Review Scoring FAQ
How do we come up with the review score?
Just in case you were curious:
When we review a game we look at many things: Is the game fun? Does it have/need a good story? Does it work as it should, technically speaking.
We rank games 1-10 (with the occasional .5) and we aren’t afraid to score a game a 10 if we feel it deserves it. Some sites are too worried about ranking a game 10/10, or 5/5 or A+ as the case may be, not us. If the game is awesome enough for a 10, it’s going to get a 10. We won’t nitpick one small thing just to score a game a 9.8, that’s weak. At the same time, you probably won’t see us give as many games a 1 or 2 because these days not many games that are that bad will make it out of the publisher’s door. Every type of game has a fan base that likes them, and we are objective enough that, even though it may not be for us, we can see why others might like it and score it appropriately.
Things we look for in a game are (in no particular order):
- Does it have a well presented and interesting story.
- Are the characters likeable or annoying and are they just generally well thought out.
- Technical issues.
- Replay Value.
- Level design.
- Game modes.
- Core game mechanics.
We also look at things some other sites may not, but are important to us as we play these games just as much as we write about them. Some of those things are:
- Is the game perfect for co-op but it’s not supported. There’s nothing worse than a game that screams for co-op, but doesn’t feature any.
- If the game has multiplayer, not only is it fun, but does it work properly (connectivity problems, decent party system).
- Is the price of the game worth the amount of content it includes. This is especially important to us while reviewing DLC.
DLC Reviews – These reviews are split between small and large DLC. Large DLC includes add-on content that adds more story or missions to the game, and small DLC may only add weapons, vehicles or even multiplayer maps. Large DLC will receive a formal review, just like the original game, compared to small DLC which is a shorter, to the point summary of the DLC contents and if we think it’s worth buying or not, rather than scoring it out of 10.
10 – An attainable level of excellence. This game accomplished everything it set out to as well as adding something to the genre, subject or gaming as a whole. A 10 does not necessarily mean a game is perfect, it is simply represents our highest recommendation.
9 – A fantastic game. A nearly perfect effort that had one serious flaw or some small ones that can’t be ignored.
8 – A great game. This game was well presented and fun but had a few flaws.
7 – A good game that is not perfect but will offer some fun. Gamers that are fans of the genre or series will enjoy this game very much.
6 – A decent game with some major flaws. This game may have been too short, missing a mode, and/or had some technical issues. Hardcore fans of the series or genre may still enjoy this game.
5 – A game that works and could be fun for some, but in general had a number of flaws.
4 – A number of flaws, missing modes and/or content. Possibly a major flaw or gameplay flaws that affect whether the game is fun or not.
3 – Not very good. A poor effort. This game is likely broken in some major way.
2 – Nearly unplayable.
1 – Completely unplayable due to major gameplay or presentation flaws. This game contains blatant flaws that should have been detected in testing.
Our most common questions:
Question: Why didn’t you mention all the bugs/glitches the game has?
Answer: We review games based on our experiences with the game, and if we don’t see any technical flaws or bugs during our play time, we can’t hold any of them against the developer.
Question: This game has terrible graphics yet you didn’t take away any points for this. Why?
Answer: The game may not have graphics to beat out Crysis 2, but how bad is it? Some games are budget games or Xbox Live Arcade games and don’t require the level of visuals that are present in, for example, a top-tier shooter. These games will be scored accordingly. If the graphics are that bad that we can’t play the game due to that, then it will lose points.
Question: Why do you give so many games 10/10? Other sites have almost no games scoring 10/10. Do game companies pay you to promote their games with good reviews?
Answer: No, they don’t. The Controller Online is completely independent. Publishers pay us nothing for the privilege to buy and play their games just like you do. If the game is really fun, well made and keeps us playing over and over then it’s probably that good that it deserves the highest score. We do regularly receive free review copies of games, but these never come with any conditions, nor would we ever agree to any.
Question: <insert site here> gave <Game Name> an 8 and you gave it a 9, but the reviews were similar, why is that?
Answer: That is because we aren’t going to review a game we really liked but for some reason just give it an 8, it will get a 9, why have the score go to 10 if only a select few games can get 9’s and 10’s? That’s just weird. We score games based on the overall entertainment value and each game is judged on its own.
Companies may send games or other products or samples to our writers in order for our staff to review said samples and determine whether we will provide a written review of the product on The Controller Online. We do not accept any games or preview code on any preconditions, such as, that we will agree to provide a review, or any other coverage, simply because the company sent us a sample. Please note that companies may provide these samples before the product is commercially available, in which case, we may agree to an embargo with the company or its PR firm. This means we agree not to publish the review or associated article until a given time.
Frequently we decide to review something which has not been provided to us by a company or PR firm. In this case, a staff member will either purchase the product for themselves, or The Controller Online will purchase the product for them.
We also do not discuss review scores with companies or PR firms prior to publishing the review. Review scores are assigned at the discretion of each writer and can be changed in the event of an error, in which case the reason will be transparent and explained in the review.