Reviews are a big part of any gaming website, and there are a lot of ways to handle them. Decimals, letter grades, percentages – there are lots of ways to communicate a game’s quality.
Here at 4P, we’ve traditionally used a scale from 0-10, with .1 decimal increments. In addition, we’ve had 5 sub-criteria for every game that we assigned scores for: Gameplay, Graphics, Presentation, Sound, and Value. While that has given us the flexibility to fine-tune our scoring to incredibly precise lengths, over time we found ourselves becoming more disillusioned with such a system. What makes an 8.9 game better than an 8.8 one? How do you account for criteria outside the already-scored ones? If 5 is an average, why is a game that gets a 6 considered to be bad?
So we’ve instituted a new simplified 5-star system. We’ve found this to be the easiest and most effective way to communicate a game’s quality to our readers – no decimals, no half-stars, no sub-criteria, just a simple and direct ___ out of 5. The score is not an average of anything, and there is no magic formula that determines how many stars a game receives – it’s all up to the reviewer’s discretion. That said, here is what each rating generally means:
The best of the best. 5-star games aren’t perfect, but they’re games we feel that are the cream of the crop and that any gamer should check out. Any flaws they have are minor and easily overlookable.
A very good game with a few minor flaws that keep it from true greatness. 4-star games are games that are still worthy of your attention and are recommended buys, especially if you’re a fan of the particular genre.
Average. 3-star games aren’t bad – they have competent design and are still enjoyable, but they don’t do anything particularly memorable. A 3-star game is still worth checking out but with reservations.
2-star games are those that have serious flaws and can’t be recommended unless you’re a diehard fan of the genre or series that is willing to overlook those flaws. They’re playable, but the problems you may experience while doing so are going to affect your enjoyment of the game.
Complete and utter garbage. 1-star games are the worst of the worst, with serious design issues that will severely hamper your experience with the game. Avoid these games at all costs.
Due to issues with how our back-end system handles reviews, we could not keep previous reviews in the decimal format, therefore they have been updated to the new system. Rest assured that the star scores are still reflective of our feelings on the game at the time of review – we have not gone back and retroactively altered the scores or changed the reviews, just simply reverted them to the new star system.
This new system will allow us to tighten our focus when we review games and communicate better to our readers whether a game is worth their time or not. For more information about our review policy, check out this page!