and constant issues in-game and a lack of even basic standard generic features. Games in this range fail on almost every level.
– – “Bad” There’s an occasional gleam of promise in this range, but the negatives totally outshine the positives. Only for people with a lot of patience and who don’t mind overlooking glitches, terrible AI and poor level design.
– – “Substandard” Although the game generally isn’t great, something in this range certainly has the makings of cult classic. If you can overlook the occasional glitch and don’t mind awkward controls and brain-dead AI, this sort of game probably isn’t too bad, but the average gamer will find their interest waning.
– – “Generic” This is a game that is decidedly average. It feels incredibly generic, borrowing from other successful titles instead of building upon their features, and often has nothing that really stands out. This is the sort of game that keeps genre fans happy between better games and are generally worth playing, if you can overlook the occasional negative.
– – “Rent it” This is a game that will please genre fans but will be generally inaccessible or dull to those that are less knowledgeable about a type of game. These games tend to lack something, rather than be actively bad, although there may be occasional flaws in the level design or AI. Glitches are generally kept to a minimum, although there may be smaller problems. Despite all that, this range is for games that are actually quite good, just not as good as they could be.
– – “Worth a Play” This range is for games that are technically sound and that bring a nice idea to life. With a little more ambition and time, a game rated 7-7.5 could have had a much higher score and would have appealed to a wider range of people, but something along the way made it dull for long term play or just fell short of greatness. Definitely worth playing, but ultimately something that will fail to hold the average gamer’s attention or to stick in their memory.
– – “Great” An “average” good game; this range is reserved for titles that do everything right but fail to just go that extra mile. Maybe there’s annoying DRM involved or promising ideas become repetitive. Either way, people who buy these games will be in no way disappointed, although they may have ideas to improve on this title for a sequel.
– – “Excellent” This is about the best of the best: a game that does everything right, with only occasional pitfalls along the way. Genre fans will struggle to find a better example of their favourite sort of game, whilst new gamers will find playing easy to get into and innovative. Maybe there’s occasional pacing issues or not every mission in the game completely shines, but for the most part this is a game that any self-respecting gamer should have in their collection.
– “Perfect” This is a game that has absolutely no shortfalls whatsoever. The story is perfect, the gameplay balanced to a tee – you just can’t fault it. A technical masterpiece, the sort of game that people talk about for years to come and the measure that all games are judged on.