The team here at Aussie-Gamer agonised over our review scores for years. We did this because we knew that gamers were fed up with a bunch of arbitrary numbers assigned to games, littered across thousands of review sites.
We also gathered feedback from our readers who were telling us that they use reviews to compare games against each other. With many websites out there, it was becoming almost impossible to distinguish the merits of a game scoring 8.1/10 and another game scoring 8.2/10. And while a five-star rating approach once suited what we were trying to achieve in terms of informing our opinions, it didn’t give enough information to the reader when they wanted to compare games.
The goal was to solve this dilemma and craft a video game review rating scale that was made for video gamers in mind. In June 2013, we solved this problem with the introduction of our 100 Point Review System.
Games are rated in four categories: Presentation, Gameplay, Engagement and Overall Impression. These four categories sum up all the factors a game uses to appeal to the player.
Each category is rated on its own scale. For example, Presentation is rated out of 15 possible points, Gameplay and Engagement are rated out of 25 possible points each and Overall Impression is given a score out of 35. The total of all category points will equal a score out of 100. Dividing this score by 10 gives us our total score out of 10 points.
These category scores are recorded on every single review, but are not visible to the reader. This is because while we try to be as transparent as possible, we also want to ensure the reader has the most relevant information. The review category scores are weighted based on what matters most in terms of the overall experience the game offers, so if a game has a high score you can be comfortable in the knowledge that it is performing well in Gameplay, Engagement and/or Overall Impression, even if the less important Presentation (graphics, menus, sound, etc) is not to up scratch.
Once we have our category scores, we combine the totals and divide it with 10, giving us a rating out of 10 that appears at the bottom of our reviews. The reason we prefer this score system (4.5/10) to 45/100 comes down to what is easier to understand for the reader whose time is increasingly limited.
To make evaluating our reviews even easier, we have assigned a handy guide to all our scores which you may see below.
One of the worst examples of what is commonly known as a “video game”. What were they thinking?!
That feeling in your gut you have while playing this game is called regret and you should be ashamed of yourself for even trying.
If you didn’t buy this game in the bargain section of the seediest pawn shop in town, you paid too much for it.
Sleeping on a bed of hot coals is a more engaging experience than a game in this range.
A game in this range suggests the developers were over-worked and underpaid. It’s not fun, there are many problems but you might !nd a redeeming factor.
The de!nition of “try before you buy”. There are some good things about a game in this range, but also some bad.
Games scoring “Decent” likely have good qualities but many issues which affects the overall experience.
Games in this range are fun experiences, particularly for fans of the genre or series.
An excellent game worthy of your attention, especially if you’re a fan of the genre or series. These games are recommended and most people will enjoy them on some level.
Something truly special. Fans and newcomers alike will enjoy this game. These are highly recommended and earn Aussie-Gamer’s Editor’s Choice award for their excellent quality
Games earning this rare score are set far above the standard and are usually genre- de!ning examples. It’s almost impossible to imagine any improvements.
Why are your scores lower than other sites?
Our reviewers rate games based on their own independent analysis using four review categories to calculate the total score. This means that a game will be rated based on its presentation, gameplay, engagement and the reviewer’s overall impression based on his or her personal experience with the game.
These four categories are weighted based on their importance to the overall experience. Graphics are less important that gameplay, so gameplay is awarded more possible points. These points are all calculated using a forumla to produce a score that looks like 5.5/10.
Since we use these four tiers to review our games, it may mean that our scores will generally be lower than other publications. This is mainly due to the fact that a game under our rating is “allowed” to score 4.3/10 without it automatically meaning it’s terrible (a game scoring 4.3 may mean that it has great graphics and great gameplay, but fails to engage the player in a meaningful way and produced a bad impression to our reviewer).
Regardless of the score a game achieves, though, it’s important to realise that our reviews reflect the opinion of the author only and your own personal experience with the game may differ slightly or greatly. That said, our reviewers understand the importance of being objective and strive to produce a balanced, fair opinion based on their time with each individual game.
How long do you play games for before you review them?
There are many factors that affect how long we play games before we publish a review. As a general rule, we like to give each game no less than 30 hours of play before we write up a review; some games may need longer. We will never publish a review until we’re comfortable with its rating.
Are there any games you don’t review
We do not review any adult-oriented games (that is different to “violent” or “R-rated”). We also tend not to review games that are only released in languages other than English, or games that are purely educational in nature. Games designed for pre-schoolers also rarely get reviewed.
Further, we rarely review downloadable add-ons for games unless they significantly change the nature of the entire game itself, or are released as a full version standalone game alongside the downloadable add-on version.
Our main reader demographic is 15 years – 35 years.
How do you review games for new hardware?
Video game hardware changes and updates all the time, however our expectations on games in general doesn’t.
If you have any other questions about reviews, feel free to drop us a line using our Contact Page.