Ratings System – The Past:

When Crush Frag Destroy first launched a bit over two and a half years ago, we wanted to stand away from the usual bickering that surrounds video game criticism and reviews. Specifically, we mean the inevitable backlash that surrounds review ratings. In a perfect world, reviews would stand on their own without quantifying metrics and the writer’s words would be all the reader needed to understand how they felt about a particular title.

Sadly, we do not yet live in that world.

We originally created a three-tiered ratings system, which served us fine in the early days, but before too long it started to feel confined and stifling. This led us to eventually expand it to five tiers. These ratings (Highly Recommended, Recommended, Research It, Exercise Caution and Don’t Bother) were our answer to the question of “Should I play this game?” rather than the standard of “How good is this game?” that one usually finds with a typical ratings scale. Again, this served our purposes fine for a fair amount of time.

However, with the advent of CFD!’s new redesign and expanded coverage outside of the field of video games, two things became rapidly apparent: 1) we needed a single, unified ratings system for all of our reviews across all media formats and 2) the current system could not handle that task.

Ask yourself, does it make sense to rate a comic, DVD or novel with “Research It?” While you may find preview pages, video clips or sample chapters online, these aren’t quite the same as, say, a game demo.Sure, the idea of “read some other reviews, talk to people who’ve had contact with the product, do some footwork” still applies, but the terminology felt clunky. We needed to change.

 

Ratings System – The Present:

So, since it seems to be more universally used, less prone to confusion over what each rank means and close to what we already had in place to begin with, we’re shifting to the standard 5-star review scale. For those who actually need a refresher on what that entails, here you go:

5 Stars: Great – Great. Excellent. Awesome. Call it what you will. While nothing can ever be truly perfect, this is about as close as it gets. Flaws are either virtually non-existent or are so relatively minor that they’re completely overshadowed by the overall quality. Check it out. Now. Seriously.

4 Stars: Good – A well executed piece of work all around. Unless you absolutely loathe this genre/series/type of product, you would do well to give it a look. Chances are you’re going to thank us later if you do. Here’s a “you’re welcome” in advance. You’re welcome.

3 Stars: Average – A bit of good and a bit of bad leaves this one square in the middle. The question of if you should check it out or not largely rests on how forgiving of its flaws you are and if you’re already predisposed toward similar releases or the series/genre it belongs to. It can definitely still serve as worthwhile, enjoyable entertainment; just don’t expect to have your mind blown.

2 Stars: Poor – Fundamental issues prevent this from being really recommendable. Some may find snatches of enjoyment here, but you have to dig through the problems to find them. Disappointing, especially when you can see the missed potential beneath the surface.

1 Star: Bad – There’s no other way to say it: this isn’t worth your time at all. If you ignore these warnings then you deserve any and all pain you may experience as a result of interacting with this product.

With regards to our existing reviews, the option was considered to convert them all to the current system. Howver, at least for now, we’ve decided against this and are leaving them as they were originally. Not only would this be time consuming and problematic (especially in cases of writers who are no longer with the site), but we think leaving things as they were provides a nice snapshot of where the site has been in the past. We might consider revising this in the future, but for the time being this is going to be our stance.

 

Review Ethics and Transparency:

It goes without saying that any review outlet worthy of reading should maintain and adhere to firm ethical standards when reviewing products. Crush! Frag! Destroy! promises to always uphold these standards and will disclose, to the best of our ability, any and all potential conflicts or situations that may arise in the interest of full transparency.

Video Games: When reviewing games, each will be given an apropriate amount of play before rendering a verdict. In the case of games with clearly defined ends (e.g., action-adventure, RPG, FPS, generally anything with a story-based mode) every attempt will be made to complete the game at least once. In the case of games without them (e.g., most sports and puzzle, some strategy) the game will be played as thouroughly as possible until such time as the reviewer feels they have a sufficient grasp on the game’s mechanics, structure and quality to be able to render a fair verdict. All secondary modes (e.g., multiplayer, challenge modes) will be sampled and not bypassed. In situations where the above standards are not able to be met (due to time constraints, technical glitches in the product, excessive difficulty, etc.) the reviewer will do their best to disclose these facts in the review.

Disclosure of Review Copies: In all cases where a review of any kind was based upon materials provided free of cost from the publisher/manufacturer of said product, it will be fully disclosed in the review. Review materials obtained in this manner will never influence the content or final score of a review, nor will outside pressures from any source or agency.

 

Publishers – Want CFD! to Review Your Product?

Crush! Frag! Destroy! is always open to submissions of reviewable materials from creators and publishers alike. Indie publishers are always especially welcome here. If you are interested in submitting products to us for review, there are a couple of methods to do so.

For digitally delivered content (download codes, PDF copies of books, etc.) you can reach us directly here. Hard copies can be mailed to the following address:

Rob Thomas
℅ Crush! Frag! Destroy!
120 Fairbanks Street NE #2
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

While we do accept unsolicited review copies, keep in mind that we may not be able to review everything sent to us. Also, unsolicited materials will generally (but not always) take secondary priority over products we have specifically requested to review. Also sending us a courtesy email before cold-mailing product can help expedite the review process; we may ask you to mail it directly to a specific editor (all of our staff works remotely), as this will save both of us shipping costs and time.

For any other questions regarding our review policy or product submission guidelines, feel free to email us or contact the EIC directly.