Smoke’s Reviewing Criteria

Context Included

I try and stick to a few rules when reviewing games here on the blog. There’s a few important things I take into account when giving something a rating between 1 and 10.

1. The genre of the game

;This is the most important thing when playing and reviewing a game. If I’m playing a simple puzzle game on IOS it gets put into one box. If I’m playing a FPS it gets put into a completely different and unrelated box. It would be unfair to compare a small mobile game to a large persistent multi player FPS. So though a mobile game may be 8 out of 10, that doesn’t mean it is a better game than a FPS that’s 6 out of 10. It simply means that compared to past and future puzzle games I can imagine, I see it as being 8 out of 10. The FPS might be a better and more enjoyable game for me in every possible way, but they are different things which I can’t compare to one another. The game being reviewed is being reviewed based on the platform, and the genre of game it claims to be in.

2. The numbers

Every game starts at 5 out of 10 for me. The score of five is just an average game with nothing special about it. If it is below average then it’s a sub five score. If better than average then it is above five. The farther away from average the better or worse it is, not strictly on a linear scale.
I really enjoy seeing innovation and progress. If something is released and it’s doing something new, or in a way that surprises me it tends to get a big bump in my score. On the flip-side, if it is failing in a frustrating way then the score pretty much falls off the table. Also if a game is doing something normal, but doing it really good then that’s always a perk. This is mainly because my normal expectation is for bugs and to have most things not work how they should. I’m always happy when something works how it should, even if it happens rarely.

3. The small things

there’s a few things I keep harping on, and they effect my reviews only in a positive way. If a game has a multi player aspect I’m going to rate it higher. Also if a game opens for the first time at a lowered volume instead of 100 damn percent, I’d die of shock then be very happy.
I also tend to get really frustrated when things are made overly complicated, or when the mechanics of playing are clunky. Even if a game is good, or has the potential to be good, if the experience of playing is made frustrating it is going to have a negative impact on my reviews. This is of course subjective , but then again everything about a review is subjective, and if someone isn’t aware of that the issue is with them not me.

4. Not a linear scale

The way I come to my numbered rating is not linear. There is a bigger gap between 2 and 3 than there is between 4 and 5. Going from 5 to 6 isn’t difficult for me, but going from 6 to 7 is. For this reason I’m much more likely to range between 3 and 7 with most my ratings.

5. The intangibles

With every game there is just a feeling you get when playing. Something that tells you this is well done or poorly done. Sometimes this is hard to put into a blog post, even if you sit down and try using all the words possible. For this reason there is always an intangible aspect to the rating. This could be as simple as compounded frustrations dropping a score, or an overall feeling of enjoyment that makes me give it a higher score. I always try and explain why I rate something how I do, but it doesn’t always get conveyed perfectly.

Now you know why I rate games how I do. This doesn’t mean you have to agree, but at least you know why. I’m always going to be a fan of complex challenging games. Those are what I enjoy, so I feel I can review them better. Smaller games are difficult for me, and it is harder for them to impress me. That being said, I understand it going in and try to give everything a fair shot.

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