We’re going to cut right to the chase here: Review scores – who needs ‘em?
Not Crush! Frag! Destroy!, that’s for certain.
Anyone who has followed any of my personal blogging about video games over at 1UP will already know that I’m not a big fan of scored reviews and I’m even less of a fan of score aggregation sites like Metacritic and GameRankings. That isn’t why we’re here, however. We’re here to discuss the way Crush! Frag! Destroy! will handle game reviews.
Video game reviews will consist of essentially two parts:
- The Meat of the Review – where we discuss the game’s merits and flaws at length and in detail, much like you would see in any review. We don’t really need to go into more detail about this part.
- The Quick, Encapsulated Wrap-Up for the Terminally Lazy Reader – where we break the whole thing down to about three lines and a metric.
I know what you’re saying. “A metric? I thought these reviews were going to be scoreless?” Trust me, dear reader. A metric doesn’t have to be an A+, 5 stars or 10 points. At the same time, it’s not going to be any of those scales dressed up in fancy clothes to try to make you think they’re something different either.
Regardless of what names or labels you would paste on them, the metric breaks down as follows. All games fall into one of three categories:
- Recommended – This is a good game. You should probably play this, unless you utterly loathe the type of game that it is…and even then you might still want to give it a look. At least try the demo out, if there is one. Pretty simple, really. (e.g. – Buy It, Preferred Taste, No Reservations, For Everybody)
- Research It - Tastes vary. Some people may love this game while others curse its name. Or maybe it’s just hopelessly average. The only way to find out where you fall is to vet it for yourself: read more reviews, play the demo, rent it, or borrow it from a friend first. “Knowledge is power”, said Sir Francis Bacon. And who doesn’t love bacon? (e.g. – Try It, Acquired Taste, Some Reservations, For Somebody)
- Exercise Caution – We’re not going to tell somebody flat-out not to buy a game. We firmly believe there’s an audience for even the worst game out there. After all, somebody bought Homie Rollers and Ninjabread Man, right? But to the rest of you, caveat emptor. (e.g. – Skip It, Bad Taste, Major Reservations, For Almost Nobody)
That’s our simple “scoring” system. And even though we shouldn’t even have to say this, these do not translate to any other scale. They are not ’1o points/5 points/0 points’ or ‘A/C/F’ or even ‘five stars/three stars/one star’. Nothing productive would be served by having any of those rankings other than to fuel fanboy arguments and stick-waving over whose is bigger. There are good games, average games and bad games – any further granularity is pointless, primarily because my opinions may not match yours which may not match those of that guy over there. And in the end, that’s all a game review is – an opinion. These are ours. Your mileage may vary.
Alongside the “score”, you will find three lines:
- Things We Liked – What we enjoyed about the game in bite-sized, easily digestible chunks
- Things We Disliked – Like the first one, but in Bizarro World.
- Target Audience – Think of that ‘hilarious’ “You Might Be A Redneck If…” guy from the mid-90s. Now make it about video games instead of spousal abuse and inbreeding.
And there you have it. All the info a lazy reader needs in a small package. I can’t promise that we’ll keep big words to a minimum though.
We think this is a nice compromise; it allows both readers who like and dislike scored reviews as well as those who enjoy reading articles and those who just want to cut to the chase at the end to have what they want all in one place. We know that’s a rather “We Are The World”, hands-joined, patchouli-scented type of goal, but we think it’s doable. Let us know what you think.