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The scoring system that I've been using for video game reviews on this blog is a holdover from the reviews that I wrote for Game Observer (now defunct as of 5/13/2014). I'm not a big fan of using scoring systems for reviews, since reviews are inherently subjective, and it's very hard to quantify the quality of a creative work with any degree of precision. I can rate a game on technical levels, but that still doesn't tell whether a game is "good" or not. A game can be technically perfect, but not very "good"; alternatively, a game could be technically inferior, but is just more fun to play, and is thus "better". In fact, sometimes, my scores don't really match up with how I actually feel about the game because I include categories for technical executions of the game that may not have any real relevance with respect to whether I like a game.

Unfortunately, however, attention spans being what they are, a simple score does serve a function for some readers who are either unable to read the full text of my reviews, or who are unwilling to read the full text of my reviews.

If you read my DmC (Devil May Cry) review, then you may have noticed that my scoring system changed slightly. I'm still going to reuse the basic scoring system in which I grade a game based on a set of five criteria and then average those criteria scores into a single overall score. However, I've changed the criteria slightly, and would like to spend a moment to define what these categories represent.

My reviews will now start using 4 pre-set criteria, and an additional "wildcard" criteria.

The four pre-set criteria are:

The above four criteria will be used in all games going forward (until I decide to change the scoring system again). Now, I will briefly outline what these criteria represent.

Gameplay

Gameplay is an evaluation of how the enjoyable it is to actually play the game. This is a combination of the quality and comfort of the controls; the ease of use of the game's camera; how well-developed the gameplay mechanics are; and even whether the game is too hard or too easy.

Visuals

Visuals is an evaluation of how the game looks. This is usually a technical evaluation of the quality of the game's graphics, but may also be influenced by aesthetic and artistic design. A game may have photo-realistic graphics, but if the art direction of dull and boring, then it still might rank pretty low. Alternatively, a game might have very simple, technically unsophisticated graphics, but might have an excellent art style that makes the game beautiful to watch.

Audio

Audio is an evaluation of how the game sounds. Like graphics, this is usually a technical evaluation of the quality of the game's sound effects, music, and voice acting (if applicable). I generally try to avoid judging a game's music based on personal preference, but if I just don't think that the music fits, then I'll point that out.

Value

Value is a bit more abstract than the other criteria. It is an evaluation of how worthwhile the game is to buy or rent. The amount of content and the overall production quality of the game are the primary contributor to score, but there is also an element of subjective taste as well. A game could be 1,000 hours long (which is a lot of content), but if the content is not very well designed and isn't fun to play, then the score might still be low.

Value can be affected by how well a game presents information, it's user interface, the variety of options that it provides the player, the replay value, the quality of the game's various features. At a very general level, it is an evaluation of how well the game was made, and whether it is worth your hard-earned money.

Joker (wild) card

The "Wildcard" criteria

The fifth criteria for the game score moving forward will be a "wildcard" criteria. This will change from game to game and gives me a way to custom-tailor my final score based on some quality of the game that doesn't fit nicely into any of the four standard criteria, or if there is one specific element of the game that is a priority focus. The game's genre will have a strong influence on what wildcard criteria I chose to evaluate.

Some possible wildcard criteria may include (in no particular order):

  • Story / Narrative : a rating of the story or narrative for narrative-based games such as RPG and certain action and adventure games.
  • Career / Campaign Mode : a rating for the primary careero or campaign mode that is the focus for many sports games, racing games, and strategy games. This includes the depth, level of detail, and the level of fun present in such a mode. Examples may include Madden NFL's "Franchise Mode" or the "Campaign" mode of a strategy game such as Total War or Starcraft.
  • Multiplayer / Online : for games that have a particular focus on multiplayer and online components, such as first-person shooters, fighters, some sports games, and even games like Demon's Souls or Dark Souls. This rating may include both the quality of the multiplayer modes and gameplay, as well as an evaluation of technical execution such as server stability, lag. I'll try to avoid reviewing a game's online functionality based on the frequency of griefers.
  • Port Quality : for games that are ports of existing games - either remakes of older games, or adaptations of an existing game on a new platform, this category is a rating of how well the game transitioned to the new platform. The Silent Hill HD Collection is an example of a game that was horribly ported!
  • Immersion : for games that focus on pulling the player into the game world, such as certain adventure games, RPGs, and maybe even music-rhythm games. The easier it is to get lost in a game world, the higher the rating.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but hopefully, it gives you an idea of what I'm trying to accomplish.

Again, this is an experimental new scoring system for me, so if I find that it's not working, I may decide to change it in the future.

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Other Game Reviews I've Published

Ace Combat 7Ace Combat 7Alan WakeAlan Wake
Alien: IsolationAlien: IsolationAmnesia: a Machine for PigsAmnesia: a Machine for Pigs
Amnesia: the Dark DescentAmnesia: the Dark DescentAmong the SleepAmong the Sleep
Assassin's Creed IIIAssassin's Creed IIIAssassin's Creed IV: Black FlagAssassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
Assassin's Creed: OriginsAssassin's Creed: OriginsAxis Football 18Axis Football 18
Axis Football 2019Axis Football 2019Back to the Future Episode OneBack to the Future Episode One
Backbreaker FootballBackbreaker FootballBanishedBanished
Batman: Arkham CityBatman: Arkham CityBattlefield 1Battlefield 1
Blair WitchBlair WitchBloodborneBloodborne
Bloodborne: the Old HuntersBloodborne: the Old HuntersCall of Duty World War IICall of Duty World War II
CatherineCatherineCities SkylinesCities Skylines
Cities Skylines: After DarkCities Skylines: After DarkCities Skylines: CampusCities Skylines: Campus
Cities Skylines: Green CitiesCities Skylines: Green CitiesCities Skylines: IndustriesCities Skylines: Industries
Cities Skylines: Mass TransitCities Skylines: Mass TransitCities Skylines: Natural DisastersCities Skylines: Natural Disasters
Cities Skylines: ParklifeCities Skylines: ParklifeCities Skylines: SnowfallCities Skylines: Snowfall
Cities: Skylines: Match Day & ver. 1.4Cities: Skylines: Match Day & ver. 1.4CitiesXL & Cities XXLCitiesXL & Cities XXL
Dark SoulsDark SoulsDark Souls Artorias of the Abyss DLCDark Souls Artorias of the Abyss DLC
Dark Souls IIDark Souls IIDark Souls II: Scholar of the First SinDark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin
Dark Souls IIIDark Souls IIIDark Souls III: Ashes of AriandelDark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel
Dark Souls III: the Ringed CityDark Souls III: the Ringed CityDawn of ManDawn of Man
Dead Space 2Dead Space 2Death StrandingDeath Stranding
Death's GambitDeath's GambitDemon's SoulsDemon's Souls
Devil May Cry 5Devil May Cry 5DmC (Devil May Cry)DmC (Devil May Cry)
DOOM (2016)DOOM (2016)DreadOutDreadOut
F.T.L. (Faster Than Light)F.T.L. (Faster Than Light)Fallout 4Fallout 4
Fallout ShelterFallout ShelterFar Cry PrimalFar Cry Primal
Final Fantasy XIIIFinal Fantasy XIIIFinal Fantasy XVFinal Fantasy XV
FirewatchFirewatchFive Nights at Freddy'sFive Nights at Freddy's
Game of Thrones (Telltale series 1-2)Game of Thrones (Telltale series 1-2)God of War (2018)God of War (2018)
God of War IIIGod of War IIIGone HomeGone Home
Grand Theft Auto VGrand Theft Auto VHellblade: Senua's SacrificeHellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
Her StoryHer StoryKingdom Come: DeliveranceKingdom Come: Deliverance
L.A. NoireL.A. NoireLifeless PlanetLifeless Planet
Lollipop ChainsawLollipop ChainsawMad MaxMad Max
Madden NFL 11Madden NFL 11Madden NFL 12Madden NFL 12
Madden NFL 13Madden NFL 13Madden NFL 15Madden NFL 15
Madden NFL 16Madden NFL 16Madden NFL 17Madden NFL 17
Madden NFL 18Madden NFL 18Madden NFL 19Madden NFL 19
Madden NFL 20Madden NFL 20Mars Rover LandingMars Rover Landing
Marvel's Spider-ManMarvel's Spider-ManMaster of Orion: Conquer the StarsMaster of Orion: Conquer the Stars
Maximum Football 2018Maximum Football 2018Maximum Football 2019Maximum Football 2019
Metal Gear Solid V: the Phantom PainMetal Gear Solid V: the Phantom PainMiasmataMiasmata
Middle-Earth: Shadow of MordorMiddle-Earth: Shadow of MordorMiddle-Earth: Shadow of WarMiddle-Earth: Shadow of War
Monster Hunter: WorldMonster Hunter: WorldMoons of MadnessMoons of Madness
NCAA Football 11NCAA Football 11NCAA Football 12NCAA Football 12
NCAA Football 13NCAA Football 13NiohNioh
No Man's SkyNo Man's SkyObservationObservation
Outer WildsOuter WildsPapers, PleasePapers, Please
Portal 2Portal 2Red Dead RedemptionRed Dead Redemption
Red Dead Redemption IIRed Dead Redemption IIResident Evil 2Resident Evil 2
Resident Evil 3Resident Evil 3Resident Evil 7: BiohazardResident Evil 7: Biohazard
Resident Evil RemasteredResident Evil RemasteredReturn of the Obra DinnReturn of the Obra Dinn
Rock Band 3Rock Band 3Room 404Room 404
Sekiro: Shadows Die TwiceSekiro: Shadows Die TwiceShadow of the Colossus (2018)Shadow of the Colossus (2018)
Sid Meier's Civilization VSid Meier's Civilization VSid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New WorldSid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New World
Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gods & KingsSid Meier's Civilization V: Gods & KingsSid Meier's Civilization VISid Meier's Civilization VI
Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering StormSid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering StormSid Meier's Civilization VI: Rise and FallSid Meier's Civilization VI: Rise and Fall
Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond EarthSid Meier's Civilization: Beyond EarthSid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth Rising TideSid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth Rising Tide
Silent Hill 4: the RoomSilent Hill 4: the RoomSilent Hill HD CollectionSilent Hill HD Collection
Silent Hill: Shattered MemoriesSilent Hill: Shattered MemoriesSillent Hill DownpourSillent Hill Downpour
SimCity (2013)SimCity (2013)SimCity BuilditSimCity Buildit
SomaSomaSpider-Man: Edge of TimeSpider-Man: Edge of Time
Spider-Man: Shattered DimensionsSpider-Man: Shattered DimensionsStar Trek TrexelsStar Trek Trexels
Star Wars Battlefront IIStar Wars Battlefront IIStar Wars Jedi Fallen OrderStar Wars Jedi Fallen Order
StellarisStellarisStellaris mod: New HorizonsStellaris mod: New Horizons
The Amazing Spider-ManThe Amazing Spider-ManThe Amazing Spider-Man 2The Amazing Spider-Man 2
The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimThe Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimThe Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim DLCThe Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim DLC
The Evil WithinThe Evil WithinThe Evil Within 2The Evil Within 2
The Last GuardianThe Last GuardianThe Last of UsThe Last of Us
The SaboteurThe SaboteurThe SwapperThe Swapper
The Witcher 3 expansionsThe Witcher 3 expansionsThe Witcher 3: Wild HuntThe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
This War of MineThis War of MineThis War of Mine: the Little OnesThis War of Mine: the Little Ones
Tomb Raider (2013)Tomb Raider (2013)Total War: AttilaTotal War: Attila
Total War: Rome IITotal War: Rome IITotal War: Shogun 2Total War: Shogun 2
Total War: Shogun 2: Fall of the SamuraiTotal War: Shogun 2: Fall of the SamuraiTrineTrine
Tropico 5Tropico 5Ultimate General: Civil WarUltimate General: Civil War
Uncharted 3: Drake's DeceptionUncharted 3: Drake's DeceptionUntil DawnUntil Dawn
What Remains of Edith FinchWhat Remains of Edith Finch 

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A gamer's thoughts

Welcome to Mega Bears Fan's blog, and thanks for visiting! This blog is mostly dedicated to game reviews, strategies, and analysis of my favorite games. I also talk about my other interests, like football, science and technology, movies, and so on. Feel free to read more about the blog.

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