Interested in learning more on our process for full game reviews? We’ll you’ve found the right place. When games hit an open beta that we expect to continue on in perpetuity, or do a solid full launch, we assign one of our trusted staff writers to give the game a fair number of hours given the type of game to come to a conclusion of where we rank said game from 1-5 (poor, fair, good, great, excellent). While we occasionally cover console games and their console versions, we hold the PC score as the absolute definitive ranking on a game when available.
A key piece of information to note about our ranking is that it is not a ranking for a game’s quality in a free market of all competing single and multiplayer games on the market. Any gamer with some experience under their belt knows that a fully featured MMORPG is going to be of higher quality than a browser based casual MMO game. As such, our ranking is more of an indicator of how we feel a game stacks up within its genre of competition, as that’s the information you as an experienced gamer should be more concerned about when choosing which game in a long list of similar styled games you should play.
Our ratings thus fall into a bell curve (yup we’ve pulled the numbers to confirm it is a bell curve) with the following criteria.
Poor – We rarely give out a poor rating. To achieve this score, a game needs to not only be poorly made, with shoddy production value, and imbalanced gameplay, or even unusable frustrating controls. No these games are so bad, as editors we feel embarrassed to have forced one of our own team members to have suffered through it. These are the worst a genre has to offer, and need to be sent back to the drawing board, or better yet, the landfill.
Fair – A fair game hits all the ‘completed publicly available’ points any game on the market should have. Though it hits most of these points on a barely passable level. They’re typically not memorable, and usually don’t have long lifespans in the ever competitive online gaming PC realm.
Good – The middle of the road. A good game often has enough appeal to make fans of its IP or genre content. Those not into its genre will typically pass though. More often than not, a good game is a one trick pony that players will find is missing components to give it the full package elsewhere. There’s usually some hindrance, such as an imbalanced cash shop, restricted customization, shoddy controls, or poor user interface here that is holding the game back.
Great – A great game offers a complete package, and hits multiple points of our rating scale at an above average level. Great games can appeal to those disinterested in its genre, and smash it out of the park for a dedicated fanbase of users. They’re typically visually stunning, control well, sound decent, and offer plenty of customization or gameplay options. Flaws in these games are often less obvious, or the developers communicate their knowledge and intention to fix them.
Excellent – The rare top 5% of gaming excellence. Games that score a perfect 5/5 in our books are shining beacons of what a genre should be. Beyond just what’s expected, they often push their own genre into the unknown experimental gameplay realm and succeed in doing so. As such these games bring the fun factor, even for gamers already jaded and bored with their respective genre. There’s typically fewer than 2 major issues with them, and even these issues tend to only impact a minority of users. Rocket League, SMITE, Endless Legend, Taichi Panda, CS-GO, EVE Online, Clash of Clans, Granado Espada, and Guild Wars 2 stand as some examples of this club our writers have deemed worthy of the highest praise.
It’s worth noting that while our video content team also has an opinion on a game’s value, in terms of ratings we utilize our written score instead of video score. This is merely the nature of video coverage, as the editing process takes more time per project from our team members, meaning they spend less time in-game to realize some of the less obvious quirks and flaws present. This is why our videos are presented as “First Look” style coverage, while the written articles are labeled as “Review.”