Here are just 3 examples of why we don't believe review scores don't work and never will.
10 players of vastly different gaming ability and genre preferences are given a game to review
Player 1 Finds the game too difficult for their own abilities & doesn't get all that far into it, they end up totally frustrated and give the game a lower score than they would've had they made it to level 3.
Player 2 Finds the game far too easy, the press notes said challenging but having spent the last few years earning trophies and achievements that less than 1% of players ever get the challenging notes from the developer have left the reviewer underwhelmed and therefore they score the game lower than they would've had their expectations not been raised.
Player 3 Simply hates these kinds of games, they aren't even sure why it was given to them in the first place.
The editor told them it would give a better reflection of the game if it could win over someone who wasn't a fan of the genre.
It must be agreed there was some merit to that argument but the idea failed all the same they hadn't even got to the end of level one and they already wanted to write the thing up as cliche, more of the same and boring with nothing new or exciting to move the genre on to new heights.
The game receives a terrible score.
Player 4 Loves this particular genre they buy almost every game of it's type to come out which isn't all that often as it's rather niche.
It's not the best game or worst game in the genre they've ever played but they add an extra a point or two onto the score because that way more people might give these kind of games a chance and help the genre become more mainstream.
Player 5 Rolled their eyes when the editor gave them the review code for this game.
It wasn't a genre issue they've played these types of games on a few occasions and some were quite enjoyable.
It wasn't a difficulty issue they play both easy and difficult games is pretty equal measure.
This game was an indie game and player 5 really hates playing indie games.
Player 5 longed for the day their editor would give them the latest triple A game for a review but today wasn't to be that day and this game's score was going to be deducted at least one point because of it
Player 6 Loved indie games, they proudly followed hundreds of Indie developers on social media and always felt they were hard done by when it came to reviews.
They always have a tendency to overcompensate for this this perceived view of the review world by adding a point or two to their own indie game reviews.
Player 7 Player 7 didn't mind reviewing an indie game in fact they were just generally happy to review any game of any genre from any studio with any budget.
For Player 7 it was a genuine honor and privilege just to play a game early and write about their experiences.
They liked the game and thought it was rather well done.
All in all taking the game's budget into account and looking at many aspects of the game they awarded it a 7 out of 10.
Player 8 Player 8 also didn't mind reviewing an indie game in fact they were also generally happy to review any game of any genre from any studio with any budget.
For Player 8 it was also a genuine honor and privilege to play a game early and write about their experiences.
They also liked the game and thought it was rather well done.
They took the game's budget into account and looked at many aspects of the game.
They were going to give it a 7 but just mere hours before sending the review off to the editor the review of player 7 popped up online and they most certainly weren't about to award the exact same score as that website was almost always too generous with it's scores so they gave it a 6 instead.
Player 9 Player 9 didn't mind reviewing indie games either and yet again they were happy to review any game of any genre from any studio with any budget.
They thought the game was reasonable but nothing amazing.
Given the number of games that had just come out recently player 9 thought this game couldn't really be considered for a high or even middle of the numbers score as compared to some other games with completely different budgets and genres they were more deserving of the readers money overall so they gave it a disappointing 4.
Player 10 Player 10 didn't much care about the genre, budget or origin of the game.
He was new to this job and wanted to get people talking regardless how much they agreed or disagreed with their point of view.
They put less than half an hour of actual game play before writing review and mostly used snippets of information gained online or from the developer notes included with their review copy.
Player 10 knew their website wasn't the biggest on the internet but they had just made it to the fabled land known as metacrtic and what was the best way to make an instant splash and get people to click on their review before those of others?
A very low score or a very high score seemed like one of the best ways.
That and getting their review out first of course.
The first half hour of game play didn't seem up to all that much so they gave it a 3 out of 10.
It didn't matter what the developer thought about it really he'd already broken the review embargo by a day and the website would gain lots of clicks from it so it was worth it in the end.
If your game doesn't score over 80% on Metacritc we're only going to pay you 80% of the agreed terms.
That was the exact words given to an indiedev who was just about to sign a contract with a big multi national to publish a game they'd spent almost 8 years of their life working on.
Of course the indiedev could have refused and tried to go it alone perhaps self publish on a smaller scale on less platforms and less countries.
If they spent long enough maybe they could even find a new publisher who would offer better terms but they felt like this might be the last chance to get the game out there.
A game they had dreamed of making as a child was now complete and ready to be unleashed on the world.
Of course they had faith in the game how could they not after such a long time working on it and surely the reviewers would take into account the budget spent and review the game on it's own merits.
The game got off to a good start with some very good reviews but ultimately the deadline for an 80% passed and the game sat at 78% a few weeks later falling to 73%
The indiedev involved vowed never to work with a publisher again and questioned how they can withhold so much money purely based on a 2% swing of opinions from a privileged few.
It's not just indiedevs that are having things like this imposed on them many game creators and staff at certain companies are paid bonuses or have employment reviews almost exclusively based on a few review opinions.
Are there really that many people who can without question say that game is a 7.8 /10 and that one is an 8?
What exactly are these differences?
And why is your opinion more important than the person sat next to you?
Please note if we deem you have reviewed the game unfairly or purely for publicity we will never give you a review copy again.
That was a footnote included with my review code for a game I received a few years ago when I was still running Nintendo Legacy.
I asked if that meant a low score because Legacy doesn't publish scores.
Their response was it includes anything that we deem unfair including scores.
Their response obviously made little sense as I'd already told them we don't score reviews.
Of course it essentially meant give the game a great review or at the very least an overall positive one or you'll never get anything again.
I don't claim this is a wide spread practice it has only ever been said to me once and I certainly don't claim that all or indeed any review website would ever give a game a score higher than what they deem it to be but its most certainly another reason to not completely rely on a simple number alone.
I declined the review code and bought and reviewed the game a few months latter in a sale, I gave it a fair review but not one I believe they'd have been totally happy with.