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Do We Need To Change Video Game Rating Scales?

What you see here are potential examples of perfect 10s. How we judge that is almost entirely subjective but they're all on the same scale: women. The question is, now that gaming has taken on a variety of different forms and types, should we be using the same scoring scales across the board?

There was a time when games were games. It made sense that there should be one universal scoring system and even then, several major sources strayed from the norm (the common 10-point scale) and went with either letter grades or even no score at all. It's entirely up to the source, of course. But are we misleading the consumer? This industry is more mainstream than ever, which means there are more casual participants than ever, and they simply may not understand the difference between a 9 for a standard $60 big-budget title and a 9 for a downloadable arcade game on the PSN or XBLA. We all know the differences; we sorta call this our favorite hobby and we all recognize and acknowledge the obvious drastic differences between the aforementioned products. But even if we consider that to be true, is it still okay to use the exact same scoring scale for every game, ranging from iPhone and DS to PS3 and PC? There is an argument for both sides.

On the one hand, it's clear that games on certain platforms aren't designed to compete with games on certain other platforms. It's clear that nothing handheld can, in literal reality, stand up to the best examples of cutting-edge, progressive interactive entertainment on the most powerful gaming systems. So rationally, it's difficult to support this continued trend; it's like saying we can score Tetris on the same 10-point scale as Uncharted 2. ...or maybe we can and in fact, should... Maybe it's all about awarding a score based on the game's merits, and it's the critic's responsibility to take the inherent limitations into account. And of course, we all do that; nobody is giving the latest DS game a 2 in graphics because they're comparing it to Crysis. They're comparing it to other graphical depictions on the DS. That's all fine and dandy, but how come those who review games for the PS3 and 360 tend to compare graphics - and other elements - to those same elements on the other platform? Does this not mean that we put the PS3/360 in the same category but not the DS? And does this not further mean that we can't use the same scoring scale for everything?

This is not a rhetorical question because I don't believe I have the answer. It's a legitimate question because I have no idea what to do about it. There are good points on both sides and of course, fans of the "lesser" platforms will get all bent out of shape if you suggest their favored software can't really be compared to the most advanced interactive products out there. It's just that, with 3D coming, motion sensing all ready to explode on the PS3 and 360, and a growing number of digital downloadable titles, there are more types and versions of video games than ever before. And I really don't think we see anything like this in any other entertainment medium. So what to do?

5/31/2010 12:13:00 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (77 posts)

fluffer nutter
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 12:37:41 PM
Reply

When I read a review, I see the scores but I pay close attention to the written section to see if the author is basing the scores on past games in that genre or if they are just basing the scores on fun factor. If the review isn't being comparative then I take it with a grain of salt. I'm not going to believe some guy who rates games like Carnival Games and MGS4 on the same scale. That's just absurd.

I think there should be a label system next to the points/grading scale to somehow show that the author is well versed in reviewing video games and maybe can show how many games they've played that would have influenced a review of that game in that specific genre. If it is a genre blender, than show a number for how many games have great similarities to what's being reviewed. If you see there are two reviews for the same RPG, and one author has a credit of 10 RPG reviews and another has 2, which one are you going to think has more weight? Also, I would still read the content to know if they are just game dabbers and only played each game for a few hours and never got the full understanding of what makes a great RPG.

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chedison
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:24:34 PM

I'm with Underdog :). Rebecca all the way.

EDIT: sorry, Reply to lower comment ><

Last edited by chedison on 5/31/2010 1:25:01 PM

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Alienange
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 12:48:20 PM
Reply

A brilliant topic for an article if I've ever seen one.

I tend to believe that since we're talking about games, the fun factor is of the utmost importance. When Tetris came out it was wicked fun because we did not have a thousand clones of it yet.

Nowadays gamers are far from ignorant. They know that a 10 for a PS3 game is going to be one hell of an experience. A 10 on a Wii game means you're in for a very good time, but naturally the graphics and sound won't be what the other systems have to offer. That's not a problem for those who enjoy Wii games.

Hell, you can score an iPhone game a 10, gamers still know it's just an iPhone game and isn't about to blow you away. It just means it's fun. So when you're bored out of your mind and the only gaming system you can get you hands on is the iPhone, well, THAT'S the best game to play on it. Nobody on earth thinks it's going to be a better product than a game scoring 10 on PS3 or Xbox.

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Alienange
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 12:50:59 PM

Almost forgot. Jamey all the way!

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Underdog15
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:05:06 PM

I love fair-skinned brunettes. Rebecca ftw!

EDIT: Plus she looks like you could have a quality conversation with her, too! Jamey doesn't look the brightest.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 5/31/2010 1:07:33 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:09:53 PM

None of em have a big enough rack ;)

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Alienange
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:20:11 PM

@ Underdog015 - Have a WHAT with her?? A converWHAT?

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Underdog15
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:22:00 PM

It's code.

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Underdog15
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:31:59 PM

@World
If the rack gets too big, it'll affect too many other enjoyable aspects in a negative way. I wouldn't want my woman to get back trouble! lol

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SvenMD
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:43:30 PM

The brunettes - Jamey and Nicole....oh yeah, I'll take 2 thanks.

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Lanmanna
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:02:23 PM
Reply

@Alienange
Agreed. Only one I think is cute out of them.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:09:39 PM

That's cuz she's part asian.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 6:07:24 PM

Wow 2 thumbs down, buncha racists.

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Underdog15
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:03:36 PM
Reply

It's certainly a dilemma at the start of a new gaming era of a new generation. Especially when there's nothing to compare games to for that specific system. Reviewers always run into trouble here. Fortunately, we aren't at that awkward stage, right now.

I also believe that casual gamers aren't typically the ones to read the reviews or see the scores unless it's written on the box with something like "IGN says 5 out of 5!!!".

It certainly could be misleading to someone like, say, my wife's oma and opa (grandparents), who know nothing of video games. A 10 for a DS versus a 10 on a PS3 would not be something they could discern.

I think the mainstream demographic reviewers should be catering to is the gaming population, most of which, I would imagine, know what to expect from say a Gameboy Advance versus a Wii. Similarly, none of us in the new user review section of this site, are going to go back in time to review a PS1 title and give graphics a 1 because we're comparing it to today's standards. It just isn't logical.

So, while I can understand an argument for a new rating system unique to each system, you cannot review a game outside of it's own medium. If it's a multi-platform release, perhaps the best compromise would be to review it in relation to other titles of it's own platform. You definitely run into an entire host of problems comparing the FFXIII release on PS3 to the XBOX version, and I'm not sure it's unfair to compare the two. However, while it's good to compare each version to each other, it is unfair to say, play the XBOX version and review it on a site like this devoted to Playstation. Compare away, but grade within it's own medium.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 5/31/2010 1:10:47 PM

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Underdog15
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:28:06 PM

Also, I think I pretty much get the idea about a game through it's ratings over this site. Can't say I even know what a new system would look like. The one we have now works well enough, I think. It's like they say about democracy... it isn't the best form of government. It's just the best we have so far.

P.s. Mr. Downvoter, some rebuttle? I'd love to hear what's on your mind.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 5/31/2010 1:28:59 PM

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Highlander
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 2:35:55 PM

It's memorial day in the US, some kid is home for the holidays and spreading holiday cheer with down-votes...and so the summer begins.

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Underdog15
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 3:18:50 PM

lol it's true. Almost everyone in this thread has exactly 1 downvote.

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Highlander
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 6:59:04 PM

I is important, I haz seh-ven thumbz down.

</LOLcats>

Last edited by Highlander on 5/31/2010 7:01:16 PM

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Shams
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 11:27:36 PM

Highlander, those "I haz" comments make me LOL every time!

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Cholo Gamer
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:08:29 PM
Reply

Laura is BOMB!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:11:30 PM

Debora looks like she fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.

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Alienange
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:21:55 PM

I didn't want to be mean, but Debora's hair just ... oh god!

*runs away*

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fluffer nutter
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 8:47:40 PM

They all fell out of the ugly tree and got some bad surgery.

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Shams
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 11:01:42 PM

Man, I can't see the names and appearances of them, but the "ugly-tree" comment made me LOL. It probably isn't true, but I'm sure it was just meant for laughs.

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fluffer nutter
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 11:25:55 PM

Look at them and you'll see that this is true. The only thing these women have going for them is they aren't fat. Just don't look at their faces. Yikes.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:08:33 PM
Reply

I think most informed gamers are smart enough to be able to track the same system against all platforms but I definitely see your point in a few places. Since there is a lack of intelligent life on many gaming review sites you might get a review from somebody who already dislikes that genre, and honestly what good is that?

Also you have multiplats not getting their proper dues because the exclusives are so ridiculously good.

Unfortunately, coming up with a new system would be confusing and complex so although there are reasons to do so, we should probably stick with what we have.

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Scarecrow
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:12:42 PM
Reply

Super Mario Galaxy 2 > a lot of games so far
That said, only the FINAL score can be compared.

It's simple as that for me. If the final score is above another game, then that game's just better. End of story.

---

I disagree 'bout using a different final score for games of different consoles.

PS: You can't compare a handheld game to a console game. It'd be like comparing a comic book to a full-fledged book

---

Are those all the babes Ben has conquered?
As far as how cute they are. They're all ugly, too much make up. Nice bodies though

Last edited by Scarecrow on 5/31/2010 1:14:35 PM

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SvenMD
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:51:47 PM

Honestly, if you say that you can't compare hand-held and console games; then you really can't compare wii games to PS3/360 games....they're just too different.

I just picked up Super Mario Galaxy 2 and it's alot of fun....but it is nowhere CLOSE to Uncharted 2 good. Could you give SMG2 a 10? Yeah...as a whole, the game is complete and I can't find a fault with it so far. But does that mean it's equal to Uncharted 2? HECK NO!! (see Highlanders comments below)

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Scarecrow
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 2:32:52 PM

It's on the same level

You CAN compare MGS3 to MGS4.
You CAN compare FFX to FFXIII

Seriously, I think you guys are just saying "OMG a cartoony platform games can't compare to a realistic super HD game."

The graphics are better in UC2 compared to SMG2 but the game is a FULL quality (no limitations game).

Handhelds are limited to a single cartridge/UMD. They're limited in the audio department. They're limited in the control department. They're limited in the extra features department.

The Wii/ps2 are only limited by the graphics, but if you take that out, those games can compete with ps3/360 games in terms of OVERALL quality.

You really need to look away from the graphics, and consider the overall quality.

How good the level design of SMG2 is
How good the storyline in the game is
How well designed the characters/NPCs are

You add all that up into an overall score and it can easily rival Uncharted2. Might not be better than it, but it definitely challenges it.

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MyWorstNightmar
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 9:25:23 PM

Sven, come on now. Don't compare Super Mario Galaxy 2 to Uncharted 2. That is an unfair comparison.

If Uncharted 2 came out this year instead of last year, it would undoubtable STILL run away with GOTY. Point being, you are saying that Super Mario Galaxy 2 doesn't compare to Uncharted 2, but tell me, what game that released this year DOES compare to what I believe is the greatest game we have seen in years.

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totozero18
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:13:04 PM
Reply

I think it depends on which aspect of the game you're trying to rate, it is clear that when it comes to graphics or maybe gameplay it's not fair to compare portable games with this gen's game, due to hardware limitations a PSP game will never be able to match up with PS3 games.
When it comes to graphics games could be compared with games released on the same year because as time goes on developers find better ways to exploit the console engine. Of course not every multiplatform runs the same way on every console, hence FFXIII.

(I'll reply myself cuz I gotta change the box I'm working on)

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totozero18
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:48:15 PM

As for gameplay, it really depends on the kind of game you're rating, and of course the platform running it, (It's obvious that RE4 will not provide the same experience on PS2 than on the WII).
And the Story of the game...idk you're the critic Ben, you could find great stories in any platform.


BTW...Rebecca FTW

Last edited by totozero18 on 5/31/2010 1:49:45 PM

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Alienange
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:23:23 PM
Reply

What exactly do you mean by "we sorta call this our favorite hobby?"

Are you trying to tell me there's some half assers on here?

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main_event05
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:28:59 PM
Reply

Yes. just get to ratings: For Kids and NOT FOR KIDS and make them really huge.

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main_event05
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 8:38:55 PM

You idiot. did you even read the article?

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chewy102
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:32:15 PM
Reply

The 1-10 system is as close to perfect as you can get IMO. It's just used in the worst way possible. How it's used now is how school systems work. If you don't have at least a 7 the game is seen as a "FAIL!!!" (caps needed there). Also every reviewer uses his/her personal opinion (that changes everyday) to judge a game. Then once enough of those "opinions" show up on metacritic it's taken as a true fact by the idiots of the internet.

What the professional reviewers need to do (IMO) is make 5/10 an average game and make EVERY review using a pre-written score sheet based on past games (so no more s*** games getting the same score as MGS4 or Uncharted 2) with only one game getting a 10, that site/mags GOTY. Example \/
graphics-
glitches/bugs-
gameplay-
controls-
sound-
game length- (no game under 5 hours should get above a 6 unless it's a pure MP game like Warhawk or MAG)
MP net code-
story-
+ anything I can't think of right now.

How can anyone trust a review that isn't/can't be based on anything but personal opinions of people that we know nothing about?

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Highlander
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:42:41 PM

LOL! I think that if a game gets a 7 it's hardly a fail. Comparing games of different genre being reviewed against each other is definitely an exercise in futility. Uncharted for example is in a genre where the stellar graphics are so integral to the game and game play that the truly, truly matter. On the flip side, a more stylized game like Valkyria Chronicles doesn't require quite the same graphical powerhouse to still be awesome within it's gener. However a reviewer who prefers and is more used to action games might not see things that way. As long as reviewers have to review across genre, we really have to look more carefully at the scores and recognize that in an absolute comparison some games that are superb from a gameplay point of view just don't stack up in terms of graphics and sound, so their overall score might be lower than their gameplay score would suggest. Does that mean that they are bad games and we should not play them?

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chewy102
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 2:21:56 PM

highlander

My point is to remove personal opinions from reviews as much as possible. They have no place in any type of professional review. I also agree that a 7 is a decent score, I said that it shouldn't be what the vast majority use as average. Why do we have a 10 point system if a 5-6 is seen as a massive fail by the public?

Most to every professional review Iv ever read uses his/her personal opinion in a review. If I wanted an opinion about a game Id go read user reviews. What Im trying to say is professional reviewers NEED to base every single review on either past games or on some type of pre-written standard we can use to know why the game got that score.

p.s. That down wasn't me.

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Highlander
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 2:34:20 PM

Don't worry about the down votes...I revel in them.

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Alienange
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 4:17:46 PM

@ chewy102 - I don't agree with your statements one bit. You're talking as if professional reviews are so skewered by opinion that they are unreliable. Excuse me, but any opinion that might creep into a review is minor at best.

Reviewers always write the reason they are giving a particular score in any given category. Just because we may not agree with it doesn't make our point of view "more right" than theirs.

In fact, I wager to say that it is entirely possible to buy a game based on a bad review because we happen to disagree with the writer.

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chewy102
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 4:49:30 PM

Alienange

When reviewers write what criteria they use for reviews and use that same criteria for every review (maybe update it time to time to fit new standards), then I'll believe that their personal opinions don't influence how they write a review.

edit-
I forgot to say that a lot of big time reviewers have let either their opinions get in the way or even taken bribes for a higher score. Just look at all of the 10s GTA4 got. No way in hell is that game that perfect with so much taken out compared to past titles. Also try to remember the $800 gift bags M$ sent out with review copies of Halo 3 (I think it was H3, might have been Halo Wars).

Last edited by chewy102 on 5/31/2010 4:59:43 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 6:10:57 PM

Got to agree with Alien, I've bought games based on not so great reviews because the things that were a problem for the reviewer didn't bother me one bit.

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StangMan80
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 6:28:00 PM

I like this idea.

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Highlander
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:37:52 PM

If you have to use half stars, you might as well use double the number of stars and only work in whole stars...

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Highlander
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:36:53 PM
Reply

Great topic. Great question. Difficult question.

I think that on balance I do think that it is ridiculous to compare a game on one platform to another unless the platforms are close in performance terms.

I've often posted about how the market is segmented by platform between HD and SD home consoles and hand held devices. The advent of iPhone and Android phones as multi-function devices that game just further muddies the water as does the PC. Of course when comparing hand held devices it's really not strictly fair to compare the PSP and DS since they don't really sell to the same people and the PSP is in the order of 8 times more powerful than a DS. Their software is so widely split too, you really don't often see the same game appearing on both platforms unless it comes from someone like EA, so perhaps they need to be separate as well?

To me there are really 5(6?) categories of gaming platform.

HD consoles - PS3, 360
SD consoles - Wii, PS2
PCs - PCs (Windows, Mac or Linux)
Hand helds (casual) - DS, iPhone, Android
Hand helds (hardcore) - PSP

I don't think it's fair to compare games that appear on more than one of these platforms with each other. The control interfaces are too different as are the graphics and processing capabilities of the systems themselves. Can a game that is a 10 on the iPhone really be given the worth of a 10 on the PS3? No, of course not. But within the casual handheld category I think it can.

So how much of the rating of a game is relative, and how much is absolute? Relative categories might include the sound and graphics, controls, and even the scope/depth of the game. More absolute categories might include replay value and a 'fun' score. I think that the overall score for a game really is relative because you are rating the game on it's merits, and there is no way that - for example - MotorStorm 2 on the PS3 is comparable to Motorstorm Arctic Edge on the PSP/PS2, there are too many differences. However the games are superficially similar.

On the flipside, where a game truly does arrive in exactly the same form on two platforms - PSP Minis and PS1 classics come to mind, I think it is fair to review uniformly, but those are really special cases compared to mainstream games.

How do you communicate that to buyers? Perhaps it's time to lay out the system categories as I have above, so that people know that a 10 on a game on a casual hand held, is not the same as a 10 for a game on a PS3/360? If it's the 'same' game, such as Madden NFL, do you automatically knock points off when comparing reviews? Nop, that would be ridiculous, you have to say that if the game deserves a 9 on the PSP and a 9 on the HD consoles, then it deserves a 9 on the SD consoles as well - if it is the same game on each - even though the graphics and sound on the PSP version are clearly inferior to the HD console, they may still be stellar for the PSP.

The most difficult comparison is 360 and PS3 because they are so similar in overall terms of performance and capability - with respect to running games. Of course the other difficulty is that there are vocal fanbases on each platform willing to jump at the slightest inferiority of a game on the other platform like sharks in a feeding frenzy.

I don't think you can make a distinction between them (PS3/360). When a game comes on both platforms and one version is clearly inferior, then it deserves a lower score. The definition of clearly inferior is somewhat subjective. I personally think that we make too much sometimes of minor differences such as mild screen tearing or pop-in, minor resolution differences or even small frame rate differences. When these things are not truly significant, and yet one platform is 'better' than the other there is a tendency to focus on this, despite the fact that in play the games are damn near identical. But if there are differences that make the game inferior on one platform compared to the other, it has to be a factor.

None of that helps consumers understand relative rating of games though, does it?

Maybe we need to start adding statements like "...for a casual handheld title..." or "...for an HD console title compared to an SD console title...". But that still won't help on the box.

Not an easy fix.

Oh, Bianca or Claire-louise FTW, ladies need to have something to play with, and it's relatively slim pickings on these examples. Personally I like a pretty face too, and well....none of them are setting the heather alight on that score. Is it time to use one of those phrases for handling comparative reviews now?

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Underdog15
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 5:53:21 PM

On topic: Great post

Off topic: Is someone spamming this site to downvote for fun through various accounts? I don't understand how a quality post, whether you agree or not, can get 6 downvotes with no arguments whatsoever.

Edit: Does no one else find this frustrating? lol

Last edited by Underdog15 on 5/31/2010 5:55:57 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 6:18:13 PM

You really want those soundtracks don't you? ;)

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StangMan80
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 6:34:30 PM

How can you downvote this. seven? there is somthing wrong with you people.

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Highlander
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 6:59:56 PM

I guess some people don't like Bianca or Claire-Louise...?

Perhaps LV is lurking and downvoting for fun?

LOL!

@Worlds - soundtracks FTW!

Last edited by Highlander on 5/31/2010 7:02:13 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 8:03:26 PM

Guys, please bear in mind that most of the downvotes can't be considered legitimate. They come from spambots and banned lurkers, so don't pay them any mind.

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Highlander
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 8:06:07 PM

Ben,

Serial downvoters are like fleas on a dog, nothing more than a itch to scratch.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 8:57:37 PM

True, sadly.

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Shams
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 11:03:59 PM

Great point about an iphone game being evaluated differently depending on the platform.

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bridgera
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:42:05 PM
Reply

Well when it comes to an x out of 10 rating, you're really just reading someone's opinion.... that always needs to be kept in mind. One man's 5/10 is another's 8/10.

If people really DON'T understand the difference between a $10 download of ZUMA and a $60 copy of Uncharted 2, well they need to learn. Fortunately I think it only takes about 1-2 cheap PSN downloads before people learn. That's a pretty cheap misconception.

So no, I don't think we need to change the scale, but people just need to learn the difference between DLC and Retail games.

Last edited by bridgera on 5/31/2010 1:44:48 PM

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bridgera
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1:48:16 PM

off topic

I remember arguing with some 360 fanboy saying that the 360 "over 1000 games, much more than the PS3". As it turns out the only way you got that hi is by counting DLC games for the 360. So that guy counted $10 games like Geometry Wars against games like Uncharted 2... because that makes sense.

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CharlesD
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 4:05:22 PM
Reply

Not sure how I feel on the grading scale. Mario is a great game, and considered one of the best of all time. Now, is that game overall more enjoyable than Uncharted 2? Of course not, but without Mario Uncharted 2 wouldn't exist. So, they are both great games but for different reasonless. This is what makes me leans towards the idea that a different gaming scale should be applied, as long as it's not too drastic of a change from the current system.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 7:14:45 PM

Perhaps an added "Qualification" system would do. Mario: 10 Casual, Uncharted 2: 9.8 Intense. Somethin like that.

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pyrobomber70
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 4:59:19 PM
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PS3 and 360 should be rated on a 1 to 10 scale.
Downloadable games like PSN and Live should be rated on a 1 to 5 scale.
PSP and DS games should be rated on a scale of A to F.
Wii make your own scale?

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tes37
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 7:08:38 PM
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I think the rating scale should be the same, for a sense of uniformity. It's the comparison of non competing systems that's flawed, and causes confusion. I want the game to be judged on it's own merits and not how it could perform on another system that I don't own.

If there were an agreed upon rating system for all games, I think biased opinions would give way to more accurate reviews. Although it won't eliminate it, I believe it would be an improvement.

A game like Tetris, could in my view, receive a 10 for graphics if it's pleasing to look at. I think it would be fair because you can tell when extra effort is put into something to make it look good or whether just enough was done to get by.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 7:15:42 PM
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I think games still get a more unbiased review than most movies do with their stars and heavy opinions.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 5/31/2010 7:16:18 PM

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Temjin001
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 10:13:23 PM
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Overtime I've come to understand that values dictate reviews. Values that are weighed against ever changing standards. A review is relative in nature. What was impressive years ago isn't so impressive today. Classics are typically born out of significant strides in design that exceeded the expectations relative to it's respective era. "Legends in their own time," so to speak. The greatness of a classic is encapsulated in the memory of those who witnessed the game experience at that time. Many critics identify tangible quality indicators such as graphics, game-play, sound, replay value, fun factor etc. And often times, the sum of those individual parts add up to an overall rating that attempts to measure the exact quality of a title.

Before I explain more I think it's important to understand the purpose of a game.

Games are designed for entertainment.
Our mind process the information and messages being sent to us and we emotionally respond to them. The entertainment we experience is contingent on our capacity to understand what it is that we are interacting with. I'm reminded of a time when I was young. My older brother and father would watch football on TV while I observed from the side. I was too young to understand the rules, or the play-by-play excitement. However, I did know that moving the football into the colored in zone meant that a team scored. I knew that I should cheer and be excited when the favorite team accomplished this. It was exciting because I grasped that element of the game and respond accordingly.

To liken this to video-gaming. How many times have we tried showing off what we believed to be an awesome video-game, but this someone, unbelievably, just don't get or see what we see in the same game? They would rather play something else, like Tetris, or Wii-Fit. If their minds aren't engaged in recognizing the same values as we do they cannot be highly entertained by it.

By this perspective a teenage girl could be perfectly entertained be Nintendogs while I would be only mildly entertained be the same game.

So if we all play games to entertain ourselves then how important are game reviews?
To gamers, a lot. Usually, a gamer reviewer is a gamer. Their observations tend to reflect the same or similar values as another gamer's. Even though some critics don't recognize that trying to find "perfection" in an ever moving, ever changing set of gaming values is just like trying to a number by zero. It doesn't compute. The olympic events can be measured on a scale of perfection because their system is based on a static measurement of form. A perfect triple-axel 20 years ago is every bit as perfect today. And really, a perfect game-design was probably invented sometime in the Neolithic age with something akin to paper-rock-scissor (rock-leaf-sharpened stone?)
Functionally it's perfect.

I have disagreements when critics throw in curve-ball values. Who would've guessed that a few years ago Gametrailers would give Mario Galaxies their GotY award because it was a less expensive investment? I guess there's was a Game of the Year on a Budget award...... I like Mario Galaxies btw, but their reasoning was based on a value I don't agree with. And to continue to pick on Gametrailers.. Modern Warfare 2 snagged GotY from Uncharted 2 because their Uncharted 2 game didn't make them go back and replay it... I don't even want to even go into that ideology...

Man, I could go on forever, but I won't. And for those who kept on reading all of this, props.

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Highlander
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 11:31:53 PM

Dude the fact that you can talk about a triple axel (*and* spell it correctly!) in the same comment as everything else about gaming just elevated your standing in my personal estimations. I'd say you just pulled of a triple axel, triple toe loop combination and stuck the landings perfectly. Scores - technical 10.0, artistic interpretation 10.0.

Last edited by Highlander on 5/31/2010 11:32:44 PM

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nogoat23
Tuesday, June 01, 2010 @ 1:54:45 PM

I'm with TheHighlander. Good comment, very well thought out.

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spiderboi
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 11:43:41 PM
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The rating system should be made odd so that there is no "average" scoring game. It's either bad or good. After all, everything is in subjective taste. It all has to come down to FUN FACTOR. I mean, why would you play something if it wasn't fun? Sure, Demon's Soul is hella hard, but that's what made it sadistically fun. Flower was fun but in a relaxing way. Tetris was fun but in a strategic puzzler way. it can all come down together in one factor: FUN. But let's face it, it's all subjective. That's why we go to sites like PSXE--the people here know what they are talking about. They aren't some 13-year old kid who barely knows what he's talking about.

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CharlesD
Tuesday, June 01, 2010 @ 12:21:02 AM
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@World,

I like the idea of the qualification system but the qualifications themselves might be a bit tricky to standardize

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Lawless SXE
Tuesday, June 01, 2010 @ 2:26:41 AM
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People writing novels (figuratively speaking, of course) on forums just goes to show that you've struck gold for a topic. Now for my two cents.

Of course the way that ratings are now is skewed. Partially because, as has been stated above, gaming is an ever-evolving industry, unlike music or film, or literature, or well, whatever else you can think of. And partially, as Ben brought up in the editorial, there are so many different classes of gaming. The thing is that unless you are willing to do away with the scoring system and grade each game on its individual merit, it simply can't work flawlessly. And even if you did, then how would you offer a comparison between games besides recommendations for like games?

So the way I see it is that we can:
1) Stick with the way it is with the reviewer setting their own guidelines for how to measure what they feel they must in order to give the reader a good idea of the product. I don't see a problem with this besides the human element. Simply put, people are always biased, no matter how impartial they try to be.
2)Rate the game by a system set-up as someone above wrote. (Sorry, but I couldn't be bothered to scroll up and give you credit) Have consoles in one level and handhelds/portables in another, but there are two glaring problems with this. The Wii and the PSP (I'm not counting the PS2 because it's just about dead). The Wii is a console, and yet, by anyones standard, it is not comparable to either of the other two. So perhaps, you compare it to PSMove and Natal games when they come out? The PSP faces the opposite problem. It is far too close to consoles to rate with the DS and mobile games. It's theoretically incapable to compare it with any others.
3) Rate the games on a system by each other, and forget the other consoles. This would be a good idea, were it not for the advent of downloadable content this generation. Should we compare DL-only games to full retail releases? Not only that, but I feel it would be detrimental to the industry as a whole as it would leave no competition between consoles (except the fanboys), so it would either reignite third-party exclusives (a good thing) or bury them forevermore (a terrible thing).

I was going to write some more, but I can't remember what it was and I'm sure no-one is paying attention anymore, so Peace and Law be with you all.

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SSRGohan
Tuesday, June 01, 2010 @ 3:12:34 AM
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They just need better parenting. PARENTS GET INVOLVED WITH YOUR KIDS LIFE!!!

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Underdog15
Tuesday, June 01, 2010 @ 10:18:13 AM

Wrong ratings

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___________
Tuesday, June 01, 2010 @ 5:50:23 AM
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tis a very sensitive subject.
if you ask me games on the ps3 PC and 360 should be reviewed on a different scale than psp iphone or wii or DS games.
simply because a game on the wii cant be anywhere near as technologically advanced as a game on a ps3 or 360 or PC, same goes for handhelds.
a 10 for a wii game is very different from a 10 from a console game.

but first people have to get out of their heads that 10 means a game is perfect, no game is perfect, perfection is a impossible thing to achieve anything can always be better.
strive for perfection so your products as good as it can be, but no one will ever get there.
a 10 does not mean a game is perfect, it means it is one of the best games out there, checks all the boxes and does all of those boxes extremely well.

this gen games (ps3, PC, 360) should be reviewed on 9 things.
gameplay, graphics, sound, level design, presentation, controls, replay value, polish and fun factor.

gameplay: obviously what is the gameplay like, is it well varied? is it repetitive? is the game linear or open world styled things like that.

graphics: well thats a no brainier, is the game crisp, is the environment well detailed, is the frame rate solid things like that.

sound: again a no brainier, but this has 2 parts to it the music and the sound effects.
those are 1 thing i think KZ2 did perfectly. the score was amazing thats why it won a award, and the sound effect also were top notch gun fire never sounded so good!!!

level design: are the levels more open, or linear? are the levels well varied or is level one a repeat of level 2 and so on? is the game repetitive? things like that.

presentation: is everything easy to understand? are the control schemes easy to understand and access? is there enough hints as to where to go next? things like that.

controls: are they easy to use? are they responsive? are they well placed? well placed as in like POP the forgotten sands some times you need to use L2 to freeze water, and while holding L2 to keep the water frozen you have to hit L1 to make a hidden object appear.
that is extremely poor control placement, i have lost count the amount of times i have died doing that because while moving my finger from L2 to L1 i accidentally let go of L2.
you have to get use to using your third finger for L2 and your second for L1, any game that forces me to use the controller differently and makes me spend half the game getting use to the controls has extremely poor control placement.

replay value: how long does the game take to finish on average? is the game so fun you will want to replay it as soon as you finish? are there things in the game that will make you want to replay it a 2nd time? are there things you can only unlock playing the game a 2nd time? things like that.

polish: is the game buggy? can i play the game for more than 3 hours straight without it freezing on me? or is it going to chuck a fallout 3 and freeze on me every 20 minutes causing me to reset my system every 20 minutes? things like that.

fun factor: to me this is the most important by far. is the game FUN to play?
overall i play games for fun, games are a form of entertainment so if i am not having fun than im sorry the game has failed to fulfill its purpose.
as i have said many times a technological masterpiece such as KZ2 can be a bad game if its not fun.
but a game thats fun cant be a bad game no matter how technologically inferior it is.
in other words a fun game will always be a good game no matter how technologically inferior it is.
and a boring frustrating game will always be a bad game, no matter how well it does the other 8 things.

a games sole purpose is to be fun, if its not fun than im sorry but its a bad game because it has failed to fulfill its purpose.
just like a car, it does not matter how flash, beautiful, comfortable or fast it is. if it cant drive 20KMs without breaking down than its a bad car because its failed to fulfill its purpose which is to get me from point A to point B.

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JackC8
Tuesday, June 01, 2010 @ 8:04:23 AM
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I really think there should be separate scores for the single player and multiplayer aspects of games. The multiplayer may be fantastic when the game first comes out, but a year or two later nobody's playing it any more, and the fun factor has gone way down.

A lot of people don't buy every game when it first comes out - maybe they didn't even own the console then. Just look at all the people who have bought PS3's since the slim launched and there was a price cut. So they get their shiny new toy and start looking through reviews for games they might be interested in. They see that a game got a really high score so they buy it, but unfortunately the online component, upon which that high score was mostly based, is now a deserted wasteland.

That's happened to me a couple of times. You assume that there's going to be a great game there for you to play, only to discover that the single-player campaign is basically crap, and the good part doesn't exist any more. But still the 9.5 score remains.

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oldmike
Tuesday, June 01, 2010 @ 8:50:13 AM

ya hate games geting good scores just for mutiplayer
or trashing a game for the lack of it

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LightShow
Tuesday, June 01, 2010 @ 8:55:47 AM
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ive always thought that the "rating breakdown" section of reviews should be more complicated than a universal "graphics, gameplay, sound, etc." story is nowhere near as important to an FPS as it is to an rpg, and the physics engine isnt as important to your run-of-the-mill RPG as it is to an FPS.

why not have specific rating breakdowns for each genre, like "physics, precision, realism" for an fps (and sports games, maybe?) on top of the generic "graphics, gameplay, sound, etc." that everyone uses?

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nogoat23
Tuesday, June 01, 2010 @ 4:22:01 PM
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Games are as diverse as the people that create them, and trying to create a review system that is complex enough to fully encompass the intricacies of each genre, yet simple enough to be understood quickly and easily by those new to the hobby is a Herculean task.

I believe that the current system works. It's not perfect, but it works. I'd much rather try and educate those new to gaming about how you can't compare review scores across certain platforms or genres, than overcomplicate the current system by adding caveats and addendems to each numerical value.

However, for the sake of argument, let's take this to its logical conclusion and add the aforementioned caveats and addendems.

Let's give game X a rating of 8.5, and assign it to twenty five out of a hundred possible sub-categories that describe it. Let's say game Y perfectly fits into each of those same twenty five out of a hundred sub-categories, and it is rated a 6.5. Since the sub-categories match, the two games can be compared, and you would know that game X is better than game Y.

Now picture a Venn diagram with a hundred circles. How many games do you think will perfectly fit into the sliver of that diagram that encompasses those twenty five sub-categories? Not many is my guess.

Maybe two games match on most of the sub categories, but not all. That means that the review scores can't be compared, which is where we started in the first place.

Even if we allow games that match 90% of the sub-categories to be compared, that still wouldn't leave very many games that match. The general rule would still have to be that we can't compare review scores.

(Sequels and annual iterations would be the exception, and I always appreciate when a review includes previous games as a benchmark.)

I believe that we should keep the current review system, and encourage people to not just look at the score a game gets as the only determination of their purchase intent. People should read the review articles, play demos, watch trailers, find out what other people are saying, etc.

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BikerSaint
Tuesday, June 01, 2010 @ 5:12:08 PM
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Ben,
<<<<On the one hand, it's clear that games on certain platforms aren't designed to compete with games on certain other platforms. It's clear that nothing handheld can, in literal reality, stand up to the best examples of cutting-edge, progressive interactive entertainment on the most powerful gaming systems>>>>>.

Although you're 99.9% right for the most part, I think Kojima just might have a little something to say about that, with his PSP's Peacewalker.


Hmmmm. about the ratings situation...
I think we should keep the numbered score we have now, but since a I-phone game is nothing like any console game, I do think there needs to be some slight addition to those numbered scores.

So why not adapt a letter system to signify whatever type of unit the game is on, to be followed by the regular number score we use now?

Examples:
Consoles such as the P3 could be an "A"

Handhelds such as the PSP/DSi could be "B"

Phones such as I-Phone could be "C"
And so on....

So a great AAA game on a console would get an average rating such as A8, A9, or A10.
And a great I-phone game would get a C8, C9, or a C10 rating.

So now on to those gals, I see lots of discrimination going on there...for shame, there's not one single "REDHEADED BEAUTY" to be seen there.
***SIGH****

But if I have to settle for any of those less fairer of the species there, I'll have to go for the dual-flavored dish, consisting of....

1. Claire-Louise for her playful fun-loving look,

and

2. Rebbecca for her look of pure seductive heat & all-knowing sexuality

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AcHiLLiA
Thursday, June 03, 2010 @ 2:19:37 PM
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I play games that are rated fair and up. Bianca and Jamey for me.

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Meatty
Thursday, June 03, 2010 @ 3:35:24 PM
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Honestly I think people are over thinking this argument. I mean, you don't compare two vehicles and say "Oh, I'm going to get that Ford Pinto because it got 10/10 while that Ferrari only got 8/10" It's a Pinto, no matter how amazing it is, it in no way compares to a Ferrari. Yes, They are both cars, you drive them, you enjoy them, and if you're lucky you can have a Claire-Louise in the passenger seat with you. The same goes concept applies to games. You can't expect a game made for Crapple iSheep to compare in any way to one made for PS3, other than the enjoyability factor. If you look at the Pinto, even if it is the GREATEST Pinto ever made, it will never have the power, luxury, or status of a Ferrari, Porsche, BMW or whatever top-of-the-line automobile you are partial to.

We need to change the way we look at the games, not the way they are rated. I don't think anyone in their right mind would download a 10/10 iSheep game and be disappointed when it's graphics, story, game play, or length come up lacking against an A+ or 10/10 PS3 game. If they do though they may need to be shot,in the face...

In the end it's all a matter of taste though, so what do I know...

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Caanimal
Friday, June 04, 2010 @ 12:00:52 AM
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I don't give a crap what reviewers/critics have to say, I have come across very few others who have the exact same views on what is fun and what isn't fun. Does that mean I have bought some "bad" games, I have probably bought many according to others, according to myself, only 3 in all my gaming (which goes back to Atari 2600 days) life. Unfortunately to many people don't think for themselves and are little more then sheep, or sheeple if you prefer...

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