OK, I need to start from scratch here.
It's kinda strange that this is typed at the same time GiantBomb and others are taken in by CBS Interactive, but it is what it is. I have been thinking about how I reviewed games since I arrived here, and I found myself twisting and turning from several options. Specifically, I was beginning to doubt my numerics based system that translated to the number of stars in the user reviews column. I am proud of that system, but I wondered about its deficiencies more than once. For one thing, I believe that readers won't care about splitting hairs between a 16.5 and 16.75. Furthermore, I think that the stars system is the best verdict on a game: It's concise, simple and easy to understand. However, I will provide numerics should it be asked for, but keep in mind that it won't always add up to the final score.
Another problem I've had is my writing. Again, I am proud of my portfolio, but I've always felt stifled about it. I can't break out of the traditional format: Story first, combat second, presentation third and conclusion last. I felt like I needed a clean break from that system; more free-flowing, less structure, but still maintaining the precise edge and argument that I've nailed down with my 20+ reviews. That way, things can be both unique and informative at the same time.
Also, I've decided to create a game review blog just to coincide with Giantbomb's growth. I hope you can follow me there
Anyhow, back to the reviews. From here on out until further notice I am going to assume the following two things about gamers (besides the fact that their ages are varied and half of the gaming population is also female)
1) Gamers want to have fun
In short, gamers hope that the time they spent playing a game is time well spent. Whether it's an adrenaline rush, a fond attachment to characters, or phenomenal gameplay, gamers enjoy their time with the game they bought.
2) Gamers want their games to have long shelf lives
I am assuming that gamers want to buy the game and play it over and over again, not just rent it once and return it to the store. Again, gameplay plays a role here, but replay value (multiplayer, more difficulty levels etc) is also a defining factor. Therefore, my ratings system also captures the longevity of a game in a gamer's shelf.
Originally I ranked a game with the primary categories: Gameplay, story, replay value and presentation. This time, however, I will give only a holistic representation of the game's quality through the five stars system, half stars included only if necessary. This is the general consensus with the following number of stars:
I've had a lot of fun with this game; everything is near perfect, from story to gameplay to presentation to replay value. In more detail, the game is both innovative, original and memorable. A game that is clearly meant to be enjoyed for a long time. This is a must get.
I've had fun with this game. There are some noticeable weak points here and there but those shortcomings do very little to mask some really strong points from this game. Not timeless like the games with the 5 star moniker but very close to it. More than likely this game is to be bought.
I've had fun with this game, but the game's mechanisms and content are stuff that are done better in other games. The game does not engage as well as some other products, whether it's bad plot, characters and so on. You can buy it if you're really into the game's genre (ie. Action, RPG, RTS etc).
I've had fun with this game, but had to make some serious adjustments to my expectations to do so. There are serious flaws that interrupt the enjoyment of the product; usually bad gameplay is the culprit. A rental would be best for this game.
I did not have fun with this game, plain and simple. I can only hope to stay away games that'll encourage me to give this ranking.
Again, I'll also have half stars for some circumstances (and I'll note them, and expect at least 60% of the games to have that). In addition, I'll also rate each game by those basic measures (story, gameplay, replay value, presentation), but only to be more precise and to show where some games thrived and some failed; these individual metrics do NOT add up to the final verdict.
Anyway, the bottom line is that I hope to be highly informative in my assessments and have fun with reviewing games as well. Ciao!
aka (now) Ciahlo