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. 5 (Mediocre): A 5 represents “true neutral” on the scale. It’s not good, it’s not bad. It sits “perfectly in between”,

    This a thoroughly a lie, In a scale of 1-10 the exact of middle of it is 5.5 your score system is totally flawed by excluding the 0

  2. What gives with this game company suing you for 10,000,000 $ and same company using 100 people on steam for 18,000,000 $. Because they got their feelings hurt?

    1. Game Company is a very charitable term for them. It’s two people, last names Romine who run a ‘business’ called Digital Homicide. They buy assets, put them together, then flood steam with their stitched together products in hopes that enough people will be willing to part with a dollar in order to get a game with trading cards.

      They sued Jim Sterling for defamation and assault. (the legal definition of assault is the implied threat of harm, not harm itself, that is battery) They have barely a case and no lawyer representing them as no lawyer would take a case like this on contingency, only retainer.

      This new one against Steam users has turned into a fatal bullet for themselves. As this action against the users (and subsequent subpoena to Valve inc. to release those user’s personal information to the Romines) has caused Valve to remove all their greenlight entries and delist all Digital Homicide games from the storefront.

      Edit: As for what gives. My only running theory is that they live in an isolated echo chamber consisting of each other and take every slight against their business and products as personal affronts. This echo chamber attitude causes every grievance through a feedback effect to where they think it much more severe than it actually is and are now taking it out as anyone they view as trying to hurt the,.

  3. 10: “Oh my God, this game’s incredible!”
    9: “Wow, this game is really, really good!”
    8: “Ooh, I love this one!”
    7: “Oh, yeah, this game! I like this game.”
    6: “This is good.”
    5: “Eh.”
    4: “Ehhh…let’s play something else.”
    3: “This sucks.”
    2: “Jesus, this game is awful.”
    1: “Dear God, how did this even get released?”

  4. So I did people a favour and compiled two reviews for each score so you can see Jim’s scale in action (no .5 reviews included). I tried to get a good spread of AAA, indies and things in between (also various genres) so you have a good spread of games.

    10/10 – Bloodborne and Undertale. Please note he loves both these games dearly but he DOES give criticisms in the review. It’s not all golden rimj obs here.

    9/10 – Xenoblade Chronicles X and Journey.

    8/10 – Dragons Dogma Dark Arisen and Transformers Devastation.

    7/10 – Assassins Creed Syndicate and Hatsune Miku Project Mirai DX

    6/10 – Yoshi’s Wooly World and Amplitude

    5/10 – Call of Duty Black Ops III and Fatal Frame Maiden of Black Water

    4/10 – Unravel and Mad Max

    3/10 – Dynasty Warrior 8 Empires and The Flock

    2/10 – The Devils Third and Tony Hawks Pro Skater 5

    1/10 – Raven’s Cry and Overlord: Fellowship of Evil

    BONUS: Sonic Boom (2/10)… Just because it’s funny as hell to read now and then.

    1. All of the links broke (…or, the three I tried anyway). Not critical since it’s the names that really matter and the reviews are still there. Just figured I’d point it out though.

  5. Jim, I thank God for your insight with our beloved gaming industry, it’s beauty, ugliness, and machinations. With Street Fighter 5 releasing in such an unbelievable state tomorrow, and given Capcom’s empty promises of multiple editions of this franchise, could you do me the honor of exposing the truth once again for the masses as it relates to Street Fighter. You are a pillar of journalism that most will never dare or attempt to ascend your lofty heights.

  6. Hello Mr. Jim Sterling what does the funny intermenet things on the intermenet. I think it would be gosh-darn swell if one could click on each score heading in this page and see all the games you’ve reviewed that have obtained said score.

    1. That’s actually not a bad idea, if nothing else to give us a quicksum idea of what kind of games tend to get certain scores. But that might be a thing where he wants to keep the reader in suspense for what kind of score he’s going to give, although from what I’ve seen on here so far, he does seem rather obvious by about the second paragraph in regarding his general opinion with a game.

  7. Hey Jim, love your shows, and your score system’s pretty good! The explanation’s pretty clear, though I’m interested to see what scores a 5 on here.

    I have one request, and it’s personal, but I think it’s important so as to allow us to better understand any biases you may have: what are a few popular games you really personally love – old and/or new – that you think demonstrate your own taste in games?

    For those who don’t watch your show (shockingly, they do exist!) who might stumble on this site or be shown it by friends, this could help them get a better gauge of how closely they can adhere to your scores. After all, a game you rate a 4 may be a 7 for me because I can ignore the flaws you point out, and vice versa. And although genre preferences and reading the actual review and the like can help determine this stuff, listing games and why you like them would help even more.

  8. So why are your reviews on metacritic especially if your scale is the way it is?
    Surely you would just invent a different scale with something else, or would that mean you wouldn’t get paid?

    1. He doesn’t submit them. If you go to metacritic’s FAQs they have a question titled “How do you compute Metacritic Scores?” and the first part is this:

      “The basic concept is the same for each of the genres currently included in our site. Let’s use a fictional movie–‘Iron Chef vs. Godzilla’–as an example.

      Our staffers will go through every publication on our Movies Publications list (see below) looking for reviews for Iron Chef vs. Godzilla. For each review found, we will take the score given by the critic and convert it to a 0-100 point scale.”

      So it’s Metacritic itself that takes his reviews without first converting them into the “standard critic score” format that everyone else uses.

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