Thursday, May 19, 2011

Review System Change

Although I haven't reviewed anything in a long while, I have decided to change my reviewing system. I previously used a 1-10 scale, where the belltower curved at 7.0 out of 10. I then changed to a 5 point scale, where an average game would get a 3. I have decided - after 3 years of not reviewing anything - that neither of these review systems are any good.

I know it's the practice of most game-reviewing websites to give games a numeric score, ostensibly to provide an easy way for gamers to compare the quality of games. However, after reading countless reviews of this sort, I've come to the conclusion that number and numeric scales are incapable of fully presenting the game in a fair and objective light. Numeric scores are skewed to be similar to educational grades, and the point value difference between different reviews are at best subjective and at worst arbitrary. Reviewers who are not a fan of a particular genre may score a game lower than what it might deserve. Conversely, a fan of RPGs might tend to give higher scores on roleplaying games, simply because he prefers that type of game.

Videogames have, over the last decade or so, proven themselves more and more worthy of being called "art." No more are they simple mediums for mindless entertainment. Videogames now have the capacity to express ideas, to tell new stories, to make the gamer think. Of course, not all games do this, but I believe a significant number of them do. Critics don't go around assigning numeric values to Rembrandt or Picasso, and neither will I assign numbers to games. Instead, I will highlight particularly noteworthy (good and bad) aspects of the game. Instead of a final score, I will be listing groups of people that I believe I can recommend the game to.

Art is in the eye of the beholder. So are videogames. That's also why I will never review a game from a genre that I have no interest in (Madden? NBA2kXX? Barf.) A critic who hates modern art has no business critiquing modern art. I firmly believe that.

And yes, this does mean I will be tryin to review more games soon. Expect Dragon Age 2, The Witcher 2, Outland. I'm still deciding whether to even try to touch the backlog (Dragon Age Origins, Mass Effect 1 & 2, Final Fantasy XIII).

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