The Gaming With Swag Review Scale
As a game website we are expected to review video games as well as bringing relevant news and deals to our audience. The relationship between game reviewers and the companies that produce games has been fraught with controversy as they can often become buddies and their journalistic integrity can be called into question. Some companies punish reviewers by withholding content for poor reviews and if your website is built on getting reviews out before or on release date that threat can be real.
The standard review system for games has been a 1-10 scale, and the perceived corruption of the review portals has created the 6-10 scale which means that even if a game is bad reviewers are expected to at least give it a 6-7 so it isn’t actively discouraging people to buy it. Here at Gaming with Swag, we didn’t feel forced to use the tainted 1-10 grading system and instead tried to focus on determining what each game’s audience might be, and what sort of value we think the game has from a gameplay and replayability standpoint. Most games unless they are broken have some value, like if the multiplayer is awful but the story mode is good we would highlight the one and throw shade on the other and suggest perhaps buying the game on sale or at a discount since it has a broken game mode next to a good one.
If we had to score the game you might see a 6, when it might be more accurate to say the Story mode gets an 8 and the multiplayer gets a 3. If you as a reader only cared about the story mode that might be an exciting review to you, or if you were hunting the multiplayer it would be damning. So how do we capture some of that nuance in reviewing while still having a quick to grasp grading? We are now going to review on this scale which we think is more true to the shopping habits of our audience and for us personally, while still reviewing games in a fair manner for what they offer in experience.
Buy this Now!
This game is excellent and with a wide ranging audience. This game is a good value at its full retail price (typically 60 Dollars for AAA titles, perhaps less for an indie), and worthy of your time. This game might also benefit from playing soon after release because of cultural impact, spoilers, and strong support and community online. Examples – Call of Duty 4, Arkham City, Fallout 4, The Last of Us
Buy this Game
This game has great elements and most people will value this game at retail but it has some faults, or this game might be a better value on sale. Examples – Tomb Raider, DiRT Rally, Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain
Buy this on sale
This game has something good, but with some concerns and caveats, we recommend waiting until it is half off or better. Examples – Lego Jurassic World, FarCry 4
Check it out?
This game might have a limited audience or a specific appeal, check out some game play and see if this is right for you, but it is not for everyone. Examples - Every Madden Game in the last 15 years, Mirror’s Edge
Avoid this game!
This game tried and failed on most fronts. There may be a small audience for the game but we can’t recommend the game at any value. Examples – Every Superman Game, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5, etc.
Personally, I find that at the end of the year I bought 3-5 games at full retail, another 3-5 on sale between 30-60% off, and another 2-3 at severe discount to check them out. I would bet that a similar pattern would be shown in our audience and now our ratings can reflect value in a way that is consistent with what this whole thing is about which is the enjoyment of a retail product purchased with your hard earned money. If in the future, we have a chance to contribute to Metacritic we may make a hybrid score for their purposes, but we hope you enjoy this approach.