Review Score Guide

Hello there, beautiful people! Welcome to The Jimquisition, a website on the world’s finest Internet. Here, you can expect to find reviews for all of the lovely videogames that men and women sell in shops. I will write about the videogames, then I will nail a damn number at the end for my own salted pleasures. Some people don’t like review scores, and do not want to see them in reviews – that is okay! Scores here are subtle in their application, casually included at the end of the review, and you can always ignore it if you don’t think it’s useful. I personally like using scores, and intend to continue doing so until such time as I don’t.

But anyway, you might be wondering how I use numerical scores, and what each score might mean. In my prior work at Destructoid, I always aimed to use the full ten-point scale, rather than simply the higher end of it. There’s a popular belief that reviews are rated from 7-10 by major outlets, instead of 1-10, and while that’s an exaggeration, I certainly feel more publications could stand to utilize all the numbers a bit more readily. With that in mind, every number means something distinct on my scale, and I do include decimal  “point five” scores in between for nuance’s sake – in my way-too extensive experience, it’s generally useful to have that bit of wiggle room, that sense of, “this was *almost* good enough to rate higher, but didn’t quite make it.”

Anyway, here are the damn scores, and what they bloody mean!

10 (Sterling): A 10 represents the finest of the fine, an exemplar of its genre, and the current game of its type to beat. While nothing in life is perfect, these games come as close to the ideal as one can get. Such a score is not given lightly, and is reserved for true pinnacles of the medium. A pinnacle can be relative – another game may eventually come that bests it, but for now, this is the kind of stuff the industry ought to strive for.

9 (Superb): A 9 represents excellence in almost every area, or at least a consistently delightful experience from beginning to end. There may be problems with the game, but they’re of a negligible variety, and often include such criticisms as, “I wish there were more of the thing that was brilliant.” While not a genre leader, it’s truly a beautiful game in several significant ways.

8 (Great): An 8 represents something that could prove immensely enjoyable to a majority of people, if not everybody. There are one or two noteworthy blemishes on their records, something holding them back, but nothing so major as to not be worth a lot of peoples’ time and energy.

7 (Good): A 7 represents a favorable slice of entertainment that ought to prove welcome in the right house. Not the most glamorous, polished, or jawdropping, but most definitely good for a chuckle or two.

6 (Alright): A 6 represents an acceptable game, the kind of experience unimaginative reviewers (like me) would call “solid.” These workaday games put the hours in, do their time, and manage not to offend the senses too much. They’re okay!

5 (Mediocre): A 5 represents “true neutral” on the scale. It’s not good, it’s not bad. It sits perfectly in between, doing nothing to stand out. It’s not going to ruin your day, but it’s not going to add anything positive, either. Truly the kind of videogame that exists solely to exist.

4 (Subpar): A 4 represents a below average, inferior experience. There may be some high points, a couple of hopeful moments, but they soon give way to the notably less favorable issues.

3 (Poor): A 3 represents a game with some significant damage. While it may have had some potential at one point, that’s been lost to lousy design, glitches, or some other unfortunate failure. Might be interesting… sometimes… but rarely.

2 (Bad): A 2 represents a straight-up bad game. A thorough disaster, there is no hope of a positive experience ever shining through all the broken features and atrocious ideas. Only the truly desperate will be able to dig through the mire and find something passable.

1 (Accursed): A 1 represents not just a bad game, but something offensively bad. Typically, but not always, something so truly vile that the reviewer can’t even manage to get a fraction of the way into it. The game doesn’t have to be broken beyond playability, but that’s common. It could also be so unintuitively designed, intellectually insulting, or even morally bankrupt as to render it beyond salvation. Either way, there is NO potential for a good time, even a meager one. There’s no talent, no skill, no depth, and no hope. This is… The Accursed.

So that’s how The Jimquisition’s scores work! Thank you for reading and supporting the site, and for joining me in my bid to continue providing independent, unfettered, and interesting videogame criticism. Believe the hype!

79 thoughts to “Review Score Guide”

  1. Hey Jim, I know your stance on Review Scores and I can understand that. They are all good and well when they are properly contextualized. The problem is people actually have to read the review then. And people are fucking lazy. You know that. People just wanna know what number a game has not in what ways it is good. I mean you have your scores contextualized here, can’t you just like copy these explanantions and replace some words with the title of the game?

  2. You know Jim, your score system has 5 positive, 1 neutral and 4 negative scores, you are basically missing 0 (which would make Score 5 the neutral one thus the center point).

    What would a Score 0 be though? May I suggest…:
    0 (Fail): A 0 represents nothing, the damn thing failed to run or crashes so constantly that there is no point playing it or the interface or UI or input is so horrid that it’s impossible to navigate or bugs are so annoying that you’d rather stare into the sun than look at this crap.

    1. If 10 really ” is reserved for true pinnacles of the medium”, meaning that it is better than any other game of its genre, then 1-9 represents all games that already exist at the time of the review. And there you end up with 4-1-4 ratings, with 10 basically being out of your scale.

  3. Jim, you vastly overestimate your audience. In the review scores you say: “Either way, there is NO potential for a good time, even a meager one” as part of the description for a 1. With the types of games companies like EA produce, very little fun can be had. Thus mainstream gamers become masochistic, and feel they deserve to be punished. Games from EA and/or with a score of 1 are exactly what they want. One man’s 10 is another man’s …

  4. the problem with scores is articulated very well by Total Buscuit in this video
    ▶ I will now talk about game reviews for just over 30 minutes – YouTube
    It’s not so much any individual Scoring system, however well thought out and specific to the reviewer.
    It means nothing and stands alone from the whole review. A 70% is just a 7/10 or a 3.5/5 stars no matter what and is compared, purely as a numeric value, with all context stripped away.
    Then sites like Meta-Critic lump them all together, add a dassh of secret sauce and give a definative scopre that means absolutely nothing. It’s then used as a stick to whip the devs and buyers with.
    For this reason alone, scores should never be used, even when the system used has merit and consistancy.
    Even a simple binary should you buy or not, is a scoring system Meta-Critic will use to set there score.
    Tell me about the games good and bad points. whatyou liked and disliked, I’ll assess whether I want to buy or not and more importantly even if yes, when the price is right for me.

    Jim and I disagree on scores, it’s not just about his giving scores, but how they are used later.
    That’s why I prefer video revies, I can see the game.

  5. I don’t care for scores, but I don’t really have a problem with you giving them. Besides, you’re descriptive enough that I don’t need them to look at them anyway and you put them in the bottom where they’re not plastered obnoxiously everywhere like you’re questioning my ability to read the review. I have no reason to complain.

  6. I think that you need a 0. A 0 is the best score possible to a game like Ride to Hell for example, because that means the it didn’t even deserved one point of mercy

  7. Question: if there are 10 very well-defined levels of quality, why use half-stars at all? Won’t that come across as lacking confidence in your own judgement?

    Vote Craig/Shub-Niggurath 2016.

  8. Hey Jim, mind giving an example of each? Just as kinda’ of a dip-stick of how you assign points? Like Silent Hill 2? Is that a 10/10, now and forever? Or can games depreciate in value and now that games like the Mass Effects, Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite, etc…exist the characterization in Silent Hill 2 just seems lackluster, thus knocking it down to 9/10.

    Or Grass Simulator. You were insanely offended by the game, but is it a 1/10 or a 2/10(for having dubstep dancing cows)

    Thanks man, and glad to see the Patron is getting bigger every day. Congratulations and well deserved!

  9. Just reading this was a lot of fun! I like that I’m expecting to enjoy Jim’s reviews all across the ratings scale and not just the top tier games that get the most attention. It’s the kind of love-to-hate enjoyment I get out of those Squirty Play awful games on YouTube.

  10. I think the worst possible score a game could get based on those descriptions would be in the 3 to 5 range. There’s a morbid curiosity with the truly awful, to use an overly used analogy, it’s like watching a train wreck, you can’t help but look at the monumental wreckage. You can even get a lot of joy out of watching or playing a spectacular failure; like Plan 9, The Room, Ride To Hell, Deadly Premonition and Aliens: Colonial Marines. With the right mindset and someone to share the experience with they have the potential to be amazing unintended comedies. This only works though when there’s sincerity in the product though, that there was once a desire to make something genuinely good. Films like Movie 43 and games like Grass Simulator do not fit int this category for example. I guess that’s where a 1/10 would be justified.
    However, with middle of the road filler content, what can we learn from that? There’s no joy to have, no benefit or lessons to be learned, they’re just there and are neither fun nor painful to play.They’re so dull and boring they’re not even interesting to discuss. They’re the worst thing I think a video game can be: worthless.

    Those are just my 2 cents anyway. Maybe the reason most outlets seem to only sore in the 7-10 range is because, for all the crap and complaints we have about video games, most video games made these days are actually good, or at least better than what we think is average? Either that or our standards of quality are too low. Regardless it’ll be interesting to see this time next year just how many of each number score Jim gives out in 2015. Good luck with the site Jim.

    1. Oh man, Jim would *not* agree with you about Deadly Premonition being a spectacular failure.

      But I think the reason that most reviewers avoid using middle-of-the-road scores is that it can be hard to know what to make of them. Take the description of a 5. You dish out ten or twenty or sixty dollars on a game, you spend hours playing it, and at the end of the day it doesn’t even “add anything positive?” In the context of spending money and time on something, isn’t that actually a really bad thing to say, in spite of claiming that it’s “not bad?”

      1. In some ways, the middle-of-the-road game (or other art thing – I think this applies to movies, books, television, paintings, etc) is somehow worse than the truly *bad*. This is because you aren’t presented with any reason to avoid the work, so you might spend time with it and end up gaining nothing. With something that’s really bad, you’ll stop playing/watching/reading it early on, or you’ll gain something from how terrible it is. But with something that just “exists for the sole purpose of existing,” you aren’t given a reason to continue and you aren’t given a reason to stop.

        This is why I think there’s a slight bimodality in the 1-10 scale, with a local minimum somewhere in the 4-5 range. 1/10 is still the worst, but a 3/10 game, on average, is probably more worth your time than a 5/10, simply because the 3/10 will entertain in its badness, while the 5/10 will be offensive in its dullness.

        Also, 5/10 games will probably have more uniform reactions from critics, since they don’t have anything to critique. A 3/10 game is one that might get a 7/10 from someone else – say, Deadly Premonition.

        (of course, this means 3/10 games might end up as 5/10 on Metacritic because of averaging, but we all know that Metacritic is spawned from the bowels of Hell and not to pay any attention to it, right? Right?)

        1. I agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment. Deadly Premonition is a fantastic game but surely even die-hard fans of it can’t argue that there are parts of it that are tedious and just not very enjoyable to play through right?

          1. sorry, *aren’t parts of it. (The site could do with an edit button, or I guess I could just learn to type better).

  11. I love the name for 1/10. Accursed. It really conjures up images of a game that’s the absolute depths of detritus, just a hateful game. A game whose existence somehow diminishes the good in the world :p

  12. Go on Jim, find something to bust out that 1/10 on.

    No-one has ever seen it. You can have the honour of pulling out the first one the internet’s ever seen. I’m sure randomly scrolling through Steam’s offerings will get us one deserving of it in no time

    1. Dragon: The game.

      I think, this shouldn’t even qualify as a game, since it’s essentially one level with nothing else to do other than fly around, and only miniature cows to breakup liven things up. The developers, here, have taken the idea of early access to a new extreme, or scam. I don’t think a score or zero would be wrong, especially if you payed the $20.00 for it.

  13. It’d be interesting if you had given examples of games you’ve scored/would score at each, so we’d have some basis of what to expect, for those of us who never followed you on Destructoid and just watch your Jimquisition videos.

    1. Let me take a guess from what I’ve read from him…

      11/10 : Dynasty Warriors VIII (the Citizen Kane of video games)
      10/10 : The Walking Dead (unparalleled as far as storytelling goes)
      9/10 : Bayonetta 2 (a bit ridiculous but flawless in the execution)
      8/10 : Transistor (creative and well executed even though slightly pretentious)
      7/10 : Depth (fun and innovative but limited)
      6/10 : The Evil Within (good ideas but archaic gameplay)
      5/10 : Destiny (beautiful and functional, but boring and grindy)
      4/10 : Goat Simulator (funny once but not fulfilling)
      3/10 : Duck Dynasty (hideous and lengthy cutscenes, boring gameplay but it’s functional)
      2/10 : World Truck Racing (a shitty, nearly unplayable mess)
      1/10 : Final Fantasy All the Bravest (an insulting and soulless cash-grab that relied on nostalgia)

      If you read me Jim, I am close from what you would give these games?

    1. If he cared he would put Slaughtering Ground, but I believe he would give it a 2/10 for all the fun he had making fun of the dev’s tantrum.
      Alternatively, we can wait for the next David Cage’s “game”.

      1. I think it would be more the like of FF All the Bravest or DK mobile which where horrendous money-grab with no real content. Or maybe Aliens : Colonial Marines which might not have been THAT bad but suffered from false advertising which made a lot of critics (Jim included furious).

        1. It could also end up going to something like ZOG’s Nighmare, which was made by National Socialists to promote their political views, which means it is about as offensive as a game can get.

    1. Yes, Jim is the meanest reviewer in the world ! None of that ” everyone gets a trophy ” going on here. There seems to be a lack of relativity in this score system, no grading on a curve. Can you imagine the amount of work to score a 5 on the JimScale? I can see negative numbers, or modifiers after the numeric score, being added if he keeps digging around in Steam.

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