The GB rating scale and some Reach review shenanigans.

OK, so last night I read Jeff's (quality) review of Halo: Reach, and this morning I read the comments.  As you probably know, they were pretty gosh darn stupid.  Like, stupid amounts of stupid.  Lots of people were questioning the validity of the rating scale on this site, and another cute little user felt that it was crazy for "niche" games like Flower, Limbo, Trine, StarCraft 2, and Bowser's Inside Story to be 5-star games if Reach was not.  Before I talk about the scale situation, I'm going to give my opinion on why that user's opinions on Giant Bomb's (well, actually Brad's) opinions are not the correct opinions.  First, every game is niche depending on your point of view, so let's instantly discredit that point.  On to the games.  Brad liked the first two for their sense of style and atmosphere they provided.  Also they were cheap and unique.  I don't know much about Trine... but I hear it's great and also it's only $20.  StarCraft 2 is widely accepted as the best RTS since StarCraft.  Bowser's Inside Story is a competent RPG with a good sense of humor, which is  not common on a handheld.  That's all I have to say about that.
 
So about that rating scale... I dig it, others don't because they can't translate it to the 20 pt scale of GS and IGN.  I like it because of its openness, and feel it is the best way to give an opinion.  Speaking of opinions, I decided that, in my opinion, I should opinion-ate below on how I think the Bomb Squad's opinions are represented.
 

  • 1 star- The enjoyment you will get from this game is equal to that of sniffing the anal cavity of a dog.  Avoid this game at all costs.  It is completely broken and unplayable, and is not enjoyable whatsoever to any age bracket, even ironically, no matter the price.
  • 2 stars- This game has some serious issues that get in the way of enjoying the game.  Despite being boring or partially broken, the game is somewhat playable and may be enjoyed by children or extremely casual players of games.  Most ironically entertaining games lie within this category.
  • 3 stars-This game is downright mediocre or generic.  Not much more than a feature or two really jump out at you in this middling experience.  If you if a certain affinity for the game's source material, you may be into it.  If not, it won't be a bad bargain bin pick up.
  • 4 stars- This is a quality product.  Most of its features are well realized and the production values are solid.  There are a few noticeable bugs or issues but they barely inhibit your enjoyment of the game.  If you are a fan of the genre, chances are you will like this game.
  • 5 stars- This game is excellent, and is at the top of its genre.  Sure it's not perfect, but there is no such thing as a flawless title.  Also, just because a game gets this score doesn't mean that everyone will love it, especially if it is a part of a genre disliked by the reader.
 
Alright, that's that.  However, as you may be thinking, that in fact is not that.  I realized while I was halfway through writing this that the GB staff already did  this, official style.  Below, you will see a spoiler tag that contains what the GB crew considers to be a 1-5 star game.  Let's you can post what the stars mean to you and then compare it to what they're supposed to represent.
 
 
Also, feel free to air your grievances over comments that have particularly infuriated you, both in thus case and others.
 
EDIT: NOt sure if this is getting across or not, but I was fine with Reach's review and score, and I too believe that the actual review is more important than the number tied to it.  HOwever, since so many people care only about the number, I feel that it too has to be addressed.
49 Comments
50 Comments
Posted by jelekeloy

OK, so last night I read Jeff's (quality) review of Halo: Reach, and this morning I read the comments.  As you probably know, they were pretty gosh darn stupid.  Like, stupid amounts of stupid.  Lots of people were questioning the validity of the rating scale on this site, and another cute little user felt that it was crazy for "niche" games like Flower, Limbo, Trine, StarCraft 2, and Bowser's Inside Story to be 5-star games if Reach was not.  Before I talk about the scale situation, I'm going to give my opinion on why that user's opinions on Giant Bomb's (well, actually Brad's) opinions are not the correct opinions.  First, every game is niche depending on your point of view, so let's instantly discredit that point.  On to the games.  Brad liked the first two for their sense of style and atmosphere they provided.  Also they were cheap and unique.  I don't know much about Trine... but I hear it's great and also it's only $20.  StarCraft 2 is widely accepted as the best RTS since StarCraft.  Bowser's Inside Story is a competent RPG with a good sense of humor, which is  not common on a handheld.  That's all I have to say about that.
 
So about that rating scale... I dig it, others don't because they can't translate it to the 20 pt scale of GS and IGN.  I like it because of its openness, and feel it is the best way to give an opinion.  Speaking of opinions, I decided that, in my opinion, I should opinion-ate below on how I think the Bomb Squad's opinions are represented.
 

  • 1 star- The enjoyment you will get from this game is equal to that of sniffing the anal cavity of a dog.  Avoid this game at all costs.  It is completely broken and unplayable, and is not enjoyable whatsoever to any age bracket, even ironically, no matter the price.
  • 2 stars- This game has some serious issues that get in the way of enjoying the game.  Despite being boring or partially broken, the game is somewhat playable and may be enjoyed by children or extremely casual players of games.  Most ironically entertaining games lie within this category.
  • 3 stars-This game is downright mediocre or generic.  Not much more than a feature or two really jump out at you in this middling experience.  If you if a certain affinity for the game's source material, you may be into it.  If not, it won't be a bad bargain bin pick up.
  • 4 stars- This is a quality product.  Most of its features are well realized and the production values are solid.  There are a few noticeable bugs or issues but they barely inhibit your enjoyment of the game.  If you are a fan of the genre, chances are you will like this game.
  • 5 stars- This game is excellent, and is at the top of its genre.  Sure it's not perfect, but there is no such thing as a flawless title.  Also, just because a game gets this score doesn't mean that everyone will love it, especially if it is a part of a genre disliked by the reader.
 
Alright, that's that.  However, as you may be thinking, that in fact is not that.  I realized while I was halfway through writing this that the GB staff already did  this, official style.  Below, you will see a spoiler tag that contains what the GB crew considers to be a 1-5 star game.  Let's you can post what the stars mean to you and then compare it to what they're supposed to represent.
 
 
Also, feel free to air your grievances over comments that have particularly infuriated you, both in thus case and others.
 
EDIT: NOt sure if this is getting across or not, but I was fine with Reach's review and score, and I too believe that the actual review is more important than the number tied to it.  HOwever, since so many people care only about the number, I feel that it too has to be addressed.
Posted by zombie2011

I'm not to bothered by the review anymore i thought the game would get 5 stars but it didn't. So i've already slit my wrists and now i'm just waiting to die. 

Posted by SethPhotopoulos

It's stupid but it happens all the time.

Posted by Video_Game_King

Why does this seem familiar?
 

 
Posted by jelekeloy
@Coombs: 
Gee, thanks for reading...
Posted by Brendan

The Reach review is just another case of internet people bitching about the "score".  Let's list some!  
 
Blazblue (Too Low!) 
Lost Planet 2 (Too Low!)
Metroid: Other M (Too Low, Too High, Aggh!)
Modern Warfare 2 (Too High!) 
 
If anyone can think of others, add them to my lazily cobbled togethor list.

Posted by Coombs
@jelekeloy:  lol, 
 
Scan, 
Comment, 
Read, 
Edit.      Or in this case delete.
Posted by Belonpopo

I knew they wouldn't give it five, because GB hates Halo.

Posted by Dtat

It's just a ballpark representation of how the reviewer felt about the game. comparing Halo to Flower is insane. That's why ratings systems are fairly arbitrary. It's the content of the review itself that matters.
Posted by SethPhotopoulos
@Brendan said:
"

The Reach review is just another case of internet people bitching about the "score".  Let's list some!  
 
Blazblue (Too Low!) 
Lost Planet 2 (Too Low!)
Metroid: Other M (Too Low, Too High, Aggh!)
Modern Warfare 2 (Too High!) 
 
If anyone can think of others, add them to my lazily cobbled togethor list.

"
MAfia II  (Too Low!) 
Posted by JoeH

I find the words of the actual review far more useful, an of course thoroughly more entertaining, than the rating. And I just remember reviews are opinions, and I like giant bomb because I usually have similar opinions to them. If you're a person who doesn't agree with the reviews here, maybe you should find a reviewing site that I more in sync with your tastes.(btw I'm using "you" meaning "one", not having a go at any individuals. Just clarifying.

Posted by jelekeloy
@Dtat: 
Yeah, I know, but it just pisses me off how badly some people misinterpret what the number or review is saying.  Its the first time that I noticed it this extensively on this site, and I was a little disappointed.
Edited by yami4ct

I really don't care about score anymore. I read the text of the review and see if the reviewer liked it or not. Trying to decipher the difference between a 4, 4.5 and 5 star game is a hopeless endeavor. Also, I don't try to compare scores of other games on the same site. Especially if they were done by different people, game scores are so subjective. 1 person's 5 star might be another's 4. In the end, heck, 4 stars is a really great review for what should be a really good game. Isn't that what should be taken from this? 
 
@jelekeloy I agree with your description of the GB rating score. That's really how I interpret it as well. 3 or above means it's good enough to try, 4 or above puts it on my definitely want to check out list. Why people get all concerned over something so intangible as a score as opposed to the actual text has always been beyond me.

Posted by xyzygy

I find that 90% of the time i disagree with GB's reviews totally, but I don't really care in Reach's case. It's been getting a shit ton of 10's in other places though. Reviews are just one persons opinion, that's it.

Posted by Eljay

Most sensible people agree review scores are pretty inconsequential. The only reason some sites do them is because they need to in order to appear on Metacritic, which is in and of itself a horribly flawed website.
 
If you think the comments on this site were sad, you should head over to Gametrailers. They gave a Reach a flipping 9.3 and people still flipped out. Its just further proof that people love to find anything possible to get upset about, because its a lot easier to throw a tantrum than accept the fact that not everything goes the way you want it to.
 
The more you choose to ignore review scores the more you help fight the good fight.

Posted by coaxmetal

I THINK THIS GAME IS BETTER THAN YOU DO! WHY ARE REVIEWS ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK AND NOT WHAT I THINK? THAT'S DUMB. I WANT ALL THE REVIEWS TO PARROT MY OWN OPINIONS BACK TO ME.

Posted by Afroman269

I hate how people still cling to the numbers in scores. It's about how the reviewer felt about the game and whether or not you feel the same about it. You may disagree with it, which at that point just buy the damn game, but of course people are too lazy or stupid to read a review so they look at a number and take it to the forums to wage war. 

Posted by Pie

That's pretty much how iv'e always viewed their rating system. 
Also if iv'e been looking forward to a game for awhile or if it comes from a well respected series I don't need to read the review to find out if I should get it, I just look at the 4/5 or 5/5 or 8/10 or 9/10 and know that I should just go buy it right now

Online
Posted by Claude

I just replied this to another user. But it fits here too. And it's my opinion.
 
I'm not a big fan of the five star system. To me, the crew wanted the opposite of where they had been, a little k.i.s.s. goodbye if you will.  My local newspaper's movie critic has always had a four star scale with half stars. That's always been my favorite, but I'm biased. 

Edited by haggis

I thought the review was pretty clear about why it was a four-star game. Bungie basically made a decent Halo game, but didn't really break out and make the game spectacular or innovative. On occasion I've struggled to understand why a game got the score it did based on the review (sometimes the review sounds pretty negative to me, then they give it four stars). So I've come to just ignore the actual score and just read the review. I know developers like high aggregate scores, but they don't mean a whole lot. I mean, I go on Metacritic etc., and look at the scores to see in general if a game measures up, but I always read actual reviews. Usually by people who loved the game and people who hate it.
 
If you don't read both types of reviews, you're not likely to get a full representation of the game. Not every reviewer will see every flaw or every brilliant touch. If anyone is getting upset about a single score then they're out of their heads.
 
Edit: Generally I think of a five star game as not just an excellent game, but one that brings something new to the table that we've never seen done before, or never seen done that well. Bascially, four star games are great, and five star games deliver beyond expectations.

Edited by yami4ct

Let's play a game, how many negative commenters on Jeff's review just joined the site today? I've counted at least 5 on the most recent pages. Seriously, who cares about those people anyway? 

Edited by Deathpooky

The problem is that the GB scale gets translated into a metacritic rating out of 100, so an obviously very good game that gets 4 stars because the GB reviewer wasn't completely enthralled by it gets translated into an 80, which in the metacritic world is middling-to-shit.  And that throws off things for metacritic, where the company is hoping for 90+ ratings upon release. 
 
That's why fanboys bitch and game company PR types don't have any love for the GB scale. 
 
ETA: Oh, and for big releases people tend to hope reviews validate their own purchase, instead of informing them.

Posted by RiotBananas

Do reviews even really need a rating at the end? Just read the review and use your fucking intelligence to deduce whether the person liked it or not.  
 
Personally I liked OPM's way of doing it years ago. The had 5 categories like Graphics, Sound, Gameplay etc and gave each one a score out of 10 to make a total out of 50. It was good. 
 
I digress, stop moaning about the way game sites rate games. Aggregate places like Metacritic will always be useless. It's like Gearscore on WoW. 

Posted by RandomInternetUser

 

What's the Deal With Your Rating System?

Giant Bomb reviews games on a five-star scale that does not include half-stars. We feel that this benefits our reviews for a number of reasons. Five-star rating systems are a widely accepted standard outside the field of video games, from Amazon.com to The Source, and we feel that the pervasiveness of the five-star system makes it more intuitive for the reader.

It also helps avoid the hair-splitting that can occur within more granular rating systems. A score is designed to provide the most basic at-a-glance information about a game for those considering making a game purchase--it is not there to justify/attack anyone's entrenched position on the relative value of one video-game franchise, developer, publisher, or hardware manufacturer versus another. We include the full text of the review for those looking for more detail.

We do not use any algorithms to reach our final scores, relying instead on the experience of the reviewer. While fundamental issues such as graphical performance and gameplay originality will almost always be factors in determining a final score, it ultimately comes down to how worthwhile the reviewer found the whole experience to be. If that's not enough, here are some simple illustrations we think you'll find helpful:

While we don't believe any game is perfect, we recommend this game without reservation.

Still very good and easy to recommend, though it doesn't quite live up to its full potential.

The halfway point. An inherent appreciation of this game's specific gameplay style, characters, subject matter, and so on may play as big a role in your enjoyment as the actual quality of the game.

This game's problems outweigh its good qualities.

This game will make you wish you had died in a fire moments before turning it on.

Posted by dantheman1515

Jeff's review had no formal critiques that would put the game below a 5. There were no negatives other than "Oh, its just another Halo" and "its not as fast paced as MW2." That is why people are disagreeing with his review. This works out well though for GB and Whisky who sure as hell got more hits on the site for giving this a 4 then they would have for giving it a 5.

Posted by jelekeloy
@xobballox: 
 
Thanks for reading.  You're the second one.
Posted by AndrewB

I think the Giant Bomb staff have already made their case for why they use the scale that they do, and they've done it effectively. I happen to agree with them. I don't think there's a better scale out there for conveying the quality of a game in a simple score for the people who absolutely need it. 
 
If there's anyone arguing that Jeff's review is somehow wrong, then it's a typical day on the internet. I've also heard people bringing up the Metacritic score, like a reviewer should take that into account before scoring a game.

Posted by Tophar01
@dantheman1515:  Do you seriously believe that Jeff gave it a 4 just to get more clicks. REAALLY?
Posted by bartok

Reviewgate claims yet another another shitty thread

Edited by adoggz
@Deathpooky said:

" The problem is that the GB scale gets translated into a metacritic rating out of 100, so an obviously very good game that gets 4 stars because the GB reviewer wasn't completely enthralled by it gets translated into an 80, which in the metacritic world is middling-to-shit.  And that throws off things for metacritic, where the company is hoping for 90+ ratings upon release. "

meta critic needs change the way it incorporates GB reviews to line it up with how their scale is set up. i would say a 1 on gb is a 60 on metacritic, a 2 is 70, a 3 is 80, a 4 is 90, and a 5 is 100
 
edit: that makes since now
Posted by RandomInternetUser
@jelekeloy: No prob.  They need to make the reasons for the rating scale they use and what each rating entails more easy to find (It's in Help > Site FAQ at the moment), and maybe there would be a little less whining over review scores.
Posted by jelekeloy
@xobballox: 
Hah, I don't know if you noticed but I was being sarcastic.  What you posted is in the spoiler tags.  I was trying to make a point that I like the GB scale since you could apply it to yourself more easily.
Posted by jelekeloy

Some of you don;t seem to be getting this, but I said this...
 
 "So about that rating scale... I dig it, others don't because they can't translate it to the 20 pt scale of GS and IGN.  I like it because of its openness, and feel it is the best way to give an opinion"
 
I'm not complaining about GB, just the people that want it to be mre in line with metacritic.

Posted by RandomInternetUser
@jelekeloy: Ah, sorry about that, I actually wasn't able to read what was in the spoiler tag for some reason, they glitch up on my every now and then and won't open, and I didn't read past your star rating thingy.  Sorry about that.
Posted by FinalDasa

I can understand someone disagreeing with a review. 
But I don't understand why some people don't realize that Jeff's opinion my not follow their own. 
 
I have always enjoyed the Halo series and will buy Halo: Reach, in part because of Jeff's review.  
I understand that his 4/5 stars for me will be 5/5 because I really like Halo gameplay.  
 
One day people will understand editorials. 

Moderator
Posted by ch3burashka

It was to be expected. 4/5 is still good, though.

Posted by DazzHardy

I've always viewed the GB scale like this
1: This game is crap, probably not even worth trying a demo unless it's something that speaks to me in a special way, though that's not likely
2: A pretty bad game, but I might like it if something about it appeals to me, my best example of this is probably Monster Madness
3: An average game, that has highs and lows, and I  will probably enjoy if part of it appeals to me
4: A game that's worth playing but has some flaws, Reach being a 4 is pretty accurate to me, sounds like it's a great Halo game, but it's still recognisably a halo game
5: Something special that while not perfect is definetly worth playing
 
I dunno why people jump on review scores so hard. When did they stop being a person's opinion ? I've been with Giant Bomb since day 1 because I've been reading Jeff's reviews for years, same with Ryan and Brad (and Alex on Screened can have the same applied to him). I can usually get a good idea of if I'll like something from their reviews because I've followed them so long and know what they like and dislike, and how that gels with what I like and dislike. I never take a review as an end all on anything, just as a good guide for wether I'll like something or not. Hell, I don't even read many reviews because I've not really followed many people, which is why I visit GB so much. Between their reviews and their Quick Looks I can know wether I'll like a game really easily. X-Men origins Wolverine is a great example of this, that quick look sold me on that game.
 
Also, I may have missed it, but how come I've not seen an 8.8 ?

Posted by MisterMouse
@Claude: Why not an 8 start scale with no halves! haha I am kidding. 
 
But on to more of the point, GB does not "hate" halo they are fine with it as a game. And jeff's review pretty darn well knocked out problems he found with the game. Sure his score doesn't match up to another score out there that is 5 out of 5 but hey that is just because those two numbers happen to be as different as their opinion. Maybe Jeff wished for a bit more out of this Halo game instead of them just staying close to what the series had been.
Posted by Kahnero

    
 94% of every Halo discussions on the internet.
Posted by Brodehouse

Giant Bomb's rating system is the only one I've seen that makes sense.  I can't tell the difference between a 7.5 and a 7.6, and most ten point systems are five point systems with a 5 point cushion applied to everything.  
 
Reach fans are just mad that a 4/5, which on metacritic breaks out to an 80, is going to bring down their favorite game's metascore.  That's why you shouldn't care about a metascore, you should care about the content of the review.

Posted by bjorno

5 stars: good
4 or less: terrible, if you like this game than you are a bad person.

Posted by Empirepaintball

As much as I don't agree, I'm not all butthurt about it.
Posted by evanbrau

If Metacritic really counts things from 60-70% as terrible shit then it's an even worse website than I thought. I haven't played the game and probably won't for a while (out of warranty red ring. YAY!) but 4/5 is still a great score. It's horrible that Metacritic with its broken system is the one leading people around the place. 6-10 on a ten point scale would all be games that I would probably check out at some point (obviously a ten would come before something that scored six) but it seems people have completely forgotten how these scales should work. Then again this is the internet and review scores (especially in relation to huge games with big fan followings) will probably be the cause of the conflict that ends humanity.

Posted by MrMcgillicutty

 It always annoys me whenever I see people bitch about a review score. It's like they need constant validation that they're having fun playing a game. Or it's like they already have an opinion on what the game should be like, as is the case with games that have a large and dedicated fan base like the Halo franchise.This may sound hyperbolic, but gaming will never advance as a valid artistic medium if people keep nitpicking on things like this.

Posted by Synthballs
@Kahnero: Thats pretty much the best thing I'm going to see today. Thanks!
 
BAWWWWWWWWWWWWW 4/5. I read the Reviews and don't really care about the Stars.
Posted by SomethingClever

I would love to see no stars at all, just a review.  I understand some people just want to look at a score to determine quality but that simply doesn't work.  A well thought out review that hits all the important points is far more useful than any scale.  For instance, if I see a game with 5 stars should I just assume it is the greatest game ever and go buy it?  Those stars don't actually tell me anything.  Sure I am generally educated on a game and would know going in that it maybe doesn't appeal to me but there have been more than a few games that the Giant Bomb reviews have convinced me to try and I've been thankful for it.   

Posted by Kahnero
@Synthballs said:
" @Kahnero: Thats pretty much the best thing I'm going to see today. Thanks!  BAWWWWWWWWWWWWW 4/5. I read the Reviews and don't really care about the Stars. "
I don't know why people are complaining about it so much. They haven't even played the game yet. I'm sure when I play it, that I would've given it a 5 Stars, but I wouldn't moan about it. 
Edited by ryanwho

I wish the 'why so low" jackasses of the Gamespot Twilight Princess days would have stayed at Gamespot instead of taking that same bitch logic (I haven't played yet but golly my heart tells me its perfect derp) here.

Posted by Immuniity

Whats wrong with 4/5? Seems like a pretty good score to me.

Posted by RainVillain

I agree with this post 100%